« PreviousContinue »
this time Maria and I were half vided, when he began to reckon the up the stairs. Mrs. Ambrose receive dishes, one, two, three, four; egad I ed us as old acquaintance.
see no end to them, Fish a to, a lonel shook my brother by the hand, plaguy dear dish!' and presented him to his sister as You will partake of some,' said an old friend. I hope I see you Mrs. Ambrose, 'I hope.' 'Yes, yes; well, miss,' said he. Then sitting I have no objection to partake of it.' down and turning to the colonel, The colonel, who was uneasy • It was lucky,' said he, that you because of the footman's presence, sent the carriage; for the girls were tried to turn it off as a joke. - You just taking their cloaks off, and I are merry to-day, Mr. Vernon: it's was setting out by myself.'
well we don't believe all you say.' Maria and I were confused; • I never say what I do not mean, but before we either of us could and I will give any man a guinea think of a proper answer, the co- that will say he ever saw fish at my lonel said, • Indeed! I could not sup- table.' pose my omission of not mentioning The footman, who was stilling a it could have been attended with laugh at the side-board, in drawing such fatal consequences ; but I sent out his handkerchief to stuff into his the chariot, as thinking it more mouth, threw down a glass. agreeable than a hackney coach, if • Is that the way,' said my broe one may judge by their outsides.' ther, you use your master's pro
... We have no wish for a better,' perty? There goes sixpence: it's all said l: but brother declared we you livery servants are good for to should walk, or stay at home; and waste and confound.' as we really felt unable to do the 'Come,' said the colonel, former, we were making up our
will make him useful in some wo T minds to the latter.'
way.-Give a glass vine din • How could you,' said Mrs. Am- John.' brose, 'wish the young ladies to My brother viser walk such a distance such a day as good wine, lut wasting
tu drink it this?'
Inta!, "Because, miss,' said he, I never It!! he loves to repeat all ride in a hackney coach, and I see the would things said by this odd no reason why they should, who are brother of nurs at dinner. twenty years younger, and have the Dhe not continually expose use of their legs better than me; for linse ia to ridicule, I would not subI have corns, that lame me some į at him to yours by repeating any times.'
C them There was no replying to a rer We retired very soon after dinner, absurd a speech; and my uro hii, at which the colonel looked disapthinking he had convinced her, turn- pointed: but my brother seemed very ed himself rounr' in the clair, and well pleased; he relished, he said, the putting one a: in over the back of it, colonel's wine. We spent a most sat looking ut at Ladiuw until dins delightful afternoon with Mrs. Am. ner was roureed.
brose. You and your good mother Puer!' said he; "why I see furnished the chief of our conversanostoin laid yet. The colonel in- tion. Now do you want to know all. fic red leis was in another room.' that was said ; but I will not tell you
On! two sitting-rooms is the · a word. Vue Tow.'-Heihen followed us i hope,' said Mrs. Ambrose, to -3968a ver, genteel dinner was pro. see you here very often; but you
must excuse my attending you in the it, was at length prevailed on, and city, as I am extremely fearful of seating himself in an arm-chair, riding in London streets, and am said he should not have come if besides very averse to visiting.' We Mr. Vernon had not ordered him.' assured her we would see her in the : Your presence needs no apology,' way most agreeable to herself-Dear said Mrs. Ambrose. She then whisobliging girls,'she called us ;“my bro- pered me, to know who he was. ther purposes spending next month The colonel proposed cards. Maria in a shooting party : I will then pe. expressed a wish to go home before tition your brother to spare you supper; but Mrs. Ambrose insisted entirely. We can then,' turning to we should stay all night, and send Maria with a smile, 'enter on bu the gentlemen home alone. To this siness.' – Maria blushed, and both of we had no objection, not liling the us expressed our thanks in the best thoughts of going with our brother, manner we were able. We chatted who, we had reason to think, by till near seven o'clock, when we the time supper was ended would summoned the gentlemen to tea. be incapable of taking care of us. My brother made his appearance Jerry said he could play nothing with a pipe in his mouth, and the but all fours; and my brother, who effects of the colonel's wine pretty was extremely talkative, proposed visible in his face. He staggered up we should tell stories. I said, he to Mrs. Ambrose Egad,' said he, will begin, and tell you the history
you are a likely woman! at the of his courtship. The proposal disome time puffing a cloud of smoke verted all parties, and my brother in her face.
began. • How could you think, brother,' I have now given over all said Maria, of bringing your pipe thoughts of marrying: five years bere?'
