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Memoirs of Stephen Calvert.

[Continued from p. 359.]

ON how slender threads does the
destiny of human beings fre-
quently depend! The caprice of a
moment, an inexplicable and tran-
sitory impulse, in consequence of
which our steps move one inch for-
ward or on one side, will sometimes
ascertain the tenour of our whole
life, will influence the happiness and
govern the activity of one man, and
through him, controul the destiny
of nations and the world.

Throughout this day, my mind
was but ill suited to any social oc-
cupation. I was too deeply absorb-
ed in weighing the consequences of
the impending interview, to spare
much reflexion to the claims and
interests of others; but this theme
became, by degrees, painful. My
impatience was heightened into ago-
ny, and before noon had arrived, I
resolved to hasten the meeting with
my cousin, and set out immediate-
ly upon my visit.

While equipping myself and my
horse for this purpose, some un-
toward chance called to my remem-
brance a person who lived near
my ancient abode at Burlington,
and with whom I had maintained a
cordial intercourse from an early
age. He had lately assigned me a
commission which my abode in the
city made it easy to perform, and
which it was of some importance
to him to have speedily and faith-
fully performed. It was merely to
call on a kinsman who resided in
the city, and inform him, in three

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words, that a certain person had re-
turned to Burlington, who had for-
merly absconded, in consequence
of debt. This person was in debt
to my friend's kinsman, and as he
had resumed his place in society,
with a seeming confidence and fear-
lessness, it was to be hoped that he
might be compelled, by legal means,
to fulfil his former engagements.

This affair might be dispatched
in ten minutes, and to have neg-
lected it would have been wholly
inexcusable. I set out without de-
lay, for this end. I had walked
about three squares, when turning
a corner suddenly, my attention
was slightly attracted by a sound,
issuing, as it seemed, from the up-
per windows of an house, near at
hand. It was a faint shriek, utter
ed, apparently, by female organs.
It was a feeble effort of the voice,
and followed by deep silence. It
was too indistinct to inform me
whence it came. I could merely
guess that it came from above, and
from within some dwelling hard by,
but from which of the houses in
sight, and whether it denoted grief,
or pain, or surprise, or affright, I
was wholly unable to determine.
I checked my steps an instant, and
looked upward and around, but saw
nothing to confirm or assist my con-
jectures, and therefore quietly re-
sumed my way, and re-entered on the
meditations which had been sus-
pended by this incident. The cir-
cumstance could not be perceived
to possess any relation to me. Its
true nature was not likely to be
discovered by any inquiries which
were possible to one in my condi-
tion, and possessed no claim upon
my curiosity.

Such is the indifference and heed-
lessness of one who spies the flash
of a musket in the thicket, but is
unapprised of the existence of an
enemy. He imagines it a glow-
worm or a meteor, and rests in su-
pine security. Instead of headlong

flight, he loiters till the lurking foe
has refurnished the pan, and a se-
cond attempt urges the fatal bullet
to his heart.

I found the person of whom I
was in search, and imparted the tid-
ings which I brought. He expres-
sed much gratitude for this service,
and inquired if I had any purpose
of writing to his kinsman. I an-
swered, that there was, at present,
no urgent demand for a letter; that
my engagements would lead me a
different way in a few hours, and I
had not designed to write to him
during several weeks, or perhaps

He apologized for making this
inquiry, by saying that an unlucky
wound in his right hand had, dur-
ing some time, disabled him from
writing; that no one was at hand to
perform for him the office of an
amanuensis; that the present affair
was of a very urgent and momen-
tous nature; that his future welfare
and subsistence depended on the re-
covery of the sum which was ow-
ing by this fugitive; and that the
slightest delay might preclude him
from this recovery. If I had de-
signed to write to my friend, it
would have been an extraordinary
favour to him to perform that office
immediately, and to insert in my
letter some directions with regard
to the measures to be taken on this

