(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Belinda"

Google 



This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 




.V/AV-'AVyAV/AV/rf 



r^^/$^y-^y<^S^^^^ 






joJ^p^^y^Y'^x^^^ I 




BELINDA 



BY 

MARIA EDGEWORTH 



ILLUSTRATED BY CHRIS HAMMOND 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 
ANNE THACKERAY RITCHIE 



.1 . . , . 



_ - ' . * r 



• . - • • 



I I - » • 



• > • I / t ' I 



Honlion 

MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited. 

NEW YORK : THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 

1896 



-^^^ rights nstTved 












.* * 



» " - 
J • 

4 . • 






••• 



••• 

• !• 

• •• 









* w *• 



• • 






• •• • 






V w V 






c 
1 e 



• • • •• 

• • • 
•• • 



• * 



b w t. 

C 



• •• 



» • 
r ♦ 

C 1 



W W ^ w « 



» * *• 



INTRODUCTION 



It is to Miss Beaufort, the fourth Mrs. Edgeworlh, that we 
owe those delightful volumes of biography and correspond- 
ence which deserves a place upon the shelf where we keep 
our Walpole, our D'Arblay, our S(;vign^, and in which Iwo 
accomplished women have given such delightful sketches of 
the brilliant and intelligent society in which they lived. In 
these volumes we find the story of the writing of Bdinda. 
It was published in 1801. 'Maria was at Black Castle when 
the first copy reached her, and she contrived, before her 
aunt Mrs. Ruxton saw it, to tear out the title-pages of the 
three volumes, so that her aunt read on without the least 
suspicion of who was the author, Mrs. Ruxton was ex- 
cessively entertained and delighted. She insisted on 
Maria's listening to passage after passage as she went on. 
Maria affected to be deeply interested in some hook she 
held in her hand, and when Mrs, Ruxton exclaimed, " Is 
not that admirably written?" Maria coldly replied, "Ad- 
mirably read ! I think." Again and again Mrs. Ruxton 
called upon Maria for her sympathy, until, quite pro- 
voked at her faint acquiescence, she at last accused her 
of being jealous. " I am sorry to see my little Maria un- 
able to bear the praises of a rival author." 

Al this Maria burst into tears, and showing the title- 
pages, she declared herseK the authoi. "But '^i&. ^voin^ 



was not pleased ; she never liked Belinda afterwards, and 
Maria had always a painful recollection of her aunt's sus- 
pecting her of the meanness of envy.' Perhaps it was under 
the influence of this early association that in her later 
correspondence Miss Edgeworth herself falls foul of Belinda, 
and accuses her of lameness, and says she has no patience 
with her. 

' I really was so provoked with the cold tameness of that 
stick or stone Belinda that I could have torn the pages to 
pieces,' she writes to Mrs. Barbauld. Miss Zimmern quotes 
the passage, and adds, ' At no time did Miss Edgeworth 
even set a due value on her work, still less an exaggerated 
one,' 

Belinda is the story of a young and beautiful girl sur- 
rounded by frivolous and double-minded people ; she has 
been brought up by a scheming aunt, but she is single- 
minded and true-hearted. She is chaperoned by Lady 
Delacour, a leader of fashion, and introduced to the 
smartest circles of those brilliant days. Lady Delacour's 
house is filled with well-dressed crowds. ' When it blazed 
with lights and resounded with music and dancing, Lady 
Delacour, in the character of Mistress of the Revels, shone, 
the soul and spirit of pleasure and frolic ; but the moment 
the company retired, when the music ceased and the lights 
were extinguished, the spell was dissolved. She would 
walk up and down the empty magnificent saloons, absorbed 
in thoughts, seemingly of the most painful nature.' Of 
Lord Delacour for some days Behnda hears nothing after 
her arrival ; but at last they meet. His lordship is arriving 
dead drunk in the arms of two footmen, who are carry- 
ing him upstairs. The heroes of those days seem to get 
tipsy as a matter of course, just as the heroines faint 
sway. Clarence Hervey, the agreeable friend of Lady 




INTRODUCTION 



comes ^ 



rCelacouT, whatever his failings may be, always 
1 sober, and with plenty of brillianl and ready 
tion, on the nature of ladies' promises, the si^e of ihe arm 
of the Venus de Medici, on the size of Lady Deiacour's 
own ann. He also descants on the thick legs of ancient 

I statues, on Mrs. Luttridge and her wig. Mr. Hervey 
displays so much wit, gallantry, and satire on al) these 
topics, and talks with so happy an effect, that Belinda is 
quite charmed. Clarence is also charmed, but he mistrusts 
Belinda's bringing up, and imagines her to be no less 
worldly and frivolous than her surroundings. He has an 
Utopian scheme for bringing up an artless wife to suit his 
own particular taste, and hence much of the imbroglio 
which follows. Mrs. Freke, a lively will o' the wisp ot 
fashion, takes a very difierent view of Belinda to Clarence 
Hervey's ; she looks over the books on her table and asks 
her why she reads them. Belinda says she reads them 
that she may think for herself ' Only to ruin your under- 
standing, trust me,' exclaims Mrs. Freke, turning over the 
books. ' Smith's Theory of Moral StnliniinU — milk and 
water! Moore's Travels — hasty pudding! La Bruyere — 
nettle porridge !' cries the lively lady ; and then, taking up 
a book in which she sees Behnda's mark. Against Tnccn- 
tistefuy in our Expectations, 'Poor thing,' says she, 'who 
bored you with this task ? ' Whatever Mrs. Freke may 
have thought, Mrs. Bartwuld must certainly have appre- 
ciated Miss Edgeworth's pretty httle compliment in thus 

1 leaving her heroine's mark between the pages of the 

t admirable essay. 

Belinda was included in this edition after some delibera- 
^on, not because it is the best of Miss Edgeworth's stories, 

I but because it is certainly one of the best known. The pretty 
e carries a certain distinction along w'ttVv \l tjiot tt ^t 



'. fascinated J 
Critics are 1 



the only Belinda whose beauty and grace have f 
succeeding generations of novel -readers). Critics ; 
divided about Se/inda, says Miss Zimmern; there are I 
portions of the story where Miss Edgeworth is at her best ' 
Sir Philip Eaddely's account of the Fetes at Frogmore, his 1 
talk, his proposal to Belinda, she calls a masterpiece of ' 
caustic humour, but there is also the tiresome and pre- ' 
posterous episode of Virginia by Mr. Edge worth, to ' 
represent the other side of the medal. Virginia is the 
young lady Clarence had intended to train up as a wife for 
himself. The idiotic Virginia — happily for Clarence — fails 
in love with the picture of somebody else, and then the 
original of the picture appears. All this of course would be 
a concatenation after Mr. Edgeworth's own heart. Miss 
Edgeworth had intended to make Lady Delacour die. She 
is described as a spirited, dashing lady of quality, with a 
certain nobility and sincerity which redeem her reckless 
career. It was Mr, Edgeworth who insisted upon having 
her life spared, and accordingly she is saved by Belinda's 
means ; surviving to speak a sort of epilogue, with all the 
characters assembled round about her, as the curtain drops 
upon the scene, and Clarence and Belinda come to a happy 
understanding. But it must be confessed that it is all 
very confused and disappointing, and the beginning of the 
book is far better than the end, which Mr. Edgeworth 
seems to have taken in hand with such ill results. A well- 
known critic has justly called him one of the strangest 
characters ever compounded in the vast laboratory from 
which emerge those strange freaks called men and women. 
He was like a man with a good voice, and without any ear, 
sometimes a note came true and sometimes false. It was 
all a chance, but he never had the good fortune to hear the 
imth. Some one talks of the natural claqut 



'■ given 1 ^ .^ 



INTRODUCTION 

en, that of applauding parents ; i 
voTth's case, that of applauding children followed his words 
and every motion. It was a genuine, an organised applause 
headed by the modest Maria. Everything goes to prove 
that his children's aSectionate admiration was warm and 
sincere. There is a letter from one of Mr. Edgeworth's sons 
which shows in what estimation they hold him ; the son 
will not engage himself until he has his father's consent. 
'You,' the son says to his father, 'who have always been 
successful in love, cannot judge of the flow of joy which 
now fills my bosom at the result of my visit to Derby. I 
am convinced that Miss Broadhurst is not only in every 
way formed to make me happy, but that she only wails 
your approbation to sanction my being her declared 
admirer. This I hope you will have no rt;ason to withhold. 
She has loo great an awe of your talents, she does not 
yet know the tenderness of your affections. O my 
beloved father, confirm the happiness of your son, who has 
a heart that would not disobey, but cannot cease to 
love.' The young man concludes his letter by a de- 
scription of the scenery ; ' Love,' he says, ' coloured every 
vision of happiness, which it is now in my father's power 
to realise. ..." He signs his letter, 'Your ardent and 
dutiful son, Charles Sneyd Edgeworth.' 

Scott, Sir James Mackintosh, and Sydney Smith all 
reviewed Miss Edgeworth in due time, but it took time for 
the critics to express their full approbation. The Edin- 
burgh for 1804 is modified in its praise. TIte Edhiburgh 
for 1809 is quite unstinted in its flattering allusion, and I 
have been told that Sydney Smith is the writer of the article, 
iir James Mackintosh criticises Miss Edgeworth with sym- 
lathetic enthusiasm in his correspondence, though he 
of her peculiar code of morals and t\\e (\\i2^'aea ^» 



BELINDA 

selects for praise. Miss Edgeworth's extraordinary merit 
consists, he says, in her having selected a class of virtues 
far more difficult to treat as a subject of fiction than others, 
and which had therefore been left by other writers for her. 
Belinda came out immediately after Castle Rackrent 
*The Edgeworths immediately became famous,' says Mr. 
Hare, * and the books were at once translated into French 
and German.' 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

Characters ...... i 

CHAPTER II 
Masks . . . . . . .14 

CHAPTER III 
Lady Delacour's History . . . .31 

CHAPTER IV 
Lady Delacour's History continued . . .50 

CHAPTER V 
Birthday Dresses ...... 67 

CHAPTER VI 
Ways and Means ...... 82 

CHAPTER VII 
The Serpentine River ... . ^"^ 

• • • 

Xlll 



BELINDA 
CHAPTER VIII 

PAGE 

A Family Party ...... 99 

CHAPTER IX 
Advice . . . . . . .111 

CHAPTER X 
The Mysterious Boudoir . . . .127 

CHAPTER XI 
Difficulties . . . '139 

CHAPTER XII 
The Macaw . . . . . • '55 

CHAPTER XIII 

SORTES ViRGILIANAE . . . . 167 

CHAPTER XIV 
The Exhibition . . . . .181 

CHAPTER XV 
Jealousy ....... 203 

CHAPTER XVI 

Domestic Happiness . . . .217 

xiv 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XVII 
Rights of Woman ..... 230 

CHAPTER XVIII 
A Declaration . . . . .241 

CHAPTER XIX 
A Wedding ...... 255 

CHAPTER XX 
Reconciliation . . . . .271 

CHAPTER XXI 
Helena ....... 293 

CHAPTER XXII 
A Spectre . . . . . . .310 

CHAPTER XXIII 
The Chaplain ...... 326 

CHAPTER XXIV 
Feu a Peu ....... 335 

CHAPTER XXV 
Love Me, Love my Dog ..... 353 

XV 



BELINDA 
CHAPTER XXVI 

PAGS 

Virginia ....... 371 

CHAPTER XXVII 
A Discovery ...... 399 

CHAPTER XXVIII 
E O . . . . . 425 

CHAPTER XXIX 
A Jew . . .... 444 

CHAPTER XXX 
News ....... 456 

CHAPTER XXXI 
The Denouement ...... 468 



XVI 



N 




Selinila's astoaishmept was a 

Lady Delacour's cooftision 
a on, Lady Delacour,' said his lordship 
•No love-letters, indeed. Lady Delacour,' 5aid Belinda, holding 

the paper fast ..... 

■ Will you give Miss Poitman a glitss of water ?.~Ihere's 
behind you on that sideboard, mim 1' . 

' Promise, swear lo me,' resumed Ijidy Delacour 

■ My Lady Delacour, I am not a man to be governed by a 
I was left slanding alone till I could stand no longer . 
Mrs. Luttiidge, as I hoped and expected, was lieyund mc 

enraged at the sight of the caricature and epigiaio 
A person who was driving up the lane a la^e herd of squeak- 
ing, gnuiting pigs 
'Do you forgel that Belinda Portman and her accomplishments 
have already been as well advertised as Packwood's 

He threw down the music-stand with hts hoop 

•No, no,' exclaimed Clarence, laughing, ' it is not come 1 

with me yet, Lady Delacour, I promise you ' 
• Dr. X !' cried he. ' Is it possible ? How rejniceil 



BELINDA 

PAGE 

The old lady walked away to an antechamber, fanning herself 

with great energy ..... 104 

Clarence Hervey threw himself at her feet . . 1 16 

* O Miss Portman, what shall we do ? what shall we do ? — 

My lady ! my poor lady T .... 129 

Belinda, though she cast but one involuntary, hasty glance at it, 

was struck with the beauty of its colour . . .143 

' You can*t be in earnest, Miss Portman ! * exclaimed the 

astonished baronet . . . .157 

* Lady Delacour, here is the young lady who sent you the gold- 

fishes ' ....... 174 

She turned abruptly away from the picture, and she saw Clarence 

Hervey standing beside her . . .196 

She stamped with a look of rage . . . .213 

He looked up in astonishment to hear such a voice from a woman 226 
She threw herself into an arm-chair, and laughed immoderately 237 

* Our Lucy takes no offence at his courting her now, my lady, 

I can assure you ' . . . .251 

* My lord and lady shall never come together, if I can help it * 268 

Grief and horror and pity were painted in Lord Delacour's 

countenance, as he passed hastily through the room . 276 

* Miss Portman will think us both a couple of old fools,* said 

her ladyship, making a slight effort to withdraw her hand 292 

* Dear mamma, I never was so happy in my life ; for you never 

looked so very, very kindly at me before * . . 298 

She turned, and saw Helena standii^ at the half-open bed- 
chamber door ...... 306 

She sat down trembling on the steps which led to her mother's 

room ....... 322 

Belinda appeared, her countenance radiant with joy . .324 

It was the common practice of this man to leap from his horse 
at the church door on a holiday, after following a pack of 

xviii 



PAGB 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

hounds, huddle on his surplice, and gabble over the 
service ....... 329 

Belinda read with some surprise . . . '345 

' My dear Belinda, how can you stand this fire ? ' said Lady 

Delacour . . . . • 3^5 

Mr. Hervey saw a young girl watering the rose-trees, and an 

old woman beside her . . . . .374 

Trembling with eagerness, Mr. Hartley drew near, while 

Clarence held the light to the picture . . .415 

Seizing hold of the pistol, he snatched it from Vincent's grasp 440 

He was so dilatory and circumspect, in reading over and signing 

the bonds ...... 452 

* I am sorry for it,* interrupted Mrs. Delacour, rising from her 

seat, with a look of some displeasure . . . 466 

* Clarence, you have a right to Belinda's hand ' . . 484 



XIX 




Mrs, Stanhope, a well-bred woman, accomplished in that 
branch of knowledge which is called the art of rising in the 
world, had, with but a small fortune, contrived to live in the 
highest company. She prided herself upon having established 
half a dozen nieces most happily, that is to say, upon having 
married them to men of fortunes far superior to their own. One 
still remained unmarried — BeUnda Portman, of whom 
the was determined to get rid with all convenient expedition, 
Belinda was handsome, graceful, sprightly, and highly accom- 
plished ; her aunt had endeavoured to leach her that a young 
lady's chief business is to please in society, that al! her charms 
l-ond accomplishments should be invariably subservient to one 
frand object — the establishing herself in the world : 



rs. Stanhope did not find Belinda such a docile pupil as 
her other nieces, for she had been educated chiefly in the 
country r she had early been inspired with a tasle for domestic 
pleasures ; she was fond of reading, and disposed to conduct 
herself with prudence and iniegrity. Her character, however, 
'as yet to be developed by circumstances, 
Mrs. Stanhope lived at Bath, where she had opportunities 
erf' showing her niece off, as she thought, lo advantage ; but as 
her health began to decline, she could not go out with her as 
much as she wished. After manceuvring with more than her 
usual art, she succeeded in fastening Belinda upon the fashion- 
able l^dy Delacour for the season, Her ladyship was so 



4J 



/; 



BELINDA 

much pleased by Miss Portman's accomplishments and vivacity, 
KS to invite her to spend the winter with her in London. Soon 
ftfter her arrival in town, Belinda received the following letter 
from her aunt Stanhope. 

