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the next morning, she sent off her billet-dour, directed to Richard Wade, Esq. St. James's Hotel.
The following day, at noon, she ordered her servant to call at the Salopian, and enquire for a letter, addressed as she had desired. The two girls, from different motives, were equally anxious for the return of the footman. At last he entered, and gave into the impatient hands of his young lady the wished-for scroll. When he left the room, she tore open the seal, and perused, with a greedy eye; then read, with a voice almost suffocated with laughter, a long string of rhapsodies. He commenced with an inundation of praises of the generosity of her disposition, that could so nobly burst through the disgraceful shackles bound round her sex, by the united efforts of all mankind, to render him happy by the confession of a passion so flattering to his warmest wishes. He concluded by saying, that if the beauty of her person but half equalled the charms of the mind which dictated her letter, he should for ever esteem it the most blissful moment of his life that presented him to her view. He ended by requesting an immediate interview. Serena was mad with joy at the success of her plot; and instantly sat down to scribble an-answer, Julia again urged her to desist; but all to no purpose: she would plague him yet a little longer. In this imprudent conduct she continued for near a fortnight, writing and receiving letters every day; and, in almost every one of them, inventing new
excuses for denying a personal conversation. Richard Wade's impatience, in each succeeding epistle, increased so much, that she could hardly find reasons for her refusals, which could appear of any consequence, as in his replies he had arguments to combat, and conquer them all. Miss Cecil grew more alarmed; and begged her, for Heaven's sake, to give it up; for she dreaded the most disagreeable effects, should it be discovered: but Serena was obstinate, declared that it was impossible, and continued the correspondence,
One morning, when Miss Granville sat alone in the drawing-room, waiting the return of her servant from the Salopian, she insensibly fell into a reverie; and, leaning her blooming cheek on her white arm, which rested on the sopha, her thoughts wandered from the anticipation of that day which was soon to give her to her dear Frederick, to the elegant sailor, and his disappointment, when she should drop answering his letters. At this moment, the gentle Cavendish entered; he had stolen the first instant from military duty, to spend a few blissful minutes in the society of his adored Serena. He approached her unperceived; and, tene' derly taking her hand, in a voice, sweet as the softest i sigh of love, demanded what was the subject of her reflections. She started at the sound of his loved accents, and blushed at the question. The idea that any other man than himself should for one instant possess her thoughts, struck a chill to her heart: the vivid glow of shame, which diffused itself over her cheek, flashed a ray of truth on her understanding; and her soul acknowledged, with gratitude and self-reproach, the rejected remonstrances of her friend. As the heavenly orbs of Frederick were bent on her's with ineffable tenderness, he beheld, with wonder and anguish, the confusion into which his question appeared to have thrown her. “ Have I given you pain, my Serena? I was impertinent; but, believe me, I did not intend it. Will you pardon me?" He pressed her hand, to give force to his asseveration. “ I have nothing to pardon ; you did not hurt me: I was only ashamed to speak the truth; for I was really thinking of nothing. She blushed still deeper, as she uttered this falsehood, and cast her eyes down to conceal her embarrassment. The penetrating orbs of Cavendish were fixed on her face: he observed its changes with unaccountable anguish ; and unconsciously dropping her hand, with a deep sigh, rose from his chair, aud advanced to the window. At this instant, the door burst open, and a young man
rushing in, flung himself at the feet of Miss Granville, exclaiming—“Have I found you, my mysterious love! By Heaven, no earthly power shall tear your lovely form from this faithful bosom!" Suddenly rising, he clasped her to his breast. Cavendish, who stood petrified with astonishment and indignation, now rushed forward; and, seizing Wade by the arm, rudely pulled him from his hold, and demanded who he was, “This lady's lover and protector, Sir," replied he in a threatening tone. Serena, wild and dumb with terror, threw herself into the arms of Frederick; who, smothering his passion, cried-“You are certainly mad, Sir! This is a woman' of virtue, and
my betrothed wife; I therefore desire you to leave this house instantly “ No, Sir, I shall not, without she accompanies me. I have letters under her own hand, declaring her love for me, and her abhorrence of all other men. She will not deny it; but you, I suppose, are the persecuting coward she complains of.” The azure eyes of Cavendish flashed all heaven's lightnings; he cast the frantic Serena from his arm; and rushing forward
Intruding, insolent villain ! your blood shall blot the falsehood." So saying, he drew, and made a furious pass at him with his sword. Wade expected it; and, parrying the thrust, made a lounge at him, and ran him through the side. The unfortunate Frederick fell; while he advanced to Serena, who stood rivetted like a statue of Despair. Come, my
Lucretia ! let us fly this place, my life is in danger. “ Monster! murderer !" screamed she; and, giving him a violent push from her, threw him to the ground, and flew shrieking out of the room. In his fall, he stumbled over a part of the carpet, and fell on the point of Frederick's sword, as it leaned against the lifeless form of
Before he could recover himself, it ran him quite through the thigh; and he dropped, bleeding and faint, beside the body of him he had slain. All the horrors of his situation rushed on his mind. He
knew not him he had killed perhaps an injured man; and he had forfeited his own life for, perhaps, an abans doned woman!
