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home to the caftle, Sir Robert defired, that no notice might be taken of what had paffed, and promised to behave in a very different manner for the future, pouring out at the fame time, the most ardent proteltations of love. All his promifes and protellations, however, were not, in her opinion, fufficiently binding to fecure her againit other attacks of the
will then fix the place and happy hour. I am, my dear angel, your's for ever, "I mean, your happy husband, ROBERT *****.
This letter entirely removed the ill opinion I had conceived of Sir Robert; for here was an honourable proposal of marriage, with large profeffions of fame kind; the therefore left the caf-love to Mifs White, and of esteem
tle the fame evening, and came down
and reverence to her parents. Befides, he had often talked to her in this rain before, though the always heard
with great indifference, as the had reafon to fufpect the fincerity of his intentions. This letter, however, was an explanation of what had at other times been infinuated in a more obfcure manner; and as Sir Robert had an agreeable perfon and a large fortune, fhe, poor girl, in her fituation, could not be difpleased at the flattering propofal: for my part indeed, I advised her to return the next morning, and behave in a manner con fiftent with the character fhe bore in the family, till their marriage could be folemnized, of which fhe was to inform me as foon as poffible,
Before she took her leave, I did not forget to caution her, with the greatest earnestnefs, against all interviews like that in the garden, reading her at the fame time a very ferious leffon on the inconftancy and treachery of mankind.
My dear Creature, "The pain you give me, by mifconstruing every thing I fay or do fo much to my difadvantage, is inexpreffible. What paft between us laft night was only intended as a jeft, for you cannot think me fool enough, to attempt the virtue of one, whom I in tend to make my wife, and hope to be happy with for ever. Your faying that I take advantage of your youth, inexperience, and poverty, in order to feduce your virtue, is doing me the Several days paffed, before I heard greatest injuftice. Did I not know again from her, during which, it may and esteem that pious good man your be imagined that my love and friendfather was 1 not acquainted with hip for her, filled me with a thousand the virtues of that worthy woman your fears and anxieties. They were all remother? and would I not fooner mar-moved, however, by the appearance of ry one from that virtuous and religione of Sir Robert's fervants, who ous flock without a farthing, than any brought me word that Mifs Polly havother with large poffeffions? by hea- ing been seized with a violent pain in ven I would. Difmifs your fears, my her head, defired me to come immedidear, and return to me this moment, I ately to her with the receipt I used up entreat you, for I fhall be in the ut- on fuch an occafion. I perfectly un moft folicitude till I have given you derflood the meaning of this message, convincing proofs of my love and inte- and posted away directly. She met grity. You know how expedient it is me at the garden-gate pointing toto keep our marriage a fecret till my wards our houfe, and with the uncle's death, and therefore I have greatest joy told me, that she had been fent for a clergyman in the neighbour privately married two days before; hood, in whom I can confide. He is adding, that as Sir Robert had deto be with me to-morrow night, we figned to keep it a fecret, on his un cle's
Sir Robert, confcious of what he had done, dispatched his fervant to re-him queft her return: but the excufed herfelf, by faying that he was not well, and, on that account, chofe to remain with me. This anfwer was far from being fatisfactory, as fearce had Mils White finified the relation of what had paffed in the garden, when the fervant made his appearance with the following letter.
Hiftory of a Clergyman's Daughter.
ele's account, fhe was afraid to write |
How precarious, how uncertain are all earthly enjoyments! Here I left my young friend in the poffef fion of plenty, and I really thought under the protection of an indulgent husband, placed as it were, for ever out of the power of fortune. Oh, what a villain is Sir Robert! what a cool deliberate villain! But to proceed his uncle dying foon afterwards, bequeathed the bulk of his eftate to him; his wife then, very rationally hoped, that the fhould be raised one degree, at leaft, a bove a common fervant. Such an exaltation, however, was not yet agreeable to him, and the chearfully fubmitted to her lot. At laft the time came, which rendered concealment no longer poffible; he grew big with child, and, in confequence of her pregnancy, was the conftant derifion, the daily fport of every fellow in the caftle. - Infupportable fituation! She now, on her knees, applied to Sir Robert, and intreated him in the tendereft, most pathetic terms, to fave her reputation, to publish their marriage himfelf, or to permit her to do it. The brate, turning round upon his heel, told her, he should never make any fach acknowledgment; "I was ser married (added he) but by way of a frolic, and that ftands for nothing at all."