' Chesce.nt, Bath. 

' After searching every place I could Ihink of, Anne found 
your bracelet in your dressing-table, amongst a heap of odd 
things, which you left behind you to be thrown away : I have 
«ent i[ to you by a young gentleman, who came lo Bath (un- 
luckily) the very day you left me — Mr. Clarence Her\-ey— an 
Kcquainiance, and great admirer of my Lady Delacour. He is 
really an uncommonly pleasant young man, is highly connected, 
uid has a fine independent fortune. Besides, he is a man of 
wit and gallantry, quite a connoisseur in female grace and 
beauty — just the man to bring a new face into fashion ; so, my 
dear Belinda, I make it a point — look well when he is intro- 
duced to you, and remember, what I have so often told you, 
that nobody can look well without taking some pains to please. 

' 1 see— «r at least when I went out more than my health 
11 at present permit — I used to see multitudes of silly girls, 
emingly all cut out upon the same pattern, who frequented 
public places day after day, and year after year, without any 
idea further than that of diverting themselves, or of obtaining 
transient admiration. How I have pitied and despised the 
giddy creatures, whilst 1 have observed them playing off their 
unmeaning airs, vying with one another in the most obvious, 
and consequently the most ridiculous manner, so as to expose , 
themselves before the very men they would attract ; chatter 
tittering, and flirting ; full of the present moment, 
reflecting upon the future ; quite satisfied if they got a 
at a ball, without ever thinking of a partner for life 1 I haj 
often asked myself, what is to become of such girls when they / 

" or ugly, or when the public eye grows tired of them ? 
if they have large fortunes, it is all very well ; they can aflford 
to divert themselves for a season or two, without doubt ; they 
to be sought after and followed, not by mere danglers, 
but by men of suitable views and pretensions ; but nothing to 
my mind can be more miserable than the situation of a poof 
girl, who, after spending not only the interest, but the solid 
capital of her small fortune in dress and frivolous extravagance, 
foils in her matrimonial expectations (as many do merely from 



CHARACTERS 

not beginning to speculate in time). She finds herself at five 
or six-and-ihirty a burden lo her friends, destitute of the means 
of rendering herself independent (for the girls I speak of never 
think of leai-ning to play cards), de trop in society, yet obliged 
to hang upon all her acquaintance, who wish her in Heaven, 
because she is unqualified to make the txpecttd return for 
civilities, having no home^I mean no establishment, no house, 
etc.— fit for the reception of comp>any of a certain rank. — My 
dearest Belinda, may this never be your case! — You have 
' every possible advantage, my love : no pains have been spared 

Iin your education, and (which is the essential point) 1 have 
taken care that this should be known^so that you have the 
name of being perfectly accomplished. You will also have the 
.name of being very fashionable, if you go much into pubhc, as 
[ I doubtless you will with L^dy Delacour. — Your own good sense 
Snust make you aware, my dear, that from her ladyship's situa- 

■ tion and knowledge of the world, it will always be proper, upon 
all subjects of conversation, for her to lead and you to follow : 

I it would be very unfit for a young girl like you lo su£Fer 
I yourself lo stand in competition with Lady Delacour, whose 
high pretensions to wit and beauty are indisputable. 1 need 
lo you upon this subject, my dear. Even with 
your limited experience, you must have obsen'ed how foolish 
L young people offend those who are the most necessary to their 
i, by an imprudert indulgence of their vanity. 
' Lady Delacour has an incomparable taste in dress : con- 
I'Sult her, my dear, and do not, by an ill-judged economy, 
ly views — apropos, I have no objection lo your 
I being presented at court. You will, of course, have credit 
I with ail her ladyship's tradespeople, if you manage properly, 
I To know how and when to lay out money is highly commend- I 
I able, for in some situations people judge of what one cant. » 
I afford by what one actually spends.^I know of no law which i" 
V compels a young lady to tell what her age or her fortune may be. 
I You have no occasion for caution yet on one of these points. 

' I have covered ray old carpet with a handsome green 
I baize, and every stranger who comes to see me, I observe, 

■ 'takes it for granted that I have a rich carpet under it. Say 
rerything that is proper, in your best manner, for me to Lady 

I Delacour. Adieu, my dear Belinda. — Yours, very sincerely. 




s forttuiate, that the means whidi are taken 
to produce cenain effects upon the mind have a tendency 
directly opposite to what is expected. Mrs, Staohope"! 
perpetual anxiety about her niece's appearance, manners, and 
establishment, bad completely worn out Belinda's patience 
she had become more insensible to the praises of her personal 
charms and accomplishments than young women of her age 
usually ate, because she had been so much faltered and shown 
off, as it is called, by her match-making aunt — Yet Belinda 
was (bnd of amusement, and had imbibed some of Mrs. 
Stanhope's prejudices in favour of rank and fashion. Her 
fasie for literature declined in proportion to her intercourse 
with the fashionable world, as she did not in this society per- 
ceive the least use in ihe knowledge that she had acquited. 
Her mind had never been roused to much reflection ; she had 
■in general acted but as a puppet in the hands of others. To 
her aunt Stanhope she had hitherto paid unlimited, habitnal, 
' blind obedience ; but she was more imdesigning, and more free 
ifrom affectation and coquetry, than could have been expected, 
after the course of documenting which she had gone through. 
She was charmed with the idea of a visit to Lady Delacour, 
whom she thought the most agreeable — no, that is too feeble 
an expression — the most &scinating person she had ever 
beheld. Such was the light in which her ladyship appeared, 
not only to Belinda, but to all the world — that is to say, all the 
world of fashion, and she knew of nd other. — The newspapers 
were full of Lady Delacour's parties, and Lady Delacour^s 
dresses, and Lady Delacour's bon mots : ev'erything thai her 
ladyship said was repeated as witty ; everything that her lady- 
ship wore was imitated as fashionable. Female wit sometimes 
depends on the beauty of its possessor for its reputation ; and 
the reign of beauty is proverbially short, and fashion often 
capriciously deserts her favourites, even before nature withers 
their charms. Lady Delacour seemed to be a fortunate 
exception to these general rules ; long ailer she had lost the 
bloom of youth, she continued to be admired as a fashionable 
bel esprit; and long after she had ceased to be a novelty in 
societj', her company was courted by all the gay, the witty, and 
the gallant. To be seen in public with Lady Delacour, to be 
a visitor at her house, were privileges of which numbers were 
vehemently ambitious ; and Belinda Portman was congratulated 



1 



_ J 



CHARACTERS 



itted as im 1 
sintrularlv ' 



■ad envied by all her acquaintance, Tor being admitted a 
Inmate. How could she avoid thinking herself singularly 
fortunate ? - 

A short time after her arrival at Lady Delacour's, Belinda A 
began to see through the thin veil with which politeness covers \| 
domestic misery. — Abroad, and at home, Lady Delacour wasi^y 
two different persons. Abroad she appeared all life, spirit, and' 
good humour — at home, listless, fretful, and melancholy ; she 
seemed like a spoiled actress off the stage, over- stimulated by 
applause, and evchaustcd by the exertions of supporting a 
fictitious character. — When her house was filled with well- 
dressed crowds, when it blazed with lights, and resounded 
with music and dancing, Lady Delacour, in the character of 
Mistress of the Revels, shone the soul and spirit of pleasure 
and firolic : but the moment the company retired, when the 
music ceased, and the lights were extinguishing, the spell was 
dissolved. 

She would sometimes walk up and down the empty mag- 
nificent saloon, absorbed in thoughts seemingly of the most 
painful nature. 

For some days after Belinda's arrival in town she heard 
nothing of Lord Delacour ; his lady never mentioned his name, 
except once accidentally, as she was showing Miss Portman the 
house, she said, ' Don't open that door — those are only Lord 
Deiacour's apartments.' — The first time Belinda ever saw his 
lordship, he was dead drunk in the arms of two footmen, who 
. were carrying him upstairs to his bedchamber : his lady, who 
I was just returned from Ranelagh, passed by him on the landing- 
place with a look of sovereign contempt. 

' What is the matter ? — Who is this .' ' said Belinda. 

' Only the body of my Lord Delacour,' said her ladyship : 
'his bearers have brought it up the wrong staircase. Take it 
down again, my good friends ; let his lordship go his o-ain way. 
Don't look so shocked and amazed, Belinda — don't look so 
new, child : this fimeral of my lord's intellects is to nie a 
nightly, or,' added her ladyship, looking at her walch and 
yawning, ' I believe I should say a daily ceremony — six o'clock, 
I protest 1 ' 

The next morning, as her ladyship and Miss Portman were 
sitting at the breakfast table, after a very late breakfast. Lord 
Delacour znteted the room. ^^ 



' Lord Oelacour, sober, my dear,' — said her ladyship to 
Miss I'ortman, by way of inlrxiducing him, Piejudiced by her 
ladyship, Belinda Has inclined lo think that Lord Delacour 
sobfr would not be more agreeable or more rational than Lord 
Delacour dninlc 'How old do you late my lord to be?' 
whispered her ladyship, as she saw Belinda's eye fixed upon 
the trembling hand which carried his teacup to bis lips : ' I'll 
lay you a wager,' continued she aloud — 'I'll lay your birth- 
night dress, gold fringe, and laurel wreaths into the bargain, 
that you don't guess right' 

' 1 hope you don't think of going to this birthnight, Lady 
Delacour?' said his lordship. 

' I'll give you six guesses, and I'll bet you don't come 
within sixteen years,' pursued her ladyship, still looldng at 
Belinda. 

'You cannot have the new carriage you have bespoken,' 
said his lordship. ' Will you do me the honour to attend to 
me, Lady Delacour ? ' 

' Then you won't venture to guess, Belinda,' said her lady- 
ship (without honouring her lord with the smallest portion of 
her attention) — ' Well, I believe you are right — for certainly 
you would guess him to be six-and-sixty, instead of six-and 
thirty ; but then he can drink more than any two-legged 
animal in his majesty's dominions, and you know that is an 
advantage which is well worth twenty or thirty years of a 
man's life — especially to persons who have no other chance of 
distinguishing themselves.' 

' If some people had distinguished themselves a little less 
in the world,' retorted his lordship, 'it would have been as 
well I ' 

'As well! — how fiat:' 

' Flatly then I have to inform you, Lady Delacour, that I 
will neither be contradicted nor laughed at— you understand 
me,— It would be as well, flat or not flat, my Lady Delacour 
.f your ladyship would attend more lo your own conduct, and 
leino others I ' 

,i,i.' ^'° «" °' °"''"-i-'" '"rf'liip n..ans, if he means .ny. 
Ihms. Apropo., Belmda, d,d ™i ,™ tell me Clarence Hen-ey 
I. eoirnng lo lom f_Voe ha.e never ,een hin.-Well 111 
deecnbe h.m to you by negatives. He is no/ a man who ever 
l-y "y"'"" *"- »» i. ".' a man who „„„ be wound i 




CHARACTERS 

If a dozen bottles of champagne before he can ^ — be ii 
fiol a man who, when he does go, goes wrong, and won't be si 
right — he is not a man, whose whole consequence, if he w 
married, would depend on his wife — he is not a man, who, if 
he were married, would be so desperately afraid of being 
governed by his wife, that he would turn gambler, jockey, or 
sot, merely to show Ihal he could govern himself 

' Go on, Lady Delacour,' said his lordship, who had been 
in vain attempting to balance a spoon on the edge of his tea- 
cup during the whole of this speech, which was delivered with 
the most animated desire to provoke — ' Go on, Lady Delacour 
— all 1 desire is, that you should go on ; Clarence Hervey will 
be much obliged to you, and I am sure so shall I. Go on, my 
l^ady Delacour — go on, and you'll oblige me.' 

' 1 never will oblige you, my lord, that you may depend 
upon,' cried her ladyship, with a look of indignant contenipt. 

His lordship whistled, rang for his horses, and looked at his 
nails with a smile. Belinda, shocked and in a great confusion, 
rose to leave the room, dreading the gross continuance of this 
matrimonial dialogue. 

' Mr. Hervey, my lady,' said a footman, opening the door ; 
and he was scarcely announced, when her ladyship went 
forward to receive him with an air of easy familiarity. — ' Where 
have you buried yourself, Hervey, this age pastF' cried she, 
shaking hands with him : ' there's absolutely no living in this 
most stupid of all worlds without you. — Mr. Hervey — Miss 
Portman — but don't look as if you were half asleep, man — 
What ate you dreaming of, Clarence ? VVhy looks your grace 
so heavily to-day ?' 

' Oh 1 I have passed a miserable night,' replied Clarence, 
throwing himself into an actor's attitude, and speaking in a 
fine tone of stage declamation. 

' What was your dream, my lord ? I prny you, tell me, ' 
said her ladyship in a similar tone, — Clarence w 
' O Lord, methought what pain it was lo daj 

What dreadful noise of fiddles in my ears I 

What sights of ugly belUs within my eyes 1 

Then came wandering by, 

A shadow like a devil, with red hair, 

'Diien'd with Sowers ; and she bawl'd out 
^^^^^^^oience is come ; false, fleeting, perjured C\Mmw.V^ 




CHARACTERS 

•Oh, Mrs, Luttridge to the life I' cried Lady Delacour: 'I 
ow where you have been now, and I piiy you — but sit down,' 
said she, making room for him between Belinda and herself 
Upon the sofa, 'sit down here, and tell me what could take you 
to that odious Mrs Luttridge's.* 

Mr. Hervcy ihrew himself on the sofa j Lord Delacour 
■whistled as before, and left the room without uttering a 
sj-Ilable. 

