« PreviousContinue »
discovered to be of that order of men called sometimes permitted to taste; of laughing at butts, those easy cushions (to borrow a meta- jokes, which he was sometimes allowed to make; phor of Otway's) on whom the wits of the world and carried an obsequious face into all com. repose and fatten.
panies, who were not treated with such extraBesides all this, he had a fund of conversa- ordinary respect as to preclude his approach. tion arising from the adventures of a life, which, About this time his father, whose business according to his own account, he had passed in the country had not increased since the death equally in the perils of war and the luxuries of of Sir William Sindall, had settled in London, peace; his memoirs affording repeated instances where the reader will recollect the having met of his valour in dangers of the field, his address with him in a former chapter ; but the captain, in the society of the great, and his gallantry in during his patron's residence there, lived too connections with the fair.
near St James's to make many visits to Gray's But lest the reader should imagine, that the Inn; and after that gentleman left the town, real portraiture of this gentleman was to be he continued to move amidst a circle of men of found in those lineaments which he drew of fashion, with whom he contrived to live in a himself, I will take the liberty candidly, though manner which has been often defined by the briefly, to communicate some particulars rela- expression of, “ nobody knows how :" which ting to his quality, his situation, and his cha- sort of life he had followed uninterruptedly racter.
without ever joining his regiment, till he was He was the son of a man who called himself now obliged, by the change of a colonel, to take an attorney, in a village adjoining to Sir Tho- some of the duty in his turn, and was ordered mas Sindall's estate. His father, Sir William, a recruiting, as I have taken due occasion to rewith whom I made my readers a little acquaint- late. ed in the beginning of my story, had found this In this company did Harriet return to her same lawyer useful in carrying on some pro- father. As the news of disaster is commonly ceedlings against his poor neighbours, which the speedy in its course, the good man had already delicacy of more established practitioners in the been confusedly informed of the attack which law might possibly have boggled at; and he had been made on his daughter. To him, there had grown into consequence with the Baronet, fore, this meeting was so joyful, as almost to from that pliancy of disposition which was suit- blot from his remembrance the calamities which ed to his service. Not that Sir William was had lately befallen his family. But far different naturally cruel or oppressive; but he had an were the sensations of Harriet: she shrunk exalted idea of the consequence which a great from the sight of a parent, of whose purity she estate confers on its possessor, which was ir. now conceived herself unworthy, and fell blushritated beyond measure when any favourite ing on his neck, which she bathed with a proscheme of his was opposed by a man of little fusion of tears. This he imagined to proceed fortune, however just or proper his reasons for from her sensibility of those woes which her opposition might be ; and, though a good sort unhappy brother had suffered ; and he forbore of man, as I have before observed, his vengeance to take notice of her distress, any otherwise was implacable.
than by maintaining a degree of cheerfulness Young Camplin, who was nearly of an age himself, much above what the feelings of his with Master Tommy Sindall, was frequently at heart could warrant. . . Sir William's in quality of a dependant compa- He was attended, when her fellow-travellers nion to his son ; and, before the Baronet died, he accompanied Miss Annesly to his house, by : had procured him an ensign's commission in a gentleman, whom he now introduced to her by regiment, which some years after was stationed the name of Rawlinson ; saying he was a very in one of our garrisons abroad, where Camplin, worthy friend of his, who had lately returned much against his inclination, was under a ne- from abroad. Harriet indeed recollected to cessity of joining it.
have heard her father mention such a one in Here he happened to to have an opportunity their conversations before. Though a good deal of obliging the chief in command, by certain younger than Annesly, he had been a very inlittle offices, which, though not strictly honour- timate school-fellow of his in London, from able in themselves, are sanctified by the favour which place he was sent to the East Indies, and and countenance of many honourable men; and returned, as was common in those days, with so much did they attach his commander to the some thousand pounds, and a good conscience, ensign, that the latter was very soon promoted to his native country. A genuine plainness of by his interest to the rank of a lieutenant, and manners, and a warm benevolence of heart, not long after was enabled to make a very ad- neither the refinements of life, nor the subtlevantageous purchase of a company.
ties of traffic, had been able to weaken in Rare With this patron also he returned to England, linson; and he set out, under the impression of and was received at all times in a very familiar both, immediately after his arrival in England, manner into his house ; where he had the ho to visit a companion, whose virtues he reinemnour of carving good dishes, which he was bered with veneration, and the value of whose
friendship he had not forgotten. Annesly re. I shall be far from being offended, and will alceived him with that welcome which his fire ways endeavour to retain her for my friend, side ever afforded to the worthy; and Harriet, whom I have no right to blame for not choosing through the dimness of her grief, smiled on the to be my wife.” friend of her father.
