The History of Lady Julia Mandeville
by Frances Brooke
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
Belmont House, July 3, 1762.
I AM indeed, my dear George, the most happy of human beings; happy
in the paternal regard of the best of parents, the sincere esteem of my
worthy relations, Lord and Lady Belmont; and the friendship, the tender
friendship, of their lovely daughter, the amiable lady Julia. An
increase of fortune, which you are kind enough to wish me, might
perhaps add something to my felicity, but is far from being necessary
to constitute it, nor did it ever excite in my bosom an anxious wish.
My father, though he educated me to become the most splendid situation,
yet instructed me to be satisfied with my own moderate one; he taught
me, that independence was all a generous mind required; and that
virtue, adorned by that liberal education his unsparing bounty lavished
on me, would command through life that heart-felt esteem from the
worthy of every rank, which the most exorbitant wealth alone could
never procure its possessors. Other parents hoard up riches for their
children; mine, with a more noble, more enlightened solicitude,
expended his in storeing my mind with generous sentiments and useful
knowledge, to which his unbounded goodness added every outward
accomplishment that could give grace to virtue, and set her charms in
the fairest light.
Shall I then murmur because I was not born to affluence? No,
believe me, I would not be the son of any other than this most
excellent of men, to inherit all the stores which avarice and ambition
sigh for. I am prouder of a father, to whose discerning wisdom and
generous expanded heart I am so obliged, than I should be of one whom I
was to succeed in all the titles and possessions in the power of
fortune to bestow. From him I receive, and learn properly to value, the
most real of all treasures, independence and content.
What a divine morning! how lovely is the face of nature! The blue
serene of Italy, with the lively verdure of England. But behold a more
charming object than nature herself! the sweet, the young, the blooming
lady Julia, who is this instant stepping into her post chaise with lady
Anne Wilmot! How unspeakably lovely! she looks up to the window; the
smiles; I understand that smile; she permits me to have the honour of
following her: I'll order my horses; and, whilst they are getting
ready, endeavour to describe this most angelic of womankind.
Lady Julia then, who wants only three months of nineteen, is
exactly what a poet or painter would wish to copy, who intended to
personify the idea of female softness. Her whose form is delicate and
feminine to the utmost degree: her complexion is fair, enlivened by the
bloom of youth, and often diversified by blushes more beautiful than
those of the morning: her features are regular; her mouth and teeth
particularly lovely; her hair light brown; her eyes blue, full of
softness, and strongly expressive of the exquisite sensibility of her
soul. Her countenance, the beauteous abode of the Loves and the Smiles,
has a mixture of sweetness and spirit, which gives life and expression
to her charms.
As her mind has been adorned, nor warped, by education, it is just
what her appearance promises; artless, gentle, timid, soft, sincere,
compassionate, awake to all the finer impressions of tenderness, and
melting with pity for every human woe.
But my horses are in the court, and even this subject cannot detain
me a moment longer. Adieu!
H. Mandeville. To George Mordaunt, Esq;
YOUR raillery, my dear Mordaunt, gives me pain; that I have the
tenderest attachment to lady Julia is certain; but it is an attachment
which has not the least resemblance to love. I should be the most
ungrateful of mankind to make so ill a return to the friendship lord
Belmont honours me with, and the most selfish to entertain a wish so
much to lady Julia's disadvantage. My birth, it must be confessed, is
not unworthy even her, since the same blood fills our veins; my father
being descended from the eldest broth of the first earl of Belmont,
great grandfather of the present: but it would ill become a man whose
whole expectations are limited to the inheritance of 700 l. a year
(long, very long, may it be before the greatest of all misfortunes
makes even that little mine!) to aspire to the heiress of twice as
What I feel for this most charming of women is, the tenderness of a
relation mixed with that soft and lively esteem which it is impossible
to refuse to the finest understanding and noblest mind in the world,
lodged in a form almost celestial.
Love, for I have tasted its poisoned cup, is all tumult, disorder,
madness; but my friendship for lady Julia, warm and animated as it is,
is calm, tranquil, gentle; productive of a thousand innocent pleasures,
but a stranger to every kind of inquietude: it does not even disturb my
rest, a certain consequence of love, even in its earliest approaches.
Having thus vindicated myself from all suspicion of a passion,
which is the present situation of my fortune I should think almost a
criminal one, I proceed to obey you in giving you the portraits of my
noble friends; though, I assure you, my sketches will be very imperfect
Lord Belmont, who lives eight months of the year at this charming
seat, with all the magnificence and hospitality of our ancient English
nobility, is about sixty years old; his person is tall, well made,
graceful; his air commanding, and full of dignity: he has strong sense,
with a competent share of learning, and a just and delicate taste for
the fine arts; especially musick, which he studyed in Italy, under the
best masters that region of harmony afforded. His politeness is equally
the result of a natural desire of obliging, and an early and extensive
acquaintance with the great world. A liberality which scarce his ample
possessions can bound, a paternal care of all placed by Providence
under his protection, a glowing zeal for the liberty, prosperity, and
honour of his country, the noblest spirit of independence, with the
most animated attachment and firmest loyalty to his accomplished
sovereign, are traits too strongly marked to escape the most careless
observer; but those only who are admitted to his nearest intimacy are
judges of his domestic virtues, or see in full light the tender, the
polite, attentive husband, the fond indulgent parent, the warm
If there is a shade in this picture, it is a prejudice, perhaps
rather too strong, in favour of birth, and a slowness to expect very
exalted virtues in any man who cannot trace his ancestors as far back,
at least, as the Conquest. Lady Belmont, who is about six years
younger than her lord, with all the strength of reason and steadiness
of mind generally confined to the best of our sex, has all the winning
softness becoming the most amiable of her own; gentle, affable, social,
polite, she joins the graces of a court to the simplicity of a cottage;
and, by an inexpressible ease and sweetness in her address, makes all
who approach her happy: impartial in her politeness, at her genial
board no invidious distinctions take place, no cold regards damp the
heart of an inferior: by a peculiar delicacy of good breeding and
engaging attention to every individual, she banishes reserve, and
diffuses a spirit of convivial joy around her: encouraged by her
notice, the timid lose their diffidence in her presence, and often
surprized exert talents of pleasing they were before themselves
unconscious of possessing. The best, and most beloved of wives, of
mothers, of mistresses, her domestic character is most lovely; indeed
all her virtues are rendered doubly charming, by a certain grace, a
delicate finishing, which it is much easier to feel than to describe.
The conomy of her house, which she does not disdain herself to
direct, is magnificent without profusion, and regular without
constraint. The effects of her cares appear, the cause is unobserved;
all wears the smiling easy air of chance, though conducted with the
most admirable order.
Her form is perfectly elegant; and her countenance, without having
ever been beautiful, has a benignity in it more engaging than beauty
itself. Lady Anne Wilmot, my father, and myself, make up the present
party at Belmont. Lady Anne, who without regularity of features has
that animation which is the soul of beauty, is the widow of a very rich
country gentleman; if it be just to prostitute the name of gentleman to
beings of his order, only because they have estates of which they are
unworthy, and are descended from ancestors whom the dishonour: who,
when riding post through Europe, happened to see her with her father at
Turin; and as she was the handsomest Englishwoman there, and the whim
of being marryed just then seized him, asked her of Lord , who could
not refuse his daughter to a jointure of 3000 l. a year. She returned
soon to England with her husband, where, during four years, she enjoyed
the happiness of listening to the interesting histories of the chace,
and entertaining the shire hunt at dinner: her slumbers broke by the
noise of hounds in a morning, and the riotous mirth of less rational
animals at night. Fortune however at length took pity on her
sufferings; and the good 'squire, overheating himself at a fox-chace,
of which a fever was the consequence, left her young and rich, at full
liberty to return to the chearful haunts of men, with no very high
ideas of matrimonial felicity, and an abhorrence of a country life,
which nothing but her friendship for Lady Belmont could have one moment
A great flow of animal spirits, and a French education, have made
her a Coquet, though intended by nature for a much superior character.
She is elegant in her dress, equipage, and manner of living, and rather
profuse in her expences. I had first the honour of knowing her last
winter at Paris, from whence she has been returned about six weeks,
three of which she has passed at Belmont.
Nothing can be more easy or agreeable than the manner of living
here; it is perfectly domestic, yet so diversified with amusements as
to exclude that satiety from which the best and purest of sublunary
enjoyments are not secure, if continued in too uniform a course. We
read, we dance, we ride, we converse; we play, we dance, we sing; join
the company, or indulge in pensive solitude and meditation, just as
fancy leads; liberty, restrained alone by virtue and politeness, is the
law, and inclination the sovereign guide, at this mansion of true
hospitality. Free from all the shackles of idle ceremony, the whole
business of Lord Belmont's guests, and the highest satisfaction they
can give their noble host, is to be happy, and to consult their own
taste entirely in their manner of being so. Reading, musick, riding,
and conversation are Lord Belmont's favourite pleasures, but none that
are innocent are excluded; balls, plays, concerts, cards, bowls,
billiards, and parties of pleasure round the neighbouring country,
relieve each other; and, whilst their variety prevents any of them from
satiating, all conspire to give a double poignancy to the sweeter joys
of domestic life, the calm and tender hours which this charming family
devote to the endearing conversation of each other, and of those
friends particularly honoured with their esteem.
The house, which is the work of Inigo Jones, is magnificent to the
utmost degree; it stands on the summit of a slowly-rising hill, facing
the South; and, beyond a spacious court, has in front an avenue of the
tallest trees, which lets in the prospect of a fruitful valley, bounded
at a distance by a mountain, down the sides of which rushes a foaming
cascade, which spreads into a thousand meandering streams in the vale
The gardens and park, which are behind the house, are romantic
beyond the wantonness of imagination; and the whole adjoining country
diversified with hills, vallies, woods, rivers, plains, and every charm
of lovely unadorned nature.
Here Lord Belmont enjoys the most unmixed and lively of all human
pleasures, that of making others happy. His estate conveys the
strongest idea of the partiarchal government; he seems a beneficent
father surrounded by his children, over whom reverence, gratitude, and
love, give him an absolute authority, which he never exerts but for
their good: every eye shines with transport at his sight; parents point
him out to their children; the first accents of prattling infancy are
taught to lisp his honoured name; and age, supported by his bounteous
hand, pours out the fervent prayer to Heaven for its benefactor.
To a life like this, and to an ardent love of independence, Lord
Belmont sacrifises all the anxious and corroding cares of avarice and
ambition; and finds his account in health, freedom, chearfulness, and
"that sweet peace which goodness bosoms ever." Adieu! I am going with
Lord Belmont and my father to Acton-Grange, and shall not return till
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Friday.
WE returned yesterday about six in the evening, and the moment we
alighted, my Lord leading us into the garden, an unexpected scene
opened on my view, which recalled the idea of the fabulous pleasures of
the golden age, and could not but be infinitely pleasing to every mind
uncorrupted by the false glare of tinsel pomp and awake to the genuine
charms of simplicity and nature.
On a spacious lawn, bounded on every side by a profusion of the
most odoriferous flowering shrubs, a joyous band of villagers were
assembled: the young men drest in green, youth, health, and pleasure in
their air, led up their artless charmers, in straw hats adorned with
the spoils of Flora, to the rustic sound of the tabor and pipe: Round
the lawn, at equal intervals, were raised temporary arbors of branches
of trees, in which refreshments were prepared for the dancers: and
between the arbors, seats of moss for their parents, shaded from the
sun by green awnings on poles, round which were twined wreaths of
flowers, breathing the sweets of the spring. The surprize, the gaiety
of the scene, the flow of general joy, the sight of so many happy
people, the countenances of the enraptured parents, who seemed to live
over again the sprightly season of youth in their children, with the
benevolent pleasure in the looks of the noble bestowers of the feast,
filled my eyes with tears, and my swelling heart with a sensation of
pure yet lively transport, to which the joys of courtly balls are mean.
The ladies, who were sitting in conversation with some of the
oldest of the villagers, rose at our approach; and, my Lord giving Lady
Anne Wilmot's hand to my father and honoring me with Lady Julia's, we
mixed in the rustic ball. The loveliest of women had an elegant
simplicity in her air and habit which became the scene, and gave her a
thousand new charms: she was drest in a straw-coloured lutestring night
gown, the lightest gauze linen, a hat with purple ribbons, and a sprig
of glowing purple amaranthus in her bosom: I know not how to convey an
idea of the particular stile of beauty in which she then appeared. -
Youth, health, sprightliness, and innocence, all struck the imagination
at once. - Paint to yourself the exquisite proportion, the playful air,
and easy movement of a Venus, with the vivid bloom of an Hebe; -
however high you raise your ideas, they will fall infinitely short of
the divine original.
The approach of night putting an end to the rural assembly, the
villagers retired to the hall, where they continued dancing, and our
happy party passed the rest of the evening in that sweet and lively
conversation, which is never to be found but amongst those of the
first sense and politeness, united by that perfect confidence which
makes the most trifling subjects interesting; none of us thought of
separating, or imagined it midnight, when, my father opening a window,
the rising sun broke in upon us, and convinced us on what swift and
downy pinions the hours of happiness flit away. Adieu!
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Belmont.
NO, my friend, I have not always been this hero: too sensible to
the power of beauty, I have felt the keenest pangs of unsuccessful
love: but I deserved to suffer; my passion was in the highest degree
criminal; and I blush, though at this distance of time, to lay open my
heart even to the indulgent eyes of partial friendship.
When your father's death called you back to England, you may
remember I continued my journey to Rome: where a letter from my father
introduced me into the family of Count Melespini, a nobleman of great
wealth and uncommon accomplishments. As my father, who has always been
of opinion that nothing purifies the manners, like the conversation of
an amiable, well-educated, virtuous woman, had particularly entreated
for me the honour of the Countess's friendship, whom he had known
almost a child, and to whom he had taught the English language; I was
admitted to the distinction of partaking in all her amusements, and
attending her every where in the quality of Cecisbeo. To the arts of
the libertine, however fair, my heart had always been steeled; but the
Countess joined the most piercing wit, the most winning politeness, the
most engaging sensibility, the most exquisite delicacy, to a form
perfectly lovely. You will not therefore wonder that the warmth and
inexperience of youth, hourly exposed in so dangerous a situation, was
unable to resist such variety of attractions. Charmed with the
flattering preference she seemed to give me, my vanity fed by the
notice of so accomplished a creature, forgetting those sentiments of
honour which ought never to be one moment suspended, I became
passionately in love with this charming woman: for some months, I
struggled with my love; till, on her observing that my health seemed
impaired and I had lost my usual vivacity, I took courage to confess
the cause, though in terms which sufficiently spoke my despair of
touching a heart which I feared was too sensible to virtue for my
happiness: I implored her pity, and protested I had no hope of
inspiring a tenderer sentiment. Whilst I was speaking, which was in
broken interrupted sentences, the Countess looked at me with the
strongest sorrow and compassion painted in her eyes; she was for some
moments silent, and seemed lost in thought; but at last, with an air of
dignified sweetness, "My dear Enrico," said she, "shall I own to you
that I have for some time feared this confession? I ought perhaps to
resent this declaration, which from another I could never have
forgiven: but, as I know and esteem the goodness of your heart, as I
respect your father infinitely, and love you with the innocent
tenderness of a sister, I will only entreat you to reflect how
injurious this passion is to the Count, who has the tenderest esteem
for you, and would sacrifise almost his life for your happiness: be
assured of my eternal friendship, unless you forfeit it by persisting
in a pursuit equally destructive to your own probity and my honor;
receive the tenderest assurances of it," continued she, giving me her
hand to kiss, but believe, at the same time, that the Count deserves
and possesses all my love, I had almost said, my adoration. The fondest
affection united us, and time, instead of lessening, every hour
encreases our mutual passion. Reserve your heart, my good Enrico, for
some amiable lady of your own nation; and believe that love has no true
pleasures but when it keeps within the bounds of honour."
It is impossible, my dear Mordaunt, to express to you the shame
this discourse filled me with: her gentle, her affectionate reproofs,
the generous concern she shewed for my error, the mild dignity of her
aspect, plunged me into inexpressible confusion, and shewed my fault in
its blackest colours; at the same time that her behaviour, by
increasing my esteem, added to the excess of my passion. I attempted to
answer her; but it was impossible; awed, abashed, humbled before her, I
had not courage even to meet her eyes: like the fallen angel in Milton,
"How awful goodness is, and saw,
Virtue in her own shape how lovely."
The Countess saw, and pitied, my confusion, and generously relieved
me from it by changing the subject: she talked of my father, of his
merit, his tenderness for me, and expectations of my conduct; which she
was sure I should never disappoint. Without hinting at what had past,
she with the utmost exquisite delicacy gave me to understand it would
be best I should leave Rome, by saying she knew how ardently my father
wished for my return, and that it would be the height of cruelty
longer to deprive him of the pleasure of seeing a son so worthy of his
affection: "The Count and myself," pursued she, "cannot lose you
without inexpressible regret; but you will alleviate it by letting us
hear often of your welfare. When you are united to a lady worthy of
you, my dear Enrico, we may perhaps make you a visit in England: in the
mean time, be assured, you have not two friends who love you with a
At this moment the Count entered, who, seeing my eyes filled with
tears of love, despair, and admiration, with the tenderest anxiety
enquired the cause. "I shall tell you news which will afflict you, my
Lord," said the Countess: "Signor Enrico comes to bid us farewel; he is
commanded by his father to return to England; tomorrow is the last day
of his stay in Rome: he promises to write to us, and to preserve an
eternal remembrance of our friendship, for which he is obliged only to
his own merit: his tender heart, full of the most laudable, the most
engaging sensibility, melts at the idea of a separation which will not
be less painful to us."
The Count, after expressing the most obliging concern at the
thought of losing me, and the warmest gratitude for these supposed
marks of my friendship, insisted on my spending the rest of the day
with them. I consented, but begged first to return to my lodgings; on
pretence of giving some necessary orders, but in reality to give vent
to my full heart, torn with a thousand contrary emotions, amongst
which, I am shocked to own, hatred to the generous Count was not the
weakest. I threw myself on the ground, in an agony of despair; I wept,
I called Heaven to witness the purity of my love; I accused the
Countess of cruelty in thus forcing me from Rome; I rose up; I begun a
letter to her, in which I vowed an eternal silence and respect, but
begged she would allow me still the innocent pleasure of beholding her;
swore I could not live without seeing her, and that the day of my
leaving Rome would be that of my death. - But why do I thus tear open
wounds which are but just healed? let it suffice, that a moment's
reflexion convinced me of my madness, and shewed the charming Countess
in the light of a guardian angel snatching me from the edge of a
precipice. My reason in some degree returning, I drest myself with the
most studious care, and returned to the Melespini palace, where I found
the Abbate Camilli, a near relation of the family, whose presence saved
me the confusion of being the third with my injured friends, and whose
lively conversation soon dissipated the air of constraint I felt on
entering the room, and even dispelled part of my melancholy.
The Count, whose own probity and virtue set him far above
suspecting mine, pressed me, with all the earnestness of a friendship I
so little merited, to defer my journey a week: on which I raised my
downcast eyes to Madam Melespini; for such influence had this lovely
woman over my heart, I did not dare to consent till certain of her
permission; and, reading approbation in a smile of condescending
sweetness, I consented with a transport which only those who have loved
like me can conceive: my chearfulness returning, and some of the most
amiable people in Rome coming in, we past the evening in the utmost
gaiety. At taking leave, I was engaged to the same company in different
parties of amusement for the whole time I had to stay, and had the joy
of being every day with the Countess; though I never found an
opportunity of speaking to her without witnesses, till the evening
before I left Rome, when, going to her house an hour sooner than I was
expected, I found her alone in her closet. When I approached her, my
voice faltered; I trembled; I wanted power to address her: and this
moment, fought with such care, wished with such ardor, was the most
painful of my life. Shame alone prevented my retiring; my eyes were
involuntarily turned towards the door at which I entered, in a vain
hope of that interruption I had before dreaded as the greatest
misfortune; and even the presence of my happy envied rival would at
that moment have been most welcome.
The Countess seemed little less disconcerted than myself; however,
recovering herself sooner, "Signor Enrico," said she, "your discretion
charms me; it is absolutely necessary you should leave Rome; it has
already cost me an artifice unworthy of my character to conceal from
the Count a secret which would have wounded his nice honor and
destroyed his friendship for you. After this adored husband, be
assured, you stand first of all your sex in my esteem: the sensibility
of your heart, though at present so unhappily misplaced, encreases my
good opinion of you: may you, my dear Enrico, meet with an English Lady
worthy of your tenderness, and be as happy in marriage as the friends
you leave behind. Accept," pursued she, rising and going to a cabinet,
"these miniatures of the Count and myself, which I give you by his
command; and, when you look on them, believe they represent two
faithful friends, whose esteem for you neither time nor absence can
I took the pictures eagerly, and kissed that of the Countess with a
passion I could not restrain, of which however she took not the least
notice. I thanked her, with a confused air, for so valuable a present;
and intreated her to pity a friendship too tender for my peace, but as
respectful and as pure as she herself could wish it.
The Abbate Camilli here joined us, and once more saved me a scene
too interesting for the present situation of my heart. The Count
entered the room soon after, and our conversation turned on the other
cities of Italy, which I intended visiting; to most of which he gave me
letters of recommendation to the noblest families, wrote in terms so
polite and affectionate as stabbed me to the heart with a sense of my
own ingratitude. He did me the honor to accept my picture, which I had
not the courage to offer the Countess. After protracting till morning a
parting so exquisitely painful, I tore myself from all I loved; and,
bathing with tears her hand which I pressed eagerly to my lips, threw
myself into my chaise, and, without going to bed, took the road to
Naples. But how difficult was this conquest! How often was I tempted to
return to Rome, and throw myself at the Countess's feet, without
considering the consequences of so wild an action! You, my dearest
Mordaunt, whose discerning spirit knows all the windings, the strange
inconsistences, of the human heart, will pity rather than blame your
friend, when he owns there were moments in which he formed the infamous
resolution of carrying her off by force.
But when the mist of passion a little dispersed, I began to
entertain more worthy sentiments; I determined to drive this lovely
woman from my heart, and conquer an inclination, which the Count's
generous unsuspecting friendship would have made criminal even in the
eyes of the most abandoned libertine; rather owing this resolution
however to an absolute despair of success than either to reason or a
sense of honor, my cure was a work of time. I was so weak, during some
months, as to confine my visits to the families where the Count's
letters introduced me, that I might indulge my passion by hearing the
lovely Countess continually mentioned.
Convinced at length of the folly of thus feeding so hopeless a
flame, I resolved to avoid every place where I had a chance of hearing
that adored name: I left Italy for France, where I hoped a life of
dissipation would drive her for ever from my remembrance. I even
profaned my passion for her, by meeting the advances of a Coquette; but
disgust succeeded my conquest, and I found it was from time alone I
must hope a cure. I had been near a year at Paris, when, in April last,
I received a letter from my father, who pressed my return, and
appointed me to meet him immediately at the Hague, from whence we
returned together; and after a few days stay in London, came down to
Belmont, where the charms of Lady Julia's conversation, and the esteem
she honors me with, entirely compleated my cure, which time, absence,
and the Count's tender and affectionate letters, had very far advanced.
There is a sweetness in her friendship, my dear Mordaunt, to which love
itself must yield the palm; the delicacy, yet vivacity of her
sentiments; the soft sensibility of her heart, which without fear
listens to vows of eternal amity and esteem - O Mordaunt, I must not, I
do not hope for, I do not indeed wish for, her love; but can it be
possible there is a man on earth to whom heaven destines such a
To Col. Bellville. Tuesday, Belmont.
OH! you have no notion what a reformation: Who but Lady Anne Wilmot
at chapel every Sunday? grave, devout, attentive! scarce stealing a
look at the prettiest fellow in the world, who sits close by me! Yes,
you are undone, Bellville; Harry Mandeville, the young, the gay, the
lovely Harry Mandeville, in the full bloom of conquering three and
twenty, with all the fire and sprightliness of youth, the exquisite
symmetry and easy grace of an Antinous; a countenance open, manly,
animated; his hair the brightest chesnut; his complexion brown, flushed
with the rose of health; his eyes dark, penetrating, and full of fire,
but when he addresses our sex softened into a sweetness which is almost
irresistible; his nose inclining to the aquiline; his lips full and
red, and his teeth of the most pearly whiteness. There, read and die
"You with envy, I with love."
Fond of me too, but afraid to declare his passion; respectful -
awed by the commanding dignity of my manner - poor dear creature! I
think I must unbend a little, hide half the rays of my divinity, to
encourage so timid a worshiper.
Some flattering tawdry coxcomb, I suppose; some fool with a
No, you never was more mistaken, Bellville: his charms, I assure
you, are not all external. His understanding is of the most exalted
kind, and has been improved by a very extraordinary education, in
projecting which his father has employed much time and thought, and
half ruined himself by carrying it into execution. Above all, the
Colonel has cultivated in his son an ardent love of independence, not
quite so well suited to his fortune; and a generous, perhaps a
romantic, contempt of riches, which most parents if they had found
would have eradicated with the utmost care. His heart is warm, noble,
liberal, benevolent: sincere and violent in his friendships, he is not
less so, though extremely placable, in his enmities; scorning disguise,
and laying his faults as well as his virtues open to every eye: rash,
romantic, imprudent; haughty to the assuming sons of wealth, but to
those below him,
As Zephyr blowing underneath the violet."
But whither am I running? and where was I when this divine creature
seduced me from my right path? Oh, I remember, at chapel: it must be
acknowledged my digressions are a little Pindaric. True, as I was
saying, I go constantly to chapel. 'Tis strange; but this lady Belmont
has the most unaccountable way in the world of making it one's choice
to do whatever she has an inclination one should, without seeming to
desire it. One sees so clearly that all she does is right, religion
fits so easy upon her, her style of goodness is so becoming and
graceful, that it seems want of taste and elegance not to endeavour to
resemble her. Then my Lord too loves to worship in the beauty of
holiness; he makes the fine arts subservient to the noblest purpose,
and spends as much on serving his Creator as some people of his rank do
on a kennel of hounds. We have every external incitement to devotion;
exquisite paintings, an admirable organ, fine voices, and the most
animated reader of prayers in the universe.
Col. Mandeville, whom I should be extremely in love with if his son
was not five and twenty years younger, leaves us tomorrow morning, to
join his regiment, the shire militia: he served in the late war with
honour; but, meeting with some ill usage from a minister on account of
a vote in parliament, he resigned his commission, and gave up his whole
time to the education of my lovely Harry, whose tenderness and merit
are a full reward for all his generous attention. Adieu!
To Colonel Bellville. Belmont, Thursday.
IL divino Enrico is a little in the Penseroso. Poor Harry! I am
charmed with his sensibility; he has scarce been himself since he
parted with his father yesterday. He apologizes for his chagrin; but
says, no man on earth has such obligations to a parent. Entre nous, I
fancy I know some few sons who would be of a different way of thinking:
the Colonel has literally governed his conduct by the old adage, that
"Learning is better than house and land;" for, as his son's learning
advanced, his houses and lands melted away, or at least would have
done, had it not been for his mother's fortune, every shilling of
which, with half the profits of his estate, he expended on Harry's
education, who certainly wants only ten thousand pounds a year to be
the most charming young fellow in the universe. Well, he must e'en make
the most of his perfections, and endeavour to marry a fortune, on which
subject I have a kind of a glimpse of a design, and fancy my friend
Harry has not quite so great a contempt of money as I imagined.
You must know then, (a pretty phrase that, but to proceed) you must
know, that we accompanied Colonel Mandeville fifteen miles; and, after
dining together at an inn, he took the road to his regiment, and we
were returning pensive and silent to Belmont, when my Lord, to remove
the tender melancholy we all caught from Harry, proposed a visit at Mr.
Westbrook's, a plump, rich, civil, cit, whose house we must of
necessity pass. As my Lord despises wealth, and Mr. Westbrook's
genealogy in the third generation loses itself in a livery stable, he
has always avoided an intimacy, which the other has as studiously
fought; but, as it is not in his nature to treat any body with
ill-breeding, he has suffered their visits, though he has been slow in
returning them; and has sometimes invited the daughter to a ball.
The lady wife, who is a woman of great erudition, and is at present
intirely lost to the world, all her faculties being on the rack
composing a treatise against the immortality of the soul, sent down an
apology; and we were entertained by Mademoiselle la Fille, who is
little, lean, brown, with small pert black eyes, quickened by a large
quantity of abominable bad rouge: she talks incessantly, has a great
deal of city vivacity, and a prodigious passion for people of a certain
rank, a phrase of which she is peculiarly fond. Her mother being above
the little vulgar cares of a family, or so unimportant a task as the
education of an only child; she was early entrusted to a French
chamber-maid, who, having left her own country on account of a Faux Pas
which had visible consequences, was appointed to instill the principles
of virtue and politeness into the flexible mind of this illustrious
heiress of the house of Westbrook, under the title of governess. My
information of this morning further says, that, by the cares of this
accomplished person, she acquired a competent, though incorrect,
knowledge of the French language; with cunning, dissimulation,
assurance, and a taste for gallantry; to which if you add a servile
passion for quality, and an oppressive insolence to all, however
worthy, who want that wealth which she owes to her father's skill in
Change-Alley, you will have an idea of the bride I intend for Harry
Mandeville. Methinks I hear you exclaim: "Heavens! what a conjunction!"
'Tis might well, but people must live, and there is 80,000 l. attached
to this animal; and, if the girl likes him, I don't see what he can do
better, with birth, and a habit of profuse expence, which he has so
little to support. She sung, for the creature sings, a tender Italian
air, which she addressed to Harry in a manner and with a look, that
convinces me her stile is l'amorose, and that Harry is the present
object. After the song, I surprised him talking low to her, and
pressing her hand, whilst we were all admiring an India cabinet; and,
on seeing he was observed, he left her with an air of conscious guilt,
which convinces me he intends to follow the pursuit, and is at the same
time ashamed of his purpose. Poor fellow! I pity him; but marriage is
his only card. I'll put the matter forward, and make my lord invite
her to the next ball. Don't you think I am a generous creature, to
sacrifise the man I love to his own good? When shall I see one of your
selfish sex so disinterested? No, you men have absolutely no idea of
Adio! A. Wilmot.
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
IT is the custom here for every body to spend their mornings as
they please; which does not however hinder our sometimes making parties
all together, when our inclinations happen all to take the same turn.
My Lord this morning proposed an airing to the Ladies, and that we
should, instead of returning to dinner, stop at the first neat
farm-house where we could hope for decent accommodations. Love of
variety made the proposal agreeable to us all; and a servant being
ordered before to make some little provision, we stopped, after the
pleasantest airing imaginable, at the entrance of a wood, where,
leaving our equipages to be sent to the neighbouring village, we walked
up a winding path to a rustic building, embosomed in the grove, the
architecture of which was in the most elegant stile of simplicity: the
trees round this lovely retreat were covered with wood-bines and
jessamines, from which a gale of perfume met our approach: the gentlest
breath of Zephyr just moved the leaves; the birds sung in the branches;
a spring of the clearest water broke from the rising ground on the
left, and, murmuring along a transparent pebbly bottom, seemed to lose
itself in a thicket of roses: no rude sound disturbed the sweet harmony
of nature; all breathed the soul of innocence and tranquillity, but a
tranquillity raised above itself. My heart danced with pleasure; and,
the lovely lady Julia happening to be next me, I kissed her hand with
an involuntary fervor, which called up into her cheeks a blush
"celestial rosy red." When we entered the house, we were struck with
the propriety, the beauty, the simplicity of all around us; the
apartments were few, but airy and commodious; the furniture plain, but
new and in the most beautiful taste; no ornaments but vases of flowers,
no attendants but country girls, blooming as the morn, and drest with a
After an elegant cold dinner, and a desert of cream and the best
fruits in season, we walked into the wood with which the house was
surrounded, the romantic variety of which it is impossible to describe;
all was nature, but nature in her most pleasing form. We wandered over
the sweetly- varied scene, resting at intervals in arbours of
intermingled roses and jessamines, till we reached a beautiful mossy
grotto, wildly lovely, whose entrance was almost hid by the vines
which flaunted over its top. Here we found tea and coffee prepared as
if by invisible hands. Lady Anne exclaimed that all was enchantment;
and Lord Belmont's eyes sparkled with that lively joy, which a
benevolent mind feels in communicating happiness to others.
Lady Julia alone seemed not to taste the pleasures of the day: Her
charming eyes had a melancholy languor I never saw in them before: she
was reserved, silent, absent; and would not have escaped Lady Anne's
raillery, had not the latter been too much taken up with the lovely
scene to attend to any thing but joy.
As friendship has a thousand groundless fears, I tremble lest I
should have been so unhappy as to offend her: I remember she seemed
displeased with my kissing her hand, and scarce spoke to me the whole
day; I will beg of Lady Anne to ask the cause, for I cannot support
the apprehension of having offended her.
It was with difficulty Lord Belmont forced us at night from this
charming retirement, which he calls his hermitage, and which is the
scene of his most pleasing hours. To Lady Anne and me it had a charm it
did not want, the powerful charm of novelty: it is about four miles
from Belmont house, not far distant from the extremities of the park.
To this place, I am told, Lord Belmont often retires, with his amiable
family, and those who are particularly happy in his esteem, to avoid
the hurry of company, and give himself up entirely to the uninterrupted
sweets of domestic enjoyment. Sure no man but Lord Belmont knows how to
To Colonel Bellville.
LORD! these prudes - no, don't let me injure her - these people of
high sentiment, are so tremblingly alive all o'er - there is poor Harry
in terrible disgrace with Lady Julia for only kissing her hand, and
amidst so bewitching a scene too, that I am really surprized at his
moderation; - all breathed the soul of pleasure; - rosy bowers and
mossy pillows, cooing doves and whispering Zephyrs - I think my Lord
has a strange confidence in his daughter's insensibility, to trust her
in these seducing groves, and with so divine a fellow in company! -
But, as I was saying, she takes the affair quite seriously, and makes
it an offence of the blackest die - Well, I thank my stars, I am not
one of these sensitive plants; he might have kissed my hand twenty
times, without my being more alarmed than if a fly had settled there;
nay, a thousand to one whether I had even been conscious of it at all.
I have laughed her out of her resentment, for it is really absurd;
the poor fellow was absolutely miserable about it, and begged my
intercession, as if it had been a matter of the highest importance.
When I saw her begin to be ashamed of the thing, Really, my dear, says
I, I am glad you are convinced how ridiculous your anger was, for
ill-natured people might have put strange constructions. - I know but
one way of accounting rationally - if I was Harry, I should be
extremely flattered - one would almost suppose - This answered; - I
carried my point, and transferred the pretty thing's anger to me; it
blushed with indignation, drew up, and, if mamma had not happened to
enter the room at that instant, an agreeable scene of altercation would
probably have ensued: she took that opportunity of retiring to her
apartment, and we saw no more of her till dinner, when she was gracious
to Harry, and exceedingly stately to me.