since I intended it, and took a jour• Why, the colonel told me miss ney of forty miles after a young wom did not dislike tobacco.'-Mrs. Am man I had taken a fancy to seven brose confirmed it, but desired he years before ; she was reported to would sit a little further from her. have ten thousand pounds in hard This he complied with; and Maria cash, independent of her father, who and I placed ourselves on each side being a man of large property, one of her, by way of guard. The co- might reasonably expect he would lonel now entered, and introdueed give her at least five thousand more. no less a personage than Mr. Jerry, As I had never made any overtures dressed in a scarlet coat, and his hat to the lady, and had only seen her in his hand.
twice in my life, I of course wanted . Oh! Curtis,' said my brother : an introduction ; I accordingly pack. I told him to come, if we did not ed up a basket of oranges and alcome home to supper!'
monds and raisons, the best I could · The gentleman is just arrived,' procure, and sent them by the wagsaid ihe colonel, ' and I am glad to gon, carriage paid, inclosing a letter see him. My sister, sir,-Mrs. Am to the father, saying I would pay a brose.'
visit, for a day or two, shortly. Not Jerry bowed, and inmediately hearing to the contrary, I set out, looked round for a pin to hang his and was received by the father and hat. The servant offered to take it, daughter very civil.y. I took the but he insisted on uot troubling him; first opportunity to explain my inbut not knowing how to dispose of tentions, wbich I diri in nearly the
following words "Sir," said I,'' hav- ninepence, and serve her right too, ing conceived a very high opinion of for refusing a man that would have miss, and imbibed a strong desire of preserved her fortune, and left her exchanging a bachelor state for the a rich widow.' more eligible one of husband, I re Had my brother given the his. solved on this visit to you, in order to tory of his whole life he could obtain the young lady in marriage. not more effectually have drawn Now, sir, as I like to be open and his character : this one transaction above board, before I left home I took is so strongly marked with ignor
the exact statement of what I was ance, avarice, and insensibility, that worth, which (taking a paper from it shews at once the whole commy, ocke) you may see, sir, are so plexion of his mind; nor will in fumary ounds, shillings, and pence: ture any meanness or absurdity he now, as by this statement you find may be guilty of be wondered at. 'I am worth a pretty considerable This story, being told with much sum, you cannot be surprised if I circumlocution, and many interrupexpect you will give your daughter tions from the operations of the in proportion." "Not a farthing !" pipe, which he continued using the interrupted he ; “ her grandfather whole time, lasted till supper was left her independent of me, and in- announced. Nothing particular dependent she shall still remain. All ed at this meal. Jerry ate very my fortune shall be divided between heartily, but behaved very well: her sisters, who were overlooked by brother was in high spirits; and, the doting grandfather.” Whilst I when the cloth was removed, gave was thinking of a proper answer, us an old bachelor's song, at the and lamenting in my mind the hard request of Mrs. Ambrose. — Come,' case of the young lady, she sud said he, when he had done, ' you denly arose, and making me a very may give us an old maid's ditty.' low curtsey, 'Sir," said she, “I am With this polite request she instantly not to be sold;" and instantly left complied, and sungthe room. It is impossible to describe the surprise and rage I felt on
' In the days of my youth shall it ever be
said this treatment. The father, who A nymph so engaging shall die an old maid ?" burst into a fit of laughter, was going, doubtless, to insult me still fur She then called on her brother, ther; but looking through the win- who gave us . Free from bustle, care, dow, I glanced a stage coach passing and strife.' The colonel called on for London; so snatching up my Maria, and she sung ' For tenderness hat and stick, without saying a formid;' and I thought she never word, I ran out of the house, and, sung so sweetly. The colonel seeme mounting the top of the machine, ed quite enchanted; and I hapwas out of sight in an instant. Thus pening to say “Your good mother ended my first and last courtship; had instructed us in playing on the for never will I again subject myself piano forte,' he whispered me he to the insult of another woman. would send us one the next day, She may, however, repent it, for I which he accordingly did. find she is married to a conotry gen At twelve o'clock my brother took tieman, as he is called, who keeps his leave with Jerry, saying he a good deal of company; so, pere should come again soon. After they haps, be may bring her noble to were gone, the colonel requested ans
other song from Maria. She sung fast at home; he was gone out om « Old Robin Grey:' the colonel, hav- business, his sister informed us, ing never heard it before, was much Maria was very low all breakfastaffected : he sighed, and was so ab- time. Mrs. Ambrose rallied her on sent, that he sat five minutes after it. My brother,' said she, will she had finished without speaking. be highly gratified when I inform < Brother,' said Mrs, Ambrose, we him the alteration his absence makes will leave you to your meditations ;' in you.' She entertained us with and took up the candles to retire playing on the harpsichord, of with us.
which she is complete mistress. I • I beg pardon,' said he ; but expected the colonel every minute: this little ballad has affected me.' at length he arrived. I thought I
• I will never sing it again,' said discovered an air of dejection in his Maria,
countenance; he however assumed “Say not so, my dear Maria : the same easy cheerful manner as whatever you sing cannot but be usual. Maria could scarcely sumpleasing to me.'