Annesly communicated this proposal to his daughter, with a fairness, worthy of that with
which it had been entrusted to him: “ I come CHAP. XXV.
not,” said he, “my Harriet, as a despot to
command, not as a father to persuade, but Something farther of Mr Rawlinson. merely as the friend of Mr Rawlinson, to dis
close his sentiments; that you should judge for Rawlinson found his reception so agreeable, yourself, in a matter of the highest importance that he lengthened his visit much beyond the to you, is the voice of reason and of nature ; I limits which he at first intended it; and the blush for those parents who have thought otherearnest request of Annesly, to whom his friend's wise. I would not even, with a view to this company was equally pleasing, extended them particular case, obtrude my advice; in general still a little farther.
you have heard my opinion before, that the During this period, he had daily opportuni- violence which we have been accustomed to ties of observing the amiable dispositions of apply to love, is not always necessary towards Harriet. He observed, indeed, a degree of me- happiness in marriage ; at the same time, that lancholy about her, which seemed extraordi- it is a treason of the highest kind in a woman nary in one of her age ; but he was satisfied to to take him for her husband, whom a decent account for it, from the relation, which her fa- affection has not placed in that situation, whence ther had given him, of the situation of his son, alone she should choose one. But my Harriet and that remarkable tenderness of which his has not merely been taught sentiments; I know daughter was susceptible. When viewed in this she has learned the art of forming them ; and light, it added to the good opinion which he als here she shall be trusted entirely to her own.” ready entertained of her.
The feelings of Harriet on this proposal, and His esteem for Miss Annesly shewed itself the manner in which her father communicated by every mark of attention, which a regard for it, were of so tender a kind, that she could not the other sex unavoidably prompts in ours; and restrain her tears. There wanted, indeed, but a young woman, or her father, who had no more little to induce her to confess all that had passed penetration in those matters than is common to with Sindall, and throw herself on the clemency many, would not have hesitated to pronounce, of her indulgent parent. Had she practised that Rawlinson was already the lover of Har- this sincerity, which is the last virtue we should riet. But as neither she nor her father had ever part with, how happy had it been ! But it any wishes pointing that way, which had been required a degree of fortitude, as well as softone great index for discovery, they were void of ness, to make this discovery ; besides, that her any suspicion of his intentions, till he declared seducer had, with the tenderest entreaties, and them to Annesly himself.
assurances of a speedy reparation of her injuries, He did this with an openness and sincerity prevailed on her to give him something like a conformable to the whole of his character. He promise of secrecy. told his friend, that he had now made such a Her answer to this offer of Mr Rawlinson's fortune as enabled him to live independently, expressed her sense of the obligation she lay and that he looked for a companion to partici- under to him, and to her father; she avowed pate it, whose good sense would improve what an esteem for his character equal to its excelwere worthy, and whose good-nature would lence, but that it amounted not to that tender bear what were imperfect in him. He had dis- regard which she must feel for the man whom covered, he said, so much of both in the mind she could think of making her husband. of Miss Annesly, that there needed not the re- Rawlinson received his friend's account of commendation of being the daughter of his this determination without discomposure. He worthiest friend to determine his choice ; and said he knew himself well enough, to believe, that, though he was not old enough to be in that Miss Annesly had made an honest and a sensible to beauty, yet he was wise enough to proper declaration ; and begged to have an inconsider it as the least of her good qualities. terview with herself, to shew her that he conHe added, that he made this application to her ceived not the smallest resentment at her refufather, not to ask a partial exertion of his in- sal, which, on the contrary, though it destroyterest in his favour, but only, as the common ed his hopes, had increased his veneration for her. friend of both, to reveal his intentions to Miss « Regard me not,” said he to her when they Harriet. “She has seen me,” said he, “ as I met, “ with that aspect of distance, as if you am ; if not a romantic lover, I shall not be a had offended or affronted me; let me not lose different sort of being, should she accept of me that look of kindness, which, as the friend of for a husband; if she does not, I promise you, your father and yourself, I have formerly ex
perienced. I confess there is one disparity be- who, in their humble walk of life, had few to tween us, which we elderly men are apt to for- whom that title would belong, felt his absence get, but which I take no offence at being put with an equal emotion. He promised, howin mind of. It is more than probable, that I ever, at his departure, to make them another shall never be married at all. Since I am not visit with the return of the spring. a match for you, Miss Annesly, I would endeavour to make you somewhat better, if it is possible, for another; do me the favour to ac