O mon Dieu! I had almost forgot: we are to have a little concert
this evening; and see, my dear Lord appears to summon me. Adio! Caro!
To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
YES, my dear son, you do me justice: I am never so happy as when I
know you are so. I perfectly agree with you as to the charms of Lord
Belmont's hermitage, and admire that genuine taste for elegant nature,
which gives such a spirited variety to the life of the wisest and most
amiable of men.
But does it not, my dear Harry, give you at the same time a very
contemptible idea of the power of greatness to make its possessors
happy, to see it thus flying as it were from itself, and seeking
pleasure not in the fruition, but in the temporary suspension, of those
supposed advantages it has above other conditions of life? Believe me,
it is not in the costly dome, but in the rural cott, that the impartial
Lord of all has fixed the chearful seat of happiness. Health, peace,
content, and soft domestic tenderness, the only real sweets of life,
driven from the gilded palace, smile on the humble roof of virtuous
The poor complain not of the tediousness of life: their daily toil
makes short the flying hours, and every moment of rest from labour is
to them a moment of enjoyment. Not so the great: surrounded from
earliest youth by pleasures which court their acceptance, their taste
palled by habit and the too great facility of satiating every wish,
lassitude and disgust creep on their languid hours; and, wanting the
doubtful gale of hope to keep the mind in gentle agitation, it sinks
into a dead calm, more destructive to every enjoyment than the rudest
storm of adversity. The haughty dutchess, oppressed with tasteless
pomp, and sinking under the weight of her own importance, is much less
to be envyed than "the milk-maid singing blithe," who is in her eyes
the object only of pity and contempt.
Your acquaintance with the great world, my dear Harry, has shewn
you the splendid misery of superior life: you have seen those most
wretched to whom Heaven has granted the amplest external means of
happiness. Miserable slaves to pride, the most corroding of human
passions; strangers to social pleasure, incapable of love or
friendship, living to others not to themselves, ever in pursuit of the
shadow of happiness, whilst the substance glides past them unobserved,
they drag on an insipid joyless being: unloved and unconnected,
scorning the tender ties which give life all its sweetness, they sink
unwept and unlamented to the grave. They know not the conversation of a
friend, that conversation which "brightens the eyes:" their pride, an
invasion on the natural rights of mankind, meets with perpetual
mortification; and their rage for dissipation, like the burning thirst
of a fever, is at once boundless and unquenchable.
Yet, though happiness loves the vale, it would be unjust to confine
her to those humble scenes; nor is her presence, as our times afford a
shining and amiable example, unattainable to Royalty itself; the wife
and good, whate'er their rank, led by the hand of simple unerring
nature, are seldom known to miss their way to her delightful abode.
You have seen Lord Belmont (blest with wisdom to chuse, and fortune to
pursue his choice, convinced that wealth and titles, the portion of
few, are not only foreign to, but often inconsistent with, true
happiness) seek the lovely goddess, not in the pride of show, the pomp
of courts, or the madness of dissipation; but in the calm of
retirement, in the bosom of friendship, in the sweets of dear domestic
life, in the tender pleasing duties of husband and of father, in the
practice of beneficence and every gentler virtue. Others may be like
him convinced; but few like him have spirit and resolution to burst the
magic fetters of example and fashion, and nobly dare to be happy.
What pleasure does it give me to find you in so just a way of
thinking in regard to fortune! yes, my dear Harry, all that in reality
deserves the name of good, so far as it centers in ourselves, is within
the reach, not only of our moderate income, but of one much below it.
Great wealth is only desirable for the power it gives us of making
others happy; and, when one sees how very few make this only laudable
use of extreme affluence, one acquiesces chearfully in the will of
Heaven, satisfied with not having the temptation of misapplying those
gifts of the Supreme Being, for which we shall undoubtedly be
Nothing can, as you observe, be more worthy a reasonable creature
than Lord Belmont's plan of life: he has enlarged his own circle of
happiness, by taking into it that of all mankind, and particularly of
all around him: his bounty glides unobserved, like the deep silent
stream; nor is it by relieving so much as by preventing want, that his
generous spirit acts: it is his glory and his pleasure that he must go
beyond the limits of his own estate to find objects of real distress.
He encourages industry, and keeps up the soul of chearfulness
amongst his tenants, by maintaining as much as possible the natural
equality of mankind to his estate: His farms are not large, but
moderately rented; all are at ease, and can provide happily for their
families; none rise to exorbitant wealth. The very cottagers are
strangers to all that even approaches want: when the busier seasons of
the year are past, he gives them employment in his woods or gardens;
and finds double beauties in every improvement there, when he reflects
that from thence
"Health to himself and to his infants bread, The labourer bears."
Plenty, the child of industry, smiles on their humble abodes; and,
if any unforeseen misfortune nips the blossoms of their prosperity,
his bounty, descending silent and refreshing as the dews of Heaven,
renews their blooming state, and restores joy to their happy dwellings.
To say all in one word, the maxims by which he governs all the
actions of his life are manly, benevolent, enlarged, liberal; and his
generous passion for the good of others is rewarded by his Creator,
whose approbation is his first point of view, with as much happiness to
himself as this sublunary state is capable of. Adieu!
Your affectionate J. Mandeville.
To Colonel Bellville.
YES, I am indeed fond of your Italiano; it is the language of Love
and the Muses: has a certain softness and all that; - and by no means
difficult to understand - at least it is tolerable easy to understand
as much of it as I do, as much as enables one to be conceited, and
give one's self airs amongst those who are totally ignorant: when this
happens, I look astonished at the Gothic creatures. - "Heavens! my dear
Madam, not know Italian? how I pity your savage ignorance! bit know
Italian! La Lingua D'Amore? Oh! Mirtillo! Mirtillo! Anima mia!" - The
dear creatures stare, and hate one so cordially, it is really charming.
- And if one now and then unluckily blunders upon somebody who is more
in the secret than one's self, a downcast look, and "Hovergogna,
Signora," saves all, and does credit at once to one's learning and
one's modesty. Flattered too by so plain a confession of their
superiority, they give you credit for whatever degree of knowledge you
desire, and go away so satisfied - and exclaim in all companies, "Upon
my word, Lady Anne Wilmot is absolutely an exquisite mistress of
Italian, only a little too diffident." I am just come from playing at
ball in the garden, Lord Belmont of the party: this sweet old man! I am
half in love with him, though I have no kind of hopes; for he told me
yesterday, that, lovely as I was, Lady Belmont was in his eyes a
thousand times more so. How amiable is age like his! so condescending
to the pleasure of the young! so charmed to see them happy! He gains
infinitely in point of love by his easy goodness; and as to respect,
his virtues cannot fail to command it.
Oh! ˆ propos to age, my Lord says, he is sure I shall be a most
agreeable old woman; and I am almost of his opinion. Adieu! creature! I
can no more.
By the way, do you know that Harry's Cittadina has taken a
prodigious Penchant for me, and vows no woman on earth has so much wit,
or spirit, or politesse, as Lady Anne Wilmot? Something like a
glimmering of taste this: I protest I begin to think the girl not
quite so tolerable.
Je suis votre, A. Wilmot.
To the Earl of Belmont.
AN unforeseen inevitable misfortune having happened to me, for
which a too careless conomy had left me totally unprovided, I find it
necessary to sell my estate and quite the country.
I could find a ready purchaser in Mr. Westbrook, who, with the
merciless rapacity of an exchange-broker, watches like a harpy the
decline of every gentleman's fortune in his neighbourhood, in order to
seize on his possessions: but the tender affection I bear my tenants
makes me solicitous to consult their good as much as possible in the
sale, since my hard fate will not allow me longer to contribute to it
myself: I will not here say more, than that I cannot provide more
effectually for their happiness than by selling to your Lordship.
I am, my Lord, Your Lordship's most Obedient and devoted Servant,
To James Barker, Esq;
S I R,
I AM extremely concerned any accident should have happened, which
makes it possible I should lose from my neighbourhood a gentleman of
family, of so very worthy a character, land one I so greatly esteem:
but I hope means may be found to prevent what would be so extremely
regretted by all who have the pleasure of knowing you.
As I have always regarded the independent country gentlemen as the
strength and glory of this kingdom, and the best supports of our
excellent constitution, no increase of power or property to myself
shall ever tempt me to lessen the number of them, where it can possibly
be avoided. If you have resolution to enter on so exact a system of
conomy as will enable you to repay any sum you may want in seven years,
whatever that sum is, I shall be most happy in advancing it, and will
take it back in the manner most easy to you. I think I could trace out
a plan by which you might retrench considerably in a manner scarce
perceptible. I will to-morrow morning call upon you when I am riding
out, when we will talk further on this subject; be assured, none of the
greedy Leviathans of our days can feel half the pleasure in compleating
a purchase that I shall do in declining this, if I can be so happy as
to keep you amongst us. Your accepting this without hesitation, will be
a proof of your esteem which I can never forget, as it will shew you
think too highly of me to fear my making an ill use hereafter of having
had the happiness of doing for you what, if we were to change present
situations, I know you would rejoice in doing for me. I have a fund,
which I call the bank of friendship, on which it is my rule to take no
interest; and you may command to its utmost extent.
I am, dear Sir, Your affectionate friend, and obedient servant,
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday.
WE have been dining Al fresco in a rustic temple in a wood near the
house: romanesque, simple; the pillars trunks of ancient oaks, the roof
the bark of trees, the pavement pebbles, the seats moss; the wild
melody of nature our music; the distant sound of the cascade just
breaks on the ear, which, joined by the chaunt of the birds, the cooing
of the doves, the lowing of the herds, and the gently- breathing
Western breeze, forms a concert most divinely harmonious.
Really this place would be charming, if it was a little more
replete with human beings; but to me the finest landscape is a dreary
wild, unless adorned by a few groupes of figures. - There are 'squires
indeed - well, absolutely, your 'squires are an agreeable race of
people, refined, sentimental, formed for the Belle passion; though it
must be owned the 'squires about Belmont are rational animals compared
to those my Caro Sposo used to associate with: my Lord has exceedingly
humanized them, and their wives and daughters are decent creatures:
which really amazed me at first, for you know, Bellville, there is in
general no standing the country misses.
Your letter is just brought me: all you say of levees and drawing
rooms is thrown away: "Talk not to me of courts, for I disdain All
courts when he is by: far be the noise Of kings and courts from us,
whose gentle souls Our kinder stars have steered another way." Yes,
the rural taste prevails; my plan of life is fixed; to fit under a
hill, and keep sheep with Harry Mandeville.
O mon Dieu! what do I see coming down the avenue? Is it in woman to
resist that equipage? Papier machŽe - highly gilded - loves and doves -
fix long-tailed grey Arabians - by all the gentle powers of love and
gallantry, Fondville himself - the dear enchanting creature - nay then
- poor Harry - all is over with him - I discarded him this moment, and
take Fondville for my Cecisbeo==fresh from Paris - just imported - Oh!
all ye gods!
I left you somewhat abruptly; and am returned to fill up my epistle
with the adventures of yesterday. The great gates being thrown open,
and the chariot drawn up to the steps, my charming Fondville, drest in
a suit of light- coloured silk embroidered with silver, a hat with a
black feather under his arm and a large bouquet of artificial flowers
in his button-hole, all Arabia breathing from his well-scented
handkerchief, descended, like Adonis from the carr of Venus, and, full
of the idea of his own irresistibility, advanced towards the saloon -
he advanced, not with the doubtful air of a bashful lover intimidated
by a thousand tender fears, but in a minuet step, humming an opera
tune, and casting a side glance at every looking glass in his way. The
first compliments being over, the amiable creature seated himself by
me, and began the following conversation:
Well, but my dear Lady Anne, this is so surprizing - your Ladyship
in Campagna? I thought Wilmot had given you a surfeit of the poet's
Elysium - horrid retirement! - how do you contrive to kill time? -
though Harry Mandeville indeed - a widow of spirit may find some
Why really, Fondville, a pretty fellow does prodigiously soften the
horrors of solitude.
Oh, nothing so well.
And Harry has his attractions.
Attractions! ah L'Amore! the fairest eyes of Rome -
But pray, my dear Lord, how did the court bear my absence?
In despair: the very Zephyrs about Versailles have learnt to sigh,
La belle Angloise. And Miremont?
Inconsolable: staid away from two operas.
Is it possible? the dear constant creature! how his sufferings
touch me! - but here is company.
Any body one knows?
I rather think not.
What! the good company of the Environs, the Arriere Ban, the Posse
Even so: my Lord "brings down the natives upon us," but, to do the
creatures justice, one shall seldom see tamer savages.
Here the door opening, Fondville rose with us all, and, leaning
against the wainscoat, in an attitude of easy indifference, half
bowing, without deigning to turn his eyes on those who entered the
room, continued playing my fan, and talking to me in a half whisper,
till all were seated; when my dear Lady Belmont, leading the
conversation, contrived to make it general, till, tea being over, my
Lord proposed a walk in the gardens; where having trifled away an hour
every pleasantly, we found music ready in the saloon at our return, and
danced till midnight.
Lord Viscount Fondville (he would not have you omit Viscount for
the world) left us this morning: my Lord is extremely polite and
attentive to him, on the supposition of his being my lover; otherwise
he must expect no supernumerary civilities at Belmont; for, as it is
natural to value most those advantages one possesses one self, my Lord,
whose nobility is but of the third generation, but whose ancestry loses
itself in the clouds, pays much greater respect to a long line of
illustrious ancestors than to the most lofty titles; and I am sorry to
say my dear Fondville's pedigree will not stand the test; he owes his
fortune and rank to the iniquity of his father, who was deep in the
infamous secret of the South Sea bubble.
'Tis however a good-natured, inoffensive, lively, showy animal, and
does not flatter disagreeably. He owns Belmont not absolutely shocking,
and thinks Lady Julia rather tolerable, if she was so happy as to have
a little of my spirit and enjouement.
Adio! A. Wilmot.
O Ciel! what a memory! this is not post day. You may possibly gain
a line or two by this strange forgetfulness of mine.
Saturday. Nothing new, but that La Signora Westbrook, who visited
here yesterday, either was, or pretended to be, taken ill before her
coach came; and Harry, by her own desire, attended her home in Lady
Julia's post chaise. He came back with so grave an air, that I fancy
she had been making absolute, plain, down-right love to him: her
ridiculous fondness begins to be rather perceptible to every body:
really these city girls are so rapid in their amours, they won't give a
man time to breathe.
Once more, Adieu!
To George Mordaunt, Esq; June 13th.
I Have just received a letter which makes me the most unhappy of
mankind: 'tis from a lady whose fortune is greatly above my most
sanguine hopes, and whose merit and tenderness deserve that heart which
I feel is not in my power to give her. The general complacency of my
behaviour to the lovely sex, and my having been accidentally her
partner at two or three balls, has deceived her into an opinion that
she is beloved by me; and she imagines she is only returning a passion,
which her superiority of fortune has prevented my declaring. How much
is she to be pitied! my heart knows too well the pangs of disappointed
love, not to feel most tenderly for the sufferings of another, without
the additional motive to compassion of being the undesigned cause of
those sufferings, the severest of which human nature is capable. I am
embarrassed to the greatest degree, not what resolution to take; that
required not a moment's deliberation; but how to soften the stroke, and
in what manner, without wounding her delicacy, to decline an offer,
which she has not the least doubt of my accepting with all the eager
transport of timid love, surprised by unexpected success.
I have wrote to her, and think I shall send this answer; I enclose
you a copy of it: her letter is already destroyed: her name I conceal.
The honor of a lady is too sacred to be trusted, even to the faithful
breath of a friend. To Miss - ,
To Miss - ,
NO words, Madam, can express the warmth of my gratitude for your
generous intentions in my favor, tho' my ideas of probity will not
allow me to take advantage of them.
To rob a gentleman, by whom I have been treated with the utmost
hospitality, not only of his whole fortune, but of, what is infinitely
more valuable, a beloved and amiable daughter, is an action so utterly
inconsistent with those sentiments of honor which I have always
cultivated, as even your perfections cannot tempt me to be guilty of. I
must therefore, however unwillingly, absolutely decline the happiness
you have had the goodness to permit me to hope for; and beg leave to
Madam, with the utmost gratitude and most lively esteem, your most
obliged and devoted servant, H. Mandeville.
I ought perhaps to be more explicit in my refusal of her; but I
cannot bring myself to shock her sensibility, by an appearance of total
indifference. Surely this is sufficiently clear, and as much as can be
said by a man sensible of, and grateful for, so infinite an obligation.
You will smile when I own that, in the midst of my concern for this
Lady, I feel a secret, and, I fear, an ungenerous, pleasure, in
sacrifising her to Lady Julia's friendship, tho' the latter will never
be sensible of the sacrifise. Yes, my friend, every idea of an
establishment in the world, however remote or however advantageous,
dies away before the joy of being esteemed by her, and at liberty to
cultivate that esteem; determined against marriage, I have no wish, no
hope, but that of being for ever unconnected, for ever blest in her
conversation, for ever allowed, uninterrupted, unrestrained by nearer
ties, to hear that enchanting voice, to swear on that snowy hand
eternal amity, to listen to the unreserved sentiments of the most
beautiful mind in the creation, uttered with the melody of angels. Had
I worlds, I would give them to inspire her with the same wishes!
To Col. Bellville. Wednesday Night.
I Can't conceive, Bellville, what it is that makes me so much the
men's taste: I really think I am not handsome - not so very handsome -
not so handsome as Lady Julia, - yet I don't know how it is - I am
persecuted to death amongst you - the misfortune to please every body -
'tis amazing - no regularity of features - fine eyes indeed - a vivid
bloom - a seducing smile - an elegant form - an air of the world - and
something extremely well in the Toute ensemble - a kind of an agreeable
manner - easy, spirited, degagŽe - and for the understanding - I
flatter myself malice itself cannot deny me the beauties of the mind.
You might justly say to me, what the Queen of Sweden said to
Mademoiselle le Favre,
"With such an understanding, are you not ashamed to be handsome?"
Absolutely deserted. Lord and Lady Belmont are gone to town this
morning on sudden and unexpected business: poor Harry's situation would
have been pitiable, had not my Lord, considering how impossible it was
for him to be well with us both ˆ Trio, sent to Fondville to spend a
week here in their absence, which they hope will not be much longer.
Harry, who is viceroy, with absolute power, has only one commission, to
amuse Lady Julia and me, and not let us pass a languid hour till their
O Dio! Fondville's Arabians! the dear creature looks up - he bows -
"That bow might from the bidding of the gods command me" - Don't you
love quotations? I am immensely fond of them: a certain proof of
erudition: and, in my sentiments, to be a woman of literature is to be
- In short, my dear Bellville, I early in life discovered, by the meer
force of genius, that there were two characters only in which one might
take a thousand little innocent freedoms, without being censured by a
parcel of impertinent old women, those of a Belle Esprit and a
Methodist; and, the latter not being in my style, I chose to set up for
the former, in which I have had the happiness to succeed so much beyond
my hopes, that, the first question now asked amongst polite people,
when a new piece comes out, is "What does Lady Anne Wilmot say of it?"
A scornful smile from me would damn the best play that ever was wrote;
as a look of approbation, for I am naturally merciful, has saved many a
dull one. In short, if you should happen to write an insipid poem,
which is extremely probable, send it to me, and my Fiat shall crown
you with immortality.
Oh! heavens! ˆ propos, do you know that Bell Martin, in the wane of
her charms, and past the meridian of her reputation, is absolutely
married to sir Charles Canterall? Astonishing! till I condescend to
give the clue, She praised his bad verses. A thousand things appear
strange in human life, which, if one had the real key, are only natural
effects of a hidden cause. "My dear sir Charles, says Bell, that divine
Sapphic of yours - those melting sounds - I have endeavoured to set it
- But Orpheus or Amphion alone - I would sing it - yet fear to trust my
own heart - such extatic numbers - who that has a soul" - She sing half
a stanza, and, overcome by the magic force of verse, leaning on his
breast, as if absorbed in speechless transport, "she fainted, sunk, and
dyed away". Find me the poet upon earth who could have withstood this.
He married her the next morning.
Oh! Ciel! I forgot the Caro Fondville. I am really inhuman. Adieu!
"Je suis votre amie tres fidelle." I can absolutely afford no more
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; London, June 20th.
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; London, June 20th.
YOU can have no idea, my dear Mr. Mandeville, how weary I am of
being these few day only in town: that any one, who is happy enough to
have a house, a cottage, in the country, should continue here at this
season, is to me inconceivable: but that gentleman of large property,
that noblemen, should imprison themselves in this smoaking furnace,
when the whole land is a blooming garden, a wilderness of sweets; when
pleasure courts them in her fairest form; nay, when the sordid god of
modern days, when Interest joins his potent voice; when power, the best
power, that of doing good, solicits their presence; can only be
accounted for by supposing them under the dominion of fascination,
spell-caught by some malicious demon, an enemy to human happiness.
I cannot resist addressing them in a stanza or two of a poem, which
deserves to be written in letters of gold.
"Mean time, by pleasure's sophistry allur'd, From the bright fun
and living breeze ye stray: And, deep in London's gloomy haunts
immur'd, Brook o'er your fortune's, freedom's health's decay, O blind
of choice, and to yourselves untrue! The young grove shoots, their
bloom the fields renew, "The mansion asks its lord, the swains their
friend; While he doth riot's orgies haply share, Or tempt the
gamester's dark destroying snare, Or at some courtly shrine with
lavish incense bend. "And yet full oft your anxius tongues complain
That careless tumult prompts the rustic throng; That the rude village
inmates now disdain Those homely ties which rul'd their fathers long:
Alas! your fathers did by other arts Draw those kind ties around
their simple hearts, And led in other paths their ductile will: By
succours, faithful consul, courteous chear, Won them the ancient
manners to revere, To prize their country's peace, and heaven's due
rites fulfill." Can a nobleman of spirit prefer the rude insults of a
licentious London rabble, the refuse of every land, to the warm and
faithful attachment of a brave, a generous, a free, and loyal yeomanry
in the country? Does not interest, as well as virtue and humanity,
prompt them, by living on their estates, to imitate the Heavens, which
return the moisture they draw from the earth, in grateful dews and
When I first came to Belmont, having been some years abroad, I
found my tenants poor and dejected, scarce able to gain i hard
penurious living. The neighbouring gentlemen spending two thirds of the
year in London, and the town, which was the market for my estate,
filled only with people in trade, who could scarce live by each other:
I struck at the root of this evil, and, by living almost altogether in
the country myself, brought the whole neighbourhood to do the same: I
promoted every kind of diversion, which soon filled my town with
gentlemen's families, which raised the markets, and of consequence the
value of my estate: my tenants grew rich at the same rents which before
they were unable to pay; population encreased, my villages were full of
inhabitants, and all around me was gay and flourishing. So simple, my
dear Mr. Mandeville, are the maxims of true policy: but it must be so;
that machine which has the fewest wheels is certainly most easy to keep
Have you had my old men to dine? at sixty I admit them to my table,
where they are always once a fortnight my guests. I love to converse
with those, "whom age and long experience render wise; and in my idea
of things, it is time to slacken the reins of pride, and to wave all
sublunary distinctions, when they are so near being at an end between
us. Besides I know, by my own feelings, that age wants the comforts of
life: a plentiful table, generous wines, chearful converse, and the
notice of those they have been accustomed to revere, renews in some
degree the fire of youth, gives a spring to declining nature, and
perhaps prolongs as well as enlivens the evening of their days. Nor is
it a small addition to my satisfaction, to see the respect paid them by
the young of their own rank, from the observation of their being thus
distinguished by me: as an old man, I have a kind of interest in making
age an object of reverence; but, were I ever so young, I would continue
a custom which appears to me not less just than humane.
Adieu! my esteemed, my amiable friend! how I envy you your larks
Your faithful Belmont.
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday.
Positively, Bellville, I can answer for nothing: these sylvan
scenes are so very bewitching, the vernal grove, and balmy Zephyr, are
so favourable to a lover's prayer, that if Fondville was any thing but
a pretty man about town, my situation would be extremely critical.
This wicked Harry too has certainly some evil design; he forms
nothing but enchanting rural parties, either ˆ quarrŽe, or with others
of the young and gay: not a maiden aunt has appeared at Belmont since
his reign commenced. He suffers no ideas to enter our imaginations but
those of youth, beauty, love, and the seducing pleasures of the golden
age. We dance on the green, dine at the hermitage, and wander in the
woods by moonlight, listening to the song of the nightingale, or the
sweeter notes of that little syren Lady Julia, whose impassioned sounds
would soften the marble heart of a virgin of eighty- five.
I really tremble for my fair friend; young, artless, full of
sensibility, exposed hourly to the charms of the prettiest fellow upon
earth, with a manner so soft, so tender, so much in her own romantic
A rap at my door - Fondville is sent for away - company at his
house - sets out immediately - I must bid the dear creature adieu -
I am returned: pity me, Bellville! "The streams, the groves, the
rocks remain; But damon still I seek in vain."
Yes, the dear man is gone; Harry is retired to write letters, and
Lady Julia and I are going to take a walk, Tete ˆ Tete in the wood.
Jesu Maria! a female Tete ˆ Tete! - I shall never go through the
operation - if we were en confidence indeed, it might be bearable: but
the little innocent fool has not even a secret.
Yours, A. Wilmot. To George Mordaunt, Esq;
OH! Mordaunt! I am indeed undone: I was too confident of my own
strength: I depended on the power of gratitude and honor over my heart,
but find them too weak to defend me against such inexpressible
loveliness: I could have resisted her beauty only, but the mind which
irradiates those speaking eyes - the melting music of those gentle
accents, "soft as the fleeces of descending snows" - the delicacy, yet
lively tenderness of her sentiments - that angel innocence - that
winning sweetness - the absence of her parents, and Lady Anne's
coquetry with Lord Fondville, have given me opportunities of conversing
with her, which have for ever destroyed my peace - I must tear myself
from her - I will leave Belmont the moment my Lord returns - I am for
ever lost - doomed to wretchedness - but I will be wretched alone - I
tremble lest my eyes should have discovered - lest pity should involve
her in my misery.
Great heavens! was I not sufficiently unhappy? to stab me to the
heart, I have just received the following letter from Lord Belmont.
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; June 22d.
THE present member of parliament for being in a state of health
which renders his life extremely uncertain, it would be very agreeable
to me if my dear Mr. Mandeville would think of offering himself a
candidate to succeed him. I will however be so plain as to tell him, he
will have no assistance from me except my wishes, and has nothing to
trust to but his merits and the name of Mandeville; it being a point
both of conscience and honor with me, never to intermeddle in
elections. The preservation of our happy constitution depends on the
perfect independence of each part, of which it is composed, on the
other two: and the moment, Heaven grant that moment to be far distant!
when the House of Lords can make a House of Commons, liberty and
prerogative will cease to be more than names, and both prince and
people become slaves.
I therefore always, though the whole town is mine, leave the people
to their free and uninfluenced choice: never interfering farther than
to insist on their keeping themselves as unbiassed as I leave them. I
would not only withdraw my favor from, but prosecute, the man who was
base enough to take a bribe, tho' he who offered it was my nearest
friend. By this means I have the pleasure also of keeping myself free,
and at liberty to confer favours where I please; so that I secure my
own independence by not invading that of others.
This conduct, I cannot help thinking, if general, would preserve
the balance of our glorious constitution; a balance of much greater
consequence to Britons than the balance of power in Europe, tho' so
much less the object of their attention. In this we resemble those
persons, who, whilst they are busied in regulating the domestic
concerns of their neighbours, suffer their own to be ruined.
But to return from this unintended digression: You will perhaps
object to what I have proposed, that, during your father's life, you
are not qualified for a seat in Parliament. I have obviated this
objection. Lady Mary, the only sister of my father, has an ample
fortune in her own power to dispose of: some part of it was originally
her own; but much the larger part was left her by her lover, Sir
Charles Barton, who was killed in Queen Anne's wars, the very morning
before he was to have set out for England to complete his marriage.
Being the last of his family, he had made a will, in which he left his
estate to Lady Mary, with a request, that, if she did not marry, she
would leave it to one of the name of Mandeville. As she loves merit,
and has the happiness and honor of our house warmly at heart, I have
easily prevailed on her to settle 500 . a year on you at the present,
and to leave you a good part of the rest at her death. Her design
hitherto, I will not conceal from you, has been to leave her fortune to
my daughter, of whom she is infinitely fond; but Julia has enough, and
by leaving it to you she more exactly fulfils the will of Sir Charles,
who, tho' he has not expressly made the distinction, certainly meant
it to a male of the Mandeville name. The estate is about 2000 . a year;
her own fortune of 14000 . I shall not oppose her leaving to my
I know too well the generous sentiments of your heart to doubt
that, in procuring this settlement, I give to my country a firm and
unshaken patriot, at once above dependance on the most virtuous court,
and the mean vanity of opposing the just measures of his Prince, from a
too eager desire of popularity: not that I would have you insensible to
praise, or the esteem of your country; but seek it only by deserving
it, and tho' it be in part the reward, let it not be the motive of your
actions: let your own approbation be your first view, and that of
others only your second.
You may observe, my dear Mr. Mandeville, I only caution you against
being led away, by youthful vanity, to oppose the just measures of
your Prince: I should wrong the integrity of your heart, if I supposed
you capable of distressing the hands of government for mercenary or
ambitious purposes: a virtuous senator will regard, not men, but
measures, and will concur with his bitterest enemies in every salutary
and honest purpose; or rather, in a public light, he will have no
enemies, but the enemies of his country.
It is with caution I give even these general hints; far be it form
me to attempt to influence your judgment: let your opinion be ever free
and your own; or, where your inexperience may want information, seek it
from the best, and most enlightened of mankind, your excellent father,
who has long sat with honor in the same house.
Let me now, my amiable friend, thank you for your obliging
attention, not only to the ladies, of whom I could not doubt your
care, but of my tenants; one of whom writes me word, that, coming to
enquire when I should return, with a look of anxiety which shew'd my
return was of consequence to him, you took his aside, and, enquiring
his business, found he wanted, from an accident which had involved him
in a temporary distress, to borrow 100 . for which you gave him a
draught on your banker, with a goodness and sweetness of manner, which
doubled the obligation; making only one condition, which the
overflowing of his gratitude has made him unable to keep, that it
should be a secret to all the world.
Can Lady Mary do too much for a man who thus shews himself worthy
the name of Mandeville, the characteristic of which has ever been the
warmest benevolence? Another would, perhaps, insist on returning the
money to you, but I will not rob you of the pleasure of making an
honest man happy: you will however observe, that it is this once only I
indulge you; and that you are the only person from whom I have ever
suffered my family, for such I esteem all placed by Providence under my
protection, to receive an obligation: 'tis a favour I have refused even
to your father.
Do not answer this: I shall possibly be with you before a letter
could reach me.
Adieu. Your affectionate Belmont.
Can I, after this letter, my dear Mordaunt, entertain a wish for
Lady Julia, without the blackest ingratitude? no, tho' I will not
accept his generous offer, I can never forget he has made it. I will
leave Belmont - I will forget her - What have I said? forget her? I
must first lose all sense of my own being. Am I born to know every
species of misery? I have this moment received a second letter from the
Lady I once mentioned to you, filled with the softest and most
affecting expressions of disinterested tenderness: indiscreet from
excess of affection, she adjures me to meet her one moment in the
rustic temple, where she is waiting for me; her messenger is gone, and,
as I will not hazard exposing her by sending my servant, I have no
choice left but to go: Heaven knows how unwillingly! Should we be seen,
what an appearance would such a meeting have! I left Lady Julia to
write letters, and on that account excused myself from attending her:
yet can I leave her, whom love alone has made imprudent, to the
consequence of her indiscretion, and the wild sallies of a mind torn by
disappointment and despair! I will go: but how shall I behold her! how
tell her pity is all I can return to so generous a passion? These
trials are too great for a heart like mine, tender, sympathetic,
compassionate; and softened by the sense of it's own sufferings: I
shall expire with regret and confusion at her sight. Farewell.
To Colonel Bellville.
OUR party last night did not turn out so much in the still-life way
as I expected - unfortunate as I am - two rivals at once - la
bellissima Julia has most certainly a penchant for Harry - 'tis absurd,
for the thing is impossible. In the first place, I am rather afraid he
has a kind of attachment to this creature; and in the second, I know
Lord Belmont's sentiments on this head, and that, with all his
generosity, no man breathing has a greater aversion to unequal
marriages: the difference is so immense in every thing but birth and
merit, that there remains not a shadow of hope for her. But these
people of high heroics are above attending to such trifling things as
possibilities - I hope I am mistaken; but the symptoms are strong upon
her, as you shall judge.
I left you last night, to accompany Lady Julia to the wood we are
both so fond of: the evening was lovely beyond description, and we were
engaged in a very lively conversation; when, as we approached the
temple, we saw Harry, who had just left us on pretence of writing
letters, come out of it with the detestable Westbrook leaning
familiarly on his arm, her pert eyes softened into languishment, and
fixed eagerly on his: the forward creature started at seeing us, and
attempted to fly, which Harry prevented, and, withdrawing his arm from
hers, as if mechanically, advanced slowly towards us, with a look so
confused, a mien so disordered, so different form that easy air which
gives ten thousand graces to the finest form in the world, as convinced
me that this meeting was not accidental. Lady Julia stopt the moment
she saw them; a deep blush overspread her face, she fixed her eyes on
the ground, and waited their approach silent and unmoved as a statue.
Not so the cit: the creature's assurance, and the ease with which she
recovered herself and addressed Lady Julia, excited equally my
astonishment and indignation. She told her, she came to wait on her
Ladyship, and the fineness of the evening had tempted her to leave her
coach at the entrance of the wood: that as she walked thro' she
happened to meet Mr. Mandeville, quite by chance she assured her
Ladyship; as he would testify. Harry disdain'd to confirm her falshood
even by an assenting look: his silence, the coldness of his manner,
with the air of dignity and spirit Lady Julia assumed, almost
disconcerted her: we walk'd silently to the house, where the girl only
stay'd till her coach was order'd round, and then left us; her eyes
ask'd Harry's attendance, but he chose not to understand their
This evening was the only unpleasant one I ever past at Belmont: a
reserve, unknown before in that seat of sincere friendship, took place
of the sweet confidence which used to reign there, and to which it owes
its most striking charms. We retired earlier than common; and Lady
Julia, instead of spending half an hour in my apartment, as usual, took
leave of me at the door and passed on to her own.
