Susannah Minific Gunning
Part 3 out of 4
the thanks, the duty, of a dying man;--that they must consider me as
their own. A few, a _very_ few hours! and I shall be their own;--I shall
be united to their angel daughter.--Dear soul, he cried, is it for
this,--for this, I tore myself from you!--But stop, I will not repine;
the reward of my sufferings is at hand.
_Now_, you may lift me on the bed;--_now_, my friend, pointing to the
door,--_now_, my dear Molesworth, if you wish I should die in--_there
fainted_.--He lay without signs of life so long, that I thought, all was
I cannot comply with his last request;--it is his last I am
convinc'd;--he will never speak more, Risby!--he will never _more_
pronounce the name of Molesworth.
Be yours the task he assign'd me.--Go instantly to the friends you
revere;--go to Mr. and Mrs. Powis, the poor unfortunate
parents.--Abroad they were to you as tender relations;--in England,
your first returns of gratitude will be mournful.--You have seen Miss
Powis:--it could be no other than that lovely creature whom you met so
accidentally at ----: the likeness she bore to her father startled you.
She was then going with Mr. Jenkings into Oxfordshire:--you admired
her;--but had you known her mind, how would you have felt for Darcey!
Be cautious, tender, and circumspect, in your sad undertaking.--Go first
to the old steward's, about a mile from the Abbey; if he is not
return'd, break it to his wife and son.--They will advise, they will
assist you, in the dreadful affair;--I hope the poor old gentleman has
not proceeded farther than London.--Write the moment you have seen the
family; write every melancholy particular: my mind is only fit for such
gloomy recitals.--Farewel! I go to my dying friend.
Captain RISBY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH,
What is the sight of thousands slain in the field of battle, compar'd
with the scene I am just escap'd from!--How can I be
circumstantial!--where am I to begin!--whose distress shall I paint
first!--can there be precedence in sorrow!
What a weight will human nature support before it sinks!--The distress'd
inhabitants of this house are still alive; it is proclaim'd from every
room by dreadful groans.--You sent me on a raven's message:--like that
ill-boding bird I flew from house to house, afraid to croak my direful
By your directions I went to the steward's;--at the gate stood my dear
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Powis, arm in arm.--I thought I should have
sunk;--I thought I should have died instantly.--I was turning my horse
to go back, and leave my black errand to be executed by another.
They were instantly at my side;--a hand was seiz'd by each,--and the
words Risby!--captain Risby!--ecchoed in my ears.--What with their
joyous welcomes,--and transported countenances, I felt as if a flash of
lightning had just darted on my head.--Mrs. Powis first perceiv'd the
alteration and ask'd if I was well;--if any thing had happen'd to give
Certainly there has, said Mr. Powis, or _you_ are not the same man you
_was_, Risby.--It is true, Sir, return'd I;--it is true, I am not _so_
happy as when I last saw _you_;--my mind is disagreeably
situated;--could I receive joy, it would be in knowing this amiable
woman to be Mrs. Powis.
You both surprise and affect us, replied he.
Indeed you do, join'd in his Lady; but we will try to remove your
uneasiness:--pray let us conduct you to the Abbey; you are come to the
best house in the world to heal grievances.--Ah, Risby! said my friend,
all there is happiness.--Dick, I have the sweetest daughter: but Lord
Darcey, I suppose, has told you every thing; we desir'd he would; and
that we might see you immediately.--Can _you_ tell us if his Lordship is
gone on to Dover?
He is, returned I.--I did not wait his coming down, wanting to discover
to you the reason of my perplexities.
What excuse after saying this, could I make, for going into the
steward's?--For my soul, I could not think of any.--Fortunately it
enter'd my head to say, that I had been wrong directed;--that a foolish
boy had told me this was the strait road to the Abbey.
Mr. and Mrs. Powis importun'd me to let the servant lead my horse, that
I might walk home with them.--_This_ would never do.--I could not longer
trust myself in _their_ company, 'till I had reconnoitred the
family;--'till I had examin'd who _there_ was best fitted to bear the
first onset of sorrow.--I brought myself off by saying, one of my legs
was hurt with a tight boot.
Well then, go on, Risby, said Mr. Powis: you see the Abbey just before
you; my wife and I will walk fast;--we shall be but a few minutes
My faculties were quite unhing'd, the sight of the noble structure.--I
stopp'd, paus'd, then rode on; stopp'd again, irresolute whether to
proceed.--Recollecting your strict injunctions, I reach'd the gate which
leads to the back entrance; there I saw a well-looking gentleman and the
game-keeper just got off their horses:--the former, after paying me the
compliment of his hat, took a brace of hares from the keeper, and went
into the house.--I ask'd of a servant who stood by, if that was Sir
No, Sir, he replied; but Sir James is within.
Who is that gentleman? return'd I.
His name is Morgan, Sir,
Very intimate here, I suppose--is he not?
Yes, very intimate, Sir.
Then _he_ is the person I have business with; pray tell him _so_.
The servant obey'd.--Mr. Morgan came to me, before I had dismounted; and
accosting me very genteely, ask'd what my commands were with him?
Be so obliging, Sir, I replied; to go a small distance from the house;
and I will unfold an affair which I am sorry to be the messenger of.
Nothing is amiss, Sir, I hope: you look strangely terrified; but I'll go
with you this instant.--On that he led me by a little path to a walk
planted thick with elms; at one end of which was a bench, where we
seated ourselves.--_Now_, Sir, said Mr. Morgan, you may _here_ deliver
what you have to say with secrecy.--I don't recollect to have had the
honour of seeing _you_ before;--but I wait with impatience to be
inform'd the occasion of this visit.
You are a friend, I presume, of Sir James Powis?
Yes, Sir, I am: he has _few_ of longer standing, and, as times go,
_more_ sincere, I believe.--But what of that?--do you know any harm,
Sir, of me, or of my friend?
God knows I do not;--but I am acquainted, Mr. Morgan, with an
unfortunate circumstance relative to Sir James.
Sir James! Zounds, do speak out:--Sir James, to my knowledge, does not
owe a shilling.
It is not money matters, Sir, that brought me here:--heaven grant it
The devil, Sir!--tell me at once, what is this damn'd affair? Upon my
soul, you must tell me immediately.
Behold!--read, Sir--what a task is mine! (_putting your letter into his
Never was grief, surprize, and disappointment so strongly painted as in
him.--At first, he stood quite silent; every feature distorted:--then
starting back some paces, threw his hat over the hedge:--stamp'd on his
wig;--and was stripping himself naked, to fling his clothes into a pond
just by, when I prevented him.
Stop, Sir, I cried: do not alarm the family before they are
prepar'd.--Think of the dreadful consequences;--think of the unhappy
parents!--Let us consult how to break it to them, without severing their
hearts at one blow.
Zounds, Sir, don't talk to me of breaking it; I shall go mad:--you did
not know her.--Oh! she was the most lovely, gentle creature!--What an
old blockhead have I been!--Why did I not give her my fortune?--_then_
Darcey would have married her;--_then_ she would not have gone
abroad;--_then_ we should have sav'd her. Oh, she was a sweet, dear
soul!--What good will my curst estates do me _now?_--You shall have
them, Sir;--any body shall have them--I don't care what becomes of
_me_.--Do order my horse, Sir--I say again, do order my horse. I'll
never see this place more.--Oh! my dear, sweet, smiling girl, why would
you go to France?
Here I interrupted him.
Think not, talk not, Sir, of leaving the family in such a melancholy
situation.--Pray recollect yourself.--You _ought_ not to run from your
friends;--you _ought_ to redouble your affection at this hour of
trial.--Who _can_ be call'd friends, but those who press forward, when
all the satisfactions of life draw back.--You are not;--your feeling
heart tells me you are not one of the many that retire with such
visionary enjoyments.--Come, Sir, for the present forget the part you
bear in this disaster:--consider,--pray, consider her poor parents;
consider what will be their sufferings:--let it be our task to prepare
What you say is very right, Sir, return'd he.--I believe you are a good
christian;--God direct us,--God direct us.--I wish I had a dram:--faith,
I shall be choak'd.--Sweet creature!--what will become of Lord
Darcey!--I never wanted a dram so much before.--Your name, Sir, if you
please.--I perceive we shall make matters worse by staying out so long.
I told him my name; and that I had the honour of being intimately
acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Powis.
He continued,--You will go in _with me_, Sir.--How am I to act!--I'll
follow your advice--We must expect it will be a dreadful piece of
Caution and tenderness, Mr. Morgan, will be absolutely necessary.
But where is my hat?--where is my wig?--have I thrown them into the
It is well the poor distress'd man recollected he had them not; or,
bare-headed as he was, I should have gone with him to the house.--I
pick'd them up, all over dirt; and, well as I could, clean'd them with
Now, Sir, said I, if you will wipe your face,--for the sweat was
standing on it in large drops,--I am ready to attend you.
So I must _really_ go in, captain.--I don't think I can stand it;--you
had better go without me.--Upon my soul, I had sooner face the mouth of
a cannon--If you would blow my brains out, it would be the kindest thing
you ever did in your life.
Poh! don't talk at this rate, Sir.--Do we live only for ourselves?--
But _will_ you not leave us, captain;--_will_ you not run from us, when
all is out?
Rather, Sir, suspect me of cowardice.--I should receive greater
satisfaction from administering the smallest consolation to people in
distress, than from whole nations govern'd by my nod.
Well, captain, I _will_ go;--I _will_ do any thing you desire me, since
you are so good to say you will not leave us.
But, notwithstanding his fair promise, I never expected to get him
within the doors.--He was shifting from side to side:--sometimes he
would stand still,--sometimes attempt to retreat.--When we were just at
the house, a servant appear'd:--of whom he enquir'd, if Mr. and Mrs.
Powis were return'd; and was inform'd the latter was within;--the former
gone out in pursuit of us. We likewise found the Ladies were with Sir
James in the library. I sent in my name: it was in vain for me to expect
any introduction from my companion.
Mrs. Powis flew to meet me at the door:--Mr. Morgan lifted up his eyes,
and shook his head.--I never was so put to it:--I knew not what to say;
or how to look.--Welcome, Mr. Risby, said the amiable, unfortunate,
unsuspecting mother;--doubly welcome at this happy juncture.--Let me
lead you to parents, introducing me to Sir James and Lady Powis, from
whom I have receiv'd all my felicity.
You need not be told my reception:--it is sufficient that you know Sir
James and her Ladyship.--My eyes instantly turn'd on the venerable
chaplin: I thought I never discover'd so much of the angel in a human
Mrs. Powis ask'd me a thousand questions;--except answering _them_, I
sat stupidly silent.--It was not so with Mr. Morgan: he walk'd, or
rather ran up and down;--his eyes fix'd on the floor,--his lips in
motion.--The Ladies spoke to him: he did not answer; and I could
perceive them look on each other with surprize.
