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My freend, Sir Geordie, is unco poleete in intraducing ye to me ; and faith, Mr. Doveways, I will e'en dance with ye, accarding to your deseeres, for I have long wushed to form your acquaintance; and, as an old Scotch proverb says, • The maire ye ken, the maire ye
leeke.' Poor Doveways cast a look of wretchedness at Rosa, and bowing profoundly, handed Lady Macedonia to the quadrille, muttering something like “I am very happy.” Rosa curtesied pensively as her mother presented to her Sir Larry. Never did a quadrille go off worse. Matilda was enraged at her younger sister's carrying off her beau, and her anger was not decreased by her having to dance with a little elderly foreign Count, who wore powder, and sported a pigtail. Lady Macedonia danced with great prowess at Mr. Dove. ways, who seemed rather to dance from than with her. Poor Rosa moved with submissive apathy, whilst Sir Larry's round cheeks were flushed with satisfaction. Lady Railtravers watched the scene with delight, and whispered to Sir George, that if Sir Larry did not take with Matilda, he was a capital catch for Rosa. The only two dancers that were completely happy were Captain Bruen and his corpulent beauty ; for, in spite of etiquette, these two would dance together in this, as they had done in the preceding quadrilles. I enjoyed Lady Railtravers' illusion; for I knew that Mr. Doreways would be a far better match for her daughter Rosa than the other.
Never did a match party produce greater disasters. In three weeks Captain Bruen went off with his fat partner; it was entirely a love-match on both sides. Sir Larry, by the advice of a friend, read all the fashionable novels, that he might learn to make love, but in vain; for, in spite of the efforts of both father and mother, Rosa could not bring herself to listen to his addresses. My friend Dove. ways made Rosa an offer ;-never shall I forget my surprise when he showed me her delicate, mild, but firm REFUSAL ! Doveways took the disappointment keenly to heart, and went off to Florence. To Florence after him flew Lady Macedonia Grizzle, on account of her health. Sir George and Lady Railtravers repaired to Boulogne.
Poor Rosa, the most beautiful in form and face, the most graceful in manners, the most artless and innocent, the most frank and affectionate, never lived to realise her mother's anticipations. I think I now see her timid varying countenance, and hear the playfulness of her voice, giving charm to her delicacy and young sensations at life opening to her in prospect. Rosa was disappointed in her love, and died early of consumption.
“Never again,” said I, “ will I pique myself upon my penetra. tion : for never did it strike me that poor Rosa was deeply, fatally in love with Captain Bruen ! ! !"
OR, THE SLAVE OF PASSION. Henry FORTESCUE has been some years numbered with the dead, or the following impressive narrative would not yet have seen the light. Nor would I give it now, were one being in existence who could recognise with any painful sensation the facts I shall record. Facts they are, clothed only in the garb of fiction so far as relates to actual names and situations. There is always something in the language of truth which carries with it its own certificate ; and the story itself, which has dwelt, unimparted, on my mind for many and many a year, will, now that I can safely and honestly divulge it, ease my recollection of a load which, from accumulated burthens of my own, I have felt a hundred times a disposition to shake off. But the integrity of even boyish confidence I believe is seldom broken. For my own part, I would not for the wealth of worlds abuse a secret reposed in me in the unsuspecting days of youth, any more than I would the apparently more important communications of matured age. In fact, we might generally risk the latter rather than the former; for it is observable that the secrets confided in middle and advanced age are seldom of a nature which compromise character, or, if imparted, such as would endanger respectability. We grow cautious, if we do not grow wise, as we grow old; though even caution must be considered as one of the humbler attributes of wisdom.
Henry Fortescue was my schoolfellow, and my earliest friend. He protected me from the tyranny of bigger boys because I was weakly, and seemed to love me the better for having protected me. There have been worse causes than this for devotion on the part of a youngster in after.life towards a young man in many respects his superior. He finished his school education many years before myself; but he never forgot his early protégé. We did not, however, meet again until he was in his twenty.third year, and he was my senior by about six years. Accidental associations at this time brought us into fre. quent collision, and adventitious circumstances had rendered us mutually serviceable to each other. The dissimilarity of our ages, particularly felt at the period of life to which I allude, made me regard Henry Fortescue for some time as a superior; and in many respects he was really so. His manners were highly attractive, his person unusually handsome, his education finished, and his birth just above the middle rank of society. With such advantages, it can be no matter of surprise that a lad in all these respects beneath him should be flattered by his notice, and attached by his regard ; and, whatever might be his genuine feelings towards me, who had little more than high spirits and good nature to recommend me, his early kindness and subsequent notice bound me to him with a sort of romantic affection, which would have induced me cheerfully to risk my life in his service or defence.