I am extremely alarmed for her - it would have been natural to have
talked over so extraordinary an adventure with me, if not too nearly
interested - There was a constraint in her behaviour to Harry all the
evening - an assumed coldness - his assiduity seemed to displease her -
she sighed often - nay once, when my eyes met hers, I observed a tear
ready to start - she may call this friendship if she pleases, but
these very tender, these apprehensive, these jealous friendships,
between amiable young people of different sexes, are exceedingly
It is an hour later than her usual time of appearing, and I hear
nothing of her: I am determined not to indulge this tender melancholy,
and have sent up to let her know I attend her in the saloon; for I
often breakfast in my own apartment, it being the way here for every
body to do whatever they like. -
Indeed! a letter from Lady Julia! - a vindication? - nay then -
"guilty upon my honor." - Why imagine I suspect her? - Oh! Conscience!
Her extreme fear of my supposing her in love with Harry is a
convincing proof that she is, tho' such is her amiable sincerity, that
I am sure she has deceived herself before she would attempt to deceive
me; but the latter is not so easy; sitters by see all the game.
She tells me, she cannot see me till she has vindicated herself
from a suspicion which the weakness of her behaviour yesterday may have
caused: That she is not sure she has resolution to mention the subject
when present; therefore takes this way to assure me, that, tender and
lively as her friendship for Mr. Mandeville is, it is only friendship;
a friendship which his merit has hitherto justified, and which has been
the innocent pleasure of her life. That born with too keen
sensibilities (poor thing! I pity her sensibilities) the ill treatment
of her friends wounds her to the soul. That zeal for his honor and the
integrity of his character, which she thinks injured by the mysterious
air of last night's adventure; her shock at a clandestine and
dissembled appointment, so inconsistent with that openness which she
had always admired in him, as well as with the respect due to her, now
so particularly in her father's absence under his protection, had
occasioned that concern which she fears may make her appear to me more
weak than she is.
In short, she takes a great deal of pains to lead herself into an
error; and struggles in those toils which she will find great
difficulty in breaking.
Harry's valet has just told my woman his master was in bed but two
hours last night: that he walked about his room till three, and rose
again at five, and went out on horseback, without a servant. The poor
fellow is frighted to death about him; for he is idolized by this
servants, and this man has been with him from his child-hood. But
adieu! I hear Lady Julia upon the stairs. I must meet her in the
Poor soul! I never saw any thing like her confusion when we met:
she blushed, she trembled, and sunk half motionless into her chair: I
made the tea, without taking the least notice of her inability to do
it; and by my easy chit chat manner soon brought her to be a little
composed: though her eye was often turned towards the door, though she
started at every sound, yet she never asked the cause of Harry's
absence, which must however surprize her, as he always breakfasts
Foreseeing we should be a very aukward party to day ˆ Trio, I sent
early in the morning to ask three or four very agreeable girls about
two miles off, to come and ramble all day with us in the woods: happily
for poor Lady Julia, they came in before we had done breakfast; and I
left them to go and look at some shellwork, whilst I came up to finish
Harry is come back, and has sent to speak with me; I am really a
person of great consequence at present. I am in a very ill humor with
him; he may well be ashamed to appear; however, the worst of criminals
deserves to be heard. I will admit him: he is at the door. Adio!
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Wednesday, Five in the Morning.
GREAT Heaven! what a night have I past! all other fears give way
before that of displeasing her. Yes, let me be wretched, but let her
not suppose me unworthy: let her not see me in the light of a man who
barters the sentiments of his soul for sordid views of avarice or
ambition, and, using means proportioned to the baseness of his end,
forges a falsehood to excuse his attendance on her, seduces an heiress
to give him clandestine assignations, and in a place guarded, doubly
guarded at this time, by the sacred and inviolable laws of hospitality,
from such unworthy purposes.
I will clear my conduct, though at the hazard of exposing her whose
love for me deserves a different treatment: let her be the victim of
that indiscretion by which she has ruined me. - And can I be thus base?
- Can I betray the believing unsuspecting heart? - My mind is
distracted - but why do I say betray? I know Lady Anne's greatness of
mind; and for Lady Julia - yes, the secret will be as safe with them as
in my own bosom.
Shall I own all my folly? I cannot, tho' she shall never know my
passion for herself, support one moment the idea of Lady Julia's
imagining I love another.
I will go to Lady Anne, as soon as she is up, and beg her to
convince her lovely friend my meeting this Lady was accidental; I will
not, if I can avoid it, say more.
I cannot see her before this explanation. I will ride out, and
breakfast with some friend: I would not return till they are gone back
to their apartments, that I may see Lady Anne alone.
Lady Anne has probed me to the quick; I have trusted her without
reserve as to this affair; I have begged her to vindicate me to Lady
Julia, who is walking in the garden with some Ladies of the
neighbourhood: we are going to follow them, I am to take the Ladies
aside, whilst Lady Anne pleads my cause: she calls me. Farewell.
Twelve at Night.
She forgives me, and I am most happy. Lady Anne has told her all,
and has had the goodness to introduce me to her as we walked,
unobserved by the Ladies who were with us. I have kissed her hand as a
seal of my pardon. That moment! Oh! Mordaunt! with what difficulty did
I restrain the transport of my soul!
Yes, my friend, she forgives me, a sweet benign serenity reigns in
her lovely eyes; she approves my conduct; she is pleased with the
concern I shew at giving pain to the heart which loves me; her
chearfulness is returned, and has restored mine; she rules every
movement of my heart as she pleases: never did I pass so happy a day. I
am all joy; no sad idea can enter; I have scarce room even for the
tender compassion I owe to her I have made wretched. I am going to-bed,
but without the least expectation of sleep: joy will now have the same
effect as I last night found from a contrary cause. Adieu!
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday Morning.
I Have reconciled the friends: the scene was amazingly pathetic and
pretty: I am only sorry I am too lazy to describe it. He kissed her
hand, without her shewing the least symptom of anger; she blushed
indeed; but, if I understand blushes - in short, times are prodigiously
The strange misses were of infinite use, as they broke the
continuity of the tender scene (if I may be allowed the expression)
which, however entertaining to Les Amies, would have been something
sickly to my Ladyship, if it had lasted.
And now, having united, it must be my next work to divide them; for
seriously I am apt to believe, the dear creatures are in immense
danger of a kind of partiality for each other, which would not be quite
I have some thoughts, being naturally sentimental and generous, of
taking Harry myself, merely from compassion to Lady Julia. Widows, you
know, are in some degree the property of handsome young fellows, who
have more merit than fortune; and there would be something very heroic
in devoting myself to save my friend. I always told you, Bellville, I
was more an antique Roman than a Briton. But I must leave you: I hear
Lady Julia coming to fetch me: we breakfast ˆ Trio in a bower of roses.
Oh! heavens! the plot begins to thicken - Lucretia's dagger -
Rosamonda's bowl - Harry has had a letter from his charmer - vows she
can't live without him - determined to die unless the barbarous man
relents. - This cruel Harry will be the death of us all.
Did I tell you we were going to a ball to-night, six or seven miles
off? She has heard it, and intends to be there: tells him, she shall
there expect the sentence of life or death from his lovely eyes: the
signal is appointed: if his savage heart is melted, and he pities her
sufferings, he is to dance with her, and be master of her divine person
and eighty thousand pounds, to-morrow; if not - but she expires at the
idea - she entreats him to soften the cruel stroke, and not give a
mortal wound to the tenderest of hearts by dancing with another.
You would die to see Harry's distress - so anxious for the tender
creature's life, so incensed at his own wicked attractions, so perplext
how to pronounce the fatal sentence - for my part, I have had the
utmost difficulty to keep my countenance. - Lady Julia, who was to
have been his partner, sighing with him over the letter, intreating him
not to dance, pitying the unhappy love-sick maid, her fine eyes
glistening with a tear of tender sympathy.
The whole scene is too ridiculous to be conceived, and too foolish
even to laugh at: I could stand it no longer, so retired, and left them
to their soft sorrows.
You may talk of women, but you men are as much the dupes of your
own vanity as the weakest amongst us can be. Heaven and earth! that,
with Harry's understanding and knowledge of the world, he can be
seriously alarmed at such a letter. I thought him more learned in the
arts "of wilful woman labouring for her purpose." Nor is she the kind
of woman; I think I know more of the nature of love, than to imagine
her capable of it. If there was no other lover to be had indeed, - but
he is led astray by the dear self-complacency of contemplating the
surprizing effects of his own charms.
I see he is shocked at my insensibility, and fancies I have a most
unfeeling heart; but I may live to have my revenge. Adio! I am going to
my toilet. "Now awful beauty puts on all its charms."
The coach is at the door: Harry is drest for execution; always
elegant, he is to-day studiously so; a certain proof, to be sure, that
his vanity is weaker than his compassion: he is however right; if she
must die, he is to be commended for looking as well as he can, to
justify a passion which is to have such fatal effects: he sees I
observe his dress, and has the grace to blush a little. Adio! Caro!
To Col. Bellville. Friday Morning.
WE are again at Belmont. But Oh! how changed! all our heroicks
destroyed - poor Harry! I can't look at him without laughing.
Our journey thither was pensive, our conversation sentimental; we
entered the ball-room trembling with apprehension; where the first
object which struck our eyes was the tender, lovesick, dying maid,
listening with the most eager attention to Fondville, who was at the
very moment kissing her hand; her whole soul in her eyes, her heart
fluttering with a pleasure which she could not conceal, and every
feature on the full stretch of coquetry.
An involuntary frown clouded the lovely countenance of my Harry,
which was not lessened by his observing a malicious smile on mine: he
advanced however towards her, when she, not doubting his design was to
ask her to dance, told him, in a faltering voice, with a mixed air of
triumph and irresolution, her eyes fixed on her fan, that she was
engaged to Lord Fondville.
Harry was thunderstruck: a glow of indignation flushed his cheek,
and he left her without deigning to make her any reply; which I
observing, and fearing she might misinterpret his silence, and that the
idea of his supposed disappointment might flatter the creature's
vanity, took care to explain to her that he was engaged to Lady Julia
before we came; a piece of information which made her feel to the
quick, even through the pleasure of dancing with a Lord; a pleasure
which has inconceivable charms for a citizen's daughter, and which love
itself, or what she pleases to call love, could not enable her to
resist. The attention of all the company was now turned on Harry and
Lady Julia, who were dancing a minuet: the beauty of their persons, the
easy dignity of their air, the vivid bloom of their cheeks, the spirit
which shone in their eyes, the inimitable graces of their movement,
which received a thousand additional charms from (what, I hope, no one
observed but myself) their desire of pleasing each other, gave me an
idea of perfection in dancing, which never before entered my
imagination: all was still as night; not a voice, not a motion, through
the whole assembly. The spectators seemed afraid even to breathe, lest
their attention should be one moment suspended: Envy herself seemed
dead, or to confine her influence to the bosom of Miss Westbrook. The
minuet ended, a murmur of applause ran through the room, which, by
calling up her blushes, gave a thousand new charms to Lady Julia,
which I observed to the cit, adding also aloud that it was impossible
any body should think of dancing minuets after them; in which
sentiments every body concurring, we began country dances. Harry never
looked so lovely; his beauty and the praises lavished on him, having
awakened a spark of that flame, which her ambition had stifled for a
moment, the girl endeavour'd, at the beginning of the evening, to
attract his notice, but in vain: I had the pleasure to see him neglect
all her little arts, and treat her with an air of unaffected
indifference, which I knew must cut her to the soul. She then
endeavoured to pique him by the most flaming advances to Fondville,
which, knowing your capricious sex as I do, rather alarmed me; I
therefore determined to destroy the effect if her arts by playing off,
in opposition, a more refined species of coquetry, which turned all
Fondville's attention on myself, and saved Harry from the snare she was
laying for him, a snare of all others the hardest to escape.
When I saw I had by the most delicate flattery chained Fondville to
my carr for the night, and by playing off a few quality airs inspired
him with the strongest contempt for his city partner, and threw myself
into a chair; where, affecting an excess of languor and fatigue, and
wondering at the amazing constitutions of the country Ladies, I
declared my attention of dancing no more.
Sir Charles Mellifont, who danced with me, sat down on one side,
and Fondville on the other, pouring forth a rhapsody of tender
nonsense, vowing all other women were only foils to me, envying Sir
Charles's happiness, and kissing my hand with an affectation of
transport, which pleased me as I saw it mortified the cit, who sat
swelling with spite in a window near us, in a situation of mind which I
could almost have pitied.
I sat a full hour, receiving the homage of both my adorers, my head
reclined, and my whole person in an attitude of the most graceful
negligence and inattention; when, observing the Cittadina ready to
faint with envy and indignation, turning my eye carelessly on her, Oh,
Heavens! Fondville, said I, you are in inhuman creature; you have
absolutely forgot your partner: then, starting with Sir Charles,
rejoined the dance with an air of easy impertinence, which she could
not stand, but burst into tears, and withdrew.
You most know this affair was all of my contriving; I was
determined to try the reality of the girl's passion, to quiet Harry's
conscience as to cruelty of rejecting her suit, and remove those
apprehensions for her life, which seemed so infinitely to distress him.
Full of these ideas, I wrote by one of my servants to Fondville,
immediately after Harry communicated to us the Cittadina's
tragedy-letter, commanding him to be at this ball, drest for conquest;
to enquire out Miss Westbrook, whom he had never seen; to pretend a
sudden and violent passion for her; and to entreat the honor of being
her partner: that it was a whim I had taken into my head; that I would
explain my reasons another time, but insisted on his implicit
"He came, he saw, he conquered," as I imagined he would: I knew her
rage for title, tinsel, and "people of a certain rank," and that
Fondville was exactly calculated for the meridian of her taste,
understanding, and education. The overcharged splendor of his dress
and equipage must have infinite advantages, with one who had so long
breathed city air, over the genuine elegance of Harry Mandeville's; nor
was it possible in the nature of things for the daughter of an
exchange-broker to prefer even personal perfection to the dazzling
blaze of a coronet; Harry's charms gave way before the flattering idea
of a title, and the gentle God resigned his place to the greater power,
Things to be sure have taken rather a disagreeable turn; but she
must thank her own inconstancy, and be content for the future with
making love to one man at a time.
I have only one more scene of mortification in view for her, and my
malice will be satisfied; I would invite her to a ball at Belmont, let
Harry dance with Lady Julia, take Fondville myself, and pair her with
the most disagreeable fellow in the room.
You have no notion how Harry's vanity is hurt, though he strives
all he can to hide it; piqued to death; just like one of us, who are
pleased with the love, though we dislike the lover; he begins to think
it possible she may survive his cruelty.
Lady Julia is all astonishment, had no idea of such levity - the
amiable ignorant - how little she knows us - the character of half the
sex. Adio! I am going, with Lady Julia, to pay some morning visits in
Till this morning I had no notion how much Lord and Lady Belmont
were beloved, or, to speak with more propriety, adored in their
neighbourhood: the eager enquiries of the good Ladies after their
return, their warm expressions of esteem and veneration, are what you
can scarce conceive: the swell of affection, which their presence
restrained, how breaks forth with redoubled impetuosity.
There are really a great many agreeable people hereabouts: Belmont
is the court of this part of the world, and employs its influence, as
every court ought to do, in bringing virtue, politeness, and elegant
knowledge into fashion. How forcible, how irresistible are such
examples in superior life! who can know Lord and Lady Belmont, without
endeavouring to imitate them? and who can imitate them without becoming
all that is amiable and praise worthy?
Do you know, Bellville, I begin extremely to dislike myself? I have
good qualities, and a benevolent heart; but have exerted the former so
irregularly, and taken so little pains to rule and direct the virtuous
impulses of the latter, that they have hitherto answered very little
purpose either to myself or others. I feel I am a comet, shining, but
useless, or perhaps destructive, whilst Lady Belmont is a benignant
But, for Heaven's sake, how came the spirit of reflection to seize
me? There is something in this air. - O Cielo! una Carrozza! - my dear
Lord Belmont. I fly - Adio! June 23d.
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
THEY are come; the impatient villagers crowd the hall, eager to
behold them, transport in every eye, whilst the noble pair scarce
retain the tender tear of glowing benevolence. How lovely a picture was
the audience they come from giving! how sweet the intercourse of warm
beneficence and ardent gratitude! my heart melted at the sight. This
evening is devoted to joy - I alone - O Mordaunt! have I known this
paradise only to be driven for ever from it?
I cannot to-night mention leaving Belmont; to-morrow I will propose
it; I am in doubt where to go; my father is absent from camp on a visit
of a fortnight to the Duke of - - , his colonel. I have some thoughts
of going to Lord T - - 's, till his return: perhaps I may come to town;
all places but this are equal to me yet: I must leave it; I am every
moment more sensible of my danger: yes, Mordaunt, I love her, I can no
longer deceive myself; I love her with the fondest passion; friendship
is too cold a name for what I feel, too cold for charms like hers to
inspire: yet, Heaven is my witness, I am incapable of a wish to her
disadvantage; her happiness is my first, my only object - I know not
what I would say - why does fortune for ever oppose the tender union of
To Colonel Bellville. Saturday.
MY Lord has brought us a thousand presents, a thousand books, a
thousand trinkets, all in so exquisite a taste - He is the sweetest man
in the world certainly - Such delight in obliging - 'Tis happy for you
he is not thirty years younger and disengaged; I should infallibly have
a passion - He has brought Harry the divinest horse; we have been
seeing him ride, "spring from the ground like feather'd Mercury" - you
can have no conception how handsome he looks on horseback - poor Lady
Julia's little innocent heart - I can't say I was absolutely insensible
myself - you know I am infinitely fond of beauty, and vastly above
dissembling it: indeed it seems immensely absurd that one is allowed to
be charmed with living perfection in every species but our own, and
that there one must admire only dead colours: one may talk in raptures
of a lifeless Adonis, and not of a breathing Harry Mandeville. Is not
this a despicable kind of prudery? For my part, I think nature's
colouring vastly preferable to the noblest attempts of art, and am not
the less sensible to the graces of a fine form because it is animated.
Adieu! we are going to dine at the hermitage; Lord Belmont is to be my
To George Mordaunt, Esq:
To George Mordaunt, Esq:
HOW inconsistent is the human mind! I cannot leave Belmont, I
cannot give up the delight of beholding her: I fancy a softness in her
manner which raises the most flattering ideas; she blushes when her
eyes meet mine. - Tho' I see the madness of hope, I indulge it in spite
of myself. No one can deserve her; yet, as Lord Belmont honors me with
his esteem, I would persuade myself fortune alone forbids - I will
struggle with impossibilities; I have many and powerful friends; we
have a Prince in the early prime of life, the season of generous
virtue: a Prince, to whom the patriot glow, and that disinterested
loyalty, which is almost my whole inheritance, cannot but be the
strongest recommendations; to him it may be merit to have suffered,
when the basest of the people rose on the ruins of their country. Those
ample possessions, which would have descended to me, and might have
raised my hopes to the most angelic of womankind, were gloriously spent
in endeavouring to support the throne, when shook by the rage of
faction and narrow-minded bigoted enthusiasm; the younger branch of our
family escaped the storm by having a minor at it's head: to this
accident, the partiality of an ancestor, and the military talents of
his father, Lord Belmont owes the affluence he so nobly enjoys, and
which I only, of all mankind, have cause to regret.
These circumstances raise a flattering hope - my views are
confused, but I will pursue the track. If I succeed, I may openly avow
my passion; if not, the secret of my love shall die with me: never, my
friend, will I attempt her heart by unworthy means: let me endeavour to
deserve, and leave to Heaven to determine whether I shall possess the
noblest gift it has to bestow. Farewell.
To George Mordaunt, Esq; August 1st.
I Have heard from my father on the subject of Lady Mary's intended
settlement, who extremely disapproves my intention of entirely
declining it, which he thinks cannot be founded on any motives worthy
of me, but on a false pride of disdaining to be obliged, which is in
this case unjust, and greatly below my character: that I might as well
object to receiving a part of his estate, which he intends to settle on
me at the same time; he says, Lord Belmont acts properly, and
consistently with himself, and does not at all mean to break in on that
independence which can never be too highly valued: that Lady Julia
would scarce perceive such an addition to her already splendid fortune,
whilst this settlement fixes in some degree of affluence the elder
branch of the family, which lost its superiority, by the injustice of
an ancestor, and that heroic loyalty which has ever characterised our
house. That he will talk further with me on this subject when we meet,
but in the mean time advises me, as a friend zealous for my interest,
yet not the less attentive to my honor and the propriety of my conduct,
to accept the immediate settlement of 500 . a year, which will enable
me to be serviceable to my country; but to postpone to some distant
time settling the whole, and to insist that Lady Mary be convinced I
deserve her friendship before she lavishes it so profusely on me.
This advice gives me pleasure, as it coincides with my own present
sentiments: eager to pursue my scheme of rising to such consequence as
my justify my hopes of the only event desirable to me in this world, I
am happy in the thought of appearing in every light in which I can
attract the notice of my Prince; and, by steadily serving him and my
country, whose true interest must ever be the same, deserve that favor
on which all my designs are founded.
The time not being yet arrived when I can serve the noblest cause
in the Senate, I will go to Germany, and endeavour first to signalize
myself in the manner most suited to my period of life, the season of
action, not of counsel: it is shameful, at my age, to recline in the
flowery bower of indolence, when the whole world is in arms; I have not
yet begun to live; my time has hitherto been less passed in acting,
than in preparing to act, my part on the great theatre of human life.
Oh, Mordaunt! should I succeed in my views! should the hour come
when I may openly avow my passion for the ;most lovely of womankind!
this is the sweet hope which fires my soul, and animates me to the
glorious pursuit. Why do closeted moralists, strangers to the human
heart, rail indiscriminately at love? when inspired by a worthy object,
it leads to every thing that is great a noble; warmed by the desire of
being approved by her, there is nothing I would not attempt. I will
to-day write to my father for his consent, and embark immediately for
I have just received your letter: you call my design madness, the
light in which every animated purpose will appear to minds inactive,
unimpassioned, and sunk in the lethargic calm of lifeless tranquillity.
- Mordaunt, you speak the cold language of a heart at rest: talk not of
impossibilities; nothing is impossible to a soul impelled by the most
lively of all passions, and ardent in a pursuit on which its whole
happiness depends; nothing is impossible to him who aspires to please
the most lovely, the most amiable, the most exalted of her sex.
I feel, I know, I shall be successful. l I ask not advice, but
declare my settled purpose: I am already determined; and, if your
friendship be warm as mine, you will not torture me by further
opposition. My father alone has power to change my resolution, but it
is a power he will not exert: I shall ask his permission, but inform
him at the same time, that, by refusing, he cuts off all the hope of my
future days, and chains me down to a life of tasteless insensibility.
I know him well; he will advise, he will remonstrate, if he
disapproves; but he will leave me that freedom of choice which is the
inherent right of every rational being and which he never, in one
instance, invaded, when I was much less capable of judging for myself.
Fearful, however, lest he should disapprove my passion for Lady
Julia, I shall not declare it to him at present; but, as I never will
even tacitly deceive him, I shall tell him I have a motive to this
design, which I beg his leave to conceal from him till I have a
prospect of success. I this morning mentioned leaving Belmont, but my
Lord insists on my staying a few days longer, which are devoted to
domestic happiness. I cannot refuse without making him suspect some
latent cause; nor will it make any difference in my plan, since I must
wait somewhere an answer from my father, which will reach Belmont about
the time I shall now leave it. To-morrow se'n- night expect me in town:
I shall stay but two nights: I need little preparation: my equipage and
attendance are already greatly beyond my fortune, and rather suited to
what you call the madness of my expectations: my father, the most
generous of mankind, has always proportioned my expences more to my
birth than his moderate income: as my companions have ever been of the
first rank, he has supported me greatly above myself, and on a full
equality with them, lest I should be dazzled to mean compliances with
their faults, by the false splendor they might receive from a
superiority in these outward distinctions.
Did I tell you Lord Belmont had presented me with a beautiful
Arabian horse, which he bought when in town? What delight has he in
giving pleasure to others! What addition, if that can admit addition,
to the happiness of the man who is blest with Lady Julia, will it be to
be so nearly allied to worth like Lord Belmont's!
O Mordaunt! were it possible - it is, it must - I will not give
room to the faintest idea of disappointment.
Adieu! I have this moment a letter from my father, which I must
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; Roseberry-House. Tuesday.
IT gives me the warmest pleasure, my dear son, to find you are
pleased with the expensive education I have given you, though it
reduces your fortune considerably below what it might otherwise have
been: I considered that wealth, if necessary to happiness, which I do
not believe, might be acquired; but that the flying hours of youth, the
season of instruction, are never to be recalled.
I have the happiness to see you reward and justify my cares by a
generous freedom of thinking, and nobleness of sentiment, which the
common methods of education might have crampt, or perhaps totally
destroy'd. It has always appear'd to me, that our understandings are
fettered by systems, and our hearts corrupted by example: and that
there needs no more to minds well disposed than to recover their native
freedom, and think and act from themselves. Full of this idea, I have
instructed you how, but never what to think; I have pointed out the
road which leads to truth, but have left you to discover her abode by
your own strength of mind: even on the most important of all subjects,
I have said no more, than that conviction must be on the side of that
religion, which teaches the purest and most benevolent morality, it
most conducive to the general happiness of mankind, and gives the most
sublime idea of the Deity.
Convinced that the seeds of virtue are innate, I have only watched
to cherish the rising shoot, and prune, but with a trembling hand, the
too luxuriant branches. By virtue I would here be understood to mean,
not a partial attention to any one duty of life, but that rectitude of
heart, which leads us to fulfil all, as far as the frailty of human
nature will permit, and which is a constant monitor of our faults.
Confucius has well observed, that virtue does not consist in never
erring, which is impossible, but in recovering as fast as we can from
With what joy, my dearest Harry, did I early see in you that warmth
of temper, which is alone productive of every extraordinary exertion of
the human mind, the proper foil of genius and the virtues; that heat
from which light is inseparable!
I have only one fear for you; inured to a habit of profuse expence,
I dread your being unable to practice that frugality, which will now be
indispensable. To Lady Mary's intended settlement, I will add a third
of my estate, but even that is below your birth, and the manner of life
to which you are habituated. But why do I doubt you? I know your
generosity of spirit, and scorn of every species of slavery; that you
will not descend to be indebted to with-hold a moment the price of
laborious industry, or lessen the honest profit of the trader, by a
delay yet more destructive to yourself than to him.
Intended to become a part of the legislative power, you are doubly
bound to keep yourself from all temptation of corruption or dependence,
by living within your income; the amplest estate is wretched penury, if
exceeded by the expences of its possessor.
Need I say more to recommend conomy to a spirit like yours, than
that it is the fountain of liberality, and the parent of independence?
You enquire after the place where I am: it is, except Belmont, the
sweetest spot I ever beheld, but in a different style: the situation
is rather beautiful than magnificent. There is a mild elegance, a
refined simplicity in the air all around, strongly expressive of the
mind of its amiable possessor; a poetic wildness, a luxuriant glow,
like that of primeval nature, adorned by the hand of the Graces.
The same spirit of liberty breathes here as with you: we are all
perfectly at home; our time is subject to no restraint but that which
our desire of obliging each other makes a voluntary imposition.
I am now alone, sitting in an arbour, attentive to the lively chant
of the birds, who swell in their little throats with a morning hymn of
gratitude to their Creator: whilst I listen, I think of those sweet
lines of Cowley:
"All round the little winged choir, Pathetic tender thoughts
inspire: With ease the inspiration I obey, And sing as unconcern'd
and as well pleas'd as they."
'Tis yet early day: the flocks and herds are spreading over the
distant meadows, and joining the universal song of praise to the
beneficent Lord of nature.
Rejoicing in the general joy, I adore the God who has expanded so
wide the circle of happiness; and endeavour to regulate my own desires
by attending to the simplicity of theirs.
When I see the dumb creation, my dear Harry, pursuing steadily the
purposes of their being, their own private happiness, and the good of
their peculiar species, I am astonished at the folly and degeneracy of
man, who acts in general so directly contrary to both; for both are
The wise and benevolent Creator has placed the supreme felicity of
every individual in those kind domestic social affections, which tend
to the well being of the whole. Whoever presumes to deviate from this
plan, the plan of God and nature, shall find satiety, regret, or
disappointment, his reward.
I this moment receive your letter: you judge perfectly well in
saying, there is an activity and restlessness in the mind of man, which
makes it impossible for him to be happy in a state of absolute
inaction: some point of view, some favourite pursuit, is necessary to
keep the mind awake. 'Tis on this principle alone one can account for
what seems so extraordinary to the eyes of impartial reason, that
avarice and ambition should be the vices of age, that men should most
ardently pursue riches and honours at the time when they have the least
prospect of enjoying them; the lively passions of youth subsiding, some
active principle must be found to replace them; and where that warm
benevolence of heart is wanting, which is a perpetual source of
ever-new delight, I do not wonder they engage in the chace of wealth
and power, though sure so soon to melt from their grasp.
The first purpose of my heart, next to that superior and general
one of making myself acceptable to my Creator, was to render the most
angelic of women, your lovely mother, happy: in that, Heaven was
pleased to disappoint my hopes, by taking her to itself. My second has
been to make you the most amiable of men; inn which, I am not afraid to
say to yourself, I have been successful, beyond my most sanguine
Adieu, my dear son! may you succeed in every purpose of your soul
as fully as I have done in this, and be as happy as your virtues have
made your father!
I am, J. Mandeville. To Colonel Mandeville.
OH! Heavens! Bellville! Nay, there is absolutely no resisting a man
that carries one off. Since you have mentioned the thing, I shall not
abate you a scruple. There is no saying how charming it will be: let
common beauties inspire whining, submissive, respectful passions; but
let me heaven! earth! to be run away with at four-and-twentya
paragraph in the papers. "Yesterday the celebrated Lady Anne Wilmot
was forcibly carried off by a gentleman who had long in vain deprecated
her pity: if any thing can excuse so atrocious an action, the
unrivalled beauty of the Lady"Dear Bellville! when do you begin your
But, in sober sadness, how come you so flippant on the sudden? Thus
it is with you all; use you ill, and not a spaniel can be more under
command: but the least encouragement quite ruins you. There is no
saying a civil thing, but you presume upon one's favour so intolerably
Why, yes, as you say, the hours past pleasantly enough at Sudley
farm. Pretty rural scenes, tender Platonic chat, perfect confidence,
the harmony of souls in unison; infinite flattery on your side, and
implicit belief on mine: the sprightly god of love gave wings to the
rapid hours. The gentle Muses too. - I think Bellville, you are a
pretty enough poet for a man of fashion; flowery, mild, not
overburdened with ideas.
"O, can you forget the fond hours, When all by yon fountain we
I wish I could remember the rest; but you are a cruel creature,
never will leave me a copy of any thing, dreading the severity of my
criticism: nay, you are right; yours are excellent verses, as Moliere
says, to lock up in your bureau.
Nine at Night.
Peace to the gentle spirit of him who invented cards! the very bond
of peace, and cement of society.
After a philosophical enquiry into the summum bonum, I find it to
consist in play: the more sublime pleasures require relaxation, are
only for holidy wear, come but now and then, and keep the mind too much
expanded: all other delights, all other amusements, pall; but play,
dear, divine, seraphic play, is always new, the same to-day, to-morrow,
and for ever. It reconciles parties, removes distinctions, and
restores what my Lord calls the natural equality of mankind.
I have only one fault to find with it; that for the time it
extremely weakens, or rather totally suspends, the impressions of
beauty: the finest woman in the world, whilst at the card-table, is
regarded by the most susceptible man only as being which is to lose its
You will imagine success produced these wise reflexions: yes, we
have been playing a most engaging pool at quadrille in the wood, where
I have with the utmost composure won an immensity. If I go on thus, all
objections to our union will be- removed: I shall be literally a
fortune in myself.
Without vanity, I have some little skill in the game; but, at
present, there is no great degree of merit in winning of the friends
who happened to be of my party, with an absurd conceited squire, who
loves quality, and thinks it the greatest honor in the world that I
will condescend to win his money. We had four tables under the shade of
a spreading oak.
I can no more. - Adieu! A. Wilmot.
We have had a penitential letter from the Cittadina, with another from Papa, offering 30,000 . at present, and
50,000 . at his death, on condition Lord Belmont will get Harry an Irish title: knows it is a bad match, but won't
baulk his girl's fancy; and besides, considers Harry has good blood in his veins: re rejected it politely, but with a
little of the Mandeville stateliness.
Oh! Heavens! Fondville's valet - A billet- doux. - I
shall be cruel, - This murderous form - I must absolutely hide myself,
or wear a mask, in pity to mankind. - My Lord has taken the letter, -
He brings it me - He is on the stairs - How! gone on to Lady Belmont's
apartment! - A billet, and not to me! - What can it mean? - Can the
dear man be false?
The infidel! Yes, he has left me - forgot his vows. - The bewitching Lady Julia; it is really an heroic exertion of
virtue not to hate her. Could you have thought it possible? - but read his cruel letter.
To the Earl of Belmont. My Lord,
YOUR Lordship will be perhaps surprized - Yet why surprized? Lady
Julia is absolutely an immense fine creature: and though marriage, to
those who know life, cannot but seem an impertinent affair, and what
will subject me to infinite ridicule; yet custom, and what one owes to
one's rank, and keeping up a family! -
In short, my Lord, people of a certain consequence being above
those romantic views which pair the vulgar, I chose rather to apply to
your Lordship than the Lady, and flatter myself my estate will bear the
strictest inspection: not but that, I assure your Lordship, I set a due
value on Lady Julia's charms; and, though I have visited every court in
Europe, and seen all that is lovely in the Beau sex, never yet beheld
the fair whom I would so soon wish to see fill the rank of Lady
Viscountess Fondville as her Ladyship.
If my pretensions are so happy as to be favourably received by your
Lordship, I will beg leave to wait on Lady Julia to-morrow, and my
lawyer shall attend your Lordship's wherever and whenever you please to
appoint. Believe me, my Lord, with the most perfect devotion,
most Obedient and
very Humble Servant,
To Lord Viscount Fondville. My Lord,
I AM the last man in the world to whom it was necessary to
apologize for an intention of entering into a state which, I have
experienced, is productive of such exquisite felicity.
My daughter's choice is perfectly free; nor shall I ever do more
than advise her, in an affair of such consequence to herself; but, from
what I know of her character, think it highly improbable she should
approve the pretensions of a man, who professes being above those
tender affections which alone can make happy sensibility like hers.
Allow me to take the liberty of observing, in answer to the latter
part of your Lordship's letter, that there are few ranks which Lady
Julia Mandeville has not a right to fill. I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most Obedient and devoted Servant,
Don't come to Belmont, I charge you; I shall have this invincible Lady Julia seduce you too. Besides, I have
some reasons why I chuse our attachment should not yet come to a crisis; till when, I will take Lady Belmont's
advice and be prudent: obey in silence; let me have no more sighs till the milder influence of the Heavens
dispose me to be gracious. I am always in good humour in Autumn; your fate may possibly be determined in
little more than a month: ask no questions; suspend your passion, or at least the outward expression of it, and write to me in Amico. Adieu!
