HOWE EN208 SP2020 thowe HOWEEN208SP20202 Selected Text from The Castle of Otranto THE CASTLE of OTRANTO, A STORY. Translated by WILLIAM MARSHAL, Gent. From the Original ITALIAN of ONUPHRIO MURALTO,CANON of the Church of St. NICHOLAS at OTRANTO. LONDON: Printed for THO. LOWNDS in Fleet-Street. MDCCLXV.
THETRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

THE following work was found in the library of an ancient Catholic family in the north of England. It was printed at Naples, in the black letter, in the year 1529. How much sooner it was written does not appear. The principal incidents are such as were believed in the darkest ages of Christianity; but the language and conduct have nothing that savours of barbarism. The stile is the purest Italian. If the story was written near the time when it is supposed to have happened, it must have been between 1095, the aera of the first crusade, and 1243, the date of the last, or not long afterwards. There is no other circumstance in the work, that can lead us to guess at the period in which the scene is laid: The names of the actors are evidently fictitious, and probably disguised on purpose: Yet the Spanish names of the domestics seem to indicate that this work was not composed, until the establishment of the Arragonian Kings in Naples had made Spanish appellations familiar in that country. The beauty of the diction, and the zeal of the author [moderated, however, by singular judgment] concur to make me think that the date of the composition was little antecedent to that of the impression. Letters were then in their most flourishing state in Italy, and contributed to dispel the empire of superstition, at that time so forcibly attacked by the reformers. It is not unlikely that an artful priest might endeavour to turn their own arms on the innovators; and might avail himself of his abilities as an author to confirm the populace in their ancient errors and superstitions. If this was his view, he has certainly acted with signal address. Such a work as the following would enslave a hundred vulgar minds beyond half the books of controversy that have been written from the days of Luther to the present hour.

This solution of the author's motives is however offered as a mere conjecture. Whatever his views were, or whatever effects the execution of them might have, his work can only be laid before the public at present as a matter of entertainment. Even as such, some apology for it is necessary. Miracles, visions, necromancy, dreams, and other preternatural events, are exploded now even from romances. That was not the case when our author wrote; much less when the story itself is supposed to have happened. Belief in every kind of prodigy was so established in those dark ages, that an author would not be faithful to the manners of the times, who should omit all mention of them. He is not bound to believe them himself, but he must represent his actors as believing them.

If this air of the miraculous is excused, the reader will find nothing else unworthy of his perusal. Allow the possibility of the facts, and all the actors comport themselves as persons would do in their situation. There is no bombast, no similes, flowers, digressions, or unnecessary descriptions. Every thing tends directly to the catastrophe. Never is the reader's attention relaxed. The rules of the drama are almost observed throughout the conduct of the piece. The characters are well drawn, and still better maintained. Terror, the author's principal engine, prevents the story from ever languishing; and it is so often contrasted by pity, that the mind is kept up in a constant vicissitude of interesting passions.

Some persons may perhaps think the characters of the domestics too little serious for the general cast of the story; but besides their opposition to the principal personages, the art of the author is very observable in his conduct of the subalterns. They discover many passages essential to the story, which could not be well brought to light but by their naivetè and simplicity: In particular, the womanish terror and foibles of Bianca, in the last chapter, conduce essentially towards advancing the catastrophe.

It is natural for a translator to be prejudiced in favour of his adopted work. More impartial readers may not be so much struck with the beauties of this piece as I was. Yet I am not blind to my author's defects. I could wish he had grounded his plan on a more useful moral than this; that the sins of fathers are visited on their children to the third and fourth generation. I doubt whether, in his time, any more than at present, ambition curbed its appetite of dominion from the dread of so remote a punishment. And yet this moral is weakened by that less direct insinuation, that even such anathema may be diverted by devotion to St. Nicholas. Here the interest of the Monk plainly gets the better of the judgment of the Author. However, with all its faults, I have no doubt but the English reader will be pleased with a sight of this performance. The piety that reigns throughout, the lessons of virtue that are inculcated, and the rigid purity of the sentiments, exempt this work from the censure to which romances are but too liable. Should it meet with the success I hope for, I may be encouraged to re-print the original Italian, though it will tend to depreciate my own labour. Our language falls far short of the charms of the Italian, both for variety and harmony. The latter is peculiarly excellent for simple narrative. It is difficult in English to relate without falling too low or rising too high; a fault obviously occasioned by the little care taken to speak pure language in common conversation. Every Italian or Frenchman of any rank piques himself on speaking his own tongue correctly and with choice. I cannot flatter myself with having done justice to my author in this respect: His stile is as elegant, as his conduct of the passions is masterly. It is pity that he did not apply his talents to what they were evidently proper for, the theatre.

I will detain the reader no longer, but to make one short remark. Though the machinery is invention, and the names of the actors imaginary, I cannot but believe, that the ground-work of the story is founded on truth. The scene is undoubtedly laid in some real castle. The author seems frequently, without design, to describe particular parts. The chamber, says he, on the right-hand; the door on the left-hand; the distance from the chapel to Conrad's apartment: These and other passages are strong presumptions that the author had some certain building in his eye. Curious persons, who have leisure to employ in such researches, may possibly discover in the Italian writers the foundation on which our author has built. If a catastrophe, at all resembling that which he describes, is believed to have given rise to this work, it will contribute to interest the reader, and will make the castle of Otranto a still more moving story.

THECASTLE of OTRANTO,A STORY, &c.
CHAPTER I.

Manfred , Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: The latter a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda . Conrad , the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda . Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza 's daughter, Isabella ; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred , that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad 's infirm state of health would permit. Manfred 's impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince's disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses: They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince's dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced, that the Castle and Lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it. It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question. Yet these mysteries, or contradictions, did not make the populace adhere the less to their opinion.

Young Conrad 's birth-day was fixed for his espousals. The company was assembled in the chapel of the Castle, and every thing ready for beginning the divine office, when Conrad himself was missing. Manfred impatient of the least delay, and who had not observed his son retire, dispatched on of his attendants to summon the young Prince. The servant, who had not staid long enough to have crossed the court to Conrad 's apartment, came running back breathless, in a frantic manner, his eyes staring, and foaming at the mouth. He said nothing, but pointed to the court. The company were struck with ter ror and amazement. The Princess Hippolita, without knowing what was the matter, but anxious for her son, swooned away. Manfred, less apprehensive than enraged at the procrastination of the nuptials, and at the folly of his domestic, asked imperiously, what was the matter? The fellow made no answer, but continued pointing towards the court-yard; and at last, after repeated questions put to him, cried out, oh! The helmet! the helmet! In the mean time, some of the company had run into the court, from whence was heard a confused noise of shrieks, horror, and surprise. Manfred, who began to be alarmed at not seeing his son, went himself to get information of what occasioned this strange confusion. Matilda remained endeavouring to assist her mother, and Isabella staid for the same purpose, and to avoid showing any impatience for the bridegroom, for whom, in truth, she had conceived little affection.

The first thing that struck Manfred 's eyes was a groupe of his servants endeavouring to raise something that appeared to him a mountain of sable plumes. He gazed without believing his sight. What are ye doing? cried Manfred wrathfully; where is my son? A volley of voices replied, Oh! My Lord! The Prince! the Prince, the helmet! the helmet! shocked with these lamentable sounds, and dreading he know not what; he advanced hastily,—but what a sight for a father's eyes!—he beheld his child dashed to pieces, and almost buried under an enormous helmet, an hundred times more large than any casque ever made for human being, and shaded with a proportionable quantity of black feathers.

The horror of the spectacle, the ignorance of all around how this misfortune had happened, and above all, the tremendous phaenomenon before him, took away the Prince's speech. Yet his silence lasted longer than even grief could occasion. He fixed his eyes on what he wished in vain to believe a vision; and seemed less attentive to his loss, than buried in meditation on the stupendous object that had occasioned it. He touched, he examined the fatal casque; nor could even the bleeding mangled remains of the young Prince, divert the eyes of Manfred from the portent before him. All who had known his partial fondness for young Conrad, were as much surprized at their Prince's insensibility, as thunder-struck themselves at the miracle of the helmet. They conveyed the disfigured corpse into the hall, without receiving the least direction from Manfred. As little was he attentive to the Ladies who remained in the chapel: On the contrary, without mentioning the unhappy Princesses, his wife and daughter, the first sounds that dropped from Manfred 's lips were, take care of the lady Isabella .

The domestics, without observing the singularity of this direction, were guided by their affection to their mistress, to consider it as peculiarly addressed to her situation, and flew to her assistance. They conveyed her to her chamber more dead than alive, and indifferent to all the strange circumstances she heard, except the death of her son. Matilda, who doated on her mother, smothered her own grief and amazement, and thought of nothing but assisting and comforting her afflicted parent. Isabella, who had been treated by Hippolita like a daughter, and who returned that tenderness with equal duty and affection, was scarce less assiduous about the Princess; at the same time endeavouring to partake and lessen the weight of sorrow which she saw Matilda strove to suppress, for whom she had conceived the warmest sympathy of friendship. Yet her own situation could not help finding its place in her thoughts. She felt no concern for the death of young Conrad, except commiseration; and she was not sorry to be delivered from a marriage which had promised her little felicity, either from her destined bridegroom, or from the severe temper of Manfred, who, though he had distinguished her by great indulgence, had imprinted her mind with terror, from his causeless rigour to such amiable Princesses as Hippolita and Matilda.

While the Ladies were conveying the wretched mother to her bed, Manfred remained in the court, gazing on the ominous casque, and regardless of the crowd which the strangeness of the event had now assembled around him. The few words he articulated, tended solely to inquiries, whether any man knew from whence it could have come? Nobody could give him the least information. However, as it seemed to be the sole object of his curiosity, it soon became so to the rest of the spectators, whose conjectures were as absurd and improbable, as the catastrophe itself was unprecedented. In the midst of their senseless guesses, a young peasant, whom rumour had drawn thither from a neighbouring village, observed that the miraculous helmet was exactly like that on the figure in black marble of Alfonso the Good, one of their former Princes, in the church of St. Nicholas. Villain! What sayest thou! cried Manfred, starting from his trance in a tempest of rage, and seizing the young man by the collar; how darest thou utter such treason? thy life shall pay for it. The spectators, who as little comprehended the cause of the Prince's fury as all the rest they had seen, were at a loss to unravel this new circumstance. The young peasant himself was still more astonished, not conceiving how he had offended the Prince: Yet recollecting himself, with a mixture of grace and humility, he disengaged himself from Manfred 's gripe, and then with an obeisance, which discovered more jealousy of innocence, than dismay; he asked, with respect, of what he was guilty! Manfred, more enraged at the vigour, however decently exerted, with which the young man had shaken off his hold, than appeased by his submission, ordered his attendants to seize him, and, if he had not been withheld by his friends, whom he had invited to the nuptials, would have poignarded the peasant in their arms.

During this altercation, some of the vulgar spectators had run to the great church, which stood near the castle, and came back open-mouthed, declaring, that the helmet was missing from Alfonso 's statue. Manfred, at this news, grew perfectly frantic; and, as if he sought a subject on which to vent the tempest within him, he rushed again on the young peasant, crying, Villain! Monster! Sorcerer! 'tis thou hast done this! 'tis thou hast slain my son! The mob, who wanted some object within the scope of their capacities, on whom they might discharge their bewildered reasonings, caught the words from the mouth of their Lord, and re-ecchoed, ay, ay; 'tis he, 'tis he: He has stolen the helmet from good Alfonso's tomb, and dashed out the brains of our young Prince with it,—never reflecting how enormous the disproportion was between the marble helmet that had been in the church, and that of steel before their eyes; nor how impossible it was for a youth, seemingly not twenty, to weild a piece of armour of so prodigious a weight.

The folly of these ejaculations brought Manfred to himself: Yet whether provoked at the peasant having observed the resemblance between the two helmets, and thereby led to the farther discovery of the absence of that in the church; or wishing to bury any fresh rumours under so impertinent a supposition; he gravely pronounced that the young man was certainly a negromancer, and that till the church could take cognizance of the affair, he would have the Magician, whom they had thus detected, kept prisoner under the helmet itself, which he ordered his attendants to raise, and place the young man under it; declaring he should be kept there without food, with which his own infernal art might furnish him.

It was in vain for the youth to represent against this preposterous sentence: In vain did Manfred 's friends endeavour to divert him from this savage and ill-grounded resolution. The generality were charmed with their Lord's decision, which, to their apprehensions, carried great appearance of justice, as the Magician was to be punished by the very instrument with which he had offended: Nor were they struck with the lest compunction at the probability of the youth being starved, for they firmly believed, that, by his diabolical skill, he could easily supply himself with nutriment.

Manfred thus saw his commands even chearfully obeyed, and appointing a guard with strict orders to prevent any food being conveyed to the prisoner; he dismissed his friends and attendants, and retired to his own chamber, after locking the gates of the castle, in which he suffered none but his domestics to remain.

In the mean time, the care and zeal of the young Ladies had brought the Princess Hippolita to herself, who amidst the transports of her own sorrow, frequently demanded news of her Lord, would have dismissed her attendants to watch over him, and at last enjoined Matilda to leave her, and visit and comfort her father. Matilda, who wanted no affectionate duty to Manfred, though she trembled at his austerity, obeyed the orders of Hippolita, whom she tenderly recommended to Isabella ; and enquiring of the domestics for her father, was informed that he was retired to his chamber, and had commanded that nobody should have admittance to him. Concluding that he was immersed in sorrow for the death of her brother, and fearing to renew his tears by the sight of his sole remaining child, she hesitated whether she should break in upon his affliction; yet solicitude for him, backed by the commands of her mother, encouraged her to venture disobeying the orders he had given, a fault she had never been guilty of before. The gentle timidity of her nature made her pause for some minutes at his door. She heard him traverse his chamber backwards and forwards with disordered steps; a mood which increased her apprehensions. She was however just going to beg admittance, when Manfred suddenly opened his door; and as it was now twilight, concurring with the disorder of his mind, he did not distinguish the person, but asked angrily, who it was? Matilda replied trembling, my dearest father, it is I, your daughter. Manfred stepping back hastily, cried, Begone, I do not want a daughter; and flinging back abruptly, clapped the door against the terrified Matilda.

She was too well acquainted with her father's impetuosity to venture a second intrusion. When she had a little recovered the shock of so bitter a reception, she wiped away her tears to prevent the additional stab that the knowledge of it would give to Hippolita, who questioned her in the most anxious terms on the health of Manfred, and how he bore his loss. Matilda assured her he was well, and supported his misfortune with manly fortitude. But will he not let me see him? said Hippolita mournfully; will he not permit me to blend my tears with his, and shed a mother's sorrows in the bosom of her Lord? Or do you deceive me, Matilda? I know how Manfred doated on his son: Is not the stroke too heavy for him? has he not sunk under it? —You do not answer me—alas! I dread the worst!—raise me, my maidens; I will, I will see my Lord. Bear me to him instantly: He is dearer to me even than my children. Matilda made signs to Isabella to prevent Hippolita 's rising; and both those lovely young women were using their gentle violence to stop and calm the Princess, when a servant, on the part of Manfred, arrived and told Isabella that his Lord demanded to speak with her.

With me! cried Isabella. Go, said Hippolita, relieved by a message from her Lord: Manfred cannot support the sight of his own family. He thinks you less disordered than we are, and dreads the shock of my grief. Console him, dear Isabella, and tell him I will smother my own anguish rather than add to his.

As it was now evening, the servant, who conducted Isabella, bore a torch before her. When they came to Manfred, who was walking impatiently about the gallery, he started and said hastily, take away that light, and begone. Then shutting the door impetuously, he flung himself upon a bench against the wall, and bad Isabella sit by him. She obeyed trembling. I sent for you, Lady, said he,—and then stopped under great appearance of confusion. My Lord! —Yes, I sent for you on a matter of great moment, resumed he,—dry your tears, young Lady—you have lost your bridegroom.—Yes, cruel fate! and I have lost the hopes of my race!—but Conrad was not worthy of your beauty— how! my Lord, said Isabella ; sure you do not suspect me of not feeling the concern I ought: My duty and affection would have always —think no more of him, interrupted Manfred ; he was a sickly puny child, and heaven has perhaps taken him away, that I might not trust the honours of my house on so frail a foundation. The line of Manfred calls for numerous supports. My foolish fondness for that boy blinded the eyes of my prudence—but it is better as it is. I hope, in a few years, to have reason to rejoice at the death of Conrad.

Words cannot paint the astonishment of Isabella. At first she apprehended that grief had disordered Manfred 's understanding. Her next thought suggested that this strange discourse was designed to ensnare her: She feared that Manfred had perceived her indifference for his son: And in consequence of that idea she replied, Good my Lord, do not doubt my tenderness: My heart would have accompanied my hand. Conrad would have engrossed all my care; and wherever fate shall dispose of me, I shall always cherish his memory, and regard your Highness and the virtuous Hippolita as my parents. Curse on Hippolita! cried Manfred: Forget her from this moment as I do. In short, Lady, you have missed a husband undeserving of your charms: They shall now be better disposed of. Instead of a sickly boy, you shall have a husband in the prime of his age, who will know how to value your beauties, and who may expect a numerous offspring. Alas! My Lord, said Isabella, my mind is too sadly engrossed by the recent catastrophe in your family to think of another marriage. If ever my father returns, and it shall be his pleasure, I shall obey, as I did when I consented to give my hand to your son: But until his return, permit me to remain under your hospitable roof, and employ the melancholy hours in asswaging yours, Hippolita 's, and the fair Matilda 's affliction.

I desired you once before, said Manfred an grily, not to name that woman: From this hour she must be a stranger to you, as she must be to me;—in short, Isabella, since I cannot give you my son, I offer you myself. —Heavens! cried Isabella, waking from her delusion, what do I hear! You! My Lord! You! My father-in-law! the father of Conrad! the husband of the virtuous and tender Hippolita! —I tell you, said Manfred imperiously, Hippolita is no longer my wife, I divorce her from this hour. Too long has she cursed me by her unfruitfulness: My fate depends on having sons,—and this night I trust will give a new date to my hopes. At those words he seized the cold hand of Isabella, who was half-dead with fright and horror. She shrieked and started from him. Manfred rose to pursue her, when the moon, which was now up and gleamed in at the opposite casement, presented to his fight the plumes of the fatal helmet, which rose to the height of the windows, waving backwards and forwards in a tempestuous manner, and accompanied with a hollow and rustling sound. Isabella, who gathered courage from her situation, and who dreaded nothing so much as Manfred 's pursuit of his declaration, cried, Look! My Lord; see, heaven itself declares against your impious intentions! —Heaven nor hell shall impede my designs, said Manfred, advancing again to seize the Princess. At that instant the portrait of his grandfather, which hung over the bench where they had been sitting, uttered a deep sigh, and heaved its breast. Isabella, whose back was turned to the picture, saw not the motion, nor knew whence the sound came, but started, and said, Hark, my Lord! What sound was that? and at the same time made towards the door. Manfred, distracted between the flight of Isabella, who had now reached the stairs, and yet unable to keep his eyes from the picture which began to move, had however advanced some steps after her, still looking backwards on the portrait, when he saw it quit its pannel, and descend on the floor with a grave and melancholy air. Do I dream? cried Manfred returning, or are the devils themselves in league against me? speak, infernal spectre! or, if thou art my grandsire, why dost thou too conspire against thy wretched descendent, who too dearly pays for—e'er he could finish the sentence, the vision sighed again, and made a sign to Manfred to follow him. Lead on! cried Manfred ; I will follow thee to the guiph of perdition. The spectre marched sedately, but dejected, to the end of the gallery, and turned into a chamber on the right-hand. Manfred accompanied him at a little distance, full of anxiety and horror, but resolved. As he would have entered the chamber, the door was clapped to with violence by an invisible hand. The Prince, collecting courage from this delay, would have forcibly burst open the door with his foot, but found that it resisted his utmost efforts. Since hell will not satisfy my curiosity, said Manfred, I will use the human means in my power for preserving my race; Isabella shall not escape me.

That Lady, whose resolution had given way to terror the moment she had quitted Manfred, continued her flight to the bottom of the principal staircase. There she stopped, not knowing whither to direct her steps, nor how to escape from the impetuosity of the Prince. The gates of the castle she knew were locked, and guards placed in the court. Should she, as her heart prompted her, go and prepare Hippolita for the cruel destiny that awaited her; she did not doubt but Manfred would seek her there, and that his violence would incite him to double the injury he meditated, without leaving room for them to avoid the impetuosity of his passions. Delay might give him time to reflect on the horrid measures he had conceived, or produce some circumstance in her favour, if she could for that night at least avoid his odious purpose.—Yet where conceal herself! how avoid the pursuit he would infallibly make throughout the castle! As these thoughts passed rapidly through her mind, she recollected a subterraneous passage which led from the vaults of the castle to the church of St. Nicholas. Could she reach the altar before she was overtaken, she knew even Manfied's violence would not dare to profane the sacredness of the place; and she determined, if no other means of deliverance offered, to shut herself up for ever among the holy virgins, whose convent was contiguous to the cathedral. In this resolution, she seized a lamp that burned at the foot of the staircase, and hurried towards the secret passage.

The lower part of the castle was hollowed into several intricate cloysters; and it was not easy for one under so much anxiety to find the door that opened into the cavern. An awful silence reigned throughout those subterraneous regions, except now and then some blasts of wind that shook the doors she had passed, and which grating on the rusty hinges, were reecchoed through that long labyrinth of darkness. Every murmur struck her with new terror; —yet more she dreaded to hear the wrathful voice of Manfred urging his domestics to pursue her. She trod as softly as impatience would give her leave,—yet frequently stopped and listened to hear if she was followed. In one of those moments she thought she heard a sigh. She shuddered, and recoiled a few paces. In a moment she thought she heard the step of some person. Her blood curdled; she concluded it was Manfred. Every suggestion that horror could inspire rushed into her mind. She condemned her rash flight, which had thus exposed her to his rage in a place where her cries were not likely to draw any body to her assist ance. —Yet the sound seemed not to come from behind,—if Manfred knew where she was, he must have followed her: She was still in one of the cloysters, and the steps she had heard were too distinct to proceed from the way she had come. Cheared with this reflection, and hoping to find a friend in whoever was not the Prince; she was going to advance, when a door that stood a jar, at some distance to the left, was opened gently: But e'er her lamp, which she held up, could discover who opened it, the person retreated precipitately on seeing the light.

Isabella, whom every incident was sufficient to dismay, hesitated whether she should proceed. Her dread of Manfred soon outweighed every other terror. The very circumstance of the person avoiding her, gave her a sort of courage. It could only be, she thought, some domestic belonging to the castle. Her gentleness had never raised her an enemy, and conscious innocence bade her hope that, unless sent by the Prince's order to seek her, his servants would rather assist than prevent her flight. Fortifying herself with these reflections, and believing by what she could observe, that she was near the mouth of the subterraneous cavern, she approached the door that had been opened; but a sudden gust of wind that met her at the door, extinguished her lamp, and left her in total darkness.

Words cannot paint the horror of the Princess's situation. Alone in so dismal a place, her mind imprinted with all the terrible events of the day, hopeless of escaping, expecting every moment the arrival of Manfred, and far from tranquil on knowing she was within reach of somebody, she knew not whom, who for some cause seemed concealed thereabouts, all these thoughts crouded on her distracted mind, and she was ready to sink under her apprehensions. She addressed herself to every Saint in heaven, and inwardly implored their assistance. For a considerable time she remained in an agony of despair. At last, as softly as was possible, she felt for the door, and having found it, entered trembling into the vault from whence she had heard the sigh and steps. It gave her a kind of momentary joy to perceive an imperfect ray of clouded moonshine gleam from the roof of the vault, which seemed to be fallen in, and from whence hung a fragment of earth or building, she could not distinguish which, that appeared to have been crushed inwards. She advanced eagerly towards this chasm, when she discerned a human form standing close against the wall.

She shrieked, believing it the ghost of her betrothed Conrad. The figure advancing, said in a submissive voice, be not alarmed, Lady; I will not injure you. Isabella a little encouraged by the words and tone of voice of the stranger, and recollecting that this must be the person who had opened the door, recovered her spirits enough to reply, Sir, whoever you are, take pity on a wretched Princess, standing on the brink of destruction: Assist me to escape from this fatal castle, or in few moments I may be made miserable for ever. Alas! said the stranger, what can I do to assist you? I will die in your defence; but I am unacquainted with the castle, and want— Oh! said Isabella, hastily interrupting him, help me but to find a trapdoor that must be hereabout, and it is the greatest service you can do me, for I have not a minute to lose. Saying these words, she felt about on the pavement, and directed the stranger to search likewise for a smooth piece of brass inclosed in one of the stones. That, said she, is the lock, which opens with a spring, of which I know the secret. If we can find that, I may escape—if not, alas! courteous stranger, I fear, I shall have involved you in my misfortunes: Manfred will suspect you for the accomplice of my flight, and you will fall a victim to his resentment. I value not my life, said the stranger, and it will be some comfort to lose it, in trying to deliver you from his tyranny. Generous youth, said Isabella, how shall I ever requite— as she uttered those words, a ray of moonshine streaming through a cranny of the ruin above shone directly on the lock they sought—Oh! transport! said Isabella, here is the trap-door! and taking out a key, she touched the spring, which starting aside, discovered an iron ring. Lift up the door, said the Princess. The stranger obeyed; and beneath appeared some stone steps descending into a vault totally dark. We must go down here, said Isabella: Follow me; dark and dismal as it is, we cannot miss our way; it leads directly to the church of St. Nicholas —but perhaps, added the Princess modestly, you have no reason to leave the castle, nor have I farther occasion for your service; in few minutes I shall be safe from Manfred 's rage—only let me know to whom I am so much obliged. I will never quit you, said the stranger eagerly, until I have placed you in safety—nor think me, Princess, more generous than I am; though you are my principal care——the stranger was interrupted by a sudden noise of voices that seemed approaching, and they soon distinguished these words: Talk not to me of necromancers: I tell you she must be in the castle: I will find her in spite of enchantment— Oh! heavens, cried Isabella, it is the voice of Manfred! make haste or we are ruined! and shut the trapdoor after you. Saying this, she descended the steps precipitately, and as the stranger hastened to follow her, he let the door slip out of his hands: it fell, and the spring closed over it. He tried in vain to open it, not having observed Isabella 's method of touching the spring: nor had he many moments to make an essay. The noise of the falling door had been heard by Manfred, who directed by the sound, hastened thither, attended by his servants with torches. It must be Isabella ; cried Manfred before he entered the vault; she is escaping by the subterraneous passage, but she cannot have got far.—What was the astonishment of the Prince, when, instead of Isabella, the light of the torches discovered to him the young peasant, whom he thought consined under the fatal helmet: Traitor! said Manfred, how camest thou here? I thought thee in durance above in the court. I am no traitor, replied the young man boldly, nor am I answerable for your thoughts. Presumptuous villain! cried Manfred, dost thou provoke my wrath? tell me; how hast thou escaped from above? thou hast corrupted thy guards, and their lives shall answer it. My poverty, said the peasant calmly, will disculpate them: Though the ministers of a tyrant's wrath, to thee they are faithful, and but too willing to execute the orders which you unjustly imposed upon them. Art thou so hardy as to dare my vengeance? said the Prince—but tortures shall force the truth from thee. Tell me, I will know thy accomplices. There was my accomplice! said the youth smiling, and pointing to the roof. Manfred ordered the torches to be held up, and perceived that one of the cheeks of the enchanted casque had forced its way through the pavement of the court, as his servants had let it fall over the peasant, and had broken through into the vault, leaving a gap through which the peasant had pressed himself some minutes before he was found by Isabella. Was that the way by which thou didst descend? said Manfred. It was; said the youth. But what noise was that, said Manfred, which I heard as I entered the cloyster? a door clapped: said the peasant; I heard it as well as you. What door? said Manfred hastily. I am not acquainted with your castle; said the peasant; this is the first time I ever entered it; and this vault the only part of it within which I ever was. But I tell thee, said Manfred [wishing to find out if the youth had discovered the trap-door] it was this way I heard the noise: My servants heard it too— my Lord, interrupted one of them officiously, to be sure it was the trap-door, and he was going to make his escape. Peace! blockhead, said the Prince angrily; if he was going to escape, how should he come on this side? I will know from his own mouth what noise it was I heard. Tell me truly; thy life depends on thy veracity. My veracity is dearer to me than my life; said the peasant; nor would I purchase the one by forfeiting the other. Indeed! young philosopher! said Manfred contemptuously; tell me then, what was the noise I heard? Ask me what I can answer, said he, and put me to death instantly if I tell you a lie. Manfred growing impatient at the steady valour and indifference of the youth, cried, Well then, thou man of truth! answer; was it the fall of the trap-door that I heard? It was; said the youth. It was! said the Prince; and how didst thou come to know there was a trap-door here? I saw the plate of brass by a gleam of moonshine; replied he. But what told thee it was a lock? said Manfred ; How didst thou discover the secret of opening it? Providence, that delivered me from the helmet, was able to direct me to the spring of a lock; said he. Providence should have gone a little farther, and have placed thee out of the reach of my resentment, said Manfred: When Providence had taught thee to open the lock, it abandoned thee for a fool, who did not know how to make use of its favours. Why didst thou not pursue the path pointed out for thy escape? Why didst thou shut the trap-door before thou hadst descended the steps? I might ask you, my Lord, said the peasant, how I, totally unacquainted with your castle, was to know that those steps led to any outlet? but I scorn to evade your questions. Wherever those steps lead to, perhaps I should have explored the way—I could not be in a worse situation than I was. But the truth is, I let the trap-door fall: Your immediate arrival followed. I had given the alarm— what imported it to me whether I was seized a minute sooner or a minute later? Thou art a resolute villain for thy years; said Manfred — yet on reflection I suspect thou dost but trifle with me: Thou hast not yet told me how thou didst open the lock. That I will show you, my Lord; said the Peasant, and taking up a fragment of stone that had fallen from above, he laid himself on the trap-door, and began to beat on the piece of brass that covered it; meaning to gain time for the escape of the Princess. This presence of mind, joined to the frankness of the youth, staggered Manfred. He even felt a disposition towards pardoning one who had been guilty of no crime. Manfred was not one of those savage tyrants who wanton in cruelty unprovoked. The circumstances of his fortune had given an asperity to his temper, which was naturally humane; and his virtues were always ready to operate, when his passions did not obscure his reason.

While the Prince was in this suspence, a confused noise of voices ecchoed through the distant vaults. As the sound approached, he distinguished the clamours of some of his domestics, whom he had dispersed through the castle in search of Isabella, calling out, where is my Lord? where is the Prince? Here I am; said Manfred, as they came nearer; have you found the Princess? the first that arrived, replied, oh! my Lord! I am glad we have found you— found me! said Manfred ; have you found the Princess! We thought we had, my Lord, said the fellow, looking terrified—but— but what? cried the Prince; has she escaped? Jaquez and I, my Lord— yes, I and Diego, interrupted the second, who came up in still greater consternation— speak one of you at a time, said Manfred ; I ask you where is the Princess? We do not know; said they both together; but we are frightened out of our wits— so I think, blockheads, said Manfred ; what is it has scared you thus?—oh! my Lord, said Jaquez, Diego has seen such a sight! your Highness would not believe our eyes— what new absurdity is this! cried Manfred —give me a direct answer, or by heav'n— why, my Lord, if it please your Highness to hear me, said the poor fellow; Diego and I —yes I and Jaquez, cried his comrade —did not I forbid you to speak both at a time? said the Prince: You, Jaquez, answer; for the other fool seems more distracted than thou art: What is the matter? my gracious Lord, said Jaquez, if it please your Highness to hear me; Diego and I according to your Highness's orders went to search for the young Lady; but being comprehensive that we might meet the ghost of my young Lord, your Highness's son, God rest his soul, as he has not received christian burial— sot! cried Manfred in a rage, is it only a ghost then that thou hast seen? oh! worse! worse! my Lord, cried Diego: I had rather have seen ten whole ghosts— grant me patience! said Manfred ; these blockheads distract me—out of my sight, Diego! and thou, Jaquez, tell me in one word, art thou sober? art thou raving? thou wast wont to have some sense: has the other sot frightened himself and thee too! speak; what is it he fancies he has seen? Why, my Lord, replied Jaquez trembling, I was going to tell your Highness, that since the calamitous misfortune of my young Lord, God rest his precious soul! not one of us your Highness's faithful servants, indeed we are, my Lord, though poor men; I say, not one of us has dared to set a soot about the castle, but two together: So Diego and I, thinking that my young Lady might be in the great gallery, went up there to look for her, and tell her your Highness wanted something to impart to her— O blundering fools! cried Manfred: And in the mean time she has made her escape, because you were afraid of goblins!—Why, thou knave! she left me in the gallery; I came from thence myself. For all that, she may be there still for ought I know; said Jaquez ; but the devil shall have me before I seek her there again! —poor Diego! I do not believe he will ever recover it! recover what? said Manfred ; am I never to learn what it is has terrified these rascals?—but I lose my time; follow me slave; I will see if she is in the gallery —for heaven's sake, my dear good Lord, cried Jaquez, do not go to the gallery! Satan himself I believe is in the great chamber next to the gallery — Manfred, who hitherto had treated the terror of his servants as an idle panic, was struck at this new circumstance. He recollected the apparition of the portrait, and the sudden closing of the door at the end of the gallery—his voice faltered, and he asked with disorder, what is in the great chamber? my Lord, said Jaquez, when Diego and I came into the gallery, he went first, for he said he had more courage than I. So when we came into the gallery, we found nobody. We looked under every bench and stool; and still we found nobody— were all the pictures in their places? said Manfred. Yes, my Lord, answered Jaquez ; but we did not think of looking behind them— well, well! said Manfred, proceed. When we came to the door of the great chamber, continued Jaquez, we found it shut— and could not you open it? said Manfred. Oh! yes, my Lord, would to heaven we had not! replied he—nay, it was not I neither, it was Diego: he was grown fool-hardy, and would go on, though I advised him not—if ever I open a door that is shut again— trifle not, said Manfred shuddering, but tell me what you saw in the great chamber on opening the door— I! my Lord! said Jaquez, I saw nothing; I was behind Diego ;—but I heard the noise— Jaquez, said Manfred in a solemn tone of voice; tell me I adjure thee by the souls of my ancestors, what was it thou sawest? what was it thou heardst? It was Diego saw it, my Lord, it was not I; replied Jaquez ; I only heard the noise. Diego had no sooner opened the door, than he cried out, and ran back—I ran back too, and said, is it the ghost? the ghost! no, no, said Diego, and his hair stood an end—it is a giant I believe; he is all clad in armour, for I saw his foot and part of his leg, and they are as large as the helmet below in the court. As he said these words, my Lord, we heard a violent motion and the ratling of armour, as if the giant was rising, for Diego has told me since, that he believes the giant was lying down, for the foot and leg were stretched at length on the floor. Before we could get to the end of the gallery, we heard the door of the great chamber clap behind us, but we did not dare turn back to see if the giant was following us—yet now I think on it, we must have heard him if he had pursued us—but for heaven's sake, good my Lord, send for the chaplain and have the castle exorcised, for, for certain, it is enchanted. Ay, pray do, my Lord, cried all the servants at once, or we must leave your Highness's service— peace! dotards; said Manfred, and follow me; I will know what all this means. We! my Lord! cried they with one voice, we would not go up to the gallery for your Highness's revenue. The young peasant, who had stood silent, now spoke. Will your Highness, said he, permit me to try this adventure? my life is of consequence to nobody: I fear no bad angel, and have offended no good one. Your behaviour is above your seeming; said Manfred, viewing him with surprise and admiration—hereafter I will reward your bravery—but now, continued he with a sigh, I am so circumstanced, that I dare trust no eyes but my own—however, I give you leave to accompany me.

Manfred, when he first followed Isabella from the gallery, had gone directly to the apartment of his wife, concluding the Princess had retired thither. Hippolita, who knew his step, rose with anxious fondness to meet her Lord, who she had not seen since the death of their son. She would have flown in a transport mixed of joy and grief to his bosom, but the pushed her rudely off, and said, Where is Isabella? Isabella! My Lord! said the astonished Hippolita. Yes; Isabella ; cried Manfred imperiously; I want Isabella. My Lord, replied Matilda, who perceived how much his behaviour had shocked her mother, she has not been with us since your Highness summoned her to your apartment. Tell me where she is; said the Prince; I do not want to know where she has been. My good Lord, said Hippolita, your daughter tells you the truth: Isabella left us by your command, and has not returned since;—but, my good Lord, compose yourself: Retire to your rest: This dismal day has disordered you. Isabella shall wait your orders in the morning. What then, you know where she is! cried Manfred: Tell me directly, for I will not lose an instant—and you, woman, speaking to his wife, order your chaplain to attend me forthwith. Isabella, said Hippolita calmly, is retired, I suppose to her chamber: She is not accustomed to watch at this late hour. Gracious my Lord, continued she, let me know what has disturbed you: Has Isabella offended you? Trouble me not with questions, said Manfred, but tell me where she is. Matilda shall call her, said the Princess—Sit down, my Lord, and resume your wonted fortitude. —What, art thou jealous of Isabella, replied he, that you wish to be present at our interview? Good heavens! my Lord, said Hippolita, what is it your Highness means? Thou wilt know ere many minutes are passed; said the cruel Prince. Send your chaplain to me, and wait my pleasure here. At these words he flung out of the room in search of Isabella ; leaving the amazed Ladies thunder-struck with his words and frantic deportment, and lost in vain conjectures on what he was meditating.

Manfred was now returning from the vault, attended by the peasant and a few of his servants whom he had obliged to accompany him. He ascended the stair-case without stopping till he arrived at the gallery, at the door of which he met Hippolita and her chaplain. When Diego had been dismissed by Manfred, he had gone directly to the Princess's apartment with the alarm of what he had seen. That excellent Lady, who no more than Manfred, doubted of the reality of the vision, yet affected to treat it as a delirium of the servant. Willing, however, to save her Lord from any additional shock, and prepared by a series of grief not to tremble at any accession to it; she determined to make herself the first sacrifice, if fate had marked the present hour for their destruction. Dismissing the reluctant Matilda to her rest, who in vain sued for leave to accompany her mother, and attended only by her chaplain, Hippolita had visited the gallery and great chamber; and now with more serenity of soul than she had felt for many hours, she met her Lord, and assured him that the vision of the gigantic leg and foot was all a fable; and no doubt an impression made by fear, and the dark and dismal hour of the night on the minds of his servants. She and the chaplain had examined the chamber, and found every thing in the usual order.

Manfred, though persuaded, like his wife, that the vision had been no work of fancy, recovered a little from the tempest of mind into which so many strange events had thrown him. Ashamed too of his inhuman treatment of a Princess, who returned every injury with new marks of tenderness and duty; he felt returning love forcing itself into his eyes—but not less ashamed of seeling remorse towards one, against whom he was inwardly meditating a yet more bitter outrage; he curbed the yearnings of his heart, and did not dare to lean even towards pity. The next transition of his soul was to exquisite villainy. Presuming on the unshaken submission of Hippolita, He flattered himself that she wou'd not only acquiesce with patience to a divorce, but would obey if it was his pleasure, in endeavouring to persuade Isabella to give him her hand —but e'er he could indulge this horrid hope, he reflected that Isabella was not to be found. Coming to himself, he gave orders that every avenue to the castle should be strictly guarded, and charged his domestics on pain of their lives to suffer nobody to pass out. The young peasant, to whom he spoke favourably, he ordered to remain in a small chamber on the stairs, in which there was a pallet-bed, and the key of which he took away himself, telling the youth he would talk with him in the morning. Then dismissing his attendants, and bestowing a sullen kind of half-nod on Hippolita, he retired to his own chamber.

CHAP. II.

Matilda, who by Hippolita 's order, had retired to her apartment, was ill-disposed to take any rest. The shocking fate of her brother had deeply affected her. She was surprized at not seeing Isabella: But the strange words which had fallen from her father, and his obscure menace to the Princess his wife, accompanied by the most furious behaviour, had filled her gentle mind with terror and alarm. She waited anxiously for the return of Bianca, a young damsel that attended her, whom she had sent to learn what was become of Isabella. Bianca soon appeared and informed her mistress of what she had gathered from the servants, that Isabella was no where to be found. She related the adventure of the young peasant, who had been discovered in the vault, tho' with many simple additions from the incoherent accounts of the domestics; and she dwelled principally on the gigantic leg and foot which had been seen in the gallery-chamber. This last circumstance had terrified Bianca so much, that she was rejoiced when Matilda told her that she would not go to rest, but would watch till the Princess should rise.