' But my dream lias made me forget myself strangely,' said 
". Hervey, turning to Belinda, and producing her bracelet ; 
' Mrs. Stanhope promised me that if I delivered ic safely, I 
should be rewarded with the honour of putting it on the 
owner's fair arm.' A conversation now look place on the 
ture of ladies' promises — on fashionable bracelels^ — on the 
e of the arm of the Venus de Medici — on Lady Delacour's 
and Miss Portman's — on the thick legs of ancient statues — 
and on the various defects and absurdities of Mrs. Luttridge 
md her wig. On all these topics Mr. Hervey displayed much 
wit, gallantry, and satire, with so happy an effect, that Belinda, 
When he took leave, was precisely of her aunt's opinion, that 
ost uncommonly pleasant young man. 
Hervey might have been more than a pleasant 
jroUDg man, if he had not been smitten with the desire of being 
thought superior in everything, and of being the most admired 
person in all companies. He had been early flattered with 
the idea that he was a man of genius ; and he imagined that,- 
as such, he was entitled to be imprudent, wild, and eccentric. 
He affected singularity, in order to establish his claims to 
'us. He had considerable literary talents, by which he 
distinguished at Oxford ; but he was so dreadfully 
afraid of passing for a pedant, that when he came into the 
company of the idle and the ignorant, he pretended to disdain 
every species of knowledge. His chameleon character seemed 
'to vary in different lights, and according to the different 
situations in which he happened to be placed. He could be 
aS things lo all men — and to all women. He was supposed 
to be 3 favourite with the fair sex ; and of all his various excel- 
Encies and defects, there was none on which he valued himself 
o much as on his gallantry. He was not profligate ; he had 
istrong sense of honour, and quick feelings of humanity ; but 
e was so easily led, or rather so easily exciwi ^j-j Vxs ^ 



BELINDA 

panions, andnis companions were now of such a sort, that it 
was probable he would soon become vicious. As to " 
connection with Lady Delacour, he would have started v 
horror at the idea of disturbing the peace of a family ; but ia 
her femily, he said, there was no peace lo disturb ; he wa> 
vain of having it seen by the world that he was distinguished 
by a lady of her wit and fashion, and he did not think i 
incumbent on him to be more scrupulous or more attentive U 
appearances, than her ladyship. By Lord Delacour's jealousy' 
he was sometimes provoked, sometimes amused, and sometimes 
flattered. He was constantly of all her ladyship's parties m 
public and private ; consequently he saw Belinda almost every 
day, and every day he saw her with increasing admiration of 
her beauty, and with increasing dread of being taken in to 
marry a niece of ' the calck-match-maker^ the name by which 
Mrs, Stanhope was known amongst the men of his acquaint- 
ance. Young ladies who liave the misfortune to be conductti 
by these artful dames, are always supposed to be partners i: 
all the speculations, though their names may not appear in th 
firm. If he had not been prejudiced by the character of her 
aunt, Mr. Her\*ey would have thought Belinda an undesigninft 
unaffected girl ; but now he suspected her of artifice in every 
word, look, and motion ; and even when he felt himself r 
charmed by her powers of pleasing, he was most inclined to 
despise her, for what he thought such premature proficiency 
in scientific coquetry. He had not sufficient resolution to keep 
beyond" the sphere ol'her attraction ; but, frequently, when he 
found himself within it, he cursed his folly, and drew back with, i 
sudden terror. His manner towards her was so variable and 
inconsistent, that she knew not how to interpret its language. 
Sometimes she fancied, that with all the eloquence of eyes he 
said, ^ I adore you, Belinda' ; at other times she imagined that 
his guarded silence meant to warn her that he was so entangled 
by Lady Delacour, that he could not extricate himself from 
her snares. Whenever this last idea struck her, it excited, i 
the most edifying manner, her indignation against coquetry i 
general, and against her ladyship's in particular : she became 
\ wonderfully clear-sighted to all the improprieties of her lady- 
I ship's conduct. Belinda's newly acquired moral sense wat 
I much shocked, that she actually wrote a fiill statement of her 
Observations and her scruples to her aunt Stanhope ; conclud- 



I ship s condu 
much shocki 

i:' 




CHARACTERS 

by a request, that she might not remain under 
■teclion of a lady, of whose character she could not approve, 
ind whose intimacy might perhaps be injurious to her reput; 
if not to her principles. 

rs. Stanhope answered Belinda's letter in a very guarded 
; she rebuked her niece severely for her imprudence in 
nentioning names in such a manner, in a letter sent by the 
^^^ post ; assured her that her reputation was in no 

langer ; that she hoped no niece of hers would set up for a 
)rude-— a character more suspected by men of the world than 
sven that of a coquette [ that the person alluded to was a 
lerfectly fit chaperon for any young lady to appear with in 
public, as long as she was visited by the first people in town ; 
]iat as to anything in t\i& privaie conduct of that person, and 
IS to any prii'ate breuillicries between her and her lord, 
Jelinda should observe on these dangerous topics a profound 
alence, both in her Setters and her conversation ; that as long 
S the lady continued under the protection of her husband, the 
rorld might whisper, but would not speak out ; that as to 
Belinda's own principles, she would be utterly inexcusable if, 
ifter the education she had received, they could he hurt by 
my bad examples ; that she could not be too cautious in 

ler management of a man of 's character ; that she could 

Bve no serioui cause for jealousy in the quarter she appre- 
lended, as marriage there could not be the object ; and there 
5 such a difference of age, that no permanent influence 
could probably be obtained by the lady ; that the most certain 
method for Miss Portman to expose herself to the ridicule of 
one of the parties, and to the total neglect of the other, would 
be lo betray anxiety or jealousy ; that, in short, if she were 
fool enough to lose her own heart, there would be little chance 

of her being wise enough to win that of , who was 

evidently a jnaa-oLgal^ntryjather than of sentiment, and who 
was known to play his cards well, anH~t6Tiave" good"lnek when- 
ever hearts were trumps. 

Belinda's fears of Lady Delacour, as a dangerous rival, were 

much quieted by the artful insinuations of Mrs. Stanhope, with 

tlespect to her age, etc. ; and in proportion as her fears sub- 

ided, she blamed herself for having written too harshly of her 

idyship's conduct. The idea that whilst she appeared as 

uly Delacour's friend she ought not to piopaga.Ve an-j at.^ ' 



1 



BELINDA 

j to her disadvantage, operated powerfully upon Belinda's mind, 
I and she reproached herself for having told even her aunt what 
i she had seen in private. She thought that she had been 
guilty of treachery, and she wrote again immediately to Mrs. 
Stanhope, to conjure her to bum her last letter ; to forget, if 
possible, its contents ; and to believe that not a syllable of a 
similar nature should ever more be heard from her : she was 
just concluding with the words — * I hope my dear aunt will 
consider all this as an error of my judgment, and not of my 
heart,' when Lady Delacour burst into the room, exclaiming, 
in a tone of gaiety, 'Tragedy or comedy, Belinda? The 
masquerade dresses are come. But how's this ? ' added she, 
looking full in Belinda's face — ' tears in the eyes ! blushes in 
the cheeks ! tremors in the joints ! and letters shuffling away ! 
But, you novice of novices, how awkwardly shuffled ! — ^A niece 
of Mrs. Stanhope's, and so unpractised a shuffler ! — ^And is it 
credible she should tremble in this ridiculous way about a lovt- 
letter or two ? ' 

*No love-letters, indeed. Lady Delacour,' said Belinda, 
holding the paper fast, as her ladyship, half in play, half in 
earnest, attempted to snatch it from her. 

* No love-letters ! then it must be treason ; and see it I 
must, by all that's good, or by all that's bad — I see the name 
of Delacour ! ' — and her ladyship absolutely seized the letters 
by force, in spite of all Belinda's struggles and entreaties. 

* I beg, I request, I conjure you not to read it ! * cried 
Miss Portman, clasping her hands. * Read mine, read mine, 
if you mus^, but don't read my aunt Stanhope's — Oh I I 
beg, I entreat, I conjure you I ' and she threw herself upon 
her knees. 

* You beg ! you entreat ! you conjure ! Why, this is like 
the Duchess de Brinvilliers, who wrote on her paper of 
poisons, " Whoever finds this, I entreat, I conjure them, in the 
name of more saints than I can remember, not to open the 
paper any farther." — ^What a simpleton, to know so little of the 
nature of curiosity I ' 

As she spoke. Lady Delacour opened Mrs. Stanhope's 
letter, read it from beginning to end, folded it up coolly when 
she had finished it, and simply said, * The person alluded to is 
almost as bad as her name at full length : does Mrs. Stanhope 
think no one can make out an inuendo in a libel, or fill up a 

12 



BELINDA 

blank, but an attorney-general ? ' pointing to a blank in Mis. 
Stanhope's letter, left for the name of Clarence Hervey. 

Belinda was in too much confusion either to speak or 
think. 

* You were right to swear they were not love-letters,' pur- 
sued her ladyship, laying down the papers. * I protest I 
snatched them by way of frolic — I beg pardon. All I can do 
now is not to read the rest' 

*Nay — I beg — I wish — I insist upon your reading mine,' 
said Belinda. 

When Lady Delacour had read it, her countenance 
suddenly changed — * Worth a hundred of your aimt's, I 
declare,' said she, patting Belinda's cheek, *What a treasure 
to meet with' anything like a new heart! — all hearts, nowa- 
days, are second-hand, at best.' 

Lady Delacour spoke with a tone of feeling which Belinda 
had never heard from her before, and which at this moment 
touched her so much, that she took her ladyship's hand and 
kissed it. 



CHAPTER II 

MASKS 

* Where were we when all this began ?' cried Lady Delacour, 
forcing herself to resiune an air of gaiety — * Oh, masquerade was 
the order of the day — tragedy or comedy ? which suits your 
genius best, my dear ? ' 

* Whichever suits your ladyship's taste least.' 

*Why, my woman, Marriott, says I ought to be tragedy; 
and, upon the notion that people always succeed best when they 
take characters diametrically opposite to their own — Clarence 
Hervey's principle — perhaps you don't think that he has any 
principles ; but there you are wrong ; I do assure you, he has 
sound principles — of taste.' 

* Of that,' said Belinda, with a constrained smile, * he gives 
the most convincing proof, by his admiring your ladyship so 
much.' 

* And by his admiring Miss Portman so much more. But 

14 



are making speeches to one another, poor Marriott 

standing in distress, like Garrick, between tragedy and 
comedy.' 

Lady Delacour opened her dressing-room door, and pointed 
to her as she stood with the dress of the comic muse on one 
arm, and the tragic muse on (he other. 

' 1 am afraid I have not spirits enough to undertake the 
comic muse,' said Miss Portman. 

Marriott, who was a personage of prodigious consequence, 
and the judge in the last resort at her mistress's toilette, looked 
extremely out of humour at having been kept waiting so long ; 
and yet more so at the idea that her appellant jurisdiction cotild 
be disputed. 

• Your ladyship's taller than Miss Portman by half a head,' 
said Marriott, 'and to be sure will best become tragedy with 
this long train ; besides, I had settled all the rest of your lady- 
ship's dress. Tragedy, they say, is always tall ; and, no offence, 
your ladyship's taller than Miss Portman by half a head.' 

■ For head read inch,' said Lady Delacour, ' if you please.' 
When things are settled, one can't bear to have them 
unsettled — but your ladyship must have your own way, to 
be sure — 111 say no more,* cried she, throwing down the 



' Stay, Marriott,' said Lady Delacour, and she placed herself 
between the angry waiting-maid and the door. 

'Why will you, who are the best creature in the world, put 
yourself into those /urt'es about nothing ? Have patience with 
OS, and you shall be satisfied.' 

•That's another affair,' said Marriott. 

'Miss Portman,' continued her ladyship, 'don't talk of not 
Jiaving spirits, you that are all life ! — What say you, Belinda ? 
—Oh yes, you must be the comic muse ; and 1, it seems, must 
e tragedy, because Marriott has a passion for seeing me " come 
'sweeping by." And because Marriott must have her own way 
^erything — she rules me with a rod of iron, my dear, so 
tragedy 1 needs must be. — Marriott knows her power.' 

There was an air of extreme vexation in Lady Delacour's 
Dunlenance as she pronounced these last words, in which 
evidently more was meant than met the ear. Upon many 
occasions Miss Portman had observed, that Marriott exercised 
iJespotic authority over her mistress; andshe\\aii seravi'^^i 
'.'5 



BELINDA 



I of powwlo 



yield an iota of poww t 
■ ery caprice of the mos 
e time, Belinda imagined' 
ir, as she had seen some 
be governed by a favouritCi 



surprise, that a lady, who would n 
her husband, submitted herself to 
insolent of waiting- women. For si 
that this submission was merely ai 
other fine ladies proud of appearing' 

maid ; but she was soon convinced that Marriott was no favourite 
with Lady Delacour ; that her ladyship's was yio\. proud humility, 
but fear. It seemed certain that a woman, extravagantly fond 
of ber own ■!w7/, would never have given it up without some very 
substantial reason. It seemed as if Marriott was in possession 
of some secret, which should for ever remain unknown. This 
idea had occurred to Miss Portman more than once, but never 
so forcibly as upon the present occasion. There had always 
been some mystery about her ladyship's toilette : at certain hours 
doors were bolted, and it was impossible for anybody but 
Marriott to obtain admission. Miss Portman at first imagined 
that Lady Delacour dreaded the discovery of her 
secrets, but her ladyship's rouge was so glaring, and her pearl 
powder was so obvious, that Belinda was convinced there must 
be some other cause for this toilette secrecy. There was a 
little cabinet beyond her bedchamber, which Lady Delacour 
called her boudoir, to which there was an entrance by a back 
staircase ; but no one ever entered there but Marriott. One 
night, Lady Delacour, after dancing with great spirit at a ball, 
at her own house, fainted suddenly ; Miss Portman attended 
her to her bedchamber, but Marriott begged that her lady 
might be left alone with her, and she would by no means stiffer 
Belinda to follow her into the boudoir. All these things Belinda 
recollected in the space of a few seconds, as she stood con- 
templating Marriott and the dresses. The hurry of getting 
ready for the masquerade, however, dispelled these thoughts, 
and by the time she was dressed, the idea of what Clarence 
Hervey would think of her appearance was uppermost in her 
mind. She was anxious to know whether he would discover 
her in the character of the comic muse. Lady Delacour was 
discontented with her tragic attire, and she grew still more out 
of humour with herself, when she saw Belinda. 

' I protest Marriott has made a perfect fright of me,' said 
her ladyship, as she got into her carriage, ' and I'm positive 
my dress would become you a million of times better than your 



MASKS 



Miss Portman regretted that it was too late lo change. 
' Not at all too late, my dear,' said Lady Uclacour ; 't. 
I late for women to change their minds, their dress, or their 
ers. Seriously, you know, we are to call at my friet)d Lady 
igleton's — she sees masks to-night : I'm quite intimate there ; 
make her let me step up to her own room, where no soul 

I interrupt us, and there we can change our dresses, and 
irriott will know nothing of the matter. Marriott's a faithful 

eature, and very fond of me ; fond of power loo — but who is 
M ? — we must all have our faults : one would not quarrel with 
ich a good creature as Marriott for a trifie.' Then suddenly 
said, ' Not a human being will find us 
at the masquerade ; for no one but Mrs. Freke knows that 
; the two muses, Clarence Hervey swears he should know 
any disguise — but I defy him — I shall lake special delight 
puzzling him. Harriot Freke has told him, in confidence, 
at I'm to be the widow Brady, in man's clothes : now that's 
be Harriot's own character ; so Hervey will make fine 
infusion, ' 

! soon as they got lo Lady Singleton's, Lady Delacoiir and 
Portman immediately went upstairs to exchange dresses, 
BOr Belinda, now thai she felt herself in spirits lo undertake 
rather vexed to be obliged to give up her 
scorning character ; but there was no resisting the polite energy 
Lady Delacour's vanity. Her ladyship ran as quick as light- 
ig into a closet within the dressing-room, saying to Lady 
bgleton's woman, who attempted to follow with — ' Can I do 
Ijrthing for your ladyship?' — 'No, no, no — nothing, nothing 
•thank ye, thank ye, — I want no assistance — I never let any- 
dy do anything for me but Marriott ; ' and she boiled her- 
f in the closet, in a few minutes she lialf opened the door, 
Kw out her tragic robes, and cried, 'Here, Miss Portman, 
m me yours — quick — and let's see whether comedy or tragedy 

II be ready first.' 

' Lord biess and forgive me,' said Lady Singleton's woman, 
ten Lady Delacour at last threw open the door, when she was 
mpletely dressed — ' but if your la'ship has not been dressing 

this time in that den, without anything in the shape of a 
)king-glas5, and not to let me help I I ihat should have been 

Lady Delacour put half a guinea into the vr3.\tin%-va&v'^% 

n 



1 



BELINDA 

hand, laughed afTectedly at her own lohimsicalitifs, and declarei 
that she could al«-ays dress herself belter without 
with one. All this went off admirably well with everybody bi 
Miss Ponman ; she could not help thinking^ it extraordinary tbat ' 
a person who was obviously fond of being waited upon would 
never suffer any person to assist her at her toilette except 
Marriott, a woman of whom she was evidently afraid. Ladf 
DelacouHs quick eye saw curiosity painted in Belinda's counte- 
nance, and for a moment she was embarrassed ; but she soon 
recovered herself, and endeavoured to turn the course of Miss 
Portman's thoughts by whispering to her some nonsense about 
Clarence Hervey — a cabalistical name, which she knew had the 
power, when pronounced in a certain lone, of throwing Belinda 
into confusion. 