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
I Have been riding alone with Lord Belmont this morning, a pleasure
I very often enjoy, and on which I set infinite value: in those hours
of perfect confidence, I am certain of being instructed and amused, by
a train of ideas uncommon, enlarged, noble, benevolent; and adapted to
inspire me with a love of virtue, by shewing her in her native charms:
I shall be all my life the wiser and worthier man, for the hours I have
passed at Belmont.
But, Oh! Mordaunt! shall I be the happiest? That is in the bosom of
futurity: a thousand times have I been tempted, in these hours of
indulgent friendship, to open all my heart to Lord Belmont. I know his
contempt of wealth, and how little he thinks it conducive to happiness.
"Heaven," said he to me this very morning, "has blest me with
affluence: I am thankful, and endeavor to deserve, by applying an ample
portion of it to the purposes of beneficence. But for myself, my
pleasures are of so unexpensive and simple a kind, that a diminution of
fortune would take very little from my private felicity: Health,
content, the sweets of social and domestic life, the only enjoyments
suited to the nature of man, are and ought to be within the reach of
all the species: yes, my dear Mr. Mandeville; it gives a double relish
to all my pleasures, to reflect that they are such as every man may
enjoy if he will."
Can this man, my dear Mordaunt, sacrifice the real happiness of his
child, the calm delight of domestic friendship on which he sets such
value himself, to the gaudy trappings of tasteless grandeur? Did she
approve my passion, I should hope every thing from the most indulgent
He has refused Lord Fondville for Lady Julia, whose fortune is as
large as avarice itself could desire: Good Heaven! that such a man,
without one other recommendation, without a soul to taste even the
charms of her person, can aspire to all that can be imagined of
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday Afternoon.
O Ciel! I faint! what a world do we live in! How many unavoidable
enemies to enjoyment! It is sometimes too cold, sometimes too hot to be
happy! One is never pleased a week together. I shall absolutely grow a
snarling philosopher, and find fault with every thing.
These unconscionable lovers have dragged me cross an open meadow,
exposed to the sun's burning rays - no mercy on my complexion - Lady
Julia sure, for her own sake, - yet she is laughing at my distress. I
am too languid to say more. - Oh! for a cooling breeze!
"The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill." We are going to
have an addition to our group of friends: Emily Howard, daughter to the
late dean of , a distant relation, and rector of the parish, being
expected to-morrow at Belmont: she is Lady Julia's friend in the most
emphatical sense of the word. Do you know, I feel extremely inclined to
be jealous of her; and am angry with myself for such meanness?
A. Wilmot. Tuesday, 3d.
To Colonel Bellville.
SHE is come, this redoubtable Emily Howard; and, I find, I have
only a second place in Lady Julia's friendship: I would hate her if I
could, but it is really impossible: she is so gentle, she steals one's
affection imperceptibly, and one has the vexation to be forced to love
her in spite of ones self.
She has been here three days, and in that short time she has gained
amazingly upon my heart: her person is little, finely proportioned, and
delicate almost to fragility; her voice and manner soft and timid; her
countenance a mixture of innocence and sweetness, which would disarm
the rage of a tiger: her heart is tender, kind, compassionate; and
tremblingly awake to friendship, of which she is universally the
object: Lady Julia doats on her, nor am I surprized at it: she appears
so weak, so helpless, so exquisitely feminine, it seems cruelty not to
be her friend: no one ever saw her without wishing her happiness: the
love one has for her seems of a peculiar species, or most nearly
resembles that instinctive fondness one feels for a beautiful child: it
is independent of esteem, for one loves her before one knows her. It is
the pleasantest kind of affection that can be conceived.
Yet, though she is extremely handsome, or rather, to suit the
expression to her form, extremely pretty, she is very little the taste
of men; her excessive modesty renders both her beauty and understanding
in some degree useless to her; "not obvious, not "obtrusive," she
escapes the observation of common eyes; and, tho' infinitely lovely, I
never heard she was beloved.
For this very reason, the women do her ample justice; she is no
woman's rival, stands in nobody's way, which cannot fail of exciting a
general good will towards her, in her own sex; they even allow her more
beauty than she really has, and take a delight in setting her charms in
opposition to every impertinent thing the men are fond of. "Yes, the
girl is very well, but nothing to Emily Howard," is the common cry on
the appearance of a new beauty.
There is another strong reason for loving her; though exact in her
own conduct, she has an indulgence to that of others, which is a
consequence of her excessive gentleness of temper, and her seeing every
action on the favourable side: one could own one's greatest weakness to
her almost without blushing; and at this very moment I dare say Lady
Julia is confessing to her her passion for Harry Mandeville, who is
riding out with my Lord. I dare say she would find an excuse for my
indiscretion in regard to you, and see only the delicacy of our
She sings and dances angelically, but she blushes to death if you
tell her so.
Such gentle unassuming characters as these, make the most agreeable
friends in the world; they are the mild green of the soul, on which it
rests itself from more glaring objects: one may be absurd, one may be
vain, one may be imprudent, secure of being heard with indulgence: I
know nothing which would make her more what I mean but her being a
fool: however, the indulgent sweetness of her temper answers almost the
I am disconsolate that the Caro Enrico is going to desert us; but
the cruel man is inflexible to all my soft perswasions, and determined
to leave us on Wednesday.
The sweet Emily is gong on Thursday for ten days to Sir George
Martin's, and then returns to finish the summer here.
Oh! do you know that I am credibly informed, her favorite Suivante
having told it to one, who told it to another, who told it to a good
old gossiping Lady, who told it to me, that the Cittadina, who has in
vain wrote Harry a penitential letter, is playing off the same arts,
the same dying airs, to Fondville, which had such extreme ill success
with him? The siege is at present suspended, not by his addressing Lady
Julia, which is a profound secret to her and every body without these
walls, but by his mother's death, which has called him hastily to town;
and which, by the way, adds 2000 . a year to his income. Do you know,
that I think the thing may do, if Lady Julia continues cruel? They are
absolutely form for each other; and it would be a thousand pities to
Ever yours, A. Wilmot.
To Colonel Bellville. August 6th.
CERTAINLY next to a new lover the pleasantest thing upon earth is a
new friend: let antediluvians take seven years to fix, but for us
insects of an hour, nothing can be more absurd: by the time one has
try'd them on these maxims, one's taste for them is worn out. I have
made a thousand friendships at first sight, and sometimes broke them at
the second; there is a certain exertion of soul, a lively desire of
pleasing, which gives a kind of volatile spirit to a beginning
acquaintance, which is extremely apt to evaporate. Some people make a
great merit of constancy, and it is to be sure a very laudable virtue;
but, for my part, I am above dissembling: My friendships wear out like
my clothes, but often much faster. Not that this is the case in regard
to Emily Howard; no, really, I think this Penchant is very likely to be
lasting; may probably hold out the summer.
To-morrow, when Harry leaves us, my Lord, to divert our chagrin,
takes, us, with three strange belles and vie most engaging beaux, a
ramble I cannot tell whither.
Oh! Heavens! one of our male animals has disappointed us.
Absolutely I shall insist on Harry's attendance; he shall defer his
journey, I am resolved: there is no supporting a scarcity of beaux.
He goes with us; Lady Julia's eyes have prevailed; she had seduced
him before I went down: his chaise is ordered back to wait for ours.
Adio, Carrissimo. To George Mordaunt, Esq; Saturday Night.
I AM still here; when shall I have strength of mind to go? not
having heard from my father in the time I expected, I was determined to
go to Lord T - - 's, whose zeal for my interest, and great knowledge of
mankind, makes him the properest person I can consult. My chaise was
this morning at the door, when my Lord told me, Lady Julia intreated my
stay a few days longer: she blushed, and with the loveliest confusion
confirmed my Lord's assertion: all my resolution vanished in a moment;
there is enchantment in her look, her voice - enchantment which it is
not in man to resist. Sunday Morning.
I am every hour more unhappy: Lord Fondville's proposal gives me
infinite uneasiness; not that I fear such a rival; but it has raised
the idea of other pretensions, which may be accepted before it is time
for me to avow my designs: I have passed this night in forming schemes
to prevent so fatal a blow to all my hopes; and am determined to own my
passion to the lovely object of it, and entreat her, if no other man is
so happy as to possess her heart, to wait one year the result of those
views which that love which has inspired may perhaps prosper.
Not certain I shall have courage to own my tenderness in her
presence, I will write, and seize some favourable opportunity to give
her the letter on which all my happiness depends: I will ask no answer
but from her eyes. How shall I meet them after so daring an attempt?
We are going to the parish church; the coach is at the door: Adieu!
she comes! What graces play around that form! What divinity in those
eyes! Oh! Mordaunt, what task will be difficult to him who has such a
reward in view!
To Colonel Bellville. Sunday Evening.
To Colonel Bellville. Sunday Evening.
OUR ramble yesterday was infinitely agreeable; there is something
very charming in changing the scene; my Lord understands the art of
making life pleasurable by making it various.
We have been to the parish church, to hear Dr. H - - preach; he has
that spirit in his manner without which the most sensible sermon has
very little effect on the hearers. The organ, which my Lord gave, is
excellent. You know I think music an essential part of public worship,
used as such by the wisest nations, and commanded by God himself to the
Mews; it has indeed so admirable an effect in disposing the mind to
devotion, that I think it should never be omitted.
Our Sundays here are extremely pleasant: we have, after evening
service, a moving rural picture from the windows of the saloon, in the
villagers, for whose amusement the gardens are that day thrown open.
Our rustic Mall is full from five till eight, and there is an
inexpressible pleasure in contemplating so many groups of neat,
healthy, happy-looking people, enjoying the diversion of waling in
these lovely shades, by the kindness of their beneficent Lord, who not
only provides for their wants, but their pleasures.
My Lord is of opinion that Sunday was intended as a day of
rejoicing, not of mortification; and meant not only to render our
praises to our benevolent Creator, but to give rest and chearful
relaxation to the industrious part of mankind, from the labors of the
On this principle, though he will never suffer the least breach of
the laws in being, he wishes the severity of them softened, by allowing
some innocent amusements after the duties of the day are past: he
thinks this would prevent those fumes of enthusiasm which have had here
such fatal effects, and could not be offensive to that gracious Power
who delights in the happiness of his creatures, and who, by the royal
poet, has commanded them to praise him in the cymbals and dances. For
my own part, having seen the good effect of this liberty in catholic
countries, I cannot help wishing, though a zealous protestant, that we
were to imitate them in this particular.
It is worth observing, that the book of sports was put forth by the
pious, the religious, the sober Charles the First; and the law for the
more strict observation of Sunday passed in the reign of the libertine
Charles the Second.
Love of pleasure is natural to the human heart; and the best
preservative against criminal ones is, a proper indulgence in such as
These are my sentiments; and I am happy in finding Lord Belmont of
the same opinion. Adio!
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Monday.
MORDAUNT, the die is cast, and the whole happiness of my life hangs
on the present moment. After having kept the letter confessing my
passion two days without having resolution to deliver it, this morning
in the garden, being a moment alone with Lady Julia in a summer-house,
the company at some distance, I assumed courage to lay it on a table
whilst she was looking out at a window which had a prospect that
engaged all her attention: when I laid it down, I trembled; a chillness
seized my whole frame; my heart dy'd within me; I withdrew instantly,
without even staying to see if she took it up: I waited at a little
distance hid in a close arbour of woodbines, my heart throbbing with
apprehension, and, by the time she staid in the summer-house, had no
doubt of her having seen the letter. When she appeared, I was still
more convinced; she came out with a timid air, and looked round as if
fearful of surprize: the lively crimson flushed her cheek, and was
succeeded by a dying paleness: I attempted to follow, but had not
courage to approach her. I suffered her to pass the arbor where I was,
and advance slowly towards the house: when she was out of sight, I went
back to the summer-house, and found the letter was gone. I have not
seen her. I am called to dinner: my limbs will scarce support me: how
shall I bear the first sight of Lady Julia! how be able to meet her
I have seen her, but my fate is yet undetermined; she has avoided
my eyes, which I have scarce dared to raise from the ground: I once
looked at her when she did not observe me, and saw a melancholy on her
countenance, which stabbed me to the soul. I have given sorrow to the
heart of her, whom I would wish to be ever most happy; and to whose
good I would sacrifise the dearest hope of my soul. Yes, Mordaunt, let
me be wretched, but let every blessing Heaven can bestow, be the
portion of the loveliest of her sex.
How little did I know of love, when I gave that name to the
shameful passion I felt for the wife of my friend! The extreme beauty
of the Countess Melespini, that unreserved manner which seldom fails to
give hope, the flattering preference she seemed to give me above all
others, lighted up in my soul a more violent degree of youthful
inclination, which the esteem i had for her virtues refined to an
appearance of the noblest of affections, to which it had not the
remotest real resemblance. Without any view in my pursuit of her but
my own selfish gratification, I would have sacrifised her honor and
happiness to a transient fondness, which dishonored my character, and,
if successful, might have corrupted a heart naturally full of probity;
her amiable reproofs, free from that severity which robs virtue of half
her charms, with the generous behaviour of the most injured of mankind,
recalled my soul to honor, and stopped me early in the career of folly;
time wore out the impression of her charms, and left only a cold esteem
remaining, a certain proof that she was never the object of more than a
light desire, since the wounds which real love inflicts are never to be
Such was the infamous passion which I yet remember with horror: but
my tenderness for Lady Julia, more warm, more animated, more violent,
has a delicacy of which those only who love like me can form any idea:
independent of the charms of her person, it can never cease but with
life; nor even then, if in another state we have any sense of what has
passed in this; it is eternal, and incorporated with the soul. Above
every selfish desire, the first object of my thoughts and wishes is her
happiness, which I would die, or live wretched, to secure: every action
of my life is directed to the sole purpose of pleasing her: my noblest
ambition is to be worthy her esteem. My dreams are full of her; and,
when I wake, the first idea which rises in my mind is the hope of
seeing her, and of seeing her well and happy: my most ardent prayer to
the supreme Giver of all good is for her welfare.
In true love, my dear Mordaunt, there is a pleasure abstracted from
all hope of return; and were I certain she would never be mine, nay,
certain I should never behold her more, I would not, for all the
kingdoms of the world, give up the dear delight of loving her.
Those who never felt this enlivening power, this divinity of the
soul, may find a poor insipid pleasure in tranquillity, or plunge into
vicious excesses to animate their tedious hours; but those who have,
can never give up so sweet, so divine a transport, but with their
existence, or taste any other joy but in subordination.
Oh! Mordaunt! when I behold her, read the soft language of those
speaking eyes, hear those harmonious sounds - who that has a soul can
be insensible! - yet there are men dead to all sense of perfection, who
can regard that angel form without rapture, can hear the music of that
voice without emotion! I have myself with astonishment seen them,
inanimate as the trees around them, listen coldly to shoe melting
accents - There is a sweetness in her voice, Mordaunt, a melodious
softness, which fancy cannot paint: the enchantment of her conversation
I am the most wretched of mankind, and wretched without the right
of complaining: the baseness of my attempt deserves even the pangs I
suffer. Could I, who made a parade of refusing to meet the advances of
the daughter of almost a stranger, descend to seduce the heiress of him
on earth to whom I am most obliged? Oh! Mordaunt! have we indeed two
souls? Can I see so strongly what is right, yet want power to act up to
my own sentiments? The torrent of passion bears down all before it. I
abhor myself for this weakness. I would give worlds to recall that
fatal letter: her coldness, her reserve, are more than I can support.
My madness has undone me. - My assiduity is importunate. I might have
preserved her friendship. I have thrown away the first happiness of my
life. Her eyes averted shun me as an object of hatred. I shall not long
offend her by my presence. I will leave her for ever. I am eager to be
gone, that I ;may carry far from her - Oh! Mordaunt, who could have
thought that cruelty dwelt in such a form? She hates me, and all my
hopes are destroyed for ever.
Monday Evening. Belmont.
This day, the first of my life; what a change has this day
produced! These few flying hours have raised me above mortality. Yes: I
am most happy; she loves me, Mordaunt: her conscious blushes, her
downcast eyes, her heaving bosom, her sweet confusion, have told me
what her tongue could not utter: she loves me, and all else is below my
care: she loves me, and I will pursue her. What are the mean
considerations of fortune to the tender union of hearts? Can wealth or
titles deserve her? No, Mordaunt, love alone. - She is mine by the
strongest ties, by the sacred bond of affection. The delicacy of her
soul is my certain pledge of happiness: I can leave her without fear;
she cannot now be another's.
I told you my despair this morning; my Lord proposed an airing;
chance placed me in Lady Julia's chaise. I entered it with a beating
heart: a tender fear of having offended, inseparable from real love,
kept me some time silent; at length, with some hesitation, I beg'd her
to pardon the effect of passion and despair, vowed I would rather die
than displease her; that I did not now hope for her love, but could not
support her hate.
I then ventured to look up to the loveliest of women; her cheeks
were suffused with the deepest blush; her eyes, in which was the most
dying languor, were cast timidly on the ground, her whole frame
trembled, and with a voice broken and interrupted, she exclaimed, "Hate
you, Mr. Mandeville! Oh! Heaven!" She could say no more; nor did she
need, the dear truth broke like a sudden flash of light on my soul.
Yet think not I will take advantage of this dear prepossession in
my favour, to seduce her from her duty to the best of parents; from
Lord Belmont only will I receive her: I will propose no engagements
contrary to the rights of an indulgent father, to whom she is bound by
every tie of gratitude and filial tenderness: I will pursue my purpose,
and leave the event to Heaven, to that Heaven which knows the
integrity, the disinterested purity, of my intentions: I will evince
the reality of my passion by endeavouring to be worthy of her. The
love of such a woman, is the love of virtue itself: it raises, it
refines, it ennobles every sentiment of the heart; how different from
that fever of selfish desire I felt for the amiable Countess!
Oh! Mordaunt, had you beheld those blushes of reluctant
sensibility, seen those charming eyes softened with a tenderness as
refined as that of angels - She loves me - let me repeat the dear
sounds - She loves me, and I am happier than a god!
I have this moment a letter from my father: he approves my design,
but begs me for a short time to delay it: my heart ill bears this
delay: I will carry the letter to Lady Julia.
She approves my father's reasons, yet begs I will leave Belmont:
her will is the law of my heart; yet a few days I must give to love. I
will go on Tuesday to Lord T - 's. His friendship will assist me in the
only view which makes life supportable to me; he will point out, he
will lead me to the path of wealth and greatness.
Expect to hear from me when I arrive at Lord T's. I shall not
write sooner: my moments here are too precious.
Adieu. Your faithful H. Mandeville.
To Henry Mandeville, Esq: Aug. 6th.
HAPPY in seeing in my son that heroic spirit, which has ever
distinguished our house, I should with pleasure consent to his design,
were this a proper time to execute it, provided he went a volunteer,
and determined to accept no command but as a reward of real services,
and with a resolution it should never interfere with that independence
to which I would have him sacrifise every other consideration; but,
when there is so strong a probability of peace, his going would appear
like making a parade of that courage which he did not expect would be
Yes, my son, I am well assured we shall have peace; that the most
amiable of princes, the friend of human-kind, pitying the miseries of
his species, and melting with compassion at the wide-extended scene of
desolation, mediates such a peace as equally provides for the interest
and honor of Britain, and the future quiet of mankind. The terms talked
of are such as give us an immense addition of empire, and strengthen
that superiority of naval force on which our very being depends, whilst
they protect our former possessions, and remove the source of future
wars, by securing all, and much more than all, for which this was
undertaken; yet, by their just moderation, convince the world a British
monarch is governed only by the laws of honor and equity, not by that
impious thirst of false glory, which actuates the laurel'd scourges of
After so long, so extensive and bloody a war, a war which has
depopulated our country, and loaded us with a burden of debt, from
which nothing can extricate us but the noble spirit of public
frugality; which, if steadily and uniformly pursued, will rank the name
of our Prince with those of Elizabeth, and Henry the Great; all
ardently wish for peace, but those who gain by the continuance of war.
The clamors of these are inconceivable; clamors which can be founded
only in private interest, because begun before they could even guess at
the terms intended, and continued when such are mentioned as reason
herself would dictate: but such ever will be the conduct of those in
whom love of wealth is the primary passion.
Heaven and earth! can men wearing the form, and professing the
sentiments of humanity, deaf to the cries of the widow and the orphan,
labor to perpetuate the dreadful carnage, which has deluged the world
with the blood of their fellow creatures, only to add to the mass of
their already unwieldy wealth, and prey longer on the distresses of
These clamors are as illegal as they are indecent: peace and war
are the prerogative of the crown, sacred as the liberties of the
people, nor will ever be invaded by those who understand and love our
happy constitution: let us strengthen the hands of our Sovereign by our
warm approbation during the course of this arduous work; and if his
ministers abuse their trust, let them answer it, not to the noise of
unthinking faction, or the unfeeling bosom of private interest, but to
the impartial laws of their country.
Heaven forbid I should ever see a British King independent on his
people collectively; but I would have him raised above private cabals,
or the influence of any partial body of men, however wealthy or
If the generous views of our Prince do not meet with the success
they merit, if France refuses such a peace as secures the safety of our
colonies, and that superiority, as a naval power, so necessary to the
liberties of Europe, as well as our own independence; you shall join
the army in a manner becoming your birth, and the style of life in
which you have been educated: till then, restrain within just bounds
that noble ardor so becoming a Briton, and study to serve that country
with your counsels in peace, which will not, I hope, have occasion for
your sword in war. To Miss Howard. Wednesday Aug. 11th.
To Miss Howard. Wednesday Aug. 11th.
MY Emily, your friend, your unhappy Julia, is undone. He knows the
tenderness which I have so long endeavoured to conceal. The trial was
too great for the softness of a heart like mine; I had almost conquered
my own passion, when I became a victim to his: I could not see his
love, his despair, without emotions which discovered all my soul. I ;am
not formed for deceit: artless as the village maid, every sentiment of
my soul is in my eyes; I have not learnt, I will never learn, to
disguise their expressive language. With what pain did I affect a
coldness to which I was indeed a stranger! But why do I wrong my own
heart? I did not affect it. The native modesty of my sex gave a reserve
to my behaviour, on the first discovery of his passion, which his
fears magnified into hate. Oh! Emily! do I indeed hate him! you, to
whose dear bosom your Julia confides her every thought, tell me if I
hate this most amiable of mankind? You know by what imperceptible steps
my inexperienced heart has been seduced to love: you know how deceived
by the sacred name of friendshipBut why do I seek to excuse my
sensibility? is he not worthy all my tenderness? are we not equal in
all but wealth, a consideration below my care? is not his merit above
titles and riches? How shall I paint his delicacy, his respectful
fondness? Too plainly convinced of his power over my heart, he disdains
to use that power to my disadvantage: he declares he will never receive
me but from my father; he consents to leave me till a happier fortune
enables him to avow his love to all the world; he goes without asking
the least promise in his favour. Heaven sure will prosper his designs,
will reward a heart like his. Oh! my Emily, did my father see with my
eyes! what is fortune in the balance with such virtue! Had I worlds in
my own power, I should value them only as they enabled me to show more
strongly the disinterestedness of my affection.
Born with a too tender heart, which never before found an object
worthy its attachment, the excess of my affection is unspeakable.
Delicate in my choice even of friends, it was not easy to find a lover
equal to that idea of perfection my imagination had formed; he alone of
all mankind rises up to it; the speaking grace, the easy dignity of his
air, are the natural consequences of the superiority of his soul. He
looks as if born to command the world. I am interrupted. Adieu. August
To Colonel Bellville.
YOU never were more mistaken: you will not have the honor of seeing
me yet in town. My Lord thinks it infinitely more respectful to his
Royal Master to celebrate this happy event in the country.
"My congratulations, says he, would be lost in the crowd of a
drawing room; but here I can diffuse a spirit of loyalty and joy
through half a country, and impress all around me with the same
veneration and love for the most amiable of Princes which burns in my
Our entertainment yesterday was magnifique, and in the Gusto
Belmonto: there is a beautiful lake in the park, on the borders of
which, on one side, interspersed amongst the trees, which form a woody
theatre round it, at a distance of about three hundred yards, tents
were fixed for the company to dine in, which consisted of all the
gentlemen's families twenty miles round. Westbrook and his daughter
were there, as my Lord would not shock them by leaving them only out
when the whole neighbourhood were invited; tho' he observed, smiling,
this was a favor, for these kind of people were only gentlemen by the
courtesy of England. Streamers of the gayest colors waved on the tops
of the tents, and glittered in the dancing sun-beams. The tables were
spread with every delicacy in season, at which we placed ourselves in
parties, without ceremony or distinction, just as choice or accident
directed. On a little island in the midst of the lake, an excellent
band of music was placed, which played some of the finest compositions
of Handel during our repast; which ended, we spread ourselves on the
borders of the lake, where we danced on the verdant green, till tea and
coffee again summoned us to the tents; and when evening "had in her
sober livery all things clad," a superb supper, and grand ball in the
saloon, finished our festival.
Nor were the villagers forgot: Tables were spread for them on the
opposite side of the lake, under the shade of the tallest trees, and so
disposed as to form the most agreeable points of view to us, as our
encampment must do to them.
I am ill at describing; but the least had a thousand unspeakable
Poor Harry! How I pity him! His whole soul was absorbed in the
contemplation of Lady Julia, with whom he danced. His eyes perpetually
followed her; and, if I mistake not, his will not be the only heart
which aches at parting on Tuesday, for so long is Harry's going
postponed. He may go, but, like the wounded deer, he carries the arrow
in his breast.
Adio! Tuesday, August l7th.
To Miss Howard.
HOW, my sweet Emily, shall I bear his absence; an absence
embittered by the remembrance of those lively impassioned hours which
love alone can give? What joy have I found in owning the sentiments of
my soul to one so worthy of all my tenderness! Yes, Emily, I love him -
words can but ill paint what I feel - he, he alone, - yet he leaves
Belmont - leaves it by my command, leaves it this very hour, leaves it
perhaps for ever - Great Heaven! can I support that thought?
If you love, if you pity your unhappy friend, return immediately to
Belmont; let me repose my sorrows in that faithful breast: Lady Anne is
tenderly my friend, but the sprightliness of her character intimidates
me: I do not hope to find in her that sweet indulgence to all my
faults, as in the gentle soul of my Emily.
I have entreated him to take no leave of me; I shall only see him
with the family: The moment draws near - my fluttering heart - How
shall I hide my concern? - Lady Anne is coming to my apartment: I must
go with her to the saloon, where he only waits to bid us adieu: his
chaise is in the court. Oh! Emily! my emotion will betray me. -
He is gone; the whole house is in tears: never was a man so adored,
never man so infinitely deserved it. He pressed my hand to his lips,
his eyes spoke unutterable love. I leaned almost fainting on Lady Anne,
and hid my tears in her bosom: she hurried me to my apartment, and left
me to give vent to my full heart! She sees my weakness, land kindly
strives to hide it from others, whilst her delicacy prevents her
mentioning it to myself: she has a tender and compassionate heart, and
my reserve is an injury to her friendship.
Lady Anne has sent to ask me to air; I shall be glad to avoid all
eyes but hers; perhaps I may have courage to tell her - she merits all
my confidence, nor is it distrust but timidity which prevents - she is
here - I am ashamed to see her. Adieu! my dearest, my beloved friend!
To Col. Bellville. Friday Night.
To Col. Bellville. Friday Night.
WE have lost our lovely Harry; he left us this morning for Lord
T's. Poor Lady Julia! how I adore her amiable sincerity! she has
owned her passion to me as we aired, and mentioned hopes which are
founded in madness: I ventured gently to remonstrate, but there is no
reasoning with a heart in love. Time and absence may effect a cure: I
am the confidente of both: I am perplexed how to proceed: I must either
betray the trust reposed in me, or abuse my Lord Belmont's friendship
In what a false light do we see every thing through the medium of
passion! Lady Julia is heiress to 14,000 . a year, yet thinks Harry's
merit may raise him to a situation which will justify his pretending to
her, and that this stupendous rise may be brought about in a
twelvemonth: he too thinks it possible; nay the scheme is his. Heaven
and earth! yet they are not fools, and Harry has some knowledge of
At present there is no talking reasonably to either of them. I must
soothe them, to bring them off this ruinous inclination by degrees.
As idleness is the nurse of love, I will endeavour to keep Lady
Julia continually amused: a new lover might do much, but there is
nobody near us that is tolerable: indeed the woman who has loved Harry
Mandeville, will be somewhat hard to please. Chance favors my designs;
my Lord has proposed a visit of a fortnight to a neighbouring nobleman,
Lord Rochdale, whose house is generally full of gay people; his son
too, Lord Melvin, with whom I was acquainted abroad, and who is only
inferior to Harry Mandeville, is hourly expected from his travels.
Since I wrote the last paragraph, an idea has struck me; from a
very particular expression in a letter I once received from Lady
Belmont, in France, I have a strong suspicion Lord Melvin is intended
for Lady Julia; I wish he might be agreeable to her, for her present
passion is absolutely distraction.
We go to-morrow: when we come back you shall hear from me: or,
perhaps, for I am something variable in my determinations, as soon as I
get thither. Expect nothing however: if I do you the honor, you must
set an immense value on my condescension, for I know we shall not have
a moment to spare from amusements. Adieu!
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
I Have at length left Belmont, and left it certain of Lady Julia's
tenderness: I am the happiest of mankind; she loves me, she confesses
it, I have every thing to hope from time, fortune, perseverance, and
the constancy of the most amiable of her sex.
All cold reserve is banished from that charming bosom; above the
meanness of suspicion, she believes my passion noble and disinterested
as her own; she hears my vows with a pleasure which she cannot, nay
which she does not wish to conceal; she suffers me to swear eternal
tenderness - We dined on Wednesday at the hermitage. The company
dispersed, the most delicate of women, not from coquetry, but that
sweet impulsive modesty, not obvious, not obtrusive, which gives to
beauty its loveliest charm, avoided an opportunity, which eager
watchful love at last obtained: alone with her in those sweet shades -
Oh! Mordaunt! let not the gross unloving libertine talk of pleasure:
how tasteless are the false endearments, the treacherous arts of the
venal wanton, to the sweet unaffected downcast eye of virgin innocence,
the vivid glow of artless tenderness, the native vermilion of blushing
sensibility, the genuine smile of undissembled love!
I write this on the road to Lord T's, where I shall be to-night,
I shall expect to hear from you immediately. Adieu!
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; Mount Melvin, Thursday.
I Never so strongly relish the happiness of my own manner of
living, as when I compare it with that of others. I hear perpetual
complaints abroad of the tediousness of life, and see in every face a
certain weariness of themselves, from which I am so happy as to be
perfectly free. I carry about me an innate disposition to be pleased,
which is the source of continual pleasure.
That I have escaped what is in general the fate of people of my
rank, is chiefly owing to my fortunate choice in marriage: our mutual
passion, the only foundation on which sensible souls can build
happiness, has been kept alive by a delicacy of behaviour, an angel
purity, in Lady Belmont, to which words cannot do justice. The
transports of youthful passion yield its sweetness to the delight of
that refined, yet animated sensation which my heart feels for her at
this moment. I never leave her without regret, nor meet her without
rapture, the lively rapture of love,
"By long experience mellowed into friendship."
We have been married thirty years. There are people who think she
was never handsome; yet to me she is all loveliness. I think no woman
beautiful but as she resembles her; and even Julia's greatest charm, in
my eye, is the likeness she has to her amiable mother.
This tender, this exquisite affection, has diffused a spirit
through our whole lives, and given a charm to the most common
occurrences; a charm, to which the dulness of apathy, and the fever of
guilty passion, are equally strangers.
The family where we are furnish a striking example of the
impossibility of being happy without the soft union of hearts. Though
both worthy people, having been joined by their parents, without that
affection which can alone make so near a connexion supportable, their
lives pass on in a tedious and insipid round: without taste for each
other's conversation, they engage in a perpetual series of diversions,
not to give relish to, but to exclude, those retired domestic hours,
which are the most sprightly and animated of my life; they seek, by
crowds and amusements, to fly from each other and from themselves.
The great secret of human happiness, my dear Mr. Mandeville,
consists in finding such constant employment for the mind, as, without
over-fatiguing, may prevent its languishing in a painful inactivity. To
this end, I would recommend to every man to have not only some
important point in view, but many subordinate ones, to fill up those
vacant hours, when our great purpose, whatever it is, must be
suspended: our very pleasures, even the best, will fatigue, if not
relieved by variety: the mind cannot always be on the stretch, nor
attentive to the same object, however pleasing: Relaxation is as
necessary as activity, to keep the soul in its due equipoise. No
innocent amusement, however trifling it may seem to the rigid or the
proud, is below the regard of a rational creature, which keeps the mind
in play, and unbends it from more serious pursuits.
I often regard, at once with pity and astonishment, persons of my
own rank and age, dragged about in unwieldy state, forging for
themselves the galling fetters of eternal ceremony, or the still
heavier chains of ambition; their bodies bending under the weight of
dress, their minds for ever filled with the idea of their own dignity
and importance; to the fear of lessening which, they sacrifise all the
genuine pleasures of life.
Heaven grant, my dear friend, I may never be too wise, or too
proud, to be happy!
To you, my amiable friend, who are just entering on the stage of
life, I would recommend such active pursuits as may make you an useful
member of society, and contribute to raise your own fortune and
consequence in the world, as well as secure the esteem of your fellow
citizens, and the approbation of your Prince.
For my own part, like the Roman veterans, I may now be excused, if
I ask my discharge from those anxious pursuits, which are only
becoming in the vigor of our days, and from those ceremonial
attentions, which are scarce bearable even them. My duty as a Senator,
and my respect to my King, nothing but real inability shall ever
suspend; but for the rest, I think it time at sixty to be free, to live
to one's self, and in one's own way; and endeavour to be, rather than
to seem, happy.
The rest of my days, except those I owe to my country and my
Prince, shall be devoted to the sweets of conjugal and paternal
affection, to the lively joys of friendship. I have only one wish as to
this world; to see Julia married to a man who deserves her, who has
sensibility to make her happy, and whose rank and fortune are such as
may justify us to the world, above which the most philosophic mind
cannot entirely rise: let me but see this, and have a hope that they
will pursue my plan of life; let me see them blest in each other, and
blessing all round them; and my measure of earthly felicity will be
You know not, my dear Mr. Mandeville, how much my happiness in this
world has been owing also to the lively hope of another: this idea has
given me a constant serenity, which may not improperly be called the
health of the mind, and which has diffused a brightness over all my
Your account of Lord T made me smile; his fear of being dismissed
at seventy from the toilsome drudgery of business is truly ridiculous:
rich, childless, infirm, ought not ease and retirement to be the first
objects of his wishes? But such is the wretched slavery of all who are
under the absolute dominion of any passion, unguided by the hand of
reason. The passions of every kind, under proper restraints, are the
gentle breezes which keep life from stagnation; but, let loose, they
are the storms and whirlwinds which tear up all before them, and
scatter ruin and destruction around.