CHAP. XXVI. cept of this paper, and let it speak for me, that I would contribute to your happiness, without Captain Camplin is again introduced.—The sithe selfish consideration of its being made one tuation of Miss Annesly, with that Gentlewith my own.” So saying, he bowed, and re man's concern in her affairs. tired into an adjoining apartment, where his friend was seated. Harriet, upon opening the His place was but ill supplied, at their winpaper, found it to contain bank-bills to the ter's fire-side, by the occasional visits of Campamount of a thousand pounds. Her surprise lin, whom Sindall had introduced to Annesly's at this instance of generosity held her, for a acquaintance. Yet, though his was a characfew moments, fixed to the spot; but she no ter on which Annesly could not bestow much sooner recollected herself, than she followed of his esteem, it had some good-humoured quaMr Rawlinson, and putting the paper, with its lities, which did not fail to entertain and amuse contents, into his hand,-- Though I feel, sir," him. But the captain seemed to be less agreesaid she, “ with the utmost gratitude, those able in that quarter, to which he principally sentiments of kindness and generosity you have pointed his attention, to wit, the opinion of Harexpressed towards me, you will excuse me, I riet, to whom he took frequent occasion to make hope, from receiving this mark of them.” Raw- those speeches, which have just enough of folly linson's countenance betrayed some indications in them to acquire the name of compliments, of displeasure.." You do wrong," said he, and sometimes even ventured to turn them in “ young lady, and I will be judged by your so particular a manner, as if he wished to have father. This was a present, sir, I intended them understood to mean somewhat more. for the worthiest woman; the daughter of my The situation of the unfortunate Harriet was worthiest friend ; she is woman still, I see, and such as his pleasantry could not divert, and his her pride will, no more than her affections, sub- attachment could only disgust. As she had mit itself to my happiness." Annesly looked lost that peace of mind which inward satisfacupon the bank-bills : « There is a delicacy, my tion alone can bestow, so she felt the calabest friend,” said he, “ in our situation ; the mity doubled, by that obligation to secrecy she poor must ever be cautious, and there is a cer- was under, and the difficulty which her pretain degree of pride which is their safest virtue.” sent condition (for she was now with child) _" Let me tell you," interrupted the other, made such a concealment be attended with. “ this is not the pride of virtue. It is that fans Often had she determined to reveal, either to tastic nicety which is a weakness in the soul, her father, or to Mrs Wistanly, who, of her and the dignity of great minds is above it. Be- own sex, was her only friend, the story of her lieve me, the churlishness which cannot oblige, dishonour ; but Sindall, by repeated solicitais little more selfish, though in a different mode, tions when in the country, and a constant corthan the haughtiness which will not be obli- respondence when in town, conjured her to be
silent some little time, till he could smooth the o We are instructed, my child,” said An- way for bestowing his hand on the only woman nesly, delivering her the paper; “ let us shew whom he had ever sincerely loved. One prinMr Rawlinson, that we have not that narrow- cipal reason for his postponing their union, had ness of mind which he has censured; and that always been the necessity for endeavouring to we will pay that last tribute to his worth, gain over the assent of his grandfather by the which the receiving of a favour bestows." mother's side, from whom Sindall had great
« Indeed, sir,” said Harriet, “ I little de expectations ; he had, from time to time, sugserve it; I am not, I am not what he thinks gested this as difficult, and only to be attemptme.--I am not worthy of his regard."--Anded with caution, from the proud and touchy she burst into tears. They knew not why she disposition of the old gentleman: he now rewept; but their eyes shed each a sympathetic presented him as in a very declining state of drop, without asking their reason's leave. health ; and that, probably, in a very short
Mr Rawlinson speedily set out for London, time, his death would remove this obstacle to where his presence was necessary towards dis the warmest wish of a heart, that was ever patching some business he had left unfinished, faithful to his Harriet. The flattering lanafter his return to England.
guage of his letters could not arrest the progress He left his friend, and his friend's amiable of that time, which must divulge the shame of daughter, with a tender regret; while they, her he had undone; but they soothed the tu
mults of a soul to whom his villainy was yet from Sindall, told her, he had taken measures unknown, and whose affections his appearance for carrying into execution the purpose it conof worth, of friendship, and nobleness of mind, tained. had but too much entangled.
