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good man, and heartily zealous for the established faith, though more from habit and prejudice than reason, my errors gave him great ami&tion : I perceived it with the utmost concern ; I perceived too, that he looked upon me with a degree of abhorrence mixed with pity, and that I was wholly indebted to his good-nature for that protection which I had flattered myself I should owe to his love. I comforted myself, however, with my own integrity, and even felt a conscious pride in fuffering this persecution from ignorance and folly, only because I was superior to vulgar errors and popular superstition; and that Christianity deserved these appellations, I was not more convinced by my father's

arguments than my uncle's conduct, who, as his zeal was not according to knowledge, was by no means qualified to adorn the “ doctrine which he professed to believe."

I had lived a few months under the painful sensibi. lity of receiving continual benefits from a person whose esteem and affection I had lost, when


uncle one day came into my chamber, and after preparing me for some unexpected good fortune, told me, he had juft a proposal of marriage for me from a man to whom I could not possibly have any objection. He then named a merchant, with whom I had often been in company at his table. As the man was neither old nor ugly, had a large fortune and a fair character, my uncle thought himself fufficiently authorised to pronouce as he did, that I could not poflibly have any objection to him. An objection, however, I had, which I told my uncle was to me insuperable ; it was, that the person whom he proposed to me as the companion, the guide, and director of my whole life, to whom I was to vow not only obedia ence but love, had nothing in kim that could ever en


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gage my affection: his understanding was low, his sen. timents mean and indelicate, and his manner unpolite and unpleasing-“What stuff is all this," interrupted my uncle,“ sentiments indelicate ! unpolite ! his " understanding, forsooth, not equal to your own ! A * child, if you had less romance, eonceit and arrogance, " and more true discretion and prudence, it would do you more good than all the fine books

you “ founded your poor head with, and what is worse, per

haps ruined your poor soul. I own; it went a little

against my conscience to accept my honest friend's " kind offer, and give him such a pagan for his wife. “ But how know I whether the believing husband may not convert the unbelieving wife?

-As to your flighty objections, they are fuch nonsense, that I “ wonder you can suppose me fool enough to be de

ceived by them. No, child ; wise as you are, you cannot impose upon a man who has lived as many years in the world as I have. I see your motive;

you have some infidel libertine rake in your eye, with " whom you would go headlong to perdition. But I “ shall take care not to have your soul to answer for as " well as your person. Either I shall dispose of you

to an honest man that may convert you, or you shall “ dispose of yourself how you please for me ; for I dif66 claim all farther care or trouble about you; fo I " leave you to consider, whether or no the kindness I " have shewn you, entitles me tò fome little influence

over you, and whether you choose to feek protection 66 where you can find it, or äccept of thë happy lot 56 providence has cut out for you."

He left me at the close of this fine harangue, and I seriously set myself to consider as he bade me, which of



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the two states he had set before me I ought to choose; ) to submit to a legal fort of prostitution, with additional weight of perjury on my conscience, or to expose myself to all the distresses of friendless poverty, and unprotected youth. After some hours of deliberation, I

1 determined on the latter, and that more from principle than inclination ; for though my delicacy would have suffered extremely in accepting a husband, at least indifferent to me; yet as my heart was perfectly disengaged, and my temper naturally easy, I thought I could have been less unhappy in following my uncle's advice, than I might probably be by rejecting it: but then I must have submitted to an action I could not think jultifiable, in order to avoid mere external diftreffes. This would have been philofophical. I had always been taught, that virtue was of itself sufficient to happi. ness; and that those things which are generally efteem. ed evils, could have no power to disturb the felicity of a mind governed by the eternal rule of right, and truly enamoured of the charms of moral beauty. I refolved, therefore, to run all risks, rather than depart from this glorious principle; I felt myself raised by the trial, and exulted in the opportunity of thewing my contempt of the smiles or frowns of fortune, and of proving the power of virtue to sustain the soul under all the acci. dental circumstances of distress.

I communicated my resolution to my uncle, assuring him at the fame time of my everlasting gratitude and respect, and that nothing should have induced me to offend or disobey him, but his requiring me to do what my reason and conscience disapproved; that suppofing the advantages of riches to be really as great as he believed, yet still those of virtue were greater, and I 7


could not resolve to purchase the one by a violation of the other; that a false vow was certainly criminal; and that it would be doing an act of the highest injustice, to enter into fo folemn an engagement without the power of fulfilling it; that my affections did not depend on my own will; and that no man should possess my person, who could not obtain the first place in my heart..

I was surprised that my uncle's impatience had permitted me to go on thus far ; but looking in his face, I perceived that passion had kept him filent. At length the gathering storm burst over my head in a torrent of reproaches. My reasons were condemned as romantic absurdities, which I could not myself believe; I was accused of designing to deceive, and to throw myself eway on some worthless fellow, whose principles were as bad as my own. It was in vain for me to affert that I had no such design, nor any inclination to marry at all; my uncle could sooner have believed the groffest contradiction, than that a young woman could so strenuously refuse one man without being prepoffeffed in favour of another. As I thought myself injured by his accusations and tyranny, I gave over the attempt to mitigate his anger. He appealed to Heaven for the justice of his resentment, and against my ingratitude and rebellion; and then giving me a note of fifty pounds, which he said would keep me from immediate indigence, he bade me leave his house, and see his face no

I bowed in sign of obedience ; and collecting all my dignity and resolution, I arose, thanked him for his paft benefits, and with a low curt'sy left the room.

In less than an hour I departed with my little ward robe to the house of a person who had formerly been my father's fervant, and who now kept a shop and let Vol. III.




lodgings. From hence I went the next day to visit my father's nephew, who was in poffeffion of the family eftate, and had lately married a lady of great fortune. He was a young gentleman of good parts, his princi. ples the same as my father's, though his practice had not been quite agreeable to the strict rules of morality: however, setting aside a few of those vices which are looked upon as gentcel accomplishments in young fellows of fortune, I thought him a good sort of man; and as we had always lived in great kindness, I doubted not that I should find him my friend, and meet with approbation and encouragement at least, if not assistance from him. I told him my story, and the reasons that had determined me to the refusal that had incurred my uncle's difpleasure. But how was I disappointed, when, instead of the applause I expected for my heroic virtue and unmerited perfecutions, I perceived a smile of contempt on his face, when he interrupted me in the following manner :

6 And what, in the devil's name, my dear cousin, could make a woman of your sense “ behave so like an idiot : What! forfeit all your “ hopes from your unclé, refuse an excellent match, and “ reduce yourself to beggary, because truly you were fut love ? Surely, one might have expected better “ from you even at fifteen. Who is it pray that mar“ ries the person of their choice ? For my own part, so who have rather a better title to please myself with " a good fifteen hundred a-year,


who have For not a shilling, I found it would not do, and that there

was something more to be fought after in a wife than a pretty face or a genius? Do you think I cared " three farthings for the woman I married ? No, faith. # But her thirty thousand pounds were worth having;

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