Adieu. I ought to apologize for the length of this; but age is the
season of garrulity.
Your affectionate Belmont. To the Earl of Belmont.
HOW happy would it be for mankind, if every person of your
Lordship's rank and fortune governed themselves by the same generous
It is with infinite pain I see Lord T pursuing a plan, which has
drawn on him the curse of thousands, and made his estate a scene of
desolation: his farms are in the hands of a few men, to whom the sons
of the old tenants are either forced to be servants, or to leave the
country to get their bread elsewhere. The village, large and once
populous, is reduced to about eight families; a dreary silence reigns
over their deserted fields; the farm houses, once the seats of chearful
smiling industry, now useless, are falling in ruins around him; his
tenants are merchants and ingrossers, proud, lazy, luxurious, insolent,
and spurning the hand which feeds them. Yesterday one of them went off
largely in his debt: I took that occasion of pressing him on his most
vulnerable side, and remonstrating the danger of trusting so much of
his property in one hand: but I am afraid all I can say will have no
effect, as he has, by this narrow selfish plan, a little encreased his
rents at present, which is all he has in view, without extending his
thoughts to that future time, when this wretched policy, by
depopulating the country, will lower the price of all the fruits of the
earth, and lessen, in consequence, the value of his estate.
With all my friendship for Lord T, I cannot help observing in him
another fault greatly below his rank and understanding, I mean a
despicable kind of pride, which measures worth by the gifts of fortune,
of which the largest portion is too often in the hands of the least
His treatment of some gentlemen, whose fortunes were unequal to
their birth and merit yesterday, at his table, almost determined me to
leave his house: I expostulated warmly, though not impolitely, with him
on the subject, and almost got him to confess his error. My friendship
for him makes me feel sensibly what must lessen his character in the
eyes of all whose esteem is desirable. I wish him to pass a month at
Belmont, that he may see dignity without pride, and condescension
without meanness; that he may see virtue in her loveliest form, and
acknowledge her genuine beauty.
I am, my Lord, H. Mandeville.
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Friday.
I Have past a tedious fortnight at Lord T's, without tasting any
pleasure but that of talking of Lady Julia, with some ladies in the
neighbourhood who know her. I estimate the merit of those I converse
with, by the distinction of being known to her: those who are so happy
as to be of her acquaintance have, in my eye, every charm, that
polished wit or elegant knowledge can give; those who want that
advantage scarce deserve the name of human beings: all conversation, of
which she is not the subject, is lifeless and insipid; all of which she
is, brilliant and divine.
My Lord rallies me on my frequent visits to these Ladies, and, as
one of them is extremely handsome, supposes it a beginning passion: the
Lady herself, I am afraid, is deceived, for, as she is particularly
warm in her praises of Lady Julia, my eyes sparkle with pleasure at her
approach. I single her out in every company, and dance with her at all
our little parties; I have even an attention to her superior to that of
common lovers, and feel for her a tenderness for which I want a name.
Lady Anne has had the goodness to write twice to me, from Lord
Rochdale's, whither my Lord went, with his amiable family, two days
after I left Belmont: Lady Julia is well, she loves me, she hears of me
with pleasure. Ought I at present to wish more?
I have hinted to Lord T my purpose, though not the dear motive
which inspired it; he is warmly my friend, if there is truth in man. I
will be more explicite the first time I see him alone: shall I own to
you one weakness of my heart? I would be served by any interest but
Lord Belmont's. How can I pretend to his daughter, if all I have is, in
a manner, his gift? I would be rich independently of his friendship.
Lord T is walking in the garden alone; I will go to him, and
explain all my designs: his knowledge of mankind will guide me to the
best road to wealth and honor; his friendship will assist me to the
ample extent of his power. Adieu! To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
OH! do you know I have a little request to make you? But first, by
way of preface, I must inform you, Lady Belmont has been reading me a
serious lecture about the Caro Bellville, who has wrote to her to beg
her intercession in his favor.
I find fools have been impertinent in regard to our friendship:
there are so few pleasures in this world, I think it extremely hard to
give up one so lively, yet innocent, as that of indulging a tender
esteem for an amiable man. But to our conversation:
"My dear Lady Anne, I am convinced you love Colonel Bellville.
Love him, Madam? no, I rather think not; I am not sure: The man is
not shocking, and dies for m: I pity him, poor creature; and pity,
your Ladyship knows, is a-kin to love.
Will you be grave one moment?
A thousand, if your Ladyship desires it: nothing so easy to me; the
gravest creature in the world naturally.
You allow Colonel Bellville merit?
That he loves you?
And you return it?
Why as to that - he flatters agreeably, and I am fond of his
conversation on that account: and let me tell you, my dear Lady
Belmont, it is not every man that can flatter; it requires more genius
than one would suppose. You intend some time or other to marry him?
Marry? Oh, Heavens! How did such a thought enter your Ladyship's
imagination? Have not I been married already? And is not once enough in
conscience, for any reasonable woman?
Will you pardon me if I then ask, with what view you allow his
I allow? Heavens, Lady Belmont! I allow the addresses of an odious
male animal? If fellows will follow one, how is it to be avoided? it is
one's misfortune to be handsome, and one must bear the consequences.
But, my dear Lady Anne, an unconnected life - Is the pleasantest
life in the world. Have not I 3000 . a year? am not I a widow? mistress
of my own actions? with youth, health, a tolerable understanding, an
air of the world, and a person not very disagreeable?
All this I own.
All this? yes, and twenty times more, or you do nothing. Have not
these unhappy eyes carryed destruction from one climate to another?
Have not the sprightly French, the haughty Romans, confest themselves
my slaves? Have not - But it would take up a life to tell you all my
But what is all this to the purpose, y dear?
Now I protest I think it is vastly to the purpose. And all this you
advise me to give up, to become a tame, domestic, inanimate - Really,
my dear Madam, I did not think it was in your nature to be so
unreasonable. It is with infinite pain, my dearest Lady Anne, I bring
myself to say any thing which can give you a moment's uneasiness. But
it is the task of true friendship -
To tell disagreeable truths: I know that is what your Ladyship
would say: and, to spare you what your delicacy starts at mentioning,
you have heard aspersions on my character, which are the consequences
of my friendship for Colonel Bellville.
I know and admire the innocent chearfulness of your heart; but I
grieve to say, the opinion of the world - -
As to the opinion of the world, by which is meant the malice of few
spiteful old cats, I am perfectly unconcerned about it; but your
Ladyship's esteem is necessary to my happiness: I will therefore to you
vindicate my conduct: which, tho' indiscreet, has been really
irreproachable. Though a widow, and accountable to nobody, I have ever
lived with Colonel Bellville, with the reserve of blushing apprehensive
fifteen; whilst the warmth of my friendship for him, and the pleasure I
found in his conversation, have let loose the baleful tongue of envy,
and subjected me resolution to the malice of an ill-judging world; a
world I despise for his sake; a world, whose applause is too often
bestowed on the cold, the selfish, and the artful, and denied to that
generous unsuspected openness and warmth of heart, which are the
strongest characteristicks of true virtue. My friendship, or, if you
please, my love, for Colonel Bellville, is the first pleasure of my
life; the happiest hours of which have been past in his conversation;
nor is there any thing I would not sacrifise to my passion for him, but
his happiness; which, for reasons unknown to your Ladyship, is
incompatible with his marrying me. But is it not possible to remove
I am afraid not.
Would it not then, my dear Madam, be most prudent to break off a
connexion, which can answer no purpose but making both unhappy?
I own it would; but prudence was never a part of my character. Will
you forgive and pity me, Lady Belmont, when I say, that, though I see
in the strongest light my own indiscretion, I am not enough mistress of
my heart to break with the man to whom I have only a very precarious
and distant hope of being united? There is an enchantment in his
friendship, which I have not force of mind to break through; he is my
guide, my guardian, protector, friend; the only man I ever loved, the
man to whom the last recesses of my heart are open: must I give up the
tender, exquisite, refined delight of his conversation, to the false
opinion of a world, governed by prejudice, judging by the exterior,
which is generally fallacious, and condemning, without distinction,
those soft affections without which life is scarcely above vegetation?
Do not imagine, my dear Lady Belmont, I have really the levity I
affect: or, had my prejudices against marriage been ever so strong, the
time I have passed here would have removed them: I see my Lord and you,
after an union of thirty years, with as keen a relish for each other's
conversation as you could have felt at the moment which first joined
you: I see in you all the attention, the tender solicitude of beginning
love, with the calm delight and perfect confidence of habitual
friendship. I am, therefore, convinced marriage is capable of
happiness, to which an unconnected state is lifeless and insipid; and,
from observing the lovely delicacy of your Ladyship's conduct I am
instructed how that happiness is to be secured; I am instructed how to
avoid that tasteless, languid, unimpassioned hour, so fatal to love and
With the man to whom I was a victim, my life was one continued
scene of misery; to a sensible mind, there is no cold medium in
marriage: its sorrows, like its pleasures, are exquisite. Relieved from
those galling chains, I have met with a heart suitable to my own; born
with the same sensibility, the same peculiar turn of thinking: pleased
with the same pleasures, and exactly formed to make me happy: I will
believe this similarity was not given to condemn us both to
wretchedness: as it is impossible either of us can be happy but with
the other, I will hope the bar, which at present seems invincible, may
be removed; till then indulge me, my dear Lady Belmont, in the innocent
pleasure of loving him, and trust to his honor for the safety of mine."
The most candid and amiable of women, after a gentle remonstrance on
the importance of reputation to happiness, left me, so perfectly
satisfied, that she intends to invite Bellville down. I send you this
conversation as an introduction to a request I have to make you, which
I must postpone to my next. Heavens! how perverse! interrupted by one
of the veriest cats in nature, who will not leave us till ages after
the post is gone. Adieu! for the present! it is prettily enough
contrived, and one of the great advantages of society, that one's time,
the most precious of all possessions, is to be sacrifised, from a false
politeness, to every idle creature who knows not what else to do. Every
body complains of this, but nobody attempts to remedy it.
Am not I the most inhuman of women, to write two sheets without
naming Lady Julia? She is well, and beautiful as an angel: we have a
ball to-night on Lord Melvin's return, against which she is putting on
all her charms. We shall be at Belmont tomorrow, which is two or three
days sooner than my Lord intended.
Lady Julia dances with Lord Melvin, who is, except two, the most
amiable man I know: she came up just as I sat down to write, and looked
as if she had something to say: she is gone, however, without a word;
her childish bashfulness about you is intolerable.
The ball waits for us. I am interrupted by an extreme pretty
fellow, Sir Charles Mellifont, who has to-night the honor of my hand.
A. Wilmot. To Lady Anne Wilmot.
"WE have a ball to-night on Lord Melvin's return, against which she
is putting on all her charms."
Oh! Lady Anne! can you indeed know what it is to love, yet play
with the anxiety of a tender heart? I can scarce bear the thoughts of
her looking lovely in my absence, or in any eyes but mine; how then can
I support the idea of her endeavouring to please another, of her
putting on all her charms to grace the return of a man, young, amiable,
rich, noble, and the son of her father's friend? a thousand fears, a
thousand conjectures torment me: should she love another - the
possibility distracts me. - Go to her, and ask her if the tenderest,
most exalted passion, if the man who adores her - I know not what I
would say - you have set me on the rack - If you have pity, my dearest
Lady Anne, lose not a moment to make me easy.
Yours, c. H. Mandeville.
The End of the First Volume.
To Miss Howard. Belmont, Tuesday.
O Emily! How inconsistent is a heart in love! I entreated Mr.
Mandeville not to write to me, and am chagrined at his too exact
obedience: I think, if he loved as I do, he could not so easily obey
me. He writes to Lady Anne; and, though by my desire, I am ashamed of
my weakness; - but I wish he wrote less often: there is an air of
gaiety in his letters which offends me - He talks of balls, of parties
with ladies - Perhaps I am unjust, but the delicacy of my love is
wounded by his knowing a moment's pleasure in my absence; to me all
places are equal where he is not; all amusements without him are dull
and tasteless. Have not I an equal right to expect, Emily! He knows not
how I love him.
Convinced that this mutual passion is the designation of Heaven to
restore him to that affluence he lost by the partiality of an ancestor
and the generous loyalty of his family, I give way to it without
reserve; I regard my love as a virtue; I am proud of having
distinguished his merit without those trappings of wealth, which alone
can attract common eyes. His idea is for ever before me; I think with
transport of those enchanting moments - Emily, that week of tender
confidence is all my life, the rest is not worth numbering in my
My father to-night gives a ball to Lord Melvin, with whom I am
again, unwillingly, obliged to dance. I wish not to dance at all; to
make this sacrifice to the most beloved of men: Why have I not courage
to avow my sentiments, to declare he aloneThis Lord Melvin too, I
know not why, but I never see him without horror.
O Emily! How do all men sink on the comparison! He seems of a
superior rank of beings. Your Julia will never give her hand to
another; she swears this to the dear bosom of friendship.
This detested Lord Melvin is at the door; he will not let me
proceed; he tells me it is to a lover I am writing; he says this in a
manner, and with a tone of voice - he looks at me with an earnestness -
Lady Anne has alarmed me - Should my father intend - yet why should I
fear the most cruel of all acts of tyranny from the most tender and
indulgent of parents?
I feel a dejection of spirits on this subject, which does injury to
my father's goodness: perhaps it is no more than the natural effects of
absence on a tender and unexperienced heart.
Adieu! I am forced to finish my letter. All good angels guard and
preserve my Emily!
Yours, Julia Mandeville.
To the Earl of Belmont.
WITH all my affection for Lord T, I am hourly shocked by that
most unworthy of all faults, his haughtiness to inferior fortune,
however distinguished by virtue, talents, or even the more shining
advantage of birth. Dress, equipage, and the over-bearing assurance
which wealth inspires, strike him so forcibly, that there is no room in
his soul for that esteem which is a debt to modest merit.
We had yesterday to dine Mr. Herbert, one of the most amiable men I
ever saw; his person was genteel, his countenance at once expressive of
genius and worth, which were rendered more touching to me, by that
pensive look and irresolute air, which are the constant attendants on
an adverse fortune. Lord T returned his bow almost without looking
at him; and continued talking familiarly to a wretch with whom no
gentleman would converse, were he not master of six thousand a year:
the whole company, instructed in his situation by the supercilious air
of the master of the house, treated him with the same neglect, which I
endeavoured to console him for by every little civility in my power,
and by confining my attention intirely to him; when we parted, he asked
me to his house with a look full of sensibility; an invitation I shall
take the first opportunity of accepting.
When the company were gone, I asked Lord T the character of this
stranger. Why, really, says he, I believe he is in himself the most
estimable man in my neighbourhood: of a good family too; but one must
measure one's reception of people by the countenance the world shews
them; and he is too poor to be greatly caressed there. Besides, I am
not fond of being acquainted with unhappy people; they are very apt to
Is it possible, said I, my Lord, interrupting him hastily, you can
avow sentiments like these? Why are you raised by Providence above
others? Why entrusted with that wealth and consequence which might make
you a guardian angel to the unhappy? Where is my chaise? I will return
to Belmont, where affliction ever finds a ready audience; where
adversity is sure of being heard, though pomp and equipage wait.
Lord T smiled at my earnestness, and praised the generosity of my
sentiments, which he assured me were his at my age: he owned, he had
been to blame; but In the world, said he, Harry, we are carried away by
the torrent, and act wrong every moment mechanically meerly by seeing
others do the same. However, I stand corrected, and you shall have no
future reason to complain of me.
He spoke this with an air of good humour which reconciled us, and
has promised to accompany me in my visit to Mr. Herbert, which I have
insisted shall be the first we pay, and that he shall beg his pardon
for the behaviour of yesterday.
Is it not strange, my Lord, that men whose hearts are not bad can
avoid those whose characters do honor to their species, only because
fortune denies them those outward distinctions which wealth can give to
the lowest and most despicable of mankind?
Surely, of all human vices, Pride is the most detestable!
I am, H. Mandeville.
To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
CAN I play with the anxiety of a tender heart? Certainly, or I
should not be what I am, a coquette of the first order. Setting aside
the pleasure of the thing, and I know few pleasanter amusements, policy
dictates this conduct; for there is no possibility of keeping any of
you without throwing the charms of dear variety into one's treatment of
you: nothing cloys like continual sweets; a little acid is absolutely
I am just come from giving Lady Julia some excellent advice on the
subject of her passion for you. Really, my dear, said I, you are
extremely absurd to blush and look foolish about loving so pretty a
fellow as Harry Mandeville, handsome, well made, lively, elegant; and
in the true classical stile, and approved by the connoisseurs, by
Madame le Comtesse de - - herself, whom I look upon to be the greatest
judge of male merit on the face of the globe.
It is not for loving him I am angry with you, but for entertaining
so ridiculous a thought as that of marrying him. You have only one
ratinoal step to take; marry Lord Melvin, who has title and fortune,
requisites not to be dispensed with in a husband, and take Harry
Mandeville for your Cecisbeo. The dear creature was immensely
displeased, as you, who know the romantic turn of her imagination, will
Oh, I had almost forgot: yes, indeed, you have great right to give
yourself jealous airs: we have not heard of your coquetry with Miss
Truman. My correspondent tells me, there is no doubt of its being a
real passion on both sides, and that the Truman family have been
making private enquiries into your fortune. I shewed Lady Julia the
letter, and you cannot conceive how prettily she blushed.
But, to be grave, I am afraid you have nothing to fear from Lord
Melvin. You must forgive my making use of this expression; for, as I
see no possibility of surmounting the obstacles which oppose your union
with Lady Julia, I am too much a friend to both, not to wish earnestly
to break a connexion which has not a shadow of hope to support it.
But a truce to this subject, which is not a pleasant one to either
I told you in my last I had something to say to you. As I am your
confidente, you must consent to be mine, having a little present
occasion for your services. You are to know, my dear Harry, that, with
all my coquetry, I am as much in love as yourself, and with almost as
little prospect of success: this odious money is absolutely the bane of
us true lovers, and always contrives to stand in our way.
My dear spouse then, who in the whole course of our acquaintance
did but one obliging thing, being kindly determined I should neither be
happy with him nor without him, obligingly, though nobody knows this
but myself and the Caro Bellville, made my jointure what it is, on
condition I never married again: on observance of which condition, it
was to be in my power to give the estate to whoever I pleased at my
death; but, on a proof of my supposed future marriage, it was to go
immediately to a niece of his, who at his death was in a convent in
France, who is ignorant of this condition, and whose whole present
fortune scarce amounts to fifteen hundred pounds. She is both in person
and mind one of the most lovely of women, and has an affection for me,
which inclines me to think she would come into measures for my sake,
which I shall make it her interest to acquiesce in for her own.
Bellville's fortune is extremely moderate; and, if I marry him at
present, I shall not add a shilling to it; his income will remain in
statu-quo, with the incumbrance of an indigent woman of quality, whose
affairs are a little derangŽ, and amongst whose virtues conomy was
never one of the most observable. He would with transport marry me
to-morrow, even on these hard conditions; but how little should I
deserve so generous a passion, if I suffered it to seduce him to his
ruin! I have wrote to my niece to come to England, when I shall tell
her my passion for Bellville, and propose to her a private agreement to
divide the fortune, which will be forfeited to her on my marriage, and
which it is in my power by living single to deprive her of for ever.
Incapable, however, of injustice, I have at all events made a will,
dividing it equally between her and Bellville, if I die unmarried: I
have a right to do this for the man I love, as my father left thirty
thousand pounds to Mr. Wilmot, which in equity ought to be regarded as
mine, and which is all I desire, on the division: she, therefore by my
will, has all she ever can expect, even from the strictest justice: and
she can never, I think, hesitate between waiting till my death and at
my mercy, and receiving at the present the utmost she could then hope
I have heard from the Lady to whom I enclosed my letter, which she
has returned, my niece having left France a year ago, to accompany a
relation into Italy. What I, therefore, have to ask of you is, to
endeavour to find her out, by your Italian friends, as I will by mine
at the same time; that I may write to her to return immediately to
England, as I will not run the hazard of mentioning the subject in a
letter. She is the daughter of the late colonel Hastings, once abroad
in a public character, and is well known in Italy.
Bellville is not at all in the secret of my scheme; nor did I ever
tell him I would marry him, though I sometimes give him reason to hope.
I am too good a politician in love matters ever to put a man out of
doubt till half an hour before the ceremony. The moment a woman is weak
enough to promise, she sets the heart of her lover at rest; the chace,
and of consequence the pleasure, is at an end; and he has nothing to do
but to seek a new object, and begin the pursuit over again. I tell
you, but I tell it in confidence, that if I find Bell Hastings, if she
comes into my scheme, and my mind does not change, I may, perhaps, do
Bellville the honor. And yet, when I reflect on the matter; on the
condition of the obligation, "so long as ye both shall live" - Jesu
Maria! Only think of promising to be of the same mind as long as one
lives. My dear Harry, people may talk as they will, but the thing is
Adieu! Mon cher Ami, A. Wilmot.
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
I Have already told you I came hither with a view of engaging Lord
T's interest in support of those views, on which all my hopes of
happiness depend. The friendship he has ever professed for me has been
warm as that of a father. I was continually with him at Rome, and he
there prest me to accept those services I then never expected to have
occasion for. Till now content with my situation, love first raised in
me the spirit of ambition, and determined me to accept those offers. In
a former letter, I told you I was going to follow Lord T into the
garden, to communicate to him my purpose of pushing my fortune in the
world; on which I had before given general hints, which he seemed to
approve, as a kind of spirit becoming a young man, warm with hope, and
not destitute of merit.
On revolving my scheme as I approached him, it appeared so
romantic, so void of all rational hope, that I had not resolution to
mention it, and determined at least to suspend it till better digested,
and more fitted to bear the cool eye of impartial reason: in these
sentiments I should still have remained, had not a letter from Lady
Anne Wilmot, by giving me jealousy, determined me not to defer one
moment a design on which all my happiness depended.
I therefore, with some hesitation, this morning opened all my
heart, and the real state of my circumstances, to Lord T, concealing
only what related to Lady Julia. He heard me with great coolness,
carelessly lolling on a settee; his eyes fixed on a new Chinese
summer-house, opposite the window near which he sat, and made me the
following answer; "Your views, Mr. Mandeville, seem rather romantic,
for a man who has no party connexions, and so little parliamentary
interest. However, you are of a good family, and there are things to be
had in time if properly recommended. Have you no friend who would
mention you to the minister?" He then rang the bell hastily for his
valet, and retired to dress leaving me motionless with astonishment and
indignation. We me no more till dinner, when he treated me with a
distant civility, the meaning of which was easily understood. He
apologized, with an air of ceremony, on his being forced to go for a
fortnight to Scarborough, with a party, who, being all strangers, he
was afraid would not be agreeable to me; but, at his return, he should
be glad of the honor of seeing me again. I bowed coldly, and took no
other notice of what he said, than to order my chaise immediately; on
which he pressed my stay to-night, but in vain. The servants leaving
the room, he was a little disconcerted, but observed, He was sorry for
me; my case was really hard; he always thought my fortune much larger;
wondered at my father's indiscretion in educating me so improperly -
People ought to consider their circumstances - It was pity I had no
friend - Lord Belmont, if he pleased, but he was so absurdly fond of
his independence. During his harangue, I entirely recovered my
presence of mind; and, with an air of great ease and unconcern, told
his Lordship, I was much obliged to him for curing me of a pursuit so
improper for a man of my temper: that the liberal offers of service he
had formerly made me at Rome had betrayed me into a false opinion of
the friendship of great men; but that I was now convinced of what value
such professions are, and that they are only made where it seems
certain they will never be accepted. That it was impossible his
Lordship could judge properly of the conduct of a man of my father's
character; that I was proud of being son to the most exalted and
generous of mankind; and would not give up that honor to be first
minister to the first prince on earth. That I never so strongly felt
the value of independence as at that moment, and did not wonder at the
value Lord Belmont set on so inestimable a blessing. I came away
without waiting for an answer, and stopped at an inn about ten miles
off, where I am now waiting for one of my servants, whom I left behind
to bring me a letter I expect to-day from Lady Anne Wilmot.
And now, my dear Mordaunt, what will become of your unhappy friend?
The flattering hopes I fondly entertained are dispersing like a
flitting cloud. Lord T's behaviour has removed the veil which love
had spread over the wildness of my design, and convinced me that
success is impossible. Where or to whom shall I now apply? Lord T was
him on whose friendship I most depended; whose power to serve me was
greatest, and whose professions gave me most right to expect his
I here for ever give up all views - Can I then calmly give up the
hopes of Lady Julia? I will go back, confess my passion to Lord
Belmont, and throw myself on that goodness whose first delight is that
of making others happy. Yet can I hope he will give his daughter, the
heiress of such affluence - Disinterested and noble as he is, the false
maxims of the world - Mordaunt, I am born to wretchedness - What have I
gained by inspiring the most angelic of women with pity? I have doomed
to misery her for whose happiness I would sacrifise my life.
The servant I left at Lord T's is this moment arrived; he has
brought me a letter - I know not why, but my hand trembles, I have
scarce power to break the seal. To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
SUMMON all your resolution, my dear Mr. Mandeville - Sure my fears
were prophetic - do not be too much alarmed - Lady Julia is well; she
is in tears by me; she disapproves her father's views; she begs me to
assure you her heart is not less sensible than ours will be to so cruel
a stroke; begs you not to return yet to Belmont, but to depend on her
affection, and leave your fate in her hands.
The inclosed letters will acquaint you with what I have been for
some time in apprehension of. With such a design for his daughter, why
did my Lord bring you to Belmont? So formed to inspire love as you both
are, why did he expose you to danger it was scarce possible for you to
escape? But it is now too late to wish you had never met; all my hopes
are in your resolution; I dare expect nothing from Lady Julia's.
To the Earl of Belmont. September 10.
To the Earl of Belmont. September 10.
YOUR Lordship's absence, and the death of my mother, which renders
my estate more worthy Lady Julia, has hitherto prevented my explanation
of an unguarded expression, which I find has had the misfortune to
displease you. I am far from intending - Your Lordship intirely
mistakes me - No man can be more sensible of the honor of your
Lordship's alliance, or of Lady Julia's uncommon perfections: but a
light way of talking, which one naturally acquires in the world, has
led me undesignedly into some appearance of disrespect to a state, of
the felicity of which I have not the least doubt.
I flatter myself your Lordship will, on cooler reflexion, forgive
an unguarded word, and allow me to hope for the honor of convincing you
and the Lady, by my future conduct, that no man has a higher idea of
matrimonial happiness, than,
and very obedient Servant,
To Lord Viscount Fondville. My Lord,
I Readily admit your Lordship's apology; as I am under no
apprehension any man can intend to slight the alliance of one who has
always endeavoured his character should be worthy his birth, and the
rank he has the honor to hold in his country.
As I love the plainest dealing in affairs of such consequence, I
will not a moment deceive your Lordship, or suffer you to engage in a
pursuit, which, if I have any influence over my daughter, will be
unsuccessful; not from any disesteem of your Lordship, but because I
have another view for her, the disappointment of which would destroy
all my hopes of a happy evening of life, and embitter my last hours. I
have long intended her, with her own approbation, which her filial
piety gives me no room to doubt, for the son of my friend, the heir of
an earldom, and of an affluent fortune; and, what I much more value, of
uncommon merit; and one of the first families in the kingdom.
I am sure your Lordship will not endeavour to oppose a design,
which has been long formed, is far advanced, and on which I have so
much set my heart.
I am, my Lord,
with great Regard,
Your Lordship's very obedient
and devoted Servant,
I have long, my dear Mr. Mandeville, suspected my Lord's design in
favour of Lord Melvin, of which there is not now the least doubt. Our
coming away from his father's, on his arrival, was a circumstance
which then struck me extremely. Lady Julia's stay there, on this
supposition, would have been ill suited to the delicacy of her sex and
rank. Yet I am astonished my Lord has not sooner told her of it; but
there is no accounting for the caprice of age. How shall I tell my dear
Mr. Mandeville my sentiments on this discovery! How shall I, without
wounding a passion which bears no restraint, hint to him my wishes,
that he would sacrifise that love, which can only by its continuance
make him wretched, to Lady Julia's peace of mind! That he would himself
assist her to conquer an inclination which is incompatible with the
views which the most indulgent of parents entertains for her happiness!
Views, the disappointment of which, he has declared, will embitter his
last hours? Make one generous effort, my amiable friend: it is glorious
to conquer where conquest is most difficult: think of Lord Belmont's
friendship; of his almost parental care of your fortune; of the
pleasure with which he talks of your virtues; and it will be impossible
for you to continue to oppose that design on which his hopes of a happy
evening of life are founded. Would you deny a happy evening to that
life to which thousands owe the felicity of theirs?
It is from you, and not Lady Julia, I expect this sacrifice: the
consideration which will most strongly influence you to make it, will
for ever prevent her; it pains me to wound your delicacy, by saying I
mean the difference of your fortunes. From a romantic generosity, she
will think herself obliged to that perseverance, which the same
generosity now calls loudly on you to decline. If you have the
greatness of mind to give up hopes which can never to accomplished,
time and absence my assist Lady Julia's filial sweetness, and bring her
to a compliance with her father's will. Believe, that, whilst I write,
my heart melts with compassion for you both; and that nothing but the
tenderest friendship could have urged me to so painful a talk.
I am, A. Wilmot.
O Mordaunt! till now I was never truly wretched. I have not even a
glimpse of hope remaining. I must give up the only wish for which life
is worth my care, or embitter the last hours of the man, who with
unequalled generosity has pleaded my cause against himself, and
declined a noble acquisition of fortune, that it might give
consequence, and, as he thought, happiness to me.
But Lady Julia! - - Heaven is my witness, to make her happy, I
would this moment give up all my right in her heart. I would myself
lead her to the altar, though the same hand the next moment - -
Mordaunt, I will promise, if she requests it, to consent to her
marriage; but I will not to survive it. My thoughts are all distraction
- I cannot write to Lady Anne - I will write to the most lovely of
women - She knows not the cruel request of her friend - Her love
disdains the low consideration of wealth - - Our hearts were formed for
each other - She knows every sentiment of my soul - She knows, that,
were I monarch of the world - O Mordaunt, is it possible - Can the
gentle, the indulgent Lord Belmont - but all conspires to undo me: the
best, the most mild of mankind is turned a tyrant to make me wretched.
I will know from herself if she consents; I will give up my own hopes
to her happiness; but let me first be convinced it is indeed her
happiness, not the prejudices of her father, to which I make so cruel a
I have wrote to Lady Julia, and am more calm: I have mentioned Lady
Anne's request. I have told her, that, though without hope, if I am
still blest in her affection, I will never resign her but with life:
but if she can be happy with Lord Melvin, if she asks it, she is this
moment free. I have entreated her to consult her own heart, without a
thought of me; that I would die this moment to contribute to her peace;
that the first purpose of my life is her happiness, with which my own
shall never come in competition; that there is nothing I will ever
refuse her, but to cease to think of her with adoration; that if she
wishes to marry Lord Melvin (Great Heaven! is it possible she can wish
it?) I will return to Italy, and carry far from her a passion which can
never cease but in the grave.
I will wait here an answer, and then determine where to go.
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday.
Emily Howard came last night. Lady Julia and she are reading
natural history with my Lord, and examining butterflies wings in a
microscope; a pretty innocent amusement to keep young ladies out of
mischief. I wish my Lord had thought of it sooner, it might have been
of great use to Lady Julia: if one is but amused, it is of no great
consequence whether by a butterfly or a lover.
Vastly severe that last sentence; it must be allowed I have a
pretty genius for satire.
My Lord certainly intends Lady Julia for Lord Melvin. I have wrote
Harry a ridiculous wise letter, persuading him to sacrifise his own
passion to my Lord's caprice; and giving him advice, which I should
hate him, if I thought him capable of following. How easy it is to be
wise for any body but ones self! I suppose Harry could with great
calmness preach on the imprudence of my attachment to you.
We are going to a strolling play to-night. My Lord encourages
diversions on his estate, on the same principle that a wise Price
protects the fine arts, to keep his people at home.
We had a family to dine here yesterday, who are very agreeable
people, and to whom my Lord shewed a particular attention. Mr. Barker,
the father, is the most bearable man I have seen in this country; and
the daughters vastly above the stile of the misses here: Lady Belmont
intends to take them this winter with her to town, as she does, every
year, some gentleman's daughter in her neighbourhood.
Adieu! I am peevish beyond measure, and scarce know what I would be
at. Have you never these kinds of feels? Never fretful, you cannot tell
why? It is well for you, you are not here: a lover and a favourite
lap-dog have a dreadful life on these occasions; or indeed any animal
one can use ill with impunity. Strangely severe to-day; do not you
Ten thousand times more peevish than ever: we have just had a visit
from "the best kind of woman in the world," and her daughter, "an
amiable and accomplished young lady," who writes verses and journals,
paints, makes shell-flowers, cuts paper, and has "every qualification
to render the marriage state happy;" talks of the charms of rural
retirement, the pleasures of reflexion, the beauties of the mind; and
sings, "Love's a gentle generous passion." It was not in nature to have
stood it a quarter of an hour. Heaven be praised! the play hour is
come, and the coaches are at the door.
We have seen them enact Juliet and Romeo. Lady Julia seemed to
sympathize with the heroine: "I'll not wed Paris; Romeo is my
To Colonel Bellville.
WE have been all extremely busy today, celebrating a harvest home;
a long procession of our village youths, all drest gaily in fine
shirts, adorned with ribbands, paired with the handsomest of the
country girls, in white jackets and petticoats, garlands of flowers and
wheat-ears on their heads, their rakes streaming with various coloured
ribbands, which glittered in the sun-beams, preceded the harvest cart;
on which, in a bower of green boughs, stood a beautiful little girl,
drest in the rural stile, with inimitable elegance, by the hands of
Lady Julia herself. The gay procession walked slowly through the
village; a tabor and pipe playing before them, till they came before
the house, where they danced a thousand little rustic dances, the
novelty of which charmed me extremely: they then adjourned to the
hall, where a plentiful feast was provided, and where the whole village
were that night my Lord's guests.
Lord Belmont is extremely fond of all these old customs, and will
suffer none of them to be left off on his estate. The prospect of this
festivity, he says, chears them in their labor, and is a laudable
tribute of gladness to that beneficent Being, to whose bounty we owe
the full reward of our toil, the plenteous harvest, and who rejoices in
the happiness of his creatures.
Besides, says my Lord, all these amusements encourage a spirit of
matrimony, and encrease the number of my people.
And pray, my dear Lord, to they encourage no other spirit? No,
Madam; Lady Belmont's anger and mine would, in such a case, they know,
contrary to that of the world, fall chiefly where it ought, on the
seducer, who would be for ever expelled my estate, the heaviest
punishment I could possibly inflict. Then, as I am a declared enemy to
interested marriages, the young people are allowed to chuse for
themselves, which removes the temptation to vice, which is generally
caused by the shameful avarice of parents.