To comply with this request,
made diffidently, but with great
earnestness, would, in a very slight
degree, incroach upon my plans.
It would fill an hour, and enable
me, with more patience, to wait
the coming of the period which I
had originally fixed upon as most
proper for a meeting with my cou-
sin; I therefore consented to write
immediately; and having received
such information as he chose to
give, returned home to compose my

The letter being written, it was

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necessary to put it on board a vessel
going to Burlington. I went in
quest of the vessel, and, having de-
posited the script in suitable hands,
returned home, designing to set out
forthwith on my projected visit. It
was a fortune equally untoward that
made me re-enter my lodgings, in-
stead of mounting my horse, which
stood ready for my use at some dis-
tance. Knowing that my absence
might last for ever, I felt reluctance
to depart, without leaving affection-
ate adieus with the good lady at
whose house I lived.

Having entered the house, I was
informed that a messenger had been
in search of me, and had waited for
my return some time; but being
weary, at length, or in haste, had
gone, leaving, however, a billet,
which was put into my hand. This
billet, containing compliments to
Felix Calvert, and a request that he
would call at the corner of Front
and —— streets, at three o'clock
in the afternoon.

On inquiry I was told that the
bearer of this billet was a young
female, of a foriegn countenance
and garb, and with an air and de-
meanour that seemed to prove her
a waiting maid or upper servant.
She had expressed much impatience
and anxiety to see me, and had left
the most earnest request that they
would not fail to deliver me the
billet. This impatience was visibly
increased by the information that I
was preparing to set out upon a
journey, from which the period of
my return was wholly uncertain.
She repeated that the receipt of this
billet, and compliance with the re-
quest contained in it, were of the
highest importance, and that no
consideration must induce them to
neglect delivering it.

The surprise which this circum-
stance was adapted to produce, was
heightened by observing that the
corner of Front and —— streets
was the very spot at which the

shriek just mentioned had excited
my attention. A vague suspicion
was suggested that some connection
subsisted between the invitation just
received and that mysterious voice.
My acquaintance in the city lay
in quarters distant from this, and
there was no circumstance within
my memory, or observation, en-
abling me to guess at the character
or situation of the tenants of this
house. It was spacious and mag-
nificent, was probably inhabited by
persons of the better class, and the
messenger belonged to a female,
since none but a female was likely
to charge a waiting maid with a
commission of this kind.

This new incident exercised a
strange dominion over my thoughts.
My attention, burning as it was
with eagerness and impatience re-
specting my cousin's deportment,
was diverted into a new channel.
I did not hesitate in resolving to
comply with this summons. An
hour had been mentioned sufficient-
ly early to permit the performance
of my previous engagement. Be-
tween three o'clock and dusk, the
interval was long enough for many
an interview, and the dusk of
evening was the period most suit-
able for my visit to Louisa.

My anxiety to gain some basis for
conjecture as to the character and
views of my inviter, led me to re-
flect upon the possibility of making
some inquiries on that head previ-
ous to my visit. I now remember-
ed that, some weeks before this, I
had stopped at a shop nearly oppo-
site to this mansion, to purchase
some trifles, for which I had just
received a commission from my
mother. The seller, by name Mrs.
Rivers, was a little, talkative, cour-
teous woman, who was likely to
have dealt as much in the history of
her neighbours, as in the prices of
laces and ribbons. The money I
expended with her gave me a title
to respect, and much lively dis-

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course had passed between us, not
strictly connected with the quality
and cost of her wares. She was
quick, communicative, affable, and
made any laborious advances to
acquaintance superfluous. Her I
resolved to visit, and, by duly ma-
naging the conversation, endeavour
to extract from her all the knowledge
of her neighbour she possessed.

I went forthwith to the shop.
Salutations were exchanged. The
price of this and that was required
and given. Gloves and hose were
spread upon the compter. One ar-
ticle was pretty and another cheap.
She had sold this for two-pence more
than she now asked, and that being
the last pair remaining, she would
let go for a shilling under her cus-
tomary price. While her tongue
was thus employed, I was meditat-
ting on the best means of leading
the discourse to the desirable object.