The young Princess wearied herself in conjectures on the flight of Isabella, and on the threats of Manfred to her mother. But what business could he have so urgent with the chaplain? said Matilda. Does he intend to have my brother's body interred privately in the chapel? Oh! Madam, said Bianca, now I guess. As you are become his heiress, he is impatient to have you married: He has always been raving for more sons; I warrant he is now impatient for grandsons. As sure as I live, Madam, I shall see you a bride at last—Good Madam, you won't cast off your faithful Bianca: You wont put Donna Rosara over me, now you are a great Princess. My poor Bianca, said Matilda, how fast your thoughts amble! I a great Princess! What hast thou seen in Manfred 's behaviour since my brother's death that bespeaks any in crease of tenderness to me? No, Bianca ; his heart was ever a stranger to me—but he is my father, and I must not complain. Nay, if heaven shuts my father's heart against me, it overpays my little merit in the tenderness of my mother —O that dear mother! yes, Bianca, 'tis there I feel the rugged temper of Manfred. I can support his harshness to me with patience; but it wounds my soul when I am witness to his causeless severity towards her. Oh! Madam, said Bianca, all men use their wives so, when they are weary of them —and yet you congratulated me but now, said Matilda, when you fancied my father intended to dispose of me. I would have you a great Lady, replied Bianca, come what will. I do not wish to see you moped in a convent, as you would be if you had your will, and if my Lady, your mother, who knows that a bad husband is better than no husband at all, did not hinder you—bless me! what noise is that! St. Nicholas forgive me! I was but in jest. It is the wind, said Matilda, whistling through the battlements in the tower above: You have heard it a thousand times. Nay, said Bianca, there was no harm neither in what I said: It is no sin to talk of matrimony—and so, Madam, as I was saying; if my Lord Manfred should offer you a handsome young Prince for a bridegroom, you would drop him a curtsy, and tell him you had rather take the veil. Thank heaven! I am in no such danger, said Matilda: You know how many proposals for me he has rejected— and you thank him, like a dutiful daughter, do you, Madam?—but come, Madam; suppose, to-morrow morning he was to send for you to the great council chamber, and there you should find at his elbow a lovely young Prince, with large black eyes, a smooth white forehead, and manly curling locks like jet; in short, Madam, a young Hero resembling the picture of the good Alfonso in the gallery, which you sit and gaze at for hours together— do not speak lightly of that picture, interrupted Matilda sighing: I know the adoration with which I look at that picture is uncommon —but I am not in love with a coloured pannel. The character of that virtuous Prince, the veneration with which my mother has inspired me for his memory, the orisons which I know not why she has enjoined me to pour forth at his tomb, all have concurred to persuade me that some how or other my destiny is linked with something relating to him— Lord! Madam, how should that be? said Bianca: I have always heard that your family was no way related to his: And I am sure I cannot conceive why my Lady, the Princess, sends you in a cold morning or a damp evening to pray at his tomb: He is no Saint by the Almanack. If you must pray, why does not she bid you address yourself to our great St. Nicholas? I am sure he is the Saint I pray to for a husband. Perhaps my mind would be less affected, said Matilda, if my mother would explain her reasons to me: But it is the mystery she observes, that inspires me with this—I know not what to call it. As she never acts from caprice, I am sure there is some fatal secret at bottom—nay, I know there is: In her agony of grief for my brother's death she dropped some words that intimated as much —oh! dear Madam, cried Bianca, What were they? No; said Matilda, if a parent lets fall a word, and wishes it recalled, it is not for a child to utter it. What! was she sorry for what she had said? asked Bianca. —I am sure, Madam, you may trust me —with my own little secrets, when I have any, I may; said Matilda ; but never with my mother's: A child ought to have no ears or eyes, but as a parent directs. Well! to be sure, Madam, you was born to be a saint, said Bianca, and there is no resisting one's vocation: You will end in a convent at last. But there is my Lady Isabella would not be so reserved to me: She will let me talk to her of young men; and when a handsome cavalier has come to the castle, she had owned to me that she wished your brother Conrad resembled him. Bianca, said the Princess, I do not allow you to mention my friend disrespectfully. Isabella is of a chearful disposition, but her soul is pure as virtue itself. She knows your idle babling humour, and perhaps has now and then encouraged it, to divert melancholy, and enliven the solitude in which my father keeps us— Blessed Mary! said Bianca starting, there it is again!—dear Madam, Do you hear nothing?—this castle is certainly haunted! —peace! said Matilda, and listen! I did think I heard a voice—but it must be fancy; your terrors, I suppose, have infected me. In deed! indeed! Madam, said Bianca, half-weeping with agony, I am sure I heard a voice. Does any body lie in the chamber beneath? said the Princess. Nobody has dared to lie there, answered Bianca, since the great astrologer that was your brother's tutor, drowned himself. For certain, Madam, his ghost and the young Prince's are now met in the chamber below—for heaven's sake let us fly to your mother's apartment! I charge you not to stir; said Matilda. If they are spirits in pain, we may ease their sufferings by questioning them. They can mean no hurt to us, for we have not injured them—and if they should, shall we be more safe in one chamber than in another? Reach me my beads; we will say a prayer, and then speak to them. Oh! dear Lady, I would not speak to a ghost for the world; cried Bianca —as she said those words, they heard the casement of the little chamber below Matilda 's open. They listened attentively, and in few minutes thought they heard a person sing, but could not distinguish the words. This can be no evil spirit; said the Princess in a low voice: It is undoubtedly one of the family— open the window, and we shall know the voice. I dare not indeed, Madam; said Bianca. Thou art a very fool; said Matilda, opening the window gently herself. The noise the Princess made was however heard by the person beneath, who stopped; and they concluded had heard the casement open. Is any body below? said the Princess: If there is, speak. Yes; said an unknown voice. Who is it? said Matilda. A stranger; replied the voice. What stranger? said she; and how didst thou come there at this unusual hour, when all the gates of the castle are locked? I am not here willingly: Answered the voice—but pardon me, Lady, if I have disturbed your rest: I knew not that I was overheard. Sleep had forsaken me: I left a restless couch, and came to waste the irksome hours with gazing on the fair approach of morning, impatient to be dismissed from this castle. Thy words and accents, said Matilda, are of a melancholy cast: If thou art unhappy, I pity thee. If poverty afflicts thee, let me know it: I will mention thee to the Princess, whose beneficent soul ever melts for the distressed; and she will relieve thee. I am indeed unhappy, said the stranger; and I know what wealth is: But I do not complain of the lot which heaven has cast for me: I am young and healthy, and am not ashamed of owing my support to myself—yet think me not proud, or that I disdain your generous offers. I will remember you in my orisons, and will pray for blessings on your gracious self and your noble mistress—if I sigh, Lady, it is for others, not for myself. Now I have it, Madam; said Bianca, whispering the Princess. This is certainly the young peasant; and by my conscience he is in love—Well! this is a charming adventure! —do, Madam, let us sift him. He does not know you, but takes you for one of my Lady Hippolita 's women. Art thou not ashamed, Bianca! said the Princess: What right have we to pry into the secrets of this young man's heart? he seems virtuous and frank, and tells us he is unhappy: Are those circumstances that authorize us to make a property of him? how are we intitled to his confidence? Lord! Madam, how little you know of love! replied Bianca: Why lovers have no pleasure equal to talking of their mistress. And would you have me become a peasant's confident? said the Princess. Well then, let me talk to him: Said Bianca: Though I have the honour of being your Highness's maid of honour, I was not always so great: Besides, if love levels ranks, it raises them too: I have a respect for any young man in love— peace! simpleton; said the Princess. Though he said he was unhappy, it does not follow that he must be in love. Think of all that has happened to-day, and tell me if there are no misfortunes but what love causes. Stranger, resumed the Princess, if thy misfortunes have not been occasioned by thy own fault, and are within the compass of the Princess Hippolita 's power to redress, I will take upon me to answer that she will be thy protectress. When thou art dismissed from this castle, repair to holy fa ther Jerome at the convent adjoining to the church of St. Nicholas, and make thy story known to him, as far as thou thinkest meet: He will not fail to inform the Princess, who is the mother of all that want her assistance. Farewel: It is not seemly for me to hold farther converse with a man at this unwonted hour. May the Saints guard thee, gracious Lady! replied the peasant—but oh! if a poor and worthless stranger might presume to beg a minute's audience farther—am I so happy?—the casement is not shut—might I venture to ask— speak quickly; said Matilda ; the morning dawns a pace: Should the labourers come into the fields and perceive us— What wouldst thou ask?— I know not how—I know not if I dare—said the young stranger faltering—yet the humanity with which you have spoken to me emboldens —Lady! dare I trust you? —Heavens! said Matilda, What dost thou mean? with what wouldst thou trust me?—speak boldly, if thy secret is fit to be entrusted to a virtuous breast —I would ask, said the Peasant, recollecting himself, whether what I have heard from the domestics is true, that the Princess is missing from the castle? What imports it to thee to know? replied Matilda. Thy first words bespoke a prudent and becoming gravity. Dost thou come hither to pry into the secrets of Manfred? —Adieu. I have been mistaken in thee. Say ing these words, she shut the casement hastily, without giving the young man time to reply. I had acted more wisely, said the Princess to Bianca with some sharpness, if I had let thee converse with this peasant: His inquisitiveness seems of a piece with thy own. It is not fit for me to argue with your Highness, replied Bianca ; but perhaps the questions I should have put to him, would have been more to the purpose, than those you have been pleased to ask him. Oh! no doubt; said Matilda ; you are a very discreet personage! may I know what you would have asked him? A by-stander often sees more of the game than those that play: answered Bianca. Does your Highness think, Madam, that his question about my Lady Isabella was the result of mere curiosity? No, no, Madam; there is more in it than you great folks are aware of. Lopez told me that all the servants believe this young fellow contrived my Lady Isabella 's escape—now, pray, Madam, observe—you and I both know that my Lady Isabella never much fancied the Prince your brother —Well! he is killed just in the critical minute—I accuse nobody. A helmet falls from the moon—so, my Lord, your father says; but Lopez and all the servants say that this young spark is a magician, and stole it from Alfonso's tomb— have done with this rhapsody of impertinence, said Matilda. Nay, Madam, as you please; cried Bianca —yet it is very particular tho', that my Lady Isabella should be missing the very same day, and that this young sorcerer should be found at the mouth of the trap-door —I accuse nobody—but if my young Lord came honestly by his death— Dare not on thy duty, said Matilda, to breathe a suspicion on the purity of my dear Isabella 's fame— purity, or not purity, said Bianca, gone she is—a stranger is found that nobody knows: You question him yourself: He tells you he is in love, or unhappy, it is the same thing—nay; he owned he was unhappy about others; and is any body unhappy about another, unless they are in love with them? and at the very next word, he asks innocently, poor soul! if my Lady Isabella is missing— to be sure, said Matilda, thy observations are not totally without foundation— Isabella 's flight amazes me: The curiosity of this stranger is very particular—yet Isabella never concealed a thought from me— so she told you, said Bianca, to fish out your secrets—but who knows, Madam, but this stranger may be some Prince in disguise?—do, Madam, let me open the window, and ask him a few questions. No, replied, Matilda, I will ask him myself, if he knows aught of Isabella: He is not worthy that I should converse farther with him. She was going to open the casement, when they heard the bell ring at the postern-gate of the castle, which is on the right-hand of the tower, where Matilda lay. This prevented the Princess from renewing the conversation with the stranger.

After continuing silent for some time; I am persuaded, said she to Bianca, that whatever be the cause of Isabella 's flight, it had no unworthy motive. If this stranger was accessary to it, she must be satisfied of his fidelity and worth. I observed, did not you, Bianca? that his words were tinctured with an uncommon effusion of piety. It was no ruffian's speech: His phrases were becoming a man of gentle birth. I told you, Madam, said Bianca, that I was sure he was some Prince in disguise— yet, said Matilda, if he was privy to her escape, how will you account for his not accompanying her in her flight? why expose himself unnecessarily and rashly to my Father's resentment? As for that, Madam, replied she, if he could get from under the helmet, he will find ways of eluding your Father's anger. I do not doubt but he has some talisman or other about him— You resolve every thing into magic; said Matilda —but a man, who has any intercourse with infernal spirits, does not dare to make use of those tremendous and holy words, which he uttered. Didst thou not observe with what fervour he vowed to remember me to heaven in his prayers?—yes; Isabella was cindoubtedly convinced of his piety. Commend me to the piety of a young fellow and a damsel that consult to elope! said Bianca. No, no, Madam; my Lady Isabella is of another guess mould than you take her for. She used indeed to sigh and lift up her eyes in your company, because she knows you are a Saint—but when your back was turned— You wrong her; said Matilda : Isabella is no hypocrite: She has a due sense of devotion, but never affected a call she has not. On the contrary, she always com bated my inclination for the cloyster: And though I own the mystery she has made to me of her flight, confounds me; though it seems inconsistent with the friendship between us; I cannot forget the disinterested warmth with which she always opposed my taking the veil: she wished to see me married, though my dower would have been a loss to her and my brother's children. For her sake I will believe well of this young peasant. Then you do think there is some liking between them; said Bianca —While she was speaking, a servant came hastily into the chamber and told the Princess, that the Lady Isabella was found. Where? said Matilda. She has taken sanctuary in St. Nicholas's church; replied the servant: Father Jerome has brought the news himself: he is below with his Highness. Where is my Mother! said Matilda. She is in her own chamber, Madam, and has asked for you.

Manfred had risen at the first dawn of light, and gone to Hippolita 's apartment, to inquire if she knew ought of Isabella. While he was questioning her, word was brought that Jerome demanded to speak with him. Manfred, little suspecting the cause of the Friar's arrival, and knowing he was employed by Hippolita in her charities, ordered him to be admitted, intending to leave them together, while he pursued his search after Isabella. Is your business with me or the Princess? said Manfred. With both. Replied the holy man. The Lady Isabella — what of her! interrupted Manfred eagerly— is at St. Nicholas's altar, replied Jerome. That is no business of Hippolita ; said Manfred with confusion. Let us retire to my chamber, Father; and inform me how she came thither. No; my Lord; replied the good man with an air of firmness and authority, that daunted even the resolute Manfred, who could not help revering the saint-like virtues of Jerome: My commission is to both; and with your Highness's good-liking, in the presence of both I shall deliver it—but first, my Lord, I must interrogate the Princess, whether she is acquainted with the cause of the Lady Isabella 's retirement from your castle—no, on my soul; said Hippolita: does Isabella charge me with being privy to it?—Father, interrupted Manfred, I pay due reverence to your holy profession; but I am sovereign here, and will allow no meddling priest to interfore in the affairs of my domestic. If you have ought to say, attend me to my chamber—I do not use to let my Wife be acquainted with the secret affairs of my State; they are not within a woman's province. My Lord, said the holy man, I am no intruder into the secrets of families. My office is to promote peace, to heal divisions, to preach repentance, and teach mankind to curb their headstrong passions. I forgive your Highness's uncharitable apostrophe: I know my duty, and am the minister of a mightier prince than Manfred. Hearken to him who speaks through my organs. Manfred trembled with rage and shame Hippolita 's countenance declared her astonishment and impatience to know where this would end: her silence more strongly spoke her observance of Manfred.

The Lady Isabella, resumed Jerome, commends herself to both your Highnesses; she thanks both for the kindness with which she has been treated in your castle: She deplores the loss of your son, and her own misfortune in not becoming the daughter of such wise and noble Princes, whom she shall always respect as Pa rents ; she prays for uninterrupted union and felicity between you: [Manfred 's colour changed] but as it is no longer possible for her to be allied to you, she intreats your consent to remain in sanctuary, till she can learn news of her father, or, by the certainty of his death, be at liberty, with the approbation of her guardians, to dispose of herself in suitable marriage. I shall give no such consent; said the Prince, but insist on her return to the castle without delay: I am answerable for her person to her guardians and will not brook her being in any hands but my own. Your Highness will recollect whether that can any longer be proper: replied the Friar. I want no monitor, said Manfred colouring. Isabella 's conduct leaves room for strange suspicions— and that young villain, who was at least the accomplice of her flight, if not the cause of it—the cause! interrupted Jerome ; was a young man the cause! This is not to be borne! cried Manfred. Am I to be bearded in my own palace by an Insolent Monk! thou art privy I guess, to their amours. I would pray to heaven to clear up your uncharitable surmizes, said Jerome, if your Highness were not satisfied in your conscience how unjustly you accuse me. I do pray to heaven to pardon that uncharitableness: And I implore your Highness to leave the Princess at peace in that holy place, where she is not liable to be disturbed by such vain and worldly fantasies as discourses of love from any man. Cant not to me, said Manfred, but return and bring the Princess to her duty. It is my duty to prevent her return hither; said Jerome. She is where orphans and virgins are safest from the snares and wiles of this world; and nothing but a parent's authority shall take her thence. I am her parent, cried Manfred, and demand her. She wished to have you for her parent; said the Friar: But heaven that forbad that connection, has for ever dissolved all ties betwixt you: And I announce to your Highness —stop! audacious man, said Manfred, and dread my displeasure. Holy father, said Hippolita, it is your office to be no respecter of persons: you must speak as your duty prescribes: But it is my duty to hear nothing that it pleases not my Lord I should hear. Attend the Prince to his chamber. I will retire to my oratory, and pray to the blessed virgin to inspire you with her holy councils, and to restore the heart of my gracious Lord to its wonted peace and gentleness. Excellent woman! said the Friar— my Lord, I attend your pleasure.

Manfred, accompanied by the Friar, passed to his own apartment, where shutting the door, I perceive, father, said he, that Isabella has acquainted you with my purpose. Now hear my resolve, and obey. Reasons of state, most urgent reasons, my own and the safety of my people, demand that I should have a son. It is in vain to expect an heir from Hippolita. I have made choice of Isabella. You must bring her back; and you must do more. I know the influence you have with Hippolita: her conscience is in your hands. She is, I allow, a faultless woman: Her soul is set on heaven, and scorns the little grandeur of this world: you can withdraw her from it intirely. Persuade her to consent to the dissolution of our marriage, and to retire into a monastery—she shall endow one if she will; and she shall have the means of being as liberal to your order as she or you can wish. Thus you will divert the calamities that are hanging over our heads, and have the merit of saving the principality of Otranto from destruction. You are a prudent man, and though the warmth of my temper betrayed me into some unbecoming expressions, I honour your virtue, and wish to be indebted to you for the repose of my life and the preservation of my family.

The will of heaven be done! said the Friar. I am but its worthless instrument. It makes use of my tongue, to tell thee, Prince, of thy unwarrantable designs. The injuries of the virtuous Hippolita have mounted to the throne of pity. By me thou art reprimanded for thy adulterous intention of repudiating her: By me thou art warned not to pursue the incestuous design on thy contracted daughter. Heaven that delivered her from thy fury, when the judgments so recently fallen on thy house ought to have inspired thee with other thoughts, will continue to watch over her. Even I, a poor and despised Friar, am able to protect her from thy violence —I, sinner as I am, and uncharitably reviled by your Highness, as an accomplice of I know not what amours, scorn the allurements with which it has pleased thee to tempt mine honesty. I love my order; I honour devout souls; I respect the piety of thy Princess—but I will not betray the confidence she reposes in me, nor serve even the cause of religion by soul and sinful compliances—but for sooth! the welfare of the state depends on your Highness having a son. Heaven mocks the short-sighted views of man. But yester-morn, whose house was so great, so flourishing as Manfred 's?— where is young Conrad now!—my Lord, I respect your tears—but I mean not to check them—let them slow, Prince! they will weigh more with heaven towards the welfare of thy subjects, than a marriage, which, founded on lust or policy, could never prosper. The scepter, which passed from the race of Alfonso to thine, cannot be preserved by a match which the church will never allow. If it is the will of the most High that Manfred 's name must perish; resign yourself, my Lord, to its decrees; and thus deserve a crown that can never pass away— come, my Lord; I like this sorrow—let us return to the Princess: She is not apprised of your cruel intentions; nor did I mean more than to alarm you. You saw with what gentle patience, with what efforts of love, she heard, she rejected hearing the extent of your guilt. I know she longs to fold you in her arms, and assure you of her unalterable affection. Father, said the Prince, you mistake my compunction: true; I honour Hippolito's virtues; I think her a Saint; and wish it were for my soul's health to tie faster the knot that has united us—but alas! Father, you know not the bitterest of my pangs! it is some time that I have had scruples on the legality of our union: Hippolita is related to me in the fourth degree—it is true, we had a dispensation: But I have been informed that she had also been contracted to another. This it is that sits heavy at my heart: To this state of unlawful wedlock I impute the visitation that has fallen on me in the death of Conrad! — ease my conscience of this burden: dissolve our marriage, and accomplish the work of godliness which your divine exhortations have commenced in my soul.

How cutting was the anguish which the good man felt, when he perceived this turn in the wily Prince! He trembled for Hippolita, whose ruin he saw was determined; and he feared if Manfred had no hope of recovering Isabella, that his impatience for a son would direct him to some other object, who might not be equally proof against the temptation of Manfred 's rank. For some time the holy man remained absorbed in thought. At length, conceiving some hope from delay, he thought the wisest conduct would be to prevent the Prince from despairing of recovering Isabelia. Her the Friar knew he could dispose, from her affection to Hippolita, and from the aversion she had expressed to him for Manfred 's addresses, to second his views, till the censures of the church could be fulminated against a divorce. With this intention, as if struck with the Prince's scruples, he at length said; my Lord, I have been pondering on what your Highness has said; and if in truth it is delicacy of conscience that is the real motive of your repugnance to your virtuous Lady, far be it from me to endeavour to harden your heart. The church is an indulgent mother: unfold your griefs to her: she alone can administer comfort to your soul, either by satisfying your conscience, or upon examination of your scruples, by setting you at liberty, and indulging you in the lawful means of continuing your lineage. In the latter case, if the Lady Isabella can be brought to consent Manfred, who concluded that he had either over-reached the good man, or that his first warmth had been but a tribute paid to appearance, was overjoyed at this sudden turn, and repeated the most magnificent promises, if he should succeed by the Friar's mediation. The well meaning Priest suffered him to deceive himself, fully determined to traverse his views, instead of seconding them.

Since we now understand one another, resumed the Prince, I expect, Father, that you satisfy me in one point. Who is the youth that I found in the vault? He must have been privy to Isabella 's flight: Tell me truly; is he her lover? or is he an agent for another's passion? I have often suspected Isabella 's Indifference to my son: a thousand circumstances croud on my mind that confirm that suspicion. She herself was so conscious of it, that while I discoursed her in the gallery, she outran my suspicions, and endeavoured to justify herself from coolness to Conrad. The Friar, who knew nothing of the youth, but what he had learnt occasionally from the Princess, ignorant what was become of him, and not sufficiently reflecting on the impetuosity of Manfred 's temper, conceived that it might not be amiss to sow the seeds of jealousy in his mind: they might be turned to some use hereafter, either by prejudicing the Prince against Isabella, if he persisted in that union; or by diverting his attention to a wrong scent, and employing his thoughts on a visionary intrigue, prevent his engaging in any new pursuit. With this unhappy policy, he answered in a manner to confirm Manfied in the belief of some connection between Isabella and the youth. The Prince, whose passions wanted little fuel to throw them into a blaze, sell into a rage at the idea of what the Friar suggested. I will fathom to the bottom of this intrigue; cried he; and quitting Jerome abruptly, with a command to remain there till his return, he hastened to the great hall of the castle, and ordered the peasant to be brought before him.

Thou hardened young impostor! said the Prince, as soon as he saw the youth; what becomes of thy boasted veracity now? it was Providence, was it, and the light of the moon, that discovered the lock of the trap-door to thee? Tell me, audacious boy, who thou art, and how long thou hast been acquainted with the Princess—and take care to answer with less equivocation than thou didst last night, or tortures shall wring the truth from thee. The young man, perceiving that his share in the flight of the Princess was discovered, and concluding that any thing he should say could no longer be of service or detriment to her, replied, I am no impostor, my Lord, nor have I deserved opprobrious language. I answered to every question your Highness put to me last night with the same veracity that I shall speak now: And that will not be from fear of your tortures, but because my soul abhors a falshood. Please to repeat your questions, my Lord; I am ready to give you all the satisfaction in my power. You know my questions, replied the Prince, and only want time to prepare an evasion. Speak directly; who art thou? and how long hast thou been known to the Princess? I am a labourer at the next village; said the peasant; my name is Theodore. The Princess found me in the vault last night: Before that hour I never was in her presence. I may believe as much or as little as I please of this Said Manfred ; but I will hear thy own story, before I examine into the truth of it. Tell me, what reason did the Princess give thee for making her escape? thy life depends on thy answer. She told me, replied Theodore, that she was on the brink of destruction, and that if she could not escape from the castle, she was in danger in a few moments of being made miserable for ever. And on this slight foundation, on a silly girl's report, said Manfred, thou didst hazard my displeasure I fear no man's displeasure, said Theodore, when a woman in distress puts herself under my protection— During this examination, Matilda was going to the apartment of Hippolita. At the upper end of the hall, where Manfred sat, was a boarded gallery with latticed windows, thro' which Matilda and Bianca were to pass. Hearing her father's voice, and seeing the servants assembled round him, she stopped to learn the occasion. The prisoner soon drew her attention: The steady and composed manner in which he answered, and the gallantry of his last reply, which were the first words she heard distinctly interested her in his favour. His person was noble, handsome, and commanding, even in that situation: But his countenance soon engrossed her whole care. Heaven! Bianca, said the Princess softly, do I dream? or is not that youth the exact resemblance of Alfonso's picture in the gallery? She could say no more, for her father's voice grew louder at every word. This bravado, said he, surpasses all thy former insolence. Thou shalt experience the wrath with which thou darest to trifle. Seize him, continued Manfred, and bind him—the first news the Princess hears of her champion shall be, that he has lost his head for her sake. The injustice of which thou art guilty towards me, said Theodore, convinces me that I have done a good deed in delivering the Princess from thy tyranny. May she be happy, whatever be comes of me! This is a Lover! cried Manfred in a rage: A peasant within sight of death is not animated by such sentiments. Tell me, tell me, rash boy, who thou art, or the rack shall force thy secret from thee. Thou hast threatened me with death already, said the youth, for the truth I have told thee: If that is all the encouragement I am to expect for sincerity, I am not tempted to indulge thy vain curiosity farther. Then thou wilt not speak! said Manfred ; I will not replied he. Bear him away into the court-yard: said Manfred ; I will see his head this instant severed from his body— Matilda fainted at hearing those words. Bianca shrieked, and cried, Help! help! the Princess is dead! Manfred started at this ejaculation, and demanded what was the matter! The young peasant, who heard it too, was struck with horror, and asked eagerly the same question; but Manfred ordered him to be hurried into the court, and kept there for execution, till he had informed himself of the cause of Bianca's shrieks. When he learned the meaning, he treated it as a womanish panic, and ordering Matilda to be carried to her apartment, he rushed into the court, and calling for one of his guards, bad Theodore kneel down, and prepare to receive the fatal blow.

The undaunted youth received the bitter sentence with a resignation that touched every heart, but Manfred 's. He wished earnestly to know the meaning of the words he had heard relating to the Princess; but fearing to exasperate the tyrant more against her, he desisted. The only boon he deigned to ask, was, that he might be permitted to have a confessor, and make his peace with heaven. Manfred, who hoped by the confessor's means to come at the youth's history, readily granted his request: and being convinced that Father Jerome was now in his interest, he ordered him to be called and shrieve the prisoner. The holy man, who had little foreseen the catastrophe that his imprudence occasioned, fell on his knees to the Prince, and adjured him in the most solemn manner not to shed innocent blood. He accused himself in the bitterest terms for his indiscretion, endeavoured to disculpate the youth, and left no method untried to soften the tyrant's rage. Manfred, more incensed than appeased by Jerome's intercession, whose retractation now made him suspect he had been imposed upon by both, commanded the friar to do his duty, tell ing him he would not allow the prisoner many minutes for confession. Nor do I ask many, my Lord: Said the unhappy young man. My sins, thank heaven! have not been numerous; nor exceed what might be expected at my years. Dry your tears, good father, and let us dispatch: This is a bad world; nor have I had cause to leave it with regret. Oh! wretched youth! said Jerome ; how canst thou bear the sight of me with patience? I am thy murderer! it is I have brought this dismal hour upon thee! I forgive thee from my soul, said the youth, as I hope heaven will pardon me. Hear my confession, father; and give me thy blessing. How can I prepare thee for thy passage, as I ought? said Jerome. Thou canst not be saved without pardoning thy foes—and canst thou forgive that impious man there! I can; said Theodore ; I do—And does not this touch thee! cruel Prince! said the Friar. I sent for thee to confess him, said Manfred sternly; not to plead for him. Thou didst first incense me against him —his blood be on thy head! It will! it will! said the good man, in an agony of sorrow. Thou and I must never hope to go, where this blessed youth is going! Dispatch! said Manfred: I am no more to be moved by the whining of priests, than by the shrieks of women. What! said the youth; is it possible that my fate could have occasioned what I heard! is the Princess then again in thy power? Thou dost but remember me of thy wrath; said Manfred: Prepare thee, for this moment is thy last. The youth, who felt his indignation rise, and who was touched with the sorrow which he saw he had infused into all the spectators, as well as into the Friar, suppressed his emotions, and putting off his doublet, and unbuttoning his collar, knelt down to his prayers. As he stooped, his shirt slipped down below his shoulder, and discovered the mark of a bloody arrow. Gracious heaven! cried the holy man starting, what do I see! it is my child! my Theodore!

The passions that ensued, must be conceived; they cannot be painted. The tears of the assistants were suspended by wonder, rather than stopped by joy. They seemed to inquire in the eyes of their Lord what they ought to feel. Surprise, doubt, tenderness, respect, suceeded each other in the countenance of the youth. He received with modest submission the effusion of the old man's tears and embraces: Yet afraid of giving a loose to hope, and suspecting from what had passed the inflexibility of Manfred 's temper, he cast a glance towards the Prince, as if to say, canst thou be unmoved at such a scene as this?

Manfred 's heart was capable of being touched. He forgot his anger in his astonishment: Yet his pride forbad his owning himself affected. He even doubted whether this discovery was not a contrivance of the friar to save the youth. What may this mean? said he: How can he be thy son? is it consistent with thy profession or reputed sanctity to avow a peasant's offspring for the fruit of thy irregular amours! Oh! God, said the holy man, dost thou question his being mine? could I feel the anguish I do, if I were not his father? Spare him! good Prince, spare him! and revile me as thou pleasest. Spare him! spare him, cried the attendants, for this good man's sake! Peace! said Manfred sternly: I must know more, ere I am disposed to pardon. A Saint's bastard may be no saint himself. Injurious Lord! said Theodore ; add not insult to cruelty. If I am this venerable man's son, tho' no Prince, as thou art, know, the blood that flows in my vains—yes, said the friar, interrupting him, his blood is noble; nor is he that abject thing, my Lord, you speak him. He is my lawful son; and Sicily can boast of few houses more ancient than that of Falconara — but alas! my Lord, what is blood! what is nobility! We are all reptiles, miserable, sinful creatures. It is piety alone that can distinguish us from the dust whence we sprung, and whither we must return—Truce to your sermon! said Manfred: You forget, you are no longer Friar Jerome, but the Count of Falconara. Let me know your history: You will have time to moralize hereafter, if you should not happen to obtain the grace of that sturdy criminal there. Mother of God! said the Friar, is it possible my Lord can refuse a father the life of his only, his long-lost child! Trample me, my Lord, scorn, afflict me, accept my life for his, but spare my son! Thou canst feel then, said Manfred, what it is to lose an only son!—a little hour ago thou didst preach up resignation to me: My House, if fate so spleased, must perish —but the Counts of Falconara —alas! my Lord, said Jerome, I confess I have offended; but aggravate not an old man's sufferings! I boast not of my family, nor think of such vanities—it is nature that pleads for this boy; it is the memory of the dear woman that bore him—is she Theodore, is she dead?—Her soul has long been with the blessed: Said Theodore. Oh! how? cried Jerome, tell me—No—she is happy! Thou art all my care now!—most dread Lord! will you—will you grant me my poor boy's life? Return to thy convent; answered Manfred ; conduct the Princess hither; obey me in what 〈◊〉 thou knowest; and I promise thee the life of thy son.—Oh! my Lord, said Jerome, is my honesty the price I must pay for this dear youth's safety—for me! cried Theodore: Let me die a thousand deaths, rather than stain thy conscience. What is it the tyrant would exact of thee? is the Princess still safe from his power? protect her, thou venerable old man; and let all the weight of his wrath fall on me. Jerome endeavoured to check the impetuosity of the youth; and ere Manfred could reply, the trampling of horses was heard, and a brazen trumpet, which hung without the gate of the castle, was suddenly sounded. At the same instant the sable plumes on the enchanted helmet, which still remained at the other end of the court, were tempestuously agitated, and nodded thrice, as if bowed by some invisible wearer.

CHAP. III.

Manfred 's heart mis-gave him when he beheld the plumage on the miraculous casque shaken in concert with the sounding of the brazen trumpet. Father! said he to Jerome, whom he now ceased to treat as Count of Falconara, what mean these portents? If I have offended —the plumes were shaken with greater violence than before. Unhappy Prince that I am! cried Manfred —Holy Father! will you not assist me with your prayers? My Lord, replied Jerome, heaven is no doubt displeased with your mockery of its servants. Submit yourself to the church; and cease to persecute her ministers. Dismiss this innocent youth; and learn to respect the holy character I wear: Heaven will not be trifled with: you see— the trumpet sounded again. I acknowledge I 〈◊〉 been too hasty: said Manfred. Father, do you go to the wicket, and demand who is at the gate. Do you grant me the life of Theodore? replied the Friar. I do; said Manfred ; but inquire who is without!

Jerome falling on the neck of his son, discharged a flood of tears, that spoke the fullness of his soul. You promised to go to the gate; said Manfred. I thought replied the Friar, your Highness would excuse my thanking you first in this tribute of my heart. Go, dearest Sir, said Theodore ; obey the Prince: I do not deserve that you should delay his satisfaction for me.

Jerome, inquiring who was without, was answered a Herald. From whom? said he. From the Knight of the gigantic sabre; said the Herald; and I must speak with the usurper of Otranto. Jerome returned to the Prince, and did not fail to repeat the message in the very words it had been uttered. The first sounds struck Manfred with terror; but when he heard himself styled usurper, his rage rekindled, and all his courage revived. Usurper!—insolent villain! cried he, who dares to question my title? retire, Father; this is no business for Monks: I will meet this presumptuous man myself. Go to your convent, and prepare the Princes's return: Your Son shall be a hostage for your fidelity: His life depends on your obedience. Good heaven! my Lord, cried Jerome, your Highness did but this instant freely pardon my child— have you so soon forgot the interposition of heaven? Heaven, replied Manfred, does not send Heralds to question the title of a lawful Prince—I doubt whether it even notifies its will through Friars—but that is your affair, not mine. At present you know my pleasure; and it is not a saucy Herald, that shall save your son, if you do not return with the Princess.

It was in vain for the holy man to reply. Manfred commanded him to be conducted to the postern-gate, and shut out from the castle: And he ordered some of his attendants to carry Theodore to the top of the black tower, and guard him strictly; scarce permitting the Father and son to exchange a hasty embrace at parting. He then withdrew to the hall, and seating himself in princely state, ordered the Herald to be admitted to his presence.

Well! thou insolent! said the Prince, what wouldst thou with me! I come, replied he, to thee, Manfred, usurper of the principality of Otranto, from the renowned and invincible Knight, the Knight of the gigantic sabre: in the name of his Lord, Freaeric Marquis of Vicenza, he demands the Lady Isabella, daughter of that Prince, whom thou hast basely and traiterously got into thy power, by bribing her false guardians during his absence: and he requires thee to resign the principality of Otranto, which thou hast usurped from the said Lord Frederic, the nearest of blood to the last rightful Lord Alfonso the good. If thou dost not instantly comply with these just demands, he defies thee to single combat to the last extremity. And so saying, the Herald cast down his warder.

And where is this braggart, who sends thee? said Manfred. At the distance of a league, said the Herald: he comes to make good his Lord's claim against thee, as he is a true Knight and thou an usurper and ravisher.

Injurious as this challenge was, Manfred reflected that it was not his interest to provoke the Marquis. He knew how well-founded the claim of Frederic was; nor was this the first time he had heard of it. Frederic 's ancestors had assumed the style of Princes of Otranto, from the death of Alfonso the good without issue; but Manfred, his Father, and grandfather, had been too powerful for the house of Vicenza to dispossess them. Frederic, a martial and amorous young Prince, had married a beautiful young Lady, of whom he was enamoured, and who had died in childbed of Isabella. Her death affected him so much, that he had taken the cross and gone to the holy land, where he was wounded in an engagement against the infidels, made prisoner, and reported to be dead. When the news reached Manfred 's ears, he bribed the guardians of the Lady Isabella to deliver her up to him as a bride for his son Conrad, by which alliance he had proposed to unite the claims of the two houses. This motive, on Conrad 's death, had cooperated to make him so suddenly resolve on espousing her himself; and the same reflection determined him now to endeavour at obtaining the consent of Frederic to this marriage. A like policy inspired him with the thought of inviting Frederic 's champion into his castle, lest he should be informed of Isbella's flight, which he strictly enjoined his domestics not to disclose to any of the Knight's retinue.

Herald, said Manfred, as soon as he had digested these reflections, return to thy master, and tell him, e'er we liquidate our differences by the sword, Manfred would hold some converse with him. Bid him welcome to my castle, where by my faith, as I am a true Knight, he shall have courteous reception, and full security for himself and followers. If we cannot adjust our quarrel by amicable means, I swear he shall depart in safety, and shall have full satisfaction according to the laws of arms: So help me God and his holy Trinity! the Herald made three obeissances and retired.

During this interview Jerome's mind was agitated by a thousand contrary passions. He trembled for the life of his son, and his first thought was to persuade Isabella to return to the castle. Yet he was scarce less alarmed at the thought of her union with Manfred. He dreaded Hippolita 's unbounded submission to the will of her Lord; and though he did not doubt but he could alarm her piety not to consent to a divorce, if he could get access to her; yet should Manfred discover that the obstruction came from him, it might be equally fatal to Theodore. He was impatient to know whence came the Herald, who with so little management had questioned the title of Manfred: yet he did not dare absent himself from the convent, lest Isabella should leave it, and her flight be imputed to him. He returned disconsolately to the monastery, uncertain on what conduct to resolve. A Monk, who met him in the porch and observed his melancholy air, said, alas! brother, is it then true that we have lost our excellent Princess Hippolita? The holy man started, and cried, what meanest thou, brother! I come this instant from the castle, and left her in perfect health. Martelli, replied the other Friar, passed by the convent but a quarter of an Hour ago on his way from the castle, and reported that her Highness was dead. All our brethren are gone to the chapel to pray for her happy transit to a better life, and willed me to wait thy arrival. They know thy holy attachment to that good Lady, and are anxious for the affliction it will cause in thee—indeed we have all reason to weep; she was a mother to our House—but this life is but a pilgrimage; we must not murmur—we shall all follow her! may our end be like her's! good brother, thou dreamest, said Jerome: I tell thee I come from the castle, and left the Princess well—where is the Lady Isabella? —poor Gentlewoman! replied the Friar; I told her the sad news, and offered her spiritual comfort; I reminded her of the transitory condition of mortality, and advised her to take the veil: I quoted the example of the holy Princess Sanchia of Arragon —thy zeal was laudable, said Jerome impatiently; but at present it was unnecessary: Hippolita is well— at least I trust in the Lord she is; I heard nothing to the contrary—yet methinks, the Prince's earnestness—well, brother, but where is the Lady Isabella? I know not; said the Friar: She wept much, and said she would retire to her chamber. Jerome left his comrade abruptly, and hasted to the Princess, but she was not in her chamber. He inquired of the domestics of the convent, but could learn no news of her. He searched in vain throughout the monastery and the church, and dispatched messengers round the neighbourhood, to get intelligence if she had been seen; but to no purpose. nothing could equal the good man's perplexity. He judged that Isabella, suspecting Manfred of having precipitated his wife's death, had taken the alarm, and withdrawn herself to some more secret place of concealment. This new flight would probably carry the Prince's fury to the height. The report of Hippolita 's death, though it seemed almost incredible, increased his consternation; and though Isabella 's escape bespoke her aversion of Manfred for a husband, Jerome could feel no comfort from it, while it endangered the life of his son. He determined to return to the castle, and made several of his brethren accompany him to attest his innocence to Manfred, and, if necessary, join their intercession with his for Theodore.

The Prince, in the mean time, had passed into the court, and ordered the gates of the castle to be flung open for the reception of the stranger Knight and his train. In a few minutes the cavalcade arrived. First came two harbingers with wands. Next a herald, followed by two pages and two trumpets. Then an hundred foot-guards. These were attended by as many horse. After them fifty footmen, cloathed in scarlet and black, the colours of the Knight. Then a led horse. Two heralds on each side of a gentleman on horseback bearing a banner with the arms of Vicenza and Otranto quarterly —a circumstance that much offended Manfred —but he stifled his resentment. Two more pages. The Knight's confessor telling his beads. Fifty more footmen, clad as before. Two Knights habited in complete armour, their beavors down, comrades to the principal Knight. The squires of the two Knights, carrying their shields and devices. The Knight's own squire. An hundred gentlemen bearing an enormous sword, and seeming to faint under the weight of it. The Knight himself on a chestnut steed, in complete armour, his lance in the rest, his face entirely concealed by his vizor, which was surmounted by a large plume of scarlet and black feathers. Fifty foot-guards with drums and trumpets closed the procession, which wheeled off to the right and left to make room for the principal Knight.

As soon as he approached the gate, he stopped; and the herald advancing, read again the words of the challenge. Manfred 's eyes were fixed on the gigantic sword, and he scarce seemed to attend to the cartel: But his attention was soon diverted by a tempest of wind that rose behind him. He turned and beheld the plumes of the enchanted helmet agitated in the same extraordinary manner as before. It required intrepidity like Manfred 's not to sink under a concur rence of circumstances that seemed to announce his fate. Yet scorning in the presence of strangers to betray the courage he had always manifested, he said boldly, Sir Knight, whoever thou art, I bid thee welcome. If thou art of mortal mould, thy valour shall meet its equal: And, if thou art a true Knight, thou wilt scorn to employ sorcery to carry thy point. Be these omens from heaven or hell, Manfred trusts to the righteousness of his cause and to the aid of St. Nicholas, who has ever protected his house. Alight, Sir Knight, and repose thyself. Tomorrow thou shalt have a fair field; and heaven befriend the juster side!