Mr. Powis enter'd:--the room seem'd to lift up:--I quite rambled when I
rose to receive his salute.--Mr. Morgan was giving me the slip.--I
look'd at him significantly,--then at Mr. Watson,--as much as to say,
Take him out; acquaint him with the sorrowful tidings.--He understood
the hint, and immediately they withdrew together.
Come, dear Risby, pluck up, said Mr. Powis:--do not you, my friend, be
the only low-spirited person amongst us.--I fear Mr. Risby is not well,
return'd Lady Powis.--We must not expect to see every one in high
spirits, because _we_ are:--_our_ blessings must be consider'd as _very_
singular.--You have not mention'd Fanny to your friends.
Indeed, Madam, I have, replied he.--Risby knows, I every minute expect
my belov'd daughter.--But tell me, Dick;--tell me, my friend;--all
present are myself;--fear not to be candid;--what accident has thrown a
cloud of sadness over your once chearful countenance?--Can I assist
you?--My advice, my interest, my purse are all your own.--Nay, dear
Risby, you must not turn from me.--I did turn, I could hold it no
Pray Sir, said Mrs. Powis, do speak;--do command us; and she
condescended to lay her hand on mine--Lady Powis, Sir James too, both
intreated I would suffer them to make me happy.--Dear worthy creatures,
how my heart bled! how it still bleeds for them!--
I was attempting some awkward acknowledgment, when Mr. Watson enter'd,
led by Mr. Morgan.--I saw he had executed the task, which made me
shudder.--Never did the likeness of a being celestial shine more than in
the former! He mov'd gently forward,--plac'd himself next Lady
Powis;--pale,--trembling,--sinking.--Mr. Morgan retir'd to the window.--
Now,--now,--the dreadful discovery was at a crisis.--Mr. Watson
sigh'd.--Lady Powis eyed him with attention; then starting up, cried,
Bless me! I hear wheels: suppose, Mr. Watson, it should be Fanny!--and
after looking into the lawn resum'd her chair.
Pardon me, Lady Powis said. Mr. Watson in a low-voice; why _this_
impatience?--Ah Madam! I could rather wish you to check than encourage
Hold, hold, my worthy friend, return'd Sir James; do you forget four
hours since how you stood listening at a gate by the road-side, saying,
you could hear, tho' not see?
We must vary our hopes and inclinations, reply'd Mr. Watson.--Divine
Providence--there stopp'd;--not another word.--He stopp'd;--he
groan'd;--and was silent.--Great God! cried Mr. Powis, is my child
ill?--Is my child dead? frantickly echoed Mrs. Powis--Heaven forbid!
exclaim'd Sir James and his Lady, arising.--Tell us, Mr. Watson;--tell
us, Mr. Ruby.
When you are compos'd,--return'd the former--Then, our child is
dead,--really dead! shriek'd the parents.--No, no, cried Lady Powis,
clasping her son and daughter in her arms,--she is, not dead; I am sure
she is not dead.
Mr. Watson, after many efforts to speak, said in a faultering
voice,--Consider we are christians:--let that bless'd name fortify our
Mrs. Powis fell on her knees before him,--heart-rending sight!--her cap
torn off,--her hair dishevell'd,--her eyes fix'd;--not a tear,--not a
single tear to relieve the bitter anguish of her soul.
Sir James had left the room;--Lady Powis was sunk almost senseless on
the sopha;--Mr. Powis kneeling by his wife, clasping her to his
bosom;--Mr. Morgan in a corner roaring out his affliction;--Mr. Watson
with the voice of an angel speaking consolation.--I say nothing of my
own feelings.--God, how great!--how inexpressible! when Mrs. Powis,
still on her knees, turn'd to me with uplifted hands,--Oh Mr. Risby!
cried she,--can _you,_--can _you_ speak comfort to the miserable?--Then
again addressing Mr. Watson,--Dear, saint, only say she lives:--I ask no
more; only say she lives.--My best love!--my life!--my Fanny! said Mr.
Powis, lifting her to the sopha;--live,--live,--for my
sake.--Oh!--Risby, are _you_ the messenger?--his head fell on my
shoulder, and he sobb'd aloud.
Lady Powis beckon'd him towards her, and, looking at Mrs. Powis with an
expressive glance of tenderness,--said Compose yourself, my son;--what
will become of _you, if_--He took the meaning of her words, and wrapping
his arms about his wife, seem'd for a moment to forget his own sorrow in
What an exalted woman is Lady Powis!
My children, said she; taking a hand from each,--I am thankful: whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth.--Let us follow his great example of
patience,--of resignation.--What is a poor span?--_Ours_ will be
I whisper'd Mr. Morgan, a female friend would be necessary to attend the
Ladies;--one whom they lov'd,--whom they confided in, to be constantly
with them in their apartments.--He knew just such a woman, he said; and
went himself to fetch Mrs. Jenkings.--Lady Powis being unable longer to
support herself, propos'd withdrawing.--I offered my arm, which she
accepted, and led her to the dressing-room.--Mrs. Powis follow'd; almost
lifeless, leaning on her husband: there I left them together, and
walk'd out for a quarter of an hour to recover my confus'd senses.
At my return to the library, I found Sir James and Mr. Watson in
conversation.--The former, with a countenance of horror and
distraction,--Oh Sir! said he, as I came near him,--do I see you
again?--are you kind enough not to run from our distress?
Run from it, Sir James! I reply'd;--no, I will stay and be a partaker.
Oh Sir! he continued, you know not _my_ distress:--death only can
relieve _me_--I am without _hope_, without _comfort_.
And is this, Sir James, what you are arriv'd at? said the good
chaplain--Is this what you have been travelling sixty years after?--Wish
for death yet say you have neither hope or comfort.--Your good Lady,
Sir, is full of both;--_she_ rejoices in affliction:--_she_ has long
look'd above this world.
So might I, he reply'd,--had I no more to charge myself with than she
has.--_You_ know, Mr. Watson,--_you_ know how faulty I have been.
Your errors, dear Sir James, said he, are not remember'd.--Look back on
the reception you gave your son and daughter.
He made no reply; but shedding a flood of tears, went to his afflicted
Mr. Watson, it seems, whilst I had been out, acquainted him with the
contents of your letter;--judging it the most seasonable time, as their
grief could not then admit of increase.
Sir James was scarce withdrawn, when Lady Powis sent her woman to
request the sight of it.--As I rose to give it into her hand, I saw Mr.
Morgan pass by the door, conducting an elderly woman, whom I knew
afterward to be Mrs. Jenkings.--She had a handkerchief to her eyes, one
hand lifted up;--and I heard her say, Good God! Sir, what shall I
do?--how can I see the dear Ladies?--Oh Miss Powis!--the amiable Miss
Mr. Morgan join'd us immediately, with whom and Mr. Watson I spent the
remainder of this melancholy evening: at twelve we retir'd.
So here I sit, like one just return'd from the funeral of his best
friend;--alone, brooding over every misery I can call together.--The
light of the moon, which shines with uncommon splendor, casts not one
ray on my dark reflections:--nor do the objects which present
themselves from the windows offer one pleasing idea;--rather an
aggravation to my heart-felt anguish.--Miserable family!--miserable
those who are interested in its sad disaster!--
I go to my bed, but not to my repose.
Nine o'clock in the morning.
How sad, how gloomy, has been the approach of morning!--About six, for I
had not clos'd my eyes,--somebody enter'd my chamber. I suppos'd it Mr.
Morgan, and drew aside my curtain.--It was not Mr. Morgan;--it _was_ the
poor disconsolate father of Miss Powis, more agitated, if possible, than
the preceding night.--He flung himself on my bed with agony not to be
Dear Risby, said he, _do_ rise:--_do_ come to my apartment.--Alas! my
What new misfortune, my friend? ask'd I, starting up.--My wife!
return'd! he!--she is in fits;--she has been in fits the whole
night.--Oh Risby! if I should lose _her_, if I should lose my
_wife!_--My parents _too_, I shall lose them!--
Words could not lessen his affliction. I was silent, making what haste I
could to huddle on my clothes;--and at his repeated intreaties follow'd
him to his wife,--She was sitting near the fire drowned; in tears,
supported by her woman. I was pleas'd to see them drop so
plentifully.--She lifted up her head a little, as I enter'd.--How
alter'd!--how torn to pieces with grief!--Her complexion once so
lovely,--how changed in a few hours.
My husband! said she, in a faint voice, as he drew near her.--Then
looking at me,--Comfort him, Mr. Risby;--don't let him sob so.--Indeed
he will be ill;--indeed he will.--Then addressing him, Consider, she who
us'd to be your nurse is now incapable of the task.--His agitation was
so much increas'd by her words and manner, that I attempted to draw him
into another apartment.--Your intentions are kind, said she, Mr.
Risby;--but I _must_ not lose my husband:--you see how it is, Sir,
shaking her head;--try to sooth him;--talk to him _here_ but do not take
him from _me_.--
Then turning to Mr. Powis,--I am better, my love,--don't frighten
yourself:--we must learn to be resign'd.--Set the example, and I will be
resign'd, said he,--wiping away the tears as they trickled down her
cheek;--if my Fanny supports herself, I shall not be quite miserable.
In this situation I left them, to close my letter.
What is become of poor Lord Darcey? For ever is he in my
thoughts.--_His_ death will be an aggravation to the general
sorrow.--Write instantly:--I wait your account with impatience; yet
dread to receive it.
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;
Say not a word of it;--no, not for the world;--the body of Miss Powis is
drove on shore.--If the family choose to have her brought down, it may
be done some time hence.--I have order'd an undertaker to get a lead
coffin, and will take care to have her remains properly deposited.--It
would be an act of cruelty at present to acquaint her friends with this
circumstance.--I have neither leisure or spirits to tell you in what
manner the body was found, and how I knew it to be miss Powis's.
The shore is fill'd with a multitude of people.--What sights will they
gaze on to satisfy their curiosity!--a curiosity that makes human
I have got three matronly women to go with the undertaker, that the body
may be taken up with decency.
Darcey lives;--but _how_ does he live?--Without sense; almost without
God protect the good old steward!--the worthy Jenkings!--He is with you
before this;--he has told you everything. I could not write by him:--I
thought I should never be able to touch a pen again.--He had left Dover
before the body was found.--What conflicts did he escape! But as it is,
I fear his grey hairs will go down with sorrow to the grave.--God
support us all!
Captain RISBY to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.