Meanwhile, there entered the
shop, a young woman, who asked
for something, for which she paid,
and immediately withdrew, yet not
till Mrs. Rivers had uttered a score
of interrogatories, such as “How
de do, Jenny? How is Miss Ne-
ville this morning? Does she never
go out now-a-days? Why don't
she call? When does she leave
town? Don't she leave town this
summer? How can she bear to
stay? Has she got shet of her cold?
Was the cruel of the right colour?
Does she want any more of it?” and
so forth. These inquiries were
made without intermission, and ap-
parently with no view to be answer-
ed. The girl, however, stammered
out yes or no, and shewed a sort
of consciousness and trepidation that
attracted my notice.

While viewing her, I noticed
her garb, aspect, and general de-
meanour to be nearly such as had
been described as belonging to the

bearer of the billet. A suspicion
arose that this was the same person.
This suspicion was changed into
certainty when I saw her trip across
the street, and enter a gate belong-
ing to the corner house.

“Pray,” said I to my companion,
pointing to the house in question,
“who lives there?

“Don't you know? You look
as if you knew. I'll warrant you,
you know, but ask ——”

“Why? why should I ask if I
knew already?

“I can't tell, but if you really
don't know, I'll tell you.”

“'Tis a young lady who came
not long ago from England. Her
aunt or mother, (I am not sure
which, I confess, for my part, I
doubt, but they commonly think
her aunt), came first. Mrs. Keith,
a good lady, give her her due, and
an excellent customer to me. Many
a penny has she put into my pocket.
Poor lady! I was quite inconsola-
ble at her death. She began to
droop just after the young lady's
arrival, and died eight months ago.”

“Was Mrs. Keith a foreigner?”

“Yes; no. She was partly one
and partly 'tother. She was born
in Jersey, and married, early, in
this town. Mr. Keith was of an
ancient and rich family, and a law-
yer. He made a great deal of mo-
ney by the law, and went home*
to enjoy it. Poor man! he died
just after he got ashore. This is
several years ago, but Mrs. Keith
returned, to lay her bones, as she
said, in her native country; and,
poor woman, she did, in a short
time, the very thing which she
came to do. She died, and left that
house, and a very handsome pro-
perty, to her neice, Clelia; Clelia

“Is this lady married, or likely
to be so?”

  * Before the revolution, Europe, and especially Britain, was universally called,
by the American colonists, home.

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“Not that I know of. She is
quite young and handsome, but goes
out but little, and see's scarcely any
company. The death of her aunt
was a severe stroke. She has been
melancholy ever since. Jenny tells
me, that from one month's end to
another, she never goes out of her
chamber and her garden, and sees
not a living soul besides her own
family. She dresses and lives very
genteel. She is quite the lady. A
mighty reader, Jenny says, writes
much, paints landscapes, and plays
very tastily upon the—something—
it is an hard, outlandish name.
This is all she does. She never
does an hand's-turn at any kind of
work. Not for want of knowing
how to do it neither, but because
she thinks it vulgar, or because she
likes reading and playing better.

“She lives a very strange life.
To tell you the truth, I am half a
mind to think, that there's some-
thing like a sweet-heart at bottom;
some disappointment of that sort,
in England, that made her come
out here. Her aunt did not know
of her coming. It was very unex-
pected, and not at all liked by the
old lady. The first time they met,
Mrs. Keith was quite ill, and the
young lady did not behave like one
who had found a welcome recep-
tion. There was abundance of tears
and of sad looks between them,
then, and a good while after. Some-
thing, for certain, more than the
death of her aunt, who was quite
old and might look to die soon, is
the matter with her now, but what
it is, I can only guess.

