« FöregåendeFortsätt »
MANCHESTER: JOHN HEYWOOD, 143, DEANSGATE. LIVERPOOL: WILLIAM GILLING, 36, NORTH JOHN ST.
GLASGOW: H. MARGEY, GT. CLYDE ST.
** The Right of Translation is reserved.
ROPE-WALKERS, ACROBATS, AND JUGGLERS 26
THE MYSTERIOUS WOOER
HOW IT CAME ABOUT .
TRIALS OF THE HEART,
BY WILLIAM CARLETON.
THE DOCTOR A GO-BETWEEN--A LOVE SCENE, ANYTHING BUT
AGREEABLE TO ONE OF THE PARTIES_A DOUBTFUL PROJECT, IN WHICH THE DOCTOR ENGAGES-OLD SAM WALLACE AGAIN AT WORK,
The historian on his way home felt himself sadly puzzled. The good old man was very sensible in many things, yet exceedingly simple in others. In his interview with Clinton, he had taken å rather unusual and elevated view in speculating on Maria's conduct in the affair, but it was rather what he conceived a mere argumentative paradox, resorted to for the purpose of bringing his opponent to reason, than from any belief he entertained that an humble girl like her should possess either the virtue or the high sense of independence to act with a dignity that he knew would have done honour to Greece or Rome. Now, however, when he had seen and marked the artful distinction which she drew when the subject of his love became the topic of conversation, he bitterly regretted that he had entered into the matter at all.
“She said,” he proceeded to himself, “ that if she thought his proposals were not sincere, she would refuse to see him ; but that if she thought they were honourable, she would. This places me in a bad position, especially if they should get married, but in a worse one still, if they should elope. The world will call me nothing more nor less than a villanous old go-between, and the consequence will be that more scandal will fall upon my head than upon theirs. As it is, I will make her a present of my celebrated history of A -h, which may in some degree withdraw her mind from love affairs. I will call this evening and leave it with her, and if the perusal of it succeeds in extinguishing this flame, or preventing such an unsuitable match, I shall certainly rejoice, and it may save us all from much scandal.”
This, for the present, was his only consolation, and with respect to Maria, he certainly kept his word. On that evening he called to the house, and having placed his celebrated history in the hands of Miss Travers, he earnestly requested that she would give it to Maria, with his best wishes for her welfare, and a sincere hope that she would read and study it with attention. On the
“DraR SIR,—I fear I cut anything but a creditable figure as an agent in the management of your love difficulties. Heaven knows, it ill becomes a man of my years and calling to catch himself so actively employed in such a questionable task. How can I tell what may happen, and I will engage if anything wrong does happen, that both you and she, in order to exculpate yourselves, will not scruple to lay the blame of it upon my shoulders, and the world, of course, will follow yonr example, and say that nothing improper would have occurred had I not brought you together. God knows I did it with the best intention; but don't misunderstand me, for by this I mean that my object was to put an end to your foolish passion if I could, by bringing about an interview, in order that you might finally learn the hopelessness of your fate from her own lips, and I beg that you will not misunderstand me here again,-by her own lips I mean her own ultimate and unalterable determination to decline your addresses. Unfortunately I have my doubts of this now, and I think better to inform you of the fact, that you may reflect upon your folly in time, and at all events exhibit such a generous forbearance in your interview with her on the point of consent, as will redound to your own credit. I had myself an interview with her after I left you the day before yesterday. Miss Travers sent for her, and in a few minutes she entered the room. From the manner in which that respectable person opened the conversation, the beautiful creature was led at first to suppose that I was about to make a matrimonial proposal to her myself, and the poor thing looked very much pleased. I hastened, however, to undeceive her, lest the blundering old maid might lead her into a fool's paradise, by the notion of such a thing. I studied her very closely after she had entered the room, which she did with a good deal of confusion, poor child, for I believe she had been told that I was expecting her. After she spoke she blushed, and I could not help thinking of the celebrated lines in Virgil ;
'Dixit ; et avertens rosea cervier refulsit,
Et vera incessu patuit dea.' “ After some brief conversation, she told me that if she thougbt your proposals were not honourable, she would at once decline receiving you; but that if she believed they were, she would consent to an interview-a
tory of A
distinction which I don't admire, and which leads me to apprehend that she is a mere syren, and wishes to lure you into her meshes. I give you this information beforehand, in order that you may be on your guard. I have taken pains, however, to check the ardour of her affection for you, that is, provided always that she entertains any, by bringing to her my own celebrated his
-h. It is one thing, observe, for an humble girl to marry a man of rank and wealth, and another thing to love him. I have now prepared you for this interview, or rather guarded you against its consequences. If you would read history more, you would feel this foolish passion less, as the one would cool down and sober the other, which must produce an admirable effect upon you both. In the mean time, God prosper you, "My poor unhappy young man, and believe me to be, your sincere friend,
“GEORGE SPILLAR, D.D. “P.8.- Pray let me know the result of the interview.
