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return in ten minutes. What was my surprise, on my return, to find
possession of Mr. Granville, whose genius for musical composition, and feeling for love-poetry and Petrarch, I have already mentioned.
From his known reputation and connection with York, Mr. Granville had been invited from Oxford to join the amateur concerts to be given during the assize week ; and, as his musical compositions had always been admired, had been earnestly requested to favour the undertaking by bringing some of them with him. I have said he was kindly disposed towards me, and, hearing I was at York, had come to visit me, when, finding I was expected every minute, he had waited my return.
He was a little confused at being found with my manuscript in his hand, which he confessed he had read, upon seeing it open for anybody's perusal ; adding, however, by way of additional claim for pardon, that even if he thought he had been doing wrong, he was afraid he could not have desisted, the sentiments being, as he was pleased to say, so much in the very spirit of true and generous love.
“ If these verses are yours," said he, “ I can only say, I congratulate and envy you too."
This from a man, himself so distinguished for his own poetry and musical powers, must have insured his pardon, had the fault not been my own for so carelessly leaving myself open to be read by any straggler in the hotel.
“ But do you know,” said he, “ that your pardon
will not content me? The verses are so affecting, that they would admirably set off affecting music, and I have recently indulged myself in an amatory composition, to suit which I have in vain looked for words. Will you give these to me—that is, allow me to adapt them to the air I have composed ? If your mistress is like Cowley's, ideal, and merely a theme to exercise
your taste for poetry (for I apprehend you are too young for this to be more than imaginary), no harm can be done, and you will essentially oblige me.”
He then proceeded again to commend the stanzas.
What shall I say? The thought of appearing in public as an author astonished, nay frightened me: but he answered this by saying the author would not be known.
Then, if Bertha should ever discover that she was the subject! But that could hardly be, if even the author were known ; and if even she applied them (which was scarcely possible), there might perhaps be a melancholy pleasure in thinking that my hopeless passion was not buried in obscurity; and as I meant never to see her again, why the thing would be indifferent. Was I quite sure that it would be so ? that I should not be even pleased that she should know how much and with what constancy I had loved her, though all
secrecy, silence, and despair? Were I dying, I thought it might do me good to think she should not be ignorant of this.
Well! after a variety of arguments urged and answered on both sides, Mr. Granville and flattery pre
vailed; and leaving him to his own impression, that the passion described was imaginary, I allowed him to copy the verses, with which he walked off.
That very day the manuscript composition was announced for the next morning's concert, at which, of course, the whole Hastings party would attend ! How can I describe the interest of that moment !
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
I am advised to give her music o'mornings ;
I was early in the concert-room, and soon saw the entry of those who alone gave it a charm in my eyes.
From I know not what cause, Charles was not among them, which did not displease me; but Mr. Hastings escorted his daughter and sister, the sheriff's lady, with a daughter, Miss Lucinda Mansell, a pleasing girl, and her odious brother.
Bertha was arrayed in all her loveliness of person and elegance of attire, combining the dignity of a queen with the grace of a nymph ; in short, with all that distinction, yet suavity of manner, which attracted the regard and attention of every one, from the highest to the lowest. Accordingly, she was surrounded in a moment by the élite of the gentry at York; while I, at a distance, was more than ever shrunk in my own littleness, and more than ever impressed with my own temerity.
However, the commencement of the concert dissipated these reflections, and left me eager for the per
formance of the important strain; an eagerness which, from the reputation of Mr. Granville, who was known to have composed the music, and was otherwise so well known at York, seemed to be shared by the audience.
It met with complete success. The melody was so beautiful, that it would have insured favour to any words ; but the words themselves had also a share of praise. This I found from the remarks of many to whom I sat near, particularly of some young females of prepossessing appearance; though it was chiefly valuable to me for the hope this caused that Bertha might be of the same opinion. From what they said they plainly thought that Mr. Granville was the author of the stanzas as well as the music.
66 What a delightful man that Mr. Granville must be !” said these young ladies.
Can I deny my pleasure? But, safely can I say, that it was only or chiefly because it shewed it possible that another might think so too, and the verses be approved by her as well as by these strangers. This I thought not unlikely; for the enviable Granville, enrolled in the Hastings' party, was seated next to his lovely relation, who, to the annoyance of her other cousin, Mansell, who sat on the other side, gave him all her attention. Nay, it was obvious, for I could see it from my station, that she was complimenting him upon the melody, and perhaps upon the words, thinking them his; for he replied to her animated address with a succession of bows, but also with shakes of the head; the one evidently from acquiescence, the other as evidently from disclaimer.