My heart bleeds afresh--Her body found! Good heaven!--it _must_
not,--_shall_ not come to the knowledge of the family.--At present they
submit with a degree of resignation.--Who knows but a latent hope might
remain?--Instances have been known of many saved from wrecks;--but her
body is drove on shore.--Not a glimmering;--possibility is _now_ out of
the question.--The family are determin'd to shut themselves out from the
world;--no company ever more to be admitted;--never to go any where but
to the church.--Your letter was deliver'd me before them.--I was ask'd
tenderly for poor Lord Darcey.--What could I answer?--Near the same;
not worse, on the whole.--They flatter themselves he will recover;--I
encourage all their flattering hopes.
Mrs. Jenkings has never been home since Mr. Morgan fetch'd her;--Mr.
Jenkings too is constantly here;--sometimes Edmund:--except the unhappy
parents, never was grief like theirs.
Mr. Jenkings has convinc'd me it was Miss Powis which I saw at ----.
Strange reverse of fortune since that hour!
When the family are retir'd I spend many melancholy hours with poor
Edmund;--and from him have learnt the reason why Mr. Powis conceal'd his
marriage,--which is _now_ no secret.--Even Edmund never knew it till Mr.
and Mrs. Powis return'd to England,--Take a short recital:--it will help
to pass away a gloomy moment.
When Mr. Powis left the University, he went for a few months to Ireland
with the Lord-Lieutenant; and at his return intended to make the Grand
Tour.--In the mean time, Sir James and Lady Powis contract an intimacy
with a young Lady of quality, in the bloom of life, but not of
beauty.--By what I can gather, Lady Mary Sutton is plain to a
degree,--with a mind--But why speak of her mind?--let that speak for
She was independent; her fortune noble;--her affections disengag'd.--Mr.
Powis returns from Ireland: Lady Mary is then at the Abbey.--Sir James
in a few days, without consulting his son, sues for her alliance.--Lady
Mary supposes it is with the concurrence of Mr. Powis:--_his_
person,--_his_ character,--_his_ family, were unexceptionable; and
generously she declar'd her sentiments in his favour.--Sir James,
elated with success, flies to his son;--and in presence of Lady Powis,
tells him he has secur'd his happiness.--Mr. Powis's inclinations not
coinciding,--Sir James throws himself into a violent rage.--Covetousness
and obstinacy always go hand in hand:--both had taken such fast hold of
the Baronet, that he swore--and his oath was without reservation--he
would never consent to his son's marrying any other woman.--Mr. Powis,
finding his father determin'd,--and nothing, after his imprecation, to
expect from the entreaties of his mother,--strove to forget the person
of Lady Mary, and think only of her mind.--Her Ladyship, a little
chagrin'd Sir James's proposals were not seconded by Mr. Powis,
pretended immediate business into Oxfordshire.--The Baronet wants not
discernment: he saw through her motive; and taking his opportunity,
insinuated the violence of his son's passion, and likewise the great
timidity it occasion'd--he even prevail'd on Lady Powis to propose
returning with her to Brandon Lodge.
The consequence of this was, the two Ladies set out on their journey,
attended by Sir James and Mr. Powis, who, in obedience to his father,
was still endeavouring to conquer his indifference.--
Perhaps, _in time_, the amiable Lady Mary might have found a way to his
heart,--had she not introduc'd the very evening of their arrival at the
Lodge, her counter-part in every thing but person:--there Miss Whitmore
outshone her whole sex.--This fair neighbour was the belov'd friend of
Lady Mary Sutton, and soon became the idol of Mr. Powis's affections,
which render'd his situation still more distressing.--His mother's
disinterested tenderness for Lady Mary;--her own charming
qualifications;--his father's irrevocable menace, commanded him one
way:--Miss Whitmore's charms led him another.
Attached as he was to this young Lady, he never appear'd to take the
least notice, of her more than civility demanded;--tho' she was of the
highest consequence to his repose, yet the obstacles which surrounded
him seem'd insurmountable.
Sir James and Lady Powis retiring one evening earlier than usual,--Lady
Mary and Mr. Powis were left alone. The latter appear'd greatly
embarrass'd. Her Ladyship eyed him attentively; but instead of sharing
his embarrassment,--began a conversation of which Miss Whitmore was the
subject.--She talk'd _so_ long of her many excellencies, profess'd
_such_ sincerity, _such_ tenderness, _for her_, that his emotion became
visible:--his fine, eyes were full of fire;--his expressive features
spoke what she, had long wish'd to discover.--You are silent, Sir, said
she, with a smile of ineffable sweetness; is my lovely friend a subject
that displeases you?--
How am I situated! replied he--Generous Lady Mary, dare I repose a
confidence in your noble breast?--_Will_ you permit me that
honour?--_Will_ you not think ill of me, if I disclose--No, I
cannot--presumption--I _dare_ not. She interrupted him:
Ah Sir!--you hold me unworthy,--you hold me incapable of
friendship.--Suppose me your sister:--if you had a sister, would you
conceal any thing from _her?_--Give me then a _brother_;--I can never
behold _you_ in any other light.
No, my Lady;--no, return'd he, I deserve not _this_ honour.--If you
knew, madam,--if you knew all,--you _would_, you _must_ despise me.
Despise you, Mr. Powis!--she replied;--despise you for loving Miss
Exalted goodness! said he,--approaching her with rapture: take my
heart;--do with it as you please;--it is devoted to your generosity.
Well then, said she, I command _it_,--I command _it_ instantly to be
laid open before me.--_Now_ let it speak,--_now_ let it declare if I am
not the bar to its felicity:--if--
No, my good angel, interrupted he, dropping on his knees,--and pressing
her hand to his lips;--I see it is through you,--through you only,--I am
to expect felicity.
Before Lady Mary could prevail on Mr. Powis to arise, Sir James, whom
they did not expect,--and who they thought was retir'd for the night,
came in quest of his snuff-box;--but with a countenance full of joy
retir'd precipitately, bowing to Lady Mary with the same reverence as if
she had been a molten image cast of his favourite metal.
In this conversation I have been circumstantial, that you might have a
full view of the noble, disinterested Lady Mary Sutton:--you may gather
now, from whence sprang her unbounded affection for the incomparable,
unfortunate Miss Powis.
You will not be surprised to find a speedy marriage took place between
Mr. Powis and Miss Whitmore, to which none were privy but the Dean of
H----, who perform'd the ceremony,--Lady Mary,--Mrs. Whitmore (the
mother of Mrs. Powis),--Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings.--Perhaps you think Lady
Powis ought to have been consulted:--I thought so _too_; but am _now_
convinc'd she would have been the wretchedest woman in the world, had
she known her son acting diametrically opposite to the will of his
father in so material a point.
To put it out of the power of every person intrusted with this momentous
secret to divulge it,--and to make Mr. Powis perfectly easy,--each bound
themselves at the altar where the ceremony was perform'd, never to make
the least discovery 'till Mr. Powis thought fit to declare his marriage.
What an instance have I given you of _female_ friendship!--Shew me such
another:--our sex are a test of _their_ friendships.
How many girls have I seen,--for ever together arm in arm,--whispering
their own, perhaps the secrets of all their neighbours;--when in steps a
young fellow of our cloth,--or any other, it signifies not the
colour,--and down tumbles the tottering basis.--Instead of _my dear_ and
_my love_, it is _sly creature, false friend_, could any one have
thought Miss Such-a-one possess'd of so much art?--then out comes
intrigues, family-affairs, losses at cards,--in short, every thing that
has been treasur'd up by two industrious fair ones seven years before.
Don't think me satyrical:--I am nice;--_too_ much so, perhaps.--The
knowledge of _such_ as constitute this little narrative, and _some_
other minds like _theirs_, has made me rather _too_ nice, as I said
before;--a matter of little consequence, as I am situated.--Can I look
forward to happy prospects, and see how soon the fairest felicity is out
of sight?--This afflicted family, Molesworth, has taught me to
forget,--that is, I ought to forget.--But no matter;--never again let me
see Lady Sophia;--never lead me a second time into danger:--she is
mortal; like Miss Powis.--Lord Darcey! poor Lord Darcey!
If recollection will assist me, a word or two more of Mr. and Mrs.
Lady Sophia--the deuce is in me! you know who I mean;--why write I the
name of Lady Sophia?--upon my honour, I have given over all thoughts of
that divinity--Lady Mary I should have said, a few months after the
nuptials of her friends, wrote to Mr. Powis, who was then at Barford
Abbey, an absolute refusal, in consequence of a preconcerned plan of
operation.--Immediately after this, she set out with Mrs. Powis for
London, whose _situation_ made it necessary for her to leave Hillford
You will suppose, on the receipt of this letter, how matters were at the
Abbey:--Sir. James rav'd; even Lady Powis thought her son ill us'd;
but, in consideration of their former intimacy, prevail'd on Sir James
never to mention the affair, though from this time all acquaintance
ceas'd between the families.
In order to conceal the marriage, it was inevitable Mr. Powis must carry
his wife abroad;--and as he intended to travel before the match was
thought of with Lady Mary,--his father now readily consented that he
should begin his tour.--This furnish'd him with an excuse to go
immediately to town,--where he waited 'till the angel that we all weep
for, made her appearance.
But what, you ask, was Mrs. Powis's excuse to leave England, without
being suspected?--Why, I'll tell you: by the contrivance of Lady Mary,
together with Mrs. Whitmore, it was believ'd she had left the
world;--that she died in town of a malignant fever;--that--but I cannot
be circumstantial--Miss Powis, after her parents went abroad, was
brought down by Lady Mary, and consign'd to the care of her grandmother,
with whom she liv'd as the orphan child of some distant relation.
Whilst Mr. and Mrs. Powis were travelling through Italy, he apply'd to
his friend the Lord-Lieutenant,--and by _that_ interest was appointed to
the government of ----. It was here my acquaintance with them commenc'd:
not that I suspected Miss Glinn to be Mrs. Powis, though I saw her every
day.--_Glinn_ was a name she assum'd 'till she returned to England.--A
thousand little circumstances which render'd her character unsuspected,
I want spirits to relate.--Suffice it to say,--the death of Mrs.
Whitmore;--a daughter passing on the world for an orphan;--and the
absence of Lady Mary Sutton;--made them resolve to hazard every thing
rather than leave their child unprotected.--Alas! for what are they
Nothing is impossible with a Supreme Being.--Lord Darcey _may_
recover.--But why this ray of hope to make the horrors of my mind more
dreadful?--He is _past_ hope, you say.--
The Honourable George Molesworth to Richard Risby, Esq;
Risby, I am lifted above myself!--I am overcome with surprise!--I am mad
with joy!--Is it possible!--can it be!--But Lord Darcey's servant has
swore it;--yes, he has swore, a letter directed in Miss Powis's _own_
hand, lay on the counter in a banker's shop where he went to change a
bill: the direction was to Lady Mary Sutton:--he has put many for the
same Lady into the post-office.--I _run_, I _ride_ or rather _fly_ to
You may jump, you may sing, but command your features before the
family.--Should it be a mistake of John's, we kill them twice.