“P.P.S.-It was about dusk when I brought her my History,' and on my way home, two young fellows, in the garb, certainly, of gentlemen, came close to me, and said in a low voice,
« «So, doctor, you too were striving to get a peep at the celebrated beauty ; well done, my old historian!”
Clinton, who knew a good deal of the worthy man's character, was not only amused but delighted with this epistle. One great object was gained-her consent to see him. He consequently sent a note to Miss Travers, asking to know when he might present himself, and stating that he was deeply indebted, and would feel for ever grateful to Miss Brindsley for her goodness and condescension in vouchsafing to see him. He would not, he assured them both, abuse the privilege nor encroach tipon Miss Brindsley's time, but would submit himself in all things to her wishes. As Maria felt anxious that the interview should be over as soon as possible, she appointed the next day for their meeting, and having done Bo, he experienced a combined feeling of depression and relief, and that from reasons which will almost immediately appear. Strange indeed was the fate of these two young lovers; but be that fate what it may, we cannot now, without anticipating its events, advance in our narrative except by those gradual steps which led them both onwards to their ultimate destiny.
At length the eventful day arrived, and Clinton, with a beating heart, found himself in the now well-known parlour of Miss Travers.
When Maria heard that he awaited her below, a sickness almost like that of death came over her; she felt that this was indeed the melancholy crisis of her destiny, and that she herself, for the sake of her generous lover, was about to determine it for ever at the terrible cost of her own happiness. The sacrifice, however, was to be made, and she resolved to make it. At this moment the recollection of the sealed prophecy recurred to her, and as she had it at that very time in her own possession, she was strongly tempted to open it, and, if possible, be
guided by its purport. But again, the awful admonition and countermand fell deeply and with something like terror on her heart; she summoned her courage and selfdenial, and with a firm resolution to await the event which might justify her in opening it—if ever that event should arrive-she rallied a little ; and having composed herself as well as she could, she descended, with fear and trembling, to the parlour.
Clinton, to whom she taught a lesson of forbearance and moderation in his conduct and sentiments, received her with peculiar deference and respect. This, however, was the natural temper of his mind and character, for Clinton, as the reader knows, was a gentleman and a man of feeling. She was now entitled to his respect. All his supicions of her had been removedfung to the winds, and she had been proved to be not only what he had originally thought her, but something still purer and more exalted. Their relative position with respect to each other was now very different from what it had been on that night of violence, when he looked upon her with such doubt and suspicion as almost-he thought-amounted to the most excruciating certainty. On her entering the room, he at once arose and handed her a chair ; he looked at her closely too, and at once saw that the state of trepidation in which she appeared before him, entitled her to every courtesy and kindness of manner which he could assume ; but, indeed, on this occasion they were only the spontaneous effusion of his heart.
“ Miss Brindsley,” said he, “ you know not the obilgations under which you place me by at last consenting to afford me an interview, because you know not what I have suffered from the despair of obtaining it."
“But I thought sir," she replied, “that from the sentiments I expressed to you upon that night, that you would not feel justified in seeking another interview; I think I expressed myself very plainly."
“Yes,” he replied; “but the circumstances between us are changed. They are not now what I believed, or åt least suspected them to be on that night."
“ So far as I am concerned, Mr. Clinton, they are not changed. I am the same girl now that I was a that night, and hold to the same resolution now whick I expressed then."
“ But you must understand that I am changed, and that I come before you on different principles and with different claims. You know how your conduct in my opinion was then involved in doubt and mysterydoubts and mysteries which almost drove me mad. But now those doubts and mysteries through which, even then, my love for you bubbled up with fervour and vehemence from my heart, are all removed for ever, and you appear before me the pure and uncontaminated creature which I first thought you, or rather knew you, to be.”
“I am certainly glad, sir," she replied, “ that my character and conduct have been set right in your opinion ; for since you happen to feel an interest in me, it would have been painful to me-very painful indeedto have lain under your suspicions. I say I feel glad,