In a few minutes, the room was crowded with people. Julia flew into the apartment; and, seeing the breathless form of Cavendish on the floor, and near him the young sailor bleeding to death, an explanation of the whole affair rushed on her memory. She flung herself between the two bodies; and, tearing off her white drapery, attempted to staunch the wounds of both; while she besought, for God's sake, that some one would fly for a surgeon. Her commands were instantly obeyed. Serena was held in a state of madness at the door, by her mother and two servants, begging that she might be suffered to go in, and die on the bosom of her Frederick. The surgeon arriving, ordered her to her chamber—to which she was hurried, raving of her folly and misery—and immediately proceeded to the assistance of the two unfortunate officers. Mr. Wade was yet sensible; the bandages of Miss Cecil had stopped the effusion of blood: but
Cavendish lay without motion or sensation. As the surgeon advanced to the side of the young sailor, he by a strong exertion repulsed him, and begged that he would first examine the wound of his antagonist, which he hoped was not mortal. Mr. A- obeyed his desires; and, ordering the servants to lay Mr. Cavendish on the sopha, commanded every one, but his own assistants, to quit the room. When the surgeon had examined and dressed the wounds of the young men, he saw them carefully put to bed, and ordered them to be kept in profound quiet. As he was going down stairs, Lady Granville, in a state of distraction, sent for him into her boudoir, and intreated him to tell her if there were any hopes of Mr. Cavendish. Mr. Asaid he would not fiatter her: his wound was not mortal: but his loss of blood had been so great, that the most fatal consequences might be expected. “But the other gen
tleman (continued he), if he is kept free from a fever, will certainly recover.
“ The other gentleman (replied she), I know nothing about. Indeed, I am ignorant of the whole affair. My daughter flew into my chamber, screaming—" He is killed! Cavendish is killed !” and this is all I know of the terrible scene, as she has ever since been in a state of delirium. At these words, the physician, who had been sent for to Serena, while Mr. As was with her lover, entered the room, and told Lady Granville that her daughter was in a high fever, and must be kept composed, else he could not answer for her life.
In this state of distress and anxiety things continued for three days. Miss Cecil, who knew well the thoughtless transaction of her cousin, imagined too truly the cause of this fatal catastrophe; and while all the parties yet lived, she earnestly sought an opportunity of explaining so sad a mystery. She tenderly loved her friend; she mourned the wild vivacity of disposition that had seduced her into so imprudent an action; and her heart was wrung with agony for her present, and, if she lived, future sufferings. The insinuating gentleness of Frederick Cavendish had made too deep an impression on her esteem, not to draw down the bitter tears from her eyes, when she contemplated his unhappy fate. But the beautiful, the deceived Wade! when his lovely idea shot across her distracted fancy, her whole soul was torn with torture : the thought of his dying, of his recovering, and of that recovery's disgraceful, horrid consequences, almost bereft her of her reason; and, impelled by the anguish of the moment, she flew to the entrance of his apartment, with what design she knew not. As she gently opened the door, she found that he was in a profound slumber; and, commanding the nurse to go and lay down for a few hours, promised to watch by her charge till her return. She remained near half an hour in the room; when Richard awaking from his sleep, and heaving a deep