mon resolution to look up; but he As soon as we were retired I took no notice of her confusion. said to Maria, “I wish you
We took our leave about one sung Rubin Grey, -'I wish so too,' o'clock, and the colonel insisted on said she.-' And I cannot think,' our going home in the chariot. As said I, 'why you did it, unless it he led us to it, he informed Maria was to make the colonel think you he was going for a week on a shoot. was about to make the same sacri- ing party, and should be much fice as Jenny did.'
obliged to us if we would bear his Sure,' said she,' he would not sister company in his absence. She suppose so. Do
think he told him she had with pleasure cona could ?'
sented so to do, if our brother could • Nay, I don't know ; but he cer
He looked pleased, and tainly looked very grave.'
said he had already secured that. Dear! how could I be so incon I will now conclude this.long letsiderate! I know not how it was, ter, with a request to hear from you but I felt an unconquerable inclina soon. Best respects to your mother, tion to sing it.
and am, affectionately, yours, • Yes,' said I, and to hum it
H. VERNONG about the house all day long, when you are alone.
LETTER XVII, She blushed ; and, seeing her confused, I forbore saying more on the Mrs. Ambrose to Colonel Ambrose, subject. But this little circumstance has dwelt on my mind ever since. I can truly say this is the first I observe with much uneasiness the time I ever took up my pen to write increased dejection of her spirits. to my dear brother with reluctance. There must be a cause, and I own I To communicate unpleasing intelam persuaded a secret attachment to ligence to those we love, is of all Charles is preying on her, and she is employments the most irksome. But struggling to overcome it. Pray Hea- I will not make a long preface to ven she may succeed, for her inter my information, which I doubt not est and happiness depend on it. you have already guessed at. My
I was surprised the next morning dear brother must think no more of to find the colonel was not to break- miss Vernon as a wife. These two
lovely sisters came, as they had pro- an undoubted right to my confidence. mised, the day you'lest town; and, - Previous to our acquaintance with agreeable to your request, I have colonel Ambrose, I saw, or fancied watched every word and action of I saw, a partiality on my sister's Maria's, in order to discover if your part towards Mr. Wentworth, the suspicions were irue in regard of her young gentleman you have heard us preference of another to yourself. frequently mention. He is a senIt necded not much penetration to sible young man, agreeable in his perceive some uneasiness sat on her manners, and elegant in his person : mind. Too frank and ingenuous in I could not discover the like partiher temper to disguise her feelings, ality on his part, but the opinion I she yet suffered them to prey on her entertain of Maria's charms left me heart, as she was convinced the dis- not in much doubt of it. Wien closure would distress her sister. I my sister accepted the colonel's offer, often surprised her in tears, and and Mr. Wentworth acceded to his when I asked the cause she would proposal of going 10 India, I conanswer. Nothing, dear madam, but sidered myself either to have been an involuntary weakness. I know mistaken, or that an attachment in not what ails' me of late ; when I infancy was found easy to conquer ought to be most cheerful I am on each side. But the increasing most grave, but I will be better.' dejection of Maria has since led me I applied to Harriet – What is the to think her unfortunate passion has matter with your sister ?' said I, taken a deeper root than she at first 6. Alas,' she replied, 'I do not imagined; for such is her delicacy, know; and when I ask her the that I am certain she never would question, she answers me by sighs. have consented to have given her • But cannot you guess ?'' said I. A hand to the colonel, had she been deep blush suffused the face of Har- conscious of the smallest preference sièt. She was going to say no ; but to another.' as it was the first untruth she ever I thanked Harriet for her informattempted to utter, it died on her ation, and told her I thought it netoice. * Ab! Harriet,' said I, 'that cessary for your peace as well as countenance cannot deceive me, hers that the matter should be inwere you inclined it should. Ivestigated. She thought so too; and know you guess the cause of your we agreed that we would, that very sister's dejection, and if you think afternoon, set about our examination - me your friend you will acquaint of our poor prisoner. me,'
Being seated at work, Harriet, ac• But you will tel} the colonel, cording to agreement, began. I madam??
wonder,' said she, 'where Mr. I will not, indecd, promise se. Wentworth is just now.' cresy to him, for of all persons he * Really,' replied I, you seem is most interested. Your sister's de- very anxious about that young man, pression of spirits has not escaped miss Harriet. Pray, miss Vernon, him; and he has particularly re is there not something more than quested me to discover the cause, friendship in this solicitude of your and acquaint him, that he may re sister's ?" move it.'
• Not that I know of, replied she, 'I fear that is not in his power, blushing as she spoke. ị it be what I guess ; but will not · Was it possible,' resumed I, De reserved to you,
'that a young man of sensibility