The first person Ihey saw when they went into the drawing- 
room at Lady Singleton's was this very Clarence Hervey, who 
was not in a masquerade dress. He had laid a wager with 
one of his acquaintance that he could perform the part of the 
serpent, such as he is seen in Fuseli's well-knouu picture. For 
this purpose he had exerted much ingenuity in tl 
and execution of a length of coiled skin, which he 
with great dexterity by means of internal wires; his grand 
difficulty had been to manufacture the rays that were to come 
from his eyes. He had contrived a set of phosphoric rays, 
which he was certain would charm all the fair daughters of 
Eve. He forgot, it seems, that phosphorus could not well be 
seen by candlelight. When he was just equipped as a serpent, 
his rays set fire to part of his envelope, and it was with the 
greatest difficulty that he was extricated. He escaped unhurt, 
but his serpent's skin was utterly consumed ; nothing remained 
but the melancholy spectacle of its skeleton. He was obliged 
to give up the hopes of shining at the masquerade, but he 
resolved to be at Lady Singleton's that he might meet Lady 
Delacour and Miss Portman. The moment that the tragic 
and comic muse appeared, he invoked them with much humour 
and mock pathos, declaring that he knew not which of them 
could best sing his adventure. After a recital of his misfortune 
had entertained the company, and after the muses had performed 
their parts to the satisfaction of the audience and their own, the 
conversation ceased to be supported in masquerade character ; 
mtises and harlequins, gipsies and Cleopatras, began to talk 



1 

latV 
.ildl 
;pt I 

A, 




of their private affairs, and of the r 

A group of gentlemen, amongst whom was Clarence Hervey, 
gathered round the tragic muse ; as Mr. Hervey had hinted that 
he knew she was a person of distinction, though he would not 
tell her name. After he had exercised his wit for some time, 
without obtaining from the tragic muse one single syllable, he 
iwhispered, ' Lady Delacour, why this unnatural reserve ? Do 
you imagine that, ihrough this tragical disguise, I have not 
Ibund you out ? ' 

The tragic muse, apparently absorbed in meditation, vouch- 
safed no reply. 

'The devil a word can you get for your pains, Hervey,' said 
a gentleman of his acquaintance, who Joined the party at this 
Instant. ' Why didn't you stick to t'other muse, who, to do her 
justice, is as arrant a ilirt as your heart could wish forf 

' There's danger in flirting,' said Clarence, ' with an arrant 
flirt of Mrs. Stanhope's training. There's a kind of electricity 
sdMut that girl. I have a sort of cobweb feeling, an imaginary 
t coming al! over me.' 

* Fore-warned is fore-armed,' replied his companion ; ' a man 
mist be a novice indeed that could be taken in at this time of 
day by a niece of Mrs. Sunhope's.' 

'That Mrs, Stanhope must be a good, clever dame, faith,' 
d a third gentleman ; ' there's no less than six of her nieces 
whom she has £vi ii^ within these four winters — not one of 'em 

II that has not made a catch-match. — There's the eldest 6f 
the set, Mrs. Tollemache, what had she, in the devil's name, 
t up with in the world but a pair of good eyes ? — her aimt, 
to be sure, taught her the use of them early enough ; they might 
have rolled to all eternity before they would have rolled me out 
rf my senses ; hut you see they did ToUemache's business. 
;ver, they are going to part now, I hear : Tollemache was 
tired of her before the honeymoon was over, as I foretold. 
Then there's the musical girl. Joddrell, who has no more ear 
than a post, went and married her, because he had a mind to 
set up for 3 connoisseur in music ; and Mrs. Stanhope flattered 
" im that he was one.' 

TTie gentlemen joined in the general laugh : the tragic n 
sighed. 

"Even were she at the Si 




BELINDA 
niuse^re not laugh, except behind her mask,' said Claroicei 

' Far be it from lier to laugh at those follies which she must 
for ever deplore!' said Belinda, in a feigned voice. — 'What 
miseries spring from these ill-suited marriages 1 The victims 
are sacrificed before they have sense enough to avoid their 
fate.' 

Clarence Hervey imagined thai this speech alluded to Lady 
Delacour's own marriage. 

' Damn me if I know any woman, young or old, that would 
avoid being married if she could, though,' cried Sir Philip 
Baddely, a gentleman who always supplied 'each vacuity of 
sense' with an oath : 'but, Rochforl, didn't Valleton marry one 
of these nieces ? ' 

' Yes : she was a mighty fine dancer, and had good legs 
enough : Mrs. Stanhope got poor Valleton to fight a duel 
about her place in a country dance, and then he was so pleased 
with himself for his prowess, that he married the girl.' 

Belinda made an effort to change her seat, but she was en- 
compassed so that she could not retreat. 

'As to Jenny Mason, the fifth of tlie meces,' continued the 
witty gentieman, ' she was as bro wn as m^ogany, and had 
neither eyes, nose, mouth, nor legs': what Mrs. Stanhope could 
do with her I often wondered ; but she took courage, rouged 
her up, set her a-going as a dasher^ and she dashed hereelf 
into Tom Levit's curricle, and Tom couldn't get her out again 
till she was the honourable Mrs. Levit. She then took the 
reins into her own hands, and I hear she's driving him and 
herself the road to nan as fast as they can gallop. As for 
this Belinda Portman, 'twas a good hit to send her to Lady 
Delacour's ; but, I take it she hangs upon hand ; for last winter, 
when I was at Bath, she was liawked about everywhere, and the 
atuit was puffing her with might and main. You heard of 
nothing, wherever you went, but of Belinda Portman, and. 
Belinda Portman's accomplishments ; Belinda Portman and 
her accomplishments, I'll swear, were as well advertised as 
Packwood's razor strops.' 

' Mrs. Stanhope overdid the business, I think,' resumed 
the gentleman who began the conversation, 'girls brought 
to the hammer this way don't go off well. It's true, Christie 
no match for dame Stanhope. Many of my 




MASKS 

suxjoaintance were tempted to go and look at the premtaes, 
but not one, you may be sure, had a thought of becoming a 
tenant for life.' 

•That's an honour reserved for you, Clarence Heney,' said 
another, tapping him upon the shoulder. — 'Give ye joy, Her\-ey ; 
give ye joy ! ' 

' Me ! ' said CUrence, starting, 

* I'll be hanged if he didn't change colour,' said his facetious 
companion, and all the young men again joined in a laugh. 

' Laugh on, my merry men all 1 ' cried Clarence ; ' but the 
devil's in it if I don't know my own mind belter than any of 
you. You don't imagine I go to Lady Delacour's to look for 
a wifef — Belinda Portman's a good, pretty girl, but what 
then ? Do you think I'm an idtot ? — do you think I could be 
taken in by one of the Stanhope school ? Do you think I 
don't see as plainly as any of you that Belinda Portman's a 
composition of art and affectation ? ' 

' Hush — not so loud, Clarence ; here she comes,' said his 
companion. 'The comic muse, is not she ?' 

Lady Delacour, at this moment, came lightly tripping towards 
them, and addressing herself, in the character of the comic muse, 
to Hervey, exclaimed — 

' Hervey ! wy Hervey ! moat favoured of my votaries, why 
do you forsake me 



Though you have lost your serpent's form, yet you may please 
any of the fair daughters of Eve in your o^vn.' 

Mr. Hervey bowed ; all the gentlemen who stood near him 
smiled ; the tragic muse gave an involuntary sigh. 

' Could I borrow a sigh, or a tear, from my tragic sister,' 
pursued Lady Delacour, ' however unbecoming to my character, 
I would, if only sighs or tears can win the heart of Clarence 
Hervey ; — let me practise ' — and her ladyship practised sighing 
with much comic effect. 

' Persuasive words and mote persuBsive sighs,' 

said Qarence Hervey. 

'A good bold Stanhope cast of the net, faith,' whispered 
■lais companions. ' Melpomene, hasl. thou fet^W. ■Ow^^^fiil 




BELINDA 

to marble ? ' pursued Lady Delacour. ' I am rot v«y well,' 
whispered Miss Foreman to her ladyship : 'could we get 

' Gel away from Clarence Hervey, do you meao ? ' replied 
her ladyship, in a whisper j "lis not easy, but we'll try what 
can be done, if it is necessary.' 

Belinda had no power to reply to this raillery ; indeed, she 
scarcely heard the words that were said to her ; but she put 
her arm within Lady Delacour's, who, to her great relief, had 
the good nature to leave the room with her immediately. Her 
ladyship, though she would sacrifice the feelings of others, with- 
out compunction, to her vanity, whenever the power of her wit 
was disputed, yet towards those by whom it was acknowledged 
she showed some mercy. 

'What is the matter with the child?' said she, as she went 
down the staircase. 

' Nothing, if I could have air,' said Belinda. There was a 
crowd of servants in the hall. 

' Why does Lady Delacour avoid me so pertinaciously ? 
What crime have 1 committed, that I was not favoured with 
one word?' said Clarence Hervey, who had followed them 
downstairs, and overtook them in the hall. 

' Do see if you can find any of my people,' cried Lady 
Delacour. 

' Lady Delacour, the comic muse ! ' exclaimed Mr. Hervey. 
' I thought ■ ■ -' 

' No matter what you thought,' interrupted her ladyship. 
' I-et my carriage draw up, for here's a young friend of yours 
trembling so about nothing, that I am half afraid she will faint ; 
and you know it would not be so pleasant to faint here amongst 
footmen. Stay ! this room is empty. Oh, I did not mean to 
tell j'OM to stay,' said she to Hervey, who involuntarily followed 

' I'm perfectly well, now — perfectly well,' said Belinda. 

' Perfectly a simpleton, I think,' said Lady Delacour. 'Nay, 
roy dear, you must be ruled; your mask must come off: didn't 
you tell me you wanted air ? — What now ! This is not the 
first time Clarence Hervey has ever seen your face without a 
mask, is it ? It's the first time indeed he, or anybody else, 
ever saw it of such a colour, I believe.' 

'hen Lady Delacour pulled off Belinda's mask, her face 



^^^V^hen 




MASKS 

mas, during ihe first instant, pale ; the next momeiit, crimsoned 
over with a burning blush. 

' What is the matter with ye both ? 
Lady Delacour, turning to Mr. Hervey. 'Did you n 
a woman blush before f — or did you never say or do anything 
make a woman blush before ? Will you give Miss Portman 
jlass of water ? — there's some behind you on thai sideboard, 
m !— but he has neither eyes, ears, nor understanding. — Do 
go about your business,' said her ladyship, pushing him to- 
wards the door — MDo go about your business, for I haven't 
patience with you : on my conscience I believe the 
love — and not with me ! That's sal-voiatile Jbr you, 
child, I perceive,' continued she to Belinda. 'Oh, you can walk 
" Br you are on slippery ground ; remember 
Clarence Her\'ey is not a marrying man, and you are not a 
married woman.' 

perfectly indifTerent to me, madam,' lieliada said, 
with a voice and look of proud indignation. 

Lady Delacour, your carriage has drawn up,' said Clarence 
Hervey, returning to the door, but without entering. 

Then put this " perfectly well " and " perfectly indifferent " 
lady into it,' said Lady Delacour. 

He obeyed without uttering a syllable. 
' Dumb 1 absolutely dumb I I protest,' said her ladyship, as 
he banded her in afterwards. ' Why, Clarence, the casting of 
your serpent's skin seems to have quite changed your nature — 
nothing but the simplicity of the dove left ; and 1 expect to 
hear you cooing presently — don't you, Miss Portman ?' She 
ordered the coachman to drive to the Pantheon. 

To the Pantheon ! I was in hopes your ladyship would 
liave the goodness to set me down at home ; for indeed I shall 
be a burden to you and everybody else at the masquerade.' 

If you have made any appointment for the rest of the 
evening in Berkley Square, I'll set you down, certainly, if you 
upon it, my dear — for punctuality is a virtue ; but 
prudence is a virtue too, in a young lady ; who, as your aunt 
Stanhope would say, has to establish herself in the world. 
Why these tears, Belinda ? — or are they tears ? for by the light 
of the lamps I can scarcely tell ; though I'll swear I saw the 
handkerchief at the eyes. What is the meaning of a!! this ? 

r'd best trust me — for I know as much of meti anitt 
"3 





Stanhope at least ; and in one word, you have 
lofting to fear from me, and everything to hope from yourself, 
if jflu will only dry up your tears, keep on your mask, and lake 
ffly sdiice i youll find it as good as your auni Stanhope's,' 

'My aunt Stanhope's! Oh,' cried Belinda, 'never, never 
mate will I take such advice ; never more will 1 expose myself 
obe insulted as a female adventurer. — Little did I know in what 
. light 1 appeared i httle did I know what ^i^w/Zt-wifa thought 
of my aimt Stanhope, of my cousins, of myself!' 

Gentlemen / 1 presume Clarence Hervey stands at this 

instant, in your imagination, as the representative of all the 

gentlemen in England ; and he, instead of Anacharais Cloots, 

', to be sure, Poraleur du ginre humain. Pray let me 

have a specimen of the eloquence, which, to judge by its effects, 

St be powerful indeed.' 

Mbs Portman, not without some reluctance, repeated the 
iversation which she had heard. — 'And is this all?' cried 
Lady Delacour, ' Lord, my dear, you must either give up 
living in the world, or expect to hear yourself, and your aunts, 
sod your cousins, and your friends, from generation to genera- 
abused every hour in the day by their friends and your 
friends ; 'tis the common course of things. Now you know 
what a multitude of obedient humble servants, dear creatures, 
and very sincere and most affectionate friends, 1 have in my 
writing-desk, and on my mantelpiece, not to mention the cards 
which crowd the common rack from intimate acquaintance, 
who cannot live without the honour, or favour, or pleasure of 
seeing Lady Delacour twice a week ; — do you think I'm fool 
enough to imagine that ihey would care the hundredth part of 
this minute thrown into the Red or the Black 
Sea ? — No, I have not one real friend in the world except 
Harriot Freke ; yet, you see I am the comic muse, and mean 
keep it up — keep it op to the last^-on purpose to provoke 
those who would give their eyes to be able to pity me ; — I 
humbly thank them, no pity for Lady Delacour. Follow my 
example, Belinda ; elbow your way through the crowd : if you 
stop to be civil and beg pardon, and '■^ hope I didrit hurl ye^ 
you will be trod under foot. Now you'll meet those youngs 
itinually who took the liberty of laughing at your aunt, 
and your cousins, and yourself ; they are men of fashion. 
Ihow them you've no feeling, and theyil a.cknowVed'jftiai^ 



g_l|^^^ 



^37 



lOi^j^^l 




BELINDA ^ 

a woman of fashion. Vouil marry belter than any of yi 
cousins, — Clarence Hervey if )-ou can; and then it will 
your turn to laugh about nets and cages. As to love and 
that—' 
'v- The carriage stopped at the Pantheon just as her ladyship 
came to the words ■ love and all that.' Her thoughts took %. 
different turn, and during the remainder of the night she 
exhibited, in such a manner as to attract universal admiratitm, 
all the ease, and grace, and gaiety, of Euphrosyne. 

To Belinda the night appeared long and dull ; the 
place *it of chimney-sweepers and gipsies, the antics of harle- 
quins, the graces of tlower-girls and Cleopatras, had not power 
to amuse her ; for her thoughts still recurred to that conversa- 
tion which had given her so much pain — a pain which Lady' 
Delacour's raillery had foiled to obliterate. 

' How happy you aje, Lady Delacour,' said she, when they 
got into the carriage to go home ; ' how happy you are to have 
such an amazing flow of spi ' 

'Amazing you might well say, if you knew all,' said Lady 
Delacour ; and she heaved a deep sigh, threw herself back u» 
the carriage, let fall her mask, and was silent. It was broad 
daylight, and Belinda had a full view of her countenance, which 
was the picture of despair. She uttered not one syllable mor^ 
nor had Miss Portman the courage to interrupt her medi 
till they came within sight of Lady Singleton's, when Belinda 
ventured to remind her that she had resolved to stop there and 
change dresses before Marriott saw them, 

' No, it's no matter,' said Lady Delacour ; ' Marriott wiU' 
leave me at the last, like all the rest, — 'tis no matter.' Her 
ladyship sunk back into her former attitude ; but at^er she 
had remained silent for some minutes, she started up and 
exclaimed- 

'If i had served myself with half the zeal that I have 

I served the world, I should rot now be thus forsaken ! I have 

I sacrificed reputation, happiness, everything to the love of frolit 

— all frolic will soon be at an end with me — I am dying — an 

I I shall die unlamented by any human being. If I were to li\ 

my life over again, what a different life it should be ! — What a 
I different person / would be 
I dying.' 

' Tbis declaration was taken from llio lips of a ceiebratcd 
26 




MASKS 

t's astonishment at these words, and at the solemn 
1 which they were pronounced, was inexpressible ; 
she gued ai Lady Delacour, and then repeated the word,. — 
'dyingl' — 'Yes, dying!' said Lady Delacour. 