If I live to see the resurrection of our hopes, John shall be with you
instantly.--On second thought, I will not dispatch this, unless we have
a bless'd certainty.
The Honourable George Molesworth to the same.
Are you a mile from the Abbey, Dick?--Are you out of sight,--out of
hearing?--John, though you should offer to kill him, dare not deliver
letter or message 'till you are at a proper distance.
Miss Powis lives!--Restore peace within the walls.--As I hope to be
pardon'd for my sins, I have seen, I have spoke to her.--She
lives!--Heavenly sound! it should be convey'd to them from above.--She
lives! let me again repeat it.--Proclaim the joyful tidings:--but for
particulars have patience 'till I return to the man, to the friend my
life is bound up in.--I have seen him in every stage. Brightest has he
shone, as the taper came nearer to an end.--The rich cordial must be
administered one drop at a time.--Observe the caution.
Captain Risby to the Honourable George Molesworth.
Well, Molesworth,--well--I can go no farther;--yet I _must;--John_, poor
faithful _John_, says I _must_;--says he shall be sent back again.--But
I have lost the use of my fingers:--my head bobs from side to side like
a pendulum. Don't stamp, don't swear: they have a few drops of your
cordial more than I intended.--It operates well.--I long to administer a
larger potion.--Could you see how I am shifted--now here--now there--by
the torrent of joy, that like a deluge almost drives reason before
it;--I say, could you see me, you would not wonder at the few
unconnected lines of
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;
Darcey bears the joyful surprise beyond imagination:--it has brought him
from death to life.--
Hear in what manner I proceeded;--You may suppose the hurry in which I
left Dover:--I took no leave of my friend;--his humane apothecary
promis'd not to quit him in my absence:--I gave orders when his Lordship
enquir'd for me, that he should be told particular business of my _own_
had call'd me to town express.--It happen'd very convenient that I left
him in a profound sleep.
Away I flew,--agitated betwixt _hope_ and _fear_:--harrass'd by
fatigue;--not in a bed for three nights before;--nature was almost wore
out, when I alighted at the banker's.
I accosted one of the clerks, desiring to speak with Mr. or Mrs. Delves
[Footnote: The name of the banker.]:--the former not at home, I was
immediately conducted to the latter, a genteel woman, about forty.--She
receiv'd me politely; but before I could acquaint her with the occasion
of my visit, the door open'd, and in stepp'd a pretty sprightly girl,
who on seeing me was going to retire.--Do you want any thing, my love?
said Mrs. Delves. Only, Madam, she replied, if you think it proper for
Miss Warley to get up.
Miss Warley! exclaim'd I.--Great God! Miss Warley!--Tell me, Ladies, is
Miss Warley _really_ under your roof?--Both at once, for _both_ seem'd
equally dispos'd to diffuse happiness, answer'd to my wishes.
I threw myself back in my chair:--the surprise was more than I could
support.--Shall I tell you all my weakness?--I even shed tears;--yes,
Dick, I shed tears:--but they were drops of heart-felt gladness.
The Ladies look'd on each other,--Mrs. Delves said in a tone that shew'd
she was not without the darling passion of her sex,
Pardon me, Sir; I think I have heard Miss Warley has _no_ brother,--or I
should think _your_ emotion I saw him before me.--But whoever you are,
this humanity is noble.--Indeed, the poor young Lady has been extremely
I am not her brother, Madam, return'd I.--It is true, she has _no_
brother;--but _she has_ parents, _she has_ friends, who lament her
dead:--_their_ sorrow has been _mine_.
I fear, Sir, return'd she, it will not end here.--I grieve to tell you,
the Miss Warley you speak of is not with me;--I know nothing of that
Lady:--my Miss Warley has no parents.
I still persisted it was the same; and, to the no small gratification of
both mother and daughter, promis'd to explain the mystery.--But before I
began, Miss Delves was sent to desire Miss Warley would continue in bed
an hour longer, on account of some visitors that had dropp'd in
Soon as Miss Delves return'd, I related every particular.--I cannot tell
you half that pass'd;--I cannot describe their astonishment:--but let me
_tell_ you Miss Powis is just recover'd from the small-pox;--that this
was the second day of her sitting up:--let me _tell_ you _too_ her face
is as beautiful as ever.--On mature deliberation, it was determin'd, for
the sake of Miss Powis's health, she must some time longer think her
I din'd with my new acquaintance, on their promising to procure an
interview for me with Miss Powis in the afternoon.
It was about five when I was admitted to her presence.--I found her in
an elegant dressing-room, sitting on a sopha: her head a little
reclin'd.--I stepp'd slow and softly: she arose as I enter'd.--I wonder
not that Darcey adores her, never was a form so perfect!
My trembling knees beat one against another.--My heart,--my impatient
heart flew up to my face to tell its joyful sensations.--I ventur'd to
press her hand to my lips, but was incapable of pronouncing a
syllable.--She was confus'd:--she certainly thought of Darcey, when she
saw his friend.--I took a chair next her.--I shall not repeat our
conversation 'till it became interesting, which began by her asking, if
I had heard lately any accounts from Barford Abbey?--Lord Darcey, Madam,
I reply'd, has receiv'd a letter from Sir James.
Lord Darcey! she repeated with great emotion.--Is Sir James and Lady
Powis well. Sir?
His Lordship, reply'd I, awkwardly, did not mention particulars.--I
believe,--I suppose.--your friends are well.
I fear, said she sighing, they will think me an ungrateful creature.--No
person, Mr. Molesworth, had ever _such_ obligations to their friends as
_I have_--This family, looking at the two Ladies, must be rank'd with
my best.--Their replies were polite and affectionate--Can you tell me,
Sir, continued she, if Lord--here her face was all over
crimson--heavens! I mean, if Mr. Powis and his Lady are at the
Abbey?--Why did she not say Lord Darcey? I swear the name quiver'd on
I answer'd in the affirmative;--and sitting silent a moment,--she ask'd
how I discover'd her to be still in England.--I said by means of a
servant:--true enough, Dick:--but then I was oblig'd to add, this
servant belonged to Mr. Delves, and that he accidentally happen'd a few
hours since to mention her name whilst I was doing business in the
shop.--She was fond of dwelling on the family at the Abbey;--on Mr. and
Mrs. Jenkings;--and once when I mention'd my friend, when I said how
happy I should make him at my return;--pleasure, the most difficult to
be conceal'd of any sensation, sprang to her expressive eyes.
I suppose she will expect a visit from his Lordship.--If she is angry at
being disappointed, no matter: the mistake will be soon clear'd up.
The moment I left her, I stepp'd into a chaise that waited for me at the
door, and drove like lightning from stage to stage, 'till I reach'd this
place;--my drivers being turn'd into Mercuries by a touch more
efficacious than all the oaths that can be swore by a first-rate blood.
I did not venture into Darcey's apartment 'till he was inform'd of my
return.--I heard him impatiently ask to see me, as I stood without the
door. This call'd me to him;--when pulling aside the curtain he ask'd,
Who is that?--Is it Molesworth?--Are you come, my friend? But what have
you seen?--what have you heard?--looking earnestly in face.--_I_ am
past joy,--past feeling pleasure even for you, George;--yet tell me why
you look not so sorrowful as yesterday.--
I ask'd what alteration it was he saw:--what it was he suspected.--When
I have griev'd, my Lord, it has been for you.--If I am now less
afflicted, you must be less miserable.--He started up in the bed, and
grasping both my hands in his, cry'd. Tell me, Molesworth, is there a
possibility,--a bare possibility?--I ask no more;--only tell me there is
My Lord,--my friend,--my Darcey, nothing is impossible.
By heaven! he exclaim'd, you would not flatter me;--by heaven she lives!
Ask me not farther, my Lord.--What is the blessing you most wish
for?--Suppose that blessing granted.--And you, Risby, suppose the
extasy,--the thankfulness that ensued.--He that is grateful to man, can
he be ungrateful to his Maker?
Miss Powis to Lady Powis.
Think me not ungrateful, my ever-honour'd Lady, that I have been silent
under the ten thousand obligations which I receiv'd at Barford
Abbey.--But indeed, my dear Lady, I have been _very_ ill.--I have had
the small-pox:--I was seiz'd delirious the evening after my arrival in
Town.--My God! what a wretch did I set out with!--Vile man!--Man did I
say?--_No_; he is a disgrace to _manhood_.--How shall I tell your
Ladyship all I have suffer'd?--I am weak,--_very_ weak;--I find myself
unequal to the task.--
This moment I have hit on an expedient that will unravel all;--I'll
recall a letter [Footnote: This was the same Lord Darcey's servant saw
on the counter.] which I have just sent down to be put into the
post-office;--a letter I wrote Lady Mary Sutton immediately on my
arrival here;--but was seiz'd so violently, that I could not add the
superscription, for which reason it has lain by ever since.--I am easy
on Lady Mary's account:--Mr. Delves has acquainted her of my
illness:--like wise the prospect of my recovery.
Consider then, dear Lady Powis, the inclos'd as if it was address'd to
I cannot do justice to the affection,--the compassion,--the tender
assiduity I have experienc'd from Mr. Delves's family:--I shall always
love them; I hope too I shall always be grateful.
God grant, my dear Lady;--God grant, dear Sir James, that long ere this
you may have embrac'd Mr. and Mrs. Powis.--My heart is with _you_:--it
delights to dwell at Barford Abbey.
In a few days I hope to do myself the honour of writing to your Ladyship
again.--One line from your dear hand would be most gratefully receiv'd
by your oblig'd and affectionate
_P.S._ My good friends Mr. and Mrs. Jenkings shall hear from me next
Miss Powis to Lady MARY SUTTON.
Oh my dear Lady! what a villain have I escap'd from?--Could your
Ladyship believe that a man, who, to all appearance, has made a good
husband to your agreeable neighbour upwards of twelve years, and
preserv'd the character of a man of honour;--could you believe in the
decline of life he would have fallen off? No, he cannot have fallen:
such a mind as his never was exalted.--It is the virtues of his wife
that has hitherto made his vices imperceptible;--that has kept them in
their dark cell, afraid to venture out;--afraid to appear amidst her
shining perfections.--Vile, abandon'd Smith!--But for the sake of his
injur'd, unhappy wife, I will not discover his baseness to any but
yourself and Lady Powis.--Perhaps Mrs. Smith may not be unacquainted
with his innate bad principles;--perhaps she conceals her knowledge of
them knowing it vain to complain of a disorder which is past the reach
of medicine.--What cure is there for mischief lurking under the mask of
hypocrisy?--It must be of long standing before that covering can grow
over it:--like a vellum on the eye, though taken off ever skillfully, it
will again spread on the blemish'd sight.