The Knight made no reply, but dismounting, was conducted by Manfred to the great hall of the castle. As they traversed the court, the Knight stopped to gaze at the miraculous casque; and kneeling down, seemed to pray inwardly for some minutes. Rising, he made a sign to the Prince to lead on. As soon as they entered the hall, Manfred proposed to the stranger to disarm, but the Knight shook his head in token of refusal. Sir Knight, said Manfred, this is not courteous; but by my good faith I will not cross thee; nor shalt thou have cause to complain of the Prince of Otranto. No treachery is designed on my part; I hope none is intended on thine: Here take my gage: [giving him his ring] your friends and you shall enjoy the laws of hospitality. Rest here, until refreshments are brought: I will but give orders for the accommodation of your train, and return to you. The three Knights bowed as accepting his courtesy. Manfred directed the stranger's retinue to be conducted to an adjacent hospital, founded by the Princess Hippolita for the reception of pilgrims. As they made the circuit of the court to return towards the gate, the gigantic sword burst from the supporters, and falling to the ground opposite to the helmet, remained immoveable. Manfred almost hardened to preternatural appearances, surmounted the shock of this new prodigy; and returning to the hall, where by this time the feast was ready, he invited his silent guests to take their places. Manfred, however ill his heart was at ease, endeavoured to inspire the company with mirth. He put several questions to them, but was answered only by signs. They raised their vizors but sufficiently to feed themselves, and that sparingly. Sirs, said the Prince, ye are the first guests I ever treated within these walls, who scorned to hold any intercourse with me: Nor has it oft been customary, I ween, for Princes to hazard their state and dignity against strangers and mutes. You say you come in the name of Frederic of Vicenza: I have ever heard that he was a gallant and courteous Knight; nor would he, I am bold to say, think it beneath him to mix in social converse with a Prince that is his equal, and not unknown by deeds in arms.— Still ye are silent—well! be it as it may— by the laws of hospitality and chivalry ye are masters under this roof: Ye shall do your pleasures —but come, give me a goblet of wine; ye will not refuse to pledge me to the healths of your fair mistresses. The principal Knight sighed and crossed himself, and was rising from the board—Sir Knight, said Manfred, what I said was but in sport: I shall constrain you in nothing: Use your good liking. Since mirth is not your mood, let us be sad. Business may hit your fancies better: Let us withdraw; and hear if what I have to unfold, may be better relished than the vain efforts I have made for your pastime.

Manfred then conducting the three Knights into an inner chamber, shut the door, and inviting them to be seated, began thus, addressing himself to the chief personage.

You come, Sir Knight, as I understand, in the name of the Marquis of Vicenza, to re-demand the Lady Isabella his daughter, who has been contracted in the face of holy church to my son, by the consent of her legal guardians; and to require me to resign my dominions to your Lord, who gives himself for the nearest of blood to Prince Alfonso, whose soul God rest! I shall speak to the latter article of your demands first. You must know, your Lord knows, that I enjoy the principality of Otranto from my father Don Manuel, as he received it from his father Don Ricardo. Alfonso, their predecessor, dying childess in the Holy Land, bequeathed his estates to my grandfather Don Ricardo, in consideration of his faithful services—the stranger shook his head—Sir Knight, said Manfred warmly, Ricardo was a valiant and upright man; he was a pious man, witness his munificent foundation of the adjoining church and two convents. He was peculiarly patronized by St. Nicholas —my grandfather was incapable —I say, Sir, Don Ricardo was incapable—excuse me, your interruption has disordered me. —I venerate the memory of my grandfather— well! Sirs, he held this estate; he held it by his good sword and by the favour of St. Nicholas —so did my father; and so, Sirs, will I, come what come will—but Frederic, your Lord, is nearest in blood—I have consented to put my title to the issue of the sword—does that imply a vitious title?—I might have asked, where is Frederic your Lord? Report speaks him dead in captivity. You say, your actions say, he lives —I question it not—I might, Sirs, I might—but I do not. Other Princes would bid Frederic take his inheritance by force, if he can: They would not stake their dignity on a single combat: They would not submit it to the decision of unknown mutes!—pardon me, Gentlemen, I am too warm: But suppose yourselves in my situation: As ye are stout Knights, would it not move your choler to have your own and the honour of your ancestors called in question?— but to the point. Ye require me to deliver up the Lady Isabella —Sirs, I must ask if ye are authorized to receive her? The Knight nodded. Receive her—continued Manfred ; well! you are authorized to receive her—but, gentle Knight, may I ask if you have full powers? The Knight nodded. 'Tis well: Said Manfred: Then hear what I have to offer—ye see, Gentlemen, before you the most unhappy of men! [he began to weep] afford me your compassion; I am intitled to it: Indeed I am. Know, I have lost my only hope, my joy, the support of my house— Conrad died yester morning. The Knights discovered signs of surprise. Yes, Sirs, fate has disposed of my son. Isabella is at liberty—Do you then restore her? cried the chief Knight, breaking silence. Afford me your patience: Said Manfred. I rejoice to find, by this testimony of your good-will, that this matter may be adjusted without blood. It is no interest of mine dicates what little I have farther to say. Ye behold in me a man disgusted with the world: The loss of my son has weaned me from earthly cares. Power and greatness have no longer any charms in my eyes. I wished to transmit the scepter I had received from my ancestors with honour to my son—but that is over! Life itself is so indifferent to me, that I accepted your defiance with joy: A good Knight cannot go to the grave with more satisfaction than when falling in his vocation. Whatever is the will of heaven, I submit; for alas! Sirs, I am a man of many sorrows. Manfred is no object of envy—but no doubt you are acquainted with my story. The Knight made signs of ignorance, and seemed curious to have Manfred proceed. Is it possible, Sirs, continued the Prince, that my story should be a secret to you? have you heard nothing relating to me and the Princess Hippolita? They shook their heads—no! thus then, Sirs, it is. You think me ambitious: Ambition alas! is composed of more rugged materials. If I were ambitious, I should not for so many years have been a prey to all the hell of conscientious scruples—but I weary your patience: I will be brief. Know then, that I have long been troubled in mind on my union with the Princess Hippolita. —Oh! Sirs, if ye were acquainted with that excellent woman! if ye knew that I adore her like a mistress, and cherish her as a friend—but man was not born for perfect happiness! she shares my scruples, and with her consent I have brought this matter before the church, for we are related within the forbidden degrees. I expect every hour the definitive sentence that must separate us for ever —I am sure you feel for me—I see you do— pardon these tears! The Knights gazed on each other, wondering where this would end. Manfred continued. The death of my son betiding while my soul was under this anxiety, I thought of nothing but resigning my dominions, and retiring for ever from the sight of mankind. My only difficulty was to fix on a successor, who would be tender of my people, and to dispose of the Lady Isabella, who is dear to me as my own blood. I was willing to restore the line of Alfonso, even in his most distant kindred: And though, pardon me, I am satisfied it was his will that Ricardo's lineage should take place of his own relations; yet where was I to search for those relations? I knew of none but Frederic your Lord; he was a captive to the infidels, or dead; and were he living, and at home, would he quit the flourishing state of Vicenza for the inconsiderable principality of Otranto? If he would not, could I bear the thought of seeing a hard unfeeling Viceroy set over my poor faithful people?—for, Sirs, I love my people, and thank heaven am beloved by them—but ye will ask, whither tends this long discourse? briefly then, thus, Sirs. Heaven in your arrival seems to point out a remedy for these difficulties and my misfortunes. The Lady Isabella is at liberty; I shall soon be so—I would submit to any thing for the good of my people—were it not the best, the only way to extinguish the feuds between our families, if I was to take the Lady Isabella to wife —you start—but though Hippolita 's virtues will ever be dear to me, a Prince must not consider himself; he is born for his people.—A servant at that instant entering the chamber apprized Manfred that Jerome and several of his brethren demanded immediate access to him.

The Prince, provoked at this interruption, and fearing that the Friar would discover to the strangers that Isabella had taken sanctuary, was going to forbid Jerome's entrance. But recollecting that he was certainly arrived to notify the Princess's return, Manfred began to excuse himself to the Knights for leaving them for a few moments, but was prevented by the arrival of the Friars. Manfred angrily reprimanded them for their intrusion, and would have forced them back from the chamber; but Jerome was too much agitated to be repulsed. He declared aloud the flight of Isabella, with protestations of his own innocence. Manfred distracted at the news, and not less at its coming to the knowledge of the strangers, uttered nothing but incoherent sentences, now upbraiding the Friar, now apologizing to the Knights, earnest to know what was become of Isabella, yet equally afraid of their knowing, impatient to pursue her, yet dreading to have them join in the pursuit. He offered to dispatch messengers in quest of her,—but the chief Knight no longer keeping silence, reproached Manfred in bitter terms for his dark and ambiguous dealing, and demanded the cause of Isabella 's first absence from the castle. Manfred, casting a stern look at Jerome, implying a command of silence, pretended that on Conrad 's death he had placed her in sanctuary until he could determine how to dispose of her. Jerome, who trembled for his son's life, did not dare contradict this falshood, but one of his brethren, not under the same anxiety, declared frankly that she had fled to their church in the preceding night. The Prince in vain endeavoured to stop this discovery, which overwhelmed him with shame and confusion. The principal stranger, amazed at the contradictions he heard, and more than half persuaded that Manfred had secreted the Princess, notwithstanding the concern he expressed at her flight, rushing to the door, said, thou traitor-Prince! Isabella shall be found. Manfred endeavoured to hold him, but the other Knights assisting their comrade, he broke from the Prince, and hastened into the court, demanding his attendants. Manfred finding it vain to divert him from the pursuit, offered to accompany him; and summoning his attendants, and taking Jerome and some of the Friars to guide them, they issued from the castle; Manfred privately giving orders, to have the Knight's company secured, while to the Knight he affected to dispatch a messenger to require their assistance.

The company had no sooner quitted the castle, than Matilda, who felt herself deeply interested for the young peasant, since she had seen him condemned to death in the hall, and whose thoughts had been taken up with concerting measures to save him, was informed by some of the female attendants that Manfred had dispatched all his men various ways in pursuit of Isabella. He had in his hurry given this order in general terms, not meaning to extend it to the guard he had set upon Theodore, but forgetting it. The domestics, officious to obey so peremptory a Prince, and urged by their own curiosity and love of novelty to join in any pre cipitate chace, had to a man left the castle. Matilda disengaging herself from her women, stole up to the black tower, and unbolting the door, presented herself to the astonished Theodore. Young man, said she, though filial duty, and womanly modesty condemn the step I am taking, yet holy charity, surmounting all other ties, justifies this act. Fly; the doors of thy prison are open: My father and his domestics are absent; but they may soon return: Be gone in safety; and may the angels of heaven direct thy course! Thou art surely one of those angels! said the enraptured Theodore: None but a blessed saint could speak, could act—could look like thee!—may I not know the name of my divine protectress! methought thou namedst thy father: Is it possible! can Manfred 's blood feel holy pity?—lovely lady, thou answerest not—but how art thou here thyself? why dost thou neglect thy own safety, and waste a thought on a wretch like Theodore? let us fly together: The life thou bestowest shall be dedicated to thy defence. Alas! thou mistakest; said Matilda sighing: I am Manfred 's daughter, but no dangers await me. Amazement! said Theodore: But last night I blessed myself for yielding thee the service thy gracious compassion so charitably returns me now. Still thou art in an error; said the Princess; but this is no time for explanation. Fly, virtuous youth, while it is in my power to save thee: Should my father return, thou and I both should indeed have cause to tremble. How! said Theodore ; thinkest thou, charming maid, that I will accept of life at the hazard of aught calamitous to thee? better I endured a thousand deaths, —I run no risk, said Matilda, but by thy delay. Depart; it cannot be known that I assisted thy flight. Swear by the saints above, said Theodore, that thou canst not be suspected; else here I vow to await whatever can befal me. Oh! thou art too generous; said Matilda ; but rest assured that no suspicion can alight on me. Give me thy beauteous hand in token that thou dost not deceive me, said Theodore ; and let me bathe it with the warm tears of gratitude,— forbear; said the Princess; this must not be. Alas! said Theodore, I have never known but calamity until this hour—perhaps shall never know other fortune again: Suffer the chaste raptures of holy gratitude: 'Tis my soul would print its effusions on thy hand. Forbear, and be gone: Said Matilda: —How would Isabella approve of seeing thee at my feet? Who is Isabella? said the young man with surprize. Ah me! I fear, said the Princess, I am serving a deceitful one!—hast thou forgot thy curiosity this morning? Thy looks, thy actions, all thy beauteous self seems an emanation of divinity, said Theodore, but thy words are dark and mysterious, —speak, lady; speak to thy servant's comprehension.—Thou understandest but too well! said Matilda: But once more I command thee to be gone: Thy blood, which, I may preserve, will be on my head, if I waste the time in vain discourse. I go, lady, said Theodore, because it is thy will, and because I would not bring the grey hairs of my father with sorrow to the grave. Say but, adored lady, that I have thy gentle pity.—Stay; said Matilda ; I will conduct thee to the subterraneous vault by which Isabella escaped; it will lead thee to the church of St. Nicholas, where thou mayst take sanctuary.—What! said Theodore, was it another, and not thy lovely self that I assisted to find the subterraneous passage? It was; said Matilda ; but ask no more: I tremble to see thee still abide here: Fly to the sanctuary,— to sanctuary! said Theodore: No, Princess; sanctuaries are for helpless damsels, or for criminals. Theodore 's soul is free from guilt, nor will wear the appearance of it. Give me a sword, lady, and thy father shall learn that Theodore scorns an ignominious flight. Rash youth! said Matilda, thou wouldst not dare to lift thy presumptuous arm against the Prince of Otranto? Not against thy father; indeed I dare not: said Theodore: Excuse me, lady; I had forgotten,—but could I gaze on thee, and remember thou art sprung from the tyrant Manfred? —but he is thy father, and from this moment my injuries are buried in oblivion. A deep and hollow groan, which seemed to come from above, startled the Princess and Theodore. Good heaven! we are overheard! said the Princess. They listened; but perceiving no farther noise, they both concluded it the effect of pent-up vapours: And the Princess preceding Theodore softly, carried him to her father's armory, where equipping him with a complete suit, he was conducted by Matilda to the postern-gate. Avoid the town, said the Princess, and all the western side of the castle: 'Tis there the search must be making by Manfred and the strangers: But hie thee to the opposite quarter. Yonder behind that forest to the east is a chain of rocks, hollowed into a labyrinth of caverns that reach to the seacoast. There thou mayst lie concealed, till thou canst make signs to some vessel to put on shore and take thee off. Go! heaven be thy guide! —and sometimes in thy prayers remember— Matilda! Theodore flung himself at her feet, and seizing her lilly hand, which with struggles she suffered him to kiss, he vowed on the earliest opportunity to get himself knighted, and fer vently intreated her permission to swear himself eternally her knight—E'er the Princess could reply, a clap of thunder was suddenly heard, that shook the battlements. Theodore, regardless of the tempest, would have urged his suit; but the Princess, dismayed, retreated hastily into the castle, and commanded the youth to be gone with an air that would not be disobeyed. He sighed, and retired, but with eyes fixed on the gate, until Matilda closing it, put an end to an interview, in which the hearts of both had drunk so deeply of a passion, which both now tasted for the first time.

Theodore went pensively to the convent, to acquaint his father with his deliverance. There he learned the absence of Jerome, and the pursuit that was making after the lady Isabella, with some particulars of whose story he now first be came acquainted. The generous galantry of his nature prompted him to wish to assist her; but the Monks could lend him no lights to guess at the route she had taken. He was not tempted to wander far in search of her, for the idea of Matilda had imprinted itself so strongly on his heart, that he could not bear to absent himself at much distance from her abode. The tenderness Jerome had expressed for him concurred to confirm this reluctance; and he even persuaded himself that silial affection was the chief cause of his hovering between the castle and monastery. Until Jerome should return at night; Theodore at length determined to repair to the forest that Matilda had pointed out to him. Arriving there, he sought the gloomiest shades, as best suited to the pleasing melancholy that reigned in his mind. In this mood he roved insensibly to the caves which had formerly served as a retreat to hermits, and were now reported round the country to be haunted by evil spirits. He recollected to have heard this tradition; and being of a brave and adventurous disposition, he willingly indulged his curiosity in exploring the secret recesses of this labyrinth. He had not penetrated far before he thought he heard the steps of some person who seemed to retreat before him. Theodore, though firmly grounded in all our holy faith enjoins to be believed, had no apprehension that good men were abandoned without cause to the malice of the powers of darkness. He thought the place more likely to be infested by robbers than by those infernal agents who are reported to molest and bewilder travellers. He had long burned with impatience to approve his valour—drawing his sabre, he marched sedately onwards, still directing his steps, as the imperfect rustling sound before him led the way. The armour he wore was a like indication to the person who avoided him. Theodore now convinced that he was not mistaken, redoubled his pace, and evidently gained on the person that fled, whose haste increasing, Theodore came up just as a woman fell breathless before him. He hasted to raise her, but her terror was so great, that he apprehended she would saint in his arms. He used every gentle word to dispel her alarms, and assured her that far from injuring, he would defend her at the peril of his life. The lady recovering her spirits from his courteous demeanour, and gazing on her protector, said, sure I have heard that voice before! not to my knowledge, replied Theodore, unless as I conjecture thou art the lady Isabella, —merciful heaven! cried she, thou art not sent in quest of me, art thou? and saying those words, she threw herself at his feet, and besought him not to deliver her up to Manfred. To Manfred! cried Theodore —no, lady, I have once already delivered thee from his tyranny, and it shall fare hard with me now, but I will place thee out of the reach of his daring. Is it possible, said she, that thou shouldst be the generous unknown whom I met last night in the vault of the castle? sure thou art not a mortal, but my guardian angel: On my knees let me thank—hold, gentle Princess, said Theodore, nor demean thyself before a poor and friendless young man. If heaven has selected me for thy deliverer, it will accomplish its work, and strengthen my arm in thy cause—but come, lady, we are too near the mouth of the cavern; let us seek its inmost recesses: I can have no tranquillity till I have placed thee beyond the reach of danger. Alas! what mean you, Sir? said she. Though all your actions are noble, though your sentiments speak the purity of your soul, is it fitting that I should accompany you alone into these perplexed retreats? should we be found together, what would a censorious world think of my conduct? I respect your virtuous delicacy, said Theodore ; nor do you harbour a suspicion that wounds my honour. I meant to conduct you into the most private cavity of these rocks, and then at the hazard of my life to guard their entrance against every living thing. Besides, lady, continued he drawing a deep sigh, beauteous and all perfect as your form is, and though my wishes are not guiltless of aspiring, know, my soul is dedicated to another; and although —a sudden noise prevented Theodore from proceeding. They soon distinguished these sounds, Isabella! what ho! Isabella! —the trembling Princess relapsed into her former agony of fear. Theodore endeavoured to encourage her, but in vain. He assured her he would die rather than suffer her to return under Manfred 's power; and begging her to remain concealed, he went forth to prevent the person in search of her from approaching.

At the mouth of the cavern he found an armed Knight, discoursing with a peasant, who assured him he had seen a lady enter the passes of the rock. The Knight was preparing to seek her, when Theodore, placing himself in his way, with his sword drawn, sternly forbad him at his peril to advance. And who art thou who darest to cross my way? said the Knight haughtily. One who does not dare more than he will perform, said Theodore. I seek the lady Isabella ; said the Knight, and understand she has taken refuge among these rocks. Impede me not, or thou wilt repent having provoked my resentment. Thy purpose is as odious, as thy resentment is contemptible, said Theodore. Return whence thou camest, or we shall soon know whose resentment is most terrible. The stranger, who was the principal Knight that had arrived from the marquis of Vicenza, had galloped from Manfred as he was busied in getting information of the Princess, and giving various orders to prevent her falling into the power of the three Knights. Their chief had suspected Manfred of being privy to the Princess's absconding; and this insult from a man, who he concluded was stationed by that Prince to secrete her, confirming his suspicions, he made no reply, but discharging a blow with his sabre at Theodore, would soon have removed all obstruction, if Theodore, who took him for one of Manfred 's captains, and who had no sooner given the provocation than prepared to support it, had not received the stroke on his shield. The valour that had so long been smothered in his breast, broke forth at once; he rushed impetuously on the Knight, whose pride and wrath were not less powerful incentives to hardy deeds. The combat was furious, but not long: Theodore wounded the Knight in three several places, and at last disarmed him as he fainted with the loss of blood. The peasant, who had fled at the first onset, had given the alarm to some of Manfred 's domestics, who by his orders were dispersed through the forest in pursuit of Isabella. They came up as the Knight fell, whom they soon discovered to be the noble stranger. Theodore, notwithstanding his hatred to Manfred, could not behold the victory he had gained without emotions of pity and generosity: But he was more touched, when he learned the quality of his adversary, and was informed that he was no retainer, but an enemy of Manfred. He assisted the servants of the latter in disarming the Knight, and in endeavouring to staunch the blood that flowed from his wounds. The Knight recovering his speech, said in a faint and faltering voice, generous foe, we have both been in an error: I took thee for an instrument of the tyrant; I perceive thou hast made the like mistake—it is too late for excuses—I faint—if Isabella is at hand—call her—I have important secrets to—He is dying! said one of the attendants; has nobody a crucifix about them? Andrea, do thou pray over him—fetch some water, said Theodore, and pour it down his throat, while I hasten to the Princess—saying this, he flew to Isabella, and in few words told her modestly, that he had been so unfortunate by mistake as to wound a gentleman from her father's court, who wished e'er he died to impart something of consequence to her. The Princess, who had been transported at hearing the voice of Theodore as he called to her to come forth, was astonished at what she heard. Suffering herself to be conducted by Theodore, the new proof of whose valour recalled her dispersed spirits, she came where the bleeding Knight lay speechless on the ground—but her fears returned, when she beheld the domestics of Manfred. She would again have fled, if Theodore had not made her observe that they were unarmed, and had not threatened them with instant death, if they should dare to seize the Princess. The stranger, opening his eyes, and beholding a woman, said—art thou—pray tell me truly— art thou Isabella of Vicenza? I am; said she: good heaven restore thee!—Then thou— then thou—said the Knight, struggling for utterance—seest—thy father—give me one— oh! amasement! horror! what do I hear! what do I see! cried Isabella. My father! you my father! how came you here, Sir? for heaven's sake speak!—oh! run for help, or he will expire!—'Tis most true, said the wounded Knight, exerting all his force; I am Frederic thy father—yes, I came to deliver thee— It will not be—give me a parting kiss, and take—Sir, said Theodore, do not exhaust yourself: suffer us to convey you to the castle— to the castle! said Isabella ; is there no help nearer than the castle? would you expose my father to the tyrant? if he goes thither, I dare not accompany him—and yet, can I leave him! my child, said Frederic, it matters not for me whither I am carried: A few minutes will place me beyond danger—but while I have eyes to doat on thee, forsake me not, dear Isabella! This brave Knight—I know not who he is, will protect thy innocence—Sir, you will not abandon my child, will you! Theodore shedding tears over his victim, and vowing to guard the Princess at the expence of his life, persuaded Frederic to suffer himself to be conducted to the castle. They placed him on a horse belonging to one of the domestics, after binding up his wounds as well as they were able. Theodore marched by his side; and the afflicted Isabella, who could not bear to quit him, followed mournfully behind.

CHAP. IV.

THE sorrowful troop no sooner arrived at the castle, than they were met by Hippolita and Matilda, whom Isabella had sent one of the domestics before to advertise of their approach. The Ladies causing Frederic to be conveyed into the nearest chamber, retired, while the surgeons examined his wounds. Matilda blushed at seeing Theodore and Isabella together; but endeavoured to conceal it by embracing the latter, and condoling with her on her father's mischance. The surgeons soon came to acquaint Hippolita that none of the Marquis's wounds were dangerous; and that he was desirous of seeing his daughter and the Princesses. Theodore, under pretence of expressing his joy at being freed from his apprehensions of the combat being fatal to Frederic, could not resist the impulse of following Matilda. Her eyes were so often cast down on meeting his, that Isabella, who regarded Theodore as attentively as he gazed on Matilda, soon devined who the object was that he had told her in the cave engaged his affections. While this mute scene passed, Hippolita demanded of Frederic the cause of his having taken that mysterious course for reclaiming his daughter; and threw in various apologies to excuse her Lord for the match contracted between their children. Frederic. however incensed against Manfred, was not insensible to the courtesy and benevolence of Hippolita: But he was still more struck with the lovely form of Matilda. Wishing to detain them by his bedside, he informed Hippolita of his story. He told her, that, while prisoner to the infidels, he had dreamed that his daughter, of whom he had learned no news since his captivity, was detained in a castle, where she was in danger of the most dreadful misfortunes: And that if he obtained his liberty, and repaired to a wood near Joppa, he would learn more. Alarmed at this dream, and incapable of obeying the direction given by it, his chains became more grievous than ever. But while his thoughts were occupied on the means of obtaining his liberty, he received the agreeable news that the confederate Princes, who were warring in Palestine, had paid his ransom. He instantly set out for the wood that had been marked in his dream. For three days he and his attendants had wandered in the forest without seeing a human form: But on the evening of the third they came to a cell, in which they found a venerable hermit in the agonies of death. Applying rich cordials, they brought the saint-like man to his speech. My sons, said he, I am bounden to your charity—but it is in vain—I am going to my eternal rest—yet I die with the satisfaction of performing the will of heaven. When first I repaired to this solitude, after seeing my country become a prey to unbelievers— it is alas! above fifty years since I was witness to that dreadful scene! St. Nicholas appeared to me, and revealed a secret, which he bad me never reveal to mortal man, but on my deathbed. This is that tremendous hour, and ye are no doubt the chosen warriors to whom I was ordered to reveal my trust. As soon as ye have done the last offices to this wretched corse, dig under the seventh tree on the left-hand of this poor cave, and your pains will—Oh! good heaven receive my soul! With those words the devout man breathed his last. By break of day, continued Frederic, when we had committed the holy relicks to earth, we dug according to direction—but what was our astonishment, when about the depth of six feet we discovered an enormous sabre—the very weapon yonder in the court. On the blade, which was then partly out of the scabbard, though since closed by our efforts in removing it, were written the following lines—no; excuse me, Madam, added the Marquis, turning to Hippolita, if I forbear to repeat them: I respect your sex and rank, and would not be guilty of offending your ear with sounds injurious to ought that is dear to you—He paused. Hippolita trembled. She did not doubt but Frederic was destined by heaven to accomplish the sate that seemed to threaten her house. Looking with anxious fondness at Matilda, a silent tear stole down her cheek: But recollecting herself, she said; proceed, my Lord: Heaven does nothing in vain: Mortals must receive its divine behests with lowliness and submission. It is our part to deprecate its wrath, or bow to its decrees. Repeat the sentence, my Lord; we listen resigned. Frederic was grieved that he had proceeded so far. The dignity and patient firmness of Hippolita penetrated him with respect, and the tender silent affection with which the Princess and her daughter regarded each other, melted him almost to tears. Yet apprehensive that his forbearance to obey, would be more alarming, he repeated in a faltering and low voice the following lines: Where e'er a casque that suits this sword is found, With perils is thy daughter compass'd round. Alfonso's blood alone can save the maid, And quiet a long restless Prince's shade. What is there in these lines, said Theodore impatiently, that affects these Princesses? why were they to be shocked by a mysterious delicacy, that has so little foundation? Your words are rude, young man, said the Marquis; and tho' fortune has favoured you once—my honoured Lord, said Isabella, who resented Theodore 's warmth, which she perceived was dictated by his sentiments for Matilda, discompose not yourself for the glosing of a peasant's son: He forgets the reverence he owes you; but he is not accustomed— Hippolita, concerned at the heat that had arisen, checked Theodore for his boldness, but with an air acknowledging his zeal; and changing the conversation, demanded of Frederic where he had left her Lord? As the Marquis was going to reply, they heard a noise without, and rising to inquire the cause, Manfred, Jerome, and part of the troop, who had met an imperfect rumour of what had happened, entered the chamber. Manfred advanced hastily towards Frederic 's bed to condole with him on his misfortune, and to learn the circumstances of the combat, when starting in an agony of terror and amazement, he cried, Ha! what art thou? thou dreadful spectre! is my hour come? —my dearest, gracious Lord, cried Hippolita, clasping him in her arms, what is it you see? why do you fix your eye-balls thus!—What! cried Manfred breathless—dost thou see nothing, Hippolita? is this ghastly phantom sent to me alone—to me, who did not—for mercy's sweetest self, my Lord, said Hippolita, resume your soul, command your reason. There is none here, but us, your friends—what is not that Alfonso? cried Manfred ; Dost thou not see him? can it be my brain's delirium?—This! my Lord, said Hippolita ; this is Theodore, the youth who has been so unfortunate— Theodore! said Manfred mournfully, and striking his forehead — Theodore, or a phantom, he has unhinged the soul of Manfred —but how comes he here? and how comes he in armour? I believe he went in search of Isabella: Said Hippolita. Of Isabella! said Manfred, relapsing into rage—yes, yes, that is not doubtful—but how did he escape from durance in which I left him? was it Isabella, or this hypocritical old Friar, that procured his enlargement?—and would a parent be criminal, my Lord, said Theodore, if he me ditated the deliverance of his child? Jerome amazed to hear himself in a manner accused by his son, and without foundation, knew not what to think. He could not comprehend, how Theodore had escaped, how he came to be armed, and to encounter Frederic. Still he would not venture to ask any questions that might tend to inflame Manfred 's wrath against his son. Jerome's silence convinced Manfred that he had contrived Theodore 's release—and is it thus, thou ungrateful old man, said the Prince addressing himself to the Friar, that thou repayest mine and Hippolita 's bounties? And not content with traversing my heart's nearest wishes, thou armest thy bastard, and bringest him into my own castle to insult me! My Lord, said Theodore, you wrong my father: Nor he nor I are capable of harbouring a thought against your peace. Is it insolence thus to surrender myself to your Highness's pleasure? added he, laying his sword respectfully at Manfred 's feet. Behold my bosom; strike, my Lord, if you suspect that a disloyal thought is lodged there. There is not a sentiment engraven on my heart, that does not venerate you and yours. The grace and fervour with which Theodore uttered these words, interested every person present in his favour. Even Manfred was touched— yet still possessed with his resemblance to Alfonso, his admiration was dashed with secret horror. Rise; said he; thy life is not my present purpose.—But tell me thy history, and how thou camest connected with this old traitor here. My Lord, said Jerome eagerly—peace? impostor! said Manfred ; I will not have him prompted. My Lord, said Theodore, I want no assistance: My story is very brief. I was carried at five years of age to Algiers with my mo ther, who had been taken by corsairs from the coast of Sicily. She died of grief in less than a twelvemonth—the tears gushed from Jerome's eyes, on whose countenance a thousand anxious passions stood expressed. Before she died, continued Theodore, she bound a writing about my arm under my garments, which told me I was the son of the Count Falconara —it is most true, said Jerome ; I am that wretched father—again I enjoin thee silence: said Manfred: Proceed. I remained in slavery, said Theodore, until within these two years, when attending on my master in his cruizes, I was delivered by a Christian vessel, which over-powered the pirate; and discovering myself to the captian, he generously put me on shore in Sicily —but alas! instead of finding a father, I learned that his estate, which was situated on the coast, had, during his absence, been laid waste by the Rover, who had carried my mother and me into captivity: That his castle had been burnt to the ground, and that my father on his return had sold what remained, and was retired into religion in the kingdom of Naples, but where no man could inform me. Destitute and friendless, hopless almost of attaining the transport of a parent's embrace, I took the first opportunity of setting sail for Naples, from whence, within these six days, I wandered into this province, still supporting myself by the labour of my hands; nor until yester-morn did I believe that heaven had reserved any lot for me but peace of mind and contented poverty. This, my Lord, is Theo dore 's story. I am blessed beyond my hope in finding a father; I am unfortunate beyond my desert in having incurred your Highness's displeasure. He ceased. A murmur of approbation gently arose from the audience. This is not all; said Frederic: I am bound in honour to add what he suppresses. Though he is modest, I must be generous—he is one of the bravest youths on Christian ground. He is warm too; and from the short knowledge I have of him, I will pledge myself for his veracity: If what he reports of himself were not true, he would not utter it—and for me, youth, I honour a frankness which becomes thy birth. But now, and thou didst offend me: Yet the noble blood which flows in thy vains, may well be allowed to boil out, when it has so recently traced itself to its source. Come, my Lord [turning to Manfred] if I can pardon him, surely you may: It is not the youth's fault, if you took him for a spectre. This bitter taunt galled the soul of Manfred. If beings from another world, replied he haughtily, have power to impress my mind with awe, it is more than living man can do; nor could a stripling's arm —my Lord, interrupted Hippolita, your guest has occasion for repose: Shall we not leave him to his rest? Saying this, and taking Manfred by the hand, she took leave of Frederic, and led the company forth. The Prince, not sorry to quit a conversation, which recalled to mind the discovery he had made of his most secret sensations, suffered himself to be conducted to his own apartment, after permitting Theodore, tho' under engagement to return to the castle on the morrow [a condition the young man gladly accepted] to retire with his father to the convent. Matilda and Isabella were too much occupied with their own reflections, and too little content with each other, to wish for farther converse that night. They separated each to her chamber, with more expressions of ceremony and fewer of affection, than had passed between them since their childhood.

If they parted with small cordiality, they did but meet with greater impatience, as soon as the sun was risen. Their minds were in a situation that excluded sleep, and each recollected a thousand questions which she wished she had put to the other overnight. Matilda reflected that Isabella had been twice delivered by Theodore in very critical situations, which she could not believe accidental. His eyes, it was true, had been fixed on her in Frederic 's chamber; but that might have been to disguise his passion for Isabella from the fathers of both. It were better to clear this up—She wished to know the truth, lest she should wrong her friend by entertaining a passion for Isabella 's lover. Thus jealousy prompted, and at the same time borrowed an excuse from friendship to justify its curiosity.

Isabella, not less restless, had better foundation for her suspicions. Both Theodore 's tongue and eyes had told her his heart was engaged— it was true—yet perhaps Matilda might not correspond to his passion—she had ever appeared insensible to love: All her thoughts were set on heaven—why did I dissuade her? said Isabella to herself: I am punished for my generosity— but when did they meet? where?—it cannot be: I have deceived myself—perhaps last night was the first time they ever beheld each other —it must be some other object that has prepossessed his affections—if it is, I am not so unhappy, as I thought; if it is not my friend Matilda —how! can I stoop to wish for the affection of a man, who rudely and unnecessarily acquainted me with his indifference? and that at the very moment in which common courtesy demanded at least expressions of civility. I will go to my dear Matilda, who will confirm me in this becoming pride—man is false—I will advise with her on taking the veil: She will rejoice to find me in this disposition; and I will acquaint her that I no longer oppose her inclination for the cloyster. In this frame of mind, and determined to open her heart entirely to Matilda, she went to that Princess's chamber, whom she found already dresled, and leaning pensively on her arm. This attitude, so correspondent to what she felt herself, revived Isabella 's suspicions, and destroyed the confidence she had purposed to place in her friend. They blushed at meeting, and were too much novices to disguise their sensations with address. After some unmeaning questions and replies, Matilda demanded of Isabella the cause of her flight? the latter, who had almost forgotten Manfred 's passion, so entirely was she occupied by her own, concluding that Matilda referred to her last escape from the convent, which had occasioned the events of the preceding evening, replied, Martelli brought word to the convent that your mother was dead—oh! said Matilda interrupting her, Bianca has explained that mistake to me: on seeing me faint, she cried out, the Princess is dead! and Martelli who had come for the usual dole to the castle—and what made you faint? said Isabella, indifferent to the rest. Matilda blushed, and stammered—my father— he was sitting in judgment on a criminal— what criminal? said Isabella eagerly—a young man; said Matilda —I believe—I think it was that young man that—what, Theodore? said Isabella. Yes; answered she; I never saw him before; I do not know how he had offended my father —but as he has been of service to you, I am glad my Lord has pardoned him—served me? replied Isabella ; do you term it serving me, to wound my father, and almost occasion his death! Though it is but since yesterday that I am blessed with knowing a parent, I hope Matilda does not think I am such a stranger to filial tenderness as not to resent the boldness of that audacious youth, and that it is impossible for me ever to feel any affection for one who dared to lift his arm against the author of my being. No, Matilda, my heart abhors him; and if you still retain the friendship for me that you have vowed from your infancy, you will detest a man who has been on the point of making me miserable for ever. Matilda held down her head, and replied; I hope my dearest Isabella does not doubt her Matilda 's friendship: I never beheld that youth until yesterday; he is almost a stranger to me: But as the surgeons have pronounced your father out of danger, you ought not to harbour uncharitable resentment against one, who I am persuaded did not know the Marquis was related to you. You plead his cause very pathetically, said Isabella, considering he is so much a stranger to you! I am mistaken, or he returns your charity. What mean you? said Matilda. Nothing: Said Isabella, repenting that she had given Matilda a hint of Theodore 's inclination for her. Then changing the discourse, she asked Matilda what occasioned Manfred to take Theodore for a spectre? Bless me, said Matilda, did not you observe his extreme resemblance to the portrait of Alfonso in the gallery? I took notice of it to Bianca even before I saw him in armour; but with the helmet on, he is the very image of that picture. I do not much observe pictures; said Isabella: Much less have I examined this young man so attentively as you seem to have done—ah! Matilda, your heart is in danger—but let me warn you as a friend—he has owned to me that he is in love; it cannot be with you, for yesterday was the first time you ever met—was it not? certainly: replied Matilda ; but why does my dearest Isabella conclude from any thing I have said, that—she paused—then continuing; he saw you first, and I am far from having the vanity to thing that my little portion of charms could engage a heart devoted to you—may you be happy, Isabella, whatever is the fate of Matilda! My lovely friend, said Isabella, whose heart was too honest to resist a kind expression, it is you that Theodore admires; I saw it; I am persuaded of it; nor shall a thought of my own happiness suffer me to interfere with yours. This frankness drew tears from the gentle Matilda ; and jealousy that for a moment had raised a coolness between these amiable maidens, soon gave way to the natural sincerity and candour of their souls. Each confessed to the other the impression that Theodore had made on her; and this confidence was followed by a struggle of generosity, each insisting on yielding her claim to her friend. At length, the dignity of Isabella 's virtue reminding her of the preference which Theodore had almost declared for her rival, made her determine to conquer her passion, and cede the beloved object to her friend.