Our example too is of great service, and allures them to a regular
behaviour; they think that must be the happiest life, which we, who
have the power of chusing, prefer; and therefore it is the fashion
amongst them to be regular, and seek their happiness, as we do, at
I believe my Lord is right: I am well pleased too, he throws the
blame on you he wretches, and excuses the poor lasses. In the eye of
the world it is to be sure "toute au contraire;" but my Lord and Lady
Belmont are so singular as to see with their own eyes.
Adieu! We are all to go down one dance with the villagers; and I
hear the tabor and pipe.
Oh! Heavens! a coach and six, in the Mandeville livery! a running
footman; it must by Lady Mary; I will enquire. It is herself; my Lord
flies to receive her in the court; Lady Belmont and Lady Julia are at
the door; she alights; I never saw her before; her figure is striking,
full of dignity, and that grace which is almost lost in this
generation; she enters the house, leaning on my Lord. I am grieved
Harry is gone; I wished her to be some time with him; she only just saw
him as he ;came through London in his way to Belmont. But I must go to
pay my respects. Adieu!
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Tuesday, September 14.
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Tuesday, September 14.
AS I was sitting alone this morning at the inn looking out at a
window, I saw ride into the yard Mr. Herbert, the gentleman to whom I
took so strong an inclination at Lord T's, and for whose character I
have the highest esteem. He saw me, and springing eagerly from his
horse, sent to know if I would admit him. He came, and, after
expressing some surprize at seeing me there, on my telling him I had
left Lord T's, and waited there a few days for letters, he insisted
on my spending that time at his house, in a manner which it was
impossible for me to refuse. As we rode, he apologized for the
entertainment I should meet with; wished for a larger share of the
gifts of fortune, that he might receive his friends in a manner more
suited to his desires; but said, if he knew me, the heart of the host
was all I should care for; and that I should relish the homely meat of
chearful friendship, as well as the splendid profusion of luxury and
We arrived at a neat house, with a little romantic garden behind
it, where we were received by Mrs. Herbert with that hospitable air
which is inseparable from real benevolence of heart. Her person was
extremely pleasing, and her dress elegantly plain. She had a little boy
sitting by her, lovely and playful as a Cupid.
Neatness and propriety presided at our frugal meat; and, after a
little desert of excellent fruit from their garden, Mr. Herbert took me
the tour of his estate, which consists of about seventy acres, which he
cultivates himself, and has embellished with every thing that can make
it lovely: all has the appearance of content and peace: I observed this
to him, and added, that I infinitely envied his happiness. He stopped,
and looked earnestly at me; I am indeed, said he, happy in many things;
and, though my fortune is greatly below my birth and hopes, I am not in
want: things may be better; till then, I bear them as I can: my wife,
whose worth outweighs all praise, combats our ill fate with a spirit I
cannot always imitate; for her, Mr. Mandeville, for her, I feel with
double keenness the stings of adversity.
I observed him too much affected to pursue the subject farther; I
therefore changed it, and returned to the house: but I will not leave
him till I am instructed how to draw the worm of discontent from one of
the worthiest of human bosoms. Write to me here. I shall stay till I
know when my father will be in the country. Adieu!
To Colonel Bellville. Wednesday.
To Colonel Bellville. Wednesday.
I AM charmed with Lady Mary; her address is easy, polite,
attentive; she is tall, brown, well made, and perfectly graceful; her
air would inspire awe, if not softened by the utmost sweetness and
affability of behaviour. She has great vivacity in her looks and
manner; her hair is quite white: her eyes have lost their lustre, yet
it is easy to see she has been very handsome; her hand and arm are yet
lovely, of which she is not a little vain: take her for all in all, she
is the finest ruin I ever beheld.
She is full of anecdotes of the Queen's time, chosen with judgment,
and told with spirit, which makes her conversation infinitely amusing.
She has been saying so many fine things of Harry, who by the way
strongly resembles her, that I begin to think the good old Lady has a
matrimonial design upon him: really not amiss such a scheme; fine
remains, an affluent fortune, and as to years, eighty is absolutely the
best age I know for a wife, except eighteen. She thinks him, what is
extremely in his favor, very like her brother, who was killed at the
battle of Almanza.
She has the talkativeness of age, which where there is sense and
knowledge of the world, I do not dislike; she is learned in genealogy,
and can tell you not only the intermarriages, but the family virtues
and vices, of every ancient house in the kingdom; as to the modern
ones, she does not think them worth studying. I am high in her favor,
because my blood has never been contaminated by a city marriage. She
tells me, the women of my family have always been famous for a certain
ease and bon air, which she is glad to see is not lost; and that my
grand-mother was the greatest ornament of Queen Mary's court. She has a
great contempt for the present race of beauties, says the very idea of
grace is almost lost, and that we see nothing now but meer pretty
women; that she can only account for this, by supposing the trifling
turn of their minds gives an insignificance to their persons; and that
she would advise them to learn to think and act, in order to their
being able to look and move, with dignity. "You, nephew, she says, "who
remember each bright Churchill of the Galaxy, will readily come into my
opinion." She does me the honor, however, to say I am the most graceful
woman she has seen since the Queen's time. She is a great politician,
and something inclined to be a tory, though she professes perfect
impartiality; loves the King, and idolizes the Queen, because she
thinks she sees in her the sweet affability so admired in her favorite
Queen Mary - - Forgives the cits for their opposition to peace, because
they get more money by war, the criterion by which they judge every
thing: but is amazed nobles, born guardians of the just rights of the
throne, the fountain of all their honors, should join these interested
Change-alley politicians, and endeavour, from private pique, to weaken
the hands of their sovereign: But adds, with a sigh, that mankind were
always alike, and that it was just so in the Queen's time.
"But pray, nephew, this Canada; - I remember when Hill was sent
against it in the Queen's time, it was thought of great consequence;
and two or three years ago pamphlets were wrote, I am told by men very
well born, to prove it was the only point we ought to have in view; but
a point in which we could scarce hope to succeed. Is it really so
trifling an acquisition? And how comes the nature of it to be so
changed now we are likely to keep it?"
"The terms of peace talked of, madam, said Lord Belmont, if we
consider them in the only just light, their relation to the end for
which war was undertaken, are such as wisdom and equity equally
dictate. Canada, considered merely as the possession of it gives
security to our colonies, is of more national consequence to us than
all our Sugar-islands on the globe: but, if the present inhabitants are
encouraged to stay, by the mildness of our laws, and that full liberty
of conscience to which every rational creature has a right; if they are
taught, by every honest art, a love for that constitution which makes
them free, and a personal attachment to the best of princes; if they
are allured to our religious worship, by seeing it in its genuine
beauty, equally remote from their load of trifling ceremonies and the
unornamented forms of the dissenters: if population is encouraged; the
waste lands settled; and a whale fishery set on foot, we shall find it,
considered in every light, an acquisition beyond our most sanguine
O Ciel! I am tired. Adieu!
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
I AM still with Mr. Herbert, whose genius, learning, and goodness
of heart, make him an honor to human nature itself: I shall never know
peace till I find a way to render his situation more worthy of his
character. It was with great difficulty I drew from him the following
short account of himself.
"There is nothing in my past life but what is, I fear, too usual to
be worth relating. Warmth of temper, and the vanity of youth, seduced
me into a circle of company not to be kept up, by one of my fortune, at
a less price than ruin; and the same vanity, with inexperience and a
false opinion of mankind, betrayed me into views not less destructive.
My father unhappily died when I was about nineteen, leaving me at
college, master of my own actions, of the little estate you see, and of
four thousand pounds; a sum I then thought inexhaustible. The
reputation of such a sum in my own power drew about me all the
worthless young men of fashion in the university, whose persuasions and
examples led me into a train of expence to which my fortune was far
from being equal; they flattered those talents of which I thought but
too well myself, and easily persuaded me I only wanted to be known in
the great world to rise to what height I pleased. I accompanied them to
town, full of the idea of raising my fortune, to which they assured me
nothing so much contributed as the appearance of being perfectly at
ease. To this end I launched into every expence they proposed; dress,
equipage, play, and every fashionable extravagance. I was well received
every where, and thought my designs in a prosperous way. I found my
fortune however decaying at the end of two years, but had not courage
to enquire into particulars; till, drawing upon my banker for money to
pay some debts I had unwarily contracted, he told me he had already
paid the whole.
It was some time before he could convince me of this; but, finding
his accounts had all the appearance of exactness, I was obliged to
acquiesce, and went home in an agony of despair. Unable to quit a way
of life which was become habitual, and which it was now impossible to
support without dishonesty, there is no describing my feelings. After
revolving a thousand different schemes in my imagination, I determined
to conceal the situation of my affairs, to sell my estate, and, before
that money was gone, press my great friends to serve me.
I applied to my banker, who undertook to send me a purchaser; but,
before I had compleated my design, I received by the post a bank note
of five hundred pounds, the sum I was indebted in town; with a letter,
in a hand unknown to me, representing, in the most delicate manner, the
imprudence of my past conduct, the madness of my views, and the certain
consequences of my parting wish this my last stake: intreating me, by
the memory of my parents, to preserve this sacred deposit, this little
remain of what their tender care had left me.
Melted with this generosity, struck with the just reproof, yet
chained down to that world which had undone me; convinced, yet
irresolute; I struggled with my own heart to determine on retiring into
the country; but, to postpone as long as possible a retreat, which I
could not bear to think of, resolved first to try my great friends, and
be certain of what I had to hope for. I represented to them the
necessity of immediately attempting in earnest to push my fortune; and,
pressing them closely, found their promises were air. They talked in
general terms of their esteem for me, of my merit; and each of them
expressed the warmest desire of seeing me served by any means but his
own. In order to animate their languid friendship, I discovered to them
the real state of my affairs; and from that moment found myself avoided
by them all; they dropped me by degrees: were never at home when I
called; and at length ceased even to bow to me in public. Ashamed of
their own baseness in thus cruelly deserting me, after leading me into
ruin, most of them fought to excuse it by blackening my character;
whilst the best of them affected coldly to pity me, as a vain foolish
fellow, who had undone himself by forgetting his own primeval
situation, and arrogantly presuming to live with them.
Burning with indignation, I determined at once to break the bands
which held me captive. I sold my equipage, discharged my debts, and
came down to this place, resolved to find out to whom I had been so
obliged; and, by living on half my income, to repay this generous
I took lodgings in a farm-house, and soon found that peace of mind
to which I had long been a stranger. I tried every method to find out
to whom I was indebted for an act of such exalted friendship, but in
vain; till one day, a relation being present, of whom I had some
suspicion, I related the story, as of another, keeping my eyes fixed
upon him; he remained perfectly unmoved; but, happening to turn my
head, I saw a confusion in the air of a young lady in the room, with
whom I had been bred in the greatest intimacy, which excited all my
attention. She saw me observe her, and a blush overspread her cheek,
which convinced me I had found the object of my search. I changed the
subject; and the next morning made her a visit, when I with great
difficulty drew from her a confession, that, ;having long had a tender
esteem for me, she had, by a friend in town, watched all my actions:
that my banker had applied to that very friend to purchase my estate;
on which, seeing me on the brink of absolute ruin, she had taken what
appeared to her the most probably means to prevent it; and was so happy
as to see she had succeeded.
I dare say, I need not tell you this noble creature was my dear
Mrs. Herbert; the smallness of whose fortune added infinitely to the
generosity of the action, what she had sent me being within a trifle
I loved, I addressed her, and, at length, was so happy as to call
her mine. Blest in the most exalted passion for each other, a passion
which time has rather encreased than abated, the narrowness of our
circumstances is the only ill we have to complain of; even this we have
borne with chearfulness, in the hope of happier days. A late accident
has, however, broke in upon that tranquillity with which Heaven has
hitherto blest us. It is now about six months since a Lady, who
tenderly esteemed us both, sent for me, and acquainted me she had
procured for me of a gentleman, whose family had been obliged to her,
a living of above three hundred pounds a year, in a beautiful
situation; and desired I would immediately take orders. As I was
originally educated with a view to the church, I consented with
inexpressible joy, blessing that Heaven, which had thus rewarded my
Sophia's generous affection, and given us all that was wanting to
compleat our happiness. I set out for London with an exulting heart;
where, after being ordained, I received the presentation, and went down
to take possession. The house was large and elegant, and betrayed me
into furnishing it rather better than suited my present circumstances;
but, as I determined on the utmost frugality for some years, I thought
this of little consequence. I set men to work in the garden; and wrote
my wife an account of our new residence, which made her eager to hasten
her removal. The day of my coming for my family was fixed, when my
patron came down to this seat, which was within sight of the rectory; I
waited on him, and found him surrounded by wretches to whom it was
scarce possible to give the name of human; profligate, abandoned, lost
even to the sense of shame; their conversation wounded reason, virtue,
politeness, and all that mankind agreed to hold sacred. My patron, the
wealthy heir of a West Indian, was raised above them, only by fortune
and a superior degree of ignorance and savage insensibility. He
received me with an insolence, which I found great difficulty in
submitting to: and, after some brutal general reflexions on the clergy,
dared to utter expressions relating to the beauty of my wife, which
fired my soul with indignation: breathless with rage, I had not power
to reply: when, one of the company speaking low to him, he answered
aloud, Hark you, Herbert, this blockhead thinks a parson a gentleman;
and wonders at my treating, as I please, a fellow who eats my bread.
I will sooner want bread, Sir, said I, rising, than owe it to the
most contemptible of mankind. Your living is once more at your
disposal; I resign all right to it before this company.
The pleasure of having acted as I ought swelled my bosom with a
conscious delight, and supported me till I reached home; when my heart
sunk at the thought of what my Sophia might feel from the
disappointment. Our affairs too were a little embarrassed, from which
misery I had hoped to be set free, instead of which my debts were
increased. Mr. Mandeville, if you never knew the horrors of being in
debt, you can form no idea of what it is to breathe the air at the
mercy of another; to labor, to struggle to be just, whilst the cruel
world are loading you with the guilt of injustice. I entered the
house, filled with horrors not to be conceived. My wife met me with
eager enquiries about our future residence; and with repeated thanks to
that God who had thus graciously bestowed on us the means of doing
justice to all the world. You will imagine what I felt at that moment:
instead of replying, I related to her the treatment I had met with, and
the character of him to whom we were to be obliged; and asked her, what
she would wish me to do? Resign the living, said she, and trust to that
Heaven whose goodness is over all his creatures. I embraced her with
tears of tender transport, and told her I had already done it. We wrote
to the Lady to whose friendship we had been obliged for the
presentation; and she had the greatness of mind not to disapprove my
conduct. We have since practised a more severe frugality, which we are
determined not to relax till what we owe is fully discharged: time
will, we hope, bring about this end, and remove the load which now
oppresses my heart. Determined to trust to Heaven and our own industry,
and to aim at independence alone, I have avoided all acquaintance which
could interfere with this only rational plan: but Lord T, seeing me
at the house of a nobleman whose virtues do honour to his rank, and
imagining my fortune easy from my cordial reception there, invited me
earnestly to his seat; where, having, as I suppose, been since
undeceived as to my situation, you were a witness of his unworthy
treatment of me; of one descended from a family noble as his own,
liberally educated, with a spirit equally above meanness and pride, and
a heart which feels too sensibly to be happy in a world like this.
Oh! Mr. Mandeville! What can you think of him, who, instead of
pouring out his soul in thankfulness to Heaven for those advantages he
enjoys by his goodness above his fellow-creatures, makes use of them to
would the bosom of the wretched, and add double bitterness to the cup
The real evils of a narrow fortune are trifling; its worst pangs
spring from the unfeeling cruelty of others; it is not always that
philosophy can raise us above the proud man's contumely, or those
"Which patient merit of th' unworthy takes."
You, Mr. Mandeville, are young, and full of probity; your own heart
will mislead you, by drawing too flattering a picture of others; the
world is gay before you; and, blinded by prosperity, you have never yet
seen it as it is. I have heard you with infinite concern hint designs
too like my own; let me intreat, let me conjure you, to profit by my
example; if peace is worth your care, be content with your paternal
fortune, however small; nor, by rashly launching on the flattering sea
of hope, hazard that shipwreck which I have suffered."
Mordaunt! Is not this the voice of Heaven? I will return to the
bosom of independence, and give up designs in which it is almost
impossible for modest worth to succeed.
My father is in town; I will go to him when he returns; his advice
shall determine my future conduct.
A letter from Lady Julia: my servant has this moment brought it
from Lord T's, whither I desired it to be directed/; not chusing to
let them know I have put an end to my visit, lest Lord Belmont should
insist on my return. To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
To Henry Mandeville, Esq;
IN what words shall I assure the most amiable of men he has nothing
to fear from Lord Melvin? If he knows my heart, he knows it incapable
of change; he knows, not his own generous spirit more disdains the low
consideration of fortune; he knows, I can have but one wish, that this
accidental advantage was on his side, that he might taste the transport
of obliging her he loves.
My duty, my gratitude to the best of parents, forbids my entering
into present engagements without his knowledge; nor will I make future
ones, which would have in view an event on which I cannot think without
horror: but his commands, were he capable of acting so inconsistently
with his past indulgent goodness, would be insufficient to make me give
my hand to Lord Melvin, when my heart is fixedly another's. I may,
perhaps, assume courage to own my sensibility, a sensibility justified
by such merit in the object, to the tenderest of mothers and friends:
in the mean time, defer your return to Belmont, and hope every thing
from time, my father's friendship, and my unalterable esteem - Esteem
did I say? Where did I learn this coldness of expression? Let me own,
though I am covered with blushes whilst I write, it is from my love, my
ardent love, from a passion which is the pride and boast of my life,
that the most charming of mankind has every thing to hope: if his
happiness depends on my affection, he is happy.
You shall hear from me by Lady Anne and my beloved Emily; at
present, you will not ask to hear from me.
Oh! Mordaunt! How shall I restrain the wild transports of my heart!
"Her love, her most ardent love" - How could I suspect her truth? -
No, my friend, I ask no more; I will not return to Belmont; certain of
her tenderness, I submit, without repining, to her commands.
Unable, however, to resist the desire of being near her, I will go
privately to a little farm, four miles from Belmont, of which it has a
view; which is rented by an old servant of my father's, whose son is in
love with one of Lady Belmont's maids, and from whom I shall hear daily
accounts of Lady Julia; as it is near the road, I may even have a
chance of seeing her pass by.
I shall leave my servants at the inn, and order all my letters
hither: Mr. Herbert will convey them to me, and keep the secret of my
Great Heaven! I shall to-night be near her, I shall behold the
turrets of Belmont? It is even possible I may see the dear object of
all my wishes. A thousand sweet ideas rise in my mind. My heart dances
Mordaunt! she loves me, she will never be another's.
This passion absorbs me wholly: I had almost forgot my friend; go
to my banker's; take a hundred pounds, and send it by the post to Mr.
Herbert, without letting him know from whence it comes. Why is this
trifle all that is in my power to do for worth like his? If a happier
fate - But let me not encourage the sanguine hopes of youth.
I will introduce him to Lord Belmont, the friend of virtue, the
support of the unhappy, the delegate of Heaven itself.
Adieu! your faithful H. Mandeville.
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday.
A PRETTY sentimental letter your last, and would make an admirable
figure in a true history of Celadon and Urania. Absolutely though,
Bellville, for people who have sensibility, and so little prospect of
coming together in an honorable way, we are a most extraordinary pair
of lovers. And yet the world - ˆ propos to the world, a French author I
am reading says, A wise writer, to divert the fury of criticism from
his works, should throw it now and then an indiscretion in his conduct
to play with, as seamen do a tub to the whale.
Do not you think this might be a useful hint to us beauties? If I
treat the good old ladies sometimes with a little imprudence in regard
to you, my complexion may escape the better for it.
We are just returned from a party on the water, which, like most
concerted parties, turned out exceedingly dull: we had gilded barges,
excellent musick, an elegant repast, and all that could invite Pleasure
amongst us; but whether her Ladyship be a true coquette, flying fastest
when pursued, or what is the reason I know not, but certain it is, one
seldom finds her when one goes to seek her; her visits are generally
spontaneous and unexpected; she rejects all invitations, and comes upon
you in her own way, by surprize. I set off in high spirits, my heart
beating with expectation, and never past a more languid day; I fancied
every moment would be pleasanter, but found the last hour as spiritless
as the first. I saw chagrin and disappointment in the eyes of half the
company, especially the younger part of it. Lady Julia seemed to say,
"All this would be charming, if Harry Mandeville was here." My own
ideas were something similar, I could not keep my imagination from
wandering a little to Grosvenor-street; most of the misses were in the
same situation, whilst the good old people seemed perfectly satisfied;
which convinces me that, at a certain time of life, there is no
pleasure without the heart; where that is untouched, and takes no part
in your amusements, all is still life and vegetation: it is in vain to
expect enjoyment from outward objects, where the soul is from home.
I missed my sweet Harry exceedingly; for, though not a lover, he is
a divine fellow; and there is something vastly amusing in having so
agreeable an object before one's eyes. Whenever I make a party of
pleasure, it shall consist all of lovers, who have not met for a
Who should we meet on our return, but Fondville, in a superb barge,
full of company, dying at the feet of the Cittadina, who was singing a
melting Italian air. Yes, we are to be Lady Viscountess Fondville, all
is agreed, the cloaths bespoke, our very garters interwoven with
coronets. I shall get off before the days of visitation, for there will
be no supporting Madame la Viscomtesse.
I have been talking half an hour tete ˆ tete with Lady Mary; and
have let her into the secret of little Westbrook's passion for Harry:
She drew up at the very mention; was astonished, that a creature of
yesterday could think of mixing his blood with that of Mandeville; and
declared she knew but twenty houses in Europe into which she should
ever consent to Harry's marrying. I took this opportunity of giving a
hint of his inclination for Lady Julia, but am doubtful whether she
understood me. Oh! that he had Lord Melvin's expectations! But why do I
wish for impossibilities? Let me rather wish, what is next to
impossible, that Lord Belmont would overlook the want of them!
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday Evening.
O Ciel! Une avanture! Making use of the sweet liberty of Belmont,
which has no rule but that of the Thelemites, "Do what thou wilt," I
left them after dinner to settle family affairs, and ordered my chariot
to take a solitary airing: an old cat, however, arriving just as it
came to the door, who is a famous proficient in scandal, a treat I am
absolutely deprived of at Belmont; I changed my mind, and asked her to
accompany me, that I might be amused with the secret history of all the
She had torn to pieces half a dozen of the prettiest women about
us, when, passing through a little village about six miles from
Belmont, I was struck with the extreme neatness of a small house and
garden near the road; there was an elegant plainness in the air of it,
which pleased me so much that I pulled the string, and ordered the
coachman to stop, that I might examine it more at leisure. I was going
to bid him drive on, when two women came out of an arbor, one of whom
instantly engaged all my attention.
Imagine to yourself in such a place all that is graceful and lovely
in woman; an elegance of form and habit; a dignity of deportment; an
air of delicate languor and sensibility, which won the heart at a look;
a complexion inclining to pale; the finest dark eyes; with a
countenance in which a modest sorrow and dignified dejection gave the
strongest indications of suffering merit.
My companion, seeing the apparent partiality with which I beheld
this amiable object, began to give me the history of her, embittered by
all the virulence of malice; which, however, amounted to no more, than
that she was a stronger, and that, as nobody knew who she was, they
generously concluded she was one whose interest it was not to be known.
They now drew nearer to us; and the charming creature, raising her
eyes, and then first seeing us, exclaimed, Good Heaven! Lady Anne
Wilmot! Is it possible! I now regarded her more attentively; and,
though greatly changed since I saw her, knew her to be Bell Hastings,
Mr. Wilmot's niece, whom I had been long endeavouring to find. I sprung
from the chariot to meet her, and need not tell you my transport at so
unexpected a rencounter.
After the common enquiries on meeting, I expressed my surprize at
finding her there, with a gentle reproach at her unkindness in being in
England without letting me know it. She blushed, and seemed embarrassed
at what I said; on which I changed the subject, and pressed her to
accompany me immediately to Belmont, the place on earth where merit
like hers was most sure of finding its best reward, esteem. She
declined this proposal in a manner which convinced me she had some
particular reason for refusing, which I doubted not her taking a proper
time to explain, and therefore gave it up for the present. I insisted,
however, on her promising to go with me to town; and that nothing but a
matrimonial engagement should separate her from. There is no describing
the excess of her gratitude; tears of tender sensibility shone in her
eyes; and I could see her bosom swell with sensations to which she
could not give utterance.
An hour passed without my having thought of my meagre companion at
the gate. I was not sorry for having accidentally mortified the envious
wretch for her spite to poor Bell. However, as I would not designedly
be shocking, I sent to her, and apologized for my neglect, which I
excused from my joy at meeting unexpectedly with a relation for whom I
had the tenderest friendship. The creature alighted at my request; and,
to make amends for the picture she had drawn of my amiable niece,
overwhelmed her with civilities and expressions of esteem, which would
have encreased my contempt for her, if any thing in nature could.
After tea we returned, when I related my adventure, and, though so
late, could scarce prevail on Lady Belmont to defer her visit to Bell
till to-morrow. She hopes to be able to prevail on her to accompany us
back to Belmont.
To George Mordaunt, Esq;
I Write this from my new abode, a little sequestered farm, at the
side of a romantic wood: there is an arbor in the thickest grove of
intermingled jessamines and roses. Here William mediates future happy
hours, when joined to his lovely Anna: he has adorned it with every
charm of nature, to please the mistress of his soul. Here I pass my
sweetest hours: here William brings me news of Lady Julia; he is this
moment returned; he saw her walking to the rustic temple, leaning on
Emily Howard: he tells me she sighed as she past him. Oh! Mordaunt! was
that sigh for me?
Not certain Lady Julia would forgive my being so near her, or a
concealment which has so guilty an air, I have enjoined William secrecy
even to his Anna, and bribed it by a promise of making him happy. My
letters therefore come round by Mr. Herbert's, and it is three days
before I receive them. I have not yet heard from Belmont, or my father.
I am supposed to be still at Lord T's.
Ever an enthusiast, from warmth of heart and imagination, my whole
soul is devoted to Lady Julia. I pass my days in carving that loved
name on the rinds of the smoothest trees: and, when the good old man
retires to his rest, William and I steal forth, and ride to the end of
Belmont Park, where, having contemplated the dear abode of all that
earth contains of lovely, and breathed an ardent prayer to Heaven for
her happiness, I return to my rustic retreat, and wait patiently till
the next evening brings back the same pleasing employment.
Since I left Belmont, I have never known happiness like what I now
feel. Certain of her tenderness, tranquillity is restored to my soul:
for ever employed in thinking of her, that painful restraint which
company brought is removed; the scenes around me, and the dear solitude
I enjoy, are proper to flatter a love-sick heart; my passion is soothed
by the artless expression of William's; I make him sit hours talking of
his Anna: he brings me every day intelligence of my angel; I see every
hour the place which she inhabits. Am I not most happy? Her idea is
perpetually before me; when I walk in these sweet shades, so
resembling those of Belmont, I look round as if expecting to behold
her; I start at every sound, and almost fancy her lovely form in my
Oh! Mordaunt! what transport do I find in this sweet delirium of
love! How eagerly do I expect the return of evening! Could I but once
again behold her! once again swear eternal passionI have a thousand
things to say. To Colonel Bellville. Tuesday Morning.
To Colonel Bellville. Tuesday Morning.
I Have this moment a letter from Bell Hastings, which I send you: I
wish her here, yet know not how to press it, after so rational an
To Lady Anne Wilmot.
To Lady Anne Wilmot.
BEFORE I absolutely accept or refuse your Ladyship's generous
invitation, allow me to account to you for my being in a place where
you so little expected to find me; but which I am convinced you will
acquiesce in my continuing in, when you know the motives which induced
me to make choice of it. When my uncle married your Ladyship, you
remember he left me in a convent at Paris, where I staid till his
death. I should then have returned; but, having contracted a very great
friendship for a young Lady of the first quality in England, she
pressed me to continue there till her return, which was fixed for the
year following. About three months before we intended to leave Paris,
her brother arrived, on which occasion she left the convent, and went
to spend her remaining time with an aunt who then resided in France,
and who, being told I had staid the last year in complaisance to her
amiable niece, insisted on my accompanying her. To spare a long
narrative of common events, the brother of my friend became
passionately in love with me, and I was so unhappy as to be too
sensible to his tenderness: he entreated me to conceal our attachment
from his sister for the present; professed the most honourable designs;
told me he did not doubt of bring his father to consent to a marriage,
to which there could be no objection that was not founded in the most
sordid avarice, and on which the happiness of his life depended.
The time of our intended return to England drawing near, he
employed, and successfully, the power he had over my heart to influence
my acceptance of an invitation give me, by a friend of my mother's, to
accompany her to Florence, where I promised to stay till his return
Too much in love, as he said, and I weakly believed, to support a
longer absence, he came in a few months to Florence; we were then in
the country with a Florentine Nobleman, whose Lady was related to my
friend, to whom he was strongly recommended, and who gave him an
invitation to his villa; which I need not tell you he accepted. We saw
each other continually, but under a restraint, which, whilst it
encreased our mutual passion, was equally painful to both. At length
he contrived to give me a letter, pressing me to see him alone in the
garden at an hour he mentioned. I went, and found the most beloved of
men waiting for me in a grove of oranges. He saw me at a distance: I
stopped by an involuntary impulse; he ran to me; he approached me with
a transport which left me no room to doubt of his affection.
After an hour spent in vows of everlasting love, he pressed me to
marry him privately; which I refused with an air of firmness but little
suited to the state of my heart, and protested no consideration should
ever induce me to give him my hand without the consent of his father.
He expressed great resentment of a resolution, which, he affirmed,
was inconsistent with a real passion; pretended jealousy of a young
Nobleman in the house, and artfully hinted at returning immediately to
England; then, softening his voice, implored my compassion, vowed he
could not live without me; and so varied his behaviour from rage to the
most seducing softness, that the fear of displeasing him, who was
dearer to me than life, assisted by the tender persuasive eloquence of
well-dissembled love, so far prevailed over the dictates of reason and
strict honor, that, unable to resist his despair, I consented to a
clandestine marriage: I then insisted on returning immediately to the
house, to which he consented, though unwillingly, and, leaving me with
all the exulting raptures of successful love, went to Florence to
prepare a priest to unite us, promising to return with him in the
morning: the next day passed, and the next, without my hearing of him;
a whole week elapsed in the same manner: convinced of his affection, my
fears were all for his safety; my imagination presented danger in every
form, and, no longer able to support the terrors of my mind filled
with a thousand dreadful ideas, I sent a servant to enquire for him at
the house where he lodged, who brought me word he had left Florence the
very morning on which I expected his return. Those only who have loved
like me can conceive what I felt at this news; but judge into what an
abyss of misery I was plunged, on receiving a few hours after a letter
from his sister, pressing me to return to her at Paris, where she was
still waiting, in compliance with order from home for her brother, who
was to accompany her to England directly, to marry an heiress for whom
he had been long intended by his father; she added that I must not lose
a moment, for that her brother would, before I could receive the
letter, be on the road to Paris.
Rage, love, pride, resentment, indignation, now tore my bosom
alternately. After a conflict of different passions, I determined on
forgetting my unworthy lover, whose neglect appeared to me the
contemptible insolence of superior fortune: I left the place the next
day, as if for Paris; but, taking the nearest way to England, came
hither to a clergyman's widow, who had been a friend of my mother's; to
whom I told my story, and with whom I determined to stay concealed,
till I heard the fate of my lover. I made a solemn vow, in the first
heat of my resentment, never to write to him, or let him know my
retreat, and, though with infinite difficulty, I have hitherto kept it.
But what have I not suffered for this conduct, which, though my reason
dictates, my heart condemns! A thousand times have I been on the point
of discovering myself to him, and at least giving him an opportunity of
vindicating himself. I accused myself of injustice in condemning him
unheard, and on appearances which might be false. So weak is a heart in
love, that, though, when I chose my place of retreat, I was ignorant
of that circumstance, it was with pleasure, though a pleasure I
endeavoured to hide from myself, that I heard it was only ten miles
from his father's eat. I ought certainly to have changed it on this
knowledge, but find a thousand plausible reasons to the contrary, and
am but too successful in deceiving myself.
Convinced of the propriety of my conduct in avoiding him, I am not
the more happy. My heart betrays me, and represents him continually to
my imagination in the most amiable light, as a faithful lover, injured
by my suspicions, and made wretched by my loss.
Torn by sentiments which vary every moment; the struggles of my
soul have impaired my health, and will in time put an end to a life, to
the continuance of which, without him, I am perfectly indifferent.
Determined, however, to persist in a conduct, which, whatever I suffer
from it, is certainly my duty, I cannot, as I hear he is returned,
consent to come to Belmont; where it is scarce possible I should fail
meeting a man of his rank, who must undoubtedly be of Lord Belmont's
'Till he is married, or I am convinced I have injured him, I will
not leave this retreat; at least I will not appear where I am almost
certain of meeting him whom I ought for ever to avoid.
Oh! Lady Anne! How severe is this trial! How painful the conquest
over the sweetest affections of the human heart! How mortifying to love
an object which one has ceased to esteem! Convinced of his
unworthiness, my passion remains the same, nor will ever cease but with
life: I at once despise and adore him: yes, my tenderness is, if
possible, more lively than ever; and, though he has doomed me to
misery, I would die to contribute to his happiness.
You, Madam, will, I know, pity and forgive the inconsistencies of a
heart ashamed of its own weaknesses, yet to sincere to disguise or
palliate them. I am no stranger to your nobleness of sentiment; in your
friendship and compassion all my hopes of tranquillity are founded. I
will endeavour to conquer this ill-placed prepossession, and render
myself more worthy your esteem. If his marriage with another makes it
impossible for him to suppose I throw myself designedly in his way, I
will go with you to town in the winter, and try if the hurry of the
world can erase his image from my bosom. If he continues unconnected,
and no accident clears up to me his conduct, I will continue where I
am, and for ever hide my folly in this retreat.
I am, A. Hastings (no salutation)
Poor Bell! how I pity her! Heaven certainly means love for our
reward in another world, it so seldom makes it happy in this. But why
do we blame Heaven? It is our own prejudices, our rage for wealth, our
cowardly compliance with the absurd opinions of others, which robs us
of all the real happiness of life.
