Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

been working from hand to mouth, now scrambling to get out of debt, and then falling back into poverty—what it is to be at once, as I may fay, set above the world I

The eyes of Emma glistened with delight, and the sweet tint os the opening rose-bud again mantled over her lovely cheek.—The peasant continued— - "Well, Sir, we were scarcely come to our senses, as I may fay, when Farmer' Stubble's cart came to the door, with old Martha Grub, who kept the penny-school on the Green Common, and who broke her leg last year on going up to the henroost. We had every one of us forgotten old Martha, but were all willing to club her share. ' No, no,' said the 'Squire-;' you must all keep what you have got, it was my fault, for not being better informed; but Martha shall be no loser, said he; I will give her five guineas out of my own pocket!'—Who would have thought he would have behaved in such a manner?" - " It was indeed acting very handsomely," said Mr. Denbeigh.

"Noble, generous Darnley!" said Emma. " It is just what I would have expected from him;"i

The old-iman took his leave.—" And pray," fays my friend, asibon as he was gone, " who is Mr. Darnley? Is it he whom I well remember breaking dowa your fences, in following his fox hounds r" "No, no," returned Mr. Denbeigh, " that was the elder brother of this Darnley, who was then, in obedience to the will of his father preparing for the Bar. He was, as you have just heard, too fond of Jut tice, to be very partial to the practice of the Law; and on the death of that elder brother, who broke his neck one morning in hunting, he came down to DarnleyLodge, where he has ever since resided.

"He was soon discovered to be a very strange, whimsical fort of a creature, by the neighbouring 'Squires.—The sufferings of a poor timorous animal, harraffed by fatigue, and tortured by the agonizing sensations of excessive fear, were not necessary for his amusement. He could enjoy much pleasure in walking over a fine country, without being the butcher of either hare or partridge: and take delight in rambling by the side of our river, though his heart never felt the triumph of beholding the dying struggles of a poor trout, or exulted in its writhing agony while tearing the barbed dart from its lacerated entrails. His mind sought for other objects of gratification. The study of Minaralogy and Botany, an exquisite relish for the beau

ties of Nature, refined by an acquaintance with the sister arts of Poetry and Painting, gave sufficient interest to the rural scenery, without any aid from the misery of inoffensive animals. To the amusements of elegant Literature, he has added those of Agricultural improvement. Becomes here to take my advice about the latter; and on the former, I believe, he comes to consult Emma, who will give you the best account of his taste."

Emma at that moment very suddenly recollected something she had lest in her own room, for which she went in great haste, and the old Gentleman proceeded. "At the time that our acquaintance with Mr. Darnley commenced, Emma was in her seventeenth year. He found her mind more Cultivated than is common with girls of that age, and took delight in improving her already formed taste. His conversation was far superior, in point of elegance and information, to that of any person she bad ever met with: besides, it must be confessed, that there is a charm in the manners of a man who has seen something of the world, and been accustomed to move in the upper circles of life, which is very captivating to a delicate mind. I saw the impression that was made upon my poor Emma's, and trembled for the peace of my sweet child.

I feared, that by acquiring a taste for that sort of refinement of sentiment and manners, which is so rarely to be met with in the country, she might injure her future happiness. I know not if Darnley perceived my uneasiness, but he soon took an opportunity of speaking to me on the subject. He told me, that his affection for my daughter should long ago have led him to make proposals to me on her account, but that the disparity of their ages had rendered him anxious to make such an interest in her esteem, as might supply the place of that romantic passion, which, during the reign of fancy, is deemed essential to nuptial happiness. I approved of his conduct, and told him, that in regard to my daughters, I had laid down a rule to which I had invariably adhered, and that was, never to give my consent to their entering into any engagement, before they had entered their twentieth year."

-" Then you did not intend they should marry Nabobs," said my friend. "Why, we Indians, never think of any thing beyond sixteen."

"Then you did not think of the blessing of mutual happiness," said his father. "Why not ?" returned my friend. "We think of happiness in the posseflion of youth and beauty; and our young wives think of it in the enjoyment of our fortunes.—Is not this being mutually happy?" "Short-lived happiness !" rejoined his father, "which 'is certainly extinguished by satiety,, and probably succeeded by disgust.—The first fight sympathy of souls," continued Mr. Denbeigh, " is laughed at by any well educated girl; but such an union of minds asituiudes a similarity oi taste and sentiment;—such a degree of esteem as is essential to mutual confidence, is, in my opiuion, absolutely necessary between two people, who are to be bound in partnership for life. And is a girl of sixteen a proper judge of the qualities necessary for such an union ?"—" But, if I mistake not,"—returned my friend " the age of Mr. Darnley very nearly doubles that of my sister." i' True," replied the old Gentleman; " but Mr. Darnley does not marry Emma merely on account of her pretty face. Neither does she bestow her affections on his fortune. The tender friendship that already subsists between them, is cemented by esteem for real virtues.—If it had been otherwise, it is not Mr. Darnley's fortune (though far beyond what a child of mine is by any means entitled to) that should have tempted me to witness the sacrifice of her future peace."

« EdellinenJatka »