During this contest of amity, Hippolita entered her daughter's chamber. Madam, said she to Isabella, you have so much tenderness for Matilda, and interest yourself so kindly in whatever affects our wretched house, that I can have no secrets with my child, which are not proper for you to hear. The Princesses were all attention and anxiety. Know then, Madam, continued Hippolita, and you, my dearest Matilda, that being convinced by all the events of these two last ominous days, that heaven purposes the sceptre of Otranto shuld pass from Manfred 's hands into those of the Marquis Frederic, I have been perhaps inspired with the thought of averting our total destruction by the union of our rival houses. With this view I have been proposing to Manfred my Lord to tender this dear, dear child to Frederic your father —me to lord Frederic! cried Matilda —good heavens! my gracious mother—and have you named it to my father? I have: Said Hippolita: He listened benignly to my proposal, and is gone to break it to the Marquis. Ah! wretched Princess! cried Isabella ; what hast thou done! what ruin has thy inadvertent goodness been preparing for thyself, for me, and for Matilda! Ruin from me to you and to my child! said Hippolita ; what can this mean? Alas! said Isabella, the purity of your own heart prevents your seeing the depravity of others. Manfred, your Lord, that impious man—hold; said Hippolita, you must not in my presence, young lady, mention Manfred with disrespect: He is my lord and husband, and—will not long be so, said Isabella, if his wicked purposes can be carried into execution. This language amazes me; said Hippolita. Your feeling, Isabella, is warm; but until this hour I never knew it betray you into intemperance. What deed of Manfred authorizes you to treat him as a murderer, an assassin? Thou virtuous, and too credulous Princess! replied Isabella ; it is not thy life he aims at—it is to separate himself from thee! to divorce thee! to—to divorce me! to divorce my mother! cried Hippolita and Matilda at once —yes; said Isabella ; and to compleat his crime, he meditates—I cannot speak it! What can surpass what thou hast already uttered? said Matilda. Hippolita was silent. Grief choaked her speech; and the recollection of Manfred 's late ambiguous discourses confirmed what she heard. Excellent, dear Lady! Madam! Mother! cried Isabella, flinging herself at Hippolita 's feet in a transport of passion; trust me, believe me, I will die a thousand deaths sooner than consent to injure you, than yield to so odious —oh!—This is too much! cried Hippolita: What crimes does one crime suggest! rise, dear Isabella ; I do not doubt your virtue. Oh! Matilda, this stroke is too heavy for thee! weep not, my child; and not a murmur, I charge thee. Remember, he is thy father still!—but you are my mother too; said Matilda servently; and you are virtuous, you are guiltless!—Oh! must not I, must not I complain? You must not: Said Hippolita —come, all will yet be well. Manfred, in the agony for the loss of thy brother, knew not what he said: perhaps Isabella misunderstood him: His heart is good—and, my child, thou knowest not all! There is a destiny hangs over us; the hand of Providence is stretched out—Oh! could I but save thee from the wreck!—yes, continued she in a firmer tone; perhaps the sacrifice of myself may atone for all—I will go and offer myself to this divorce—it boots not what becomes of me. I will withdraw into the neighbouring monastery, and waste the remainder of life in prayers and tears for my child and—the Prince! Thou art as much too good for this world, said Isabella, as Manfred is execrable—but think not, Lady, that thy weakness shall determine for me. I swear, hear me all ye angels—stop, I adjure thee; cried Hippolita: Remember thou dost not depend on thyself; thou hast a father —my father is too pious, too noble, interrupted Isabella, to command an impious deed. But should he command it; can a father enjoin a cursed act? I was contracted to the son? can I wed the father?—no, Madam, no; force should not drag me to Manfred 's hated bed. I loath him, I abhor him: Divine and human laws forbid—and my friend, my dearest Matilda! would I wound her tender soul by injuring her adored mother? my own mother—I never have known another—Oh! she is the mother of both! cried Matilda: Can we, can we, Isabella, adore her too much? My lovely children, said the touched Hippolita, your tenderness overpowers me—but I must not give way to it. It is not ours to make election for ourselves: Heaven, our fathers, and our husbands must decide for us. Have patience until you hear what Manfred and Frederic have determined. If the Marquis accepts Matilda 's hand, I know she will readily obey. Heaven may interpose and prevent the rest. What means my child? continued she, seeing Matilda fall at her feet with a flood of speechless tears—but no; answer me not, my daughter: I must not hear a word against the pleasure of thy father. Oh! doubt not my obedience, my dreadful obedience to him and to you! said Matilda. But can I, most respected of women, can I experience all this tenderness, this world of goodness, and conceal a thought from the best of mothers? What art thou going to utter? said Isabella trembling. Recollect thyself, Matilda. No, Isabella, said the Princess, I should not deserve this incomparable parent, if the inmost recesses of my soul harboured a thought without her permission— nay, I have offended her; I have suffered a passion to enter my heart without her avowal— but here I disclaim it; here I vow to heaven and her—My child! my child! said Hippolita, what words are these! what new calamities has fate in store for us! Thou, a passion! Thou, in this hour of destruction—Oh! I see all my guilt! said Matilda. I abhor myself, if I cost my mother a pang. She is the dearest thing I have on earth—oh! I will never, never behold him more! Isabella, said Hippolita, thou art conscious to this unhappy secret, whatever it is. Speak—what! cried Matilda, have I so forfeited my mother's love, that she will not permit me even to speak my own guilt? oh! wretched, wretched Matilda! Thou art too cruel; said Isabella to Hippolita: Canst thou behold this anguish of a virtuous mind, and not commiserate it? Not pity my child! said Hippolita, catching Matilda in her arms—Oh! I know she is good, she is all virtue, all tenderness, and duty. I do forgive thee, my excellent, my only hope! The Princesses then revealed to Hippolita their mutual inclination for Theodore, and the purpose of Isabella to resign him to Matilda. Hippolita blamed their imprudence, and shewed them the improbability that either father would consent to bestow his heiress on so poor a man, though nobly born. Some comfort it gave her to find their passion of so recent a date, and that Theodore had had but little cause to suspect it in either. She strictly enjoined them to avoid all correspondence with him. This Matilda servently promised: But Isabella, who flat tered herself that she meant no more than to promote his union with her friend, could not determine to avoid him; and made no reply. I will go to the convent, said Hippolita, and order new masses to be said for a deliverance from these calamities.—Oh! my mother, said Matilda, you mean to quit us: You mean to take sanctuary, and to give my father an opportunity of pursuing his fatal intention. Alas! on my knees I supplicate you to forbear— will you leave me a prey to Frederic? I will follow you to the convent—Be at peace, my child: said Hippolita: I will return instantly. I will never abandon thee, until I know it is the will of heaven, and for thy benefit. Do not deceive me: said Matilda. I will not marry Frederic until thou commandest it—Alas! What will become of me? Why that exclamation? said Hippolita. I have promised thee to return —ah! my mother, replied Matilda, stay and save me from myself. A frown from thee can do more than all my father's seve rity. I have given away my heart, and you alone can make me recal it. No more: Said Hippolita: thou must not relapse, Metilda. I can quit Theodore, said she, but must I wed another? let me attend thee to the altar, and shut myself from the world for ever. Thy fate depends on thy father; said Hippolita: I have ill bestowed my tenderness, if it has taught thee to revere aught beyond him. Adieu! my child: I go to pray for thee.

Hippolita 's real purpose was to demand of Jerome, whether in conscience she might not consent to the divorce. She had oft urged Manfred to resign the principality, which the delicacy of her conscience rendered an hourly burthen to her. These scruples concurred to make the separation from her husband appear less dreadful to her, than it would have seemed in any other situation.

Jerome, at quitting the castle overnight, had questioned Theodore severely why he had accused him to Manfred of being privy to his escape. Theodore owned it had been with design to prevent Manfred 's suspicion from alighting on Matilda ; and added, the holiness of Jerome's life and character secured him from the tyrant's wrath. Jerome was heartily grieved to discover his son's inclination for that Princess; and leaving him to his rest; promised in the morning to acquaint him with important reasons for con quering his passion. Theodore, like Isabella, was too recently acquainted with parental authority to submit to its decisions against the impulse of his heart. He had little curiosity to learn the Friar's reasons, and less disposition to obey them. The lovely Matilda had made stronger impressions on him than filial affection. All night he pleased himself with visions of love; and it was not till late after the morning-office, that he recollected the Friar's commands to attend him at Alfonso's tomb.

Young man, said Jerome, when he saw him, this tardiness does not please me. Have a father's commands already so little weight? Theodore made awkward excuses, and attributed his delay to having overslept himself. And on whom were thy dreams employed? said the Friar sternly. His son blushed. Come, come, resumed the Friar, inconsiderate youth, this must not be: Eradicate this guilty passion from thy breast—guilty passion! cried Theodore: Can guilt dwell with innocent beauty and virtuous modesty? It is sinful, replied the Friar, to cherish those whom heaven has doomed to destruction. A tyrant's race must be swept from the earth to the third and fourth generation. Will heaven visit the innocent for the crimes of the guilty? said Theodore. The fair Matilda has virtues enough—to undo thee: Interrupted Jerome. Hast thou so soon forgotten that twice the savage Manfred has pronounced thy sentence? Nor have I forgotten, Sir, said Theodore, that the charity of his daughter delivered me from his power. I can forget injuries, but never benefits. The injuries thou hast received from Manfred 's race, said the Friar, are beyond what thou canst conceive.—Reply not, but view this holy image! Beneath this marble monument rest the ashes of the good Alfonso ; a Prince adorned with every virtue: The father of his people! the delight of mankind! Kneel, head strong boy, and list, while a father unfolds a state of horror, that will expel every sentiment from thy soul, but sensations of sacred vengeance— Alfonso! much-injured Prince! let thy unsatisfied shade sit awful on the troubled air, while these trembling lips—ha! who comes there?—The most wretched of women! said Hippolita, entering the choir. Good Father, art thou at leisure?—but why this kneeling youth? what means the horror imprinted on each countenance? why at this venerable tomb —alas! hast thou seen aught? We were pouring forth our orisons to heaven, replied the Friar with some confusion, to put an end to the woes of this deplorable province. Join with us, Lady! thy spotless soul may obtain an exemption from the judgments which the portents of these days but too speakingly denounce against thy house. I pray servently to heaven to divert them: said the pious Princess. Thou knowest it has been the occupation of my life to wrest a blessing for my Lord and my harmless children— One alas! is taken from me! would heaven but hear me for my poor Matilda! Father! intercede for her!—Every heart will bless her: Cried Theodore with rapture—Be dumb, rash youth! said Jerome. And thou fond Princess contend not with the Powers above! The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away: Bless his holy name, and submit to his decrees. I do most devoutly: Said Hippolita: But will he not spare my only comfort? must Matilda perish too?— ah! Father, I came—but dismiss thy son. No ear but thine must hear what I have to utter. May heaven grant thy every wish, most excellent Princess! said Theodore retiring. Jerome frowned.

Hippolita then acquainted the Friar with the proposal she had suggested to Manfred, his approbation of it, and the tender of Matilda that he was gone to make to Frederic. Jerome could not conceal his dislike of the motion, which he covered under pretence of the improbability that Frederic, the nearest of blood to Alfonso, and who was come to claim his succession, would yield to an alliance with the usurper of his right. But nothing could equal the perplexity of the Friar, when Hippolita confessed her readiness not to oppose the separation, and demanded his opinion on the legality of her acquiescence. The Friar catched eagerly at her request of his advice, and without explaining his aversion to the proposed marriage of Manfred and Isabella, he painted to Hippolita in the most alarming colours the sinfulness of her consent, denounced judgments against her if she complied, and enjoined her in the severest terms to treat any such proposition with every mark of indignation and refusal.

Manfred, in the mean time, had broken his purpose to Frederic, and proposed the double marriage. That weak Prince, who had been struck with the charms of Matilda, listened but too eagerly to the offer. He forgot his enmity to Manfred, whom he saw but little hope of dispossessing by force; and flattering himself that no issue might succeed from the union of his daughter with the Tyrant, he looked upon his own succession to the principality as facilitated by wedding Matilda. He made faint opposition to the proposal; affecting, for form only, not to acquiesce unless Hippolita should consent to the divorce. Manfred took that upon himself. Transported with his success, and impatient to see himself in a situation to expect sons, he hastened to his wife's apartment, determined to extort her compliance. He learned with indignation that she was absent at the convent. His guilt suggested to him that she had probably been informed by Isabella of his purpose. He doubted whether her retirement to the con vent did not import an intention of remaining there, until she could raise obstacles to their divorce; and the suspicions he had already entertained of Jerome, made him apprehend that the Friar would not only traverse his views, but might have inspired Hippolita with the resolution of taking sanctuary. Impatient to unravel this clue, and to defeat its success, Manfred hastened to the convent, and arrived there, as the Friar was earnestly exhorting the Princess never to yield to the divorce.

Madam, said Manfred, what business drew you hither? why did you not await my return from the Marquis? I came to implore a blessing on your councils: Replied Hippolita. My councils do not need a Friar's intervention: Said Manfred —and of all men living is that hoary traitor the only one whom you delight to confer with? Profane Prince! said Jerome ; is it at the altar that thou chusest to insult the servants of the altar?—but, Manfred, thy impious schemes are known. Heaven and this virtuous Lady know them—nay, frown not, Prince. The church despises thy menaces. Her thunders will be heard above thy wrath. Dare to proceed in thy curst purpose of a divorce, until her sentence be known, and here I lance her Anathema at thy head. Audacious rebel! said Manfred, endeavouring to conceal the awe with which the Friar's words inspired him; Dost thou presume to threaten the lawful Prince? Thou art no lawful Prince; said Jerome ; thou art no Prince—go, discuss thy claim with Frederic ; and when that is done—it is done: Replied Manfred: Frederic accepts Matilda 's hand, and is content to wave his claim, unless I have no male issue—as he spoke those words, three drops of blood fell from the nose of Alfonso 's statue. Manfred turned pale, and the Princess sunk on her knees. Behold! said the Friar; mark this miraculous indication that the blood of Alfonso will never mix with that of Manfred! My gracious Lord, said Hippolita, let us submit ourselves to heaven. Think not thy ever obedient wife rebels against thy authority. I have no will but that of my Lord and the church. To that reverend tribunal let us apply. It does not depend on us to burst the bonds that unite us. If the church shall approve the dissolution of our marriage, be it so —I have but few years, and those of sorrow to pass. Where can they be worn away so well as at the foot of this altar, in prayers for thine and Matilda 's safety?—but thou shalt not remain here until then: Said Manfred. Repair with me to the castle, and there I will advise on the proper measures for a divorce;—but this meddling Friar comes not thither: My hospitable roof shall never more harbour a traitor—and for thy Reverence's offspring, continued he, I banish him from my dominions. He, I ween, is no sacred personage, nor under the protection of the church. Whoever weds Isabella, it shall not be Father Falconara's started-up son. They start up, said the Friar, who are suddenly beheld in the seat of lawful Princes; but they wither away like the grass, and their place knows them no more. Manfred casting a look of scorn at the Friar, led Hippolita forth; but at the door of the church, whispered one of his attendants to remain concealed about the convent, and bring him instant notice, if any one from the castle should repair thither.

CHAP. V.

EVERY reflection which Manfred made on the Friar's behaviour, conspired to persuade him that Jerome was privy to an amour between Isabella and Theodore. But Jerome's new presumption, so dissonant from his former meekness, suggested still deeper apprehensions. The Prince even suspected that the Friar depended on some secret support from Frederic, whose arrival coinciding with the novel appearance of Theodore seemed to bespeak a correspondence. Still more was he troubled with the resemblance of Theodore to Alfonso's portrait. The latter he knew had unquestionably died without issue. Frederic had consented to bestow Isabella on him. These contradictions agitated his mind with numberless pangs. He saw but two methods of extricating himself from his difficulties. The one was to resign his dominions to the Marquis —Pride, ambition, and his reliance on ancient prophecies, which had pointed out a possibility of his preserving them to his posterity, combated that thought. The other was to press his marriage with Isabella. After long ruminating on these anxious thoughts, as he marched silently with Hippolita to the castle, he at last discoursed with that Princess on the subject of his disquiet, and used every insinuating and plausible argument to extract her consent to, even her promise of promoting the divorce. Hippolita needed little persuasion to bend her to his pleasure. She endeavoured to win him over to the measure of resigning his dominions; but finding her exhortations fruitless, she assured him, that as far as her conscience would allow, she would raise no opposition to a separation, though without better founded scruples than what he yet alledged, she would not engage to be active in demanding it.

This compliance, though inadequate, was sufficient to raise Manfred 's hopes. He trusted that his power and wealth would easily advance his suit at the court of Rome, whither he resolved to engage Frederic to take a journey on purpose. That Prince had discovered so much passion for Matilda, that Manfred hoped to obtain all he wished by holding out or withdrawing his daughter's charms, according as the Marquis should appear more or less disposed to co-operate in his views. Even the absence of Frederic would be a material point gained, until he could take farther measures for his security.

Dismissing Hippolita to her apartment, he repaired to that of the Marquis; but crossing the great hall through which he was to pass, he met Bianca. That damsel he knew was in the confidence of both the young Ladies. It immediately occurred to him to sift her on the subject of Isabella and Theodore. Calling her aside into the recess of the oriel window of the hall, and soothing her with many fair words and promises, he demanded of her whether she knew ought of the state of Isabella 's affections. I! my Lord! no, my Lord—yes, my Lord— poor Lady! she is wonderfully alarmed about her father's wounds; but I tell her he will do well, don't your Highness think so? I do not ask you, replied Manfred, what she thinks about her father: But you are in her secrets: Come, be a good girl and tell me; is there any young man—ha!—you understand me—Lord bless me! understand your Highness, no, not I: I told her a few vulnerary herbs and repose—I am not talking, replied the Prince impatiently, about her father: I know he will do well— Bless me, I rejoice to hear your Highness say so; for though I thought it not right to let my young Lady despond, methought his Greatness had a wan look, and a something—I remember when young Ferdinand was wounded by the Venetian —Thou answerest from the point, interrupted Manfred ; but here, take this jewel, perhaps that may fix thy attention—nay, no reverences; my favour shall not stop here— come, tell me truly; how stands Isabella 's heart. Well! your Highness has such a way! said Bianca —to be sure—but can your Highness keep a secret? if it should ever come out of your lips—it shall not, it shall not: Cried Manfred —nay, but swear, your Highness—by my halidame, if it should ever be known that I said it—why, truth is truth, I do not think my Lady Isabella ever much affectioned my young Lord your Son—yet he was a sweet youth as one should see—I am sure, if I had been a Princess—but bless me! I must attend my Lady Matilda ; she will marvel what is become of me—stay; cried Manfred, thou hast not satisfied my question. Hast thou ever carried any message, any letter—I! good gracious! cried Bianca ; I carry a letter? I would not to be a Queen. I hope your Highness thinks, though I am poor, I am honest—did your Highness never hear what Count Marsigli offered me, when he came a wooing to my Lady Matilda? I have not leisure, said Manfred, to listen to thy tales. I do not question thy honesty: But it is thy duty to conceal nothing from me. How long has Isabella been acquainted with Theodore? Nay, there is nothing can escape your Highness! said Bianca — not that I know any thing of the matter— Theodore, to be sure, is a proper young man, and, as my Lady Matilda says, the very image of good Alfonso: Has not your Highness remarked it? yes, yes,—no—thou torturest me: Said Manfred: Where did they meet? when?— who! My Lady Matilda? said Bianca. No, no, not Matilda: Isabella ; when did Isabella first become acquainted with this Theodore? Virgin Mary! said Bianca, how should I know? Thou dost know; said Manfred ; and I must know; I will—Lord! your Highness is not jealous of young Theodore! said Bianca —jealous! no, no: Why should I be jealous?— perhaps I mean to unite them—if I were sure Isabella would have no repugnance—repugnance! no, I'll warrant her; said Bianca ; he is as comely a youth as ever trod on Christian ground: We are all in love with him, there is not a soul in the castle, but would be rejoiced to have him for our Prince—I mean, when it shall please heaven to call your Highness to itself—indeed! said Manfred ; has it gone so far! oh! this cursed Friar!—but I must not lose time—go, Bianca, attend Isabella ; but I charge thee, not a word of what has passed. Find out how she is affected towards Theodore: bring me good news, and that ring has a companion. Wait at the foot of the winding staircase: I am going to visit the Marquis, and will talk farther with thee at my return.

Manfred, after some general conversation, desired Frederic to dismiss the two Knights his companions, having to talk with him on urgent affairs. As soon as they were alone, he began in artful guise to sound the Marquis on the subject of Matilda ; and finding him disposed to his wish, he let drop hints on the difficulties that would attend the celebration of their marriage, unless—at that instant Bianca burst into the room with a wildness in her look and gestures that spoke the utmost terror. Oh! my Lord, my Lord! cried she; we are all undone! it is come again! it is come again! What is come again? cried Manfred amazed—oh! the hand! the Giant! the hand!—support me! I am terrified out of my senses: Cried Bianca, I will not sleep in the castle to-night; where shall I go? my things may come after me to-morrow —would I had been content to wed Francisco! this comes of ambition! What has terrified thee thus, young woman? said the Marquis: Thou art safe here; be not alarmed. Oh! your Greatness is wonderful good, said Bianca, but I dare not—no, pray, let me go— I had rather leave every thing behind me, than stay another hour under this roof. Go to, thou hast lost thy senses: Said Manfred. Interrupt us not; we were communing on important matters—my Lord, this wench is subject to fits—come with me, Bianca —oh! the Saints! no, said Bianca —for certain it comes to warn your Highness; why should it appear to me else? I say my hours morning and evening— oh! if your Highness had believed Diego! 'Tis the same hand that he saw the foot to in the gallery-chamber—Father Jerome has often told us the prophecy would be out one of these days — Bianca, said he, mark my words—thou ravest; said Manfred in a rage; be gone, and keep these fooleries to frighten thy companions —what! my Lord, cried Bianca, do you think I have seen nothing? go to the foot of the great stairs yourself—as I live I saw it. Saw what? tell us, fair maid, what thou hast seen: Said Frederic. Can your Highness listen, said Manfred, to the delirium of a silly wench, who has heard stories of apparitions until she believes them? This is more than fancy, said the Marquis; her terror is too natural and too strongly impressed to be the work of imagination. Tell us, fair maiden, what it is has moved thee thus. Yes, my Lord, thank your Greatness; said Bianca —I believe I look very pale; I shall be better when I have recovered myself—I was going to my Lady Isabella 's chamber by his Highness's order—we do want the circumstances; interrupted Manfred: Since his Highness will have it so, proceed; but be brief. Lord! your Highness thwarts one so! replied Bianca —I fear my hair—I am sure I never in my life—well! as I was telling your Greatness, I was going by his Highness's order to my Lady Isabella 's chamber: She lies in the watchet-coloured chamber, on the right-hand, one pair of stairs. So when I came to the great stairs— I was looking on his Highness's present here —grant me patience! said Manfred, will this wench never come to the point? what imports it to the Marquis, that I gave thee a bawble for thy faithful attendance on my daughter? we want to know what thou sawest. I was going to tell your Highness, said Bianca ; if you would permit me.—So as I was rubbing the ring—I am sure I had not gone up three steps, but I heard the rattling of armour; for all the world such a clatter, as Diego says he heard when the Giant turned him about in the gallery-chamber —what does she mean, my Lord! said the Marquis; is your castle haunted by giants and goblins? Lord! what, has not your Greatness heard the story of the Giant in the gallery-chamber? cried Bianca. I marvel his Highness has not told you—may hap you do not know there is a prophecy—This trifling is intolerable; interrupted Manfred. Let us dismiss this silly wench, my Lord? we have more important affairs to discuss. By your favour, said Frederic, these are no trifles: The enormous sabre I was directed to in the wood, you casque, its fellow —are these visions of this poor maiden's brain? —so Jaquez thinks, may it please your Greatness: Said Bianca. He says this moon will not be out without our seeing some strange revolution. For my part I should not be surprized if it was to happen to-morrow; for, as I was saying, when I heard the clattering of armour, I was all in a cold sweat—I looked up, and, if your Greatness will believe me, I saw upon the uppermost banister of the great stairs a hand in armour as big, as big—I thought I should have swooned—I never stopped until I came hither —would I were well out of this castle! My Lady Matilda told me but yester-morning that her Highness Hippolita knows something—Thou art an insolent! cried Manfred —Lord Marquis, it much misgives me that this scene is concerted to affront me. Are my own domestics suborned to spread tales injurious to my honour? Pursue your claim by manly daring; or let us bury our feuds, as was proposed, by the intermarriage of our children: But, trust me, it ill becomes a Prince of your bearing to practice on mercenary wenches—I scorn your imputation; said Frederic: until this hour I never set eyes on this damsel: I have given her no jewel!—my Lord, my Lord, your conscience, your guilt accuses you, and would throw the suspicion on me— but keep your daughter, and think no more of Isabella: The judgments already fallen on your house forbid my matching into it.

Manfred alarmed at the resolute tone in which Frederic delivered these words, endeavoured to pacify him. Dismissing Bianca, he made such submissions to the Marquis, and threw in such artful encomiums on Matilda, that Frederic was once more staggered. However, as his passion was of so recent a date, it could not at once surmount the scruples he had conceived. He had gathered enough from Bianca's discourse to persuade him that heaven declared itself against Manfred. The proposed marriages too removed his claim to a distance; and the principality of Otranto was a stronger temptation, than the contingent reversion of it with Matilda. Still he would not absolutely recede from his engagements; but purposing to gain time, he demanded of Manfred, if it was true in fact that Hippolita consented to the divorce. The Prince, transported to find no other obstacle, and depending on his influence over his wife, assured the Marquis it was so, and that he might satisfy himself of the truth from her own mouth.

As they were thus discoursing, word was brought that the banquet was prepared. Manfred conducted Frederic to the great hall, where they were received by Hippolita and the young Princesses. Manfred placed the Marquis next to Matilda, and seated himself between his wife and Isabella. Hippolita comported herself with an easy gravity; but the young Ladies were silent and melancholy. Manfred, who was determined to pursue his point with the Marquis in the remainder of the evening, pushed on the feast until it waxed late; affecting unrestrained gaiety, and plying Frederic with repeated goblets of wine. The latter, more upon his guard than Manfred wished, declined his frequent challenges, on pretence of his late loss of blood; while the Prince, to raise his own disordered spirits, and to counterfeit unconcern, indulged himself in plentiful draughts, though not to the intoxication of his senses.

The evening being far advanced, the banquet concluded. Manfred would have withdrawn with Frederic ; but the latter pleading weakness and want of repose, retired to his chamber, galantly telling the Prince, that his daughter should amuse his Highness until himself could attend him. Manfred accepted the party, and to the no small grief of Isabella accompanied her to her apartment. Matilda waited on her mother to enjoy the freshness of the evening on the ramparts of the castle.

Soon as the company were dispersed their several ways, Frederic, quitting his chamber, enquired if Hippolita was alone, and was told by one of her attendants, who had not noticed her going forth, that at that hour she gene rally withdrew to her oratory, where he probably would find her. The Marquis during the repast had beheld Matilda with increase of passion. He now wished to find Hippolita in the disposition her Lord had promised. The portents that had alarmed him, were forgotten in his desires. Stealing softly and unobserved to the apartment of Hippolita, he entered it with a resolution to encourage her acquiescence to the divorce, having perceived that Manfred was resolved to make the possession of Isabella an unalterable condition, before he would grant Matilda to his wishes.

The Marquis was not surprized at the silence that reigned in the Princess's apartment. Concluding her, as he had been advertized, in her oratory, he passed on. The door was ajar; the evening gloomy and overcast. Pushing open the door gently, he saw a person kneeling before the altar. As he approached nearer, it seemed not a woman, but one in a long woollen weed, whose back was towards him. The person seemed absorbed in prayer. The Marquis was about to return, when the figure rising, stood some moments fixed in meditation, without regarding him. The Marquis, expecting the holy person to come forth, and meaning to excuse his uncivil interruption, said, reverend Father, I sought the Lady Hippolita Hippolita! replied a hollow voice? camest thou to this castle to seek Hippolita? — and then the figure, turning slowly round, discovered to Frederic the fleshless jaws and empty sockets of a skeleton, wrapt in a hermit's cowl. Angels of grace, protect me! cried Frederic recoiling. Deserve their protection! said the Spectre. Frederic falling on his knees, adjured the Phantom to take pity on him. Dost thou not remember me? said the apparition. Remember the wood of Joppa! Art thou that holy Hermit? cried Frederic trembling—can I do ought for thy eternal peace?—Wast thou delivered from bondage, said the spectre, to pursue carnal delights? Hast thou forgotten the buried sabre, and the behest of Heaven engraven on it?—I have not, I have not; said Frederic —but say, blest spirit, what is thy errand to me? what remains to be done? To forget Matilda! said the apparition—and vanished.

Frederic 's blood froze in his veins. For some minutes he remained motionless. Then falling prostrate on his face before the altar, he besought the intercession of every saint for pardon. A flood of tears succeeded to this transport; and the image of the beauteous Matilda rushing in spite of him on his thoughts, he lay on the ground in a conflict of penitence and passion. E'er he could recover from this agony of his spirits, the Princess Hippolita with a taper in her hand entered the oratory alone. Seeing a man without motion on the floor, she gave a shriek, concluding him dead. Her fright brought Frederic to himself. Rising suddenly, his face bedewed with tears, he would have rushed from her presence; but Hippolita stopping him, conjured him in the most plaintive accents to explain the cause of his disorder, and by what strange chance she had found him there in that posture. Ah! virtuous Princess! said the Marquis, penetrated with grief—and stopped. For the love of Heaven, my Lord, said Hippolita, disclose the cause of this transport! what mean these doleful sounds, this alarming exclamation on my name? What woes has heaven still in store for the wretched Hippolita? —yet silent!—by every pitying angel, I adjure thee, noble Prince, continued she falling at his feet, to disclose the purport of what lies at thy heart— I see thou feelest for me; thou feelest the sharp pangs that thou inflictest—speak for pity!— does ought thou knowest concern my child?— I cannot speak; cried Frederic, bursting from her—Oh! Matilda!

Quitting the Princess thus abruptly, he hastened to his own apartment. At the door of it he was accosted by Manfred, who flushed by wine and love had come to seek him, and to propose to waste some hours of the night in music and revelling. Frederic, offended at an invitation so dissonant from the mood of his soul, pushed him rudely aside, and entering his chamber, flung the door intemperately against Manfred, and bolted it inwards. The haughty Prince, enraged at this unaccountable behaviour, withdrew in a frame of mind capable of the most fatal excesses. As he crossed the court, he was met by the domestic whom he had planted at the convent as a spy on Jerome and Theodore. This man, almost breathless with the haste he had made, informed his Lord, that Theodore and some lady from the castle were at that instant in private conference at the tomb of Alfonso in St. Nicholas's church. He had dogged Theodore thither, but the gloominess of the night had prevented his discovering who the woman was.

Manfred, whose spirits were inflamed, and whom Isabella had driven from her on his urging his passion with too little reserve, did not doubt but the inquietude she had expressed, had been occasioned by her impatience to meet Theodore. Provoked by this conjecture, and enraged at her father, he hastened secretly to the great church. Gliding softly between the isles, and guided by an imperfect gleam of moonshine that shone saintly through the illuminated windows, he stole towards the tomb of Alfonso, to which he was directed by indistinct whispers of the persons he sought. The first sounds he could distinguish were—Does it alas! depend on me? Manfred will never permit our union—No, this shall prevent it! cried the tyrant, drawing his dagger, and plunging it over her shoulder into the bosom of the person that spoke—ah! me, I am slain! cried Matilda sinking; good heaven, receive my soul! Savage, inhuman monster! what hast thou done! cried Theodore, rushing on him, and wrenching his dagger from him—Stop, stop thy impious hand! cried Matilda ; it is my father! Manfred waking as from a trance, beat his breast, twisted his hands in his locks, and endeavoured to recover his dagger from Theodore to dispatch himself. Theodore scarce less distracted, and only mastering the transports of his grief to assist Matilda, had now by his cries drawn some of the monks to his aid. While part of them endeavoured in concert with the afflicted Theodore to stop the blood of the dying Princess, the rest prevented Manfred from laying violent hands on himself.

Matilda resigning herself patiently to her fate, acknowledged with looks of grateful love the zeal of Theodore. Yet oft as her faintness would permit her speech its way, she begged the assistants to comfort her father. Jerome by this time had learnt the fatal news, and reached the church. His looks seemed to reproach Theodore: but turning to Manfred, he said, now, tyrant! behold the completion of woe fulfilled on thy impious and devoted head! The blood of Alfonso cried to heaven for vengeance; and heaven has permitted its altar to be polluted by assassination, that thou mightest shed thy own blood at the foot of that Prince's sepulchre!—Cruel man! cried Matilda, to aggravate the woes of a parent! may heaven bless my father, and forgive him as I do! My Lord, my gracious Sire, dost thou forgive thy child? indeed I came not hither to meet Theodore: I found him praying at this tomb, whither my mother sent me to intercede for thee, for her—dearest father, bless your child, and say you forgive her—forgive thee! murderous monster! cried Manfred —can assassins forgive? I took thee for Isabella ; but heaven directed my bloody hand to the heart of my child!—oh! Matilda —I cannot utter it—canst thou forgive the blindness of my rage! I can, I do! and may heaven confirm it! said Matilda —but while I have life to ask it—Oh! my mother! what will she feel!—will you comfort her, my Lord? will you not put her away? indeed she loves you—oh! I am faint! bear me to the castle—can I live to have her close my eyes?

Theodore and the monks besought her earnestly to suffer herself to be born into the convent; but her instances were so pressing to be carried to the castle; that placing her on a litter, they conveyed her thither as she requested. Theodore supporting her head with his arm, and hanging over her in an agony of despairing love, still endeavoured to inspire her with hopes of life. Je rome on the other side comforted her with discourses of heaven, and holding a crucifix before her, which she bathed with innocent tears, prepared her for her passage to immortality. Manfred plunged in the deepest affliction, followed the litter in despair.

E'er they reached the castle, Hippolita, in formed of the dreadful catastrophe, had flown to meet her murdered child: but when she saw the afflicted procession, the mightiness of her grief deprived her of her senses, and she fell lifeless to the earth in a swoon. Isabella and Frederic, who attended her, were overwhelmed in almost equal sorrow. Matilda alone seemed in sensible to her own situation: every thought was lost in tenderness for her mother. Ordering the litter to stop, as soon as Hippolita was brought to herself, she asked for her father. He approached, unable to speak. Matilda seizing his hand and her mother's, locked them in her own, and then clasped them to her heart. Manfred could not support this act of pathetic piety. He dashed himself on the ground, and cursed the day he was born. Isabella, apprehensive that these struggles of passion were more than Matilda could support, took upon herself to order Manfred to be borne to his apartment, while she caused Matilda to be conveyed to the nearest chamber. Hippolita, scarce more alive than her daughter, was regardless of every thing but her: but when the tender Isabella 's care would have likewise removed her, while the surgeons examined Matilda 's wound, she cried, remove me! never! never! I lived but in her, and will expire with her. Matilda raised her eyes at her mother's voice, but closed them again without speaking. Her sinking pulse and the damp cold ness of her hand soon dispelled all hopes of recovery. Theodore followed the surgeons into the outer chamber, and heard them pronounce the fatal sentence with a transport equal to frenzy— Since she cannot live mine, cried he, at least she shall be mine in death!—Father! Jerome! will you not join our hands? cried he to the Friar, who with the Marquis had accompanied the surgeons. What means thy distracted rashness? said Jerome ; is this an hour for marriage! It is, it is, cried Theodore, alas! there is no other! Young man, thou art too unadvised: said Frederic: dost thou think we are to listen to thy fond transports in this hour of fate? what pretensions hast thou to the Princess? Those of a Prince; said Theodore ; of the sovereign of Otranto. This reverend man, my father, has informed me who I am. Thou ravest: said the Marquis: there is no prince of Otranto but myself, now Manfred by murder, by sacrilegious murder, has forfeited all pretensions. My Lord, said Jerome, assuming an air of command, he tells you true. It was not my purpose the secret should have been divulged so soon; but fate presses onward to its work. What his hot headed passion has revealed, my tongue confirms. Know, Prince, that when Alfonso set sail for the Holy Land— is this a season for explanations? cried Theodore. Father, come and unite me to the Princess; she shall be mine—in every other thing I will dutifully obey you. My life! my adored Matilda! continued Theodore, rushing back into the inner chamber, will you not be mine? will you not bless your— Isabella made signs to him to be silent, apprehending the Princess was near her end. What is she dead? cried Theodore ; is it possible? The violence of his exclamations brought Matilda to herself. Lifting up her eyes, she looked round for her mother—Life of my soul! I am here: cried Hippolita ; think not I will quit thee! Oh! you are too good; said Matilda —but weep not for me, my mother! I am going where sorrow never dwells— Isabella, thou hast loved me; wot thou not supply my fondness to this dear, dear woman?—indeed I am faint! Oh! my child! my child! said Hippolita in a flood of tears, can I not withhold thee a moment!—It will not be; said Matilda —commend me to heaven—where is my father? forgive him, dearest mother—forgive him my death; it was an error—Oh! I had forgotten— dearest mother, I vowed never to see Theodore more—perhaps that has drawn down this calamity— but it was not intentional—can you pardon me?—Oh! wound not my agonizing soul! said Hippolita ; thou never couldst offend me—alas I she faints! help! help!—I would say something more, said Matilda struggling, but it wonnot be— Isabella Theodore —for my sake—Oh!—she expired. Isabella and her women tore Hippolita from the corse; but Theodore threatened destruction to all who attempted to remove him from it. He printed a thousand kisses on her clay-cold hands, and uttered every expression that despairing love could dictate.

Isabella, in the mean time, was accompanying the afflicted Hippolita to her apartment; but, in the middle of the court, they were met by Manfred, who, distracted with his own thoughts, and anxious once more to behold his daughter, was advancing to the chamber where she lay. As the moon was now at its height, he read in the countenances of this unhappy company the event he dreaded. What! is she dead! cried he in wild confusion—a clap of thunder at that instant shook the castle to its foundations; the earth rocked, and the clank of more than mortal armour was heard behind. Frederic and Jerome thought the last day was at hand. The latter, forcing Theodore along with them, rushed into the court. The moment Theodore appeared, the walls of the castle behind Manfred were thrown down with a mighty force, and the form of Alfonso, dilated to an immense magnitude, appeared in the center of the ruins. Behold in Theodore the true heir of Alfonso! said the vision: And having pronounced those words, accompanied by a clap of thunder, it ascended solemnly towards heaven, where the clouds parting asunder, the form of St. Nicholas was seen, and receiving Alfonso's shade, they were soon wrapt from mortal eyes in a blaze of glory.

The beholders fell prostrate on their faces, acknowledging the divine will. The first that broke silence was Hippolita. My Lord, said she to the desponding Manfred, behold the vanity of human greatness! Conrad is gone! Matilda is no more! in Theodore we view the true Prince of Otranto. By what miracle he is so, I know not—suffice it to us, our doom is pronounced! shall we not, can we but dedicate the few deplorable hours we have to live, in deprecating the farther wrath of heaven? heaven ejects us —whither can we fly, but to yon holy cells that yet offer us a retreat?—Thou guiltless but unhappy woman! unhappy by my crimes! replied Manfred, my heart at last is open to thy devout admonitions. Oh! could—but it cannot be—ye are lost in wonder—let me at last do justice on myself! To heap shame on my own head is all the satisfaction I have left to offer to offended heaven. My story has drawn down these judgments: Let my confession atone —but ah! what can atone for usurpation and a murdered child! a child murdered in a consecrated place!—List, Sirs, and may this bloody record be a warning to future tyrants!

Alfonso, ye all know, died in the holy land —ye would interrupt me; ye would say he came not fairly to his end—it is most true— why else this bitter cup which Manfred must drink to the dregs? Ricardo, my grandfather, was his chamberlain—I would draw a veil over my ancestor's crimes—but it is in vain! Alfonso died by poison. A fictitious will declared Ricardo his heir. His crimes pursued him—yet he lost no Conrad, no Matilda! I pay the price of usurpation for all! A storm overtook him. Haunted by his guilt, he vowed to St. Nicholas to found a church and two convents, if he lived to reach Otranto. The sacrifice was accepted: the saint appeared to him in a dream, and promised that Ricardo's posterity should reign in Otranto, until the rightful owner should be grown too large to inhabit the castle, and as long as issue-male from Ricardo's loins should remain to enjoy it—Alas! alas! nor male nor female, except myself, remains of all his wretched race!—I have done—the woes of these three days speak the rest. How this young man can be Alfonso's heir, I know not—yet I do not doubt it. His are these dominions; I resign them—yet I knew not Alfonso had an heir—I question not the will of heaven—poverty and prayer must fill up the woeful space, until Manfred shall be summoned to Ricardo.

What remains, is my part to declare, said Jerome. When Alfonso set sail for the holy land, he was driven by a storm to the coast of Sicily. The other vessel, which bore Ricardo and his train, as your Lordship must have heard, was separated from him. It is most true, said Manfred ; and the title you give me is more than an outcast can claim—well! be it so—proceed. Jerome blushed, and continued. For three months Lord Alfonso was wind bound in Sicily. There he became enamoured of a fair virgin named Victoria. He was too pious to tempt her to forbidden pleasures. They were married. Yet deeming this amour incongruous with the holy vow of arms by which he was bound, he determined to conceal their nuptials, until his return from the Crusado, when he purposed to seek and acknowledge her for his lawful wife. He left her pregnant. During his absence she was delivered of a daughter: But scarce had she felt a mother's pangs, ere she heard the fatal rumour of her Lord's death, and the succession of Ricardo. What could a friendless, helpless woman do? would her testimony avail?—yet, my Lord, I have an authentic writing—It needs not; said Manfred ; the horrors of these days, the vision we have but now seen, all corroborate thy evidence beyond a thousand parchments. Matilda 's death and my expulsion— Be composed, my Lord, said Hippolita ; this holy man did not mean to recal your griefs, Jerome proceeded.

I shall not dwell on what is needless. The daughter of which Victoria was delivered, was at her maturity bestowed in marriage on me. Victoria died; and the secret remained locked in my breast. Theodore 's narrative has told the rest.

The Friar ceased. The disconsolate company retired to the remaining part of the castle. In the morning Manfred signed his abdication of the principality, with the approbation of Hippolita, and each took on them the habit of religion in the neighbouring convents. Frederic offered his daughter to the new Prince, which Hippolita 's tenderness for Isabella concurred to promote: But Theodore 's grief was too fresh to admit the thought of another love; and it was not until after frequent discourses with Isabella of his dear Matilda, that he was persuaded he could know no happiness but in the society of one with whom he could for ever indulge the melancholy that had taken possession of his soul.

Lady Susan Jane Austen Howe Tonya Transcription, correction, editorial commentary, and markup Students and Staff of Marymount University Haider Adhoob Kiashu Akter Jabari Bryant Felipe Caceres Destiny Clark Naiya Dalce Anna Moon Sibeso Mubonda Alexis Johnson John Lillis Derek Manzanares Blake Sorenson William Rash Tonya Howe National Endowment for the Humanities Literature in Context
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"Lady Susan" Jane Austen A Memoir of Jane Austen London Richard Bentley and Son 1871 This text was written around 1795, but not published until 1871, in this, the second edition of James Edward Austen-Leigh's A Memoir of Jane Austen. Page images are drawn from the text held by Oxford Libraries, digitized by Google, and available at Internet Archive. View the complete Memoir online at https://archive.org/details/amemoirjaneaust00leiggoog/page/n12/mode/2up. Item information available via WorldCat at https://www.worldcat.org/title/memoir-of-jane-austen/oclc/358319. Project Gutenberg n.d. Base text for this digital edition has been drawn from Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/946/946-h/946-h.htm 364 pages ; 20 cm pp 203-291
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LADY SUSAN.
I. Lady Susan Vernon to Mr. Vernon. Langford, Dec. MY DEAR BROTHER,--

I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation when we last parted of spending some weeks with you at Churchhill, and, therefore, if quite convenient to you and Mrs. Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope within a few days to be introduced to a sister Lady Susan Vernon's deceased husband is Charles Vernon, whom she calls her brother here. His wife, Catherine, is therefore her sister-in-law. Lady Susan is trying to ingratiate herself through family feeling, though as we will see she has not ever met Catherine and in fact attempted to keep Charles and Catherine from marrying. whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with. My kind friends Sense 8 for the word "kind" in the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as sense 6 for "friend",both indicate potentially sexual or amorous meanings in use during Austen’s time; given what we know of Lady Susan’s relationship to Mr. Mainwaring, and the fact that she is writing to her confidante Alicia Johnson, suggest that "kind friends" may also have these sexual connotations. here are most affectionately urgent with me to prolong my stay, but their hospitable and cheerful dispositions lead them too much into society According to the OED, this phrase, which is now obsolete and only used historically, means going out and "mix[ing] in society (as opposed to remaining in one's own home or domestic circle); to appear regularly at private or public entertainments, parties, etc." ("Society" 7.d). The image included here, from the British Library, is an illustration from A Description of the Correct Method of Waltzing (1816) showing deportment at a dance, one of the main social gatherings of the period. for my present situation and state of mind; and I impatiently look forward to the hour when I shall be admitted into your delightful retirement.