Young persons, at the age I have described myself to be at the period I refer to, are rarely indeed remarkable for examining very minutely into the real characters of their chosen, or rather accidental, associates and friendships. I did not examine at all. I was first attached by kindness, and afterwards somewhat dazzled by the acquire
ments of my friend, and altogether flattered by his confidence. To the common eye, the coarsest iron may be so polished as to resemble steel; the basest copper may be so washed as to pass current for gold. Experience, too often dearly bought, teaches us to look beneath the surface, and to separate the ore from the refined metal; but those who look for, or expect to find, the discernment of experience in youth, prove only their own inexperience. The young, amongst many engaging qualities,-of which this open confidence, this very want of circumspection, is assuredly prominent,—the young, I say, see no spots on the sun's disc; while the philosopher, with his smoked glass, not only sees, but counts and describes them. It would indeed be to dash with bitterness the cup of youth, could the pene. tration and foresight of age be at once conveyed to their understandings, when all the glowing fancies, the warm anticipations, and buoyant hopes of their vital spring were bracing with joyous elasticity their highly-wrought imaginations. It were cruel kindness, were it possible, to instil this precocious wisdom, and worse than cruel to debar that precious period of life of its natural and best delights.
The weaknesses, the frivolities, the errors of the young, are there. fore justly regarded with a lenient eye. The offspring of the mo. narch of the woods must be a whelp before he can become a lion; and the mind of man must “grow with his growth, and strengthen with his strength," through many a slow gradation, before it can arrive at that stage of advancement when reason is to become the guide of judgment, and judgment the master of passion.
Henry Fortescue had just sufficient fortune, derived from the bequest of a near relation, to enable him to mix in good society, and to preserve a straitened independence. His parents had wished him to follow one of the learned professions; and after some years had been lost in hesitation rather than in deliberation, he discovered that it was too late to commence the necessary studies; and having some considerable expectations hereafter from a rich maiden aunt, who had always shown great affection towards him, he soon determined to adopt the indolent plan which his inclination suggested, and to continue to live on the adequate, but still slender means, I have before described.
With that sort of desultory education, which enables a young man of good address and agreeable manners to pass muster in the world, he now considered that his acquirements were all-sufficient for the purposes of a private gentleman, and soon gave himself up to that fatiguing "idleness," which consists in a round of dissipation, and which has been emphatically and most truly considered “the root of all evil."
Henry Fortescue had no ambition, and as little foresight. He laughed at the suggestion of marriage, which he denominated a state of servitude and thraldom if maintained in purity, and as one of aban. doned infamy if violated in its avowed and sworn integrity.
In these acknowledged feelings there was too much of unquestionable truth to excite any sentiments beyond those of pity in some sedate minds, and of applause in many honest ones; and had his opinions been founded on firmer ground than his imagination, and proved con. sistent in the end, he might have passed onward to age with the character of a respectable old bachelor, and died perhaps in the arms of some affectionate niece, who might have long anxiously watched his declining health, while calculating the precise amount of the promised
inheritance or bequest, on which depended the fruition of her own long-anticipated matrimonial arrangements.
But fate had otherwise ordained.
Henry Fortescue's denunciation against marriage was by no means the result of a phlegmatic temperament. His passions were strong, and his admiration of the softer sex ardent,-so ardent, indeed, that the indulgence of his passions had, very speedily after he became his own master, in some degree impaired the slender independence of which I have spoken ; still it was not without some surprise on my part that he one day laughingly announced to me that he had reviewed the subject of his favourite professions, and had arrived at last at a different conclusion.
* Then,” said I, "you are about to reform, and marry ?" His only answer was a deep sigh.
“You reasoned so well, and so convincingly,” I continued, "on your former resolutions, that I am justly entitled to hear the motives which have influenced your renunciation of them.”