'But you seem to me, and to all llie world, in perfect heallli ; 
and but half an hour ago in perfect spirits,' sajd lielinda. 
I '! seem to you and to all the world, what I am not — t tell 
you I am dying,' said her ladyship, in an emphatic tone. 

Not a word more passed till they got home. Ijidy Dela- 
onit harried upstairs, bidding Belinda follow her to her dress- 
ing-room. Marriott w-as lighting the six wax candles on the 
dressing.iabie. — 'As 1 live, they have changed dresses after 
an,' said Marriott to herself, as she fixed her eyes upon Lady 
Delacour and Miss Portman. ' I'll be bmnt, if I don't make 
iiy lady remember this.' 

'Marriott, you need not wait ; I'll ring when I want you,' 
said Lady Delacour ; and taking one of the candles from the 
tsbie, she passed on hastily with Miss Porlman through her 
dressing-room, through her bedchamber, and to the door of 
^t mysterious cabinet. 

'Harriott, the key of this door,' cried she impatiently, after 
ilie had in vain attempted to open it. 

'Heavenly graciousness !' cried Marriott; ' is my lady out 
of her senses .' ' 

'The key — the key — quick, the key,' repeated Lady Dela- 
jr, in a peremptory tone. She seized it as soon as Marriott 
drew it from her pocket, and unlocked the door. 

' Had not I best put (Ae //tings to rights, my lady ?' said 
Marriott, catching fast hold of the opening door. 

' I'll ring when you are wanted, Marriott,' said Lady Dela- 
ur ; and pushing open the door with violence she rushed 
■fcrward to the middle of the room, and turning back, she 
I beckoned to Belinda to follow her — ' Come in ; what is it you 
are afraid of?' said she. Belinda went on, and the moment 
sha was in the room, Lady Delacour shut and locked the door. 
The room was rather dark, as there was no light in it except 
'what came from the candle which Lady Delacour held in her 
1h*iid, and which burned but dimly. Belinda, as she looked 
V nothing but a confusion of hnen rags ; vials, some 
prnpty, some full, and she perceived that [here was a strong 
■nell of medicines. 

27 



J 




L 



BELINDA 

Lady Delacour, whose motions were all precipitate, Ifl 
those of a person whose mind is in great agitation, 1 
from side to side of the room, without seeming to know v 
she was in search of. She then, with a species of fury, wiped 
the paint from her face, and returning to Belinda, held the 
candle so as to throw the light full upon her livid features. 
Her eyes were sunk, her cheeks hollow ; no trace of youth o, 
beauty remained on her death-like countenance, which fonnet 
a horrid contrast with her gay fantastic dress. 

' You are shocked, Belinda,' said she [ ' but as yet you have 
seen nothing— look here,' — and baring one half of her ' 
she revealed a hideous spectacle. 

Belinda sunk back into a chair ; Lady Delacour flung her- 
self on her knees before her. 

'Am I humbled, am I wretched enough?' cried she, her 
voice trembling with agony. ' Yes, pity me for what you h 
seen, and a thousand times more for that which you cannot 
see :— my mind is eaten away like my body by inctirable 
disease — inveterate remorse — remorse for a life of folly— of 
folly which has brought on me all the punishments of g 

' My husband,' continued she, and her voice suddenly 
altered from the lone of grief to that of anger — ' my husband 
hales me — no matter — I despise him. His relations hate me 
— no matter — I despise them. My own relations hate n 
no matter, 1 never wish to see them more—never shall they 
see my sorrow — never shall they hear a complaint, a sigh from 
me. There is no torture which I could not more easily enduie 
than their insulting pity. I will die, as 1 have lived, the envy 
and admiration of the worid. When I am gone, let them find 
out their mistake ; and moralise, if they will, over my grave.' 
She paused, Belinda had no power to speak. 

' Promise, swear lo me,' resumed Lady Delacour vehemently, 
seizing Belinda's hand, ' that you will never reveal to any 
mortal what you have seen and heard this night. No living 
creature suspects that Lady Delacour is dying by inches, 
except Marriott and that woman whom but a few hours ago I 
thought my nal friend, to whom I trusted every secret of i 
life, every thought of my heart. Fool ! idiot ! dupe that I v 
to trust to the friendship of a woman whom 1 knew to ^^ 
without principle : but 1 thought she had honour ; 1 thought 
she could never betray /«?.— O Harriot! Harriot I you 1 
28 



] 



'Trust to one,' said Belinda, pressing her hand, with 
the tenderness which humanity could dictate, ' uho will ncv^s 
leave ywt at the mercy of an insolent waiting- worn an — trust ^tj 

' Trust to you ! ' said Lady Delacour, looking up eagerly s.x 
Belinda's face ; ' yes — I think — I may trust to you ; for thougrJ^ 

I a niece of Mrs. Stanhope's, I have seen this day, and haw* 
seen with surprise, symptoms of artless feeling about yo*J(> 

' This was what temptKl me to open my mind to you when I 
found that I had lost the only friend — but I u'ill think no nior'* 
of that — if you have a heart, you must feel for me. — Leave irx* 
now — to-morrow you shall hear my whole history — now I atrf 
quite exhausted — ring for Marriott.' Marriott appeared witli 
a face of constrained civility and latent rage. ' Put me to bedj 
Marriott,' said Lady Delacour, with a subdued voice; 'htJ' 
first tight Miss Portman to her room — she need not — yet— se^ 
the horrid business of my toilette.' 

Belinda, when she was left aione, immediately opened he« 
shutters, and threw up the sash, to refresh herself with dt^ 
morning air. She felt excessively fatigued, and ii 
of her mind she could not think of anything distinctly. She | 
took off her masquerade dress, and went to bed in hopes 01 I 
forgetting, for a few hours, what she felt indelibly impressed* 
upon her imagination. But it was in vain that she endeavoun 
to compose herself to sleep ; her ideas were in loo great a 
painful confusion. For some time, whenever she closed li 
eyes, the face and form of Lady Deiacour, such s 
just beheld them, seemed to haunt her ; afterwards, the idei 
of Clarence Hervey, and the painful recollection of the collj 
versation she had overheard, recurred to her : the words, ' 
you think 1 don't know that Belinda Portman is a composition 
of art and affectation ? ' were fixed in her memory, 
collected with the utmost minuteness every look of contempt 
which she had seen in the faces of the young men whilst they 
spoke of Mrs. Stanhope, the match-maker. Belinda's mi 
however, was not yet sufficiently calm to reflect ; she seen 
only to live over again the preceding night. At last, 
strange motley figures which she had seen at the masqueratfl 
flitted before her eyes, and she sunk into an uneasy slumber. 



p 

LADY DELACOUR'S IMSTORV 



CHAPTER m 

-, HISTORV 



1 



Miss PORTMAN was awakened by the riiiginB of Lady Dela- 
cour's bedchamber bell. She opened her eyes wiih the con- 
fused idea that something disagreeable had happened ; and 
before she had distinctly recollected herself, Marriott came to 
her bedside, with a note from Lady Delacour : it was written 
with a pencil. 

'Delacour — my lord 11!! is to have to-day what Garricic 
sed to call a. gander feast — will you dine with me tite-A-t(ie, and 
11 write an excuse^ alias a lie, to Lady Singleton, in the form 
f a charming note — I pique myself lur FMoguence du billet 
— then we shall have the evening to ourselves. I have much 
s people usually have when they begin to talk of 
Biemselves. 

' I have taken a double dose of opium, and am not so 
horribly out of spirits as 1 was last night i so you need not be 
afraid of another scene. 

' Let me see you in my dressing-room, dear Belinda, as soon 
B you have adored 

' With head uncover'd tlic coEmetic powere. 
iut you don't paint — no matter — you will — you must — every- 
lody must, sooner or later. In the meantime, whenever you 
fant to send a note that shall not be opened by the bearer, put 
our trust neither in wafer nor wax, but twist it as I twist 
nine. You see I wish to put you in possession of some valu- 
ble secrets before I leave this world — this, by the bye, I don't, 
pon second thoughts, which arc always best, mean to do yet. 
rhere certainly were such people as Amazons — I hope you 
dn[iire them — for who could live without the admiration of 
lelinda Portman f — not Clarence Hervey assuredly — nor yet 
' T. C. H. Delacour.' 

Belinda obeyed the summons to her ladyship's dressing- 
t foand Lady Delacour with her face completely 




repaired with paint, .inil her spirits with opium. She was in 
high consultation iviih Marriott and Mrs. Franks, the inilliner, 
about the crape petticoat of her birthnight liress, which wM 
extended over a large hoop in full stale. Mrs. Franks des- 
canted long and learnedly upon festoons and loops, knots 
fi-iDges, submitting all the time everything to her ladyship^ 
better judgment. 

Marriott was sulky and silent. She opened her lips bat 
once upon the question of laburnum or no laburnum flowers. 

Against them she quoted the memoirs and authority of thi 
celebrated Mrs. Bellamy, who has a case in point to prov^- 
that ' straw colour must ever look like dirty white by candle- 
light.' Mrs. Franks, to compromise ibe matter, proposed 
gold laburnums, ' because nothing can look better by candle- 
light, or any light, than gold ;' and Lady Deiacour, who was 
afraid that the milliner's imagination, now that it had 
touched upon gold, might be led to the mlgar idea of readf 
money, suddenly broke up the conference, by exclaiming — 

' We shall be late at Phillips's exhibition of French china. 
Mrs. Franks must let us see her again to-morrow, to tako 
into consideration your court dress, my dear Belinda — " Misa 
Portman presented by Lady Deiacour " — Mrs. Franks, let 
dress, for heaven's sake, be something that will make a. fine 
paragraph :^I give you four-and-twenty hours to think of IL. 
I have done a horrid act this day,' continued she, after Mis.. 
Franks had left the room — ' absolutely written a twisted 
to Clarence Hervey, my dear — but why did I tell you that? 
Now your head will run upon the twisted note all day, instead 
of upon " The Life and Opinions of a Lady of Quality, related 
by herself.'" 

After dinner Lady Deiacour having made Belinda protest 
and blush, and blush and protest, that her head was not 
running upon the twisted note, began the history of her lifft 
and opinions in the following manner ; — 

' I do nothing by halves, my dear. 1 shall not lell you my- 
adventures as Gil Bias told his to the Count d'Olivarez — 
■7 skipping over the usefitl passages. I am no hypocrite, and 
have nothing worse than folly to conceal ; that's bad enough^ — 
' for a woman who is known to play the fool is always suspected 
of playing the devil. But I begin where I ought to end — with 
my moral, which I daresay you arc not impatient to anticipate. 



LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY 

|V 1 never read or listened to a moral at the end of a story in my 
ilife;— majiners for me, and morals for those that like them. 
I ' My dear, you will be woefully disappointed rf in my story you 
expect anything like a novel. I once beai'd a };eneral say that 
nollung was less like a review than a battle ; and I can tell / 
yw Ihit nnthlnj^ i-i j iiore unlik ea_n ovel than real lif e. Of all V 
lives, mine has been the least romantic, "No" love "in it, but a 
great deal of hate. 1 was a rich heiress — ^1 had, I believe, a 
Imndred thousand pounds, or more, and twice as many caprices; 
' was handsome and witty — or, to speak with that kind of 
circumlocution which is called humility, the world, the partial 
"O'ld, thought me a beauty and a bd esprit. Having lold you 
■"jfortune, need I add, that 1, or it, had lovers in abundance — 
rf all sorts and degrees— not to reckon those, it may be pre- 
sumed, who died of concealed passions for me ? I had sixteen 
il'darations and proposals in form ; then what in the name of 
*Onder, or of common sense — which by the bye is the greatest 
iders — what, in the name of common sense, made me 
■nany Lord Delacour ? Why, my dear, you^no, not you, but 
My girl who is not used to have a parcel of admirers, would 
'hinl; it the easiest thing in the world to make her choice ; hut 
fel her judge by what she feels when a dexterous mercer or 
linen-draper produces pretty thing after pretty thing — and this 
so becoming, and this will wear for ever, as he swears ; but 
then that's so fashionable ; — the novice stands in a charming 
perplexity, and after examining, and doubting, and tossing 
over half the goods in the shop, it's ten to one, when it begins 
get late, the young lady, in a hurry, pitches upon the very 
Ugliest and worst thing that she has seen. Just so it was with 
; and my lovers, and just so — 

' Snd was the hour, and luckless was die day, 

pitched upon Viscount Delacour for my lord and judge. 
He had just at that time lost at Newmarket more than he was 
Worth in every sense of the word ; and my fortune was the 
jnost convenient thing in the world to a man in his condition. 
•Dzenges are of sovereign use in some complaints. The heiress 
specific in some consumptions. You are surprised 
I can laugh and jest about such a melancholy thing as my 
':th Lord Delacour ; and so am I, especially when 1 
lleci all the circumstances ; for though. I bragged q1 \\ik». 




BELINDA 

n my history, there was when 1 was a goose or' 
gosling of about eighteen — just your age, Belinda, I think— ■; 
something very like love playing about my heart, or my head. 
There was a certain Henry Percival, a Clarence Hervey of a 
man— no, he had ten times the sense, begging your pardon, of 
Clarence Hervey — his misfortune, or mine, was, that he had 
too much sense — he was in love with me, but not with my 
faults ; now I, wisely considering that my faults were the 
greatest part of me, insisted upon his being in love with my 
faults. He wouldn't, or couldn't — I said wouldn't, he said 
couldn't. I had been used to see the men about me lick the 
dust at my feet, for it was gold dust. Percival made wry faces 
— Lord Delacour made none. I pointed him out to Percival 
as an example — it was an example he would not follow. I 
was provoked, and 1 married in hnpes of provoking the man I 
loved. The worst of it was, 1 did not provoke him as much 
as I expected. Six months afterwards 1 heard of his marriage 
with a very amiable woman. I hate those very amiable ivomtn. 
Poor Percival 1 I should have been a very happy woman, I 
fimcy, if I had married you — for I believe you were the only 
man who ever really loved me ; but all that is over now 1^ 
Where were we? Oh, 1 married my Lord Delacour, knowing 
him to be a fool, and believing that, for this reason, I should 
find no trouble in governing him. But what a fatal mistake! 
— a fool, of all animals in the creation, is the most difficult to 
govern. We set out in the fashionable world with a mutual 
desire lo be as extravagant as possible. Strange, that with 
this similarity of taste we could never agree ! — strange, that 
this similarity of taste was the cause of our perpetual quarrels 1. 
During the first year of our marriage, I had always the upper 
hand in these disputes, and the last word ; and 1 was content. 
Stubborn as the brute was, I thought I should in time break 
him in. From the specimens you have seen, you may guess 
that I was e\'en then a tolerable proficient in the dear art of 
tormenting. I had almost gained my point, just broken my 
lord's heart, when one fair morning 1 unluckily told his man 
Cbampfort that he knew no niore how to cut hair than a sheep- 
shearer. Champfort, who is conceit personified, took mortal 
offence at this ; and the devil, who is always at hand to turn, 
anger into malice, put it into Champfort's head to put it intt 
fiord's head, that the world thought — "J/f lady governec 
34 



LADY DELACOUK'S HISTORY 



\im." My lord took fire. They say the torpedo, the coldefl 
f cold creatures, sometimes gives out a spark — I suppose 
rhen electrified with anger. The next time that innocent I 
isisted upon my Lord Dclacour's doing or not doing — 1 
forget which— the inost reasonable thing in the world, my lord 
turns short round, and answers — "My Lady Delacotir, 1 am 
t a man to be governed by a wife." — And from that time to 
s the words, " I am not a man to be governed by a wife," 
Iiave been written in his obstinate face, as all the world who 
1 read the human countenance may see. My dear, I laugh ; 
t even in the midst of laughter there is sadness. But you 
n't know what it is — 1 hope you never may — to have an 
stinate fool for a bosom friend. 