It informed her, that Sir Thomas was in the However imperfectly he had accounted for house of an old domestic at some miles distance, delaying a marriage, which he always profess- where he waited to be made her's. That he ed his intention to perform, the delusion was had for this secrecy many reasons, with which kept up in the expectations of Harriet, till that he could not, by such a conveyance, make her period began to draw near, when it would be acquainted, but which her own prudence would impossible any longer to conceal from the world probably suggest. He concluded with recomthe effects of their intimacy. Then, indeed, mending her to the care and protection of her uneasiness was not to be allayed by such Camplin, whose honour he warmly extolled. excuses as Sindall had before relied on her art She paused a moment on the perusal of this less confidence to believe. He wrote her, there billet. -" Oh! heavens !” said she, “ to what fore, an answer to a letter full of the most ear have I reduced myself !-Mr Camplin, what am nest, as well as tender, expostulations, inform- I to do? Whither are you to carry me? Paring her, of his having determined to run any don my confusion--I scarce know what I say risk of inconvenience to himself, rather than to you.” suffer her to remain longer in a state, such as « I have a chaise and four ready," answered she had (pathetically indeed) described ; that Camplin, “ at the end of the lane, which in an he was 'to set out in a few days for the country, hour or two, Madam, will convey. you to Sir to make himself indissolubly' hers; but that it Thomas Sindall.”—“ But my father, good heawas absolutely necessary that she should allow ven! to leave my father !"-3" Consider," said him to conduct their marriage in a particular he, “'tis but for a little while: my boy shall manner, which he would coinmunicate to her carry a note to acquaint him, that you are gone on his arrival; and begged, as she valued his on a visit, and will return in the evening.” peace and her own, that the whole matter “ Return! Methinks I feel a foreboding, that might still remain inviolably secret, as she had I shall never return."—He put a piece of paper hitherto kept it.
and a pencil into her hand ; the note was writIn a few days after the receipt of this letter, ten, and dispatched by the boy, to whom he she received a note from Camplin, importing beckoned at some distance where he had waithis desire to have an interview with her on some ed.--" Now, Madam,” said he, “ let me conparticular business, which related equally to duct you." Her knees knocked so against her and to Sir Thomas Sindall. The time ape each other, that it was with difficulty she could pointed was early in the morning of the suc- walk, even with the support of his arm. They ceeding day; and the place, a little walk which reached the chaise; a servant who stood by it, the villagers used to frequent in holiday-times, opened the door to admit her ; she put her foot at the back of her father's garden. This was on the step, then drew it back again. “ Be not delivered to her, in a secret manner, by a little afraid, Madam,” said Camplin, “ you go to be boy, an attendant of that gentleman's, who was happy.” She put her foot up again, and stood a frequent guest in Annesly's kitchen, from his in that attitude a moment; she cast back a look talent at playing the flageolet, which he had ac- to the little mansion of her father, whence the quired in the capacity of a drummer to the re- smoke was now rolling its volumes in the calm giment to which his master belonged. Mysteri- of a beautiful morning. A gush of tenderness ous as the contents of this note were, the mind swelled her heart at the sight-She burst into of Harriet easily suggested to her, that Camplin tears-But the crisis of her fate was come—and had been, in some respect at least, let into the she entered the carriage, which drove off at a confidence of Sir Thomas. She now felt the furious rate, Camplin commanding the postilwant of that dignity which innocence bestows; lion to make as much speed as was possible. she blushed and trembled, even in the presence of this little boy, because he was Camplin's; and, with a shaking hand, scrawled a note in
CHAP. XXVIII. answer to that he had brought her, to let his master know, that she would meet him at the The effects which the Event contained in the prehour he had appointed.-She met him accorda ceding Chapter had on Mr Annesly. ingly.