How am I running on!--My spirits are flutter'd:--I begin where I should
end, and end where I should begin.--Behold me, dearest Madam, just
parted from my Hampshire friends,--silent and in tears, plac'd by the
side of my miscreant conductor.--You know, my Lady, this specious man
_can_ make himself vastly entertaining: he strove to render his
conversation particularly so, on our first setting out.
We had travell'd several stages without varying the subject, which was
that of our intended tour, when I said I hop'd it would conquer Mrs.
Smith's melancholy for the death of her brother.--How did his answer
change him in a moment from the _most_ agreeable to the _most_
disgustful of his sex!
My wife, Miss Warley, with a leer that made him look dreadful, wants
your charming sprightliness:--it is a curs'd thing to be connected with
a gloomy woman:--
_Gloomy_, Sir! casting at him a look of disdain; do you call mildness,
complacency, and evenness of temper, _gloomy?_
She is much altered, Madam;--is grown old and peevish;--her health is
bad;--she cannot live long.
Mrs. Smith can never be _peevish_, Sir;--and as to her _age_, I thought
it pretty near your _own_.
No, no, Madam, you are quite mistaken; I am at least five years younger.
Five years, Sir! what are five years at _your_ time of life!
Come, come, Miss Warley, laying his huge paw on my hand, and in a tone
of voice that shew'd him heartily nettled;--even at _my_ time of life I
can admire a beautiful young Lady.--If my wife should die,--_old as I
am_--men _older_ than myself, with half my estate, have married some of
the finest women in the kingdom.
Very likely, Sir;--but then it is to be suppos'd the characters of
_such_ men have been particularly amiable,--No man or woman of honour
can esteem another whose principles are doubtful.
This was a pretty home-thrust; it put him more on his guard for the
present; but had he behav'd like an angel, I must have hated him. He was
_very_ respectful, _very_ ceremonious, and _very_ thoughtful, 'till we
arrived at the inn where we were to stop the night; and had so much art
not to seem displeas'd, that I refus'd giving him my company at supper,
under pretence of indisposition.--Indeed, I was far from well: a child
which I had seen a few hours before fresh in the small-pox, a good deal
disconcerted me.--After fixing on my room, not to appear suspicious, I
went down at his request, to eat a bit of cake and drink a glass of
wine, before I retired for the night.--I had scarce swallow'd it when he
left me, as he said, to speak to the drivers. I wished him a good night
as he went out, and took an opportunity a few moments after to go to my
chamber.--When there I lock'd the door, and sat myself down to undress;
but I began to be greatly alarm'd by something that mov'd under the
bed.--Judge my surprize,--judge my horror,--on taking the candle and
examining, to see there a man!--But how was that surprize,--that horror
increased, on discovering, him to be the vile Smith!--I gave a loud
scream, and ran towards the door; but had not power to turn the key,
before he caught me in his arms.--
Be calm, Miss Warley, cried the monster;--hear what I have to
say.--Suffer me to tell you, that I love you to distraction;--that I
_Adore_ me, vile man! said I, breaking from him:--leave me this
instant--begone:--leave me, I say, instantly.--Again I scream'd.
No, by heaven! he reply'd, I will not go 'till you have heard and
pardon'd me.--Here I stand _determin'd_ to be heard:--_hear_ me, or this
moment is my last.--With that he drew out a pistol, and held it to his
And _dare_ you, said I, collecting all my resolution,--_dare_ you rush
into eternity, without one virtue to offer up with your polluted
soul?--I pronounc'd these words with steadiness.--_He_ trembled, he
look'd like a criminal at the hour of execution.--Letting the pistol
drop from his hand, the base dissembler fell on his knees before
me.--Nobody hearing my cries,--nobody coming to my assistance, I was
oblig'd to hear, and pretend to credit his penitential protestations.
God knows how my ears might have been farther shock'd with his odious
passion;--what indignities I might have suffer'd,--had I not heard some
person passing by the door of my apartment:--on which I ventur'd to
give another scream.--The door was instantly burst open; and whilst an
elderly Gentleman advanc'd towards me, full of surprize, the detested
brute slipp'd away.--This Gentleman, my good deliverer, was no other
than your Ladyship's banker, who when he was acquainted with my name,
insisted on taking me to Town in his own coach, where he was returning
from a visit he had made at Salisbury--I did not ask, neither do I know
what became of Smith; but I suppose he will set out with his wife
immediately for Dover.--Thank God! I am not of the party--How I pity
poor Miss Frances Walsh, a young Lady who, he told me, was waiting at
his house in Town to go over with them.--I am but just arriv'd at Mr.
Delves's house.--Mr. and Mrs. Delves think with me, that the character
of the _unworthy_ Smith should not be expos'd for the sake of his
_worthy_ wife.--The family here are all amiable.--I could say a great
deal more; but my head aches dreadfully.--This I must add, I have
consented, at the tender intreaties of Mr. and Mrs. Delves, to remain
with them 'till a proper opportunity offers to throw myself at your
Ladyship's feet.--My head grows worse;--I must lay down my pen.--This
bad man has certainly frighten'd me into a fever.
[The following lines were added after Miss Powis's recovery]
I hope, my dear Lady, before this you have Mr. Delves's letter;--if so,
you know I have had the small-pox.--You know too I am out of
danger.--How can I be thankful enough for so many escapes!--This is the
first day I have been able to hold a pen.--I am permitted to write no
more than the name of your honour'd and affectionate
Captain RISBY to the Honourable GEORGE
Will all the thanks,--all the gratitude,--the parents blessings,--their
infinity of joy, be contain'd in one poor sheet?--No:--Was I to repeat
half,--only half of what they send, you, I might write on for ever.--One
says you shall be their son;--another, their brother;--a third, that you
are a man most favour'd of heaven--but all agree, as a reward for your
virtues you are impower'd to heal afflictions--in short, they want to
make me think you can make black white--But enough for the vanity of one
I dread your coming to the Abbey.--We that are here already, shall only,
then, appear like pismires:--but let me caution my friend not to think
his head will touch the clouds.
What man can bear to be twice disinherited?--Mr. Morgan's estate, which
the other day I was solely to possess, is now to devolve on the
Honourable George Molesworth.--_But mark me_:--As I have been
disinherited for you,--_you_ as certainly will be disinherited for Lord
See what a man of consequence I am.--Does Captain Risby say
_this?_--Does Captain Risby say _that?_--Does Captain Risby think well
Expect, George, to behold me push'd into perferment against my
will;--all great people _say_ so, you know;--expect to behold me preside
as governor of this castle.--Let me enjoy it then,--let me plume myself
beneath the sun-beam.
If to witness the honours with I am surrounded, is insufficient to fill
your expanded heart;--if it looks out for a warmer gratification; you
shall see, you shall hear, the exulting parents?--you shall see Mr.
Morgan revers'd;--Mr. Watson restor'd to _more_ than sight--the steward
and his family worthy every _honour_ they receive from this _honourable
I hear my _shadow_.--Strange, indeed! to hear _shadows_;--but more so to
hear them swear.--Ha! ha! ha!--Ha! ha! ha!--I cannot speak to it for
laughing.--Coming, Sir!--coming, Mr. Morgan!--Now is he cursing me in
every corner of the house;--I suppose dinner is on the table.
This moment return'd from regaling myself with the happy family:--I mean
Sir James and Lady Powis, with their joyful inmates.--Mr. and Mrs. Powis
are set out for London.--As an addition to their felicity, Lady Powis
had a letter from her grand-daughter the instant they were stepping into
For one hour I am at your command:--take, then, the particulars which I
was incapable of giving you by John.--
I was sitting in the library-window, talking to Mr. Watson; the Ladies,
Sir James, and Mr. Morgan, in the dressing-room, when I saw John riding
down the great road a full gallop.--At first I thought Lord Darcey had
been dead; then, again, consider'd his faithful servant would not have
come post with the news:--however, I had not patience to go through the
house, but lifting up a sash, jump'd out before he could reach the
stable yard.--Without speaking, I enquired of his face what tidings; and
was answer'd by a broad grin. I had nothing to fear from his message.
Well, John, said I, running up to him,--how is your Lord? how is Mr.
Better, I thank God, Sir;--better, I thank God! With that he turned his
horse, and was riding across the lawn.--
Zounds, John, where are you going?--where are you going?
Follow me, Sir;--follow me (setting up a brisk trot). If you kill me, I
dare not deliver letter or message before we are at a distance from the
I thought him mad, but kept on by the side of his horse 'till we came to
the gate of a meadow, where he dismounted.
Now, Sir,' said he, with a look that bespoke his consequence,--have
patience, whilst I tie up my horse.
_Patience_, John! (and I swore at him) I am out of all _patience_.
With that he condescended to deliver your letters.--I rambled with
surprise at the contents, and fell against a hedge.--John, who by this
time had fasten'd his steed, came up to me just as I recover'd my
legs;--and speaking close to my ear,--'Twas _John Warren_, Sir, was the
_man_ who found out the Lady; 'twas I was the _man_, Sir.
I shook him heartily by the hand, but for my soul could not utter a
syllable.--I hope you are not ill, Sir, said the poor fellow, thinking
me seiz'd speechless.--
No, John;--no, reply'd I; it is only excess of pleasure.--You are a
welcome messenger:--you have made your fortune, John Warren, and please
your honour, has made his dear Lord happy;--that is more _pleasurable_
to him than all the riches in the world.
You are an honest, good creature, John.
Ay, Captain; but was it not very sensible to remember the young Lady's
hand-writing?--Would a powder-headed monkey have had the forecast?
Oh very sensible, John;--very sensible, indeed!--Now go the Abbey;--ask
for my servant;--say you was sent by Mr. Molesworth to enquire for the
family; but do not mention you have seen me:--I shall return by a
John mounted immediately, and I walk'd full speed towards the house. I
found Mr. Morgan taking long strides up and down the dining-parlour,
puffing, blowing, and turning his wig on every side.
Where have you been, Captain? I have sent to seek you.--Lord Darcey's
servant is without;--come to enquire how things are _here_.--I would not
let them send his message up;--but I have been out myself to ask for his
Well, Sir, and what says the servant?
Says!--Faith I hardly know what he says--something about hopes of
him:--to be plain, I should think it better if _hope_ was out of the
question.--If _he_ and all of _us_ were dead--But see John yourself; I
will send him to you.
As he was just without the door, I drew him back,--and turn'd the key.--
Come hither, Sir;--Come hither, Mr. Morgan:--I have something of
importance to communicate.
D----n ye, Captain, what's the matter now? (staring.)--I'll hear no more
bad news:--upon my soul, I'll run out of it (attempting to open the
Hold, Sir; why this impatience?--Miss Powis _lives!_--Will you run from
me now?--Miss Powis _lives!_--With that he sent forth a horrid
noise;--something betwixt howling and screaming.--It reach'd the
dressing-room, as well it might:--had the wind sat that way, I question
if the village would not have been alarm'd.--Down ran Sir James and Mr.
