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tieth year, and pofseffed an uncommon share of beauty, heightened and improved by every graceful accomplishment. Warmly attached to my father, she found no' relief from her forrows, as I have often heard her say, but in those cares and in that attention which it was necessary to pay to me in my infancy. As I grew up, I became the sole object of my mother's' solicitude, and she, transferred to me all the affection which she had borne to my father. I was not ungrateful for all this kindness; and in my mother I found not only a parent whom I respected, but a friend whom I loyed; one to whom I was accustomed to unborom myself with perfect freedom and confidence.. Except a few years, which on account of my education we pafsed in town, we resided chiefly at the family-feat in the country. As we saw but few company, much of our time was spent in reading, which indeed. came to be our favourite amusement. My mother's taste in books coincided entirely with mine. Though we fometimes read a little history, yet novels were our favourite amusement; and though my mother poflessed taste enough to admire the elegance of a Robertson and the simplicity of a Hume, yet we read such authors as a sort of task, from which we returned with pleasure to the delightful page of a Richardson or Riccoboni. In this
charming folitude my days glided sweetly along, and I never formed a wish to quit the society of my beloved mother, or to change the condition of my life. Before I had finished my eighteenth year, propofals of marriage had been made to me by several gentlemen of rank and condition. As it had ever been the avowed principle of my mother, that in that important particular a woman ought to be left at perfect freedom, the upon every such occafon declined to give any opinion, telling me, that as the happiness of my life was to depend upor the choice I should make, I had only to confult the dictates and feelings of my heart. Thus left by the tenderness of my mother, to the freee dom of my own will, I found no difficulty in giving an answer to my fuitors. Respectable as they might be, they could not bear a comparison with those characters which I had been accustomed to love and to admire. in my favourite authors; and it had long been my fixed opinion, that without a certain hallowest sympathy of soul, a sacred union of hearts, there was a degree not of indelicacy only, but of criminality, in forming the nuptial bond.
One day, as my mother and I were upon our way to pay a visit at the house of a lady in the neighbourhood, our road led us along the side of a river, whose high banks, covered with
wood, formed a most romantic and delightful scene. While we were admiring the beauties of it, fome accident feared our horses on the tery brink of a steep precipice; and in all likelihood the consequence would have proved fatal, had not a gentleman at that instant come to our assistance, and rescued us at the hazard of his own life. Charmed with the spirit of our deliverer, I had now time to examine him with a little more attention. In the bloom of of youth, he pofleffed one of the finest forms I ever beheld, with a countenance animated and interesting in the highest degree. Perhaps the little adventure which introduced him to us, disposed me to view him at that moment with a partial eye. Little accustomed as I was to conceal the emotions of my mind, he must have
been blind indeed, if he did not perceive that 'I was pleased at finding he was going to the
same house where my mother and I intended to pay a visit. If the first appearance of the stranger pleased me, his address, and manner, and conversation, charmed me still more. In à word, Sir, I found in him all the graces of a Lovelace, all the virtues and accomplishments of a Grandifon, all the sentiment and tenderness of a Lord Offory. Sir W. Denham (for that was his name) appeared to me the most amiable man I had ever seen. I need not trouble you the acquaintance of Miss Louisa M- Al. though accustomed to see and to admire beauty, yet I could not help being forcibly struck with that of Miss M- Beauty, however, though it may dazzle for a moment, seldom makes a lasting impression on one who had seen so much of the world as I had. But there was, something at once interesting in the looks and engaging in the manners of Louisa, that attracted me with an irresistible charm. Even her artless simplicity, and her ignorance of the world, rather pleased from its novelty ; accustomed to the coteries of Paris, and the society of women whose conversation, ideas, and manners differed little from that of the men with whom they lived, I was charmed with the naïveté of Louisa. In her observations there was a remarkable delicacy and justness of thought, often, it is true, accompanied with a degeee of romantic wildness and enthusiasm, which, so far from displeasing, served rather to throw an additional charm around her.
I foon found that I was not indifferent to Miss M— ; and having paid my addresses to her, was honoured with her hand. For some time after our marriage, I was completely hap'py; and would have continued so, were it not for one single weakness in my Louisa, which has occasioned much uneasiness to us both, and will, I fear, if not corrected, embitter all our
future days. 'Tis of such a sort, Mr. Lounger, that I have no term by which to blame it; I can only describe it by instances. When I went home after my marriage, my neighbours naturally came to pay their compliments on the oca casion. Although. I sometimes would rather ' have difpensed with their presence, which I could not help feeling as an interruption to that happiness which I experienced in the conversation of my Louisa; yet common civility required that I should receive them with politeness. One day. Sir George Hearty, an old friend of my father's, and ever warmly attached to the interest of our family, came to dine with me. As I knew that Sir George liked his bottle, I, though naturally averse to any approach to excess in the way of drinking, could not help indulging the good old man in a glass extraordinary. When we rose from table, I found my wife in her apartment dissolved in tears. Aftonished and affected to the last degree, I inquired the cause with all the impatience of the most anxious solicitude. At length she, with a look of melancholy that distressed me to the soul, said, that she found no happiness in any society but mine ; and that if I loved like her, I could find no pleasure but in her's.
Not long after, I received a letter from the son of an English nobleman, with whom I had VOL. III.