He began with making many protestations The receipt of that note which Harriet was of his regard, both for Miss Annesly and the persuaded by Camplin to write to her father, Baronet, which had induced him, he said, to de- (intimating that she was gone upon a visit to a dicate himself to the service of both in this af- family in the neighbourhood, and not to return fair, though it was a matter of such delicacy till the evening,) though her time of going as he would not otherwise have chosen to in- abroad was somewhat unusual, did not create terfere in ; and putting into her hand a letter any surprise in the mind of Annesly; but it happened that Mrs Wistanly, who called in the and the tears gushed from his eyes. His mas. afternoon to inquire after her young friend, had ter's were turned upwards, to that Being to just left the very house where her message im." whom calamity ever directed them. The maid. ported her visit to be made. This set her fa- servant now entered the room, uttering some ther on conjecturing, yet without much anxie- broken exclamations of sorrow, which a violent ty, and with no suspicion ; but his fears were sobbing rendered inarticulate.--Annesly had redoubled, when, having sat up till a very late finished his account with heaven; and, address hour, no tidings arrived of his daughter. He ing her with a degree of calmness, which the went to bed, however, though it could not af- good man could derive only thence, asked her ford him sleep; at every bark of the village. the cause of her being afflicted in so unusual a dogs his heart bounded with the hopes of her manner. “Oh, sir !” said she, stifling her tears, return; but the morning arose, and did not “ I have heard what the captain's boy has been restore him his Harriet.
telling; I fear it is but too true, and worse His uneasiness had been observed by his ser than you imagine! God forgive me, if I wrong vants, to whom he was too indulgent a master Miss Harriet; but I suspect-I have suspected to have his interests considered by them with for some time”-she burst into tears again,less warmth than their own. Abraham, there “ that my young lady is with child."-Annesfore, who was coeval with his master, and had ly had stretched his fortitude to the utmostserved him ever since he was married, had sal. this last blow overcame it, and he fell senseless lied forth by day-break in search of intelligence on the floor. Abraham threw himself down by He was met accidentally by a huntsman of Sir him, tearing his white locks, and acting all the Thomas Sindall's, who informed him, that as frantic extravagancies of grief. But the maid he crossed the lane at the back of the village was more useful to her master; and having the morning before, he saw Miss Annesly lean raised him gently, and chafed his temples, he ing on Captain Camplin's arm, and walking with began to shew some signs of reviving; when him towards a chaise and four, which stood at Abraham recollected himself so far as to assist the end of it. Abraham's cheeks grew pale at his fellow-servant in carrying him to his chamthis intelligence ; because he had a sort of in ber, and laying him on his bed, where he restinctive terror for Camplin, who was in use to covered the powers of life, and the sense of his make his awkward simplicity a fund for many misfortune. jests and tricks of mischief, during his visits to Their endeavours for his recovery were se Annesly. He hastened home to communicate conded by Mrs Wistanly, who had made this this discovery to his master, which he did with early visit to satisfy some doubts which she, as a faultering tongue, and many ejaculations of well as Annesly, had conceived, even from the fear and surprise. Annesly received it with less information of the preceding day. When he emotion, though not without an increase of first regained the use of speech, he complained uneasiness. “ Yonder,” said Abraham, looking of a violent shivering, for which this good lady, through the window, “is the captain's little from the little skill she possessed in physic, boy ;" and he ran out of the room to bring him prescribed some simple remedies, and at the to an examination. The lad, upon being inter same time dispatched Abraham for an apotherogated, confessed, that his master had sent cary in the neighbourhood, who commonly athim to hire a chaise, which was to be in wait tended the family. ing at the end of that lane I have formerly Before this gentleman arrived, Annesly had mentioned, at an early hour in the morning, received so much temporary relief from Mrs and that he saw Miss Annesly go into it, at Wistanly's prescriptions, as to be able to speak tended by the captain, who had not, any more with more ease, than the incessant quivering of than Miss Harriet, been at home, or heard of his lips had before allowed him to do.“ Alas!" since that time. This declaration deprived An- said he, “ Mrs Wistanly, have you heard of nesly of utterance; but it only added to the my Harriet ?"_" I have, sir," said she, “ with warmth of Abraham's inquisition, who, now equal astonishment and sorrow; yet let me enmingling threats with his questions, drew from treat you not to abandon that hope which the the boy the secret of his having privately deli. present uncertainty may warrant. I cannot alvered a letter, from his master to Miss Annes- low myself to think, that things are so ill as ly, the very night preceding the day of their your servants have informed me."-"My foredeparture; and that a man of his acquaintance, boding heart," said he,“ tells me they are. I who had stopt, about mid-day, at the ale-house remember many circumstances now, which all where he was quartered, told him, by way of meet to confirm my fears. Oh! Mrs Wistanly, conversation, that he had met his master with she was my darling, the idol of my heart ! a lady, whom he supposed, jeeringly, he was perhaps too much so—the will of heaven be running away with, driving at a great rate on done !" the road towards London. Abraham made a The apothecary now arrived, who, upon exasign to the boy to leave the room.—“My poor mining into the state of his patient, ordered dear young lady !" said he, as he shut the door, some warm applications, to remove that uni