I should be glad to know who this despicable fellow is: though
really it is possible she may injure him. I must know his name, and
find out whether or not she is torturing herself without reason. If he
bears scrutinizing, our plans may coincide, and my jointure make us all
happy; if not, he shall have the mortification of knowing she has an
easy fortune; and of seeing her, what it shall be my business to make
her next winter, one of the most fashionable women, and celebrated
toasts, about town. After all, are we not a little in the machine
style, not to be able to withdraw our love when our esteem is at an
end? I suppose one might find a philosophical reason for this in
Newton's Laws of Attraction. The heart of a woman does, I imagine,
naturally gravitate towards a handsome, well dressed, well-bred fellow,
without enquiry into his mental qualities. Nay, as to that, do not let
me be partial to you odious men; you have as little taste for mere
internal charms as the lightest coquette in town. You talk sometimes of
the beauties of the mind; but I should be glad, as somebody has said
very well, to see one of you in love with a mind of threescore.
I am really sorry for Bell; but hope to bring her out of these
heroics by Christmas. The town air, and being followed five or six
weeks as a beauty, will do wonders. I know no specific for a love-fit
like a constant round of pretty fellows. The world, I dare say, will
soon restore her to her senses; it is impossible she should ever regain
them in a lonely village, with no company but an old woman.
How dearly we love to nurse up our follies! Bell, I dare say,
fancies vast merit in this romantic constancy to a man who, if he knew
her absurdity, would laugh at it.
I have no patience with my own sex, for their want of spirit.
O Heavens! who could have thought it? Of all the birds in the air,
find me out Lord Melvin for Bell Hasting's lover: Nothing was ever so
charming: to tell the story, which does his business here in a moment;
serves my lovely Harry, and punishes the wretch's infidelity as it
deserves. Adieu! I fly to communicate. Saturday Morning.
All this is very strange to me. Lord Belmont, to whom I last night
mentioned Lord Melvin's connexion with Bell, as a reason against his
marrying Lady Julia, assures me no such thing was ever intended; that
he was amazed how I came to think so; that Lord Rochdale has other
views for his son, to which, however, he is averse. I am glad to hear
this last circumstance; and hope Bell has wronged him by her
But who can this be that is intended for Lady Julia? I do not love
to be impertinent; but my curiosity is rather excited. I shall not
sleep till I am in this secret; I must follow my Lord about till I get
a clue to direct me. How shall I begin the attack? "Really, my Lord,
says I, this surprizes me extremely, I could have sworn Lord Melvin was
the person your Lordship meant; if it is not him, who can it be?" Yes,
this will do; I will go to him directly Cruel man! how he plays with
my anxiety! He is gone out in a post-chaise with Lady Julia; the chaise
drove from the door this moment.
I can say not a word more; I am on the rack of expectation; I could
not be more anxious about a lover of my own.
"The hear of an earldom, and of an affluent fortune." I have
tortured my brain this hour, and not a scruple the nearer.
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Saturday Morning.
OH! Mordaunt! I have seen her; have heard the sound of that
enchanting voice; my Lord was in the chaise with her; they stopped to
drink fresh cream; William presented her a nosegay; she thanked him
with an air of sweetness, which would have won the soul of a savage. My
heart beat with unutterable transport; it was with difficulty I
Mordaunt! I must return; I can no longer bear this absence: I will
write this moment to Lord Belmont, and own my passion for his daughter:
I will paint in the most lively colors my love and my despair: I will
tell him I have nothing to hope from the world, and throw myself
intirely on his friendship. I now the indiscretion of this proceeding;
I know I ought not to hope for success; but I have too long concealed
my sentiments, and pursued a conduct unworthy of my heart.
I have wrote; I have sent away the letter. I have said all that can
engage his heart in my favor; to-morrow he will receive my letter -
To-morrow - O Mordaunt! how soon will my fate be determined! A
chillness seizes me at the thought, my hand trembles, it is with
difficulty I hold the pen. I have entreated an immediate answer; it
will come inclosed to Mr. Herbert, to whom I have wrote to bring the
letter himself. On Wednesday I shall be the most happy or most lost of
mankind. What a dreadful interval will it be! My heart dies within me
at the thought. To Henry Mandeville, Esq; Belmont, 18th September.
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; Belmont, 18th September.
I AM commissioned by Lady Anne, my dear Mr. Mandeville, to insist
on your immediate return; she declares she can no longer support the
country without you, but shall die with chagrin and ennui; even play
itself has lost half its charms in your absence. Lady Mary, my wife,
and daughter, join in the same request; which I have a thousand reasons
to press your complying with, as soon as is consistent with what
politeness exacts in regard to Lord T.
One, and not the weakest, is the pleasure I find in conversation, a
pleasure I never taste more strongly than with you, and a pleasure
which promiscuous visitors have for some time ceased to give me. I have
not lost my relish for society, but it grows, in spite of all my
endeavors, more delicate. I have as great pleasure as ever in the
conversation of select friends; but I cannot so well bear the common
run of company. I look on this delicacy as one of the infirmities of
age, and as much a symptom of decay, as it would be to lose my taste
for roast beef, and be able only to relish ortolans.
Lord Fondville is next week to marry Miss Westbrook; they have a
coach making, which is to cost a thousand pounds.
I am interrupted by a worthy man, to whom I am so sorry as to be
able to do a service: to you I need make no other apology.
Adieu! my amiable friend!
To Lady Anne Wilmot. Saturday, Grosvenor-street.
CAN the most refined of her sex, at the very moment when she owns
herself shocked at Mrs. H's malicious insinuation, refuse to silence
her by making me happy? Can she submit to one of the keenest evils a
sensible and delicate mind can feel, only to inflict torment on the man
whose whole happiness depends on her, and to whose tenderness she has
owned herself not insensible?
Seeing your averseness to marriage, I have never pressed you on a
subject which seemed displeasing to you, but left it to time and my
unwearied love, to dissipate those unjust and groundless prejudices,
which stood in the way of all my hopes: but does not this respect, this
submission, demand that you should strictly examine those prejudices,
and be convinced, before you make it, that they deserve such a
Why will you, my dearest Lady Anne, urge your past unhappiness as a
reason against entering into a state of which you cannot be a judge?
You were never married; the soft consent of hearts, the tender sympathy
of yielding minds, was wanting: forced by the will of a tyrannic father
to take on you an insupportable yoke; too young to assert the rights of
humanity; the freedom of your will destroyed; the name of marriage is
profaned by giving it to so detestable an union.
You have often spoke with pleasure of those sweet hours we past at
Sudley-Farm. Can you then refuse to perpetuate such happiness? Are
there no charms in the unreserved converse of the man who adores you?
Or can you prefer the unmeaning flattery of fools you despise, to the
animated language of faithful love?
If you are still insensible to my happiness, will not my interest
prevail on you to relent? My uncle, who has just lost his only son,
offers to settle his whole estate on me, on condition I immediately
marry; a condition it depends on you alone whether I shall comply with.
If you refuse, he gives it on the same terms to a distant relation,
whose mistress has a less cruel heart. Have you so little generosity as
to condemn me at once to be poor and miserable; to lose the gifts both
of love and fortune?
I have wrote to Lady Belmont to intercede for me, and trust
infinitely more to her eloquence than my own.
The only rational objection to my happiness, my uncle's estate
removes; you will bring me his fortune, and your own will make Bell
Hastings happy: if you now refuse, you have the heart of a tigress, and
delight in the misery of others.
Interrupted: my uncle: May all good angels guard the most amiable
and lovely of women, and give her to her passionate
To Colonel Bellville. Monday.
"WILL you marry me, my dear Ally Croaker?" For ever this question,
Bellville? And yet really you seem to be not at all in the secret.
"Respect, submission" - I thought you had known the sex better: How
should a modest woman ever be prevailed on by a respectful submissive
lover? You would not surely have us - -
Oh! Heavens! A billet. Some despairing inamorato: Indeed? Lord
Melvin? He is not going to make love to me sure.
Very well; things are in a fine train. He writes me here as pretty
an heroic epistle as one would desire, setting forth his passion for
Bell Hastings, whom he has just discovered is my niece, and whom he
declares he cannot live without; owning appearances are against him,
and begging me to convey to her a long tidi didum letter, explaining
the reasons and causes - The story is tedious, but the sum total is
this: That he found at Florence the friend on earth he most loved,
engaged in an affair of honor, in which he could not avoid taking part
as his second; that they went to the last town in the Tuscan state, in
order to escape into another, if any accident made it necessary to
elude the pursuit of justice; that, to avoid suspicion, he left orders
with his people to say he had left Florence: that he wrote to her by
his valet, who was unfortunately seized and confined, the affair being
suspected: that he was wounded, and obliged to stay some time before he
could return to Florence, when he was informed she had left Italy; and,
though he had omitted no means to find her, had never been so happy as
to succeed: had made his sister, Lady Louisa, his confident, and by
her assistance had almost prevailed on his father to consent.
"Almost prevailed on." Really these are pretty airs. I shall write
him an extremely stately answer, and let him know, if he expects Miss
Hastings to do him the honor, his address must be in quite another
style: Miss Hastings! in blood, in merit, in education, in every thing
truly valuable, and in fortune too, if I please, his equal! I wish the
foolish girl was not so madly in love with him, for I long to torture
his proud heart: I cannot resist teazing him a little; but, as I know
her weakness, and that we must come to at last, I shall be forced to
leave a door of mercy open: I shall, however, insist on his family's
seeking the match, and on Lord Rochdale's asking her of me in form; I
will not yield a scruple of our dignity on this occasion. But I must
carry this Letter to Bell. Adieu!
As to your foolish question, I may perhaps allow you to visit at
Belmont; I will promise no more at present.
Did I tell you we all spent yesterday with my niece? She has the
honor to please Lady Mary, who, on seeing her at a little distance with
Lady Julia and me (no ill group certainly) insisted on our sitting next
winter for a picture of the Graces dancing.
Or suppose, Madam, said I, the three Goddesses on mount Ida, with
Harry Mandeville for our Paris?
Poor little Emily, being equally under size for a Grace or a
Goddess, must be content to be a Hebe in a single piece.
Adio! Yours, A. Wilmot.
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; London, September 19.
THIS event in Russia is most extraordinary: but these sudden and
violent revolutions are the natural consequences of that instability
which must ever attend despotic forms of government: Happy Britain!
where the laws are equally the guard of prince and people, where
liberty and prerogative go hand in hand, and mutually support each
other; where no invasion can ever be made on any part of the
constitution, without endangering the whole: where popular clamor, like
the thunderstorm, by agitating, clears and purifies the air, and, its
business done, subsides.
If this letter finds you at Lord T's, I would have you return
immediately to Belmont, where I shall be in a few days. Lady Mary is
already there, and intends to execute the design Lord Belmont mentioned
to you, which makes your presence there absolutely necessary.
The tide of fortune, my dear Harry, seems turning in your favor;
but let it not harden your heart to the misfortunes of your
fellow-creatures, make you insolent to merit in the vale of humbler
life, or tempt you to forget that all you possess is the gift of that
Beneficent Power, in whose sight virtue is the only distinction.
The knowledge I have of your heart makes these cautions perhaps
unnecessary; but you will forgive the excessive anxiety of paternal
tenderness, alarmed at the near prospect of your tasting the poison
most fatal to youth, the intoxicating cup of prosperity. May Heaven,
my dearest Harry, continue you all you are at present! Your father has
not another wish!
Adieu! J. Mandeville.
To Colonel Bellville. Tuesday Morning.
I Staid late last night with Bell; there is no telling you her
transport: she agrees with me, however, as to the propriety of keeping
up our dignity; and has consented, though with infinite reluctance, not
to admit Lord Melvin's visits till his father hath made proposals to
me. She is to see him first at Belmont, whither she removes in four or
five days. Emily Howard is gone, at my request, to spend that interval
with her. We have a divine scheme in our heads, which you are not yet
to be honored with the knowledge of.
Oh! do you know I have this morning discovered why Lady Mary is a
Tory? She has been flattered by Bolingbroke, and sung by Atterbury; had
Addison tuned his lyre to her praise, she had certainly changed
parties. I am seldom at a loss to explore the source of
petticoat-politics. Vanity is the moving spring in the female-machine,
is Interest is in the male. Certainly our principle of action is by
much more noble.
"Lord, What is come to my mother?" She is gone smiling into Lady
Mary's room; her air is gay beyond measure; it is she must sit for a
dancing Grace. Past Twelve.
There is something in agitation with which I am unacquainted. Lord
and Lady Belmont have been an hour in close consultation with Lady
Mary: la bella Julia is this moment summoned to attend them. This
unknown lover: I tremble for Harry: should another - -
I Have your letter: this Russian event - true - as you say, these
violent convulsions - Yes, you are right; your reflexions are perfectly
just, but my thoughts are at present a little engaged. This
consultation I fear bodes Harry no good - Should my Lord's authority -
I am on the rack of impatience -
The door opens; Lady Julia comes this way; she has been in tears; I
tremble at the sight - Bellville, they are not tears of sorrow; they
are like the dew-drops on the morning rose, she looks a thousand times
more lovely through them; her eyes have a melting languishment, a
softness inexpressible, a sensibility mixed with transport - There is
an animation in her look, a blush of unexpected happiness - She moves
with the lightness of a wood-nymph - Lady Belmont follows with a serene
joy in that amiable countenance. They approach; they are already in my
Bellville! In what words - How shall I explain to you - I am
breathless with pleasure and surprise - My Lord - Harry Mandeville -
Lady Julia - They were always intended for each other.
A letter from Harry this morning, confessing his passion for Lady
Julia, determined them to make an immediate discovery - Read the
enclosed letters, and adore the goodness of Providence, which leads us,
by secret ways, to that happiness our own wisdom could never arrive at.
To Colonel Mandeville. Belmont, August 10, 1752.
My dear Col.
BY a clause in the patent, which has been hitherto kept secret in
our part of the family, it is provided, that, on default of heirs male
in the younger branch, the title of Earl of Belmont should go to the
elder: in favor also of this disposition, the greatest part of the
estate then in our possession, which is about half what I now enjoy,
is, by a deed, in which, however, my lawyer tells me there is a flaw
which makes it of no effect, annexed to the title for ever. Julia
being the only child we ever had, it is very probable the estate and
title will be yours: Heaven having blest you with a son, it would be
infinitely agreeable to me, and would keep up the splendor of our name,
to agree on an inter-marriage between our children. I would have you
educate your son with this view, and at an expence becoming the heir of
the titles and possessions of our family: but, as it is possible I may
yet have a son; in that case, Lady Mary, our relation, whose heart is
greatly set on this marriage, will settle her estate on yours, and I
will give him my daughter, with twenty thousand pounds.
I insist on being at the whole expence of his education as my heir;
as the estate will probably be his own, it is only anticipating his
rents a few years, and does not lay him under the shadow of an
obligation. I have mentioned above, that there is a defect in the
deed, which puts it in my power to rob you of your right in the estate:
but, as the design of our ancestor is clear, I take no merit to myself
from not being the most infamous of mankind, which I should be, were I
capable of making use of such a circumstance to your disadvantage.
But, could I reconcile so base an action to myself in a private
light, no consideration could make it easy to me in a public one: I
know nothing so dangerous to our happy constitution as an indigent
nobility, chained down to a necessity of court-dependence, or tempted,
by making faction the tool of ambition, to disturb the internal peace
of their country. Men who are at ease in their fortunes are generally
good subjects; the preservation of what they have is a powerful tie of
obedience: it is the needy, the dissolute, the C¾sars, the Catilines of
the world, who raise the storms which shake the foundation of
You will imagine, my dear friend, I only intend this alliance to
take place, if their sentiments, when of age to judge for themselves,
correspond with our intentions for their happiness. That this may be
the case, let us educate them, with the utmost care, in every
accomplishment of mind and person, which can make them lovely in the
eyes of each other.
Let me, my dear Colonel, hear immediately if this proposal is as
agreeable to you as to
Your faithful and affectionate Belmont.
TO the Earl of Belmont. My Lord,
I AM greatly obliged to your Lordship for a proposal which does my
son such honor; and for a conduct towards us both so noble and worthy
The disposition you mention is what I have sometimes hoped, but
knew your Lordship's honor and integrity too well to think it necessary
to make any enquiry; convinced, if a settlement was made in my favor,
you would in due time make me acquainted with it: till some probability
appeared of its taking place, it was, perhaps, better concealed than
The alliance your Lordship proposes, if it ever takes place, will
make me the happiest of mankind: having, however, observed marriages
made by parents in the childhood of the parties, to be generally
disagreeable to the latter, whether from the perverseness of human
nature, or the free spirit of love impatient of the least controll,
will intreat our design may be kept secret from all the world, and in
particular from the young people themselves: all we can do is, to give
them such an education as will best improve the gifts of nature, and
render them objects of that lively and delicate affection, which alone
can make such a connexion happy. Perhaps it may be best to separate
them till the time when the heart is most susceptible of tenderness;
least an habitual intercourse should weaken that impression, which we
wish their perfections to make on each other. Both at present promise
to be lovely; and, if we guard against other attachments, the charm of
novelty, added to what nature has done for them, and those acquired
graces which it is our part to endeavor to give the, can scarce fail
of inspiring a mutual passion, which ones seeming to desire it would
If I am so happy as to have your Lordship's concurrence in these
sentiments, I will remove my son immediately from your neighbourhood,
and educate him in town; at a proper time he shall go, with a private
tutor of birth and merit, to the university, and from thence make the
tour of Europe, whilst Lady Julia is advancing in every charm, under
the eye of the most excellent of mothers.
Men, who act a conspicuous part on the stage of life, and who
require a certain audacity and self-possession to bring their talents
into full light, cannot, in my opinion, have too public an education:
but women, whose loveliest charm is the rosy blush of native modesty,
whose virtues blossom fairest in the vale, should never leave their
household gods, the best protectors of innocence.
It is also my request, that my son may be educated in a total
ignorance of the settlement in our favor, both because the effect of it
may possibly be destroyed by your Lordship's having a son, and because
he will taste the pleasures of a distinguished station, if he ever
arrives at it, with double relish, if bred with more moderate
expectations. He will by this means too escape the pernicious snares of
flattery, the servile court of interested inferiors, and all the
various mischiefs which poison the minds of young men bred up as heirs
to great estates and titles: he will see the hatefulness of pride and
arrogance in others, before he is tempted to be guilty of them himself;
he will learn to esteem virtue, without those trappings of wealth and
greatness which he will never hope to be possessed of; he will see the
world as it is, by not being of consequence enough to be flattered or
His education, his company, his expences, shall, however, be suited
to the rank he may one day possibly fill; my acquaintance with foreign
courts enables me to introduce him every where to those of the first
rank and merit; his equipage and attendance shall be such as may secure
him general respect.
Your Lordship's generous offer of bearing the expence of his
education deserves my sincerest gratitude; but conomy will enable me
to support it without the least inconvenience to my affairs; half my
income, which I will spare to him, with his mother's fortune, which
shall all be devoted to this purpose, will be sufficient to give him an
education becoming of the heir of your Lordship's fortune and honors.
May Heaven prosper a design, which has so laudable an end in view, as
the future happiness of our children.
I am, my Lord,
To Colonel Bellville. Wednesday Morning.
THIS joy is a prodigious enemy to sleep. Lady Julia rose this
morning with the sun; I dare say she never thought he looked so bright;
before he sets, she will see the most charming of mankind. My Lord
yesterday sent an express to Lord T's, with orders to follow Harry
wherever he was, and bring him this evening to Belmont: Lady Mary is to
have the pleasure of making him acquainted with his happiness: the
discovery was only delayed, till convinced of their passion for each
Colonel Mandeville is in town, directing the drawing of the
writings; and comes down in a few days to have them executed.
I have had a second letter from Lord Melvin, as respectful as the
pride of woman can desire: a postscript from Lord Rochdale having
satisfied me in point of decorum, I allow his son to visit here when he
pleases. My niece and Emily Howard come this evening; Lady Julia is now
with them; I suppose we shall see Lord Melvin to-morrow: if he is very
pressing, they may, perhaps, be married with Lady Julia. Heavens!
Bellville! What a change in all our affairs! The matrimonial star
prevails; it would be strange if I should be betrayed into the party:
and yet, Lady Mary has drawn so bewitching a plan of a wedding-day, as
might seduce a more determined coquette. If one could be married for
that day onlyOr if one was sure of pleasing for ever like Lady
Belmont - 'Dear madam, said I, if your Ladyship would lend one your
Cestus.' "You are already possessed of it, my dear Lady Anne; the
delicacy and purity of a bride will always give you the charms of one."
I believe her Ladyship may be in the right; it is not the state,
but the foolish conduct of people who enter into it, that makes it
unhappy. If you should come down with Colonel Mandeville, it is
impossible to say what may happen.
Absolutely, Bellville, if I do condescend, which is yet extremely
doubtful, we will live in the style of lovers; I hate the dull road of
common marriages: no impertinent presuming on the name of husband; no
saucy freedoms; I will continue to be courted, and shall expect as much
flattery, and give myself as many scornful airs, as if I had never
honored you with my hand.
I give you warning, I shall make a most intolerable wife; but that
is your business, not mine.
This very day se'nnight, which is Lady Julia's birth-day, is
intended for her marriage; the house is to be full of company, invited
to celebrate the day, without knowing on what further account; nobody
is even to suspect them to be lovers; they are to go privately out of
Lady Mary's apartment into the chapel, where my Lord chuses the
ceremony should be performed. We are to have a masquerade in a grand
open pavilion, on Corinthian pillars, built for this happy occasion in
the garden, opposite the house, which is to be in view finely
illuminated: the intermediate space is to be adorned with lamps,
intermixed with festoons of flowers in the trees, round which are to be
seats for the villagers, who are never forgot on these days of annual
Lady Mary, who is mistress of the ceremonies, and who insists on
joining all our hands that day, has engaged yo for the ball to Lady
Julia, Harry to Bell Hastings, and Lord Melvin to me: our situation is
to be kept secret for a week, which is to be filled up with various
scenes of festivity; after which, we are to go to town to be
presented; and from thence on a tour of six months to Italy. This is
her scheme; but it depends on Bell Hastings and me whether it shall be
executed in full: ten thousand to one but our cruelty spoils the
prettiest mysterious plan of a wedding that can be. Absolutely Lady
Mary has a kind of an idea of things - I cannot conceive how she came
by it - Not the least symptom of an old main in this plan - Something
so fanciful and like a love affair! - It is a thousand pities her
Ladyship would not be of the party herself. Do you know never a
sprightly old courtier of the Queen's time?
My Lord is so pleased with the thought of seeing us all happy, that
he has given orders for building a temple to Love and Friendship, at a
little villa which the Colonel has given him, and which is almost
centrical in respect to all our houses; here we are to meet once a
week, and exclude the rest of the world.
Harry and Lady Julia are to live at Lady Mary's seat, about ten
miles from hence; and I have fixed on a house, which is to be sold, at
about the same distance.
And now, Bellville, to be very serious, I should be the happiest
creature in the world in this prospect, if I was not afraid of my own
conduct. I am volatile, light, extravagant, and capricious; qualities
ill suited to a matrimonial life. I know my faults, but am not able to
mend them: I see the beauty of order in the moral world, yet doat to
excess on irregularity.
Call on Colonel Mandeville, and concert your journey together.
Heaven and earth! What have I not said in that permission? With all my
affection for you, there is a solemnity in the idea - Oh! Bellville!
should I ever become less dear to you! should coldness, should
indifference ever take place of that lively endearing tenderness - I
will throw away the pen for a moment - -
The most amiable of men will forgive the too anxious fears of
excessive love: I with transport make him the arbiter of my future
days. Lady Julia is come back, and has brought me the enclosed bond, by
which Bell Hastings engages to pay you thirty thousand pounds on the
day of my marriage. Her letter to you will explain this further.
Ah! cor mio! son confuso! Yes, I blush at saying in express words
what I have already said by deduction. Your uncle insists on a positive
"I will": How can the dear old man be so cruel? Tell him, if he is not
satisfied with this letter, he shall dictate the form of consent
himself. One condition, however, I shall not dispense with; that he
comes down to Belmont, and opens the ball with Lady Mary.
To Colonel Bellville. Wednesday, Three o'Clock.
I Really cannot help feeling prodigiously foolish about this
marriage; it is a thousand to one but I retreat yet: prepare yourself
for a disappointment, for I am exceedingly on the capricioso.
Oh! Heavens! I forgot to tell you, an old match-making Lady in the
neighborhood, having taken it into her head I have a passion for Harry
Mandeville, and designing to win my heart by persuading me to what she
supposes I have a mind to, recommended him strongly to me last night
for a husband. I heard her with the utmost attention; and, when she had
finished her harangue, blushed, looked down, hesitated, and denied the
thing with so pretty a confusion, that she is gone away perfectly
convinced I am to be Lady Anne Mandeville, and will tell it as a secret
all round the country. I am not sorry for this; as it will take away
all suspicion of what is really intended, and secure that secrecy we
wish on the occasion. The good old Lady went away infinitely delighted
at being possessed of a quality secret, which in the country gives no
little importance; pleased too with her own penetration in discovering
what nobody else has suspected, I cannot conceive a happier being than
she is at present.
I have just received from town the most divine stomacher and
sleeve-knots you ever beheld: "An interesting event!" Yes, creature,
and what I can plead authority for mentioning. Did not Mademoiselle,
Princess of the blood of France, grand- daughter of Henry the Great,
write some half a dozen volumes, to inform posterity, that, on Saturday
the 14th of November 1668, she wore her blue ribbands? Surely you men
think nothing of consequence but sieges and battles: now, in my
sentiments, it would be happy for mankind, if all the heroes, who make
such havock amongst their species merely because they have nothing to
do, would amuse themselves with sorting suits of ribbands for their
I am in the sweetest good humour to-day that can be imagined, so
mild and gentle you would be amazed; a little impatient indeed for the
evening, which is to bring my charming Harry.
I have been asking my Lord how, with Harry's sensibility, they
contrived to keep him so long free from attachments. In answer to
which, he gave me the enclosed sketch of a letter, from Colonel
Mandeville to a Lady of his acquaintance at Rome, which he said would
give me a general notion of the matter.
To the Countess Melespini. Paris, June 24, 1759.
To the Countess Melespini. Paris, June 24, 1759.
YOU will receive this form the hands of that son I have before had
the honor of recommending to your esteem.
I have accompanied him myself hither; where, being perfectly
satisfied with his behavior, and convinced that generous minds are best
won to virtue by implicit confidence, I have dissmissed the tutor I
intended to have sent with him to Italy, shall return to England
myself, and depend for his conduct on his own discretion, his desire of
obliging me, and that nobleness of sentiment which will make him feel
the value of my friendship for him in its utmost extent.
I have given him letters to the most worthy person in every court I
intend he should visit; but, as my chief dependence for the advantages
of this tour are on the Count and yourself, I have advised him to spend
most of his time at Rome, where, honored by your friendship, I doubt
not of his receiving that last finishing, that delicate polish, which,
I flatter myself, if not deceived by the fondness of a parent, is all
he wants to make him perfectly amiable.
To you, Madam, and the Count, I commit him; defend him from the
snares of vice and the contagion of affectation. You receive him an
unexperienced youth, with lively passions, a warm and affectionate
heart, an enthusiastic imagination, probity, openness, generosity; and
all those advantages of person and mind, which a liberal education can
bestow. I expect him from your hands a gentleman, a man of honor and
politeness, with the utmost dignity of sentiment and character, adorned
by that easy elegance, that refined simplicity of manner, those
unaffected graces of deportment, so difficult to describe, but which it
is scarce possible to converse much with you without acquiring.
Sensible of the irresistible power of beauty, I think it of the
utmost consequence with what part of the female world he converses. I
have from childhood habituated him to the conversation of the most
lovely and polite amongst the best part of the sex, to give him an
abhorrence to the indelicacy of the worst. I have endeavoured to
impress on his mind, the most lively ideas of the native beauty of
virtue; and to cultivate in him that elegance of moral taste, that
quick sensibility, which is a nearer way to rectitude, than the dull
road of inanimate precept.
Continuing the same anxious cares, I send him to perfect his
education, not in schools or academies, but in the conversation of the
most charming amongst women: the ardent desire of pleasing you, and
becoming worthy your esteem, inseparable from the happiness of knowing
you, will be the keenest spur to his attainments; and I shall see him
return all the fond heart of a parent can wish, from his ambition of
being honored with your friendship.
To you, Madam, I shall make no secret of my wish, that he may come
back to England unconnected. I have a view for him beyond his most
sanguine hopes, to which, however, I entreat he may be a stranger; the
charms of the Lady cannot fail of attaching a heart which has no
prepossession, from which, I conjure you, if possible, to guard him. I
should even hear with pleasure you permitted him, to a certain degree,
to love you, that he might be steeled to all other charms. If he is
half as much in love with you as his father, all other beauties will
lay snares for him in vain.
I am, Madam,
With the most lively esteem,
Your obedient and devoted,
Oh! Heavens! whilst I have been writing, and thinking nothing of
it, the pavilion, which it seems has been some time prepared, is raised
opposite the window of the saloon, at the end of a walk leading to the
house. We are to sup in it this evening; it is charmante; the sight of
it, and the idea of its destination, makes my heart palpitate a little.
Mon Dieu! that ever I should be seduced into matrimony!
Farewel for an hour or two.
You have no notion what divine dresses we have making for the
masquerade. I shall not tell you particulars, as I would not take off
the pleasure of surprize; but they are charming beyond conception.
Do you not doat on a masquerade, Bellville? For my own part, I
think it is the quintessence of all sublunary joys; and, without
flattering my Lord's taste, I have a strange fancy this will be the
most agreeable one I ever was at in my life: the scenes, the drapery,
the whole disposition of it is enchanting.
Heavens! How little a while will it be that I can write myself,
To George Mordaunt, Esq; Wednesday Morning.
AFTER four days past in anxiety not to be told, this
ardently-expected morning is come; I every moment expect Mr. Herbert; I
tremble at every sound: another hour, and the happiness of my whole
life will be for ever determined: Mordaunt, the idea chills my soul.
It is now a week since I have heard from Belmont; not a line from
Emily Howard, or Lady Anne; the unhappy have few friends; Lord Melvin
is the minion of fortune; he has taken my place in their esteem.
The time is past, and my friend is not here; he has therefore no
letters from Lord Belmont; I rated his disinterestedness too high:
misled by the mean despicable maxims of the world, he resents my
passion for his daughter; he gives her to another, without deigning
even to send me an answer; he might surely have respected his own
blood. My soul is on fire at this insult: his age, his virtues, protect
him; but Lord Melvin - let him avoid my fury.
Yet am I not too rash? May not some accident have retarded my
friend? I will wait patiently till evening; I cannot believe Lord
Belmont - May he not have seen me, and, suspecting some clandestine
design - Yes, my folly has undone me; what can he think of such a
Mordaunt! I cannot live in this suspence; I will send William this
moment to Belmont.
William is come back, and has thrown me into despair: yes, my
friend, it is now beyond a doubt. Lady Julia is intended for Lord
Melvin; the most splendid preparations are making; all is joy and
festivity at Belmont; a wretch like me is below their thoughts;
messengers are hourly coming and going from Lord Rochdale's: it is
past, and I am doomed to despair: my letter has only hastened my
destruction; has only hastened this detested marriage: over-awed by
paternal authority, she gives me up, she marries another; she has
forgot her vows, those vows which she called on Heaven to witness: I
have lost all for which life was worth my care.
Mordaunt! I am no longer master of myself. Lord Melvin is this
moment gone past to Belmont, dressed like a youthful, gay, and burning
bridegroom; his eyes sparkle with new fire; his cheek has the glow of
happy love. This very hour, perhaps, he calls her his - this very hour
her consenting blushes - the idea is insupportable - First may the
avenging bold of Heaven - But why supplicate Heaven? - My own arm - I
will follow him - I will not tamely resign her - He shall first - Yes,
through my blood alone - What I intend I know not - My thoughts are all
To Colonel Bellville. Seven o'Clock.
To Colonel Bellville. Seven o'Clock.
WE expect the caro Enrico every moment: my chariot is gone for
Emily Howard and my niece; Lord Melvin too comes this evening by my
permission. Lady Julia has just asked me to walk with her in the park;
she wants to hear me talk of Harry, whom she cannot mention herself,
though her thoughts are full of nothing else; he color comes and goes;
her eyes have a double portion of softness; her heart beats with
apprehensive pleasure. What an evening of transport will this be! Why
are you not here, Bellville? I shall absolutely be one of the old
people to-night. Can you form an idea of happiness equal to Harry's?
Raised form the depth of despair, to the fruition of all his wishes. I
long to see how he will receive the first mention of this happy turn of
fortune: but Lady Mary has reserved all that to herself.
Great God! to what a scene have I been witness! How shall I relate
the shocking particulars?
Lady Julia and I were advanced about a quarter of a mile from the
house, blessing Providence, and talking of the dear hope of future
happy days; she was owning her passion with blushes, and all the tremor
of modest sensibility, when we were interrupted by the clashing of
swords behind some trees near us; we turned our heads, and saw Lord
Melvin, distraction in his air, his sword bloody, supporting Harry
Mandeville, pale, bleeding, motionless, and, to all appearance, in the
agonies of death. Lady Julia gave a shriek, and fell senseless in my
arms. My cries brought some of the servants, who happened to be near;
part of them, with Lord Melvin, conveyed Harry to the house; whilst the
rest staid with me to take care of Lady Julia.
Harry was scarce out of sight when she recovered her senses; she
looked wildly towards the place where she first saw him, then, starting
from me, raising her eyes to Heaven, her hands clasped together - Oh!
Bellville! never shall I lose the idea of that image of horror and
despair - she neither spoke nor shed a tear - there was an eager
wildness in her look, which froze my soul with terror: she advanced
hastily towards the house, looking round her every moment, as if
expecting again to see him, till, having exhausted all her strength,
she sunk down breathless on one of the seats, where I supported her
till my Lord's chariot, which I had sent for, came up, in which I
placed myself by her, and we drove slowly towards the house: she was
put to-bed in a burning fever, preceded by a shivering, which gives me
apprehensions for her, which I endeavour to conceal form the wretched
parents, whose sorrows mock all description.
My Lord is just come from Lord Melvin, who insisted on being his
prisoner, till Harry was out of danger; disdaining to fly from justice,
since my Lord refuses his stay at Belmont, he intreats to be given into
the hands of some gentleman near. My Lord has accepted this offer, and
named his father Lord Rochdale for the trust. He is gone under the best
guard, his own honor, in which Lord Belmont has implicit confidence.
I have been into Lady Julia's room; she takes no notice of any
thing. Emily Howard kneels weeping by her bedside. Lady Belmont melts
my soul when I behold her; she sits motionless as the statue of
Despair; she holds the hand of her lovely daughter between hers, she
presses it to her bosom, and the tears steal silently down her cheeks.
Unable to bear the sight, I am returned to my apartment.
Oh! Bellville! How is this scene of happiness changed! Where are
now the gay transporting hopes which warmed our hearts this morning?
I have with difficulty prevailed on Lady Mary, who droops under
this weight of affliction, and whose years are ill-suited to scenes of
horror, to set out this evening for her own seat; my niece, whose
sorrow you may easily imagine, is to accompany her thither: if Mr.