“Jenny knows; I am sure she
knows, but she is prim and close-
mouthed about it. I could never
get a hint of any thing from her.
This is quite a topping dame. She
reads and paints as well as her mis-
tress, and won't stoop to be familiar
with servants or any body. She
often comes here to buy any thing,
in my way, that the family wants;

and talks about her mistress but
very cautiously. She is no tattler,
that's the truth, and I know little
but what I pick up myself (our
houses, you see, are opposite), and
from the neighbours, but still——.”

Mrs. Rivers's loquacity was here
diverted by the entrance of a new
customer. Three o'clock had near-
ly arrived, and I imagined that my
informant had nearly exhausted her
stories of knowledge. I wanted an
opportunity of reflecting on what I
had already heard, and, therefore,
putting my purchases in my pocket,
I took my leave. I made a circuit
of half a mile before I reached Miss
Neville's door.

I was young, romantic, and with-
out experience. There was some-
what in this adventure, wonderful-
ly fitted to excite my curiosity and
rouse my hopes. The slight por-
trait that had been drawn by Mrs.
Rivers, exhibited a captivating per-
son, elegant accomplishments, dig-
nity of birth, and opulence, and, in
a sufficient degree, an unblemished
reputation. What motive could
induce such an one to demand a
visit from me, was a theme of per-
plexing, but no undelightful in-

These inquiries were, at length,
terminated by my arrival at her
door. I had been summoned hi-
ther, but the summons was anony-
mous, and the cause was unex-
plained. I was somewhat at a loss,
therefore, in what manner to de-
mean myself, for whom to inquire,
or what motive to alledge for my
visit. This perplexity hindered
me not from knocking. The sig-
nal was speedily obeyed. The girl
I had seen at Mrs. River's, appear-
ed at the door, and, before I had
time to open my lips, desired me
to walk in, and ushered me into a
drawing room, on the second story.

Here I walked to and fro, for
some minutes, alone. All the mis-
givings of youth, the timidities of

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inexperience, and the indefinable
hopes and fears congenial with my
visionary and enthusiastic temper,
took possession of me. I looked
at one door, and at the other, and
listened. I mistook a casual sound
for that of approaching footsteps.
These fallacious omens were, after
some time, succeeded by unques-
tionable ones. The door from an
inner chamber, opened, and there
entered, in a sort of hurry, and
with various tokens of embarrass-
ment, a lovely female, arrayed in

I made my obeisance with an ill
grace, and, on being requested, in
a tremulous and soft voice, to sit
down, with difficulty found a seat.
She seated herself near me, and, af-
ter a short pause, said,

“I am not so fortunate, Sir, as
to be known to you, and scarcely
know how to apologise for the li-
berty which I have taken in request-
ing this visit. I am conscious that
it may bear a strange and disadvan-
tageous appearance, but my heart
acquits me of any impropriety.
My motive has been gratitude, for
the greatest service which it is pos-
sible for one person to perform for
another. You have saved my life,
at the imminent hazard of your
own, and I could not forbear seek-
ing this opportunity of presenting
you my thanks. The obligation
can, indeed, be never discharged;
but your benevolence and intre-
pidity entitle you, at least, to know
that she whom you have rescued
from the worst of deaths, is not un-
grateful for the benefit.”

At this address, I lifted my eyes
and fixed them on the speaker.
The blood thrilled at my heart in
recognizing, in this person, the
form and features of her whom I
had borne in my arms from an
house in flames, and whom I had
seen as for a moment, and whose
image, impressed in such vivid
hues upon my fancy, I had sup-

posed to have been indebted for its
charms to the illusion of my senses.
Every line of that portrait was
now visible. My surprise was equal
to my delight; and these strong
emotions overpowered, for a while,
my timidity and awkwardness. I
started, involuntarily, on my feet,
and expressed my pleasuae at this
meeting, with an eloquence and
fervour that were new to me.

