Page images
PDF
EPUB

One day, I particularly remember, Mr. Harris had invited a large party to dinner, John and Charles Morgan, Esqrs. members of parliament, with an old clergyman of the name of Jones, and several others were present. I was then within s fortnight of my perilous moment. One of the company expressed his satisfaction that I was come to give Treguntcr a little stranger; and turning to Mr. Harris, added, " you have just finished your, house in time for a nursery."

"No, no," replied Mr. Harris laughing, "they came here because prison doors were open to receive them." I felt my face redden to scarlet: every person present seemed to sympathize in my chagrin, and I was near sinking under the table with confusion. Mr. Robinson's indignation was evident; but it was restrained by duty as well as by necessity.

The manor-house was not yet finished; and a few days after our arrival Mr. Harris informed me that he had no accommodations for my approaching confinement. Where was I to go? was the next question. After many family consultations, it was decided that I should remove to Treveccahouse, about a mile and a half distant, and there give to this miserable world my firstborn darling.

I removed to Trevecca; it was a spacious mansion at the foot of a stupendous mountain* which, from its form, was called the.Sugar-loaf. A part of the building was converted into a flannel manufactory, and the inhabitants were of the Htmtingdonian school. Here I enjoyed the sweet repose of solitude: here I wandered about woods entangled by the wild luxuriance of nature, ot roved the mountain's side, while the blue vapours 1 round its summit. O, God of Nature 1 f' of theuniverse of wonders! in those inti ments how fervently di' I adore thee!

. How often have I set at my little parlour window and watched the pale moonbeams darting amidst the sombre and venerable yew trees that shed their solemn shade over the little garden. How often have I strolled down the woody paths, spangled with the dew of morning, and shaken off the briery branches that hung about me. How tranquil did I feel, escaped from kindred tyranny, and how little did I regret the busy scenes of fashionable folly. Unquestionably the Creator formed me with a strong propensity to adore the sublime and beautiful of his works 1 But it has never been my lot to meet with an associating mind, a congenial spirit, who could, (as it were abstracted from the world,) find an universe in the sacred intercourse o.r soul, the sublime union of sensibility. . '.

At Trevecca-house I was tranquil, if not perfectly happy. 1 there, avoided the low taunts of uncultivated natures, the insolent vulgarity of pride, and the overbearing triumphs of a family, whose hf'tiest branch was as inferior to my stock as the small --weed is beneath the tallest tree that overshades it. I had formed an union with a family who had neither sentiment nor sensibility; I was doomed to bear the society of ignorance and pride: I was treated as though I had been the most abject of beings, even at a time when my conscious spirit soared as far above their powers to wound it, as the mountain towered over the white battlements of my then solitary habitation.

• After my removal to Treyecca I seldom saw Miss Robinson pr Mrs. Molly; Mr. Harris never called on me; though I was not more than a mile and a half from Tvegunter. At length the expected, though, to me, perilous moment arrived, which awoke a new and tender interest in my bosom, which presented to my fondly beating heart my child,—my Maria. 2 cannot describe the sensations of my soul at the moment when I pressed the little darling to my bosom, my maternal bosom; when I kissed its hands, its cheeks, its forehead, as it nestled close to my heart, and seemed to claim that affection which has never failed to warm it. She was the most beautiful of infants! I thought myself the happiest of mothers: her first smile appeared like something celestial—something ordained to irradiate my dark and dreary prospect of existence.

Two days after my child was presented to this world of sorrow, my nurse, Mrs. Jones, a most excellent woman,was earnestly desired by the people of the •manufactory to bring the infant among them: they wished to see the "young squire's baby, the little heiress to Tregunter." It was in vain that I dreaded the consequences of the visit, for it was in the month of October: but Mrs. Jones assured me that infants in that part of the world were very frequently carried into the open air on the day of their birth: she also hinted, that my refusal would hurt the feelings of the honest people, and wear the semblance of pride more than maternal tenderness. This idea decided my acquiescence; and my little darling, enveloped in the manufacture of her own romantic birth place, made her first visit to her kind but unsophisticated countrywomen.

No sooner did Mrs. Jones enter the circle, than she was surrounded by the gazing throng. The infant was dressed with peculiar neatness, and nothing mortal could appear more lovely. A thousand and a thousand blessings were heaped upon the " heiress of Tregunter," for so they fancifully called her: a thousand times did they declare that the baby was the vtry image of her father. Mrs, Jones returned to me: every word she uttered soothed my heart: a sweet and grateful glow, for the first time, bespoke the undescribable gratifies

tion which a fond parent feels in hearing the praises pf a beloved offspring. Yet this little absence appeared an age; a variety of fears presented dangers in a variety of shapes, and the object of all my care, of all my affection, was now pressed closer to my heart than ever.

Amidst these sweet and never-to-be-forgotten sensatiims, Mr. Harris entered my chamber. He abruptly enquired how I found myself; and, seating nin self by the side of my bed, began to converse on family affairs. I was too feeble to say much; and he had not the delicacy to consider that Mrs. Jones, my nurse, and almost a stranger to me, was a witness to our conversation.

*i Well!" said Mr. Harris, "what do you mean to do with your child?"

I made no answer.

"I will tell you," added he; "Tie it to you? back and work tor it."

I shivered with horror. : "Prison doors are open," continued Mr. Harris. "Tom wi(l die in a gapl; and what is to become of you?"

I remained silent.

Miss Robinson now made her visit. She looked at me without uttering a syllable; but while she contemplated my infant's features, her innocent sleeping face, her little dimpled hands folded on her breast, she murmured, "Poor little wretch! Poor thing! It would be a mercy if it pleased God to take it!" My agony of mind was scarcely supportable.

About three weeks after this period, letters arrived, informing Mr. Robinson that his creditors, were still inexorable, and that the place of his concealment was known. He was cautioned not to run the hazard of an arrest; indeed he knew tha^ such an event would complete his ruin with Mx% Harris, from whom he should not receive any assistance. He communicated this imelligence to me, and at the same time informed me, that he must absolutely depart from Trevecca immediately. I was still extremely feeble, for my mental sufferings had impaired my corporeal strength almost as much as the perils I had recently encountered. But the idea of remaining at Trevecca without- my husband was more terrible titan the prospect of annihilation, aud i replied, without a hesitating thought, "I am ready to go with you."

My good muse, who was a very amiable woman, and under forty years of age, conjured me to delay my journey. She informed me, that it would be dangerous to undertake it in my then weak state. My husband's liberty was in danger, and my life appeared of little importance; for even at that early period of my days I was already weary of existence.

On the succeeding morning we departed. Mrs. Jones insisted on accompanying me on the first day's journey. Mr. Robinson, my nurse, and myself, occupied a post-chaise; my Maria was placed on a pillow on Mi's. Jones's lap. The paleness of death overspread my countenance, and the poor honest people of the mountains and the villages saw us depart with sorrow, though not without their blessings. Neither Mr. Harris, nor the enlightened females of Tregunter expressed the smallest regret, or solicitude on the occasion. We reached Abergavenny that evening. My little remaining strength was exhausted, and I could proceed no further. However singular these persecutions may appear, Mr. Robinson knows that they are not in the smallest degree exaggerated.

Aftar experiencing much embarrassment, the consequence of extravagance and fashionable folly, the stage appeared to be the only resource left i to i

« PreviousContinue »