Powis into the library;--out jump'd Mr. Morgan.--I held up my hand for
him to retreat:--he disregarding the caution, I follow'd.--Sir James was
inquiring of a servant whence the noise had proceeded.
It was I, said Mr. Morgan, rubbing his sides, and expressing the
agitation of joy by dumb shew;--it was I, beating one of my damn'd dogs
for running up stairs.
If that is all, said Mr. Powis,--let us return to my mother and wife,
who are much hurried.--Away we went together, and the affair of the dog
pass'd very well on the Ladies.
I sat musing for some moments how to introduce the event my heart
labour'd to give up.--_Every_ sigh that escap'd,--_every_ sorrowful look
that was interchang'd, I _now_ plac'd to my own account, because in _my_
power to reverse the scene.
Addressing myself to Mr. Powis, I ask'd if he knew Lord Darcey's servant
was below.--He shook his head;--No, he answer'd.--Then it is all _over_,
Risby, I suppose in a low voice?--I hardly wish for his _own_ sake he
may recover:--for _ours_, it would be selfish.
He was not worse, I reply'd:--there was hope,--great hope he would do
Blessings attend him! cried Mrs. Powis.--tears starting afresh to her
swoln eyes;--then you really think, Mr. Risby, he may recover?
If he does, Madam, return'd! he is flatter'd into life.--Flatter'd! said
Mr. Powis eagerly;--how flatter'd?
Why, continued I, he has been told some persons are sav'd from the
Up they all started, surrounding me on every side:--there seem'd but one
voice, yet each ask'd if I credited the report.
I said I did.--
Down they dropp'd on their knees, praying with uplifted hands their
dear,--dear child may be of the number.--Though nothing could equal the
solemnity of this scene, I could scarce command my countenance, when I
saw Mr. Morgan standing in the midst of the circle, his hat held up
before his face, and a cane under his arm.
As they rose from their knees,--I gave them all the consolation I
thought at that moment they were capable of sustaining;--and assur'd
them no vigilance would be wanting to come at particulars.--I was ask'd,
if there was any letter from Mr. Molesworth?--When answer'd in the
affirmative,--the next question was, if it related to what I had just
disclos'd?--I equivocated in my reply, and withdrew to write the few
unconnected lines sent by John.
After he was dispatch'd, I return'd immediately to the
hopeing,--fearing family.--Mr. Watson was sitting amidst them:--he
seem'd like a Being of purity presiding over hearts going to be rewarded
for resignation to the Divine will.
He heard me as I enter'd: he rose from his seat as I came near him, and
pressing one of my hands between both his, whisper'd, I have seen Mr.
Morgan.--Then raising his voice, You are the messenger of joy, Mr.
Risby;--complete the happiness you have begun:--all present, pointing
round, are prepar'd to receive it.
Here drops my pen.--I must not attempt this scene:--a Shakespeare would
have wrote it in tears.
How infinite,--how dazzling the beauty of holiness!--Affliction seems to
have threaten'd this amiable family, only to encrease their
love,--their reverence,--their admiration of Divine
Omnipotence.--Blessings may appear, as a certain great man remarks,
under the shape of pain, losses, and disappointments;--but let us have
patience, and we shall see them in their own proper figures.
If rewards even in this world attend the _virtuous_, who would be
_depraved?_--Could the loose, the abandon'd, look in on this happy
mansion, how would their sensual appetites be pall'd!--How would they
hate,--how detest the vanity,--the folly that leads to vice!--If
pleasure is their pursuit, here they might see it speaking at _mouth_
and _eyes_:--_pleasures_ that fleet not away;--_pleasures_ that are
carried beyond the grave.
What a family is this to take a wife from!--Lord Darcey's happiness is
insur'd:--in my conscience, there will not be such another couple in
Preparations are making to welcome the lovely successor of this ancient
house;--preparations to rejoice those whose satisfactions are
scanty,--to clothe the naked,--to feed the hungry,--to let the stately
roof echo with songs and mirth from a croud of chearful, honest, old
I often hear Mrs. Jenkings crying out in extasy,--My angel!--my sweet
angel!--As to the old gentleman and Edmund, they actually cannot refrain
from tears, when Miss Powis's name is mention'd.--Sir James and her
Ladyship are never easy without these good folks.--It has ever been an
observation of mine, that at an unexpected fortunate event, we are fond
of having people about us who feel on the same passion.
Mr. Morgan is quite his own man again:--he has been regaling himself
with a fine hunt, whilst I attended Sir James and my Lady in an airing
round the park.--After dinner we were acquainted with all his losses and
crosses in the dog and horse way.--He had not seen _Filley_ rubb'd down
this fortnight:--the huntsman had lost three of his best hounds:--two
spaniels were lame;--and one of his running horses glander'd.--He
concluded with swearing, as things turn'd out, he did not matter it
_much_;--but had it happen'd three weeks since; he should have drove all
his servants to the devil.--Enough of Mr. Morgan.--Adieu,
Molesworth!--Forget not my congratulations to your noble, happy, friend.
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH
to RICHARD RISBY, Esq;
All is happiness, Dick!--I see nothing else; I hear of nothing else.--It
is the _last_ thing I take leave of at night;--the _first_ thing I meet
in the morning.--_Yesterday_ was full of it!--_yesterday_ I dined with
Mr. and Mrs. Powis and their charming daughter, at the Banker's.--To
look back, it seems as if I had gone through all the vexations of my
life in the last three weeks.
Darcey would not let me rest 'till I had been to congratulate them, or
rather to satisfy his own impatience, being distracted to hear how Miss
Powis bore the great discovery.--Her fortitude is amazing!--But Sir
James has had every particular from his son, therefore I shall be too
late on that subject.
The following short epistle I receiv'd from Mr. Powis, as I was setting
off for Town.
Mr. Powis to the Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH.
"The first moment I can tear myself from the tender embraces of all my
hopes;--the first moment I can leave my belov'd daughter, I come to
Dover;--I come to acknowledge my gratitude to the noble-minded
Molesworth--I come to testify my affection to the generous,
disinterested Lord Darcey.--We pray for the recovery of his. Lordship's
health.--When that is establish'd, not one wish will be wanting to
complete the felicity of
The more I know of _this_ family, the more I admire them.--I _must_ be
their neighbour, that's certain--_Suppose_ I petition for a little spot
at one end of the park; _suppose_ you throw up your commission; and we
live together two snug batchelors.
Darcey vows he will go to Town next week.--If fatigue should cause him
to relapse, what will become of us _then?_--But I will not think of that
We shall come down a joyful, cavalcade to the Abbey.--I long to see the
doors thrown open to receive us.--School-boy like, I shall first count
days;--next hours;--then minutes: though I am your's the same here,
there, and every where.
The Honourable GEORGE MOLESWORTH to the same.
Build in the park, and live batchelors!--Pish!--A horrid scheme!--I give
it up.--Over head and ears, Dick!
Last Monday arriv'd at his Lordship's house in _St. James's-Square_, the
Right Honourable the Earl and Countess of Hampstead,--Lord Hallum,--the
Ladies Elizabeth and Sophia Curtis.
_True_, as I hope to be sav'd;--and as _true_, that Lady Elizabeth and
Sophia _are_ blooming as angels.
Three times have I sat down, _pen_ in my hand, _paper_ folded, yet could
not tune my mind to write one word.--Over head and ears! I say.--
Past one in the morning!--All silent! Let me try if I can scribble now.
First, I must tell you the body drove on shore at Dover, which I
concluded was Miss Powis's, is discover'd to be a Miss Frances Walsh,
going over in the yacht which was unfortunately cast-away;--the corpse
much defac'd:--but what confirm'd it to be the body of Miss Powis, was a
handkerchief taken from the neck mark'd F W.--Poor young Lady! her
friends, perhaps are suffering the excesses of grief which _you_ and I
have so lately witness'd.--But _this_ is a subject I shall not dwell on.
I came to Town this evening with Darcey:--he bore the journey very
poorly;--sinking, fainting, all the way.--When we got to our lodgings,
and he was put into a bed, recovering a little, he press'd me to go to
the Banker's.--I saw his impatience, and went immediately.
My name was no sooner sent up, than Mr. Powis flew to receive
me.--Welcome, my friend! said he; you come opportunely. We have a noble
family with us that has been just wishing to see Mr. Molesworth.--He had
time for no more; the door open'd.--What was my surprize to be embrac'd
by Lord Hampstead and Lord Hallum, by them, led to the Countess and our
two divinities, _whose_ mild eyes,--_whose_ elegant deportment, told me
_Loves_ and _Graces_ had put a finishing stroke to the great work of
_virtue_ and _humility_.--Lady Mary Sutton,--yes, Lady Mary Sutton too
was there: she advanc'd towards me, Miss Powis in her hand.
I have the honour, said Mr. Powis, of presenting Lady Mary Sutton (the
source of all my felicity) to Mr. Molesworth.--Then addressing himself
to her Ladyship, Permit me, Madam, to introduce to you the friend I
If ever I wish'd to shine, it was then--I would have given the world for
eloquence;--nay, common understanding.--The former I _never_
possessed:--A surprize and pleasure had flown away with the
latter.--Miss Powis has that looks through one's very soul--a sweet
compassionate eye: the dignity it expresses bespeaks your
confidence.--She perceived my embarrassment, and said, Come, Mr.
Molesworth, let me have the satisfaction of placing you next Lady Mary.
So down sat the stupid blockhead.--Her Ladyship is very chatty, and very
affable; she said a thousand obliging things; but half was lost upon
me, whilst I watch'd the lips of my fair Elizabeth.
Mr. Mrs. Powis, and Lady Mary, enquired affectionately after the health
of Lord Darcey. When I said he was come to Town, up flew the heart's
tell-tale to the face of Miss Powis.--Her father and mother ask'd, if
they might have the happiness of waiting on his Lordship next
morning.--I arose to assure them what joy their visit would occasion;
when having settled the hour, and so forth, I slid to a chair vacant
between Lady Elizabeth and Lady Sophia,--How enchanting _did_ they
look!--how enchanting _did_ they speak!--No reserve;--all
frankness;--the same innocence in their manners as at fifteen;--the
vivacity of the French,--the sedateness of the English, how charmingly
Risby, thou art a fortunate fellow: Lady Sophia speaks of thee with
The sweet syrens--_syrens_ only by attraction--held me by the ear
upwards of an hour.--From them I learnt Lady Mary Sutton came to
England, on receiving an account from Mr. Delves that Miss Powis had the
small-pox.--Happy for us, Dick, they lov'd Lady Mary too well to stay
As I was listening to their entertaining descriptions of places abroad,
we were join'd by Lord Hallum.--Molesworth, said his Lordship, I will
not suffer these girls to engage you solely:--My prating sisters are
grown so saucy that I am obliged to be a very tyrant.--
A spirited conversation ensued, in which the cherub sisters bore away
More and more sick of my batchelor notions!--Yet I aver, that state
should be my choice, rather than swallow one grain of indifference in
the matrimonial pill, gilder'd over ever so nicely.--Think what _must_
be my friendship for Darcey, to tear myself from this engageing circle
before nine!--As I was taking my leave, Lady Mary stepp'd towards
me.--To-morrow, Mr. Molesworth, said her Ladyship, I bespeak the favour
of your company and Lord Darcey's to dine with me in _Pall-Mall_:--I
bow'd, and answer'd both for his Lordship and myself.