She listened with emotions which
I was unable, at that time, to inter-
pret. Her eyes were downcast, her
cheeks glowed, sorrow appeared to
contend in her features, with joy,
and confidence with doubt. Her
tongue faultered in expressing her
sentiments, and every gesture be-
tokened a confusion of feelings, in-
explicable but bewitching.

This perplexity and reserve gra-
dually lessened, and our conversa-
tion reverted to the events that
brought about this interview. I
mentioned the mistake in which I
had been hitherto involved, as to
the person I had saved, inquired
into the situation of the ladies whose
roof it was, and by what means
she became exposed to the danger.

“I was merely a visitant of these
ladies,” she replied. “I spent the
day with them, and they prevailed
upon me to remain during the night.
One of them was indisposed, and
there was some reason to dread the
increase of her indisposition. Hence
I was more willing to stay.

“On fully recovering my senses,
I found myself in the arms of an
hospitable lady of the neighbour-
hood. I was not hurt, and the ter-
ror was quickly removed. I pro-
cured myself to be removed hither
to my own house, as expeditiously
as possible. I did not distinctly see
my deliverer, and some time elapsed
before the newspapers acquainted
me with his name. My servant
procured, by some means, infor-
mation of the place of your abode;
and my eagerness to render you the

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thanks that are so justly due, has
made me overlook forms.”

“Let me thank you,” said I, “in
my turn, for this negligence of
forms. The mistake into which I
was led, at the beginning, respect-
ing your person, made me remiss
in profiting by so favourable an op-
portunity of knowing you. I hope
you will allow me to repair my er-
ror and authorise me to see you fre-

She admitted my request with
looks of the utmost benignity and
satisfaction. The discourse passed
to topics of a general and specula-
tive kind. The transition was not
effected by me. She led the way,
almost imperceptibly, into new
tracts, and glided from one theme
to another, with dexterity and grace-
fulness inimitable.

Very far was my companion
from forward and loquacious. She
was merely earnest and full of
thought. She spoke much, and with
mellifluent volubility; but this arose
from organs, flexible beyond any
that I had ever known, and from a
mind incessantly versatile and active,
drawing with a facility, almost
sportive, from inexhaustible stores
of sentiment and language.

Our topics tended but little to
throw light upon the real incidents
of her condition. There was the
fullest display of her opinions.
There were details of her intellec-
tual education and the progress of
her understanding. Transactions
were related or alluded to, in which
she had been a witness, and some in
which she had been an actor; but
these exhibited her modes of judg-
ing on abstract subjects, and threw
very faint and reflected light upon
her principles of conduct.

Books came, at length, to be
mentioned. She appeared to be no
unimpassioned votary of reading.
She had, at almost an infantile age,
imbibed an invincible attachment

to books. She had read, for a long
time, with indiscriminating appe-
tite. Amusing and frivolous pro-
ductions occupied her attention for
a while, but her taste gradually ac-
quired refinement. She distinguish-
ed between faults and beauties, be-
tween substance and shew. Her
facility of approbation, and her ea-
gerness for novelty, abated. While
some performances lost all or much
of her esteem, others acquired
stronger claims to admiration. The
habit of inquiring into the reasons
of her choice, of pausing and send-
ing forth her mind upon discovery,
of calling up and expatiating among
the ideas linked with the suggestions
of the writer, became vigorous and
permanent. From seeing and feel-
ing, she had long since proceeded
to investigate, select, and arrange.

To me this spectacle was wholly
new. I had met with persons of
extensive knowledge, but their
minds were not pliant and elastic.
Their discourse was gejune, dis-
jointed, and obscure. Their mind
gave out its stores, if I may so ex-
press myself, with difficulty and re-
luctance. Their expressions were
meagre and coarse, inadequate
and vague. Their tone was an
insipid sing-song, or a monotonous
uniformity. Their utterance was
stammering through precipitation,
or drawling through sluggishness.
Their stock of words was too small
to allow them to select suitable ex-
pressions with the requisite speed.
They erred through perverse habits,
or a vitiated taste.

