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not to detain you longer, my consent for a happy union is not only at your service, but, as I said before, I shall consider it as a very happy event; and I have not the least doubt of your ever repenting of your choice. I have heard that your secular affairs call for your attendance in London; when those are settled, I shall be glad to hear from you, and likewise of my sister and you being happily joined in marriage. In the mean time she is at my house, where you may freely correspond, and I am
LETTER XCIV. From the gentleman after his arrival in London, to the
lady in the country. My Dear, OR so I must now call you: I arrived here last night
and embrace this first opportunity of writing. What a busy place is London! what a variety of strange faces, and continual hurry of business; the citizens acquiring fortupes by trade, whilst the nobility and gentry are squandering away those estates left them by their ancestors! but such lias always been the conduct of mankind in tradling nations. One sows, another reaps, whilst a third enjoys the fruits of their labour. For my own part, I am neither fond of gaiety nor solitude. In all things there is a medium which ought to be preferred to extremes. A sudden elevation to affluence or grandeur, and a sudden: fall from either, are equally dangerous; the one too often plunges the person into all sorts of immorality, whilst the effects of the other is most commonly despair. I would choose to spend three months every year in London, and the remainder in the country. This, in my opinion, is a more rational scheme than the present mode of continually hurrying from place to place, without ever relishing the pleasures of any. But I had almost forgot to whom I am: writing. As soon as I have settled my affairs here, which will take up about three weeks, I intend going to Windsor to visit my daughters at the boarding-school; and from thence hasten to your brother's ; when I hope that union will take place that must terminale only with our lives. I have employed my attorney to draw up articles of a jointure for you, and which I shall bring along with me to
be signed in the presence of your friends. I hope your brother and his spouse are well, I received his excellent Jetter, and heartily thank him for the contents.
I am, my dear,
Yours sincerely and affectionately.
From a lover to his mistress lately recovered from sickness.
My Dear, TH HIS day's post has just broaght me the joyful news of
your happy recovery. The indispensable necessity I was under of altending my business at this place, hindered me from beholding on a sick bed, all that is dear to me in the world; but I need not persuade you to believe this, as l'hope you have had sufficient proofs of my fidelity, and what I have suffered on account of your
be felc but not expressed. When I took the letter in my hand, I trembled, and possibly should have been deprived of cou. rage'lo open it, had not the seal been red. To one oppressed with fear, the smallest matter yields a glimpse of hope.--I opened the letter, and you may easily imagine what was my joy, when instead of reading an account of your death, it contained the delightful news of your recovery, written by your father. Ah! thought I, my
charmer is still weak, or she would not have employed another hand. This led me to fear a relapse; but I hope thai Gud, whoše great mercy has preserved you hitherto, will perfect your recovery. You are constantly is my thoughts, and I pray for you every day. That I may once more be happy in seeing you, I have sent for my brother to manage my business during my absence. I expect him here in about three days, when nothing but sickness shall prevent my coming You will receive by the coach a small parcel, containing some of the newest patterns, both of silk and laces, together with some other things. Such trifles are scarce worth mentioning; but I hope you will a cept them as a testimony of my sincere love to her whom in a few months I hope to call my own.
Present my duty to your honoured parents, and believe me to-be, with the greatest sincerity,
Your ever affectionale lover,
From a rich young gentleman, to a beautiful young lady
with no fortune.
sent age, that marriage is only considered as one of those methods by which avarice may be satisfied, and poverty increased; that neither the character nor accomplishments of the woman are much regarded, her merit being estimaled by the thousands of her fortune. I acknowledge ihat the accusation is too true, and to that may be ascribed inany unhappy matches we daily meet with; for how is it possible that those should ever have the same affection for each other, who were forced to comply with terms to which they had the utmost aversion : as if they had been allowed to consult their own inclinations, and give their hands where they have engaged their hearts! for
my own part, I have been always determined to consult my inclinations where there is the least appearance of happiness : and having an easy independency, am not anxious about increasing it; being well convinced, that in all states the middle one is best. I mean neither poverty nor riches; which leads me to the discovery of a passion which I have long endeavoured to conceal.