' 1 at first flattered myself that my lord's was not an in- 
veterate, incurable malady : but from his obvious weakness, I 
might have seen that there was no hope ; for cases of obstinacy 
are always dangerous in proportion to the weakness of the 
patient. My lord's case was desperate. Kill or cure was my 
lutnane or prudent maxim. 1 determined to try the poison of 
Icalousy, by way of au alternative. I had long kept it in fielto 
s my ultimate remedy. I fixed upon a proper subjcct^a man 
vilh whom 1 thought that I could coquette lo all eternity, 
ritlioat any danger to myself — a certain Colonel Lawless, as 
ily a coxcomb as you would wish to see. The world, said 
I myself, can never be so absurd as lo suspect Lady 
>eUcaur with such a man as this, though her lord may, and 
' ; for nothing is too absurd for him to beheve. Half my 
y proved just ; that is saying a great deal for any theory. 
ly lord swallovred the remedy that I had prepared for him 
I avidity and a bonhomie which it did me good to 
iehold; my remedy operated beyond my most sanguine especta- 
K>ns. The poor man was cured of his obstinacy, and became 
tark mad with jealousy. Then indeed I had some hopes of 
am; fiat a madman can be managed, a fool cannot. In a month's 
Ime I made him quite docile. With a face longer than the 
reeping philosopher's, he came to me one morning, and assured 
ne, " he would do everything I pleased, provided I would con- 
|ilt my own honour and his, and give up Colonel Lawless." 
'"Give up 1 " — I could hardly forbear laughing at the 
1 replied, " that as long as my lord treated me 
ming respect, I had never in thought or dee d given 
35 



olde^^^^ 






1 


fflP 




L 


^ffm 


^^M__* J i^MMjUi 


M 


^l^&J 




1 


M| 




1 


o^ti--^ 


MZ 







LADV DELACOUR'S HISTOKV 



^aim just cause of complaint ; but that I \ 

be insulted, or to be kept, as I had hitherto been, in leading- 
strings by a husband." My lord, flattered s 
should be with the idea that it was possible he should be 
I suspected of keeping a wife in leading-strings, fell to making 
■ protestations — " He hoped his future conduct would prove," 
^ etc Upon this hint I gave the reins to my imaginatiotj, and 
^LfiiU drive I went into a fresh career of extravagance : if I were 
^■checked, it was an insull, and I began directly to talk of 
^^^eading- strings. This ridiculous game 1 played successfully 
^Hntough for some time, till at length, though naturally rather 
^Blow at calculation, he actually discovered that if we lived at 
^Htie rate of twenty thousand a year, and had only ten thousand 
^^h year to spend, we should in due lime have nothing left. 
^^Bliis DOtable discovery he communicated to nie one morning, 
^KAer a long preamble. When he had finished prosing, I 
^Kgreed that it was demonstrably just that he should retrench 
^■b'j expenses ; but that it was equally unjust and impossible 
^^piat I could make any reformation in my civil list : that 
^KcoDOmy was a word which I had never heard of in my life 
^^ml I married his lordship ; that, upon second recollection, II 
^Kras true I had heard of such a thing as national economy, 
^Knd that it would be a very pretty, though rather hackneyed 
^■Dpic of declamation for a maiden speech in the House of 
^^Lorda. I therefore advised him to reserve all he had to say 
^^feon the subject for the noble lord upon the woolsack ; nay, I 
^■Kry graciously added, that upon this condition I would go to 
^^Bie house myself to give his arguments and eloquence a fair 
^^Btaiing, and that I would do my best to keep myself awake. 
^B%is was all mighty playfii! and witty j but it happened that 
^^ky Lord Delacour, who never had any great taste for wit, 
^Hpuld not this unlucky morning at all relish it. Of course 1 
^Brew angry, and reminded him, with an indelicacy which his 
^^Bant of generosity justified, that an heiress, who had brought 
^^Bhundred thousand pounds into his family, had some right to 
^^bui£e herself, and that it was not my fault if elegant amuse- 
^^bents were more expensive than others. 

^B 'Then came a long criminating and recriminating chapter, 
^Ht was " My lord, your Newmarket blunders " — " My lady, 
^^Kur cursed theatricals "■ — " My lord, 1 have surely a right " — 
^^temd^rWyi J httfg aarrfy as good a T^sht." 



BELINDA 

' But, my dear Belinda, however wc ttiighi pay one another,. 
we could not pay all the world with words. In short, after 
running tlirough thousands and tens of thousands, we wo^ 
actually in distress for money. Then came selling of lands, 
and I don't know what devices for raising money, according to 
the modes of lawyers and attorneys. It was quite indifferent 
to me how they got money, provided they did get it. By 
what art these gentlemen raised money, 1 never troubld 
myself to inquire ; it might have hten the black art, fo' 
anything I know to the contrary. I know nothing of business- 
So I signed all the papers they brought to me ; and I »vas 
mighty well pleased to find, that by so easy an expedient ^ 
writing "T. C. H, Delacour," I could command money at W** 
I signed, and signed, till at last I was with all due civilW' 
infonned that my signature was no longer worth a farthii**! 
and when I came to inquire into the cause of this phenomenc:^*'^ 
I could nowise understand what my Lord Delacour's lawy' 
said to me : he was a prig, and I had not patience either 
listen lo him or to look at him. I sent for an old uncle ^ 
mine, who used to manage all my money matters before I vr^ 
married : I put the uncle and the lawyer into a room, togetli.*^ 
with their parchments, lo fight the matter out, or to come i 
right understanding if they could. The last, it seems, was 
I quite impossible. In the course of half an hour, out comes 
, my uncle in such a rage ! I never shall forget his face — aW 
' the bile in his body had gotten into it ; he had literally r 
^whites to his eyes. " My dear uncle," said I, " what is th 
inatter ? Why, you are absolutely gold stick in waiting." 
' ' " No matter what I ain, child," said the uncle ; " I'll tell 
you what you are, with all your wit— a dupe : 'tis a shame for 
a woman of your sense to be such a fool, and to know nothing 
of business ; and if you knew nothing yourself, could not you 
send for me ? " 

' " I was too ignorant to know that I know nothing," said ' 
I. But I will not trouble you with all the said I's and said 
he's, I was made to understand, that if Lord Delacour were 
to die the next day, I should live a beggar. Upon this I grew 
serious, as you may imagine. My uncle assured me that I 
had been grossly imposed upon by my lord and his lawyer j 
and that 1 had been swindled out of my senses, and out of my 
dower. I repeated all that my uncle said, very faithfully, to 



LADY DliLACOUR-S HISTORY 

dOtd Delacour; and all that either he or his lawyer coul3" 
[t by way of answer was, thai " Necessity had n 
, it must be allowed, though it might be the mother 
vas never with my lord the mother of invention, 
faving now found out that I had a good right to complain, I 
idulged myself in it most gloriously ; in short, my dear, we 
ad a comfortable family quarrel. Love quarrels are easily 
lade up, but of money quarrels there is no end. From the 
t these money quarrels commenced, I began to hale 
Drd Delacour ; before, I had only despised him. Yon can 
ive no notion to what meanness extravagance reduces men. 
have known Lord Delacour shirk, and look so shabby, and 
1 so many hes to people about a hundred guineas — a hundred 
ineas I — what do I say ? — about twenty, ten, five I Oh, my 
ir, I cannot bear the thoughts of it I 

' But I was going on to tell you, that my good uncle and all 
f relations quarrelled with me for having ruined myself, as 
y said j but I said they quarrelled with me for fear I should 
: them for some of their "viVe iraiA." Accordingly, I 
)used and ridiculed them, one and all ; and for my pains, 
1 my acquaintance said, that " Lady Delacour was a woman 
K vast deal of spirit." 

"ieved from our money embarrassments by the ' 

inely death of a rich nobleman, to whose large estate my 

", Delacour was heir-at-law. I was intoxicated with the 

He compliments of all my acquaintance, and 1 endeavoured 

I console myself for misery at home by gaiety abroad. 

nbitious of pleasing universally, I became the worst of 

ivea — a slave to the world. Not a moment of my time was 

my own disposal — not one of my actions ; I may say, not 

B of my thoughts was my own ; 1 was obliged to find things 

banning" every hour, which tired me to death ; and every 

f it was Ihe same dull round of hypocrisy and dissipationi 

nt wonder to hear me speak in this manner, Belinda — hut 

e must speak the truth sometimes ; and this is what I have 

en saying to Harriot Freke continually, for these ten years 

SI. Then why persist in the same kind of life? you say. 

hy, my dear, because 1 could not stop ; I was fit for this 

id of life and for no other : 1 could not be happy at hotiiej 

r what sort of a companion could I have made of Lord 

~ By this time lie was lired of his horse Potatoe, 

39 , 



W and 



and his horse Highflyer, and his horse Eclipse, and Goliah, 
and Jenny Grey, etc. ; and he had taken to hard drinking, 
which soon turned him, as you see, quite into a beasL 

' 1 forgot to tell you that I had three children during the 
first five years of my marriage. The first was a boy ; he was 
bom dead ; and my loid, and all his odious relations, laid the 
blame upon me, because I would not be kept prisoner half a 
year by an old mother of his, a vile Cassandra, who was 
always prophesying that my child would not be bom alive. 
My second child was a girl ; but a poor diminutive, sickly 
thing. It was the fashion at this lime for fine mothers to 
suckle their own children: so much the worse for the poor 
brats. Fine nurses never made fine children. There was a 
prodigious rout made about the matter; a vast deal of 
sentiment and sympathy, and compliments and inquiries ; 
but after ihe noveliy was over, I became heartily sick of the 
business ; and at the end of about three months my poor 
child was sick too— I don't much like to think of it — it died. 
If I had put it out to nurse, I should have been thought by 
my friends an unnatural mother ; but I should have saved its 
life. I should have bewailed the loss of the infant more, if 
Lord Delacour's rclalions and my own had not made such 
lamentations upon the occasion that I was stunned. I couldn't 
or wouldn't shed a tear ; and I left it to the old dowager to 
perform in public, as she wished, the part of chief mourner, and 
to comfort herself in private by lifting up her hands and eyes, 
and railing at me as the most insensible of mothers. All this 
time I sulfered more than she did ; but that is what she shall 
never have the satisfaction of knowing. I determined, that if 
ever I had another child, 1 would not have the barbarity to 
nurse it myself. Accordingly when my third child, a girl, was 
l)om, I sent it off immediately to the country, to a stout, 
healthy, broad-faced nurse, under whose care it grew and 
nourished ; so that at three years old, when it was brought 
hack to me, I could scarcely believe the chubby little thing 
was my own child. The same reasons which convinced me I. 
ought not to nurse my own child, determined me, i\ plus forte 
riu'son, not to undertake its education. Lord Delacour could 
i]ot bear the child, because it was not a boy. Tlic girl was 
put under the care of a governess, who plagued my heart out 
her airs and tntcassen'cs for three or four years; at the 



LADV DELACOUR'S HISTORY 

end of which time, as she turned out to be Lord Delacoui's 
1 form, I was obliged — in form— to beg she would 
leave my house : and I put her pupil into better hands, I hope, 
at a celebrated academy for young ladies. There she will, at 
any rale, be better instructed than she could be at home. I 
beg yoar pardon, my dear, for this digression on nursing and 
schooling ; but 1 wanted only to explain to you why it was 
that, ivhen I was weary of the business, I still went on in a i 
coarse of dissipation. You see I had nothing at home, either 
in [he shape of husband or children, to engage my affections. 
I believe it was this "aching void" in my heart which made 
ne, after looking abroad some time for a bosom friend, take 
such a prodigious fancy to Mrs. Freke. She was jusi then 
coming into fashion ; she struck me, the first lime I met her, 
M being downright ugly ; but there was a wild oddity in her 
counienance which made one stare at her, and she was de- 
lighted to be stared at, especially by me ; so we were mutually 
^eable to each other — 1 as starer, and she as slaree. 
Harriot Freke had, without comparison, more assurance than 
any man or woman I ever saw ; she was downright brass, but 
. -of the finest kind — Corinthian brass. She was one of the first 
\ who brought what 1 call hariint scarum manners into fashion. 
j I told you that she had assurance — impudence I should have 
called it, for no other vrord is strong enough. Such things as 
!l have heard Harriot Freke say I — You will not believe it^ 
,bul her conversation at first absolutely made me, like an old- 
ipshioned fool, wish J had a fan to play with. But, to my 
jBstonishment, ail this look surprisingly with a set of fashionable 
I young men. I found it necessary to reform my manners. If 
I had not taken heart of grace, and publicly abjured the , 
heresies o i false delicacy, I should have been excommunicated, l/ 
Lady Delacour's spnghtly elegance — allow me to speak of 
Biyself in the style in which the newspaper writers talk of me 
— Lady Delacour's sprightly elegance was but pale, not to say 
faded pink, compared with the scarlet of Mrs. Freke's dashing 
audacity. As my rival, she would on certain ground have beat 
: hollow ; it was therefore good policy to make her my 
&iend : we joined forces, and nothing could stand against us. 
3ut I have no right to give myself credit for good policy in 
Ibmiing' this intimacy; 1 really followed thi 

my imagination. There was a frantness in Hmib 



Hiui:i^|^^ 




BELINDA 

manner vhkh I mistook for artlessness of characler: i 
spoke with such unbounded freedoni on certain subjects, 
1 gave tier credit for unbounded sincerity on all subjects : 
had the talent of making the world believe tlutt virtue ti 
invulnerable by nature which disdained the common ouiw 
of art for its defence. 1, amongst others, took it for granted^ 
that the woman who could make it her sport to " touch iha 
brink of all we hate," must have a stronger head than o " 
people. I have since been convinced, however, of my mistakei^ 
I am persuaded that few can touch the brink without tumblii^ 
headlong down the precipice. Don't apply this, my dearj . 
literally, to the person of whom we were speaking ; I am 
base enough lo betray her secrets, however 1 may have b 
provoked by her treachery. Of her character and history yoa 
shall hear nothing but what is necessary for my own justifica- 
tion. The league of amity between us was scarcely ratified 
before my Lord Delacour came, with his wise remonstrating 
face, to beg me " to consider what was due to my own honon 
and his," Like the cosmogony-man in The Vicar of IVakefield, 
ho came out over and over with this cant phrase, which had 
once stood him in siead. " Do you think, my lord," said 1, 
*' that because I gave up poor Lawless to oblige you, I shall give ' 
up all common sense to suit myself to your taste ? Harriot 
Freke is visited by everybody but old dowagers and old maids: 
I am neither an old dowager nor an old maid — the consequence 
is obvious, my lord." Pertness in dialogue, my dear, often 
succeeds better with my lord than wit : I therefore saved the 
sterling gold, and bestowed upon him nothing but counters. 
I tell you this to save the credit of my taste and judgment 

' But to return to my friendship for Harriot Freke. I, d 
course, repeated to her every word which had passed between 
my husband and me. She 'out-heroded Herod'' upon the 
occasion ; and laughed so much at what she called my folly 
m pleading guilty in the Lawless cause, that 1 was downright 
ashamed of myself, and, purely to prove my innocence, I deter- 
mined, upon the first convenient opportunity, to renew n 
intimacy with the colonel. The opportunity which I ; 
ardently desired of redeeming my independence was not long 
wanting. Lawless, as my stars (which you know are always 
more in fault than ourselves) would have it, returned jusl at 