The picture now before me was
a dazzling reverse of these imper-
fections. Nature, accident, or edu-
cation, had given her so large a
store, and such absolute command
of language, that she had nothing
to do but to adjust her pause, her
accent, and her emphasis. The
stream was spontaneously and ever
flowing. All her care consisted in

 image pending 431

leading it through proper channels,
and giving melody and meaning to
its cadencies.

My conceptions of the dignity
and beauty of eloquence, of that
power of utterance which bestows
the utmost grace and force upon
our own conceptions, or on those
of others, were, probably, carried
beyond the due bound. My edu-
cation, in this respect, had made
me a mere Roman. From much
converse with ancient orators and
rhetoricians, I had been taught to
regard speech as the faculty of great-
est value and power. Excellence
in this was most worthy of generous
ambition, and to this the power of
retaining and arranging ideas was
subordinate and secondary.

Our modes are very different
from those of the Latins. We have
not lived long enough in a warm
sun to acquire the vivacities of ut-
terance and gesture which distin-
guish the Italians. Our northern
extraction makes us sober and dis-
passionate, and our government
raises a wholesome mound against
popular tides and billows. The
perfections of speech have scope
only on private occasions. There
is no scene of deliberation where
thousands are convened, where
every auditor is qualified, by educa-
tion, to comprehend and relish the
refinements of speech. Eloquence,
in the Roman sense of that term, is
driven from among men. It ex-
pired when the forum, from a the-
atre of government, sunk into a
market-place, and advocates and
statesmen were supplanted by butch-
ers and herb-women.

But there is another sense in
which its value and its efficacy are
as great as ever. Persuasion and
instruction are employments of as
frequent recurrence, and as great
moment now, as at any former pe-
riod. The instrument is no less
powerful to charm the eyes and ears,
to sway the reason and affections of

one or a few. Hence the rhetoric
of conversation awakened, in the
highest degree, my juvenile enthu-
siasm. I prized myself more highly
on account of my attainments in
this art, than for any other accom-
plishment; and no excellence in
others, gained more fervent venera-
tion, than their skill in conversa-
tion, their power to adapt their
theme to all persons and occasions,
without sinking into levity or inde-
corum, of guiding and bending at-
tention at pleasure, of joining sa-
gacity to promptitude, and correct-
ness to fluency. Hence, in listen-
ing to my new acquaintance, I de-
rived pleasure beyond what I had
ever experienced from the exhibi-
tion of intellectual excellence.

In the midst of our discourse, the
evening overtook us. Four hours
had passed away with imperceptible
speed. I looked up and recalled
my previous engagement to remem-
brance, but it appeared with the
dubiousness and faintness of a
dream. It threw me into a tem-
porary perplexity, and being aware
that my visit had been longer than
decorum usually prescribed, I took
my leave.

I should in vain attempt to de-
scribe the state of my mind after
this interview. A deep and thorough
revolution had been wrought in it;
of the full extent of which, how-
ever, I was not yet aware. The
image of Miss Neville, cloathed
with nymphlike and fascinating
graces, hovered in my view; a tu-
mult of delicious feelings was awak-
ened, which I cherished with dili-
gence, and, during some time, avoid-
ed every act or meditation tending
to divert my thoughts into a differ-
ent and customary channel.

Gradually this tumult subsided,
and allowed me calmly to survey
my real situation, and to figure to
myself the consequences which this
incident must produce. Irresolu-
tion and despondency took place of

 image pending 432

my rapture. I thought of all that
had passed between Louisa Calvert
and myself, of the earnestness with
which I had sought her hand, of
the obstacles which had occurred
to my hopes, of the toil which I
had undergone to overcome these
obstacles, and of the measures which
my recent despair had dictated.