We shall rejoice, continued she, to congratulate your friend on his
recovery,--looking with peculiar meaning at Miss Powis.--I think by
_that_ look there will be an interview between the _lovers_, though I
did not say so much to Darcey.--He requires sleep: none would he have
had, if he knew my surmises.--I'll to bed, and dream of Lady
Elizabeth;--_so_ good night, Dick.
Twelve o'clock at noon.
Mr. and Mrs. Powis this moment gone;--Lord Darcey dressing to meet them
in _Pall-Mall_.--Yes, they are to be there;--and the whole groupe of
beauties are to be there;--Miss Powis,--Lady Elizabeth,--Lady
Sophia,--and the little sprightly hawk-eyed Delves.--Risby, _you_ know
nothing of _life_; you are _dead_ and _buried_.
I will try to be serious.--Impossible! my head runs round and round with
pleasure.--The interview was affecting to the last degree.--Between
whom?--Why Darcey, Mr. and Mrs.--faith I can write no more.
The Hon. GEORGE MOLESWORTH to the same.
The day of days is over!
I am too happy to sleep:--exquisite felicity wants not the common
supports of nature.--In such scenes as I have witness'd, the _soul_
begins to know herself:--she gives us a peep into futurity:--the
enjoyments of this day has been all her own.
Once more I regain the beaten path of narrative.
Suppose me then under the hands of hair-dressers, valets, &c. &c. &c. I
hate those fellows about me:--but the singularity of this visit made me
undergo their tortures with tolerable patience.--Now was the time when
Vanity, under pretence of respect, love, and decorum, usher'd in her
It was about two when we were set down at Lady Mary Sutton's.--Darcey
trembled, and look'd so pale at coming out of his chair, that I desir'd
a servant to shew us to a room, where we might be alone 'till Mr. Powis
was inform'd of our being in the house.--He instantly came with Lady
Mary.--Tender welcomes and affectionate caresses fill'd him with new
life.--Her Ladyship propos'd he should first see Miss Powis in her
dressing-room;--that none should be present but Mr. and Mrs. Powis, her
Ladyship, and your humble servant.
Judge how agreeable this must be to his Lordship, whose extreme weakness
consider'd, could not have supported this interview before so much
company as were assembled in the drawing-room.
The plan settled, Lady Mary withdrew to prepare Miss Powis for our
reception.--A footman soon came with a message from her Ladyship that
she expected us.
I was all compassionate at this moment:--the conflicts of my feeble
friend were not to be conceal'd.--We follow'd Mr. Powis;--the door
open'd;--Darcey turn'd half round, and laying his cold clammy hand on
mine, said, Oh Molesworth! my happiness is in view!--how can I meet it?
Inimitable creature!--Can I describe your reception of my friend?--can I
describe the dignity of beauty;--the melting softness of
sensibility;--the blushing emotion of surprize?--No, Risby;--impossible!
The Ladies stood to receive us; Miss Powis supported between her mother
and Lady Mary;--_she_ all graceful timidity;--_they_ all extasy and
rapture.--Do you not expect to see Darcey at the feet of his
mistress?--No; at Mrs. Powis's, at Lady Mary's, he fell.
The eyes of his Adorable glisten'd.--He was rais'd, and embrac'd
tenderly--by the parents,--by Lady Mary.--Mr. Powis said, presenting him
to his delighted daughter, _You_, my dear, must make _our_ returns of
gratitude to Lord Darcey;--giving him her more than passive hand, which
he press'd to his lips with fervor, saying, _This_ is the hour my soul
has flown up to petition--Dearest, best of women! tell me I am welcome.
She attempted to reply;--it was only an attempt.
She does bid you welcome, return'd Mr. Powis;--her _heart_ bids you
Indeed, said she, I am not ungrateful:--_indeed_, my Lord, I am not
insensible to the obligations you have laid me under.
As these words escap'd her, you must certainly take in the whole
countenance of Darcey.
By this time we were seated, and Lady Mary return'd to the company.
Honour'd as I am, said his Lordship, addressing Miss Powis, will you
permit me, Madam, in presence of your revered parents,--in presence of
the friend to whom every wish of my heart has been confess'd;--will you
permit me to hope you are not offended by my application to Sir
James?--May I hope for your--
Friendship, my Lord (reply'd she, interrupting him); you may command my
_Friendship!_ (retorted he) Miss Powis, starting up:--is that _all I_ am
to expect?--Can I accept your _friendship?_--No, Madam, the man who
would have died for you aspires to more than _friendship_;--he aspires
to your _love_.
I am no stranger, my Lord, return'd she, to the honour you intend me;--I
am no stranger to _your_ worth;--but I have scruples;--scruples that
seem to me insurmountable.
I never saw him so affected.
For heaven's sake, Madam, he answer'd, don't drive me to despair:--tear
not open the wound which the hand of Mercy has just clos'd:--my
shatter'd frame will not bear another rub from fortune.--_What
scruples?_--Tell me, Miss Powis, I conjure you.
You have none, my dear child, said Mrs. Powis. You have none, Fanny,
said Mr. Powis, but what his Lordship can remove.
Indeed, Sir!--indeed, Madam! replied she, I meant not to give Lord
Darcey pain.--Then turning to him in a tender, soothing accent,--Your
peace, my Lord, has never been lightly regarded by me.--Here he
brighten'd up,--and said, taking her hand, You know not, Miss Powis,
from the first moment I saw you, how ardent,--how steady has been my
Why _then_ my Lord, resum'd she--_why_ endeavour to gain my affections,
yet hide your preference for me from the _world_;--even from
_myself?_--Think of the _day_ Lord Allen dined at the Abbey;--think what
pass'd in a walk preceding _that_ you set out for town:--on both
these,--on many others, how mysterious your conduct?--If you thought me
worthy your regard, my Lord, why _such_ mysteries?
For God's sake, my dear,--dear Miss Powis, said Darcey, suffer me to
vindicate myself.--Pardon me, my Lord (continued the angel that
harangued him) hear me patiently another moment, and I will listen to
She went on.
From whence can I suppose, my Lord, your embarrassments proceeded, if
not from _some_ entanglement grown irksome?--No; before I can promise
_myself_ happiness, I must be first satisfied I do not borrow that
_happiness_ from _another_.
_Another_, Madam! repeated he, throwing himself at her feet:--May all my
brighter prospects fly me;--may my youth be blighted by the loss of
reason if I have ever lov'd _another!_
She was affected with the solemnity of his air: one pearly drop stray'd
down her cheek;--one that escap'd the liquid body of tenderness
assembled in her eyes:--she could not speak, but held out her snowy
hand for him to be seated.
He obey'd; and placing himself next her, so clearly accounted for that
part of his conduct she call'd mysterious, that Mr. and Mrs. Powis both
at once exclaim'd, Now, my dear, complete our felicity;--now all your
_scruples must_ be over.
And do you, said she, my tender, my indulgent parents, rising and
throwing herself into their arms;--do you say it is in _my_ power to
complete your felicity?--_Will_ confessing a preference for Lord
Darcey;--_will_ declaring I wish you to prefer him to your
daughter;--will _that_ complete it?
My friend caught the blushing beauty from the arms of her parents, and,
frantic with joy, folded her to his bosom, standing as if he wonder'd at
his own happiness.
What innocence in the look of Miss Powis, when she greatly acknowledg'd
her heart!--How reverse from _this_ innocence, _this_ greatness, is the
_prudish hypocrite_, who forbids _even_ her features to say she is
susceptible of love! You may suppose a profusion of friendly
acknowledgments fell to _my_ share; but I am not vain enough to repeat
It is well Lady Elizabeth stands portress at the door of my
heart:--there is such bustling and pushing to get in;--but,
notwithstanding her Ladyship's vigilance, Miss Powis has slipp'd by, and
sits perch'd up in the same corner with Darcey.
If you go back to Lady Mary's dressing-room, you will find nobody
_there_:--but give a peep into the dining-parlour, and you will see us
just set down at dinner;--_all_ smiling,--_all_ happy;--an inexhaustible
fountain of pleasure in every breast.
I will go down to Slope Hall;--give Lady Dorothy a hint that she has it
now in her power to make one man happy;--_a hint_ I believe she never
had before.--A snug twenty thousand added to my present fortune,--the
hand of Lady Elizabeth,--and then, Risby, get hold of my skirts, and you
mount with me.
Next Tuesday prepare, as governor of the castle, for a warm
siege.--_Such_ a battery of eyes,--_such_ bundles of darts,--_such_
stores of smiles,--_such_ a train of innocence will be laid before the
walls, as never was withstood!--No; I shall see you _cap-a-pee_ open the
gates to the besiegers.--Away goes my pen.--I write no more positively.
Miss DELVES to Mrs. DELVES.
Are you well, Madam? Is my dear father well? Tell me you are, and never
was so happy a creature as your daughter. I tremble with pleasure,--with
joy,--with delight:--but I _must_--my duty, my affection, every thing
says I _must_ sit down to write.--You did not see how we were marshall'd
at setting out:--I wish you could have got up early enough:--never was
there such joyous party!
All in Lady Mary's dining-room by seven;--the fine equipages at the
door;--servants attending in rich new liveries, to the number of
twenty;--Lord Darcey and his heavenly bride that is to be,--smiling on
each other,--smiling on all around;--Lady Mary Sutton--yes, _she_ is
heavenly _too_;--I believe I was the only earthly creature amongst
them;--Lord and Lady Hampstead,--the angelic Ladies Elizabeth and
Sophia,--Mr. Molesworth,--the generous, friendly, open-hearted Mr.
Molesworth,--Lord Hallum.--But why mention him last?--Because, Bessy, I
suppose he was _last_ in your thoughts.--Dear Madam, how can you think
In Lady Mary's coach went her Ladyship, Lord Darcey, Mrs. and Miss
Powis:--in Lord Hampstead's, his Lordship, Lady Hampstead, Lady
Elizabeth, and Mr. Molesworth:--in Lord Darcey's, Lady Sophia, Mr.
