« PreviousContinue »
smiled at any playful remark of her deficiency in colloquial powers had venerable friend, the vermeil lips, the occasioned her former silence. I was pearly teeth, were enchanting: yet I invited to dinner. I excused myself, think her irresistible captivation was by saying that Lady Seabourne exthe expression of intelligence, sweet- pected me; and as the family circle ness, and chastened vivacity pervad- || at Seabourne Lodge was very small, ing every feature.
even I should be missed. I was ask"I was attended to the wood by Mr. ed to return, and promised to call Doughty; but I asked no question often, though any stay must be short, about the family, and the wrongs of on account of my engagements to his ancestor and the character of Lady Seabourne.. Sir Francis Drake supplied conver- “. She is mother to the earl, if I sation. Your ladyship will remem- | mistake not,' said the old lady: 'may ber, that I came home an hour after I ask, sir, if you are related to the noon, and you condoled with me for family? wanting a morning repast so long. I ". I have the honour to be nearly My secret was not ripe for disclo- related to the countéss,' I replied. sure, and I forced myself to partake This query and my answer took of a luncheon, though I never had place only a few days ago, when the less inclination to eat. In the even- | old lady subjoined, . You may think, ing I rode to the edge of the forest, sir, I have little right to information tied my horse to a tree, and walked about your connections, as I have to the mansion to ask for the lady. merely told you my name is Merton, Doughty wished me to come in and the grandmother of Lavinia Mertake some rest, but I declined the ton. My husband and her father privilege. I went daily, always refus- | were of England; my mother was a ing to intrude upon the ladies, till I lineal descendant of William Lord of met the venerable matron in the gar Liddesdale, called also the Flower den. She said she was watching my of Chivalry.' arrival, and had come forward to in "I have had some account of that sist that I should not go without en- illustrious hero,' I said, and of the tering a house where my services had prophetic blessing with which he enbeen so seasonable. My heart throb- | dowed the land when conferred upbed with joy. I was conducted to a on his favourite daughter.' large apartment, fitted up as a libra- "You have been rightly informed, ry and music-room. Two handsome sir,' answered the lady. "That sawork-tables were furnished with spe- cred spot is mine, and I would not cimens of feminine ingenuity, and on || part with it for the finest estate in another table stood materials for Britain: not that I have any faith drawing, and a landscape nearly fi- || in the prosperity which common sunished. My acquaintance with the perstition has annexed to it. Alas! fine arts was put in requisition by the we have had severe evidence to disold lady, who perhaps designed to credit the chimerical notion; but I bring my education to some proof. prize the last relic of ancient greatShe appeared satisfied, and encou- ness. Perhaps this also is a foible; raged Lavinia to take part in our and sometimes when I laugh inwarddialogue. I soon perceived that no ly at honest Thomas Doughty's pride
*- Lidde descendant ; my mother father
of ancestry, I think within myself, || tionaté husband and father; and in that others may equally deride iny committing Lavinia to the sole guarenthusiasm for lands supposed to || dianship of his son, may be forgiven; have been transmitted in unbroken as his flighty schemes had not apsuccession from the Lord of Liddes- | peared, and he seemed a youth of dale. We have all our weaknesses; fine promise. He was not addicted the chief difference is, that educated to vice, but was the dupe of artful people are not so apt to expose them foreigners, who persuaded him that as those in Doughty's sphere of life.' || his delicate constitution required a
" I said, that we had reason to re southern climate. The entail exgard with indulgence, with defer- pired in the person of his father; ence, the family pride which operat- | ke sold his fine estates in Essex, ed as an incentive to meritorious con- and purchased a tract of land in duct; and perhaps Doughty would France. I had a large jointure, and not be such a valuable domestic, if fortunately took care to have a sum the self-respect, inspired by venera- secured in the English funds, yieldtion of his ancestry, predominated ing interest adequate to the payment. less over sordid temptations. || Mr. Merton married a French lady,
4. I admit the full force of your by whom it was said he acquired argument, Mr. Essex,' said the lady; |much wealth. My daughter and he
but can you afford an apology for maintained a friendly correspondmy pretensions to derive importance ence: her health was much impaired; from the great achievements of the her step-son invited her to Provence. Flower of Chivalry, who flourished The air proved salutary, and, under in the reign of David II. of Scot- Providence, I believe its influence land, a monarch of the 14th century?' added four years to her life. She
“I can always excuse family con died three years ago, and I was maksequence by fellow feeling,' I re ing arrangements for coming to Eng. plied, unable to resist the opportu- land with Lavinia, my only care and nity of insinuating that I was no up. comfort, when Mr. Merton suddenly start.