I long to be made known to your dear little children, in whose hearts I shall be very eager to secure an interest I shall soon have need for all my fortitude, as I am on the point of separation from my own daughter. The long illness of her dear father prevented my paying her that attention which duty and affection equally dictated, and I have too much reason to fear that the governess While governesses were more frequently depicted in the later Victorian period, this early reference to the profession suggests something of the ambiguous positions these women held in the households that employed them to teach and care for children. According to Kathryn Hughes’ article for the British Library, the governess "was a surrogate mother who had no children of her own, a family member who was sometimes mistaken for a servant." to whose care I consigned her was unequal to the charge. I have therefore resolved on placing her at one of the best private schools in town According to Deborah Simonton's article on "Women and Education" in Women's History, Britain 1700-1850, in the Enlightenment period, the education of girls was increasing in importance. Schools prepared girls for the lives they would lead within their socioeconomic class, while also seeking to teach "good morals and behavior" (35). Boarding or day schools for girls were often used for "finishing" in the genteel arts needed to secure a successful marriage (43). A typical curriculum consisted of "needlecraft skills, the art of polite conversation, dancing, music, drawing, painting, French, perhaps Italian, and subjects...with which to make polite conversation" (44-45). Only girls from plebeian or working class families would be taught more practical trades, but the education of women in the 18th century differed greatly from that offered to young men (Simonton, "Women and Education"), where I shall have an opportunity of leaving her myself in my way to you. I am determined, you see, not to be denied admittance at Churchhill. It would indeed give me most painful sensations to know that it were not in your power to receive me.

Your most obliged and affectionate sister, S. VERNON.
II. Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson. Langford.

You were mistaken, my dear Alicia, in supposing me fixed at this place for the rest of the winter: it grieves me to say how greatly you were mistaken, for I have seldom spent three months more agreeably than those which have just flown away. At present, nothing goes smoothly; the females of the family are united against me. You foretold how it would be when I first came to Langford, and Mainwaring is so uncommonly pleasing that I was not without apprehensions for myself. I remember saying to myself, as I drove to the house, "I like this man, pray Heaven no harm come of it!" But I was determined to be discreet, to bear in mind my being only four months a widow In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when a woman's husband died, the widow was usually negatively economically impacted. Widows, unlike wives, had a higher degree of authority and power over their own economic lives and that of their children because they became legal heads of household. This empowerment, however, threatened patriarchal order, which depended on the economic subordination of women. In addition, widows in the eighteenth century were often depicted as dangerously sexual because they were not legally owned by a husband. Women were expected to mourn publicly and for prolonged periods of time for their husbands, by "withdrawing from social life" and wearing particular kinds of clothing (Klassen, "Widows and Widowers"). The image included here, a 1781 fashion plate from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, shows aristocratic mourning wear in a French context, which would likely have been particularly attractive to a character like Lady Susan., and to be as quiet as possible: and I have been so, my dear creature; I have admitted no one's attentions but Mainwaring's. I have avoided all general flirtation whatever; I have distinguished no creature besides, of all the numbers resorting hither, except Sir James Martin, on whom I bestowed a little notice, in order to detach him from Miss Mainwaring; but, if the world could know my motive there they would honour me. I have been called an unkind mother, but it was the sacred impulse of maternal affection, it was the advantage of my daughter Lady Susan here claims out that she seeks financial and other benefits for her daughter as a result of the marriage she is trying to arrange between Frederica and Sir James. See the OED definitions of "advantage," especially phrase 1.b. that led me on; and if that daughter were not the greatest simpleton on earth, I might have been rewarded for my exertions as I ought.

Sir James did make proposals to me for Over the course of the eighteenth century, marriages were increasingly less "arranged," but financial arrangements were always made and agreed upon before the marriage took place. Typically, this included agreements about dowry and, especially, jointure. Frederica, poor after the death of her father, would bring little to no dowry to her future husband, but Lady Susan would hope to negotiate a large jointure. A jointure was the amount a husband agrees to settle on his wife to support her after his death. In addition, marriage settlements would include agreements for things like pin money. See H. J. Habakuk, "Marriage Settlements in the Eighteenth Century" and Susan Staves, Married Women's Separate Property in England, 1660-1833, especially "Pin-Money and Other Separate Property." Frederica; but Frederica, who was born to be the torment of my life, chose to set herself so violently against the match that I thought it better to lay aside the scheme for the present. I have more than once repented that I did not marry him myself; and were he but one degree less contemptibly weak I certainly should: but I must own myself rather romantic in that respect, and that riches only will not satisfy me. The event of all this is very provoking: Sir James is gone, Maria highly incensed, and Mrs. Mainwaring insupportably jealous; so jealous, in short, and so enraged against me, that, in the fury of her temper, I should not be surprized at her appealing to her guardian Guardianship in the eighteenth century was a legal mechanism for fathers to extend their power over their children after death by appointing what was called a "testamentary guardian" in their wills. Both paternal authority and guardianship ceased bearing legal weight after a child's twenty-first birthday (Abramowicz, "English Child Custody Law, 1660-1839," 1344). In marriage, daughters were subsumed into the legal identity of their husbands under the law of coverture ("Women and the Law"). In Lady Susan, Mr. Johnson had presumably been appointed guardian to the young woman who is now Mrs. Mainwaring, upon her father's death. After she married her husband, Mrs. Mainwaring would no longer have a legal guardian other than her, though we can see in this novella that the personal relationship and dependency continues. , if she had the liberty of addressing him: but there your husband stands my friend; and the kindest, most amiable action of his life was his throwing her off for ever on her marriage. Keep up his resentment, therefore, I charge you. We are now in a sad state; no house was ever more altered; the whole party are at war, and Mainwaring scarcely dares speak to me. It is time for me to be gone; I have therefore determined on leaving them, and shall spend, I hope, a comfortable day with you in town within this week. If I am as little in favour with Mr. Johnson as ever, you must come to me at 10 Wigmore street; but I hope this may not be the case, for as Mr. Johnson, with all his faults, is a man to whom that great word "respectable" is always given, and I am known to be so intimate with his wife, his slighting me has an awkward look.

I take London in my way to that insupportable spot, a country village; for I am really going to Churchhill. Forgive me, my dear friend, it is my last resource. Were there another place in England open to me I would prefer it. Charles Vernon is my aversion; and I am afraid of his wife. At Churchhill, however, I must remain till I have something better in view. My young lady accompanies me to town, where I shall deposit her under the care of Miss Summers, in Wigmore street, till she becomes a little more reasonable. She will make good connections there, as the girls are all of the best families. The price is immense, and much beyond what I can ever attempt to pay.

Adieu, I will send you a line as soon as I arrive in town.

Yours ever, S. VERNON.
III. Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill. My dear Mother,—

I am very sorry to tell you that it will not be in our power to keep our promise of spending our Christmas with you; and we are prevented that happiness by a circumstance which is not likely to make us any amends. Lady Susan, in a letter to her brother-in-law, has declared her intention of visiting us almost immediately; and as such a visit is in all probability merely an affair of convenience, it is impossible to conjecture its length. I was by no means prepared for such an event, nor can I now account for her ladyship's conduct; Langford appeared so exactly the place for her in every respect, as well from the elegant and expensive style of living there, as from her particular attachment to Mr. Mainwaring, that I was very far from expecting so speedy a distinction, though I always imagined from her increasing friendship for us since her husband's death that we should, at some future period, be obliged to receive her. Mr. Vernon, I think, was a great deal too kind to her when he was in Staffordshire; her behaviour to him, independent of her general character, has been so inexcusably artful This is an important description of Lady Susan; Catherine Vernon is criticizing her sister-in-law as "artful," suggesting much about Lady Susan’s character. An artful person is a person "skilful in adapting means to ends, so as to secure the accomplishment of a purpose" ("Artful," adj.2b). and ungenerous since our marriage was first in agitation that no one less amiable and mild than himself could have overlooked it all; and though, as his brother's widow, and in narrow circumstances, it was proper to render her pecuniary assistance Pecuniary means having to with money--Catherine Vernon is stating that as a close family member, it was right for her husband to offer Lady Susan financial assistance at the death of her husband., I cannot help thinking his pressing invitation to her to visit us at Churchhill perfectly unnecessary. Disposed, however, as he always is to think the best of everyone, her display of grief, and professions of regret, and general resolutions of prudence, were sufficient to soften his heart and make him really confide in her sincerity; but, as for myself, I am still unconvinced, and plausibly as her ladyship has now written, I cannot make up my mind till I better understand her real meaning in coming to us. You may guess, therefore, my dear madam, with what feelings I look forward to her arrival. She will have occasion for all those attractive powers for which she is celebrated to gain any share of my regard; and I shall certainly endeavour to guard myself against their influence, if not accompanied by something more substantial. She expresses a most eager desire of being acquainted with me, and makes very gracious mention of my children but I am not quite weak enough to suppose a woman who has behaved with inattention, if not with unkindness, to her own child, should be attached to any of mine. Miss Vernon is to be placed at a school in London before her mother comes to us which I am glad of, for her sake and my own. It must be to her advantage to be separated from her mother, and a girl of sixteen who has received so wretched an education, could not be a very desirable companion here. Reginald has long wished, I know, to see the captivating Lady Susan, and we shall depend on his joining our party soon. I am glad to hear that my father continues so well; and am, with best love, &,

CATHERINE VERNON.
IV. Mr. de Courcy to Mrs. Vernon. Parklands. My dear Sister,—

I congratulate you and Mr. Vernon on being about to receive into your family the most accomplished coquette A coquette is a flirt, or, according to the OED, one who uses "arts intended to excite the admiration or love of the opposite sex, without any intention of responding to the feelings awakened." in England. As a very distinguished flirt I have always been taught to consider her, but it has lately fallen in my way to hear some particulars of her conduct at Langford: which prove that she does not confine herself to that sort of honest flirtation which satisfies most people, but aspires to the more delicious gratification of making a whole family miserable. By her behaviour to Mr. Mainwaring she gave jealousy and wretchedness to his wife, and by her attentions to a young man previously attached to Mr. Mainwaring's sister deprived an amiable girl of her lover.

I learnt all this from Mr. Smith, now in this neighbourhood (I have dined with him, at Hurst and Wilford), who is just come from Langford where he was a fortnight with her ladyship, and who is therefore well qualified to make the communication.

What a woman she must be! I long to see her, and shall certainly accept your kind invitation, that I may form some idea of those bewitching powers which can do so much—engaging at the same time, and in the same house, the affections of two men, who were neither of them at liberty to bestow them—and all this without the charm of youth! I am glad to find Miss Vernon does not accompany her mother to Churchhill, as she has not even manners to recommend her; and, according to Mr. Smith's account, is equally dull and proud. Where pride and stupidity unite there can be no dissimulation To dissimulate is to conceal or feign; as an abstract noun, it refers to a concealment. worthy notice, and Miss Vernon shall be consigned to unrelenting contempt; but by all that I can gather Lady Susan possesses a degree of captivating deceit which it must be pleasing to witness and detect. I shall be with you very soon, and am ever,

Your affectionate brother, R. DE COURCY.
V. Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson. Churchhill.

I received your note, my dear Alicia, just before I left town, and rejoice to be assured that Mr. Johnson suspected nothing of your engagement Lady Susan is commenting on Alicia's "engagement" or meeting the night before with someone unnamed, likely a lover. According to the OED, the modern meaning of commitment to marry was only just coming into use at the beginning of the nineteenth century. One eighteenth-century sense might suggest something of the sub-text here--an engagement can also refer to a battle or conflict, which is often used in love poetry as a metaphor for sexual encounter. the evening before. It is undoubtedly better to deceive him entirely, and since he will be stubborn he must be tricked. I arrived here in safety, and have no reason to complain of my reception from Mr. Vernon; but I confess myself not equally satisfied with the behaviour of his lady. She is perfectly well-bred, indeed, and has the air of a woman of fashion A woman of fashion is more than just a fashionable woman--she is typically a woman of independent spirit and taste, who exerts her own power in the public sphere through fashionable consumption, display, and behavior. For more on this controversial figure in the eighteenth century, see Ingrid Tague’s Women of Quality: Accepting and Contesting Ideals of Femininity in England, 1690-1760 ., but her manners are not such as can persuade me of her being prepossessed in my favour. I wanted her to be delighted at seeing me. I was as amiable as possible on the occasion, but all in vain. She does not like me. To be sure when we consider that I did take some pains to prevent my brother-in-law's marrying her, this want of cordiality is not very surprizing, and yet it shows an illiberal and vindictive spirit to resent a project which influenced me six years ago, and which never succeeded at last.

I am sometimes disposed to repent that I did not let Charles buy Vernon Castle, when we were obliged to sell it; but it was a trying circumstance, especially as the sale took place exactly at the time of his marriage; and everybody ought to respect the delicacy of those feelings which could not endure that my husband's dignity The word "dignity" has many uses, including simply worthiness or nobility, but in the eighteenth century often refers to a person’s rank or status. In this context, Lady Susan is talking about her husband’s rank and status, as it derives from his estate. See the OED. should be lessened by his younger brother's having possession of the family estate. Could matters have been so arranged as to prevent the necessity of our leaving the castle, could we have lived with Charles and kept him single, I should have been very far from persuading my husband to dispose of it elsewhere; but Charles was on the point of marrying Miss De Courcy, and the event has justified me. Here are children in abundance, and what benefit could have accrued to me from his purchasing Vernon? My having prevented it may perhaps have given his wife an unfavourable impression, but where there is a disposition to dislike, a motive will never be wanting; and as to money matters it has not withheld him from being very useful to me. I really have a regard for him, he is so easily imposed upon In this case, Lady Susan is talking about how easily she is able to deceive her brother. According to the OED, this meaning of the phrase "imposed on" means "To obtrude or ‘put’ (a thing) upon (a person) by false representations; to palm or pass off."! The house is a good one, the furniture fashionable, and everything announces plenty and elegance. Charles is very rich I am sure; when a man has once got his name in a banking-house A banking house is a bank that was able to extend credit to its members. Unlike today, not everyone could have an accoount with a banking house in the eighteenth century. For more information, see D. M. Joslin’s article, "London Private Bankers, 1720-1785". he rolls in money; but they do not know what to do with it, keep very little company, and never go to London but on business. We shall be as stupid as possible. I mean to win my sister-in-law's heart through the children; I know all their names already, and am going to attach myself with the greatest sensibility to one in particular, a young Frederic, whom I take on my lap and sigh over for his dear uncle's sake.

Poor Mainwaring! I need not tell you how much I miss him, how perpetually he is in my thoughts. I found a dismal letter from him on my arrival here, full of complaints of his wife and sister, and lamentations on the cruelty of his fate. I passed off the letter as his wife's, to the Vernons, and when I write to him it must be under cover to you Lady Susan is essentially using her friendship with Alicia Johnson to continue corresponding with her lover, Mr. Mainwaring. She writes to him "under cover" to Mrs. Johnson. A "cover" in the eighteenth-century letter-writing context means, as the OED sense I.2d indicates, is the wrapper of a letter. Lady Susan has put a private letter for Mr. Mainwaring inside a letter that is sent to Mrs. Johnson..

Ever yours, S. VERNON.
VI. Mrs. Vernon to Mr. de Courcy Churchhill.

Well, my dear Reginald, I have seen this dangerous creature, and must give you some description of her, though I hope you will soon be able to form your own judgment. She is really excessively pretty; however you may choose to question the allurements of a lady no longer young Lady Susan is 35 years old., I must, for my own part, declare that I have seldom seen so lovely a woman as Lady Susan. She is delicately fair, with fine grey eyes and dark eyelashes; and from her appearance one would not suppose her more than five and twenty, though she must in fact be ten years older, I was certainly not disposed to admire her, though always hearing she was beautiful; but I cannot help feeling that she possesses an uncommon union of symmetry, brilliancy, and grace. Her address In this context, "address" refers not to a physical location, but rather the style of speaking--how one addresses herself to others. to me was so gentle, frank, and even affectionate, that, if I had not known how much she has always disliked me for marrying Mr. Vernon, and that we had never met before, I should have imagined her an attached friend. One is apt, I believe, to connect assurance of manner with coquetry, and to expect that an impudent address will naturally attend an impudent mind; at least I was myself prepared for an improper degree of confidence A "confident" woman was not a good thing in the eighteenth century; according to the OED, it means "Assurance, boldness, fearlessness." Women were to be anything but confident in their behavior, in this sense. in Lady Susan; but her countenance is absolutely sweet, and her voice and manner "Manner" is a fascinating concept as it relates to eighteenth-century culture, and it has many senses and meanings, as seen in the OED. In general, it refers to an individual’s habitual actions or behavior. winningly mild. I am sorry it is so, for what is this but deceit? Unfortunately, one knows her too well. She is clever and agreeable, has all that knowledge of the world which makes conversation easy, and talks very well, with a happy command of language, which is too often used, I believe, to make black appear white. She has already almost persuaded me of her being warmly attached to her daughter, though I have been so long convinced to the contrary. She speaks of her with so much tenderness and anxiety, lamenting so bitterly the neglect of her education, which she represents however as wholly unavoidable, that I am forced to recollect how many successive springs her ladyship spent in town, while her daughter was left in Staffordshire to the care of servants, or a governess very little better, to prevent my believing what she says.

If her manners have so great an influence on my resentful heart, you may judge how much more strongly they operate on Mr. Vernon's generous temper. I wish I could be as well satisfied as he is, that it was really her choice to leave Langford for Churchhill; and if she had not stayed there for months before she discovered that her friend's manner of living did not suit her situation or feelings, I might have believed that concern for the loss of such a husband as Mr. Vernon, to whom her own behaviour was far from unexceptionable Something that is "unexceptionable" is something that one cannot "take exception to" or criticize. Here, the use of the double negative tells us that Catherine Vernon does find something wrong in Lady Susan’s behavior, but she is too polite to come out and say it in this letter., might for a time make her wish for retirement. But I cannot forget the length of her visit to the Mainwarings, and when I reflect on the different mode of life which she led with them from that to which she must now submit, I can only suppose that the wish of establishing her reputation by following though late the path of propriety, occasioned her removal from a family where she must in reality have been particularly happy. Your friend Mr. Smith's story, however, cannot be quite correct, as she corresponds regularly with Mrs. Mainwaring. At any rate it must be exaggerated. It is scarcely possible that two men should be so grossly deceived by her at once.

Yours, &, CATHERINE VERNON.
VII. Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson Churchhill. My dear Alicia,—

You are very good in taking notice of Frederica, and I am grateful for it as a mark of your friendship; but as I cannot have any doubt of the warmth of your affection, I am far from exacting so heavy a sacrifice. She is a stupid girl, and has nothing to recommend her. I would not, therefore, on my account, have you encumber one moment of your precious time by sending for her to Edward Street, especially as every visit is so much deducted from the grand affair of education What was women's education like, in this context? What is Lady Susan referring to?, which I really wish to have attended to while she remains at Miss Summers's. I want her to play and sing with some portion of taste and a good deal of assurance, as she has my hand and arm and a tolerable voice. I was so much indulged in my infant years that I was never obliged to attend to anything, and consequently am without theaccomplishments An accomplished woman would be someone who could dance, draw, play music and sing (" "Music and Class in Jane Austen"). which are now necessary to finish a pretty woman. Not that I am an advocate for the prevailing fashion of acquiring a perfect knowledge of all languages, arts, and sciences. It is throwing time away to be mistress of French, Italian, and German: music, singing, and drawing, &, will gain a woman some applause, but will not add one lover to her list—grace and manner, after all, are of the greatest importance. I do not mean, therefore, that Frederica's acquirements should be more than superficial, and I flatter myself that she will not remain long enough at school to understand anything thoroughly. I hope to see her the wife of Sir James within a twelvemonth. You know on what I ground my hope, and it is certainly a good foundation, for school must be very humiliating to a girl of Frederica's age Lady Susan is pointing out that, at 16--marriagable age--a finishing school would be inapproopriate and hence humiliating for her daughter. Schools for girls were meant to prepare them for future marriage.. And, by-the-by, you had better not invite her any more on that account, as I wish her to find her situation as unpleasant as possible. I am sure of Sir James at any time, and could make him renew his application by a line. I shall trouble you meanwhile to prevent his forming any other attachment when he comes to town. Ask him to your house occasionally, and talk to him of Frederica, that he may not forget her. Upon the whole, I commend my own conduct in this affair extremely, and regard it as a very happy instance of circumspection and tenderness. Some mothers would have insisted on their daughter's accepting so good an offer on the first overture; but I could not reconcile it to myself to force Frederica into a marriage from which her heart revolted, and instead of adopting so harsh a measure merely propose to make it her own choice, by rendering her thoroughly uncomfortable till she does accept him—but enough of this tiresome girl. You may well wonder how I contrive to pass my time here, and for the first week it was insufferably dull. Now, however, we begin to mend, our party is enlarged by Mrs. Vernon's brother, a handsome young man, who promises me some amusement. There is something about him which rather interests me, a sort of sauciness and familiarity which I shall teach him to correct. He is lively, and seems clever, and when I have inspired him with greater respect for me than his sister's kind offices have implanted, he may be an agreeable flirt. There is exquisite pleasure in subduing an insolent spirit, in making a person predetermined to dislike acknowledge one's superiority. I have disconcerted him already by my calm reserve Note on "reserve" in women, link to conduct manuals?, and it shall be my endeavour to humble the pride of these self important De Courcys still lower, to convince Mrs. Vernon that her sisterly cautions have been bestowed in vain, and to persuade Reginald that she has scandalously belied me. This project will serve at least to amuse me, and prevent my feeling so acutely this dreadful separation from you and all whom I love.

Yours ever, S. VERNON.
VIII Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill . My dear Mother,—

You must not expect Reginald back again for some time. He desires me to tell you that the present open weather induces him to accept Mr. Vernon's invitation to prolong his stay in Sussex. Sussex is a county in the south of England. in the 18th century it was an area witnessing an agricultural revolution. There was a transition period between rural ways and more modern farming ("Sussex Past"). The image included here is a sketch of Amberley castle in Sussex. , that they may have some hunting together. He means to Send for his horses Sussex was a rural location, and the Vernon estate of Churchhill is wealthy. In this letter, Reginald is having his horses sent from Kent, where his parents live, so he can hunt during his stay at Churchhill. Hunting in Sussex and Kent was very different ( Hunting counties of Britain: Kent). The image included here shows what fox hunting was like during the period; it was an activity reserved for wealthy people. immediately, and it is impossible to say when you may see him in Kent. I will not disguise my sentiments on this change from you, my dear mother, though I think you had better not communicate them to my father, whose excessive anxiety about Reginald would subject him to an alarm which might seriously affect his health and spirits. Lady Susan has certainly contrived, in the space of a fortnight, to make my brother like her. In short, I am persuaded that his continuing here beyond the time originally fixed for his return is occasioned as much by a degree of fascination towards her, as by the wish of hunting with Mr. Vernon, and of course I cannot receive that pleasure from the length of his visit which my brother's company would otherwise give me. I am, indeed, provoked at the artifice of this unprincipled woman; what stronger proof of her dangerous abilities can be given than this perversion of Reginald's judgment, which when he entered the house was so decidedly against her! In his last letter he actually gave me some particulars of her behaviour at Langford, such as he received from a gentleman who knew her perfectly well, which, if true, must raise abhorrence against her, and which Reginald himself was entirely disposed to credit. His opinion of her, I am sure, was as low as of any woman in England; and when he first came it was evident that he considered her as one entitled neither to delicacy nor respect, and that he felt she would be delighted with the attentions of any man inclined to flirt with her. Her behaviour, I confess, has been calculated to do away with such an idea; I have not detected the smallest impropriety in it—nothing of vanity, of pretension, of levity; and she is altogether so attractive that I should not wonder at his being delighted with her, had he known nothing of her previous to this personal acquaintance; but, against reason, against conviction, to be so well pleased with her, as I am sure he is, does really astonish me. His admiration was at first very strong, but no more than was natural, and I did not wonder at his being much struck by the gentleness and delicacy of her manners; but when he has mentioned her of late it has been in terms of more extraordinary praise; and yesterday he actually said that he could not be surprised at any effect produced on the heart of man by such loveliness and such abilities; and when I lamented, in reply, the badness of her disposition, he observed that whatever might have been her errors they were to be imputed to her neglected education and early marriage, and that she was altogether a wonderful woman. This tendency to excuse her conduct or to forget it, in the warmth of admiration, vexes me; and if I did not know that Reginald is too much at home at Churchhill to need an invitation for lengthening his visit, I should regret Mr. Vernon's giving him any. Lady Susan's intentions are of course those of absolute coquetry, or a desire of universal admiration; I cannot for a moment imagine that she has anything more serious in view; but it mortifies me to see a young man of Reginald's sense duped by her at all.

I am, &, CATHERINE VERNON.
IX Mrs. Johnson to Lady S. Vernon. Edward Street. My dearest Friend,—

I congratulate you on Mr. De Courcy's arrival, and I advise you by all means to marry him; his father's estate is, we know, considerable, and I believe certainly entailed A man's status in the 19th century was based on the land he owned, and from which he drew income. The land owned had to pass down through generations; therefore, it was not just influence but affluence. An entail was a legal maneuver that settled the deed to an estate on a particular person, usually to ensure an estate stayed in the family. Here, Alicia Johnson is advising Lady Susan to marry Reginald because he will likely inherit his father’s wealthy estate--and probably soon, since his father is ill (Jeffers, "The 19th Century Entailment"). Sir Reginald is very infirm, and not likely to stand in your way long. I hear the young man well spoken of; and though no one can really deserve you, my dearest Susan, Mr. De Courcy may be worth having. Mainwaring will storm of course, but you easily pacify him; besides, the most scrupulous point of honour could not require you to wait for his emancipation Alicia Johnson is pointing out that it is very unlikely Mainwaring will ever be "emancipated" or divorced from his wife.. I have seen Sir James; he came to town for a few days last week, and called several times in Edward Street. I talked to him about you and your daughter, and he is so far from having forgotten you, that I am sure he would marry either of you with pleasure. I gave him hopes of Frederica's relenting, and told him a great deal of her improvements. I scolded him for making love to Maria Mainwaring; he protested that he had been only in joke, and we both laughed heartily at her disappointment; and, in short, were very agreeable. He is as silly as ever.

Yours faithfully, ALICIA.
X Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson. Churchhill.

I am much obliged to you, my dear Friend, for your advice respecting Mr. De Courcy, which I know was given with the full conviction of its expediency, though I am not quite determined on following it. I cannot easily resolve on anything so serious as marriage; especially as I am not at present in want of money, and might perhaps, till the old gentleman's death, be very little benefited by the match. It is true that I am vain enough to believe it within my reach. I have made him sensible of my power, and can now enjoy the pleasure of triumphing over a mind prepared to dislike me, and prejudiced against all my past actions. His sister, too, is, I hope, convinced how little the ungenerous representations of anyone to the disadvantage of another will avail when opposed by the immediate influence of intellect and manner. I see plainly that she is uneasy at my progress in the good opinion of her brother, and conclude that nothing will be wanting on her part to counteract me; but having once made him doubt the justice of her opinion of me, I think I may defy her. It has been delightful to me to watch his advances towards intimacy, especially to observe his altered manner in consequence of my repressing by the cool dignity of my deportment his insolent approach to direct familiarity. My conduct has been equally guarded from the first. Conduct for women in the 18th century was different from men. Women’s conduct was particularly to be "reserved" and "guarded." In one conduct manual for women, A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters, Dr. Gregory states that "‘one of the chief beauties in a female character is that modest reserve, that retiring delicacy, which avoids the public eye, and is disconcerted even at the gaze of admiration’"((26, qtd in Morrison, "Conduct (Un)Becoming to Ladies," 222-223). Read Gregory’s 1774 conduct book here. has been equally guarded from the first, and I never behaved less like a coquette in the whole course of my life, though perhaps my desire of dominion was never more decided. I have subdued him entirely by sentiment and serious conversation, and made him, I may venture to say, at least half in love with me, without the semblance of the most commonplace flirtation. Mrs. Vernon's consciousness of deserving every sort of revenge that it can be in my power to inflict for her ill-offices could alone enable her to perceive that I am actuated by any design in behaviour so gentle and unpretending. Let her think and act as she chooses, however. I have never yet found that the advice of a sister could prevent a young man's being in love if he chose. We are advancing now to some kind of confidence, and in short are likely to be engaged in a sort of platonic friendship. On my side you may be sure of its never being more, for if I were not attached to another person as much as I can be to anyone, I should make a point of not bestowing my affection on a man who had dared to think so meanly of me. Reginald has a good figure and is not unworthy the praise you have heard given him, but is still greatly inferior to our friend at Langford. He is less polished, less insinuating than Mainwaring, and is comparatively deficient in the power of saying those delightful things which put one in good humour with oneself and all the world. He is quite agreeable enough, however, to afford me amusement, and to make many of those hours pass very pleasantly which would otherwise be spent in endeavouring to overcome my sister-in-law's reserve, and listening to the insipid talk of her husband. Your account of Sir James is most satisfactory, and I mean to give Miss Frederica a hint of my intentions very soon.

Yours, &, S. VERNON.
XI Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill.

I really grow quite uneasy, my dearest mother, about Reginald, from witnessing the very rapid increase of Lady Susan's influence. They are now on terms of the most particular friendship, frequently engaged in long conversations together; and she has contrived by the most artful coquetry to subdue his judgment to her own purposes. It is impossible to see the intimacy between them so very soon established without some alarm, though I can hardly suppose that Lady Susan's plans extend to marriage. I wish you could get Reginald home again on any plausible pretence; he is not at all disposed to leave us, and I have given him as many hints of my father's precarious state of health as common decency will allow me to do in my own house. Her power over him must now be boundless, as she has entirely effaced all his former ill-opinion, and persuaded him not merely to forget but to justify her conduct. Mr. Smith's account of her proceedings at Langford, where he accused her of having made Mr. Mainwaring and a young man engaged to Miss Mainwaring distractedly in love with her, which Reginald firmly believed when he came here, is now, he is persuaded, only a scandalous invention. He has told me so with a warmth of manner which spoke his regret at having believed the contrary himself. How sincerely do I grieve that she ever entered this house! I always looked forward to her coming with uneasiness; but very far was it from originating in anxiety for Reginald. I expected a most disagreeable companion for myself, but could not imagine that my brother would be in the smallest danger of being captivated by a woman with whose principles he was so well acquainted During the beginning of the 18th century most marriages were about money and financial arrangements, which created alliances and trades of land and property. For people in higher classes, many marriages were arranged by parents while members of the working class had the chance to marry out of love. Much of the problems of marriages in the 18th century were amplified by the fact that leaving a marriage and getting a divorce was a difficult thing; divorce courts were not introduced until the 19th century. (Moore, "Love and Marriage in 18th-Century Britain"), and whose character he so heartily despised. if you can get him away it will be a good thing. Catherine Vernon insists on not letting her brother, Reginald, fall in love with Lady Susan. She asks her mother to talk to Reginald, and later on the reader’s see that the father, Sir Reginald, speaks to the son instead. Men had all of the power, because they had the land and the inheritance. They provided for the family. Women did not have enough power to be able to speak to men about a lot of things. They had to simply mind their business and stay in a woman’s place. Yet, while it wouldn’t have been appropriate for Lady de Courcy to chastise her son, she was within her duty to ask her husband to do so. That is why the mother did not speak to Reginald, but the father did. (19th Century)

Yours, &, CATHERINE VERNON.
XII Sir Reginald de Courcy to his Son. Parklands.

I know that young men in general do not admit of any enquiry even from their nearest relations into affairs of the heart, but I hope, my dear Reginald, that you will be superior to such as allow nothing for a father's anxiety, and think themselves privileged to refuse him their confidence and slight his advice. You must be sensible that as an only son, and the representative of an ancient family, your Your conduct in life is most interesting to your connections. he is wealthy, so the way he acts (his conduct) shouldn’t embarrass his family or legacy. He has to think about these things when it comes to Lady Susan, because of her reputation. Women in the 18th century were to never marry in the lower class. So, he could technically marry anyone he wanted as long as the woman was a good person. His name, legacy, and family could be tarnished if he doesn’t choose wisely. ()18th century is most interesting to your connections; and in the very important concern of marriage especially, there is everything at stake—your own happiness, that of your parents, and the credit of your name. I do not suppose that you would deliberately form an absolute engagement of that nature without acquainting your mother and myself, or at least, without being convinced that we should approve of your choice; but I cannot help fearing that you may be drawn in, by the lady who has lately attached you, to a marriage Marriage in the 18th century was based on age, money, and social life, and it was taken very seriously. People typically married within their own social class, such as low income to low income homes. Also men and women had different sets of roles in a marriage such as women were to stay home and take care of the family and do cooking. While men, where to go out and find them a job to earn money to help provide food for the family. These marriages were arranged marriages given by their parents.("Social and Family Life in the Late 17th & Early 18th Centuries"). This image, a 1744 painting by Joseph Highmore illustrating a scene from a novel, shows a marriage ceremony. which the whole of your family, far and near, must highly reprobate. Lady Susan's age is itself a material objection, but her want of character is one so much more serious, that the difference of even twelve years Towards the end of the 18th century, the average age of marriage was twenty-eight years old for men and twenty-six years old for women. In the 19th century, the average age fell for English women, but never went below twenty-two. The decision to get married during this time was based much on the social and economic class("5 Things Victorian Women Didn't Do (Much)" ) becomes in comparison of small amount. Were you not blinded by a sort of fascination, it would be ridiculous in me to repeat the instances of great misconduct on her side so very generally known.

Her neglect of her husband, her encouragement of other men, her extravagance and dissipation, were so gross and notorious that no one could be ignorant of them at the time, nor can now have forgotten them. To our family she has always been represented in softened colours by the benevolence of Mr. Charles Vernon, and yet, in spite of his generous endeavours to excuse her, we know that she did, from the most selfish motives, take all possible pains to prevent his marriage with Catherine.

My years and increasing infirmities According to the OED, an infirmity was a "weakness or want of strength" (CITE).make me very desirous of seeing you settled in the world. To the fortune of a wife, the goodness of my own will make me indifferent, but her family and character must be equally unexceptionable. When your choice is fixed so that no objection can be made to it, then I can promise you a ready and cheerful consent; but it is my duty to oppose a match which deep art only could render possible, and must in the end make wretched. It is possible her behaviour may arise only from vanity, or the wish of gaining the admiration of a man whom she must imagine to be particularly prejudiced While today we think of racism when we hear this word, in this context, Sir Reginald is not talking about race but using the word in its original sense, "(unfairly) biased beforehand" (CITE OED). against her; but it is more likely that she should aim at something further. She is poor, and may naturally seek an alliance According to the OED, an alliance refers to "people united by kinship or friendship collectively." Here, Sir Reginald is pointing out that Lady Susan would naturally seek a marriage alliance with a wealthier family. which must be advantageous to herself; you know your own rights, and that it is out of my power to prevent your inheriting the family estate. My ability of distressing you during my life would be a species of revenge to which I could hardly stoop under any circumstances.

I honestly tell you my sentiments and intentions: I do not wish to work on your fears, but on your sense and affection. It would destroy every comfort of my life to know that you were married to Lady Susan Vernon; it would be the death of that honest pride with which I have hitherto considered my son; I should blush to see him, to hear of him, to think of him. I may perhaps do no good but that of relieving my own mind by this letter, but I felt it my duty to tell you that your partiality for Lady Susan is no secret to your friends, and to warn you against her. I should be glad to hear your reasons for disbelieving Mr. Smith's intelligence; you had no doubt of its authenticity a month ago. If you can give me your assurance of having no design beyond enjoying the conversation of a clever woman for a short period, and of yielding admiration only to her beauty and abilities, without being blinded by them to her faults, you will restore me to happiness; but, if you cannot do this, explain to me, at least, what has occasioned so great an alteration in your opinion of her.

I am, &, &, REGINALD DE COURCY
XIII Lady de Courcy to Mrs. Vernon. Parklands. My dear Catherine,—

Unluckily I was confined to my room when your last letter came, by a cold which affected my eyes so much as to prevent my reading it myself, so I could not refuse your father when he offered to read it to me, by which means he became acquainted, to my great vexation According to the OED vexation means, "The action of troubling or harassing a person by aggression or interference.(OED) , with all your fears about your brother. I had intended to write to Reginald myself as soon as my eyes would let me, to point out, as well as I could, the danger of an intimate acquaintance, with so artful a woman as Lady Susan, to a young man of his age, and high expectations. I meant, moreover, to have reminded him of our being quite alone now, and very much in need of him to keep up our spirits these long winter evenings. Whether it would have done any good can never be settled now, but I am excessively vexed that Sir Reginald should know anything of a matter which we foresaw would make him so uneasy. He caught all your fears the moment he had read your letter, and I am sure he has not had the business out of his head since. He wrote by the same post to Reginald a long letter full of it all, and particularly asking an explanation of what he may have heard from Lady Susan to contradict the late shocking reports. His answer came this morning, which I shall enclose to you, as I think you will like to see it. I wish it was more satisfactory; but it seems written with such a determination to think well of Lady Susan, that his assurances as to marriage, &, do not set my heart at ease. I say all I can, however, to satisfy your father, and he is certainly less uneasy since Reginald's letter. How provoking it is, my dear Catherine, that this unwelcome guest of yours should not only prevent our meeting this Christmas, but be the occasion of so much vexation and trouble! Kiss the dear children for me.

Your affectionate mother, C. DE COURCY.
XIV Mr. de Coourcy to Sir Reginald. Churchhill. My dear Sir,—

I have this moment received your letter, which has given me more astonishment than I ever felt before. I am to thank my sister, I suppose, for having represented me in such a light as to injure me in your opinion, and give you all this alarm. I know not why she should choose to make herself and her family uneasy by apprehending an event which no one but herself, I can affirm, would ever have thought possible. To impute such a design to Lady Susan would be taking from her every claim to that excellent understanding which her bitterest enemies have never denied her; and equally low must sink my pretensions to common sense if I am suspected of matrimonial views in my behaviour to her. Our difference of age must be an insuperable objection, Lady Susan, who is 35 years old, would have been considered too old for Reginald De Courcy, who is 23, in the eighteenth century. Because "women were extremely reliant on men for any legal status, a property claim, or access to their wealth...pushed many women to marry young" (Elsasser), especially so that children could be born to inherit. Most women at the time were married between the average ages of 16 and 20 years of age; however, the legal consent of marriage started as low as 12 years of age. (Emily Elsasser, "Legal Aspects of Marriage in 18th Century England"). The image included here is "The Settlement," by William Hogarth and provided by The British Library. This painting is one of many satirical paintings from Hogarth's Marriage a la Mode, a series responding to the mercenary nature of marriage.and I entreat you, my dear father, to quiet your mind, and no longer harbour a suspicion which cannot be more injurious to your own peace than to our understandings. I can have no other view in remaining with Lady Susan, than to enjoy for a short time (as you have yourself expressed it) the conversation of a woman of high intellectual powers. If Mrs. Vernon would allow something to my affection for herself and her husband in the length of my visit, she would do more justice to us all; but my sister is unhappily prejudiced beyond the hope of conviction against Lady Susan. From an attachment to her husband, which in itself does honour to both, she cannot forgive the endeavours at preventing their union, which have been attributed to selfishness in Lady Susan; but in this case, as well as in many others, the world has most grossly injured that lady, by supposing the worst where the motives of her conduct have been doubtful. Lady Susan had heard something so materially to the disadvantage of my sister as to persuade her that the happiness of Mr. Vernon, to whom she was always much attached, would be wholly destroyed by the marriage. And this circumstance, while it explains the true motives of Lady Susan's conduct, and removes all the blame which has been so lavished on her, may also convince us how little the general report of anyone ought to be credited; since no character, however upright, can escape the malevolence of slander. If my sister, in the security of retirement, with as little opportunity as inclination to do evil, could not avoid censure, we must not rashly condemn those who, living in the world and surrounded with temptations, should be accused of errors which they are known to have the power of committing.

I blame myself severely for having so easily believed the slanderous tales invented by Charles Smith to the prejudice of Lady Susan, as I am now convinced how greatly they have traduced According to the Oxford English Dictionary, traduced means "to defame, slander, or speak ill of" ("Traduced" 4.a). her. As to Mrs. Mainwaring's jealousy it was totally his own invention, and his account of her attaching Miss Mainwaring's lover was scarcely better founded. Sir James Martin had been drawn in by that young lady to pay her some attention; and as he is a man of fortune According to the OED, a "man of fortune" is a man "possessing great (usually inherited) wealth" (Fortune" n.6). During the 18th century, social status was a part of everyday society, with many asserting status through monetary gain. (source) , it was easy to see her views extended to marriage. It is well known that Miss M. is absolutely on the catch for a husband, and no one therefore can pity her for losing, by the superior attractions of another woman, the chance of being able to make a worthy man completely wretched. Lady Susan was far from intending such a conquest, and on finding how warmly Miss Mainwaring resented her lover's defection, determined, in spite of Mr. and Mrs. Mainwaring's most urgent entreaties, to leave the family. I have reason to imagine she did receive serious proposals from Sir James, but her removing to Langford immediately on the discovery of his attachment, must acquit her on that article with any mind of common candour. You will, I am sure, my dear Sir, feel the truth of this, and will hereby learn to do justice to thecharacter During the 18th Century, the word character in literature was used as a criticism of an individual rather than referring to someone in a sense of art. (source) of a very injured woman. I know that Lady Susan in coming to Churchhill was governed only by the most honourable and amiable intentions; her prudence and economy are exemplary, her regard for Mr. Vernon equal even to HIS deserts; and her wish of obtaining my sister's good opinion merits a better return than it has received. As a mother she is unexceptionable; her solid affection for her child is shown by placing her in hands where her education will be properly attended to; but because she has not the blind and weak partiality of most mothers, she is accused of wanting maternal tenderness. Every person of sense, however, will know how to value and commend her well-directed affection, and will join me in wishing that Frederica Vernon may prove more worthy than she has yet done of her mother's tender care. I have now, my dear father, written my real sentiments of Lady Susan; you will know from this letter how highly I admire her abilities, and esteem her character; but if you are not equally convinced by my full and solemn assurance that your fears have been most idly created, you will deeply mortify and distress me.