Powis, Lord Hallum, and your little _good-for-nothing_:--in Mr. Powis's,
the women-servants.--We lay fifty miles short of the Abbey, and the next
evening reach'd it at seven.
We reach'd Barford Abbey, I say--but what shall I say _now?_--I cannot
do justice to what I have seen of duty,--of affection,--of joy,--of
hospitality.--Do, dear Madam, persuade my father to purchase a house in
Servants were posted at the distance of six miles to carry intelligence
when we should approach.--I suppose in their way back it was proclaim'd
in the village:--men, women, and children, lined the road a mile from
the Abbey, throwing up their hats with loud huzzaing,--bells ringing in
every adjacent parish;--bonfires on every rising ground;--in short, we
were usher'd in like conquerors.--The coachmen whipp'd up their horses
full speed through the park;--thump, thump, went my heart, when by a
number of lights I discover'd we were just at the house.
What sensations did I feel when the carriages stopp'd!--At the entrance
stood Sir James and Lady Powis,--the Chaplain,--Mr. Morgan,--Captain
Risby,--you know their characters, Madam;--every servant in the house
with a light:--but who could have stay'd within at this juncture?
The first coach that drove up was Lady Mary's. Out sprang Lord Darcey,
Miss Powis in his hand; both in a moment lock'd in parental
embraces.--Good heaven, what extasy!--I thought Mr. Watson and Mr.
Morgan would have fought a duel which should first have folded Miss
Powis in his arms, whilst Sir James and Lady Powis quitted her to
welcome Lady Mary.--We were all receiv'd tenderly affectionate:--a
reception none can have an idea of, but those who have been at Barford
In my way to the house, I suppose I had a hundred kisses:--_God knows
from whom_.--What can I say of Lord Hampstead's family?--what of Mr.
Molesworth?--The general notice taken of him is sufficient.--Absolutely
that charming man will be spoil'd.--Pity to set him up for an idol!--I
hope he will not _always_ expect to be worshipp'd--Mr. Risby
_too_--Well, I'll mention you all, one after another, as fast as
possible.--Let me see, where did I leave off?--Oh! we were just out of
our carriages.--And now for the pathetics:--an attempt;--a humble
Lady Powis, Lady Mary, and their darling, had given us the slip.--What
could be done?--I mean with Mr. Morgan:--he was quite outrageous.--What
could be done? I repeat.--Why Sir James, to pacify him, said, we should
all go and surprize them in his Lady's dressing-room.--We did go;--we
did surprize them;--great God! in what an attitude!--The exalted Lady
Powis at the feet of Lady Mary;--Miss Powis kneeling by her;--she
endeavouring to raise them.--I said it would be an attempt at the
pathetics;--it must be an attempt:--I can proceed no farther.
To be sure, Mr. Morgan is a queer-looking man, but a great favourite at
the Abbey.--He took Miss Powis on his knee;--call'd her a hundred times
his dear, dear daughter;--and I could not forbear laughing, when he told
her he had not wore a tye-wig before these twenty years. This drew me to
observe his dress, which, unless you knew the man, you can have no idea
how well it suited him:--a dark snuff-colour'd coat with gold buttons,
which I suppose by the fashion of it, was made when he accustomed
himself to _tye-wigs_;--the lace a rich orrice; but then it was so
immoderately short, both in the sleeves and skirts, that whilst full
dress'd he appeared to want cloathing.
The _next_ morning,--ay, the _next_ morning, then it was I lost my
freedom.--Disrob'd of his gingerbread coat, I absolutely sell a
sacrifice to a plain suit of broad cloth,--or rather, to a noble, plain
heart.--Now pray, dear Madam, do not cross me in my _first_ love;--at
least, _see_ Mr. Morgan, before you command me to give him up:--and you,
sweet Sir, steal to a corner of your new possession, whilst I take
notice of those who are capering to my fingers ends.
You have seen Miss Powis, Madam, on Mr. Morgan's knee;--you have heard
him say enough to fill any other girl than myself with jealousy:--nay,
Madam, you may smile;--he really makes love to me.--But for a moment let
me forget my lover;--let me forget his _melting_ sighs,--his _tender_
protections,--his _persuasive_ eloquence,--his air _so_
languishing:--let me forget them _all_, I say, and lead you to the
library, where by a message flew Miss Powis.--A look from her drew me
after:--I suppose Lord Darcey had a touch from the same magnet.
A venerable pair with joy next to phrenzy caught her in their extended
arms, as the door open'd. My _kind_, my dear, _ever_ dear friends, said
the lovely creature,--and is it _thus_ we meet? is it _thus_ I return to
you?--Mr. Jenkings clasp'd her to him; but his utterance was quite
choak'd:--the old Lady burst into a flood of tears, and then cried
out,--How great is thy mercy, O God!--Suffer me to be grateful.--Again
she flew to their arms;--again they folded her to their bosoms.--Lord
Darcey too embrac'd them;--he condescendingly kiss'd their hands;--he
said, next to the parents of his Fanny,--next to Lady Mary, they were
most dear to him.--Miss Powis seated herself between them, and hung
about the neck of Mrs. Jenkings;--whilst his Lordship, full of
admiration, look'd as if his great soul labour'd for expression.--
Overcome with tender scenes, I left the library.--I acquainted Lady Mary
who was there, and she went to them immediately.--Mr. Watson and Mr.
Morgan for a quarter of an hour were all my own;--captain Risby, Mr.
Molesworth, Lady Elizabeth and Sophia, being engag'd in a conversation
at another part of the room:--you may _guess_ our subject, Madam;--but I
declare, whilst listening to Mr. Watson, I thought myself soaring above
Sir James, who had follow'd Lady Mary, soon return'd with her Ladyship,
Miss Powis, Lord Darcey, and, what gave me heart-felt pleasure, the
steward and his wife;--an honour they with difficulty accepted, as they
were strangers to Lord Hampstead's family.--
Who says there is not in this life perfect happiness?--I say they are
mistaken:--such felicity as I here see and partake of, cannot be call'd
imperfect--How comes it that the domestics of _this_ family _so_ much
surpass those of _other_ people?--how is it _one_ interest governs the
whole?--I want to know a thousand mysteries.--I could write,--I could
think eternally,--of the first happy evening.--First happy evening do I
say? And can the days that crown that eve be forgot?--Heaven forbid! at
least whilst I have recollection.--My heart speaks so fast to my pen,
that fain my fingers would,--but cannot keep up with it.
The next morning Lord Darcey introduc'd to us the son of Mr.
Jenkings.--A finer youth I never saw!--Well might the old gentleman be
_suspicious_.--Few fathers would, like _him_, have sacrificed the
interest of a son, to preserve that of a friend.--To know the real rank
of Miss Powis;--her ten thousand virtues;--her great expectations; yet
act with so _much_ caution!--with an anxiety which the most sordid miser
watching his treasure, could not have exceeded! and for _what?_--Why
lest involuntarily she might enrich his belov'd son with _her_
affections.--Will you part with me to this extraordinary man?--Only for
an hour or two.--A walk is propos'd.--Our ramble will not be farther
than his house.--You say I may go. Thank you, Madam: I am gone.
Just return'd from the steward's, so cramm'd with sweet-meats, cake, and
jellies, that I am absolutely stupified.
I must tell you who led Miss Powis.--Lord Darcey, to be sure.--No,
Madam; I had the favour of his Lordship's arm:--it was Edmund.--I call
him Edmund;--every body calls him Edmund;--_yes_, and at Lord Darcey's
request _too_.--Never shall I forget in what a graceful manner!--But his
Lordship does every thing with grace.--He mention'd something of past
times, hinting he should not always have courted him to _such_ honour,
presenting the hand of his belov'd.
I wish I could send you her look at that moment; it was all love,--all
condescension.--I say I cannot send it.--Mortifying! I cannot even
Adieu, dear Madam!--Adieu, dear Sir!--Adieu, you best of parents--It is
impossible to say which is most dear to your ever dutiful and
Miss DELVES to the same.
Lost my heart _again!_--Be not surpriz'd, Madam; I lose and find it ten
times a day;--yet it never strays from Barford Abbey.--The last account
you had from me it was button'd inside Mr. Morgan's
hunting-frock:--since that, it has been God knows with whom:--sometimes
wrapt in a red coat;--sometimes in a blue;--sometimes in a green:--but
finding many competitors flew to black, where it now lies snug, warm,
and easy.--Restless creature! I will never take it home again.
What think you, Madam, of a _Dean_ for a son-in-law?
What do I think? you say.--Why the gentlemen of the church have too much
sense and gravity to take my madcap off my hands.--Well, Madam, but
suppose the Dean of H---- now you look pleas'd.--Oh, the Dean of
_H----!_ What the _Dean_, Bessy, that Lady Mary used to talk of:--the
_Dean_ that married Mr. and Mrs. Powis.
As sure as I live, Madam, the _very_ man:--and _to-morrow,--to-morrow at
ten_, he is to unite their lovely daughter with Lord Darcey.--Am I not
_very_ good,--_extremely_ good, _indeed_, to sit down and write,--when
every person below is solacing themselves on the approach of this happy
I would suffer shipwreck ten times;--ten times would I be drove on
uninhabited islands, for such a husband as Lord Darcey.--Miss Powis's
danger was only imaginary, yet _she_ must be _so_ rewarded.--Well, she
_shall_ be rewarded:--she _ought_ to be rewarded:--Lord Darcey shall
But is it not _very_ hard upon your _poor_ girl, that _all_ the young
smarts we brought down, and _that_ which we found _here_, should have
dispos'd of their hearts?--_All_;--even Lord Hallum,--_he_ who used to
boast so much of freedom,--now owns he has dispos'd of his.--
But to whom?--Aye: that's a question.--
They think, perhaps, the _old_ stuff will do well enough for poor
me!--Thanks to my genius, I can set my cap at any thing.
Why there's something tolerable in the sound of a Dean's Lady--Let me
see if it will do.--"The _Deans's_ coach;--the _Dean's_
servants."--Something better this than a plain _Mr._
Here comes Miss Powis. Now shall I be forc'd to huddle this into my
pocket.--I am resolv'd she shall not see the preferment I have chalk'd
out for myself.--No, no; I must be secret, or I shall have it taken from
_This_ Miss Powis,--_this_ very dutiful young Lady, that I used to have
set up for a pattern,--_now_ tells me that I _must_ write no more;
_that_ you will not expect to hear from me 'till the next post.--If I
_must_ take Miss Powis's advice in everything;--if I _must_ be guided by
_her_;--you know _who_ said this, Madam;--why then there is an end of my
scribbling for this night.--But remember it is not _my_ fault.--No,
Back to Full Books