The first sentiment which now
rose in my heart, was that of self-
upbraiding. I had acted with the
blind impetuosity of a lunatic. The
dupe of deceitful rumour. I had
stifled that emotion which the image
of the rescued lady had excited. I
had laboriously shunned the smooth
and forthright path, and bent all my
infatuated zeal to accomplish my
destruction and that of my cousin;
but my error was now not to be re-
treaved. I had gone too far to re-
turn, to stop, or even to linger.

What! had I then ceased to love
Louisa Calvert? Was a short in-
terview with this stranger, in which
nothing but the specious surfaces
were visible, sufficient to change
into indifference or aversion, that
headlong zeal, which, an hour be-
fore, had burnt in my heart, had
urged me to the brink of despair,
had made me determine to abandon
my mother, my friends, and my
country! How fully had I justified
the censures and precautions of
Sydney! What a monument of
mutability and caprice should I
make myself, should I now relin-
quish my pursuit, and devote to
another those wishes and affections
which had so lately belonged to my
cousin! This would be ignomini-
ous and disgraceful beyond any
guilt which my nature could incur.

And yet, had not Louisa reject-
ed me? Had she not determined
to postpone our union to a remote
and indefinite period? Was not our
betrothment utterly dissolved? Were
not my happiness, my safety, my
life, voluntarily offered as a sacri-
fice to the prejudices of another? I

had persisted in contesting with her
determination, long after the pros-
pect of success had vanished. I
meditated flight and exile, the sor-
row of my mother, the neglect of
my patrimony, the desertion of my
friends; why? because this woman
had chosen to reject my vows, to
preserve, unimpaired, her haughty
independence, had refused to place
trust in my rectitude and constancy,
had loaded me with scorn.

Of this folly it was surely time
to repent. It was time to discon-
tinue my base and servile supplica-
tions, to leave her to consult the
wisdom of Sydney, and to cultivate
her own means of dignity and hap-
piness. Let me claim to myself
the same privilege. Let me seek
happiness from one more able and
more willing to confer it; who is
governed by sentiments and princi-
ples harmonious and congenial with
mine; who is not the slave of the
ambiguous and cold-blooded scru-
ples of another. Why should I
decline my intended visit? Why
not seek my cousin, and afford her
the satisfaction of my acquiescence
in her schemes?

She was right. Sydney's know-
ledge of my character was more ac-
curate than my own. I have been
too precipitate. There are points
of difference between Louisa and
myself, incompatible with conju-
gal felicity, and which no time
would probably annihilate. Part-
ing will be best. Let me hasten to
her presence; let me assure her of
my full conviction of the propriety
of her schemes. It will afford her
the purest and most rapturous joy.
Her sympathetic heart has long been
agonized at the sight of my suffer-
ings, and her ear been wounded by
the murmurings of my injustice.
It is time to dissipate her griefs, and
restore her to complacency and

Such were my reflections; in
consequence of which I pursued

 image pending 433

my way to my cousin's habitation.
These sentiments were not inequit-
able. They diffused a serenity and
calmness through my bosom, to
which I had long been a stranger.
It did not occur to me to note the
abruptness of this change, and to
mark how little I had been indebt-
ed for it to the force of reason. Be-
fore my interview with Clelia Ne-
ville, these considerations were
overlooked. The voice of equity
was then too low to be heard, but
now I had suddenly started up into
a dispassionate and rational being.
I could perceive and acknowledge
the justice of her conduct, and ac-
quitted her of all malignity and folly.
Such is the imposture which men
practise on themselves. Such are
the folds under which selfishness and
passion hide themselves, and so ea-
sily are their boastful and arrogant
pretensions to disinterestedness and
magnanimity admitted by their fond