expired: the manner of his death is "Well, sir," said the lady,' since unknown to me. On examining the I am assured of your candour, I state of his affairs, he was found to cannot hesitate to confess, that since be insolvent; and he had also squanLavinia's fortune was lost by the im-dered the fortune of his sister and prudence of her brother, we have ward. The shock to me was overfound consolation in the family dis- whelming; but Lavinia bore it in å tinction, of which no calamity can | manner worthy the blood of the bereave us. . My son-in-law, Mr. || Flower of Chivalry. Sometime elapsa Merton, was a distant relation of my ed before I could act or think for myhusband's, and the last heir of entail self; and a girl, not fifteen years of in whom his large estates were vest | age, had to conduct the measures ed. He had a son by a fornier 'mar indispensable for herself and me. riage, though he was a young man She had heard of the forest manwhen he married my daughter. La- sion, and asked permission to send vinia was the only survivor of her Doughty to have it and the grounds progeny. Mr. Merton was an affec-put in some order for us. The suggestion roused me. Our costly fur- | thinks proper, I empower you to niture was sold to advantage. We offer a call from me to Mrs. Merton." came to England; sent Doughty to Lord Seabourne rode to the forest put this place in repair; and as it early next morning. His unhopedwas our determination to live retired, for visit was received by Miss Merwe conveyed our packages by de ton with an emotion which all her grees to Leith, to avoid exciting cu- self-command could not hide from riosity. We came down by sea in her enraptured lover. She was cohumble guise, and unnoticed got to pying a sketch he had taken of the the end of our voyage and journey. wooded ridge of hills. The old lady To complete our incognito, we took was asleep. Miss Merton endeaa cart instead of a chaise to trans- voured to converse upon common port us hither from Leith. My sole topics; but Lord Seabourne's heart object on earth is to save so much overflowed with impassioned tenderof my income as will constitute inde-ness, which could be no longer rependence for my beloved child. We strained; and in the fond effusions, have lived here two years in tranquilhe absolutely forgot that he had any enjoyment of each other's commu- title except Essex, the propitious nion. Lavinia is all in all to me, name under which he discovered a and improves her own acquirements gem more precious than any extrinby employing them to amuse an old sic distinction. Miss Merton referwoman.
red him to her grandmother. The “When Mrs. Merton spoke thus, | old lady, when informed he was in the sensitive Lavinia gave her a look the house, sent Doughty to beg he so eloquent, it seemed to say she would stay breakfast, and amuse was happy in promoting the happi- || himself with the library and Miss ness of the friend she loved. Is Merton's portfolio, while she received not such a disposition, my dear mo- her grand-daughter's help in some father, the quintessence of domestic mily matters. How ecstatic were qualities?"
Lord Seabourne's feelings to see in " It is, my dear son,” replied Lady | the portfolio such evidences of geSeabourne.“ A young girl who nius and application! In spite of all could be satisfied to bury her charms his efforts, he was absent and conand accomplishments with an aged fused at the breakfast-table; and Miss companion, and to exert her powers Merton seemed to have lost her usu. to entertain, where she cannot expect || al animation. The aged lady susto be admired and flattered, will in pected the cause, and was prepared all probability be an endearing con- | to hear an interesting avowal from sort to a young and deserving spouse. Mr. Essex. Miss Merton went to Have you imparted to the fair La look after her poultry; Mr. Essex vinia your passion, and revealed to seized the moment of her absence her your rank?"
to communicate his object in waiting “I wait your ladyship's approval," upon Mrs. Merton. She answered, said Lord Seabourne.
“ Your education and manners prove “I give it fully, joyfully," returned you to be a gentleman, Mr. Essex; her ladyship; " and if your lordship and after seeing you daily for several months, I cannot doubt your worth: | now waited upon them. Lord Seayet in a case of such importance, bourne expedited as much as possible you will not be offended though I the tedious forms preliminary to his ask for references?"
marriage with Lavinia, who, in dis" I should be surprised if you did playing the elegancies of deportnot require them, madam," replied ment called forth by the varied inLord Seabourne. “My immediate tercourse now presented to her, stillreference is to Lady Seabourne. retained the inartificial goodness, the Her ladyship reared me from infan unassuming simplicity of heart, which cy. In short, madam, the Countess first won the esteem and riveted the of Seabourne is my mother." affection of her lord. The marriage
"Do I see before me the Earl of ceremony was performed at the manSeabourne, the exemplary young no sion of the forest by a clergyman of bleman of whom I heard so much the church of England, and with a abroad ?"