I am, &c., &c., R. DE COURCY.
XV Mrs. Vernoon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill My dear Mother,—

I return you Reginald's letter, and rejoice with all my heart that my father is made easy by it: tell him so, with my congratulations; but, between ourselves, I must own it has only convinced ME of my brother's having no PRESENT intention of marrying Lady Susan, not that he is in no danger of doing so three months hence. He gives a very plausible account of her behaviour at Langford; I wish it may be true, but his intelligence must come from herself, and I am less disposed to believe it than to lament the degree of intimacy subsisting between them, implied by the discussion of such a subject. I am sorry to have incurred his displeasure, but can expect nothing better while he is so very eager in Lady Susan's justification. He is very severe against me indeed, and yet I hope I have not been hasty in my judgment Judgement is considered going beyond empirical evidence to draw a conclusion. In the eighteenth century, the period of the Enlightenment, questions about the nature of judgement permeated intellectual conversation. Read more about judgement in Criteria Of Certainty: Truth and Judgment in the English Enlightenment, by Kevin Cope. of her. Poor woman! though I have reasons enough for my dislike, I cannot help pitying her at present, as she is in real distress, and with too much cause. She had this morning a letter from the lady with whom she has placed her daughter, to request that Miss Vernon might be immediately removed, as she had been detected in an attempt to run away. Why, or whither she intended to go, does not appear; but, as her situation seems to have been unexceptionable, it is a sad thing, and of course highly distressing to Lady Susan. Frederica must be as much as sixteen, and ought to know better; but from what her mother insinuates, I am afraid she is a perverse girl. She has been sadly neglected, however, and her mother ought to remember it. Mr. Vernon set off for London as soon as she had determined what should be done. He is, if possible, to prevail on Miss Summers to let Frederica continue with her; and if he cannot succeed, to bring her to Churchhill for the present, till some other situation can be found for her. Her ladyship is comforting herself meanwhile by strolling along the shrubbery with Reginald, calling forth all his tender feelings, I suppose, on this distressing occasion. She has been talking a great deal about it to me. She talks vastly well; I am afraid of being ungenerous, or I should say, TOO well to feel so very deeply; but I will not look for her faults; she may be Reginald's wife! Heaven forbid it! but why should I be quicker-sighted than anyone else? Mr. Vernon declares that he never saw deeper distress than hers, on the receipt of the letter; and is his judgment inferior to mine? She was very unwilling that Frederica should be allowed to come to Churchhill, and justly enough, as it seems a sort of reward to behaviour deserving very differently; but it was impossible to take her anywhere else, and she is not to remain here long. "It will be absolutely necessary," said she, "as you, my dear sister, must be sensible, to treat my daughter with some severity while she is here; a most painful necessity, but I will ENDEAVOUR to submit to it. I am afraid I have often been too indulgent, but my poor Frederica's temper could never bear opposition well: you must support and encourage me; you must urge the necessity of reproof if you see me too lenient." All this sounds very reasonable. Reginald is so incensed against the poor silly girl. Surely it is not to Lady Susan's credit that he should be so bitter against her daughter; his idea of her must be drawn from the mother's description. Well, whatever may be his fate, we have the comfort of knowing that we have done our utmost to save him. We must commit the event to a higher power Religion played a major part in everyday life during the 18th century in Europe, with many individuals and groups looking to the church as a guide to the future and as a guide on how to operate in the present time. Read more in "The Eighteenth Century: Religion and Education." .

Yours ever,&c., CATHERINE VERNON.
XVI Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson. Churchhill.

Never, my dearest Alicia, was I so provoked in my life as by a letter this morning from Miss Summers. That horrid girl of mine has been trying to run away. I had not a notion of her being such a little devil before, she seemed to have all the Vernon milkiness; but on receiving the letter in which I declared my intention about Sir James, she actually attempted to elope; at least, I cannot otherwise account for her doing it. She meant, I suppose, to go to the Clarkes in Staffordshire, for she has no other acquaintances. But she shall be punished, she shall have him. Lady Susan’s desire for Frederica to marry comes from her need of money to sustain her way of life and social status. Marriage in the eighteenth century was most commonly done for other needs, rather than love. "Couples wed to make political alliances, to raise capital, to expand the workforce and for a whole array of practical purpose" (Salt Lake Tribune). ("Love And Marriage"). I have sent Charles to town to make matters up if he can, for I do not by any means want her here. If Miss Summers will not keep her, you must find me out another school, unless we can get her married immediately. Miss S. writes word that she could not get the young lady to assign any cause for her extraordinary conduct, which confirms me in my own previous explanation of it. Frederica is too shy, I think, and too much in awe of me to tell tales, but if the mildness of her uncle should get anything out of her, I am not afraid. I trust I shall be able to make my story as good as hers. If I am vain of anything, it is of my eloquence. Consideration and esteem as surely follow command of language as admiration waits on beauty, and here I have opportunity enough for the exercise of my talent, as the chief of my time is spent in conversation.

Reginald is never easy unless we are by ourselves, and when the weather is tolerable, we pace the shrubbery According toRobert Clark, shrubberies and wilderness gardens were open stretches of land that were usually filled with bordering rows of bushes and trees, which could also be accompanied with lakes or installations. These large gardens were a type of status symbol and were also made for the garden owner's pleasure (Clark). These gardens or shrubberies allowed for parties to communicate with each other and partake in walks observing the garden with the garden installations also encouraging conversation (Clark). (Robert Clark, "Wilderness and Shrubbery in Austen’s Works"). The image included here, A 17th-century painting of the "Vauxhall Garden", a public pleasure garden, from the Oxford University Press sheet music department. Other than wilderness gardens, pleasure gardens were gardens for anyone who could pay to enter, and often featured a variety of entertainments like fireworks and music. for hours together. I like him on the whole very well; he is clever and has a good deal to say, but he is sometimes impertinent and troublesome. There is a sort of ridiculous delicacy about him which requires the fullest explanation of whatever he may have heard to my disadvantage, and is never satisfied till he thinks he has ascertained the beginning and end of everything. This is one sort of love, but I confess it does not particularly recommend itself to me. I infinitely prefer the tender and liberal spirit of Mainwaring, which, impressed with the deepest conviction of my merit, is satisfied that whatever I do must be right; and look with a degree of contempt on the inquisitive and doubtful fancies of that heart which seems always debating on the reasonableness of its emotions. Mainwaring is indeed, beyond all compare, superior to Reginald—superior in everything but the power of being with me! Poor fellow! he is much distracted by jealousy, which I am not sorry for, as I know no better support of love. He has been teazing me to allow of his coming into this country, and lodging somewhere near INCOG. This is short for "incognito"--Mainwaring is suggesting he will rent an apartment nearby as someone else, incognito.; but I forbade everything of the kind. Those women are inexcusable who forget what is due to themselves, and the opinion of the world.

Yours ever, S. VERNON.
XVII Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill. My dear Mother,—

Mr. Vernon returned on Thursday night, bringing his niece with him. Lady Susan had received a line from him by that day's post The post, or mail service, was introduced in the seventeenth century. Carriers brought letters from one post or station to another on foot or horseback. "Post" refers both to the letters themselves, and to the mail system more broadly("Royal Mail History"). , informing her that Miss Summers had absolutely refused to allow of Miss Vernon's continuance in her academy; we were therefore prepared for her arrival, and expected them impatiently the whole evening. They came while we were at tea, and I never saw any creature look so frightened as Frederica when she entered the room. Lady Susan, who had been shedding tears before, and showing great agitation at the idea of the meeting, received her with perfect self-command, and without betraying the least tenderness of spirit. She hardly spoke to her, and on Frederica's bursting into tears as soon as we were seated, took her out of the room, and did not return for some time. When she did, her eyes looked very red and she was as much agitated as before. We saw no more of her daughter. Poor Reginald was beyond measure concerned to see his fair friend in such distress, and watched her with so much tender solicitude, that I, who occasionally caught her observing his countenance with exultation, was quite out of patience. This pathetic representation lasted the whole evening, and so ostentatious and artful a display has entirely convinced me that she did in fact feel nothing. I am more angry with her than ever since I have seen her daughter; the poor girl looks so unhappy that my heart aches for her. Lady Susan is surely too severe, for Frederica does not seem to have the sort of temper to make severity necessary. She looks perfectly timid, dejected, and penitent. She is very pretty, though not so handsome as her mother, nor at all like her. Her complexion is delicate, but neither so fair nor so blooming as Lady Susan's, and she has quite the Vernon cast of countenance, the oval face and mild dark eyes, and there is peculiar sweetness in her look when she speaks either to her uncle or me, for as we behave kindly to her we have of course engaged her gratitude.

Her mother has insinuated that her temper is intractable, but I never saw a face less indicative of any evil disposition than hers; and from what I can see of the behaviour of each to the other, the invariable severity of Lady Susan and the silent dejection of Frederica, I am led to believe as heretofore that the former has no real love for her daughter, and has never done her justice or treated her affectionately. I have not been able to have any conversation with my niece; she is shy, and I think I can see that some pains are taken to prevent her being much with me. Nothing satisfactory transpires as to her reason for running away. Her kind-hearted uncle, you may be sure, was too fearful of distressing her to ask many questions as they travelled. I wish it had been possible for me to fetch her instead of him. I think I should have discovered the truth in the course of a thirty-mile journey. The small pianoforte has been removed within these few days, at Lady Susan's request, into her dressing-room, and Frederica spends great part of the day there, practising as it is called; but I seldom hear any noise when I pass that way; what she does with herself there I do not know. There are plenty of books, but it is not every girl who has been running wild the first fifteen years of her life, that can or will read. Poor creature! the prospect from her window is not very instructive, for that room overlooks the lawn, you know, with the shrubbery on one side, where she may see her mother walking for an hour together in earnest conversation with Reginald. A girl of Frederica's age must be childish indeed, if such things do not strike her. Is it not inexcusable to give such an example to a daughter? Yet Reginald still thinks Lady Susan the best of mothers, and still condemns Frederica as a worthless girl! He is convinced that her attempt to run away proceeded from no, justifiable cause, and had no provocation. I am sure I cannot say that it HAD, but while Miss Summers declares that Miss Vernon showed no signs of obstinacy or perverseness during her whole stay in Wigmore Street, till she was detected in this scheme, I cannot so readily credit what Lady Susan has made him, and wants to make me believe, that it was merely an impatience of restraint and a desire of escaping from the tuition of masters which brought on the plan of an elopement. O Reginald, how is your judgment enslaved! Reginald's belief that Frederica attempted to run away for no reason and that Lady Susan is not to blame may be a result of blind love and unwillingness to face the truth. "In light of the complexity typical of love and the fact that lovers are often unwilling to face reality, self-deception and mistakes are likely to occur" (Ben-Zeév). When one is in love with another it is easy to forgive or ignore negative aspects of their partner. ("Is Love Blind?").He scarcely dares even allow her to be handsome, and when I speak of her beauty, replies only that her eyes have no brilliancy! Sometimes he is sure she is deficient in understanding, and at others that her temper only is in fault. In short, when a person is always to deceive, it is impossible to be consistent. Lady Susan finds it necessary that Frederica should be to blame, and probably has sometimes judged it expedient to excuse her of ill-nature and sometimes to lament her want of sense. Reginald is only repeating after her ladyship.

I remain, &c., &c., CATHERINE VERNON.
XVIII FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME Churchhill. My dear Mother,—

I am very glad to find that my description of Frederica Vernon has interested you, for I do believe her truly deserving of your regard; and when I have communicated a notion which has recently struck me, your kind impressions in her favour will, I am sure, be heightened. I cannot help fancying that she is growing partial to my brother. I so very often see her eyes fixed on his face with a remarkable expression of pensive admiration. He is certainly very handsome; and yet more, there is an openness in his manner that must be highly prepossessing, and I am sure she feels it so. Thoughtful and pensive in general, her countenance always brightens into a smile when Reginald says anything amusing; and, let the subject be ever so serious that he may be conversing on, I am much mistaken if a syllable of his uttering escapes her. I want to make him sensible of all this, for we know the power of gratitude on such a heart as his; and could Frederica's artless affection detach him from her mother, we might bless the day which brought her to Churchhill. I think, my dear mother, you would not disapprove of her as a daughter. She is extremely young, to be sure, has had a wretched education Although women's education was bad during the 18th century, generally, in this letter, Ms. Veron refers to Lady Susan's poor example for her daughter Frederica. In "Lady Susan: The Wicked Mother in Jane Austen’s Novels," Barbara Horwitz points out that Lady Susan uses the language of conduct books on female education, but does not follow their spirit. She "not only brings up her daughter improperly and cruelly, obviously ignoring the spirit of the conduct books; she uses their precepts, and even their very own language, to justify her misconduct. Lady Susan is an immoral woman who uses her daughter for her own ends."(/">"Lady Susan: The Wicked Mother in Jane Austen’s Novels"). ,and a dreadful example of levity in her mother; but yet I can pronounce her disposition to be excellent, and her natural abilities very good. Though totally without accomplishments, she is by no means so ignorant as one might expect to find her, being fond of books and spending the chief of her time in reading. Her mother leaves her more to herself than she did, and I have her with me as much as possible, and have taken great pains to overcome her timidity. We are very good friends, and though she never opens her lips before her mother, she talks enough when alone with me to make it clear that, if properly treated by Lady Susan, she would always appear to much greater advantage. There cannot be a more gentle, affectionate heart; or more obliging manners, when acting without restraint; and her little cousins are all very fond of her.

Your affectionate daughter, C. VERNON
XIX From Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson. Churchhill.

You will be eager, I know, to hear something further of Frederica, and perhaps may think me negligent for not writing before. She arrived with her uncle last Thursday fortnight, when, of course, I lost no time in demanding the cause of her behaviour; and soon found myself to have been perfectly right in attributing it to my own letter. The prospect of it frightened her so thoroughly, that, with a mixture of true girlish perverseness and folly, she resolved on getting out of the house and proceeding directly by the the stage Frederica has escaped from her school by "stage," which was a method of public transportation. According to Historic UK, an online history magazine focused on British history, the stagecoach was initially established in the 13th century. It would have been very tedious and treacherous to take a journey by stage, as the roads were not well-maintained, and there was a constant threat of highwaymen or robbers. It was also more dangerous for single women, as a result. Passengers could sleep inside while someone else drove the horses. It was a very slow and inferior way to travel. Additionally, this was how mail moved from town to town. The image included here, an anonymous 1767 painting by the British School, shows a stagecoach full of people traveling between Abington and London (Art UK). to her friends, the Clarkes; and had really got as far as the length of two streets in her journey when she was fortunately missed, pursued, and overtaken. Such was the first distinguished exploit of Miss Frederica Vernon; and, if we consider that it was achieved at the tender age of sixteen, we shall have room for the most flattering prognostics Per the OED, prognostics (2.a) in this context means "something which forewarns of events to come; an omen, a portent." Here Lady Susan is saying that she is hopeful (or skeptical) or Frederica’s future. of her future renown. I am excessively provoked, however, at the parade of propriety which prevented Miss Summers from keeping the girl; and it seems so extraordinary a piece of nicety, considering my daughter's family connections, that I can only suppose the lady to be governed by the fear of never getting her money. Be that as it may, however, Frederica is returned on my hands; and, having nothing else to employ her, is busy in pursuing the plan of romance begun at Langford. She is actually falling in love with Reginald De Courcy! To disobey her mother In this context, "to disobey her Mother" means to go against her mother’s wishes regarding who she wants to pursue romance with. Per this article by John Mullan in the British Library, marriage in Austen’s time was often arranged and involved an elaborate process of courtship. by refusing an unexceptionable offer is not enough; her affections must also be given without her mother's approbation Per the OED, approbation (2) in this context means "the action of formally or authoritatively declaring good or true; sanction." This means that Mrs. Vernon is asking Lady De Courcy to sanction their marriage. . I never saw a girl of her age bid fairer to be the sport of mankind. Her feelings are tolerably acute, and she is so charmingly artless in their display as to afford the most reasonable hope of her being ridiculous, and despised by every man who sees her. Artlessness will never do in love matters; and that girl is born a simpleton who has it either by nature or affectation. I am not yet certain that Reginald sees what she is about, nor is it of much consequence. She is now an object of indifference to him, and she would be one of contempt were he to understand her emotions. Her beauty is much admired by the Vernons, but it has no effect on him. She is in high favour with her aunt altogether, because she is so little like myself, of course. She is exactly the companion for Mrs. Vernon, who dearly loves to be firm, and to have all the sense and all the wit of the conversation to herself: Frederica will never eclipse her. When she first came I was at some pains to prevent her seeing much of her aunt; but I have relaxed, as I believe I may depend on her observing the rules I have laid down for their discourse. But do not imagine that with all this lenity I have for a moment given up my plan of her marriage. No; I am unalterably fixed on this point, though I have not yet quite decided on the manner of bringing it about. I should not chuse to have the business brought on here, and canvassed by the wise heads of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon; and I cannot just now afford to go to town. Miss Frederica must therefore wait a little.

Yours ever, S. VERNON.
XX. Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill.

We have a very unexpected guest with us at present, my dear Mother: he arrived yesterday. I heard a carriage at the door, as I was sitting with my children while they dined; and supposing I should be wanted, left the nursery According to the OED the nursery is a room or an area in the house made for babies and young children to live in while they were being cared for and nursed. Often, early education occurred in the nursery. The image here, from the National Trust UK, shows the nursery at Wallington estate, a house much like Churchhil. soon afterwards, and was half-way downstairs, when Frederica, as pale as ashes, came running up, and rushed by me into her own room. I instantly followed, and asked her what was the matter. "Oh!" said she, "he is come—Sir James is come, and what shall I do?" This was no explanation; I begged her to tell me what she meant. At that moment we were interrupted by a knock at the door: it was Reginald, who came, by Lady Susan's direction, to call Frederica down. "It is Mr. De Courcy!" said she, colouring violently. "Mamma has sent for me; I must go." We all three went down together; and I saw my brother examining the terrified face of Frederica with surprize. In the breakfast-room Per this article by Eileen Sutherland of the Jane Austen Society of North America, the breakfast room was a room where families ate most of their meals. They are different in that "dining rooms were most often used only for formal dinners". This is common with the a new trend in Austen’s time where "instead of the multi-purpose hall, rooms were being used for specific purposes: there was a billiard room, a music room, a library…" we found Lady Susan, and a young man of gentlemanlike appearance, whom she introduced by the name of Sir James Martin—the very person, as you may remember, whom it was said she had been at pains to detach from Miss Mainwaring; but the conquest, it seems, was not designed for herself, or she has since transferred it to her daughter; for Sir James is now desperately in love with Frederica, and with full encouragement from mamma. The poor girl, however, I am sure, dislikes him; and though his person and address are very well, he appears, both to Mr. Vernon and me, a very weak young man. Frederica looked so shy, so confused, when we entered the room, that I felt for her exceedingly. Lady Susan behaved with great attention to her visitor; and yet I thought I could perceive that she had no particular pleasure in seeing him. Sir James talked a great deal, and made many civil excuses to me for the liberty he had taken in coming to Churchhill—mixing more frequent laughter with his discourse than the subject required—said many things over and over again, and told Lady Susan three times that he had seen Mrs. Johnson a few evenings before. He now and then addressed Frederica, but more frequently her mother. The poor girl sat all this time without opening her lips—her eyes cast down, and her colour varying every instant; while Reginald observed all that passed in perfect silence. At length Lady Susan, weary, I believe, of her situation, proposed walking; and we left the two gentlemen together, to put on our pellisses A pelisse is a woman’s long dress-like coat. This picture, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, shows a silk pelisse from the late eighteenth century.. As we went upstairs Lady Susan begged permission to attend me for a few moments in my dressing-room, as she was anxious to speak with me in private. I led her thither accordingly, and as soon as the door was closed, she said: "I was never more surprized in my life than by Sir James's arrival, and the suddenness of it requires some apology to you, my dear sister; though to ME, as a mother, it is highly flattering. He is so extremely attached to my daughter that he could not exist longer without seeing her. Sir James is a young man of an amiable disposition and excellent character; a little too much of the rattle According to the OED, to rattle is to "talk rapidly in a noisy, lively, or inane manner; to chatter, to prattle." Here, Sir James is being called a rattle, or someone who talks inanely (3a)., perhaps, but a year or two will rectify THAT: and he is in other respects so very eligible a match for Frederica, that I have always observed his attachment with the greatest pleasure; and am persuaded that you and my brother will give the alliance your hearty approbation. I have never before mentioned the likelihood of its taking place to anyone, because I thought that whilst Frederica continued at school it had better not be known to exist; but now, as I am convinced that Frederica is too old ever to submit to school confinement, and have, therefore, begun to consider her union with Sir James as not very distant, I had intended within a few days to acquaint yourself and Mr. Vernon with the whole business. I am sure, my dear sister, you will excuse my remaining silent so long, and agree with me that such circumstances, while they continue from any cause in suspense, cannot be too cautiously concealed. When you have the happiness of bestowing your sweet little Catherine, some years hence, on a man who in connection and character is alike unexceptionable, you will know what I feel now; though, thank Heaven, you cannot have all my reasons for rejoicing in such an event. Catherine will be amply provided for, and not, like my Frederica, indebted to a fortunate establishment for the comforts of life." She concluded by demanding my congratulations. I gave them somewhat awkwardly, I believe; for, in fact, the sudden disclosure of so important a matter took from me the power of speaking with any clearness. She thanked me, however, most affectionately, for my kind concern in the welfare of herself and daughter; and then said: "I am not apt to deal in professions, my dear Mrs. Vernon, and I never had the convenient talent of affecting sensations foreign to my heart; and therefore I trust you will believe me when I declare, that much as I had heard in your praise before I knew you, I had no idea that I should ever love you as I now do; and I must further say that your friendship towards me is more particularly gratifying because I have reason to believe that some attempts were made to prejudice you against me. I only wish that they, whoever they are, to whom I am indebted for such kind intentions, could see the terms on which we now are together, and understand the real affection we feel for each other; but I will not detain you any longer. God bless you, for your goodness to me and my girl, and continue to you all your present happiness." What can one say of such a woman, my dear mother? Such earnestness such solemnity of expression! and yet I cannot help suspecting the truth of everything she says. As for Reginald, I believe he does not know what to make of the matter. When Sir James came, he appeared all astonishment and perplexity; the folly of the young man and the confusion of Frederica entirely engrossed him; and though a little private discourse with Lady Susan has since had its effect, he is still hurt, I am sure, at her allowing of such a man's attentions to her daughter. Sir James invited himself with great composure to remain here a few days—hoped we would not think it odd, was aware of its being very impertinent, but he took the liberty of a relation; and concluded by wishing, with a laugh, that he might be really one very soon. Even Lady Susan seemed a little disconcerted by this forwardness; in her heart I am persuaded she sincerely wished him gone. But something must be done for this poor girl, if her feelings are such as both I and her uncle believe them to be. She must not be sacrificed to policy or ambition, and she must not be left to suffer from the dread of it. The girl whose heart can distinguish Reginald De Courcy, deserves, however he may slight her, a better fate than to be Sir James Martin's wife. As soon as I can get her alone, I will discover the real truth; but she seems to wish to avoid me. I hope this does not proceed from anything wrong, and that I shall not find out I have thought too well of her. Her behaviour to Sir James certainly speaks the greatest consciousness and embarrassment, but I see nothing in it more like encouragement. Adieu, my dear mother.

Yours, &, C. VERNON.
XXI. Miss Vernon to Mr. de Courcy. Sir,—

I hope you will excuse this liberty In this context, "this liberty" is referring to Miss Vernon’s decision to write to Mr. De Courcy. In this period, Miss Vernon’s actions are considered controversial as single women were not meant to write to other men. Per this article in the British Library by Kathryn Hughes, men and women "inhabited what Victorians thought of as ‘separate spheres’, only coming together at breakfast and again at dinner." Single women "were not even allowed to speak to men unless there was a married woman present as a chaperone." ; I am forced upon it by the greatest distress, or I should be ashamed to trouble you. I am very miserable about Sir James Martin, and have no other way in the world of helping myself but by writing to you, for I am forbidden even speaking to my uncle and aunt on the subject; and this being the case, I am afraid my applying to you will appear no better than equivocation, and as if I attended to the letter and not the spirit of mamma's commands Frederica alludes to the Bible here. In 2 Corinthians 3:6, God has "made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (King James Version). In other words, Frederica is worried that she is being disobedient to her mother’s injunction not to speak to Mr. or Catherine Vernon in writing to Reginald.. But if you do not take my part and persuade her to break it off, I shall be half distracted, for I cannot bear him. No human being but YOU could have any chance of prevailing with her. If you will, therefore, have the unspeakably great kindness of taking my part with her, and persuading her to send Sir James away, I shall be more obliged to you than it is possible for me to express. I always disliked him from the first: it is not a sudden fancy, I assure you, sir; I always thought him silly and impertinent and disagreeable, and now he is grown worse than ever. I would rather work for my bread than marry him. I do not know how to apologize enough for this letter; I know it is taking so great a liberty. I am aware how dreadfully angry it will make mamma, but I remember the risk.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant, F. S. V.
XXII. Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson. Churchhill.

This is insufferable! My dearest friend, I was never so enraged before, and must relieve myself by writing to you, who I know will enter into all my feelings. Who should come on Tuesday but Sir James Martin! Guess my astonishment, and vexation—for, as you well know, I never wished him to be seen at Churchhill. What a pity that you should not have known his intentions! Not content with coming, he actually invited himself to remain here a few days. I could have poisoned him! I made the best of it, however, and told my story with great success to Mrs. Vernon, who, whatever might be her real sentiments, said nothing in opposition to mine. I made a point also of Frederica's behaving civilly to Sir James, and gave her to understand that I was absolutely determined on her marrying him. She said something of her misery, but that was all. I have for some time been more particularly resolved on the match from seeing the rapid increase of her affection for Reginald, and from not feeling secure that a knowledge of such affection might not in the end awaken a return. Contemptible as a regard founded only on compassion must make them both in my eyes, I felt by no means assured that such might not be the consequence. It is true that Reginald had not in any degree grown cool towards me; but yet he has lately mentioned Frederica spontaneously and unnecessarily, and once said something in praise of her person. HE was all astonishment at the appearance of my visitor, and at first observed Sir James with an attention which I was pleased to see not unmixed with jealousy; but unluckily it was impossible for me really to torment him, as Sir James, though extremely gallant to me, very soon made the whole party understand that his heart was devoted to my daughter. I had no great difficulty in convincing De Courcy, when we were alone, that I was perfectly justified, all things considered, in desiring the match; and the whole business seemed most comfortably arranged. They could none of them help perceiving that Sir James was no Solomon Lady Susan references the biblical story of of Solomon, King of Israel (1 Kings 3:16–28). However, she provides a superficial allusion only to Solomon's wisdom. Her chief intention here seems to be to show how well-read she is in the Bible. In the story of the Judgment of King Solomon, two new mothers live in the same house; one infant dies, and both mothers claim the other as their own. To determine who the true mother is, Solomon suggests cutting the baby in two and giving each mother a piece. The true mother renounces her claim, and so Solomon's wisdom was known.; but I had positively forbidden Frederica complaining to Charles Vernon or his wife, and they had therefore no pretence for interference; though my impertinent sister, I believe, wanted only opportunity for doing so. Everything, however, was going on calmly and quietly; and, though I counted the hours of Sir James's stay, my mind was entirely satisfied with the posture of affairs. Guess, then, what I must feel at the sudden disturbance of all my schemes; and that, too, from a quarter where I had least reason to expect it. Reginald came this morning into my dressing-room with a very unusual solemnity of countenance, and after some preface informed me in so many words that he wished to reason with me on the impropriety and unkindness of allowing Sir James Martin to address my daughter contrary to her inclinations. I was all amazement. When I found that he was not to be laughed out of his design, I calmly begged an explanation, and desired to know by what he was impelled, and by whom commissioned, to reprimand me. He then told me, mixing in his speech a few insolent compliments and ill-timed expressions of tenderness, to which I listened with perfect indifference, that my daughter had acquainted him with some circumstances concerning herself, Sir James, and me which had given him great uneasiness. In short, I found that she had in the first place actually written to him to request his interference, and that, on receiving her letter, he had conversed with her on the subject of it, in order to understand the particulars, and to assure himself of her real wishes. I have not a doubt but that the girl took this opportunity of making downright love to him. I am convinced of it by the manner in which he spoke of her. Much good may such love do him! I shall ever despise the man who can be gratified by the passion which he never wished to inspire, nor solicited the avowal of. I shall always detest them both. He can have no true regard for me, or he would not have listened to her; and SHE, with her little rebellious heart and indelicate feelings, to throw herself into the protection of a young man with whom she has scarcely ever exchanged two words before! I am equally confounded at HER impudence and HIS credulity. How dared he believe what she told him in my disfavour! Ought he not to have felt assured that I must have unanswerable motives for all that I had done? Where was his reliance on my sense and goodness then? Where the resentment which true love would have dictated against the person defaming me—that person, too, a chit A chit is "A person considered as no better than a child. Generally used of young persons in contempt’ (Johnson); now, mostly of a girl or young woman" (OED, "Chit" 2b). , a child, without talent or education, whom he had been always taught to despise? I was calm for some time; but the greatest degree of forbearance may be overcome, and I hope I was afterwards sufficiently keen. He endeavoured, long endeavoured, to soften my resentment; but that woman is a fool indeed who, while insulted by accusation, can be worked on by compliments. At length he left me, as deeply provoked as myself; and he showed his anger more. I was quite cool, but he gave way to the most violent indignation; I may therefore expect it will the sooner subside, and perhaps his may be vanished for ever, while mine will be found still fresh and implacable. He is now shut up in his apartment, whither I heard him go on leaving mine. How unpleasant, one would think, must be his reflections! but some people's feelings are incomprehensible. I have not yet tranquillised myself enough to see Frederica. SHE shall not soon forget the occurrences of this day; she shall find that she has poured forth her tender tale of love in vain, and exposed herself for ever to the contempt of the whole world, and the severest resentment of her injured mother.

Your affectionate S. VERNON.
XXIII. Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill.

Let me congratulate you, my dearest Mother! The affair which has given us so much anxiety is drawing to a happy conclusion. Our prospect is most delightful, and since matters have now taken so favourable a turn, I am quite sorry that I ever imparted my apprehensions to you; for the pleasure of learning that the danger is over is perhaps dearly purchased by all that you have previously suffered. I am so much agitated by delight that I can scarcely hold a pen In the 18th century, the writing utensil was the quill pen. The quality of the pen depended on the animal that the feather belonged to. Discarded peacock and swan feathers were some of the high quality ingredients for the pens ( "18th Century Quill Pens and Postage"). ; but am determined to send you a Few short lines A "few short lines" refers to the length of the letter that will be carried by James who in this case is the messenger or servant who will deliver the letter to Lady De Courcy. In other words, a few short lines in this context is a brief letter. According to a review by Tracy Kiely, in the 18th century people entrusted their friends, family members or others traveling to deliver their letters and serve as messengers. Only the wealthy could afford postal services. (Vic, "The Postal Service in 18th Century Britain: Letters and the Penny-Post"). The image included here, an 18th century painting by George Morland, shows post-boys and horses, and illustrates the mode of letter delivery in the 18th century and possibly shows how James carried the letter sent by Catherine Vernon to Lady De Courcy. by James, that you may have some explanation of what must so greatly astonish you, as that Reginald should be returning to Parklands. I was sitting about half an hour ago with Sir James in the breakfast parlour In the 18th century, dining rooms were only used for formal dinners most of the time. It has always been a custom to have breakfast together throughout England. Families often had their breakfast in a room called the breakfast parlour, and it is where they would meet in the early mornings (Sunderland, "Dining at the Great House: Food and Drink in the Time of Jane Austen"). The image included here, a 1720 painting from the collection of Victoria and Albert Museum, shows an English family at tea in what seems to be a breakfast parlour, which is where Catherine Vernon spoke of having her breakfast a few times. , when my brother called me out of the room. I instantly saw that something was the matter; his complexion was raised, and he spoke with great emotion; you know his eager manner, my dear mother, when his mind is interested. "Catherine," said he, "I am going home to-day; I am sorry to leave you, but I must go: it is a great while since I have seen my father and mother. I am going to send James forward with my hunters immediately; if you have any letter, therefore, he can take it. I shall not be at home myself till Wednesday or Thursday, as I shall go through London, where I have business; but before I leave you," he continued, speaking in a lower tone, and with still greater energy, "I must warn you of one thing—do not let Frederica Vernon be made unhappy by that Martin. He wants to marry her; her mother promotes the match, but she cannot endure the idea of it. Be assured that I speak from the fullest conviction of the truth of what I say; I know that Frederica is made wretched by Sir James's continuing here. She is a sweet girl, and deserves a better fate. Send him away immediately; he is only a fool: but what her mother can mean, Heaven only knows! Good bye," he added, shaking my hand with earnestness; "I do not know when you will see me again; but remember what I tell you of Frederica; you MUST make it your business to see justice done her. She is anamiable According to the OED, being amiable means to be "lovable, worthy to be loved, and/or lovely" ( "Amiable, adj.2.a"). girl, and has a very superior mind to what we have given her credit for." He then left me, and ran upstairs. I would not try to stop him, for I know what his feelings must be. The nature of mine, as I listened to him, I need not attempt to describe; for a minute or two I remained in the same spot, overpowered by wonder of a most agreeable sort indeed; yet it required some consideration to be tranquilly happy. In about ten minutes after my return to the parlour Lady Susan entered the room. I concluded, of course, that she and Reginald had been quarrelling; and looked with anxious curiosity for a confirmation of my belief in her face. Mistress of deceit, however, she appeared perfectly unconcerned, and after chatting on indifferent subjects for a short time, said to me, "I find from Wilson that we are going to lose Mr. De Courcy—is it true that he leaves Churchhill this morning?" I replied that it was. "He told us nothing of all this last night," said she, laughing, "or even this morning at breakfast; but perhaps he did not know it himself. Young men are often hasty in their resolutions, and not more sudden in forming than unsteady in keeping them. I should not be surprised if he were to change his mind at last, and not go." She soon afterwards left the room. I trust, however, my dear mother, that we have no reason to fear an alteration of his present plan; things have gone too far. They must have quarrelled, and about Frederica, too. Her calmness astonishes me. What delight will be yours in seeing him again; in seeing him still worthy your esteem, still capable of forming your happiness! When I next write I shall be able to tell you that Sir James is gone, Lady Susan vanquished, and Frederica at peace. We have much to do, but it shall be done. I am all impatience to hear how this astonishing change was effected. I finish as I began, with the warmest congratulations.

Yours ever, &, CATH. VERNON.
XXIV. Frrom the Same to the Same. Churchhill.

Little did I imagine, my dear Mother, when I sent off my last letter, that the delightful perturbation of spirits I was then in would undergo so speedy, so melancholy a reverse. I never can sufficiently regret that I wrote to you at all. Yet who could have foreseen what has happened? My dear mother, every hope which made me so happy only two hours ago has vanished. The quarrel between Lady Susan and Reginald is made up, and we are all as we were before. One point only is gained. Sir James Martin is dismissed. What are we now to look forward to? I am indeed disappointed; Reginald was all but gone,his horse was ordered and all but brought to the door Stable hands take care of a horse's daily needs, including feeding and grooming. This job required dedication since it lasts all day. Stable hands take out and saddle the horses if any one in the house they worked for wanted to ride, and they collect the horses when a rider returns ( "Household management and Servants of the Victorian Era"). The image of a groom and a coachman shows a coachman’s uniform, the one in charge of directing horses and the groom. Their outfits, called "livery," identify the households they work for, and the uniforms themselves have differences that allow the roles that they had to be easily identified by their employers.; who would not have felt safe? For half an hour I was in momentary expectation of his departure. After I had sent off my letter to you, I went to Mr. Vernon, and sat with him in his room talking over the whole matter, and then determined to look for Frederica, whom I had not seen since breakfast. I met her on the stairs, and saw that she was crying. "My dear aunt," said she, "he is going—Mr. De Courcy is going, and it is all my fault. I am afraid you will be very angry with me, but indeed I had no idea it would end so." "My love," I replied, "do not think it necessary to apologize to me on that account. I shall feel myself under an obligation to anyone who is the means of sending my brother home, because," recollecting myself, "I know my father wants very much to see him. But what is it you have done to occasion all this?" She blushed deeply as she answered: "I was so unhappy about Sir James that I could not help—I have done something very wrong, I know; but you have not an idea of the misery I have been in: and mamma had ordered me never to speak to you or my uncle about it, and—" "You therefore spoke to my brother to engage his interference," said I, to save her the explanation. "No, but I wrote to him—I did indeed, I got up this morning before it was light During the 18th century, while the sun was the primary source of light, candles and oil lamps were used to light up one's house. These sources when the sun could not be depended on. The use of gas lighting was seen during this period of time but was sparsely used due to the daily set up of the gas for the light ( "Victorian Era Lighting: Electricity, Candles, Oil lamps, Chandeliers, Gas") , and was two hours about it; and when my letter was done I thought I never should have courage to give it. After breakfast however, as I was going to my room, I met him in the passage, and then, as I knew that everything must depend on that moment, I forced myself to give it. He was so good as to take it immediately. I dared not look at him, and ran away directly. I was in such a fright I could hardly breathe. My dear aunt, you do not know how miserable I have been." "Frederica" said I, "you ought to have told me all your distresses. You would have found in me a friend always ready to assist you. Do you think that your uncle or I should not have espoused your cause as warmly as my brother?" "Indeed, I did not doubt your kindness," said she, colouring again, "but I thought Mr. De Courcy could do anything with my mother; but I was mistaken: they have had a dreadful quarrel about it, and he is going away. Mamma will never forgive me, and I shall be worse off than ever." "No, you shall not," I replied; "in such a point as this your mother's prohibition ought not to have prevented your speaking to me on the subject. She has no right to make you unhappy, and she shall NOT do it. Your applying, however, to Reginald can be productive only of good to all parties. I believe it is best as it is. Depend upon it that you shall not be made unhappy any longer." At that moment how great was my astonishment at seeing Reginald come out of Lady Susan's dressing-room. My heart misgave me instantly. His confusion at seeing me was very evident. Frederica immediately disappeared. "Are you going?" I said; "you will find Mr. Vernon in his own room." "No, Catherine," he replied, "I am not going. Will you let me speak to you a moment?" We went into my room. "I find," he continued, his confusion increasing as he spoke, "that I have been acting with my usual foolish impetuosity. I have entirely misunderstood Lady Susan, and was on the point of leaving the house under a false impression of her conduct. There has been some very great mistake; we have been all mistaken, I fancy. Frederica does not know her mother. Lady Susan means nothing but her good, but she will not make a friend of her. Lady Susan does not always know, therefore, what will make her daughter happy. Besides, I could have no right to interfere. Miss Vernon was mistaken in applying to me. In short, Catherine, everything has gone wrong, but it is now all happily settled. Lady Susan, I believe, wishes to speak to you about it, if you are at leisure." "Certainly," I replied, deeply sighing at the recital of so lame a story. I made no comments, however, for words would have been vain.

Reginald was glad to get away, and I went to Lady Susan, curious, indeed, to hear her account of it. "Did I not tell you," said she with a smile, "that your brother would not leave us after all?" "You did, indeed," replied I very gravely; "but I flattered myself you would be mistaken." "I should not have hazarded such an opinion," returned she, "if it had not at that moment occurred to me that his resolution of going might be occasioned by a conversation in which we had been this morning engaged, and which had ended very much to his dissatisfaction, from our not rightly understanding each other's meaning. This idea struck me at the moment, and I instantly determined that an accidental dispute, in which I might probably be as much to blame as himself, should not deprive you of your brother. If you remember, I left the room almost immediately. I was resolved to lose no time in clearing up those mistakes as far as I could. The case was this—Frederica had set herself violently against marrying Sir James." "And can your ladyship wonder that she should?" cried I with some warmth; "Frederica has an excellent understanding, and Sir James has none." "I am at least very far from regretting it, my dear sister," said she; "on the contrary, I am grateful for so favourable a sign of my daughter's sense. Sir James is certainly below par (his boyish manners make him appear worse); and had Frederica possessed the penetration and the abilities which I could have wished in my daughter, or had I even known her to possess as much as she does, I should not have been anxious for the match." "It is odd that you should alone be ignorant of your daughter's sense!" "Frederica never does justice to herself; her manners are shy and childish, and besides she is afraid of me. During her poor father's life she was a spoilt child; the severity which it has since been necessary for me to show has alienated her affection; neither has she any of that brilliancy of intellect, that genius or vigour of mind which will force itself forward." "Say rather that she has been she has been unfortunate in her education In the 18th century, many girls stayed home to help out in the household and were educated by their mothers. It was said that the main purpose of educating girls was to prepare them for marriage (Hübner, "Female Education in 18th and 19th Century Britain"). !" "Heaven knows, my dearest Mrs. Vernon, how fully I am aware of that; but I would wish to forget every circumstance that might throw blame on the memory of one whose name is sacred with me." Here she pretended to cry; I was out of patience with her. "But what," said I, "was your ladyship going to tell me about your disagreement with my brother?" "It originated in an action of my daughter's, which equally marks her want of judgment and the unfortunate dread of me I have been mentioning—she wrote to Mr. De Courcy." "I know she did; you had forbidden her speaking to Mr. Vernon or to me on the cause of her distress; what could she do, therefore, but apply to my brother?" "Good God!" she exclaimed, "what an opinion you must have of me! Can you possibly suppose that I was aware of her unhappiness! that it was my object to make my own child miserable, and that I had forbidden her speaking to you on the subject from a fear of your interrupting the diabolical scheme? Do you think me destitute of every honest, every natural feeling? Am I capable of consigning HER to everlasting misery whose welfare it is my first earthly duty to promote? The idea is horrible!" "What, then, was your intention when you insisted on her silence?" "Of what use, my dear sister, could be any application to you, however the affair might stand? Why should I subject you to entreaties which I refused to attend to myself? Neither for your sake nor for hers, nor for my own, could such a thing be desirable. When my own resolution was taken I could not wish for the interference, however friendly, of another person. I was mistaken, it is true, but I believed myself right." "But what was this mistake to which your ladyship so often alludes! from whence arose so astonishing a misconception of your daughter's feelings! Did you not know that she disliked Sir James?" "I knew that he was not absolutely the man she would have chosen, but I was persuaded that her objections to him did not arise from any perception of his deficiency. You must not question me, however, my dear sister, too minutely on this point," continued she, taking me affectionately by the hand; "I honestly own that there is something to conceal. Frederica makes me very unhappy! Her applying to Mr. De Courcy hurt me particularly." "What is it you mean to infer," said I, "by this appearance of mystery? If you think your daughter at all attached to Reginald, her objecting to Sir James could not less deserve to be attended to than if the cause of her objecting had been a consciousness of his folly; and why should your ladyship, at any rate, quarrel with my brother for an interference which, you must know, it is not in his nature to refuse when urged in such a manner?"