It is more eafy to conceive than to deferibe, the effect which this cruel reply must have had upon a girl of Polly's meek difpofition-it was dreadfal; her whole frame was difordered by the severity of the fhock, and fcarce were any figus of life perceptible, when the unfeeling author of her mifery quitted the room, in order to dead people to her affiftance. It was hardly in the power of medicine to re
call her fleeting fpirits; and when the was, by the moft flimulating applications recovered, fhe continually raved about her child, and about Sir Robert her husband, repeating what had juft paffed between him and her, and the wore every striking mark of a distracted mind. In this deplorable ftate, however, the infernal monfter turned her out of doors, in a dark, tempeftuous night, and expofed her to the rage of the mercilefs elements. She was found the next day, by fome of our neighbours, but in what a condition?-She was found in a ditch, with her breast naked and bloody, her hair was torn from her head, and she raved inceffantly, without difcovering the fmalleft fpark of reafon. In this most pitiable ftate, fhe was conveyed to a mad-house a few miles from our parisr.
Now was the time for envy and detraction to difplay their malignant powers. Some were infamous enough to throw reflections on the memory of her poor father, faying; that "the parfon might have taught his daughter better." "A pretty jade, indeed,” faid one, to get herself with child, and then trump up a wedding with Sir Robert."-"Ah! commend me to the parfon's daughter," replied another. All the family denied the entrance of any clergyman into the castle, except Mr. Richardfon the curate, who knew nothing of the tranf action. Sir Robert hinfelf affirmed, that he never had hinted any thing to Polly White about marriage, or had any connection at all with her, so that the ftory of their being married was generally difbelieved.
But to fhorten my melancholy taleI thought it my duty to fhew the knight's letter, abovementioned, to every body-and, in confequence of its circulation, he fent the following one to my husband:
"YOUR wife has fhewn a letter to many people, which, the fays, was fent by me to the girl, when at your houfe, though I abfolutely deny it. If you value my friendship, get the F 2 letter.
letter, and fend it to me, or prepare
"Sir, I was very uneafy, till I faw you; for I as much honour you for vindicating the innocent Mifs White, as I abhor myself for having been concerned in her deftruction. I am Sir Robert's steward in this county. About ten months ago, I received his orders to bring him a clergyman's habit in a box, and fay they were writings. When I came, he told me he had a girl in the caftle, whom he intended to marry upon his uncle's deceafe; adding, "I would be glad to have her company in the mean time, but that cannot be done without the formal ceremony of marriage: you are therefore to go into my room at eight this evening, and drefs yourself like a clergyman." This I did, and Sir church-Robert foon afterwards returned with the young lady, to whom I read over the marriage ceremony. This was "PETER PARKER." done without the knowledge of any of the family, fo that as no witnefs of the marriage could be produced, the abandoned man wrote to me to keep it an inviolable fecret.-But, gracious God! how could I die with fuch a load of infamy upon my confcience?"
Such is the mournful hiftory of Mifs White; I cannot dwell any longer upon it, and therefore beg leave to conclude, with affuring you that I remain,
Your very fincere,
tho' much afflicted friend,
To this my husband greatly exafperated, returned the following an-1 lowing anfwer.
YOUR menances I defpife: I am not yet, thank God, your flave: I have an eftate of my own of two hundred pounds a year, honeftly got, which will last longer than your four thousand pounds a year Your farm I fhall quit as foon as my term is expired, for I wifh not to breathe in the fame air, or dwell in the fame place with fuch a villain. The letters you fhall never have, but a copy of each fhall be nailed to the yew tree in the yard next Sunday.
ing man addreffed him in the follow
This was accordingly done, and the letters were read by all the parish fome fhed tears, others fhook their heads, and faid, there has been a great deal of foul play. In the afternoon, when news was brought of Polly's death (which I indeed expected) they were enraged to the utmost degree, they even theatened to tone that villain Sir Robert, and to pull down his castle. He was fomewhat apprebenfive, I believe, of fuch a proceeding, for he fet out that very. evening privately for London.
Here our enquiries feemed to end, and her marriage remained as uncertain as ever: but heaven, who knows all fecrets brought this to light. The day after Polly's death, my husband was fent for by a gentleman about four miles off, who could not die in peace, it was faid, till he had feen him; who fhould this man be, but one of Sir Robert's ftewards, who had drawn up an inftrument and got it witneffed, which he delivered to my husband. He accordingly went with two neigh-friend to whom it can communicate its bours; as foon as he came in, the dy griefs; this fmall confolation I am
LEONID A S;
O, the UNFORTUNATE LOVER.
