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Well, not to afflict my reader with the same gratuitous anxiety, I have to acquaint him, that Granville told me little or nothing, but that he should soon be at Oxford. “ Not worth his while,” said I, throwing the letter on the table with something like spleen, “to take and give so much trouble for such a piece of intelligence :" and I own I walked about disgusted with it the whole day.
Nevertheless, for that and several days after I had no eyes or ears but for the coaches that almost hourly arrived in the town, particularly those from the north; and not a little of my spare time was given to coursing up and down the High-street, to and from All Souls, the college of this interesting Granville.
He came at last, and by my too great agitation at seeing him again, coupled with too studious an avoidance of any thing like curiosity about the place he came from, he detected how it was with me in a moment. Had it been better disguised, however, it would all have been at once laid bare, by the manner in which I received the news he very soon told me.
He had begun by probing me, being almost angry, he said, at my pretended apathy, yet affecting to think me thoroughly cured.
- You have nothing then to ask me," said he, “ about those I came from ?”
“ Nothing." “ Nor care for any intelligence concerning them ?" 56 Not much.”
- Very good. What if I should tell you of most important changes, both as to brother and sister?”
“ Changes !"
“ Yes; no less than a treaty for a double marriage.”
This overset all my equanimity. “ For God's sake, Granville,” I cried, “ spare me. I at least am not changed. I acknowledge my hypocrisy, and am properly punished. Sir Harry then has succeeded, and I again say I am glad ; but what of Foljambe ?"
At this my friend began to sympathize with me. He changed his air and tone, and wishing I was really the philosopher I had appeared, told me a tale of wonder.: that almost immediately after Sir Harry had taken bis leave, Lord Albany and his sister, Lady Charlotte, had visited Foljambe Park, where, though they came but for a fortnight, they had staid the whole Autumn; the assigned cause, Lord Albany's love of field sports (there enjoyed in perfection) and Lady Charlotte's sudden friendship and admiration for Bertha.
The admiration, however, was by no means confined to her ladyship, but largely shared by my lord, whose love for sports out of doors soon contracted itself to a love of another kind within. In short, he abandoned the chase to become a most warm and assiduous suitor to Bertha. This example was followed in every point by Foljambe, whose former flirtations with Lady Charlotte had grown into sober seriousness, and Granville had left him an accepted lover.
“ And Lord Albany ?" “ Expected to be so.” VOL. I.
“ Expected ?"
“ Yes; favoured and urged on in his pursuit by Foljambe; and though not approved by her father, at least not rejected by him, or yet by Bertha herself.”
“ Well,” said I, “ God bless her! and bless them all !" and I assumed a tone of decision, which rather surprised my informant. “And yet,” continued I, “ for her own sake, I would rather "
" What ?"
“ That she had chosen Sir Harry than Lord Albany."
“ And I, too,” observed Granville. “He was more suited to her. The marquess's love is more for her beauty; and so I believe she feels it; but the decisions of even the best of women are not always comprehensible; though a wish to be a marchioness may have influence with the best.”
“ Depend upon it,” said I, with a courage inspired by my genuine persuasions of her disinterestedness, 6 that consideration will never be an influencing cause for any decision of Bertha's. Lord Albany's are all brute merits; robust accomplishments, overbearing manners, athletic nerves, bodily energies ; in short, they are all of the earth, earthy.' Bertha is truly feminine ; cultivated in mind, as elegant in person; playful and arch, yet mild and dignified; full of modesty-full of sweetness; a blooming rose, a graceful myrtle ! Such union is not, nor it cannot come to good :
' But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue."" Here I confess my firmness gave way; my bravery
failed ; I felt all the bitterness of pent-up grief forced at last to vent itself in action, and though heartily ashamed, with sighs, and a faltering voice, I confessed all my weakness—all my dismay.
My condition affected Granville. • I had hoped," said he, “ that your assurances of recovery had been better founded, particularly after the impressions you said had been made upon you by the sage Fothergill.”
“ I will yet," replied I,“ rise superior to this weakness ; but who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and neutral, in a moment ?' I only wish that you had brought me word that the event was over; for it is easier to bear a positive evil than uncertainty. Yet you say the fact is certain."
To my surprise, Granville paused at this ; nay, hesitated and looked uneasy.
" I fear,” said he, “ I was not quite so correct as I ought to have been, but was misled by the firm countenance you shewed, to state a thing as certain, which was only, as I believe I expressed it, expected.”
« But there is no doubt,” cried I _" which is the same thing.”
“ Why, as to that, also," answered he, “ I ought not perhaps to pledge myself; though from Foljambe's assurances, and Bertha's civilities to the marquess ”
“ Civilities!” exclaimed I; “Gracious heaven !" So cold a return for love! And will she go to the altar with civilities—and will he accept them ?” and I own I felt disdainful. « Come,” said Granville, “ this misunderstanding, the consequence of my blunders, need not be. Bertha will never give her hand without her heart; nor could I mean to say so; all that I did mean was, that being the avowed object of the marquess's attentions, she had not withdrawn from them."
“How could she withdraw,” said I, gaining courage, “ while he was in the house ? and from your account, the offer has not yet been made.”
“Not to herself, though sufficiently announced as intended; at least so I have been assured by her brother, his bosom friend.”
“ His wish,” answered I, “ was probably father of the thought, and, after all, you may be mistaken. Bertha and Albany were never made for one another.”
- That may be a flattering unction which I would not wish you to encourage.
“ Hear me, Granville,” said I. - Whatever unction it may be, be assured it is on her account, not on my own. To pretend, or hope ever to be able to pretend, to this young lady, is not within a possibility in my own mind; and if I cannot conquer my madness, I must submit to be conquered by it, and allow it to prey upon me as it lists. But, without reference to myself, I may yet be permitted to rejoice if she escape from a man not worthy of her. Such, with all my inferiority of condition, I am bold enough to pronounce of Lord Albany, in every thing but his coronet."
“ I honour you, my good fellow, for this,” replied Granville, “ as well as for every other trait of character you have shewn throughout this unfortunate