"His disposition, you know, is warm, and he came to expostulate with me; his compassion all alive for this ill-used girl According to a book called Chambers’ Journal, "to appear ill-used—it is so sure to afford some presumption not quite favorable to him. It also refers to the stupid and troublesome because nobody can endure them; the poor and lowly because nobody cares anything about them" (217). girl, this heroine in distress! We misunderstood each other: he believed me more to blame than I really was; I considered his interference less excusable than I now find it. I have a real regard for him, and was beyond expression mortified to find it, as I thought, so ill bestowed. We were both warm, and of course both to blame. His resolution of leaving Churchhill is consistent with his general eagerness. When I understood his intention, however, and at the same time began to think that we had been perhaps equally mistaken in each other's meaning, I resolved to have an explanation before it was too late. For any member of your family I must always feel a degree of affection, and I own it would have sensibly hurt me if my acquaintance with Mr. De Courcy had ended so gloomily. I have now only to say further, that as I am convinced of Frederica's having a reasonable dislike to Sir James, I shall instantly inform him that he must give up all hope of her. I reproach myself for having, even though innocently, made her unhappy on that score. She shall have all the retribution in my power to make; if she value her own happiness as much as I do, if she judge wisely, and command herself as she ought, she may now be easy. Excuse me, my dearest sister, for thus trespassing on your time, but I owe it to my own character; and after this explanation I trust I am in no danger of sinking in your opinion." I could have said, "Not much, indeed!" but I left her almost in silence. It was the greatest stretch of forbearance I could practise. I could not have stopped myself had I begun. Her assurance! her deceit! but I will not allow myself to dwell on them; they will strike you sufficiently. My heart sickens within me. As soon as I was tolerably composed I returned to the parlour. Sir James's carriage was at the door, and he, merry as usual, soon afterwards took his leave. How easily does her ladyship encourage or dismiss a lover! In spite of this release, Frederica still looks unhappy: still fearful, perhaps, of her mother's anger; and though dreading my brother's departure, jealous, it may be, of his staying. I see how closely she observes him and Lady Susan, poor girl! I have now no hope for her. There is not a chance of her affection being returned. He thinks very differently of her from what he used to do; he does her some justice, but his reconciliation with her mother precludes every dearer hope. Prepare, my dear mother, for the worst! The probability of their marrying is surely heightened! He is more securely hers than ever. When that wretched event takes place, Frederica must belong wholly to us. I am thankful that my last letter will precede this by so little By the 18th century, mail was delivered by coach. This was proven to be much faster than the previous horse and rider system. The coaches could travel up to eight miles an hour, and had protection to insure that the mail won't be easily stolen. Mail still took a couple of days to be delivered and the amount of time only increased the farther the distance of the sender and receiver ("Royal Mail History".), as every moment that you can be saved from feeling a joy which leads only to disappointment is of consequence.

Yours ever, &, CATHERINE VERNON.
XXV. Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson. Churchhill.

I call on you, dear Alicia, for congratulations: I am my own self, gay According to Hornet.comthe word "gay" has a variety of uses that date back as far as the 13th to the 18th century. These range from brightly colored clothing to a joyous person. The current meaning of homosexual does not apply here. In this context, Lady Susan is describing herself as joyous or very happy. and triumphant! When I wrote to you the other day I was, in truth, in high irritation, and with ample cause. Nay, I know not whether I ought to be quite tranquil now, for I have had more trouble in restoring peace than I ever intended to submit to—a spirit, too, resulting from a fancied sense of superior integrity, which is peculiarly insolent! I shall not easily forgive him, I assure you. He was actually on the point of leaving Churchhill! I had scarcely concluded my last, when Wilson brought me word of it. I found, therefore, that something must be done; for I did not choose to leave my character at the mercy of a man whose passions are so violent and so revengeful. It would have been trifling with my reputation to allow of his departing with such an impression in my disfavour; in this light, condescension was necessary. I sent Wilson to say that I desired to speak with him before he went; he came immediately. The angry emotions which had marked every feature when we last parted were partially subdued. He seemed astonished at the summons, and looked as if half wishing and half fearing to be softened by what I might say. If my countenance expressed what I aimed at, it was composed According to the OED, the word "composed" means "calm or tranquil," or someone whose face is "undisturbed by emotion" ("composed, adj." 4.a). and dignified; and yet, with a degree of pensiveness which might convince him that I was not quite happy. "I beg your pardon, sir, for the liberty I have taken in sending for you," said I; "but as I have just learnt your intention of leaving this place to-day, I feel it my duty to entreat that you will not on my account shorten your visit here even an hour. I am perfectly aware that after what has passed between us it would ill suit the feelings of either to remain longer in the same house: so very great, so total a change from the intimacy of friendship must render any future intercourse the severest punishment; and your resolution of quitting Churchhill is undoubtedly in unison with our situation, and with those lively feelings which I know you to possess. But, at the same time, it is not for me to suffer such a sacrifice as it must be to leave relations to whom you are so much attached, and are so dear. My remaining here cannot give that pleasure to Mr. and Mrs. Vernon which your society must; and my visit has already perhaps been too long. My removal, therefore, which must, at any rate, take place soon, may, with perfect convenience, be hastened; and I make it my particular request that I may not in any way be instrumental in separating a family so affectionately attached to each other. Where I go is of no consequence to anyone; of very little to myself; but you are of importance to all your connections." Here I concluded, and I hope you will be satisfied with my speech. Its effect on Reginald justifies some portion of vanity, for it was no less favourable than instantaneous. Oh, how delightful it was to watch the variations of his countenance while I spoke! to see the struggle between returning tenderness and the remains of displeasure. There is something agreeable in feelings so easily worked on; not that I envy him their possession, nor would, for the world, have such myself; but they are very convenient when one wishes to influence the passions of another. And yet this Reginald, whom a very few words from me softened at once into the utmost submission, and rendered more tractable, more attached, more devoted than ever, would have left me in the first angry swelling of his proud heart without deigning to seek an explanation. Humbled as he now is, I cannot forgive him such an instance of pride, and am doubtful whether I ought not to punish him by dismissing him at once after this reconciliation, or by marrying and teazing him for ever. But these measures are each too violent to be adopted without some deliberation; at present my thoughts are fluctuating between various schemes. I have many things to compass: I must punish Frederica, and pretty severely too, for her application to Reginald; I must punish him for receiving it so favourably, and for the rest of his conduct. I must torment my sister-in-law for the insolent triumph of her look and manner since Sir James has been dismissed; for, in reconciling Reginald to me, I was not able to save that ill-fated young man; and I must make myself amends for the humiliation to which I have stooped within these few days. To effect all this I have various plans. I have also an idea of being soon in town According to the OED, "town" in this sense refers to a specific town, here, London, as distinct from the country areas where Churchhill, Parklands, and Langford are located. Essentially, the booming capital of England during Lady Susan’s time ("town, n" 4.b).; and whatever may be my determination as to the rest, I shall probably put THAT project in execution; for London will be always the fairest field of action, however my views may be directed; and at any rate I shall there be rewarded by your society, and a little dissipation, for a ten weeks' penance at Churchhill. I believe I owe it to my character to complete the match between my daughter and Sir James after having so long intended it. Let me know your opinion on this point. Flexibility of mind, a disposition easily biassed by others, is an attribute which you know I am not very desirous of obtaining; nor has Frederica any claim to the indulgence of her notions at the expense of her mother's inclinations. Her idle love for Reginald, too! It is surely my duty to discourage such romantic nonsense. All things considered, therefore, it seems incumbent on me to take her to town and marry her immediately to Sir James. When my own will is effected contrary to his, I shall have some credit in being on good terms with Reginald, which at present, in fact, I have not; for though he is still in my power, I have given up the very article by which our quarrel was produced, and at best the honour of victory is doubtful. Send me your opinion on all these matters, my dear Alicia, and let me know whether you can get lodgings to suit me within a short distance of you.

Your most attached S. VERNON.
XXVI. Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan. Edward Street.

I am gratified by your reference, and this is my advice: that you come to town yourself, without loss of time, but that you leave Frederica behind. It would surely be much more to the purpose to get yourself well established by marrying Mr. De Courcy, than to irritate him and the rest of his family by making her marry Sir James. You should think more of yourself and less of your daughter. She is not of a disposition to do you credit in the world, and seems precisely in her proper place at Churchhill, with the Vernons. But you are fitted for society, and it is shameful to have you exiled from it. Leave Frederica, therefore, to punish herself for the plague she has given you, by indulging that romantic tender-heartedness According to the OED, tender-heartedness is "the ability to be easily moved by fear, pity, sorrow, or love.("Tender-hearted," adj.). which will always ensure her misery enough, and come to London as soon as you can. I have another reason for urging this: Mainwaring came to town last week, and has contrived, in spite of Mr. Johnson, to make opportunities of seeing me. He is absolutely miserable about you, and jealous to such a degree of De Courcy that it would be highly unadvisable for them to meet at present. And yet, if you do not allow him to see you here, I cannot answer for his not committing some great imprudence—such as going to Churchhill, for instance, which would be dreadful! Besides, if you take my advice, and resolve to marry De Courcy, it will be indispensably necessary to you to get Mainwaring out of the way; and you only can have influence enough to send him back to his wife. I have still another motive for your coming: Mr. Johnson leaves London next Tuesday; he is going for his health to Bath Bath was a fashionable city in Somerset, England, "known for and named after its Roman-built baths." The mineral hot springs in Bath were thought to cure illnesses like gout ("Bath"). Mr. Johnson had the gout, which led to him going to Bath for treatment in the hot mineral springs. where, if the waters are favourable to his constitution and my wishes, he will be laid up with the gout Gout is a form of arthritis causing "severe pain, redness, and tenderness of the joints." It causes "high levels of uric acid in the blood that crystallize in the joints, tendons, or surrounding tissues that results in severe pain," often in the toes. When the gout first developed people believed it was caused by a too-rich diet; as a result, only "elites" were thought to get it. It was called "The disease of kings." ("Gout"). In the story Mr. Johnson goes to Bath to treat his gout. The image included here, a cartoon image drawn by James Gilray in 1799, shows how the the sharp pain and inflammation of gout looked and felt. many weeks. During his absence we shall be able to chuse our own society, and to have true enjoyment. I would ask you to Edward Street, but that once he forced from me a kind of promise never to invite you to my house; nothing but my being in the utmost distress for money should have extorted it from me. I can get you, however, a nice drawing-room apartment in Upper Seymour Street According to Jane Austen’s World, Seymour Street is a London street adjacent to Hyde Park and near other well-known locations Mayfair and St. James’s, where wealthier people lived. This is the neighborhood where Mrs. Johnson lives. "Upper Seymour Street is situated in Marylebone...just around the corner from Portman Square and one block over from Upper Berkeley Street, an area that Jane Austen and her sister lived in" ("Upper Seymour Street")., and we may be always together there or here; for I consider my promise to Mr. Johnson as comprehending only (at least in his absence) your not sleeping in the house. Poor Mainwaring gives me such histories of his wife's jealousy. Silly woman to expect constancy from so charming a man! but she always was silly—intolerably so in marrying him at all, she the heiress of a large fortune and he without a shilling An heiress is a woman who inherits the property or rank of another on that person's death. In this case, she received a large amount of money or property and Mainwaring--who has a title but no money--married her for her fortune.("Heiress"). : one title, I know, she might have had, besides baronets. Her folly in forming the connection was so great that, though Mr. Johnson was her guardian, and I do not in general share his feelings, I never can forgive her.

Adieu. Yours ever, ALICIA.
XXVII. Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill.

This letter, my dear Mother, will be brought you by Reginald. His long visit is about to be concluded at last, but I fear the separation takes place too late to do us any good. She is going to London to see her particular friend, Mrs. Johnson. It was at first her intention that Frederica should accompany her, for the benefit of masters, but we overruled her there. Frederica was wretched in the idea of going, and I could not bear to have her at the mercy of her mother; not all the masters in London could compensate for the ruin of her comfort. I should have feared, too, for her health, and for everything but her principles—there I believe she is not to be injured by her mother, or her mother's friends; but with those friends she must have mixed (a very bad set, I doubt not), or have been left in total solitude, and I can hardly tell which would have been worse for her. If she is with her mother, moreover, she must, alas! in all probability be with Reginald, and that would be the greatest evil of all. Here we shall in time be in peace, and our regular employments, our books and conversations, with exercise, the children, and every domestic pleasure in my power to procure her, will, I trust, gradually overcome this youthful attachment. I should not have a doubt of it were she slighted for any other woman in the world than her own mother. How long Lady Susan will be in town, or whether she returns here again, I know not. I could not be cordial in my invitation, but if she chuses to come no want of cordiality on my part will keep her away. I could not help asking Reginald if he intended being in London this winter, as soon as I found her ladyship's steps would be bent thither; and though he professed himself quite undetermined, there was something in his look and voice as he spoke which contradicted his words. I have done with lamentation; I look upon the event as so far decided that I resign myself to it in despair. If he leaves you soon for London everything will be concluded.

Your affectionate, &, C. VERNON.
XXVIII. Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan. Edward Street. My dearest Friend,—

I write in the greatest distress; the most unfortunate event has just taken place. Mr. Johnson has hit on the most effectual manner of plaguing us all. He had heard, I imagine, by some means or other, that you were soon to be in London, and immediately contrived to have such an attack of the gout as must at least delay his journey to Bath, if not wholly prevent it. I am persuaded the gout is brought on or kept off at pleasure; it was the same when I wanted to join the Hamiltons to the Lakes; and three years ago, when I had a fancy for Bath, nothing could induce him to have a gouty symptom.

I am pleased to find that my letter had so much effect on you, and that De Courcy is certainly your own. Let me hear from you as soon as you arrive, and in particular tell me what you mean to do with Mainwaring. It is impossible to say when I shall be able to come to you; my confinement must be great. It is such an abominable trick to be ill here instead of at Bath that I can scarcely command myself at all. At Bath his old aunts would have nursed him, but here it all falls upon me; and he bears pain with such patience that I have not the common excuse for losing my temper.

Yours ever, ALICIA.
XXIX. Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson. Upper Seymour Street. My dear Alicia,—

There needed not this last fit of the gout to make me detest Mr. Johnson, but now the extent of my aversion is not to be estimated. To have you confined as nurse in his apartment! My dear Alicia, of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a man of his age! just old enough to be formal, ungovernable, and to have the gout; too old to be agreeable, too young to die. I arrived last night about five, had scarcely swallowed my dinner when Mainwaring made his appearance. I will not dissemble what real pleasure his sight afforded me, nor how strongly I felt the contrast between his person and manners and those of Reginald, to the infinite disadvantage of the latter. For an hour or two I was even staggered in my resolution of marrying him, and though this was too idle and nonsensical an idea to remain long on my mind, I do not feel very eager for the conclusion of my marriage, nor look forward with much impatience to the time when Reginald, according to our agreement, is to be in town. I shall probably put off his arrival under some pretence or other. He must not come till Mainwaring is gone. I am still doubtful at times as to marrying; if the old man would die I might not hesitate, but a state of dependance on the caprice of Sir Reginald will not suit the freedom of my spirit; and if I resolve to wait for that event, I shall have excuse enough at present in having been scarcely ten months a widow. I have not given Mainwaring any hint of my intention, or allowed him to consider my acquaintance with Reginald as more than the commonest flirtation, and he is tolerably appeased. Adieu, till we meet; I am enchanted with my lodgings.

Yours ever, S. VERNON.
XXX. Lady Susan Vernon to Mr. de Courcy. Upper Seymour Street Lady Susan is now in London, in her fashionable lodgings in Upper Seymour Street. According to the well-researched blog _Jane Austen's World, "living at this location off Oxford Street was considered a moderately respectable to fairly good address during the Regency era." It is located in Westminster next to Hyde Park.

I have received your letter, and though I do not attempt to conceal that I am gratified by your impatience for the hour of meeting, I yet feel myself under the necessity of delaying that hour beyond the time originally fixed. Do not think me unkind for such an exercise of my power, nor accuse me of instability without first hearing my reasons. In the course of my journey from Churchhill I had ample leisure for reflection on the present state of our affairs, and every review has served to convince me that they require a delicacy and cautiousness of conduct to which we have hitherto been too little attentive. We have been hurried on by our feelings to a degree of precipitation which ill accords with the claims of our friends or the opinion of the world. We have been unguarded in forming this hasty engagement, but we must not complete the imprudence by ratifying it while there is so much reason to fear the connection would be opposed by those friends on whom you depend. It is not for us to blame any expectations on your father's side of your marrying to advantage; where possessions are so extensive as those of your family, the wish of increasing them, if not strictly reasonable, is too common to excite surprize or resentment. He has a right to require; a woman of fortune in his daughter-in-law, and I am sometimes quarrelling with myself for suffering you to form a connection so imprudent; but the influence of reason is often acknowledged too late by those who feel like me. I have now been but a few months a widow, and, however little indebted to my husband's memory for any happiness derived from him during a union of some years, I cannot forget that the indelicacy of so early a second marriage must subject me to the censure of the world, and incur, what would be still more insupportable, the displeasure of Mr. Vernon. I might perhaps harden myself in time against the injustice of general reproach, but the loss of HIS valued esteem I am, as you well know, ill-fitted to endure; and when to this may be added the consciousness of having injured you with your family, how am I to support myself? With feelings so poignant as mine, the conviction of having divided the son from his parents would make me, even with you, the most miserable of beings. It will surely, therefore, be advisable to delay our union—to delay it till appearances are more promising—till affairs have taken a more favourable turn. To assist us in such a resolution I feel that absence will be necessary. We must not meet. Cruel as this sentence may appear, the necessity of pronouncing it, which can alone reconcile it to myself, will be evident to you when you have considered our situation in the light in which I have found myself imperiously obliged to place it. You may be—you must be—well assured that nothing but the strongest conviction of duty could induce me to wound my own feelings by urging a lengthened separation, and of insensibility to yours you will hardly suspect me. Again, therefore, I say that we ought not, we must not, yet meet. By a removal for some months from each other we shall tranquillise the sisterly fears of Mrs. Vernon, who, accustomed herself to the enjoyment of riches, considers fortune as necessary everywhere, and whose sensibilities are not of a nature to comprehend ours. Let me hear from you soon—very soon. Tell me that you submit to my arguments, and do not reproach me for using such. I cannot bear reproaches: my spirits are not so high as to need being repressed. I must endeavour to seek amusement, and fortunately many of my friends are in town; amongst them the Mainwarings; you know how sincerely I regard both husband and wife.

I am, very faithfully yours, S. VERNON
XXXI. Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson. Upper Seymour Street. My dear Friend,—

That tormenting creature, Reginald, is here. My letter, which was intended to keep him longer in the country, has hastened him to town. Much as I wish him away, however, I cannot help being pleased with such a proof of attachment. He is devoted to me, heart and soul. He will carry this note himself, which is to serve as an introduction to you, with whom he longs to be acquainted. Allow him to spend the evening with you, that I may be in no danger of his returning here. I have told him that I am not quite well, and must be alone; and should he call again there might be confusion, for it is impossible to be sure of servants. Keep him, therefore, I entreat you, in Edward Street. You will not find him a heavy companion, and I allow you to flirt with him as much as you like. At the same time, do not forget my real interest; say all that you can to convince him that I shall be quite wretched if he remains here; you know my reasons—propriety, and so forth. I would urge them more myself, but that I am impatient to be rid of him, as Mainwaring comes within half an hour. Adieu!

S VERNON
XXXII. Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan. Edward Street. My dear Creature,—

I am in agonies, and know not what to do. Mr. De Courcy arrived just when he should not. Mrs. Mainwaring had that instant entered the house, and forced herself into her guardian's presence, though I did not know a syllable of it till afterwards, for I was out when both she and Reginald came, or I should have sent him away at all events; but she was shut up with Mr. Johnson, while he waited in the drawing-room for me. She arrived yesterday in pursuit of her husband, but perhaps you know this already from himself. She came to this house to entreat my husband's interference, and before I could be aware of it, everything that you could wish to be concealed was known to him, and unluckily she had wormed out of Mainwaring's servant that he had visited you every day since your being in town, and had just watched him to your door herself! What could I do! Facts are such horrid things! All is by this time known to De Courcy, who is now alone with Mr. Johnson. Do not accuse me; indeed, it was impossible to prevent it. Mr. Johnson has for some time suspected De Courcy of intending to marry you, and would speak with him alone as soon as he knew him to be in the house. That detestable Mrs. Mainwaring, who, for your comfort, has fretted herself thinner and uglier than ever, is still here, and they have been all closeted together. What can be done? At any rate, I hope he will plague his wife more than ever.

With anxious wishes, Yours faithfully, ALICIA.
XXXIII. Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson. Upper Seymour Street.

This eclaircissement In the fashionable French, this word literally means "clearing up"; it is used to indicate that something kept secret or hidden has been revealed, as noted in the OED. For Lady Susan, the revelation of the truth is not a desirable outcome. is rather provoking. How unlucky that you should have been from home! I thought myself sure of you at seven! I am undismayed however. Do not torment yourself with fears on my account; depend on it, I can make my story good with Reginald. Mainwaring is just gone; he brought me the news of his wife's arrival. Silly woman, what does she expect by such manoeuvres? Yet I wish she had stayed quietly at Langford. Reginald will be a little enraged at first, but by to-morrow's dinner, everything will be well again.

Adieu! S. V.
XXXIV Mr. de Courcy to Lady Susan. —Hotel

I write only to bid you farewell, the spell is removed; I see you as you are. Since we parted yesterday, I have received from indisputable authority such a history of you as must bring the most mortifying conviction of the imposition I have been under, and the absolute necessity of an immediate and eternal separation from you. You cannot doubt to what I allude. Langford! Langford! that word will be sufficient. I received my information in Mr. Johnson's house, from Mrs. Mainwaring herself. You know how I have loved you; you can intimately judge of my present feelings, but I am not so weak as to find indulgence in describing them to a woman who will glory in having excited their anguish, but whose affection they have never been able to gain.

R. DE COURCY.
XXXV. Lady Susan to Mr. de Courcy. Upper Seymour Street.

I will not attempt to describe my astonishment in reading the note this moment received from you. I am bewildered in my endeavours to form some rational conjecture of what Mrs. Mainwaring can have told you to occasion so extraordinary a change in your sentiments. Have I not explained everything to you with respect to myself which could bear a doubtful meaning, and which the ill-nature of the world had interpreted to my discredit? What can you now have heard to stagger your esteem for me? Have I ever had a concealment from you? Reginald, you agitate me beyond expression, I cannot suppose that the old story of Mrs. Mainwaring's jealousy can be revived again, or at least be listened to again. Come to me immediately, and explain what is at present absolutely incomprehensible. Believe me the single word of Langford is not of such potent intelligence as to supersede the necessity of more. If we ARE to part, it will at least be handsome to take your personal leave—but I have little heart to jest; in truth, I am serious enough; for to be sunk, though but for an hour, in your esteem is a humiliation to which I know not how to submit. I shall count every minute till your arrival.

S. V.
XXXVI. Mr. de Courcy to Lady Susan. ——Hotel.

Why would you write to me? Why do you require particulars? But, since it must be so, I am obliged to declare that all the accounts of your misconduct during the life, and since the death of Mr. Vernon, which had reached me, in common with the world in general, and gained my entire belief before I saw you, but which you, by the exertion of your perverted abilities, had made me resolved to disallow, have been unanswerably proved to me; nay more, I am assured that a connection, of which I had never before entertained a thought, has for some time existed, and still continues to exist, between you and the man whose family you robbed of its peace in return for the hospitality with which you were received into it; that you have corresponded with him ever since your leaving Langford; not with his wife, but with him, and that he now visits you every day. Can you, dare you deny it? and all this at the time when I was an encouraged, an accepted lover! From what have I not escaped! I have only to be grateful. Far from me be all complaint, every sigh of regret. My own folly had endangered me, my preservation I owe to the kindness, the integrity of another; but the unfortunate Mrs. Mainwaring, whose agonies while she related the past seemed to threaten her reason, how is she to be consoled! After such a discovery as this, you will scarcely affect further wonder at my meaning in bidding you adieu. My understanding is at length restored, and teaches no less to abhor the artifices which had subdued me than to despise myself for the weakness on which their strength was founded.

R. DE COURCY.
XXXVII. Lady Susan to Mr. de Courcy. Upper Seymour Street.

I am satisfied, and will trouble you no more when these few lines are dismissed. The engagement which you were eager to form a fortnight ago is no longer compatible with your views, and I rejoice to find that the prudent advice of your parents has not been given in vain. Your restoration to peace will, I doubt not, speedily follow this act of filial obedience, and I flatter myself with the hope of surviving my share in this disappointment.

S. V.
XXXVIII. Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan Vernon. Edward Street.

I am grieved, though I cannot be astonished at your rupture with Mr. De Courcy; he has just informed Mr. Johnson of it by letter. He leaves London, he says, to-day. Be assured that I partake in all your feelings, and do not be angry if I say that our intercourse, even by letter, must soon be given up. It makes me miserable; but Mr. Johnson vows that if I persist in the connection, he will settle in the country for the rest of his life, and you know it is impossible to submit to such an extremity while any other alternative remains. You have heard of course that the Mainwarings are to part, and I am afraid Mrs. M. will come home to us again; but she is still so fond of her husband, and frets so much about him, that perhaps she may not live long. Miss Mainwaring is just come to town to be with her aunt, and they say that she declares she will have Sir James Martin before she leaves London again. If I were you, I would certainly get him myself. I had almost forgot to give you my opinion of Mr. De Courcy; I am really delighted with him; he is full as handsome, I think, as Mainwaring, and with such an open, good-humoured countenance, that one cannot help loving him at first sight. Mr. Johnson and he are the greatest friends in the world. Adieu, my dearest Susan, I wish matters did not go so perversely. That unlucky visit to Langford! but I dare say you did all for the best, and there is no defying destiny.

Your sincerely attached ALICIA.
XXXIX. Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson Upper Seymour Street. My dear Alicia,—

I yield to the necessity which parts us. Under circumstances you could not act otherwise. Our friendship cannot be impaired by it, and in happier times, when your situation is as independent as mine, it will unite us again in the same intimacy as ever. For this I shall impatiently wait, and meanwhile can safely assure you that I never was more at ease, or better satisfied with myself and everything about me than at the present hour. Your husband I abhor, Reginald I despise, and I am secure of never seeing either again. Have I not reason to rejoice? Mainwaring is more devoted to me than ever; and were we at liberty, I doubt if I could resist even matrimony offered by HIM. This event, if his wife live with you, it may be in your power to hasten. The violence of her feelings, which must wear her out, may be easily kept in irritation. I rely on your friendship for this. I am now satisfied that I never could have brought myself to marry Reginald, and am equally determined that Frederica never shall. To-morrow, I shall fetch her from Churchhill, and let Maria Mainwaring tremble for the consequence. Frederica shall be Sir James's wife before she quits my house, and she may whimper, and the Vernons may storm, I regard them not. I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others; of resigning my own judgment in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect. I have given up too much, have been too easily worked on, but Frederica shall now feel the difference. Adieu, dearest of friends; may the next gouty attack be more favourable! and may you always regard me as unalterably yours,

S. VERNON
XL. Lady de Courcy to Mrs. Vernon. My dear Catherine,—

I have charming news for you, and if I had not sent off my letter this morning you might have been spared the vexation According to the OED vexation is "the state or fact of being mentally troubled or distressed; (in later use) esp. annoyance, irritation, dissatisfaction, or disappointment" ("Vexation," n.3a). of knowing of Reginald's being gone to London, for he is returned. Reginald is returned, not to ask our consent The OED states that consent means "voluntary agreement to or acquiescence in what another proposes or desires; compliance, concurrence, permission" ("Consent, n.1a"). Reginald is not asking for his parent's permission to marry Lady Susan. to his marrying Lady Susan, but to tell us they are parted for ever. He has been only an hour in the house, and I have not been able to learn particulars, for he is so very low that I have not the heart to ask questions, but I hope we shall soon know all. This is the most joyful hour he has ever given us since the day of his birth. Nothing is wanting but to have you here, and it is our particular wish and entreaty that you would come to us as soon as you can. You have owed us a visit many long weeks; I hope nothing will make it inconvenient to Mr. Vernon; and pray bring all my grand-children; and your dear niece is included, of course; I long to see her. It has been a sad, heavy winter hitherto, without Reginald, and seeing nobody from Churchhill. I never found the season so dreary before; but this happy meeting will make us young again. Frederica runs much in my thoughts, and when Reginald has recovered his usual good spirits (as I trust he soon will) we will try to rob him of his heart once more, and I am full of hopes of seeing their hands joined at no great distance.

Your affectionate mother, C. DE COURCY
XLI. Mrs. Vernon to Lady de Courcy. Churchhill. My dear Mother,—

Your letter has surprized me beyond measure! Can it be true that they are really separated—and for ever? I should be overjoyed if I dared depend on it, but after all that I have seen how can one be secure. And Reginald really with you! My surprize is the greater because on Wednesday, the very day of his coming to Parklands, we had a most unexpected and unwelcome visit from Lady Susan, looking all cheerfulness and good-humour, and seeming more as if she were to marry him when she got to London than as if parted from him for ever. She stayed nearly two hours, was as affectionate and agreeable as ever, and not a syllable, not a hint was dropped, of any disagreement or coolness between them. I asked her whether she had seen my brother since his arrival in town; not, as you may suppose, with any doubt of the fact, but merely to see how she looked. She immediately answered, without any embarrassment, that he had been kind enough to call on DRAFT-WRONG SENSE During the 18th century just from my personal knowledge when a man calls on a woman that means he like her and not only that but it can also take on the meaning of inviting someone. II. Senses in which the primary meaning relates to summoning, requesting, or announcing. 9. a. An order or request for someone to be present; a summons, an invitation. Also figurative ("Call" v.32a). her on Monday; but she believed he had already returned home, which I was very far from crediting. Your kind invitation is accepted by us with pleasure, and on Thursday next we and our little ones will be with you. Pray heaven, Reginald may not be in town again by that time! I wish we could bring dear Frederica too, but I am sorry to say that her mother's errand hither was to fetch her away; and, miserable as it made the poor girl, it was impossible to detain her. I was thoroughly unwilling to let her go, and so was her uncle; and all that could be urged we did urge; but Lady Susan declared that as she was now about to fix herself in London for several months, she could not be easy if her daughter were not with her for masters According to OED, master is someone "of approved learning, a respected scholar; an authority in (also of) a particular subject" ("Master," 13a). Lady Susan is referring here to Frederica's London tutors, likely in subjects like singing, dancing, and drawing., &c This is a way to write et cetera. From the Latin, it means "And the rest, and so forth, and so on, indicating that the statement refers not only to the things enumerated, but to others which may be inferred from analogy. Occasionally used when the conclusion of a quotation, a current formula of politeness, or the like, is omitted as being well known to the reader. Also Yours etc., used as an ending in letters" ("Et Cetera," 1).; Her manner, to be sure, was very kind and proper, and Mr. Vernon believes that Frederica will now be treated with affection. I wish I could think so too. The poor girl's heart was almost broke at taking leave of us. I charged her to write to me very often, and to remember that if she were in any distress we should be always her friends. I took care to see her alone, that I might say all this, and I hope made her a little more comfortable; but I shall not be easy till I can go to town and judge of her situation myself. I wish there were a better prospect than now appears of the match which the conclusion of your letter declares your expectations of. At present, it is not very likely,

Yours ever, &, C. VERNON
CONCLUSION

This correspondence, by a meeting between some of the parties, and a separation between the others, could not, to the great detriment of the Post Office revenue, be continued any longer. Very little assistance to the State could be derived from the epistolary intercourse of Mrs. Vernon and her niece; for the former soon perceived, by the style of Frederica's letters, that they were written under her mother's inspection! and therefore, deferring all particular enquiry till she could make it personally in London, ceased writing minutely or often. Having learnt enough, in the meanwhile, from her open-hearted brother, of what had passed between him and Lady Susan to sink the latter lower than ever in her opinion, she was proportionably more anxious to get Frederica removed from such a mother, and placed under her own care; and, though with little hope of success, was resolved to leave nothing unattempted that might offer a chance of obtaining her sister-in-law's consent to it. Her anxiety on the subject made her press for an early visit to London; and Mr. Vernon, who, as it must already have appeared, lived only to do whatever he was desired, soon found some accommodating business to call him thither. With a heart full of the matter, Mrs. Vernon waited on Lady Susan shortly after her arrival in town, and was met with such an easy and cheerful affection, as made her almost turn from her with horror. No remembrance of Reginald, no consciousness of guilt, gave one look of embarrassment; she was in excellent spirits, and seemed eager to show at once by ever possible attention to her brother and sister her sense of their kindness, and her pleasure in their society. Frederica was no more altered than Lady Susan; the same restrained manners, the same timid look in the presence of her mother as heretofore, assured her aunt of her situation being uncomfortable, and confirmed her in the plan of altering it. No unkindness, however, on the part of Lady Susan appeared. Persecution on the subject of Sir James was entirely at an end; his name merely mentioned to say that he was not in London; and indeed, in all her conversation, she was solicitous only for the welfare and improvement of her daughter, acknowledging, in terms of grateful delight, that Frederica was now growing every day more and more what a parent could desire. Mrs. Vernon, surprized and incredulous, knew not what to suspect, and, without any change in her own views, only feared greater difficulty in accomplishing them. The first hope of anything better was derived from Lady Susan's asking her whether she thought Frederica looked quite as well as she had done at Churchhill, as she must confess herself to have sometimes an anxious doubt of London's perfectly agreeing with her. Mrs. Vernon, encouraging the doubt, directly proposed her niece's returning with them into the country. Lady Susan was unable to express her sense of such kindness, yet knew not, from a variety of reasons, how to part with her daughter; and as, though her own plans were not yet wholly fixed, she trusted it would ere long be in her power to take Frederica into the country herself, concluded by declining entirely to profit by such unexampled attention. Mrs. Vernon persevered, however, in the offer of it, and though Lady Susan continued to resist, her resistance in the course of a few days seemed somewhat less formidable. The lucky alarm of aninfluenza DRAFT-QUOTATION PROBLEMS AND C18 CONTEXT According to History.com the flu, or influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection that mainly affects the respiratory system. During the 18th century another influenza pandemic arose. It began in 1729 in Russia and spread throughout Europe within 6 months and all the world within three years. This was a disease that affected a lot of people and could be compared to COVID-19 today ("Influenza"). decided what might not have been decided quite so soon. Lady Susan's maternal fears were then too much awakened for her to think of anything but Frederica's removal from the risk of infection; above all disorders in the world she most dreaded the influenza for her daughter's constitution!

Frederica returned to Churchhill with her uncle and aunt; and three weeks afterwards, Lady Susan announced her being married to Sir James Martin. Mrs. Vernon was then convinced of what she had only suspected before, that she might have spared herself all the trouble of urging a removal which Lady Susan had doubtless resolved on from the first. Frederica's visit was nominally for six weeks, but her mother, though inviting her to return in one or two affectionate letters, was very ready to oblige the whole party by consenting to a prolongation of her stay, and in the course of two months ceased to write of her absence, and in the course of two or more to write to her at all. Frederica was therefore fixed in the family of her uncle and aunt till such time as Reginald De Courcy could be talked, flattered, and finessed into an affection for her which, allowing leisure for the conquest of his attachment to her mother, for his abjuring all future attachments, and detesting the sex, might be reasonably looked for in the course of a twelvemonth. Three months might have done it in general, but Reginald's feelings were no less lasting than lively. Whether Lady Susan was or was not happy in her second choice, I do not see how it can ever be ascertained; for who would take her assurance of it on either side of the question? The world must judge from probabilities; she had nothing against her but her husband, and her conscience. Sir James may seem to have drawn a harder lot than mere folly merited; I leave him, therefore, to all the pity that anybody can give him. For myself, I confess that I can pity only Miss Mainwaring; who, coming to town, and putting herself to an an expense in clothes According to the article "The Cost of Living in London in Europe in the 18th Century," clothes cost a lot because it was very important during this century. People spent a lot more on clothes than we do today.(Hayword, "Cost of Living") In all it would cost an upper class women about 32 s and 1 d for a full outfit. (Cost of Clothes) The image included here shows a French fashion popular in the eighteenth century, aRobe a la Francaise. In the novel, Miss Mainwaring goes to London to buy fashionable clothes like this in an attempt to secure Sir James as her husband. which impoverished her for two years, on purpose to secure him, was defrauded of her due by a woman ten years older than herself.

FINIS.
Selected Text from The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano: or Gustavus Vassa, the African.

The author's birth and parentage—His being kidnapped with his sister—Their separation—Surprise at meeting again—Are finally separated—Account of the different places and incidents the author met with till his arrival on the coast—The effect the sight of a slave ship had on him—He sails for the West Indies—Horrors of a slave ship—Arrives at Barbadoes, where the cargo is sold and dispersed.

I HOPE the reader will not think I have trespassed on his patience in introducing myself to him with some account of the manners and customs of my country. They had been implanted in me with great care, and made an impression on my mind, which time could not erase, and which all the adversity and variety of fortune I have since experienced, served only to rivet and record; for, whether the love of one's country be real or imaginary, or a lesson of reason, or an instinct of nature, I still look back with pleasure on the first scenes of my life, though that pleasure has been for the most part mingled with sorrow.