^titne from the continent, where he had been with I' 
42 



LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY 

fegimeni ; lie retumed with a wound across his forehead and 

a black fillet, which made him took something n 
hero, and ten times more like a coxcomb, than ever. He was 
at all events ; and amongst other ladies, Mrs. 
odious Mrs, Luttridge ! smiled upon him. The 
iwe\'er, had taste enough to know the difference 
Dile and smile : he laid himself and his laurels at 
. I^ and I carried him and them about in triumph, 
^erever I went, especially to Mrs. Luttridge's, envy and 
^ndal joined hands to attack me, and 1 heard wondering 
^d whispering wherever 1 went. I had no object in view but 
'o provoke my husband ; therefore, conscious of the purity of 
"*!■ intentions, it was my delight to brave the opinion of the 
'I'Ondering world. I gave myself no concern about the effect 
^y coquetry might have upon the object of this flirtation. 
**oor Lawless ! Heart, I took it for granted, he had none ; 
*lOw should a coxcomb come by a heart ? Vanity I knew he 
'^ad in abundance, but this gave me no alarm, as I thought 
ttiat if it should ever make him forget himself, I mean forget 
■Vhat was due to me, I could, by one flash of my wit, strike 
him to the earth, or blast him for ever. One night we had 
been together at Mrs. Luttridge's ; — she, amongst other good 
things, kept a faro bank, and, I am convinced, cheated. Be 
that as it may, I lost an immensity of money, and it was my 
pride to losewith as much gaiety as anybody else could win ; 
appeared to be, in uncommonly high spirits, and 
Lawless had his share of my good humour. We left Mrs. 
Luttridge's together early, about half-past one. As the colonel 
was going to hand me to my carriage, a smart-looking young 
as 1 thought, came up close to the coach door, and stared 
ill in the face : I was not a woman to be disconcerted at 
such a thing as this, but I really was startled when the young 
IfeUow jtmiped into the carriage after me; 1 thought he was 
mad : 1 had only courage enough to scream. Lawless seized 
hold of the intruder to drag him out, and out he dragged the 
youth, exclaiming, in a high tone, "What is the meaning of 
all this, sir ? Who the devil are >'ou ? My name's Lawless : 
who the devil are you ? " The answer to this was a convulsion 
cf laughter. By the laugh I knew it to be Harriot Freke, 
Who am 1? only a Freke!" cried she: "shake hands." I 
gave her my hand, into the carriage she sprang, and desired 
43 i 



BELINDA 

the colonel to follow her : Lawless laughed, we all laugl 
and drove away. "Where do you think I've been?" 
Harriot ; " in the gallery of the House of Commons 
squeezed to death these four hours ; but I swore 
Sheridan's speech to-night, and I did ; betted Jifiy guineas I 
would with Mrs. Luttridge, and have won. Fun and Frekt 
for ever, huzza ! " Harriot was mad with spirits, and so noisy 
and unmanageable, that, as 1 told her, I was sure she wis 
drunk. Lawless, in his silly way, laughed incessantly, and 1 
was so taken up with her oddities, that, for some time, I did 
not perceive we were going the Lord knows where ; liU, at 
last, when the 'lanim of Harriot's voice ceased for an instant, 
I was struck with the strange sound of the carriage. " When 
are we ? not upon the stones, I'm sure," said I ; and putting 
my head out of the window, 1 saw we were beyond the 
turnpike. "The coachman's drunk as well as you, Harriot," 
said I ; and I was going to pull the string to stop him, but 
Harriot had hold of it, " The man is going very right," said 
she ; " I've told him where to go. Now don't fancy that 
Lawless and I are going to run away with you. All this U 
unnecessary nowadays, thank God ! " To this 1 agreed, and 
laughed for fear of being ridiculous. " Guess where you are 
going," said Harriot, I guessed and guessed, but cotild not 
guess right ; and my merry companions were infinitely diverted 
with my perplexity and impatience, more especially as, I 
believe, in spite of all my efforts, I grew rather graver than 
usual. We went on to the end of Sloane Street, and quite out 
of town ; at last we stopped. It was dark ; the footman'i 
flambeau was out ; I could only just see by the lamps that we 
were at the door of a lone, odd-looking house. Tlie house 
door opened, and an old woman appeared with a lantern in her 

' " Where is this farce, or freak, or whatever you call it, to 
end ? " said I, as Harriot pulled me into the dark passage alonj 
with her. 

'Alas ! my dear Belinda,' said Lady Delacour, pausing, 
little foresaw where or how it was to end. But 1 am not cc 
yet to the tragical part of my story, and as long as I can Liugb 
I will. As the old woman and her miserable light 
before us, I could almost have thought of Sir Berlrand, or of 
r» horrificaiions, J but I heard Lawless, who 
44 



I 

"1 

1 



LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY 

old help laughing at Ihe wrong time, bursting behind me, 

3 sense of his own superiority. 

" Now you will learn your destiny. Lady Deiacour ! " said 

riol, in a solensn lone. 

" Ves I from the celebrated Mrs. W , ihe modern 

2r in art magic," said I, laughing, "for, now I guess 
lercabouts 1 am. Colonel Lawless's laugh broke the spell 
t Freke, never whilst you live expect to succeed in the 
Mime." Harriot swore at the colonel for the veriest s^oit- 
irt she had ever seen, and she whispered lo me — "The 
ison he laughs is because he is afraid of our suspecting the 
ith of him, that he believes tout de bon in conjuration, and 
! devil, and all that." The old woman, whose cue I found 
£ to be dumb, opened a door at (he top of a narrow stair- 
se, and pointing to a tall figure, completely enveloped in fur, 
t us to our fate, I will not trouble you with a pompous d& 
ription of all the mummery of the scene, my deur, as 1 
spair of being able to frighten you out of your wits. I should 
ve been downright angry with Harriot Freke for bringing me 
such a place, but that 1 knew women of the first fashion had 
with Mrs. W before us— some in sober sadness, 

: by way of frolic. So as there was no fear of being 
jculous, there was no shame, you know, and my conscience 
i quite at ease. Harriot had no conscience, so she was 
rays at ease ; and never more so than in male attire, which 
! had been told became her particularly. She supported 
t character of a young rake with such spirit and truths that 
am sure no common conjuror could have discovered any- 
ng feminine about her. She rattled on with a set of 
Qsensical questions ; and among other things she asked, 
n will Lady Deiacour marry again after her lord's 
ath?" 

' " She wiE never marry after her lord's death," answered 
) oracle. " Then she will marry during his lifetime," said 
trtioL "True," answered the oracle. Colonel Lawless 
ighed ; I was angry ; and the colonel would have been 
iel, for he was a gentleman, but there was no such thing as 
uioging Mrs. Freke, who, though she had laid aside the 
tdesty of her own sex, had not acquired the decency of the 
ler. "Who is to be Lady Delacour's second husband?" 
' I oflend any of the present company by 
45 



BELINDA 



1 

tphedH 
ughll 



naming the man." "Her second husband I cannot name,*« 
replied ihe oracle, "but let her beware of a Lawless lovef.'j 
Mrs. Freke and Colonel Lawless, encouraged by her, triumphw 
over me without mercy — 1 may say, without shanie I 
my dear, 1 am in a hurry to have done with all this : though t 
" dated upon folly," yet I was terrified at the thoughts of any- 
thing worse. The idea of a divorce, the public brand of A 
shamefiil life, shocked me in spite of all my real and ail my 
assumed levity. Oh that I had, at this instant, dared to iti 
myself.' But my fear of ridicule was greater than my fear of 
vice. " Bless me, my dear Lady Delacout," whispered Harriot, 
as we left this house, " what can make you in such a desperate, 
hurry to get home ? You gape and fidget : one would think 
you had never sat up a night before in your life. I verilj 
believe you are afraid to trust yourself with us. Which of us' 
are you afraid of. Lawless, or me, or yourself ?" There was » 
tone of contempt in the last words which piqued me to th?' 
quick ; and however strange it may seem, I was now anxioiS 
only to convince Harriot that I was not afraid of myselt^ 
False shame made me act as if I had no shame. You would 
not suspect me of knowing anything of false shame, but depend 
upon it, my dear, many, who appear to have as much assui^ 
ance as I have, are secretly its slaves. I moralise, because I 
am come to a part of my story which 1 should almost be glad 
to omit ; but I promised you that there should be no sins (^ 
omission. It was light, but not broad daylight, when we got 
to Knightsbridge. Lawless, encouraged (for I cannot deny ilj 
by the levity of my manner, as well as of Harriot's, was in 
higher and more familiar spirits than I ever saw him. Mrst, 
Freke desired me to set her down at her sister's, who lived i» 
Grosveaor Place t I did so, and I beg you to believe that I' 
was in an agony to get rid of my colonel at the same timej. 
but you know I could not, before Harriot Freke, absolutely say- 
to him, " Get out 1 " Indeed, to tell things as they were, it 
was scarcely possible to guess by my manner that I was under; 
any anxiety, I acted my part so well, or so ill. As Harriot 
Freke jumped out of the coach, a cock crowed in the area ol 
her sister's house ; " There I " cried Harriot, " do you hear the 
cock crow. Lady Delacour? Now it's to be hoped your fear 
of goblins is over, else I would not be so cruel as to leave the 
pretty dear all alone." "All alone I" answered 1: "youp 

46 I 



LAUY DELACOUR'S HISTORY 

nd Ihe colonel is much obliged to you for inakiog nobcidy 
lim." "My friend the colonel," whispered Harriot, leaning 
I her bold masculine aims on the coach door — " my friend 
colonel is much obliged to me, I'm sure, for remembering 
t the cunning or the knowing woman told us just now ; 
when I said I left you alone, I was not guilty of a bull, was 
I had the grace to be heaitlly ashamed of this speech, 
d called out, in utter confusion, " To Berkley Square. But 
re shall I set you down, colonel ? Harriot, good-morning : 
't forget you are in man's clothes." I did not dare to repeat 
question of " where shall 1 set you down, colonel ? " at ihis 
;, because Harriot gave me such an arch, sneering look, 
much as to say, "Still afraid of yourself!" We drove on ; 
1 persuaded that the confusion which, in spite of all my 
I, broke through my affected levity, encouraged Lawless, 
was naturally a coxcomb and a fool, to believe that I was 
lily his, else he never could have been so insolent. In 
trt, my dear, before we had got through the turnpike gate, I 
B downright obliged to say to him, " Get out 1 " which 1 did 
"i a degree of indignation that quite astonished him. He 
ttercd something about ladies knowing their minds ; and I 
I, though I went off with flying colours, I secretly blamed 
:e]f as much as 1 did him, and I blamed Harriot more than 
d either. I sent for her the next day, as soon as 1 could, 
uinsult her. Slie expressed such astonishment, and so 
■it concern at this catastrophe of our night's frolic, and 
med herself with so many oaths, and execrated Lawless for 
comb, BO much to the ease and satisfaction of my con- 
;e, that I was confirmed in my good opinion of her, and 
i felt for her the most lively affection and esteem [ for . 
ft, with me esteem ever followed affection, instead of / l/ 
ction following esteem. Woe be lo all who in morals pre- 
lerously put the cart before the horse 1 But to proceed 
. my history : all fashionable historians stop to make 
cttons, supposing that no one else can have the sense to 
« any. My eslsemed friend agreed with me that it would 
liestfor al! parties concerned to hush up this business ; that 
^wless was going out of town in a few days, to be elected 
R borough, we should get rid of him in the best way possible, 
"more last words;" that lie had been punished 
jr«n the spot, and tiiat to punish twice for the a 
47 



BELINDA 

offence, once in private and once in public, would be contraiy 
10 the laws of Englishmen and Englishwomen, and in my caM 
would be contrary to the evident dictates of prudence, bccanse 
1 could not complain without calling upon Lord Dclacour ti 
call Lawless out ; this I could not do without acknowledginfr 
that his lordship had been in the right, in warning me abcwt 
his honour and my own, which old phrase I dreaded to hear 
for the ninety-ninth time ; besides, Lord Delacour was the last 
man in the world I should have chosen for my knight, thou^ 
unluckily he was my lord ; besides, all things considered, f 
thought the whole story might not tell so well in the world tet 
me, tell it which way I would ; we therefore agreed that it 
would be most expedient to hold our tongues. We took it 
granted that Lawless would hold his, and as for my people, the^ 
knew nothing, 1 thought, or if they did, I was sure of them. 
How the thing got abroad I could not at the time conceive, 
though now I am well acquainted with the baseness and 
treachery of the woman I called my friend. The affair was. 
known and talked of everywhere the next day, and the story 
was told especially al odious Mrs. Lullridge's, with such e 
gerations as dro\e me almost mad. 1 was enraged, inconc 
ably enraged with Lawless, from whom 1 imagined the reports 
originated. 

' 1 was venting my indignation against him in a roon 
of company, where I had just made my story good, when a. 
gentleman, to whom I was a stranger, came in breathless, with/ 
the news that Colonel Lawless was killed in a duel by Lord 
Delacour ; that they were carrying him home to his mother's^ 
and that the body was just going by the door. The coinpan}C 
all crowded to the windows immediately, and I was lefl stand- 
/ ing alone till 1 could stand no longer. What was said c 
^ I done afier this I do not remember ; I only know that when t 
came to myself, the most dreadful sensation 1 ever experienced 
_ was the certainty that 1 had the blood of a fellow-creature IS 

L imswer for.^ — I wonder,' said Lady Delacour, breaking ofT at 

H this part of her history, and rising suddenly, ' I wonder what is 

I become of Marriott I — surely it is time for me to have my dropsJ 

I Miss Portman, have the goodness to ring, for I must have 

H something immediately.' Belinda was terrified at the wildnessf 

H of her manner. Lady Delacour became more composed, t 

H put more constraint upon herself, at the sight of Marriot 

■ 



BELINDA 

Marriott brought from the closet in her lady's room the drops, 
which Lady Delacour swallowed with precipitation. Then ^ 
ordered coffee, and afterward chasse-cafiy and at last, turning 
to Belinda, with a forced smile, she said — 

<Now shall the Princess Scheherazade go on with her 
story ? ' 



CHAPTER IV 

LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 

< I LEFT off with the true skill of a good story-teller, at the 
most interesting part — a duel ; and yet duels are so common 
now that they are really vulgar incidents. 

*But we think that a duel concerning ourselves must be 
more extraordinary than any other. We hear of men being 
shot in duels about nothing every day, so it is really a weak- 
ness in me to think so much about poor Lawless's death, as 
Harriot Freke said to me at the time. She expected to see 
.me show sorrow in public j but very fortunately for me, she 
roused my pride, which was always stronger than my reason; 
land I behaved myself upon the occasion as became a fine 
I lady. There were some things, however, I could hardly 
'Stand. You must know that Lawless, fool and coxcomb as he 
was, had some magnanimity, and showed it — as some people do 
from whom it is least expected — on his death-bed. The last 
words he said were, " Lady Delacour is innocent — I chaige 
you, don't prosecute Lord Delacour." This he said to his 
mother, who, to complete my misery, is one of the most 
respectable women in England, and was most desperately fond 
of Lawless, who was an only son. She never has recovered 
his loss. Do you remember asking me who a tall elderly lady 
in mourning was, that you saw getting into her carriage one 
day, at South Audley Street chapel, as we passed by in oar 
way to the park? That was Lady Lawless: I believe I 
didn't answer you at the time. I meet her every now and th^ 
— to me a spectre of dismay. But, as Harriot Freke said, 
certainly such a man as poor Lawless was a useless being- in 

SO 




LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 

, however he may be regretied by a doling mother. 
; things in a philosophical light, if we can. > I 
Bnot have suffered half as much as I did if he had been 
bof a stronger understanding ; but he was a, poor, vain, wealc 
I ottlure, that I actually drew on and duped with my own 
coquetry, whilst all the time I was endeavouring only to plague 
Lord Delacour. I was punished enough by the airs his lord- 
ship doubly gave himself, upon the strength of his valour and 
tis judgment — they roused me completely ; and I blamed him 
W'th all my mighi, and got an enonnous party of my friends, I 
mean my acquaintance, to run him down full cry, for having 
foug-ht for me. It was absurd — it was rash — it was want of 
proper confidence in his wife ; tAus we said. Lord Delacour 
had his partisans, it is true ; amongst whom the loudest was 
odious Mrs. Lutlridge. I embraced the first opportunity I 
;t with of retaliation. You must know that Mrs. Luttridge, 
1 besides being a great faro-player, was a great dabbler in 
politics ; for she was almost as fond of power as of money : she 
talked loud and fluently, and had, somehow or other, partly 
by intriguing, parly by relationship, connected herself with 
(ome of the leading men in parliament. There was to be a 
contested election in our county : Mr. Luttridge had a good 
; there next to Lord Delacour's, and being of an ancient 
&mily, and keeping a good table, the Luttridges were popular 
At the first news of an election, out comes a flaming 
advertisement from Mr. Luttridge; away posted Mrs. Lutt- 
ridge to begin her canvass, and away posted Lady Delacour 
after her, to canvass for a cousin of Harriot Frcke. This 
icene for me ; but I piqued myself on the 
rersalility of my talents, and 1 laid myself out to please all the 
Iquires, and, what was more difllicult, all the squires' ladies, in 
was ambitious to have it said of me, " that 
[ was the finest figure that ever appeared upon a i 

Oh, ye shiroians, how hard did I work to obtain your 

All that the combined force of vanity and hatred 
X)uld inspire I performed, and with success. You have but 
isily, I presume, to know how many hogsheads of port 
rent down the throat of John Bull, or how many hecatombs 
■ere offered up to the genius of English liberty. My hatred 
) Mrs. Ltitiridge was, of course, called love of my country. 
I.ady Delacour was deified by all true patriots ■, a.wd, UcWlVj, a. 



