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"Sophia, as you well know, followed me to India. She was as innocent as gay; but, unfortunately for us both, as gay as innocent. My own manners were partly formed by studies I had forsaken, and habits of seclusion, not quite consistent with my situation as commandant of a regiment, in a country where universal hospitality is offered and expected by every settler claiming the rank of a gentleman. In a moment of peculiar pressure, (you know how hard we were sometimes run to obtain white faces to countenance our line of battle) a young man, named Brown, joined our regiment as a volunteer, and, finding the military duty more to his fancy than commerce, in which he had been engaged, remained with us as a cadet.—Let me do my unhappy victim justice—he behaved with such gallantry on every occasion that offered, that the first vacant commission was considered as his due. I was absent for some weeks upon a distant expedition ;—when I returned, I found this young fellow established quite as the friend of the house, and habitual attendant of my wife and daughter. It was an arrangement which displeased me in many particulars, though no objection could be made to his manners or character—Yet I might have been reconciled to his familiarity in my family, but for the suggestions of another. If you read over—what I never dare open—the play of Othello, you will have some idea of what followed—I mean of my motives—my actions, thank God! were less reprehensible. There was another cadet ambitious of the vacant situation, lie called my attention to what he led me to term coquetry between my wife and this young man. Sophia was virtuous, but proud of her virtue; and, irritated by my jealousy, she was so imprudent as to press and encourage an intimacy which she saw I disapproved and regarded with suspicion. Between Brown and me there existed a sort of internal dislike. He made
an effort or two to overcome my prejudice; but, prepossessed as I was, I placed them to a wrong motive. Feeling himself repulsed, and with scorn, he desisted; and as he was without family and friends, he was naturally more watchful of the deportment of one who had both.
"It is odd with what torture I write this letter. I feel inclined, nevertheless, to protract the operation, just as if my doing so could put off the catastrophe which has long embittered my life. But it must be told, and it shall be told briefly.
"My wife, though no longer young, was still eminently handsome, and—let me say thus far in my own justification—she was fond of being thought so. I am repeating what I said before—In a word, of her virtue I never entertained a doubt; but, pushed on by the artful suggestions of Archer, I thought she cared little for my peace ofmind, and that the young fellow, Brown, paid his attentions in my despite, and in defiance of me. He perhaps considered me, on his part, as an oppressive aristocratic man, who made my rank in society, and in the army, the means of galling those whom circumstances placed beneath me. And if he discovered my silly jealousy, he probably considered the fretting me in that sore point of my character, as one means of avenging the petty indignities to which I had it in my power to subject him. Yet an acute friend of mine gave a more harmless, or at least a less offensive, construction to his attentions, which he conceived to be meant for my daughter Julia, though immediately addressed to propitiate the influence of her mother. This could have been no very flattering or pleasing enterprise on the part of an obscure and nameless young man; but I could not have bee.; offended at This folly as I was at the higher degree of presumption I suspected. Offended, however, I was, and in a mortal degree. . .
"A very slight spark will kindle a flame where every thing lies open to catch it. I have absolutely forgot the proximate cause of quarrel, but it was some trifle which occurred at the card-table, which occasioned high words and a challenge. We met in the morning beyond the walls and esplanade of the fortress which I then commanded, on the frontiers of the settlement. This was arranged for Brown's safety had he escaped. I almost wish he had, though at my own expence; but he fell by the first fire. We strove to assist him, but some of these Looties, a species of native banditti, who were always on the watch for prey, poured in upon us. Archer and I gained our horses with difficulty, and cut our way through them after a hard conflict, in the course of which he received some desperate wounds. To complete the misfortunes of this miserable day, my wife, who suspected the design with which I left the fortress, had ordered her palanquin to follow me, and was*