I have already acquainted the reader with the time and place of my birth. My father, besides many slaves, had a numerous family, of which seven lived to grow up, including myself and a sister; who was the only daughter. As I was the youngest of the sons, I became, of course, the greatest favourite with my mother, and was always with her; and she used to take particular pains to form my mind. I was trained up from my earliest years in the art of war: my daily exercise was shooting and throwing javelins; and my mother adorned me with emblems, after the manner of our greatest warriors. In this way I grew up till I was turned the age of eleven, when an end was put to my happiness in the following manner:—Generally when the grown people in the neighbourhood were gone far in the fields to labour the children assembled together in some of the neighbours' premises to play; and commonly some of us used to get up a tree to look out for any assailant, or kidnapper, that might come upon us; for they sometimes took those opportunities of our parents absence to attack and carry off as many as they could seize. One day, as I was watching at the top of a tree in our yard, I saw one of those people come into the yard of our next neighbour but one, to kidnap, there being many stout young people in it. Immediately on this I gave the alarm of the rogue, and he was surrounded by the stoutest of them, who entangled him with cords, so that he could not escape till some of the grown people came and secured him. But alas! ere long it was my fate to be thus attacked, and to be carried off, when none of the grown people were nigh. One day, when all our people were gone out to their works as usual, and only I and my dear sister were left to mind the house, two men and a woman got over our walls, and in a moment seized us both, and, without giving us time to cry out, or make resistance, they stopped our mouths, and ran off with us, into the nearest wood. Here they tied our hands, and continued to carry us as far as they could, till night came on, when we reached a small house, where the robbers halted for refreshment and spent the night. We were then unbound, but were unable to take any food; and, being quite overpowered by fatigue and grief, our only relief was some sleep, which allayed our misfortune for a short time. The next morning we left the house, and continued travelling all the day. For a long time we had kept the woods, but at last we came into a road which I believed I knew. I had now some hopes of being delivered; for we had advanced but a little way before I discovered some people at a distance, on which I began to cry out for their assistance; but my cries had no other effect than to make them tie me faster and stop my mouth, and then they put me into a large sack. They also stopped my sister's mouth, and tied her hands; and in this manner we proceeded till we were out of the sight of these people. When we went to rest the following night they offered us some victuals; but we refused it; and the only comfort we had was in being in one another's arms all that night, and bathing each other with our tears. But alas! we were soon deprived of even the small comfort of weeping together. The next day proved a day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced; for my sister and I were then separated, while we lay clasped in each others arms. It was in vain that we besought them not to part us; she was torn from me, and immediately carried away, while I was left in a state of distraction not to be described. I cried and grieved continually; and for several days, did not eat any thing but what they forced into my mouth. At length, after many days travelling, during which I had often changed masters, I got into the hands of a chieftain, in a very pleasant country. This man had two wives and some children, and they all used me extremely well, and did all they could to comfort me; particularly the first wife, who was something like my mother. Although I was a great many days journey from my father's house, yet these people spoke exactly the same language with us. This first master of mine, as I may call him, was a smith, and my prin cipal employment was working his bellows, which were the same kind as I had seen in my vicinity. They were in some respects not unlike the stoves here in gentlemen's kitchens; and were covered over with leather; and in the middle of that leather a stick was fixed, and a person stood up, and worked it, in the same manner as is done to pump water out of a cask with a hand pump. I believe it was gold he worked, for it was of a lovely bright yellow colour, and was worn by the women on their wrists and ancles. I was there I suppose about a month, and they at last used to trust me some little distance from the house. This liberty I used in embracing every opportunity to inquire the way to my own home: and I also sometimes, for the same purpose, went with the maidens, in the cool of the evenings, to bring pitchers of water from the springs for the use of the house. I had also remarked where the sun rose in the morn ing, and set in the evening, as I had travelled along; and I had observed that 〈◊〉 father's house was towards the rising of the sun. I therefore deter mined to seize the first opportunity of making my escape, and to shape my course for that quarter; for I was quite oppressed and weighed down by grief after my mother and friends; and my love of liberty, ever great, was strengthened by the mortifying circumstance of not daring to eat with the free-born children, although I was mostly their companion. While I was projecting my escape, one day an unlucky event happened, which quite disconcerted my plan, and put an end to my hopes. I used to be sometimes employed in assisting an elderly woman slave, to cook and take care of the poultry: and one morning, while I was feeding some chickens, I happened to toss a small pebble at one of them, which hit it on the middle, and direct ly killed it. The old slave, having soon after missed the chicken, inquired after it; and on my relating the accident (for I told her the truth, because my mother would never suffer me to tell a lie) she flew into a violent passion, threatened that I should suffer for it; and, my master being out, she immediately went and told her mistress what I had done. This alarmed me very much, and I expected an instant flogging, which to me was uncommonly dreadful; for I had seldom been beaten at home. I therefore resolved to fly; and accordingly I ran into a thicket that was hard by, and hid myself in the bushes. soon afterwards my mistress and the slave returned, and, not seeing me, they searched all the house, but not finding me, and I not making answer when they called to me, they thought I ad run away, and the whole neighbourhood was raised in the pursuit of me. In that part of the country (as in ours) the houses and villages were skirted with woods, or shrubberies, and the bushes were so thick that a man could readily conceal himself in them, so as to elude the strictest search. The neighbours continued the whole day looking for me, and several times many of them came within a few yards of the place where I lay hid. I expected every moment, when I heard a rustling among the trees, to be found out, and punished by my master: but they never discovered me, though they were often so near that I even heard their conjectures as they were looking about for me; and I now learned from them, that any attempt to return home would be hopeless. Most of them supposed I had fled towards home; but the distance was so great, and the way so intricate, that they thought I could never reach it, and that I should be lost in the woods. When I heard this I was seized with a violent panie, and abandoned myself to despair. Night too began to approach, and ag gravated all my fears. I had before entertained hopes of getting home; and had determined when it should be dark to make the attempt; but I was now convinced it was fruitless, and began to consider that, if possibly I could escape all other animals, I could not those of the human kind; and that, not knowing the way, I must perish in the woods. Thus was I like the hunted deer: —"Ev'ry leaf and ev'ry whisp'ring breath "Convey'd a foe, and ev'ry foe a death."

I heard frequent rustlings among the leaves; and being pretty sure they were snakes, I expected every instant to be stung by them. This increased my anguish, and the horror of my situation became now quite insupportable. I at length quitted the thicket, very saint and hungry, for I had not eaten or drank any thing all the day; and crept to my master's kitchen, from whence I set out at first, and which was an open shed, and laid myself down in the ashes with an anxious wish for death to relieve me from all my pains. I was scarcely awake in the morning, when the old woman slave, who was the first up, came to light the fire, and saw me in the fire place. she was very much surprised to see me, and could scarcely believe her own eyes. she now promised to intercede for me, and went for her master, who soon after came, and, having slightly reprimanded me, ordered me to be taken care of, and not ill treated.

soon after this my master's only daughter, and child by his first wife, sickened and died, which affected him so much that for some time he was almost frantic, and really would have killed himself, had he not been watched and prevented. However, in a small time afterwards he recovered, and I was again sold. I was now carried to the left of the sun's rising, through many dreary wastes and dismal woods, amidst the hideous roarings of wild beasts. The people I was sold to used to carry me very often, when I was tired, either on their shoulders or on their backs. I saw many convenient well-built sheds along the road, at proper distances, to accommodate the merchants and travellers, who lay in those buildings along with their wives, who often accompany them; and they always go well armed.

From the time I left my own nation I always found somebody that under stood me till I came to the sea coast. The languages of different nations did not totally differ, nor were they so co pious as those of the Europeans, par ticularly the English. They were therefore easily learned; and, while I was journeying thus through Africa, I acquired two or three different tongues. In this manner I had been travelling for a considerable time, when one evening to my great surprise, whom should I see brought to the house where I was but my dear sister! As soon as she saw me she gave a loud shriek, and ran into my arms—I was quite overpowered: neither of us could speak; but, for a considerable time, clung to each other in mutual embraces, unable to do any thing but weep. Our meeting affected all who saw us; and indeed I must acknowledge, in honour of those sable destroyers of human rights, that I never met with any ill treatment, or saw any offered to their slaves, except tying them, when necessary, to keep them from running away. When these people knew we were brother and sister, they indulged us to be together; and the man, to whom I supposed we belonged, lay with us, he in the middle, while she and I held one another by the hands across his breast all night; and thus for a while we forgot our misfortunes in the joy of being together: but even this small comfort was scon to have an end; for scarcely had the fatal morning appeared, when she was again torn from me for ever! I was now more miserable, if possible, than before. The small relief which her presence gave me from pain was gone, and the wretchedness of my situation was redoubled by my anxiety after her fate, and my appre hensions lest her sufferings should be greater than mine, when I could not be with her to alleviate them. Yes, thou dear partner of all my childish sports! thou sharer of my joys and sorrows! happy should I have ever esteemed myself to encounter every misery for you, and to procure your freedom by the sacrifice of my own. Though you were early forced from my arms, your image has been always rivetted in my heart, from which neither time nor fortune have been able to remove it; so that, while the thoughts of your sufferings have damped my prosperity, they have mingled with adversity and increased its bitterness. To that Heaven which protects the weak from the strong, I commit the care of your innocence and virtues, if they have not already received their full reward, and if your youth and delicacy have not long since fallen victims to the violence of the African trader, the pestilential stench of a Guinea ship, the seasoning in the Euro pean colonies, or the lash and lust of a brutal and unrelenting overseer.

I did not long remain after my sister. I was again sold, and carried through a number of places, till, after travelling a considerable time, I came to a town called Tinmah, in the most beautiful country I had yet seen in Africa. It was extremely rich, and there were many rivulets which flowed through it, and supplied a large pond in the centre of the town, where the people washed. Here I first saw and tasted cocoa nuts, which I thought superior to any nuts I had ever tasted before; and the trees, which were loaded, were also interspersed amongst the houses, which had commodious shades adjoining, and were in the same manner as ours, the insides being neatly plastered and whitewashed, Here I also saw and tasted for the first time sugar-cane. Their money consisted of little white shells, the size of the finger nail. I was sold here for one hundred and seventy-two of them by a merchant who lived and brought me there. I had been about two or three days at his house, when a wealthy widow, a neighbour of his, came there one evening, and brought with her an only son, a young gentleman about my own age and size. Here they saw me; and, having taken a fancy to me, I was bought of the merchant, and went home with them. Her house and premises were situated close to one of those rivulets I have mentioned, and were the finest I ever saw in Africa: they were very extensive, and she had a number of slaves to attend her. The next day I was washed and perfumed, and when meal-time came, I was led into the presence of my mistress, and eat and drank before her with her son. This filled me with astonishment; and I could scarce help expressing my surprise that the young gentleman should suffer me, who was bound, to eat with him who was free; and not only so, but that he would not at any time either eat or drink till I had taken first, be cause. I was the eldest, which was agreeable to our custom. Indeed every thing here, and all their treatment of me, made me forget that I was a slave. The language of these people resembled ours so nearly, that we understood each other perfectly. They had also the very same customs as we. There were likewise slaves daily to attend us, while my young master and I with other boys sported with our darts and bows and arrows, as I had been used to do at home. In this resemblance to my former happy state, I passed about two months; and I now began to think I was to be adopted into the family, and was beginning to be reconciled to my situation, and to forget by degrees my misfortunes, when all at once the delusion vanished; for, without the least previous knowledge, one morning early, while my dear master and companion was still asleep, I was awakened out of my reverie to fresh sorrow, and hurried away even amongst the uncircumcised.

Thus, at the very moment I dreamed of the greatest happiness, I found my self most miserable; and it seemed as if fortune wished to give me this taste of joy, only to render the reverse more poignant. The change I now expe rienced was as painful as it was sudden and unexpected. It was a change indeed from a state of bliss to a scene which is inexpressible by me, as it discovered to me an element I had never before beheld, and till then had no idea of, and wherein such instances of hardship and cruelty continually occurred as I can never reflect on but with horror.

All the nations and people I had hitherto passed through resembled our own in their manners, customs, and language: but I came at length to a country, the inhabitants of which differed from us in all those particulars. I was very much struck with this difference, especially when I came among a people who did not circumcise, and eat without washing their hands. They cooked also in iron pots, and had European cutlasses and cross bows, which were unknown to us, and fought with their fists amongst themselves. Their women were not so modest as ours, for they eat, and drank, and slept, with their men. But above all, I was amazed to see no sacrifices or offerings among them. In some of those places the people ornamented themselves with scars, and likewise filed their teeth very sharp. They wanted sometimes to ornament me in the same manner, but I would not suffer them; hoping that I might some time be among a people who did not thus disfigure themselves, as I thought they did. At last I came to the banks of a large river, which was covered with canoes, in which the people appeared to live with their household utensils and provisions of all kinds. I was beyond measure astonished at this, as I had never before seen any water larger than a pond or a rivulet: and my surprise was mingled with no small fear when I was put into one of these canoes, and we began to paddle and move along the river. We continued going on thus till night; and when we came to land, and made fires on the banks, each family by themselves, some dragged their canoes on shore, others stayed and cooked in theirs, and laid in them all night. Those on the land had mats, of which they made tents, some in the shape of little houses: in these we slept: and after the morning meal, we embarked again and proceeded as before. I was often very much astonished to see some of the women, as well as the men, jump into the water, dive to the bottom, come up again, and swim about. Thus I continued to travel, sometimes by land, sometimes by water, through different countries and various nations, till, at the end of six or seven months after I had been kidnapped, I arrived at the sea coast. It would be tedious and uninteresting to relate all the incidents which befell me dur ing this journey, and which I have not yet forgotten; of the various hands I passed through, and the manners and customs of all the different people among whom I lived: I shall therefore only observe, that in all the places where I was, the soil was exceedingly rich; the pomkins, aedas, plantains, yams, &c. &c. were in great abund ance, and of incredible size. There were also vast quantities of different gums, though not used for any purpose; and every where a great deal of tobacco. The cotton even grew quite wild; and there was plenty of red-wood. I saw no mechanics whatever in all the way, except such as I have mentioned. The chief employment in all these countries was agriculture, and both the males and females, as with us, were brought up to it, and trained in the arts of war.

The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea, and a slave ship, which was then riding at anchor, and waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror when I was carried on board. I was immediately handled, and tossed up to see if I were sound, by some of the crew; and I was now per suaded that I had gotten into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. Their complexions too differing so much from ours, their long hair, and the language they spoke, (which was very different from any I had ever heard) united to confirm me in this belief. Indeed such were the horrors of my views and fears at the moment, that, if ten thousand world, had been my own, I would have freely parted with them all to have exchanged my condition with that of the meanest slave in my own country. When I looked round the ship too and saw a large furnace or copper boiling, and a mul titude of black people of every descrip tion chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow, I no longer doubted of my fate; and, quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell motionless on the deck and fainted. When I recovered a little I found some black people about me, who I believed were some of those who brought me on board, and had been receiving their pay; they talked to me in order to cheer me, but all in vain. I asked them if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red faces, and long hair. They told me I was not: and one of the crew brought me a small portion of spirituous liquor in a wine glass; but, being afraid of him, I would not take it out of his hand. One of the blacks therefore took it from him and gave it to me, and I took a little down my palate, which, instead of reviving me, as they thought it would, threw me into the greatest consternation at the strange feeling it produced, having never tasted any such liquor before. soon after this the blacks who brought me on board went off, and left me abandoned to despair. I now saw myself deprived of all chance of returning to my native country, or even the least glimpse of hope of gaining the shore, which I now considered as friendly; and I even wished for my former slavery in preference to my present situation, which was filled with horrors of every kind, still heightened by my ignorance of what I was to undergo. I was not long suffered to indulge my grief; I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a salutation in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life: so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste any thing. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely. I had never experienced any thing of this kind before; and although not being used to the water, I naturally feared that element the first time I saw it, yet nevertheless, could I have got over the nettings, I would have jumped over the side, but I could not; and, besides, the crew used to watch us very closely who were not chained down to the decks, lest we should leap into the water: and I have seen some of these poor African prisoners most severely cut for attempting to do so, and hourly whipped for not eating. This indeed was often the case with myself. In a little time after, amongst the poor chained men, I found some of my own nation, which in a small degree gave ease to my mind. I inquired of these what was to be done with us? They gave me to understand we were to be carried to these white people's country to work for them. I then was a little revived, and thought, if it were no worse than working, my situation was not so desperate: but still I feared I should be put to death, the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among any people such instances of brutal cruelty; and this not only shewn towards us blacks, but also to some of the whites themselves. One white man in particular I saw, when we were permitted to be on deck, flogged so unmercifully with a large rope near the foremast, that he died in consequence of it; and they tossed him over the side as they would have done a brute. This made me fear these people the more; and I expected nothing less than to be treated in the same manner. I could not help expressing my fears and apprehensions to some of my countrymen: I asked them if these people had no country, but lived in this hollow place (the ship)? they told me they did not, but came from a distant one. 'Then,' said I, 'how comes it in all our country we never heard of them?' They told me because they lived so very far off. I then asked where were their women? had they any like themselves? I was told they had: 'And why,' said I, 'do we not see them?' they answered, because they were left behind. I asked how the vessel could go? they told me they could not tell; but that there were cloth put upon the masts by the help of the ropes I saw, and then the vessel went on; and the white men had some spell or magic they put in the water when they liked in order to stop the vessel. I was exceedingly amazed at this account, and really thought they were spirits. I therefore wished much to be from amongst them, for I expected they would sacrifice me: but my wishes were vain; for we were so quartered that it was impossible for any of us to make our escape. While we stayed on the coast I was mostly on deck; and one day, to my great astonishment, I saw one of these vessels coming in with the sails up. As soon as the whites saw it, they gave a great shout, at which we were amazed; and the more so as the vessel appeared larger by approaching nearer. At last she came to an anchor in my sight, and when the anchor was let go I and my countrymen who saw it were lost in astonishment to observe the vessel stop; and were now convinced it was done by magic. Soon after this the other ship got her boats out, and they came on board of us, and the people of both ships seemed very glad to see each other. Several of the strangers also shook hands with us black people, and made motions with their hands, signifying I suppose, we were to go to their country; but we did not understand them. At last, when the ship we were in, had got in all her cargo, they made ready with many fearful noises, and we were all put under deck, so that we could not see how they managed the vessel. But this disappointment was the least of my sorrow. The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for any time, and some of us had been permitted to stay on the deck for the fresh air; but now that the whole ship's cargo were confined together, it became absolutely pestilential

Headnote for Olaudah Equiano John O'Brien The National Endowment for the Humanities John O'Brien Tonya Howe Christine Ruotolo 2019-5-26 John O'Brien Headnote for Olaudah Equiano

Please be sure to update the publication date when changes are made here! ADDED: Tonya Howe, John O'Brien, Christine Ruotolo, Winona Salesky, Ally Freeland, Amy Ridderhof, James West, Sabrina Koumoin, Sara Brunstetter Added occupation, affiliation, and notes to contributor details. Added new contributors

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano is the first example in English of the slave narrative, the autobiography written by one of the millions of persons from Africa or of African descent who were enslaved in the Atlantic world between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Equiano’s is an extraordinary memoir, telling the author’s life story from his birth in west Africa, in what was then known as Essaka (in what is now the nation of Nigeria), his kidnapping, the middle passage across the Atlantic ocean in a slave ship, the brutality of the slave system in the American colonies in the Caribbean, the mainland of North America, and at sea. Equiano also tells the story of his life as a free man of color; after he was finally able to purchase his freedom in 1766, he was a merchant, a seaman, a musician, a barber, a civil servant, and, finally, a writer who took to the pages of London newspapers to argue on behalf of his fellow Afro-Britons before publishing this account of his life. Equiano’s book offered the first full description of the middle passage, a description harrowing in its sensory vividness:

The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for any time, and some of us had been permitted to stay on the deck for the fresh air; but now that the whole ship’s cargo were confined together, it became absolutely pestilential. The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died, thus falling victims to the improvident avarice, as I may call it, of their purchasers. This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable. Happily perhaps for myself I was soon reduced so low here that it was thought necessary to keep me almost always on deck; and from my extreme youth I was not put in fetters. In this situation I expected every hour to share the fate of my companions, some of whom were almost daily brought upon deck at the point of death, which I began to hope would soon put an end to my miseries. Often did I think many of the inhabitants of the deep much more happy than myself. I envied them the freedom they enjoyed, and as often wished I could change my condition for theirs. Every circumstance I met with served only to render my state more painful, and heighten my apprehensions, and my opinion of the cruelty of the whites.

Equiano’s book is both a personal story and a powerful piece of testimony about the larger system of slave-trading that supported the economic system through which Britain developed a global empire. Spanning the transatlantic world, Equiano’s story powerfully captures the lived experience of slavery in the eighteenth century through the eyes of an observer with almost unbelievable resourcefulness and resilience. The book is also interesting as a literary document. Equiano is clearly familiar with the genre of the spiritual autobiography, the Puritan form of self-examination and life writing that shaped works such as Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and he also cites English poets such as John Milton and Alexander Pope, demonstrating his mastery of the canon of great English literature. Equiano’s Interesting Narrative is one of the most absorbing, indeed interesting first-person stories of the entire century, a work that both narrates a remarkable set of experiences and shrewdly shapes it through the forms available to its author to make the case for the abolition of the slave trade.

It is important to note, however, that in the last two decades, scholars have raised doubts about the truth of some parts of Equiano’s Interesting Narrative. Vincent Carretta, probably the leading scholar in the United States on Equiano’s work and life, has discovered documents such as Royal Navy muster rolls where Equiano (identified for much of his adult life as “Gustavus Vassa,” the name given to him by Michael Pascal, his first owner) is recorded as having been born in colonial South Carolina. So too does the record of his baptism into Christianity in 1759 at St. Margaret’s Church in London. It is possible, then, that Equiano is misrepresenting his place of birth, perhaps because he believed that his story would be more compelling if he were able to describe himself as a native-born African. Other scholars have suggested that there may be other reasons to account for the discrepancy; Equiano was not responsible for creating these records, and there may be all sorts of reasons why the people who were in charge of these documents, or he, might have decided not to have identified him as having born in Africa, some of which we probably cannot reconstruct from this distance. The question of where Equiano was born will probably remain unresolved until better documentary evidence or new ways of understanding the evidence that we already have become available. What no one has ever questioned is that Equiano’s Interesting Narrative is extremely accurate in its depiction of the way that the eighteenth-century slave system worked, the horrors of the middle passage, and the constant threats to their freedom and well-being experienced by free people of color, particularly in the American colonies.

The publication of the Interesting Narrative was an important event in its own right. First issued in the spring of 1789, the book was timed to coincide with a Parliamentary initiative to end Britain’s participation in the international slave trade. This was the goal of the first abolitionist movement, a movement originating largely with Quakers that was adopted and secularized by a combination of evangelical and more secular writers in the 1780s and that found its institutional centers of gravity in the largely white Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, founded in 1787, and in the Sons of Africa, a society of free persons of African descent in Great Britain in which Equiano had a leadership role. This generation of abolitionists focused on ending the slave trade rather than for the ending of slavery as an institution and the emancipation of all enslaved people in large part because they believed it to be unviable politically. Rather, they focused on ending the slave trade, arguing that if slave owners were unable to purchase new slaves kidnapped and transported from Africa, they would be forced to be more benevolent to their own slaves, and the institution would be forced to reform itself. Equiano was active in these abolitionist circles, and his book in part serves the function of a petition to Parliament to end the slave trade, with the names of the book’s subscribers identifying themselves as allies and co-petitioners in the cause. The first edition begins by including the names of 311 people who subscribed to it and thereby subsidized its printing, and later editions (nine in all in Equiano’s lifetime, a testimony to the great demand for his book) added more, eventually totalling over a thousand, as more people wanted both to own the book and to ally themselves with the abolitionist cause. Subscribers were thus taking an interest in this book in the financial sense, publicly advancing resources to support Equiano and the movement that the book was published to support. The Interesting Narrative was first printed in the United States in New York in 1791 (without Equiano’s permission, as was typical for books reprinted from Britain in the early decades of the new republic), and was widely reprinted throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.

This medallion was designed to be the emblem of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Such medallions were sold to support the Society’s efforts, and the emblem was widely distributed in print as well. It was designed by one of the workers at Josiah Wedgwood’s pottery factory; Wedgwood was active in the abolitionist campaign and was one of the first subscribers to Equiano’s book. (Wikimedia Commons).

Equiano toured throughout the British Isles in the early 1790s, making speaking engagements to promote the abolitionist cause, and also to support sales of his book, for which he had retained copyright. This turned out to be a smart business decision; he made a fair amount of money from sales of the Interesting Narrative. Equiano married a woman named Susannah Cullen in 1792; they had two daughters, only one of whom survived to adulthood. But neither Olaudah or Susannah was able to enjoy their married life for very long. Susanna died in 1796 and Olaudah died in 1797. The abolitionist cause to which the Interesting Narrative was a major contributor succeeded only after his death, as Britain ended its participation in the slave trade in 1807, and finally abolished slavery in its colonial holdings in 1833. Slavery in the United States continued until the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Selected Text from Evelina; or, A Young Lady's Entrance into the World
LETTER XI. Evelina in continuation. Queen-Anne-Street, April 5, Tuesday morning.

I HAVE a vast deal to say, and shall give all this morning to my pen. As to my plan of writ ing every evening the adventures of the day, I find it impracticable; for the diversions here are so very late, that if I begin my letters after them, I could not go to bed at all.

We past a most extraordinary evening. A pri vate ball this was called, so I expected to have seen about four or five couple; but, Lord, my dear Sir, I believe I saw half the world! Two very large rooms were full of company; in one, were cards for the elderly ladies, and in the other, were the dancers. My mamma Mirvan, for she always calls me her child, said she would sit with Ma ria and me till we were provided with partners, and then join the card players.

The gentlemen, as they passed and repassed, looked as if they thought we were quite at their disposal, and only waiting for the honour of their commands; and they sauntered about in a careless indolent manner, as if with a view to keep us in suspense. I don't speak of this in regard to Miss Mirvan and myself only, but to the ladies in ge neral; and I thought it so provoking, that I de termined, in my own mind, that, far from humour ing such airs, I would rather not dance at all, than with any one who should seem to think me ready to accept the first partner who would con descend to take me.

Not long after, a young man, who had for some time looked at us with a kind of negligent imper tinence, advanced, on tiptoe, towards me; he had a set smile on his face, and his dress was so fop pish, that I really believe he even wished to be stared at; and yet he was very ugly.

Bowing almost to the ground, with a sort of swing, and waving his hand with the greatest con ceit, after a short and silly pause, he said, "Ma dam—may I presume?"— and stopt, offering to take my hand, I drew it back, but could scarce forbear laughing. "Allow me, Madam," (con tinued he, affectedly breaking off every half mo ment) "the honour and happiness—if I am not so unhappy as to address you too late—to have the happiness and honour—"

Again he would have taken my hand, but, bow ing my head, I begged to be excused, and turned to Miss Mirvan to conceal my laughter. He then desired to know if I had already engaged myself to some more fortunate man? I said No, and that I believed I should not dance at all. He would keep himself, he told me, disengaged, in hopes I should relent; and then, uttering some ridiculous speeches of sorrow and disappointment, though his face still wore the same invariable smile, he re treated.

It so happened, as we have since recollected, that during this little dialogue, Mrs. Mirvan was con versing with the lady of the house. And very soon after another gentleman, who seemed about six and-twenty years old, gayly, but not soppishly, dressed, and indeed extremely handsome, with an air of mixed politeness and gallantry, desired to know if I was engaged, or would honour him with my hand. So he was pleased to say, though I am sure I know not what honour he could re ceive from me; but these sort of expressions, I find, are used as words of course, without any dis tinction of persons, or study of propriety.

Well, I bowed, and I am sure I coloured; for indeed I was frightened at the thoughts of dancing before so many people, all strangers, and, which was worse, with a stranger; however, that was unavoidable, for though I looked round the room several times, I could not see one person that I knew. And so, he took my hand, and led me to join in the dance.

The minuets were over before we arrived, for we were kept late by the milliner's making us wait for our things.

He seemed very desirous of entering into con versation with me; but I was seized with such a panic, that I could hardly speak a word, and no thing but the shame of so soon changing my mind, prevented my returning to my seat, and declining to dance at all.

He appeared to be surprised at my terror, which I believe was but too apparent: however, he asked no questions, though I fear he must think it very odd; for I did not choose to tell him it was owing to my never before dancing but with a school girl.

His conversation was sensible and spirited; his air and address were open and noble; his manners gentle, attentive, and infinitely engaging; his per son is all elegance, and his countenance the most animated and expressive I have ever seen.

In a short time we were joined by Miss Mirvan, who stood next couple to us. But how was I startled, when she whispered me that my partner was a nobleman! This gave me a new alarm; how will he be provoked, thought I, when he finds what a simple rustic he has honoured with his choice! one whose ignorance of the world makes her perpetually fear doing something wrong!

That he should be so much my superior every way, quite disconcerted me; and you will suppose my spirits were not much raised, when I heard a lady in passing us, say, "This is the most difficult dance I ever saw."

"O dear, then," cried Maria to her partner, "with your leave, I'll sit down till the next."

"So will I too, then," cried I, "for I am sure I can hardly stand."

"But you must speak to your partner first," answered she; for he had turned aside to talk with some gentlemen. However, I had not sufficient courage to address him, and so away we all three tript, and seated ourselves at another end of the room.

But, unfortunately for me, Miss Mirvan soon after suffered herself to be prevailed upon to at tempt the dance; and just as she rose to go, she cried, "My dear, yonder is your partner, Lord Orville, walking about the room in search of you."

"Don't leave me, then, dear girl!" cried I; but she was obliged to go. And then I was more uneasy than ever; I would have given the world to have seen Mrs. Mirvan, and begged of her to make my apologies; for what, thought I, can I possibly say for myself in excuse for running away? he must either conclude me a fool, or half mad, for any one brought up in the great world, and accustomed to its ways, can have no idea of such sort of fears as mine.

I was in the utmost confusion, when I observed that he was every where seeking me, with apparent perplexity and surprise; but when, at last, I saw him move towards the place where I sat, I was ready to sink with shame and distress. I found it absolutely impossible to keep my seat, because I could not think of a word to say for myself, and so I rose, and walked hastily towards the card-room, resolving to stay with Mrs. Mirvan the rest of the evening, and not to dance at all. But before I could find her, Lord Orville saw and approached me.

He begged to know if I was not well? You may easily imagine how much I was confused. I made no answer, but hung my head, like a fool, and looked on my fan.

He then, with an air the most respectfully se rious, asked if he had been so unhappy as to of fend me?

"No, indeed!" cried I: and then, in hopes of changing the discourse, and preventing his further inquiries, I desired to know if he had seen the young lady who had been conversing with me?

No;—but would I honour him with my com mands to see for her?

"O by no means!"

Was there any other person with whom I wished to speak?

I said no, before I knew I had answered at all.

Should he have the pleasure of bringing me any refreshment?

I bowed, almost involuntarily. And away he flew.

I was quite ashamed at being so troublesome, and so much above myself as these seeming airs made me appear; but indeed I was too much confused to think or act with any consistency.

If he had not been swift as lightning, I don't know whether I should not have stolen away again; but he returned in a moment. When I had drank a glass of lemonade, he hoped, he said, that I would again honour him with my hand, as a new dance was just begun. I had not the presence of mind to say a single word, and so I let him once more lead me to the place I had left.

Shocked to find how silly, how childish a part I had acted, my former fears of dancing before such a company, and with such a partner, returned more forcibly than ever. I suppose he perceived my uneasiness, for he intreated me to sit down again, if dancing was disagreeable to me. But I was quite satisfied with the folly I had already shewn, and therefore declined his offer, though I was really scarce able to stand.

Under such conscious disadvantages, you may easily imagine, my dear Sir, how ill I acquitted myself. But, though I both expected and de served to find him very much mortified and dis pleased at his ill fortune in the choice he had made, yet, to my very great relief, he appeared to be even contented, and very much assisted and en couraged me. These people in high life have too much presence of mind, I believe, to seem discon certed, or out of humour, however they may feel; for had I been the person of the most consequence in the room, I could not have met with more at tention and respect.

When the dance was over, seeing me still very much slurried, he led me to a seat, saying that he would not suffer me to fatigue myself from po liteness.

And then, if my capacity, or even if my spirits had been better, in how animated a conver sation might I have been engaged! It was then that I saw the rank of Lord Orville was his least recommendation, his understanding and his man ners being far more distinguished. His remarks upon the company in general were so apt, so just, so lively, I am almost surprised myself that they did not re-animate me; but indeed I was too well convinced of the ridiculous part I had myself played before so nice an observer, to be able to enjoy his pleasantry: so self-compassion gave me feeling for others. Yet I had not the courage to attempt either to defend them, or to rally in my turn, but listened to him in silent embarrass ment.

When he found this, he changed the subject, and talked of public places, and public performers; but he soon discovered that I was totally igno rant of them.

He then, very ingeniously, turned the dis course to the amusements and occupations of the country.

It now struck me, that he was resolved to try whether or not I was capable of talking upon any subject. This put so great a constraint upon my thoughts, that I was unable to go further than a monosyllable, and not even so far, when I could possibly avoid it.

We were sitting in this manner, he conversing with all gaiety, I looking down with all foolish ness, when that fop who had first asked me to dance, with a most ridiculous solemnity, approach ed, and after a profound bow or two, said, "I humbly beg pardon, Madam,—and of you too, my Lord,—for breaking in upon such agreeable conversation—which must, doubtless, be much more delectable—than what I have the honour to offer—but—"

I interrupted him—I blush for my folly,—with laughing; yet I could not help it, for, added to the man's stately foppishness, (and he actually took snuff between every three words) when I looked round at Lord Orville, I saw such ex treme surprise in his face,—the cause of which appeared so absurd, that I could not for my life preserve my gravity.

I had not laughed before from the time I had left Miss Mirvan, and I had much better have cried then; Lord Orville actually stared at me; the beau, I know not his name, looked quite enraged. "Refrain—Madam," (said he, with an important air,) "a few moments refrain!—I have but a sentence to trouble you with.—May I know to what accident I must attribute not having the honour of your hand?"

"Accident, Sir!" repeated I, much asto nished.

"Yes, accident, Madam—for surely,—I must take the liberty to observe—pardon me, Madam, it ought to be no common one—that should tempt a lady—so young a one too,—to be guilty of ill manners."

A confused idea now for the first time entered my head, something I had heard of the rules of assemblies; but I was never at one before,—I have only danced at school,—and so giddy and heedless I was, that I had not once considered the impropriety of refusing one partner, and after wards accepting another. I was thunderstruck at the recollection: but, while these thoughts were rushing into my head, Lord Orville, with some warmth, said, "This lady, Sir, is incapable of meriting such an accusation!"

The creature—for I am very angry with him,—made a low bow, and with a grin the most malicious I ever saw, "My Lord, said he, far be it from me to accuse the lady, for having the discernment to distinguish and prefer—the superior attractions of your Lordship."

Again he bowed, and walked off.

Was ever any thing so provoking? I was ready to die with shame. "What a coxcomb!" ex claimed Lord Orville; while I, without know ing what I did, rose hastily, and moving off, "I can't imagine, cried I, where Mrs. Mirvan has hid herself!"

"Give me leave to see," answered he. I bowed and sat down again, not daring to meet his eyes; for what must he think of me, between my blunder and the supposed preference?

He returned in a moment, and told me that Mrs. Mirvan was at cards, but would be glad to see me; and I went immediately. There was but one chair vacant, so, to my great relief, Lord Orville presently left us. I then told Mrs. Mirvan my disasters, and she good-naturedly blamed her self for not having better instructed me, but said she had taken it for granted that I must know such common customs. However, the man may, I think, be satisfied with his pretty speech, and carry his resentment no farther.

In a short time, Lord Orville returned. I con sented, with the best grace I could, to go down another dance, for I had had time to recollect myself, and therefore resolved to use some exer tion, and, if possible, appear less a fool than I hitherto had: for it occurred to me that, insigni ficant as I was, compared to a man of his rank and figure, yet, since he had been so unfortunate as to make choice of me for a partner, why I should endeavour to make the best of it.

The dance, however, was short, and he spoke very little; so I had no opportunity of putting my re solution in practice. He was satisfied, I suppose, with his former successless efforts to draw me out: or, rather, I fancied, he has been inquiring who I was. This again disconcerted me, and the spi rits I had determined to exert, again failed me. Tired, ashamed, and mortified, I begged to sit down till we returned home, which we did soon after. Lord Orville did me the honour to hand me to the coach, talking all the way of the honour I had done him! O these fashionable people!

Well, my dear Sir, was it not a strange even ing? I could not help being thus particular, be cause, to me, every thing is so new. But it is now time to conclude. I am, with all love and duty,

Your EVELINA.
LETTER XII. Evelina in continuation.
Tuesday, April 5.

THERE is to be no end to the troubles of last night. I have, this moment, between persuasion and laughter, gathered from Maria the most curi ous dialogue that ever I heard. You will, at first, be startled at my vanity; but, my dear Sir, have patience!

It must have passed while I was sitting with Mrs. Mirvan in the card-room. Maria was taking some refreshment, and saw Lord Orville advanc ing for the same purpose himself; but he did not know her, though she immediately recollected him. Presently after, a very gay-looking man, stepping hastily up to him, cried, "Why, my Lord, what have you done with your lovely partner!"

" Nothing! " answered Lord Orville, with a smile and a shrug.

"By Jove, cried the man, she is the most beau tiful creature I ever saw in my life!"

Lord Orville, as he well might, laughed, but answered, "Yes, a pretty modest-looking girl."

"O my Lord!" cried the madman, "she is an angel!"

"A silent one," returned he.

"Why ay, my Lord, how stands she as to that? She looks all intelligence and expression."

"A poor weak girl!" answered Lord Orville, shaking his head.

"By Jove," cried the other, "I am glad to hear it!"

At that moment, the same odious creature who had been my former torment, joined them. Ad dressing Lord Orville with great respect, he said, "I beg pardon, my Lord,—if I was—as I fear might be the case—rather too severe in my cen sure of the lady who is honoured with your pro tection—but, my Lord, ill breeding is apt to pro voke a man."

"Ill-breeding!" cried my unknown champion, "impossible! that elegant face can never be so vile a mask!"

"O Sir, as to that," answered he, "you must allow me to judge; for though I pay all deference to your opinion—in other things,—yet I hope you will grant—and I appeal to your Lordship also—that I am not totally despicable as a judge of good or ill manners."

"I was so wholly ignorant," said Lord Orville gravely, "of the provocation you might have had, that I could not but be surprised at your singular resentment."

"It was far from my intention, answered he, to offend your Lordship; but really, for a per son who is nobody, to give herself such airs,—I own I could not command my passions. For, my Lord, though I have made diligent enquiry—I cannot learn who she is."

"By what I can make out," cried my defender, "she must be a country parson's daughter."

"He! he! he! very good, 'pon honour!" cried the fop,— "well, so I could have sworn by her manners."

And then, delighted at his own wit, he laughed, and went away, as I suppose, to repeat it.

"But what the deuce is all this? demanded the other.

"Why a very foolish affair," answered Lord Orville; "your Helen first refused this coxcomb, and then—danced with me. This is all I can ga ther of it."

"O Orville," returned he, "you are a happy man!—But, ill-bred? —I can never believe it? And she looks too sensible to be ignorant. "

"Whether ignorant or mischievous, I will not pretend to determine, but certain it is, she attended to all I could say to her, though I have really fatigued myself with fruitless endeavours to enter tain her, with the most immoveable gravity; but no sooner did Lovel begin his complaint, than she was seized with a fit of Laughing, first af fronting the poor beau, and then enjoying his mor tification."

"Ha! ha! ha! why there's some genius in that, my Lord, though perhaps rather rustick. "

Here Maria was called to dance, and so heard no more.

Now tell me, my dear Sir, did you ever know any thing more provoking? " A poor weak girl! " " ignorant or mischievous! " What mortifying words! I'm resolved, however, that I will never again be tempted to go to an assembly. I wish I had been in Dorsetshire.

Well, after this, you will not be surprised that Lord Orville contented himself with an enquiry after our healths this morning, by his servant, without troubling himself to call; as Miss Mirvan had told me he would: but perhaps it may be only a country custom.

I would not live here for the world. I don't care how soon we leave town. London soon grows tiresome. I wish the Captain would come Mrs. Mirvan talks of the opera for this evening; however, I am very indifferent about it.

Wednesday morning.

Well, my dear Sir, I have been pleased, against my will, I could almost say, for I must own I went out in very ill-humour, which I think you can't wonder at: but the music and the singing were charming; they soothed me into a pleasure the most grateful, the best suited to my present disposition in the world. I hope to persuade Mrs. Mirvan to go again on Saturday. I wish the opera was every night. It is, of all entertain ments, the sweetest and most delightful. Some of the songs seemed to melt my very soul. It was what they call a serious opera, as the comic first singer was ill.

To-night we go to Ranelagh. If any of those three gentlemen who conversed so freely about me should be there—but I won't think of it.

Thursday morning.

Well, my dear Sir, we went to Ranelagh. It is a charming place, and the brilliancy of the lights, on my first entrance, made me almost think I was in some inchanted castle, or fairy palace, for all looked like magic to me.

The very first person I saw was Lord Orville. I felt so confused!—but he did not see me. After tea, Mrs. Mirvan being tired, Maria and I walked round the room alone. Then again we saw him, standing by the orchestra. We, too, stopt to hear a singer. He bowed to me; I courtsied, and I am sure I coloured. We soon walked on, not liking our situation; however, he did not follow us, and when we past by the orchestra again, he was gone. Afterwards, in the course of the evening, we met him several times, but he was always with some party, and never spoke to us, tho' whenever he chanced to meet my eyes, he condescended to bow.

I cannot but be hurt at the opinion he enter tains of me. It is true, my own behaviour in curred it—yet is himself the most agreeable, and, seemingly, the most amiable man in the world, and therefore it is, that I am grieved to be thought ill of by him: for of whose esteem ought we to be ambitious, if not of those who most merit our own?—But it is too late to reflect upon this now. Well, I can't help it;—How ever, I think I have done with assemblies!

This morning was destined for seeing sights, auc tions, curious shops, and so forth; but my head ached, and I was not in a humour to be amused, and so I made them go without me, though very unwillingly. They are all kindness.

And now I am sorry I did not accompany them, for I know not what to do with myself. I had re solved not to go to the play to-night; but I believe I shall. In short, I hardly care whether I do or not.

I thought I had done wrong! Mrs. Mirvan and Maria have been half the town over, and so en tertained!—while I, like a fool, stayed at home to do nothing. And, at an auction in Pall-Mall, who should they meet but Lord Orville! He sat next to Mrs Mirvan, and they talked a great deal together: but she gave me no account of the con versation.

I may never have such another opportunity of seeing London; I am quite sorry that I was not of the party; but I deserve this mortification, for having indulged my ill-humour.

Thursday night.

We are just returned from the play, which was King Lear, and has made me very sad. We did not see any body we knew.

Well, adieu, it is too late to write more.

Friday.

Captain Mirvan is arrived. I have not spirits to give an account of his introduction, for he has really shocked me. I do not like him. He seems to be surly, vulgar, and disagreeable.

Almost the same moment that Maria was pre sented to him, he began some rude jests upon the bad shape of her nose, and called her a tall, ill formed thing. She bore it with the utmost good humour; but that kind and sweet-tempered wo man, Mrs. Mirvan, deserved a better lot. I am amazed she would marry him.

For my own part, I have been so shy, that I have hardly spoken to him, or he to me. I can not imagine why the family was so rejoiced at his return. If he had spent his whole life abroad, I should have supposed they might rather have been thankful than sorrowful. However, I hope they do not think so ill of him as I do. At least, I am sure they have too much prudence to make it known.

Saturday night.

We have been to the opera, and I am still more pleased than I was on Tuesday. I could have thought myself in paradise, but for the continual talking of the company around me. We sat in the pit, where every body was dressed in so high a style, that, if I had been less delighted with the performance, my eyes would have found me suffi cient entertainment from looking at the ladies.

I was very glad I did not sit next the Captain, for he could not bear the music, or singers, and was extremely gross in his observations on both. When the opera was over, we went into a place called the coffee-room, where ladies as well as gentlemen assemble. There are all sorts of re freshments, and the company walk about, and chat, with the same ease and freedom as in a pri vate room.

On Monday we go to a ridotto, and on Wed nesday we return to Howard Grove. The Captain says he won't stay here to be smoked with filth any longer; but, having been seven years smoked with a burning sun, he will retire to the country, and sink into a fair-weather chap.