The opportunities which I have had of conversing with you at lady B's, have at last convinced me, that merit and siches are far from being connected, and that a woman may diave those qualifications necessary to adorn her sex, although adverse fortune has denied her money. I am sure that all those virtues necessary to make me happy in the marriage state, are centered in you; and whatever objec. tion you liave to my person, yet I hope there can be none to my character; and if you will consent to be mine, it shall be my constant study to make your life agreeable, and under the endearing character of husband, endeavour to supply your early loss of the best of parents. your answer as soon as possible, for I wait for it with the utmost impatience,
I am your affectionate lover,
I shall expect LETTER XCVII,
The young lady's answer. Sir, RECEIVED your letter yesterday, and gratitude for
the generous proposal which you have made, obliges me to thank you heartily for the contents.
As I have no objection either to your person or character, you will give me leave to deal sincerely, and state, those things which at present bear great weight with me, and perhaps must ever remain unanswered, and hinder me from entering into that state against which I have not the least aversion.
You well know (at least I imagine so) that the proposal you have made to me is a secret both to your relations and friends; and would you desire me to rush precipitately into the marriage state, where I have the greatest reason to fear that I should be looked upon with contempt, by. ihose whom nature had connected me with? I should consider myself obliged to promote the happiness of my husband; and how consistent would a step of that nacure be with such a resolution? you know that I was left an orphan, and had it not been for the pious care of lady B. must have been brought up in a state of servitude. You know that I have no fortune; and were I to accept of your offer, it would lay me under such obligations as must destroy my liberty. Gratitude and love are two very different things. The one supposes a benefit received, whereas the other is a free act of the will. Suppose me raised to the joint possession of your fortune, could I call it mine unless I had brought you something as an equivalent: or, have I not great reason to fear that you yourself may consider me as under obligations, inconsistent with the character of a wife; I acknowledge the great generosity of your offer, and would consider myselt highly bonoured, could I prevail with myself to prefer to peace of mind the enjoyment of an affluent fortune. But as I have been very sincere in my answer, so let me beg, that you will endeavour to eradicate a passion, which, if nourished longer, may prove fatal to us both.
I am, sir, with the greatest respect, &c.
The gentleman's reply. Dear, dear Sophia,
AS it not cruel to start so many objections? or could
you suppose me capable of so base an action, as to destroy your freedom, and peace of mind or do you think that I am capable of ever forgetting you, or being happy in the enjoyment of another? for God's sake do not men.. tion gratitude any more. Your many virtues entitle you to much more than I am able to give; but all that I have shall be yours. With respect to my relations, I have none to consult besides my mother and my uncle, and their con. sent, and even approbation, are already obtained. You have often heard my mother declare, that she preferred my happiness with a woman of virtue, to the possession of the greatest fortune; and though I forgot to mention it; yet ! had communicated my sentiments to her before I had opened my mind to you. Let me beg that you will lay aside all those unnecessary scruples, which only serve to make one unhappy who is already struggling under all the anxieties of real and genuine love. It is in your power, my dear, to make me happy, and none else can. I cannot enjoy one moment's rest till I have your answer, and then the happy day shall be fixed. Let me beg that you will not start any more objections, unless you are my real enemy; bat your tender nature cannot suffer you to be cruel. Be mine, my dear, and I am yours for ever. My servant shall wait for the answer to your ever sincere lover, whose sole happiness is centered in you.
I am, &c.
The lady's answer.
you are determined to go through, whatever be the event. Your answer to my first objection, I must confess, is satis. factory. I wish I could say so of the others : but I find. that if I must comply, I shall be obliged to trust the remainder to yourself. Perhaps this is always the case, and even the most cautious have been deceived. However,