To the EDITOR of the LADY'S MA
THEN the mind is diftreffed,
Leonidas; or, the unfortunate Lover.
without, having no one perfon in whom I can place that confidence. From the hope (though unknown) I fhall meet with the compaffion of fome of your fair readers, I am induced to lay before you a few circumstances of my life, and my prefent unhappy fituation. I am the only fon of a country gentleman of a good eftate, unincumbered, and who is very far advanced in years. Early in life I had the misfor-reign tune to lofe my mother, who was an amiable and fenfible woman: from her I always experienced the greatest tendernefs, and the kindest treatment. As fhe was endowed with a fweet natural temper, and had the most liberal fentiments, I truly revere her memory, and often fincerely lament her death. Was the now living, I am perfuaded I fhould have found her a true friend,trongeft impreffions in her favour: I and probably, from her, influence and experienced fenfations perfectly new good offices, at this time, might have to me, and foon found an unusual unbeen one of the happiest, instead of be- eafinefs when I was from her. A thouing one of the most wretched of man-fand excufes did I make almost every day, for calling upon her father, and happy did I think myfelf when I had a holiday, and could fpend the afternoon at his houfe.
My father's poffeffions being large, and Í his only child, I have conftantly refided with him, except a few years which I spent at a boarding-fchool in
quainted with, and often vifited a very fenfible worthy gentleman in the town where I went to school, whofe health had been impaired in the fervice of his country, as a commander in the navy, and who having loft his wife, had then lately retired upon half-pay. As he is a very chearful agreeable man, who has feen much of the world, and often entertained me with an account of fo
countries, where he had been, I was fond of going to his house, and took great pleafure in afking him queftions, and converting with him on a variety of fubjects. It was not above fix or feven months after I be-* came acquainted with him, before his daughter, and only child, came down from a boarding-fchool near London. The moment I faw her, I felt the
His daughter, whofe name is Ma
a neighbouring county, where Iria, is within a few months of my own had a plain common education, fuffici- age; fhe unites in her perfon and difent, as my father always declared, for pofition every thing that is lovely and a country gentleman, as he never de-amiable, and has a mind improved by figned me for any profeflion or em- a liberal education, and extensive read, ployment in public life. I think Ling. It was a confiderable time be may affert without vanity, that from a fore I spoke to her on any other than child I imbibed strong principles of ho- common fubjects; but the foon obnour and integrity; I ever paid the ferved that my behaviour to her was ftricteft regard to my parents injune- particular, and that I fhewed her untions, and tock pleafure in doing what common attention. My eyes discoverI thought would oblige them. ed a paffion which I cautiously avoided revealing with my tongue. It is impoffible for me to tell how fondly, how tenderly I did, and ftill do, love her: every time I faw her 1 admired her the more, and infenfibly formed an at-attachment, which neither time, nor change of circumftances or fituation, can eradicate or leffen.
Unfortunately for me, my father is a man of narrow fentiments, confined abilities, and ftrongly attached to money, which he thinks the best friend in the world, and the only thing worthy of much care to procure, and tention to preserve. In fhort, he does not, and I believe never did poffefs any real tenderness; he has no idea of the foft paffion of love, and is a ftranger to difinterested friendship.
About five years ago, when I was enly fixteen years of age, I became ac
It was on receiving a letter from my father, that he would in a few days fetch me from fchool, and that I thould return no more, that I became convinced her prefence was abfolutely neceffar
neceffary to my happiness. The idea In vain did I urge the fincerity of
Although I was then very young, and had feen little of life, I flattered myfelf, from her looks and manner, that I was not totally indifferent to her, and pleafed myself with the thoughts that I had told her my love, and that fhe could not eafily forget the attention I had fhewn, and my conftant endeavours to oblige her.
A confiderable time elapfed before I again faw her, yet I never for a moment forgot her her image was ever prefent to my view. Frequently did I mention to my father the friendly treatment I received from this gentleIman when at fchool; and at length prevailed on him, when we were together on a journey, and not many miles from his houfe, to call on him, and return him thanks for his former kinduefs. I then again faw the dear object of my fondell love. We were received with the greatest politeneis, and from the preffing invitation made 13, my father was prevailed on to ftay three days at the houfe. It was then near the middle of fummer, and one mild ferene moon-light evening, I contrived, as we were all walking in the garden, to engage my dear girl in converfation, and feparate from the rest of the company. It was then I paffed the molt delightful hour I had ever experienced. I foon introduced our former converfation, and again told her the excefs of my paffion. Kind were her looks, and her words were fofter than the fweeteft mufic to my ear: the faw, fhe was convinced of my fincerity; fhe pitied my diftrefs, and to give me fome relief declared, "That if my happiness depended on her, 1 should Inever have reafon to complain of my. fate."
With a fweetnefs of countenance, and look of tenderness, which would have foftened the hardeft heart, fhe told me "She was no ftranger to my fentiments, and entertained the higheft eftcem for me, which fhe thought me worthy of; that he fhould ever think of me with refpect, and be happy to hear of my welfare; but that the confidered herself as much my inferior, in point of fortune and expectations, and as we were both young, and dependent on our parents, it would be imprudent to make engagements without their approbation; and that a more general knowledge of the world, would, moft probably, in a fhort time, make me entertain different fentiments of her from thofe I then had."