Mandeville dies, murdered by the hand of him with whose fate hers is
connected, never must she again enter these hospitable doors.
Bellville! how is the gay structure of ideal happiness fallen in
one moment to the ground!
The messenger who was sent to Lord T's is returned, and has
brought my Lord's letter; he went from thence to Mr. Herbert's, where
Mr. Mandeville was supposed to be, but found nobody there but a
servant, from whom he could get no information. The family had been
gone five days to London, being sent for express to a relation who was
Oh! Bellville! how many accidents have conspiredI myself have
innocently contributed to this dreadful event, misled by my Lord's
equivocal expressions, which seemed to point so plainly at Lord Melvin
- If he dies - But I will not give way to so shocking an idea. The
servant who went for a surgeon is not yet returned; till his wounds are
examined, we must be in all the torture of suspense and apprehension.
The surgeon is come; he is now with Mr. Mandeville: how I dread to
hear his sentence! - The door opens - He comes out with Lord Belmont;
horror is in the face of the latter - Oh! Bellville! my presaging heart
- they advance towards me - I am unable to meet them - my limbs tremble
- a cold dew -
Bellville! his wounds are mortal - the pen drops from my hand - A
farmer's son in the neighbourhood has just brought the enclosed letter
for Mr. Mandeville, which, not knowing the consequence, my Lord has
To Henry Mandeville, Esq; London, Tuesday Morning.
SIR, The generous concern you have been pleased to take in my
misfortune, leaves me no room to doubt I shall give you pleasure by
informing you that they are at an end; a rich relation, who is just
expired, having made a will in my favor, which places me in
circumstances beyond my hopes. But you will be still more happy to know
you have contributed to this turn of my fortune. The express was
arrived, with a request from our dying friend, that we would instantly
come post to town, and we were lamenting our hard fate in being unable,
from our indigence, to undertake a journey on which so much depended,
when the post brought me a bill for one hundred pounds, which could
come from no hand but yours: I wish the world was such as to make it
easy for us to mistake. We set out with hearts filled with the
sincerest gratitude to Heaven, and the most worthy of men; and, on our
arrival, found deferring our journey, even a few hours, would have been
fatal to all our hopes.
To you, therefore, to whom we owe the means of taking this journey,
we owe the ease of fortune which has been the consequence of it. Heaven
has been pleased to make the man on earth we most esteem the instrument
of its goodness to us. The hurry of spirits in which we set out
prevented my leaving a direction for you with my servant, which I hope
has been of no ill consequence. I have to-day sent him a direction, and
ordered him to wait on you with this letter. As soon as my affairs here
are settled, will replace the money your generous friendship has
assisted us with, wherever you please to order.
I am, with the most lively esteem, SIR, Your most affectionate,
And obedient Servant, W. Herbert.
Bellville! is it not hard the exercise of the noblest virtue should
have been attended with such fatal effects? He dies for having
alleviated the distresses of his friend, for having sympathized in the
affliction of others. To Colonel Bellville. Thursday Morning.
To Colonel Bellville. Thursday Morning.
THE most lovely of men is no more; he expired early this morning,
after having in my presence owned to my Lord, that jealousy was the
true cause of his attacking Lord Melvin, who only fought in his own
defence; which he intreated him publicly to attest, and to beg Lord
Melvin's pardon, in his name, for insults which madness alone could
excuse, and which it was not in man to bear; he owned Lord Melvin's
behavior in the duel had been noble; and that he had avoided giving him
the least wound, till, urged by fury and despair, and aiming at the
life of his generous enemy rather than at his own defence, he had
rushed on the point of his sword. He expressed great indifference for
life on his own account, but dreaded the effect his death might have on
the most tender of fathers: intreated my Lord to soften so painful a
stroke by preparing him for it by degrees, and, if possible, to conceal
from him the shocking manner of it. "How ill, said he, has my rashness
repaid him for all his anxious cares, his indulgent goodness! I suffer
justly; but for him - Great God! support him in the dreadful trial, and
pour all thy blessings on his head!"
He then proceeded to expostulate gently with Lord Belmont on his
supposed design of forcing the heart of his daughter, and on that
neglect of himself which had planted the furies of jealousy in his
breast, and occasioned this shocking event. These reproaches brought on
an explanation of the situation to which his danger had reduced Lady
Julia, of my Lord's intention of giving her to him, and of the whole
plan of purposed happiness, which his impatience, irritated by a series
of unforeseen accidents, had so fatally destroyed.
Till now, he had appeared perfectly composed; but, from the moment
my Lord began to speak, a wildness had appeared in his countenance,
which rose, before he ended, to little less than distraction; he raved,
he reproached Heaven itself; then, melting into tears, prayed with
fervor unspeakable for Lady Julia's recovery: the agitation of his mind
caused his wounds to bleed afresh; successive faintings were the
consequence, in one of which he expired.
Lord Belmont is now writing to Colonel Mandeville. How many has
this dreadful event involved in misery!
Who shall tell this to Lady Julia? Yet how conceal it from her? I
dread the most fatal effects from her despair, when returning reason
makes her capable of knowing her own wretchedness; at present, she is
in a state of perfect insensibility; her fever is not the least abated;
she has every symptom which can indicate danger. Lady Belmont and Emily
Howard have never left her bedside a moment. I have with difficulty
persuaded them to attempt to rest a few hours, and am going to take
Lady Belmont's place by her bedside.
The physician is gone; he thinks Lady Julia in danger, but has not
told this to the family: I am going again to her apartment; she has not
yet taken notice of any body.
I had been about half an hour in Lady Julia's room, when, having
sent the last attendant away for something I wanted, she looked round,
and saw we were alone; she half raised herself int he bed, and,
grasping my hand, fixed her enquiring eyes ardently on mine. I too well
understood their meaning, and, unable to hide my grief, was rising to
leave the bedside, when catching hold of me, with a look and air which
froze my soul; "Lady Anne," said she, "does he live?" My silence, and
the tears which I could not conceal, explained to her the fatal truth,
when, raising her streaming eyes and supplicating hands to Heaven - -
Oh! Bellville; no words can describe the excess of her sorrow and
despair; - fearful of the most fatal instant effects, I was obliged to
call her attendants, of whose entrance she took not the least notice.
After remaining some time absorbed in an agony of grief, which took
from her all power of utterance, and made her insensible to all around
her, the tears, which she shed in great abundance, seemed to give her
relief: my heart was melted; I wept with her. She saw my tears; and,
pressing my hand tenderly between hers, seemed to thank me for the
part I took in her afflictions: I had not opposed the torrent of her
despair; but, when I saw it subsiding, endeavoured to soothe her with
all the tender attention and endearing sympathy of faithful friendship;
which so far succeeded, that I have left her more composed than I could
have imagined it possible she should so soon have been; she has even an
appearance of tranquillity which amazes me; and, seeming inclined to
take rest, I have left her for that purpose.
May Heaven restore her to her wretched Parents, whose life is wrapt
in hers! May it inspire her with courage to bear this stroke, the
severest a feeling mind can suffer! Her youth, her sweetness of temper,
her unaffected piety, her filial tenderness, sometimes flatter me with
a hope of her recovery; but when I think on that melting sensibility,
on that exquisitely tender heart, which bleeds for the sorrow of every
human being, I give way to all the horrors of despair.
Lady Julia has sent to speak with me: I will not a moment delay
attending her. How blest should I be, if the sympathizing bosom of
Friendship could soften by partaking her sorrows!
Oh! Bellville! what a request has she made! my blood runs back at
She received me with a composed air, begged me to sit down by her
bedside, and, sending away her attendants, spoke as follows; "You are,
I doubt not, my dear Lady Anne, surprized at the seeming tranquil
manner in which I bear the greatest of all misfortunes - Yes, my heart
doated on him, my love for him was unutterable - But it is past; I can
no longer be deceived by the fond delusion of hope. I submit to the
will of Heaven. My God! I am resigned, I do not complain of what thy
had has inflicted; a few unavailing tears alone - Lady Anne, you have
seen my calmness, you have seen me patient as the trembling victim
beneath the sacrificer's knife. Yet think not I have resigned all
sensibility: no, were it possible I could live - But I feel my
approaching end; Heaven in this is merciful. That I bear this dreadful
stroke with patience, is owing to the certainty I shall not long
survive him, that our separation is but for a moment. Lady anne, I have
seen him in my dreams: his spotless soul yet waits for mine: yes, the
same grave shall receive us; we shall be joined to part no more. All
the sorrow I feel is for my dear parents; to you and Emily Howard I
leave the sad task of comforting them; by all our friendship, I adjure
you, leave them not to the effects of their despair: when I reflect on
all their goodness, and on the misery I have brought on their grey
hairs, my heart is torn in pieces, I lament that such a wretch was ever
"I have been to blame; not in loving the most perfect of human
beings; but in concealing that love, and distrusting the indulgence of
the best of parents. Why did I hade my passion? Why conceal sentiments
only blameable on the venal maxims of a despicable world? Had I been
unreserved, I had been happy: but Heaven had decreed otherwise, and I
"But whither am I wandering? I sent for you to make a request; a
request in which I will not be denied. Lady Anne, I would see him; let
me be raised and carried to his apartment before my mother returns; let
me once more behold him, behold him for whom alone life was dear to
me: you hesitate, for pity do not oppose me; your refusal will double
the pangs of death."
Overcome by the earnestness of her air and manner, I had not
resolution to refuse her; her maids are now dressing her, and I have
promised to attend her to his apartment.
I am summoned. Great God! How shall I bear a scene like this? I
tremble, my limbs will scarce support me.
This dreadful visit is yet unpaid: three times she approached the
door, and returned as often to her apartment, unable to enter the room;
the third time she fainted away: her little remaining strength being
exhausted, she has consented to defer her purpose till evening: I hope
by that time to persuade her to decline it wholly: faint, and almost
sinking under her fatigue, I have prevailed with her to lie down on a
couch: Emily Howard sits by her, kissing her hand, and bathing it with
I have been enquiring at Lady Julia's door; she is in a sweet
sleep, from which we have every thing to hope: I fly to tell this to
Lady Belmont - She will live; Heaven has heard our prayers. -
I found the wretched mother pouring out her soul before her God,
and imploring his mercy on her child - She heard me, and tears of
tender transport - she raised her grateful hands to Heaven -
I am interrupted; Dr. Evelin is at the gate; he is come to my
apartment, and desires me to accompany him to Lady Julia. We found her
still in a gentle sleep, composed as that of an infant; we approached
the bead; Dr. Evelin took her hand, he stood some time looking on her
with the most fixed attention, when, on my expressing my hopes from her
sleep, "Madam," said he, "it is with horror I tell you, that sleep will
probably be her last; nature is worn out, and seeks a momentary repose
before her last dreadful struggle."
Not able to bear this, I left the room. - Bellville! is it
possible! Can Heaven thus overwhelm with affliction, the best, the
noblest of its creatures? shall the amiable, the reverend pair, the
business of whose lives has been to make others happy, be doomed in age
to bear the severest of all sorrows? to see all their hopes blasted in
one dreadful moment? To believe this, is to blaspheme Providence. No,
it is not possible: Heaven will yet restore her: look down, O God of
Mercy - - Dr. Evelin is now with the wretched parents, breaking to
them the danger of their child: I dread seeing them after this
interview: yet he will not sure plunge them at once into despair.
She is awake; I have been with her; her looks are greatly changed;
her lips have a dying paleness; there is a dimness in her eyes which
alarms me; she has desired to speak a moment with Dr. Evelin; she would
know how long he thinks it probable she may live.
She is gone, Bellville, she is gone: those lovely eyes are closed
in everlasting night. I saw her die, I saw the last breath quiver on
her lips; she expired, almost without a pang, in the arms of her
distracted mother. She felt her approaching dissolution, of which she
had been warned, at her own earnest request, by Dr. Evelin; she
summoned us all to her apartment; she embraced us with the most
affecting tenderness; she called me to her, and, giving me her picture
for Colonel Mandeville, begged me to tell him, she, who murdered his
son, died for him: entreated me to stay some time at Belmont, to
comfort her disconsolate parents; conjured Emily to be a child to them,
and never to let them miss their Julia.
She begged forgiveness of her wretched parents, for the only
instance in which she had ever forgot her duty, and for which she now
so severely suffered: entreated them to submit to the hand of Heaven,
and not give way to immoderate affliction; to consider that, if they
were about to lose a child, thousands were at that moment suffering
under the same distress; that death was the common portion of
humanity, from which youth was not more exempt than age; that their
separation was only temporary, whilst their re-union would be eternal:
then, raising her blameless hands, prayed fervently to Heaven for them,
implored their last blessing; and, turning to her agonizing mother,
speechless with excess of sorrow, conjured her to reflect on the past
goodness of Heaven, and the many years of happiness she had already
past with the best of men; that this was the first misfortune she had
ever known; then, embracing her fondly, weeping on her neck, and
thanking her for all her goodness, pressed her to her bosom, and
Let me draw a veil over the ensuing scene, to which words cannot do
justice. With difficulty have we forced Lady Belmont from the body. I
have left Emily Howard with the venerable pair, whose sorrow would melt
the most obdurate heart; she kneels by Lady Belmont, she attempts to
speak, but tears stop her utterance: the wretched mother sees her not;
inattentive to all but her grief, her eyes fixed on the ground,
stupefaction and horror in her look, she seems insensible of all that
passes around her. Sinking under his own distress, and unable to
support the sight of hers, my Lord is retired to his apartment. May
Heaven look with pity on them both, and enable them to bear this blow
to all their hopes!
Bellville! where are now all our gay schemes? Where the circle of
How vain are the designs of man! unmindful of his transitory state,
he lays plans of permanent felicity; he sees the purpose of his heart
ready to prosper; the air-drawn building rises; he watches it with a
beating heart; it touches the very point at which he aimed, the very
summit of imagined perfection, when an unforeseen storm arises, and
the smiling deceitful structure of hope is dashed in one moment to the
Not an eye has been closed this night; the whole house is a scene
of horror: the servants glide up and down the apartments, wildness in
their look, as if the last day was come.
Scarce have we been able to keep life in Lady Belmont; she asks
eagerly for her child, her Julia; she conjures us to lead her to her;
she will not believe her dead; she starts up, and fancies she hears her
voice: then, recollecting the late dreadful scene, lifts her
expostulating hands to Heaven, and sinks motionless into the arms of
her attendants. Six o'Clock.
Worn out by her long watchings and the violence of her emotions,
Lady Belmont is fallen into a slumber: it is now two days and nights
since she has attempted rest. May that gracious God, who alone has the
power, calm and tranquillize her mind!
I have been standing an hour looking on the breathless body of my
angel friend: lovely even in death, a serene smile sits on that once
charming face: her paleness excepted, she looks as if in a tranquil
sleep: Bellville, she is happy, she is now a saint in Heaven.
How persuasive is such a preacher! I gaze on the once matchless
form, and all vanity dies within me: who was ever lovely like her? yet
she lies before me a clod of senseless clay. Those eyes, which once
gave love to every beholder, are now robbed of their living lustre;
that beauteous bosom is cold as the marble on the silent tomb; the
roses of those cheeks are faded; those vermilion lips, from whence
truth and virtue ever proceeded - Bellville, the starting tears - I
cannot go on -
Look here, ye proud, and be humble! which you all can vie with her?
Youth, health, beauty, birth, riches, all that men call good, were
hers: all are now of no avail; virtue alone bids defiance to the grave.
Great Heaven! Colonel Mandeville is at the gate; he knows not the
cup of sorrow which awaits him; he cannot yet have received my Lord's
letter. He alights with a smile of transport: the exultation of hope is
in his air. Alas! how soon to be destroyed! He comes to attend the
bridal- day of his son; he finds him a lifeless corse.
The servants bring him this way; they leave to me the dreadful talk
- Bellville, I cannot go through it.
I have seen the most unhappy of fathers; I have followed him
whither my heart shuddered to approach. Too soon informed of his
wretched fate, he shot like lightning to the apartment of his son; he
kissed his pale lifeless lips; he pressed his cold hand to his bosom;
he bathed it with a torrent of tears: then, looking round with the
dignity of affliction, waved his hand for us all to retire. We have
left him to weep at liberty over the son on whom his heart doated, to
enjoy alone and undisturbed the dreadful banquet of despair.
He has been now two hours alone with the body; not an attendant has
dared to intrude on the sacred rites of paternal sorrow. My Lord is
this moment gone to him, to give him a melancholy welcome to Belmont.
Great God! What a meeting! How different from that which their
sanguine hopes had projected! The bridal couch is the bed of death!
Oh! Bellville! - But shall presumptuous man dare to arraign the
ways of Heaven! To Col. Bellville. Tuesday Morning.
To Col. Bellville. Tuesday Morning.
YOUR letter, my dear Bellville, gave me all the consolation it is
possible to receive amidst such a scene of wretchedness and despair;
the tender sympathy of pitying friendship is the best balm for every
The delicacy with which you decline mentioning a subject so
improper for the time, would encrease my esteem for you, if that was
possible. I know the goodness, the tender sensibility of your heart,
too well, to doubt your approving my resolution to give six months to
the memory of my angelic friend, and the sad task of endeavoring to
soften the sorrows of her parents. Her dying voice adjured me not to
leave them to their despair: I will not forget the sad task her
The agony of Lady Belmont's grief begins to give place to a sorrow
more reasonable, though, perhaps, not less exquisite. The violence of
her emotions abates; she still weeps, but her air is more calm; she
raises her eyes to Heaven, but it is with a look of patient
resignation, which, whilst it melts my soul to behold, gives me hopes
she will not sink under her afflictions. Lord Belmont struggles with
his own grief, lest it should encrease hers; he attempts to comfort
her; he begs her, with an irresolute air, to consider the hand from
whence the stroke proceeded: unable to go on, his voice trembles; his
bosom swells with unutterable anguish; he rises; he leaves the room;
the tears trickle down his reverend cheeks. These, Bellville, these
are the scenes I have perpetually before my eyes.
Colonel Mandeville indulges his sorrow alone; shut up continually
in his apartment, a prey to silent distress, he seems to fly from all
human converse: if entreated, he joins our sad party a moment; he
enters with a dejected air, his eyes are bent earnestly to the ground;
he sits motionless, inattentive, absorbed in reflexion on his own
misery: then, starting up, exclaims, "All else I could have borne," and
retires to give himself up to his despair.
I am now convinced Emily Howard deserved that preference Lady Julia
gave her over me in her heart, of which I once so unjustly complained;
I lament, I regret, but am enough myself to reason, to reflect; Emily
Howard can only weep. Far from being consoled for the loss of her
lovely friend, by the prospect of inheriting Lord Belmont's fortune, to
which after Colonel Mandeville she is intitled, she seems incapable of
tasting any good in life without her. Every idea of happiness her
gentle mind could form included Lady Julia's friendship; with her she
wished to spend all her days; she was all to her tender Emily; without
her she finds the world a desart.
She is changed beyond conception by her grief, a grief which has
not a moment's intermission: the almost dying paleness of her cheeks is
a witness of the excess of her affliction; yet this very paleness has a
thousand charms; her distress has something in it unspeakably lovely;
adorned by sorrow, she puts me in mind of what Young describes woman in
general; - - "So properly the object of affliction, That Heaven is
pleased to make distress become her, And dresses her most amiably in
Bellville, I have been walking in a little wilderness of flowering
shrubs once peculiarly happy in Lady Julia's favor: there is a rose
which I saw planted by her hand; it still flourishes in youthful bloom,
whilst she, the fairest flower Heaven ever formed, lies cropped by the
cruel hand of Death.
What force has the imagination over the senses! How different is
the whole face of nature in my eyes! The once smiling scene has a
melancholy gloom, which strikes a damp through my inmost soul: I look
in vain for those vivid beauties which once charmed me; all beauty died
with Lady Julia. In this spot, where we have so often walked together,
I give way to all the voluptuousness of sorrow; I recall those happy
days which are never to return; a thousand tender ideas rush on my
memory; I recollect those dear moments of confidence and friendship
engraved for ever on my heart; I still hear the sweet accents of that
voice, still behold that matchless form; I see her every moment before
me, in all the playfulness of youth and innocence; I see her parents
gazing on her as she passes, with that lively transport a parent only
It was here her rising blushes first discovered to me the secret of
her heart: it was here the loveliest of mankind first implored me to
favor his passion for my sweet friend.
Pleased with the tender sorrow which possessed all my soul, I
determined to indulge it to the utmost; and, revolving in my
imagination the happy hours of chearful friendship to which that
smiling scene had been witness, prolonged my walk till evening had,
almost unperceived, spread its gloomy horrors round; till the varied
tints of the flowers were lost in the deepening shades of night.
Awaking at once from the reverie in which I had been plunged, I
found myself at a distance from the house, just entering the little
wood so loved by my charming friend; the every moment encreasing
darkness gave an awful gloom to the trees; I stopped, I looked round,
not a human form was in sight; I listened, and heard not a sound but
the trembling of some poplars in the wood; I called, but the echo of my
own voice was the only answer I received; a dreary silence reigned
around; a terror I never felt before seized me; my heart panted with
timid apprehension, I breathed short, I started at every leaf that
moved; my limbs were covered with a cold dew; I fancied I saw a
thousand airy forms flit around me; I seemed to hear the shrieks of the
dead and dying: there is no describing my horrors.
At the moment when my fears had almost deprived me of sense, I saw
Colonel Mandeville approach; I concealed from him the terrors of my
soul, lest they should add to the sorrow which consumed him: he
addressed me in a faltering voice, conducted me to the house almost
without speaking, and leading me into the saloon - - Oh! Bellville! How
shall I describe what I felt on entering the room?
Is not Death of itself sufficiently dreadful, that we thus clothe
it in additional terrors, by the horrid apparatus with which we suffer
it to be attended? The room was hung with black, lighted up to show the
affecting objects it contained, and in the midst, in their coffins, the
breathless bodies of the hapless lovers: on a couch near them,
supported by Emily Howard, the wretched mother wringing her hands in
all the agony of despair. Lord Belmont standing by the bodies, looking
at them alternately, weeping over his child, and raising his desponding
eyes to Heaven, beseeching the God of Mercy to relieve him from this
load of misery, and to put a speedy period to that life which was now
robbed of all it happiness.
I approach Lady Julia's coffin; I gazed eagerly on her angel
countenance, serene as that of a sleeping infant; I kissed her lifeless
lips, which still wore the smile of innocence and peace. Bellville, may
my last end be like hers! May I meet her in the regions of immortality!
Never shall I forget her gentle virtues, or the delight I found in her
friendship. She was wrapped in a loose robe of white satten: her head
covered with a veil of gause: the village maids, who laid her in the
coffin, had adorned her with the freshest flowers; the stood at an
awful distance, weeping her hard fate and their own: they have
entreated to watch around her this night, and to bear her to-morrow to
I had stood some time looking on the dear remains of Lady Julia,
when Colonel Mandeville took my hand, and leading me to the coffin in
which his son's were deposited; "Lady Anne, said he, you have forgot
your once favored friend, your once gay, once lovely Harry Mandeville.
Behold all that death has left of the darling of a fond parent's heart!
The graces of that form are lost, those lips have ceased to utter the
generous sentiments of the noblest heart which ever beat; but never
will his varied perfections be blotted from the mind of his father." I
approached the most lovely of men; the traces of sorrow were visible on
his countenance; he died in the moment when he heard the happiness
which had been vainly intended for him. My tears streamed afresh when I
beheld him, when I remembered the sweet hours we passed together, the
gay scenes which hope had painted to our hearts; I wept over the friend
I had so loved, I pressed his cold hand to my lips.
Bellville! I am now accustomed to horrors.
We have prevailed on the wretched parents to retire: Emily Howard
and I have entreated to watch our angel friends till midnight, and then
leave them to the village maids, to whom Lady Julia's weeping
attendants insist on being joined.
I dread the rising of to-morrow's sun; he was meant to light us to
happiness. Thursday Morning.
Bellville! this morning is come: this morning once so ardently
expected: who shall ever dare to say, To-morrow I will be happy?
At dawn of day we returned to the saloon; we bid a last adieu to
the loved remains; my Lord and Colonel Mandeville had been before us:
they were going to close the coffins, when Lady Belmont burst wildly
into the room; she called eagerly for her Julia, for the idol of her
agonizing soul: "Let me once more behold my child, let me once more
kiss those icy lips: Oh! Julia! this day first gave thee birth; this
day fond hope set down for thy bridals; this day we resign thee to the
Overcome by the excess of her sorrow, she fainted into the arms of
her woman; we took that opportunity to convey her from this scene of
terrors: her sense are not yet returned.
What a day have I passed! may the idea of it be ever blotted from y
The sad procession begins; the whole village attend in tears; they
press to perform the last melancholy duties; her servants crowd eagerly
round; they weep, they beat their bosoms, they call on their angelic
mistress, they kiss the pall that covers her breathless form. Borne by
the youngest of the village maids - Oh! Bellville! never more shall I
behold her! the loveliest of her sex, the friend on whom my heart
doated - One grave receives the hapless lovers - They move on - far
other processions - but who shall resist the hand of Heaven!
Emily Howard comes this way; she has left the wretched parents:
there is a wildness in her air which chills my blood; she will behold
her friend once more; she proposes to meet and join the procession: I
embraced the offer with transport - the transport of enthusiastic
We have beheld the closing scene - Bellville, my heart is breaking
- the pride of the world, the loveliest pair that ever breathed the
vital air, are now cold and inanimate in the grave. To Colonel
Bellville. Sunday Morning.
To Colonel Bellville. Sunday Morning.
I AM just come from chapel with Lady Belmont, who has been pouring
out the sorrows of her soul to her Creator, with a fervor of devotion
which a mind like hers alone can feel: when she approached the seat
once filled by Lady Julia, the tears streamed involuntarily down her
cheeks; she wiped them away, she raised her eyes to Heaven, and falling
on her knees, with a look of pious resignation, seemed to sacrifise her
grief to her God, or at least to suspend the expression of it in his
Next Sunday she goes to the parish church, where the angelic pair
are interred; I dread her seeing the vault, yet think she cannot too
soon visit every place which must renew the excess of her affliction;
she will then, and not till then, find, by degrees, the violence of
her sorrow subside, and give way to that pleasing melancholy, that
tender regret, which, however strange it may appear, is one of the most
charming sensations of the human heart.
Whether it be that the mind abhors nothing like a state of
inaction, or from whatever cause I know not, but grief itself is more
agreeable to us than indifference; nay, if not too exquisite, is in the
highest degree delightful; of which the pleasure we take in tragedy, or
in talking of our dead friends, is a striking proof; we wish not to be
cured of what we feel on these occasions; the tears we shed are
charming, we even indulge in them. Bellville, does not the very word
indulge shew the sensation to be pleasurable?
I have just now a letter from my niece; she is in despair at this
dreadful event; she sees the amiable, the venerable parents, whose
happiness was the ardent wish of her soul, and from whom she had
received every proof of esteem and friendship, reduced to the extremest
misery, by the hand of him she loves: for ever excluded from Belmont,
for ever to them an object of horror, she seems to herself guilty of
their wretchedness, she seems to have struck the fatal blow.
Since Mr. Mandeville's death, she has left Lady Mary; whose tears,
she fancied, were redoubled at her sight.
Nor is she less wretched on Lord Melvin's account: she is
distracted with her terrors for his life; which is however safe by Mr.
Mandeville's generous care, who, when expiring, gave testimony to his
You will oblige me by begging of Lady Betty to take her at present
under her protection: it ill suits the delicacy of her sex and birth to
remain in London alone and unconnected: with your amiable mother, she
cannot fail of being happy.
I had perswaded Lady Belmont to walk in the garden; she went with
me, leaning on my arm, when, the door being opened, the first object
that struck her sight was the pavilion raised for the marriage of her
daughter, which none of us had thought of having removed.
She started, she returned hastily to her apartment, and, throwing
herself on a couch, gave a loose to all the anguish of her soul.
Bellville, every object she meets will remind her of the darling of
My Lord and Colonel Mandeville are together; they are projecting a
tomb for their lovely children: a tomb worthy the ardour of their own
parental affection; worthy to perpetuate the memory of their virtues,
their love, and their wretched fate. How often shall I visit this
tomb, how often strew it with the sweetest flowers!
As I passed this moment through the saloon, I went mechanically to
the window from whence we used to contemplate the happy group of
villagers. Bellville, how was I struck with the change! not one of the
late joyous train appeared; all was a dismal scene of silent unsocial
solitude: lost to the idea of pleasure, all revere, all partake, the
sorrows of the godlike benefactors: with Lady Julia, all joy has left
the once charming shades of Belmont.
Lord Fondville is gone past with his bride, in all the splendor of
exulting transport. Scarce can I forbear accusing Heaven! the worthless
live and prosper; the virtuous sink untimely to the grave. My Lord has
ordered the pavilion to be removed; he will build an obelisk on the
spot where it stood, on the spot once dedicated to the happiness of his
A stranger has been to-day at the parish church, enquiring for the
grave of Mr. Mandeville; his behaviour witnessed the most lively
sorrow: it can be no other than Mr. Herbert. I have told this to my
Lord, who will write and ask him to Belmont, that he may mix his tears
with ours; whoever loved Mr. Mandeville will be here a most welcome
I have perswaded Lady Belmont to go out for an hour with me in my
chariot this morning: we are to go a private road, where we are sure of
not seeing a human being. Adieu! To the Earl of Belmont. Mount
To the Earl of Belmont. Mount Melvin, Wednesday.
IF my regret for the late dreadful event, an event embittered by
the circumstances your last letter communicated to me, could receive
any encrease, it certainly must from the generous behaviour of Mr.
Mandeville, whose care for my unhappy son, when expiring, is a proof
his blood was drawn from the same source as our Lordship's. Yes, he was
indeed worthy the happiness you intended him, worthy the honored name
Relived, by the noble conduct of your lamented kinsman, from the
fears I entertained for my son's life, my sorrow for the miseries he
has occasioned is only the more severe: I feel with unutterable anguish
that my ancient friend, the friend of my earliest youth, is childless
by the crime of him who owes his being to me: the blow his hand
unwillingly struck, has reached the heart of the incomparable Lady
Julia: I think of her angelic perfections, of the untimely fate which
has robbed the world of its loveliest ornament, and almost wish never
to have been a father.
Lady Rochdale and Louisa are in tears by me; for ever excluded from
Belmont, they look on themselves as exiles, though at home. The horrors
of mind under which my son labors are unutterable; he entreats to see
Colonel Mandeville; to obtain his pardon for that involuntary crime,
which has destroyed all the happiness of his life. Will you, my
friend, once more admit us? Allow us one interview with yourself and
Colonel Mandeville? I ask no more, nor will ever repeat the visit: I
could not support the sight of Lady Belmont.
I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most faithful,
though wretched friend,
To the Earl of Rochdale. Belmont, Wednesday.
CONVINCED Lord Melvin is more unfortunate than culpable, it would
be cruel to treat him as a criminal: I feel a horror I cannot conquer
at the idea of ever receiving the visit your Lordship has proposed;
but, conscious of the injustice of indulging it, I sacrifise it to our
antient friendship, and only postpone, not refuse, the visit: I will
struggle with the reluctance of my heart, to see the guiltless author
of my misery, as soon as he is publicly exculpated from the crime he at
present stands charged with: Colonel Mandeville must appear as his
accuser: wretched as his hand has made me, justice obliges me to bear
witness to his innocence: Lady Anne Wilmot, who was present at Mr.
Mandeville's dying declaration, is ready to confirm my evidence: Lord
Melvin therefore has nothing to fear. The trial once past, I will
endeavour to prevail on Colonel Mandeville and Lady Belmont, to make
the same painful sacrifice to friendship, to which time and reason
will, I hope, perfectly reconcile us; but your Lordship will, on a
moment's reflexion, be convinced that, till this is past, it would be
indecent in me to see Lord Melvin.
We are greatly obliged to Lady Rochdale and Lady Louisa; the time
of whose visit their own politeness and sensibility will regulate; it
is a severe addition to my wretchedness, that the family of my friend
is so fatally involved in it.
Oh! Lord Rochdale! you are a father, and can pity us: you can judge
the anguish to which we must ever be a prey; never more shall we know a
chearful hour; our lost child will be ever at our hearts: when I
remember her filial sweetness, her angel virtues, her matchless
perfections - the only view we had in life was to see her happy: that
is past, and all is now a dreary wild before us. Time may blunt the
keen edge of sorrow, and enable us to bear the load of life with
patience; but never must we hope the return of peace.
The shortness of life, and the consideration of how much of our own
is past, are the only consolations we can receive: it cannot be long
before we rejoin our beloved child: we have only to pray for that
ardently expected hour, which will re-unite us to all we love.
Why will man lay schemes of lasting felicity? By an over-solicitude
to continue my family and name, and secure the happiness of my child, I
have defeated my own purpose, and fatally destroyed both. Humbled in
the dust, I confess the hand of heaven: the pride of birth, the
grandeur of my house, had too great a share in my resolves!
Oh! my friend! - but I consider the hand which directed the blow,
and submit to the will of my God.
I am, Belmont.
To Col. Bellville. Belmont, Sunday Morning.
I AM desired by my Lord to ask you hither, and to beg you will
bring my niece with you. Lady Belmont joins in the request; her
nobleness of sentiment has conquered the reluctance she had to see her;
she has even promised to endeavor to bear the sight of Lord Melvin, but
I fear this is more than is in her power; she fainted when the request
was first made. Lady Mary is expected here this evening.
Bellville, you are coming to Belmont, once the smiling paradise of
friendship. Alas! how changed from that once happy abode! Where are
those blameless pleasures, that convivial joy, those sweet follies,
which once gave such charms to this place? For ever gone, for ever
changed to a gloomy sadness, for ever buried with Lady Julia.
Lady Belmont struggles nobly with her grief; she has consented to
see her friends, to see all who will hear her talk of her child: a
tender melancholy has taken place of those horrors, which it was
impossible long to support and live.
Colonel Mandeville is to stay at Belmont; they are to indulge in
all the voluptuousness of sorrow; they are to sit all day and talk of
their matchless children, and count the hours till they follow them to
the grave. They have invited all who will join in tears with them; the
coach is gone to-day for Mr. and Mrs. Herbert.
Emily Howard and I bend our whole thoughts to find out means to
soften their sorrows; I hope much from your conversation, and the
endearing sensibility of your soul; it is not by resisting, but by
soothing grief, that we must heal the wounded heart.
There is one pleasure to which they can never be insensible, the
pleasure of relieving the miseries of others: to divert their attention
from the sad objects which now engross them, we must find out the
retreats of wretchedness; we must point out distress which it is in
their power to alleviate.
Oh! Bellville! But in vain does the pride of human wisdom seek to
explore the counsels of the Most High! Certain of the paternal care of
our Creator, our part is submission to his will.