suitable retinue; the Countess of Sea"My elder brother died abroad, bourne and Mrs. Merton in one carmadam, and I, the last of my race, riage, 'the earl and his bride in ansucceeded him."
other, proceeded to London. Lady “ It was of the young earl who Cecilia Gore had gone to the Conattended his brother with unwearied tinent, and some of her acquaintances assiduity in whose commendation I plainly insinuated, that she went was told so much," said Mrs. Mer- abroad with a companion whom she ton; " and since you, my lord, be- often had declared to be the most lieve my Lavinia can make you hap disagreeable creature existing; but py, and Lady Seabourne conde- being the first chaperon that occur. scends to accept a portionless girl | red, she availed herself of such profor her daughter-in-law, I consider | tection, that she might not encounter that my child has been destined to her quondam slave in silken bands inherit the blessing foretold by her to a more gentle arbitress of his fate. prophetic and chivalrous primoge- Unprejudiced observers allowed that, nitor."
in assemblages of fair competitors, Lord Seabourne returned to the Lady Cecilia's claims to brilliant countess, every feature beaming with beauty must predominate over the glad exultation. Her ladyship took unobtrusive loveliness of Lady Seaher carriage to the verge of the fo bourne. Her ladyship might be little rest, and leaning on the arm of her noticed in a crowd, though circumson, threaded the labyrinthine paths stances, which brought into exercise that led to the embosomed mansion. her fine dispositions, made a sudden The two families, soon to be blended and lasting impression upon the by the closest alliance, passed much kindred mind of the young earl, of their time together; Lady Sea- Those constituted for both a contibourne's cheerful affability produced nual spring of happiness; and their unreserve on the part of Lavinia ; || descendants inherit the forest manand Mrs. Merton, accustomed to re- sion, and the blessing predicted by fined society, was perfectly at ease the Lord of Liddesdale, the Flower with the noble personages and the of Chivalry. more enlarged circle of visitors who
B.O. Vol. II, No. XXXIII.
the part of led to re- sion, Lord of Lid
No. XVI. Mr. LOITERER,
1) compos; or a friendly bit of advice to I have just seen the letter of let things take their course, and be Simon Singleton, in which he ex- | quiet. I tell you, sir, it will be in presses a wish, that the worthy mem- vain; I shall prove to you that I am ber for Galway would interfere in a fit subject, that I am in my senses, his behalf: it has suggested to me and that I never will be quiet till I the idea of endeavouring through have obtained justice against my toryou to get that humane gentleman to mentors. assist me, upon the ground of my In order to establish the first point, being an ill-treated animal, quite as I must inform you that, during the worthy, and as much in want, of his last ten years, I have been unaniinterference for my protection as anymously pronounced by all the young of the four-footed classes whose cause and gay part of my acquaintance to he advocates so eloquently. I have be a tiresome animal, a stupid aniso much reliance upon his justice | mal, a disagreeable animal, and, in and humanity, that I would address fine, an unbearable animal: in short, myself directly to him, were it not I can bring plenty of good witnesses for the fear that there exists in his to prove, that although I do go on mind some little national prejudice two legs, I am to all intents and against my unfortunate species; for I purposes regarded as belonging to am told that we are very scarce in the brute creation; and exceedingly Ireland, and are there looked upon thankful I shall be to be reckoned with greater horror even than here. It so, provided I can obtain that prois for this reason, Mr. Loiterer, that tection as a brute, which I have sought I put my case into your hands, beg- in vain as a man. ging of you to do your possible to Now, sir, for my cause of comremove the unjust prejudice that pre- plaint, or rather for my causes; for, vails against my species in general, heaven help me! I have enough of and to make me in particular appear || them. I am not rich, as you may a fit subject of compassion. I shall | suppose, but I have, notwithstanding, give you a brief sketch of my unfor- i| enough to live independently, and tunate situation; and I flatter my-| keep up a respectable appearance. self, that if you will take the trouble Till I arrived at middle age, I was of telling my story in a pathetic man- the most contented of mortals. I ner, all the world will allow, that no was very well received by a respectamiserable animal was ever so cruelly ble set of acquaintance, was always worried.
sure of a partner at a ball, and plenWell, sir, to come at once to the ty of invitations to tea and cards; point, I have the misfortune to be and, in short, never passed an evenan old bachelor. Now don't shake ing at home but by my own choice. your head, and try to fol me off At last, in an unlucky hour, I was with a declaration, that I am not a introduced to the widow Trapman, fit subject for the “ Cruelty to ani- li who had hawked about her four marmals' bill;" or a hint that I am non riageable daughters for years toge