These reflections were succeeded
by others relative to my new friend.
I pursued, with intenseness, the
comparison between the virtues and
accomplishments of these women.
I dwelt with delight upon the per-
sonal attractions, the polished un-
derstanding, the affluent and musi-
cal eloquence, the studious and se-
clusive habits of Miss Neville. I
dwelt upon the propitious omens
that attended the beginnings of our
intercourse, the fervency of that
gratitude which so eminent a service
as that of saving her life, at the al-
most inevitable hazard of my own,
was suited to produce, and which
the extraordinary mode adopted by
her, to convey her thanks, suffi-
ciently testified. I was her only visi-
tant. She had given, even in so
brief an interview, undubitable
proofs of being highly pleased with
my demeanour. She had accepted,
with eagerness, my offers of con-
tinuing and advancing our acquaint-
ance. She was a stranger in a fo-

reign land, unfettered by obliga-
tions, springing from kindred, or
marriage, or poverty; unamused
by varieties of company, and the
shifting scenes of dissipation; fond of
loneliness, and books, and musing.
Was it possible for invention to
assemble more charms in one form,
and more auspicious incidents toge-
ther? Was she not the unknown
type after which my fancy, in the
solitude of Burlington, had delight-
ed to fashion the images of friend,
mistress, wife?

But what was my cousin? No
music in her utterance, no vigour
or grace in her elocution, no sym-
metry, no lustre, no bewitching
hues, no radiance in her glances.
She is an object of esteem. Her
virtues are divine: but they, alone,
cannot give birth to that ineffable
passion which blends two beings
into one. And yet, is virtue no-
thing in the balance of him who
meditates wedlock? Is it nothing
that Louisa loves with tenderness
and constancy, that her character
is fully known, and is void of
blemish? Are integrity, and moral
sensibility, and rare genius, so ea-
sily outweighed by mere external
qualities, whose intoxications are
sure to disappear in nuptial familia-
rity, and to sink to the level of their
opposites? What know I of this
stranger that is inconsistent with
innumerable foibles and frailties?
She is plausible and smooth; but
may she not conceal, under this
delusive mask, a thousand weak-
nesses or prejudices?

It is true that she may be no less
excellent in mind than in person.
There is nothing destructive of each
other in the perfections of form and
of mind. This alliance, however,
is yet to be proved. It remains to
be discovered whether there do
not secretly exist insuperable im-
pediments to the wishes that I have
formed. What are the means of
this discovery? How does it be-

 image pending 434

come me to demean myself? not,
surely, in such a manner as will
terminate every hope with regard
to my cousin. Does she merit to
be made unhappy by a full dis-
closure of my feelings? What if
further and more intimate acquaint-
ance with Miss Neville should
prove my first impressions to be

Should I then declare to my cou-
sin not only my change of opinions
with regard to her, but my new-
born preference of another? What
will that be but to give her torment,
which the failure of my expecta-
tions, and my wishes, with regard
to Clelia Neville, may prove to be
wantonly and needlessly inflicted?
What will that be but to rob myself
of the power of reverting to my
ancient path, and loosing totally my
hold of my cousin's affections? Far
am I yet from loving this stranger:
farther still may our future inter-
course place me from loving her.
This new occurrence has only
shewn me the possibility of happi-
ness without my cousin.

What then is incumbent on me?
Let me hasten the intended inter-
view. Let me yield to her remon-
strances and projects; consent to

consider our betrothment as dis-
solved, maintain with her hence-
forth, the intercourse of friendship,
and meanwhile cultivate the society
of the stranger. Study her charac-
ter, endeavour to comprehend her
situation. If in those there be no
impediments to a more intimate and
sacred union, endeavour to effect
that union. If there be such obsta-
cles, then may I adopt some new
scheme of happiness, and either re-
vive my claim to Louisa Calvert,
or bid an eternal adieu to these

These principles appeared to me
just. They argued, perhaps, a kind
of sensibility, less ardent or less
permanent than is commonly found
in upright and ingenuous youth;
but the speculative maxims that
countenanced and sanctioned my
deportment were not immoral. It is
easily seen, however, what perils
and temptations I was going to
multiply around me. How hard I
should find it to avoid, in adhering
to this plan, falsehood and dupli-
city. The sequel will show how
little qualified I was to resist these

(To be continued.)

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