“My reasoning,” he replied, “was too just to be controverted, or at least refuted ; but when I adopted it, I had never known what it was to love." “Oh! ho !” I exclaimed.
'The fox that laugh'd at each snare he pass’d
Was caught in a simple trap at last !'” “Alas! my dear young friend,” he very seriously replied, “this is no jesting matter."
He now proceeded to confide in me his “tender tale of love." He had many months before become acquainted with the only daughter of a wealthy merchant, a very young and beautiful girl, to whom he had gradually become devotedly attached, who had evinced, and at last acknowledged, that his passion was as warmly returned; but that the enraged father, having discovered their reciprocal understanding, and having far superior views in life for his only child, (having, indeed, already selected the man whom he preferred, on commercial considerations, as her future husband,) had at last peremptorily forbidden him the house, in which he had been for some time almost domesti. cated, informing him at the same time, “that the young lady was in fact already engaged, -and that, having been brought up to fear as well as to respect parental authority, she had easily abandoned all idea of opposition to their will,—had yielded cheerful obedience to her sense of duty; and had given a solemn and voluntary promise that she would never see or correspond with her new admirer until one or both of them were otherwise disposed of in marriage.”
For many weeks after this confidential communication, I grieved to see my somewhat libertine friend a victim to his absorbing passion, and a prey to that morbid melancholy, which is at once the consequence and the solace of a sincere and devoted affection. It was evident enough, even to me, that he had never before known what a real passion meant. He had heretofore been like the voluptuous bee, that gathers sweets from every flower, whether wholesome or poisonous, and too often, like the worm that works its insidious way into the nascent bud, to canker and destroy the blossom; but never till now had he appeared to settle on one object that genuine affection, which has been rather hyperbolically said by Goldsmith to be
"On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle's nest."
This mood in my early friend had lasted many months, when he appeared to make a desperate effort to rally, and resume his wonted gaiety. One morning he called upon me, as I plainly saw, in a state of some excitement.
“Ralph,” said he,“ desire yourself to be denied for half an hour, as I have something particular to say to you.” I did as he desired, and he began—"You once asked my motive for changing, or I should rather say, for not adhering to my principles in regard to marriage. I gave you a satisfactory one,-namely, that when I formed those prin. ciples I had never known what it was to love. I now again propose departing from them; but my present motive is a very different one."
You astonish me!” said I. “I knew I should,” replied he, “and have rather astonished myself,—but so it is. I never, my dear Ralph, so much required the encouragement of a friend as I do at this moment. You are younger, little man," as he had frequently called me from our boyish days,
you are younger than I am ; but I know not where to seek advice but from one in whom I can confide my whole heart and soul."
I was about to reply, when he proceeded
“I have far outrun my limited income. My creditors have applied to my father; and I would die rather than involve him and my mo. ther in difficulties, which it is alone my business to repair. They are, happily, independent, thank God; and I would not abstract one iota from their comforts to relieve myself from abject misery."
“My dear Henry,'' I replied, interrupting him, “I have a little hoard of money, which is yours from this moment." And I rose to fetch it.
Stop, stop,” cried he; “this is far from my meaning."
But,” said I, “ I have no use whatever for some eighty or ninety pounds in my writing-desk.”
“Eighty or ninety pounds, my little man, will go but a small way towards paying nearly two thousand. I am seriously so far involved. And now hear the truth. A lady of unimpeachable character, with a fine fortune, unincumbered, -that is, without parents or guardians has condescended to cast on your humble servant an eye of approbation --or whatever you may please to call it. The lady is not very young, or remarkably handsome ; but-but-attend to the but, my dear Ralph--she has at least thirty thousand pounds for her fortune. She is a widow; but what of that? I hope she may possibly love a young husband better than, as report goes, she ever loved her departed old one. Now my notion is, that with such a lady, and her fortune, I may pass a contented life, though, after what you already know, I never can pass a happy one.
?" “I am very young and very ignorant,” I replied ; “but it strikes me that your heart being already devotedly engaged—”
“ The heart must not be brought into a question of this sort," he retorted. “I love, I adore Julia still, and ever shall. I never loved another, and never can
“ Then do not marry another,” I replied; “ for that, to my poor understanding, would appear a base violation of every feeling of truth and integrity, which is most valuable to man in the discharge of his allotted duties."
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