J 



BELINDA 

Iianctsome legacy left me for my spirit, by an uncle who died I 
six weeks before the election, enabled us to sustain the expense I 
of my apotheosis. The day of election came ; Harriot Freka | 
and 1 made our appearance on the hustings, dressed it 
splendid party uniforms ; and before us our knights and squitts I 




held two enormous panniers full of ribands and cockadec^ 
which we distributed with a grace that won all hearts, if not al 
votes. Mrs. Luttridge thought the panniers would carry t 
election j and forthwith she sent off an express for a pair 
panniers twice as large as ours. I took out my pencil, ant 



LADV DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 

a caricature of tin ass and fur panniers; wrote an 
ligram at the bottom of it j and the epigram and the carica- 

: were soon in the hands of half sliire. The verges 

e as bad as impromptus usually are, and the drawing 

not much better than the writing ; but the goodwill of 

critics supplied all my deficiencies ; and never was more 

bestowed upon the pen of Burke, or the pencil of 

;ynolds, than was lavished upon me by my honest friends. 

y dear Belinda, if you will not quarrel with the quality, you 

ly have what quantity of praise you please,^ Mrs. Luttridge, 

I hoped and expected, was beyond me&sure enraged at the 
h; of the caricature and epigram. She was, besides being 

gamester and a politician — what do you think f — an excellent 

I I She wished, she said, to be a man, that she might be 
lified to take proper notice of my conduct. The same kind 

lends who showed her my epigram repeated to me her 
n upon it. Harriot Freke was at my elbow, and 
Fered to take any message I might think proper to Mis. 
ittridge. I scarcely thought her in earnest till she added, , 
It the only way left nowadays for a -voman to distinguish jl 
irseif was by spirit ; as everything else was grown " cheaprt' 
d vulgar in the eyes of men ; " that she knew one of the 
iverest young men in England, and a man of fashion into 
E bargain, who was just going to publish a treatise " Upon 
E Propriety and Necessity of Female Duelling;" and that he 
id demonstrated, beyond a possibility of doubt, that civilised 
;iety could not exist half a century longer without this 
icessary improvement. 1 had prodigious deference for the 
;sculine superiority, as I thought it, of Harriot's under- 
iiding, She was a philosopher, and a fine lady — 1 was 
ly a fine lady ; I had never fired a pistol in my life, and 1 
s a little inclined to cowardice ; but Harriot offered to bet 
ly wager upon the steadiness of my hand, and assured me 
It I should charm all beholders in male attire In short, as 
' second, if I would furnish her with proper credentials, she 
ore she would undertake to fiimish me with clothes, and 
tols, and courage, and everything 1 wanted. I sat dowii to 
a my challenge. When 1 was writing it, my hand did not 
mblc much—-nxiX. more than my Lord Delacour's always 
Bs. The challenge was very prettily worded ; I believe 1 



'"Lady Delacour presenls her compliments lo Mrs. Luit- 

ridge — she is informed that Mrs. L wishes she were a man, 

Ihat she might be qualified to take proper notice of Lady 

U 's conduct. Lady Uclacour begs leave to assure Mrs. 

Luttridge, that though she has the misfortune to be a woman, 
she b willing to account for her conduct in any niaoner Mrs. 

L may think proper, and at any hour and place she may 

appoint. Lady D leaves the choice of the weapons lo 

Mrs. L . Mrs. H. Freke, who has the honour of present- 
ing this note, is Lady Delacour's_yWs«rfupon this occasion." j 

' I cannot repeat Mrs. Luttridge's answer ; all I know is W 
was not half as neatly worded as my note ; but the essential 
part of it was, that she accepted my challenge luith pUasun, 
and should do herself the honour of meeting me at six o'clock 
ihe next morning ; that Miss Honour O'Grady would be her 
friend upon the occasion ; and that pistols were the weapons 
she preferred. The place of appointment was behind an old 

bam, about two miles from the town of . The hour 

was fixed to be early in the morning, to prevent all probability 
of interruption. In the evening, Harriot and 1 rode to the 
ground. There were several bullets sticking in the posts of 
the barn : this was the place where Mrs. Luttridge had been 
accustomed to exercise herself in firing at a mark. I own my 
courage " oozed out " a little at this sight. The Duke de la 
RochefoQcauIt, I believe, said tmly, that " many would be 

I cowards if they dared." There seemed to me to be no physical 
and less moral necessity for my fighting this duel ; but I did 
not venture to reason on a point of honour with ray spirited 
second. I bravadoed to Harriot most magnanimously ; but at 
night, when Marriott was undressing me, I could not forbear 
giving her a hint, which I thought might tend to preserve the 
king's peace, and the peace of the county. I went to tha 
ground in the morning in good spirits, and with a safe 
conscience. Harriot was in admiration of my "hon-port"j 
and, to do her justice, she conducted herself with great cool- 
ness upon the occasion ; but then it may be observed, thai it 
was 1 who was lo stand fire, and not she. I thought of poor 
Lawless a billion of times, at least, as we were going to 
ground ; and I had my presentiments, and my confused not 
of poetic justice : but poetic justice, and all other sorts of 
justice, went clear out of my head, when I saw my antagonisl 
S4 



LADV DELACOUR'S IIISTORV CONTINUED 



id her friend, actually pistol in hand, waiting for as] 
e both in men's clothes. I secretly called upon Ihe 
. f Marriott with fervency, and 1 looked round with more 
j inxiety than ever Bluebeard's wife, or " Anne, sister Anne 1 " 
y looked to see if anybody was coming : nothing was to be seen 
n hit the grass blown by the wind^no Marriolt to throw herself 
I m/e i^iore'e between the combatants— no peace-officers to bind 
I over to our good behaviour — no deliverance at hand ; and 
Irs. Luttridge, by all the laws of honour, as challenged, was 
I have the lirsc shot. Oh, those laws of honour 1 I was upon 
ie point of making an apology, in spite of them all, when, to 
ly inexpressible joy, I was relieved from the dreadful alterna- 
tive of being shot through the head, or of becoming a laughing- 
stock for life, by an incident, less heroic, I'll grant you, than 
Opportune. But you shall have the whole scene, as well as 1 
can recollect it ; as -well — for those who for the first lime go 
iolo a field of battle do not, as I am credibly informed and in- 
tamally persuaded, always find the clearness of their memories 
improved by the novelty of their situation. Mrs. Luttridge, 
irhen we came up, was leaning, with a truly martial negligence, 
Igainst the wall of the barn, with her pistol, as I told you, in 
iwr hand. She spoke not a word; but her second, Miss 
Honour O'Crady, advanced towards us immediately, and, 
taking off her hat very manfully, addressed herself to my 
lecond, — "Mistress Harriot Freke, 1 presume, if I mistake 
Wt." Harriot bowed slightly, and answered, "Miss Honour 
O'Crady, I presume, if I mistake not." "The same, at your 
iervice," replied Miss Honour. " I have a few words to 
iuggest that may save a great deal of noise, and bloodshed, 
and ill-will." "As to noise," said Harriot, "it is a thing in 
irbich I delight, therefore I beg that mayn't be spared on my 
bccouni ; as to bloodshed, I beg that may not be spared on 
jLady Delacour's account, for her honour, I am sure, is dearer 
io her than her blood ; and, as to ill-will, I should be concerned 
to have that saved on Mrs. Luttridge's account, as we all know 
it is a thing in which she delights, even more than I do in 
loise, or Lady Delacour in blood ; but pray proceed, Miss 
9onour CGrady ; you have a few words to suggest." " Yes, 
[ would willingly observe, as it is my duly to my principal," 
■dd Honour, " that one who is compelled to fire her pistol with 
BT left hand, though ever so good a shot naturally, 

I 55 



i^^ 



byn^l 



BELINDA 

means on a footing with one who has the advantage of her 
right hand." Harriot rubbed my pistol with the sleeve of her 
coat, and I, recovering my wit with my hopes of being witty 
with impunity, answered, " Unquestionably, left-handed wisdom 
and left-handed courage are neither of them the very best of 
their kinds ; but we must content ourselves with them if we 
can have no other." "That if^^ cried Honour CGrady, "is 
not, like most of the family of the ifs^ a peace-maker. My 
Lady Delacour, I was going to observe that my principal has 
met with an unfortunate accident, in the shape of a whitlow on 
the fore-finger of her right hand, which incapacitates her from 
drawing a trigger ; but I am at your service, ladies, either of 
you, that can't put up with a disappointment with good, humour." 
I never, during the whole course of my existence, was more 
disposed to bear a disappointment with good humour, to prove 
that I was incapable of bearing malice ; and to oblige the 
seconds, for form's sake, I agreed that we should take our 
ground, and fire our pistols into the air. Mrs. Luttridge, with 
her left-handed wisdom, fired first ; and I, with great magna- 
nimity, followed her example. I must do my adversary's 
second. Miss Honour O' Grady, the justice to observe, that in 
this whole affair she conducted herself not only with the spirit, 
but with the good nature and generosity characteristic of her 
nation. We met enemies, and parted friends. 
* * Life is a tragicomedy ! Though the critics will allow of 
no such thing in their books, it is a true representation of what 
passes in the world ; and of all lives mine has been the most 
grotesque mixture, or alternation, I should say, of tragedy and 
comedy. All this is apropos to something I have not told you 
yet. This comic duel ended tragically for me. " How ? " 
you say. Why, 'tis clear that I was not shot through the 
head ; but it would have been better, a hundred times better 
\ for me, if I had ; I should have been spared, in this life at 
( least, the torments of the damned. I was not used to priming 
1 and loading : my pistol was overcharged : when I fired, it re- 
.' coiled, and I received a blow on my breast, the consequences 
of which you have seen. 

* The pain was nothing at the moment compared with what 
I have since experienced : but I will not complain till I cannot 
avoid it. I had not, at the time I received the blow, much 
leisure for lamentation ; for I had scarcely discharged my pistol 

S6 



LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 



e beard a loud shout on the other side of the barn, 
■1 crowd of town's people, country people, and haymakers, • 
fCuring down the lane towards us, with rakes and pitchforks 
I their hands. An English mob is really a formidable thi 
Marriott had mismanaged her business most strangely 
liad, indeed, spread a report of a duel — a female duel ; but the 
atulored sense of propriety amongst these rustics was so 
bocked at Ihe idea of a duel fought by women in mot's i/a/Aes, 
irily believe they would have thrown us into the river 
rhh all their hearts. Stupid blockheads I I am convinced that 
}ey would not have been half so much scandalised if we had 
Dxed in petticoats. The want of these petticoats had nearly 
hjved our destruction, or at least our disgrace : a peeress after 
Bing ducked, could never have held her head above water 
) with any grace. The mob had just closed round us, 
rying, " Shame I shame ! shame ! — duck 'em — duck 'em— 
atle or simple — duck 'em — duck 'em "—when iheir attention 
s suddenly turned towards a pierson who was driving up the 
le a large herd of squeaking, grunting pigs. The person 
s clad in splendid regimentals, and he was aimed with a 
ig pole, to the end of which hung a bladder, and his pigs 
re frightened, and they ran squeaking from one side of the 
id to the other ; and the pig-driver in regimentals, in the 
lidst of the noise, could not without difficulty make his voice 
>3rd ; but at last he was understood to say, that a bet of a 
nndred guineas depended upon his being able to keep these 
igs ahead of a flock of turkeys that were following them ; and 
e begged the mob to give him and his pigs fair play. At the 
s of this wager, and at the sight of the gentleman turned 
ig-driver, the mob were in raptures ; and at the sound of his 
pice, Harriot Freke immediately exclaimed, "Clarence Hervey! 
y all that's lucky I " ' 

'Clarence Herveyl' interrupted Belinda. 'Clarence Hervey, 
y dear,' said Lady Delacour, coolly : ' he can do everything, 
Du know, even drive pigs, better than anybody else 1 — but let 
e go on. 
' Harriot Frcke shouted in a stentorian voice, which actually 
ide your pig-driver start : she explained to him in French 
J distress, and the cause of it. Clarence was, as I suppose 
I have discovered long ago, " thai cleverest young man in 
(gland who bad written on the propriety and necessity of 
57 ~ 



forks 

liing. I 





■^^ 


^^SsS 


^ ^ 1 




si 


1 ^^P 


^^nw^l 


\m 


^m 


^^ 


-'M^r^ J 


H ^*™.^„,^^i,„, 


■Ac la«: « &,ye ^-i^-Z./waimj, ^uHlmsfi^ H 



1 



Bfind 



LADY DELACOUR'S IIISTOKV CONTINUED 

female duelling." He answered Harriot in French — "To at- 
tempt your rescue by force would be vain ; but I will do better, 
I will make a diversion in your favour." Immediately our 
hero, addressing himself to the sturdy fellow who held me in 
custody, exclaimed, " Huiza, my boys ! Old England for ever ! 
Yonder comes a Frenchman with a flock of turkeys. My pigs 
will beat them, for a hundred guineas, Old England for ever, 

'As he spoke, Ihe French officer, with whom Clarence 
Hcrvey had laid the wager, appeared at the turn of the lane — 
his turkeys half flying— half hobbling up the road before him. 
Frenchman waved a red streamer over the heads of his 
— ^Clarence shook a pole, from the top of which hung a 
idder full of beans. The pigs grunted, the turkeys gobbled, 
id the mob shouted t eager for the fame of Old England, the 
crowd followed Clarence with !oud acclamations. The French 
officer was followed with groans and hisses. So great was 
tlie confusion, and so great the zeal of the patriots, that even 
the pleasure of ducking the female duellists was forgotten in 
the general enthusiasm. All eyes and all hearts were intent 
upon the race ; and now the turkeys got foremost, and now the 
pigs. But when we came within sight of the horscpond, I 
heard one man cry, " Don't forget the ducking." How ! 
trembled I but our knight shouted to his followers — " For the 
love of Old England, my brave boys, keep between my pigs 
and Ihe pond ; — if our pigs see the water, they'll run lo it, and 
England's undone." 

'The whole fury of the mob was by this speech conducted 

iway from us. " On, on, my boys, into town, to the market- 

itace : whoever gains the market-place first wins the day." 

general shook the rattling bladder in triumph over the 

leads of " the swinish multitude," and we followed in perfect 

;urity in his train into the town. 

Men, women, and children, crowded to the windows and 

Retreat into the first place you can," whispered 

ilarence to us : we were close to him. Harriot Ferke pushed 

way into a milliner's shop : I could not get in after her, 

a frightened pig turned back suddenly, and almost threw 

down. Clarence Hervey caught me, and favoured my 

the shop. But poor Clarence lost his bet by his 

"WMst hx was mancctivring in my favonr, tha 



J 



BELINDA 

rkvyt got several yards ahead of the pigs, and rekching 
markei-place first, won tbe race. 

'The French oiRcer found great difficulty in getting 
out of the town ; but Clarence represented to the mob ihat 
was a prisoner on his parole, and that it would be 
Englishmen to insult a prisoner. So he got ofT n-ithout 
pelted, and they both returned in safety to the house 

General Y , where they were to dine, and where 

entertained a large party of officers with tbe account of this 
adventure. 

' Mrs. Freke and I rejoiced in our escape, and we thougbt 
that the whole business was now over; but in this we were 
mistaken. The news of our duel, which had spread in the 
town, raised such an uproar as had never been heard, even at 
the noisiest election. Would you believe it ?— The fate of the 
election turned upon this duel. The common people, one and 
all, declared that they would not vote either for Mr. Luttridge 
or Mr. Freke, because as /ifw^-hut. 1 need not repeat all the 
platitudes that they said. In short, neither ribands nor braDdf 
could bring them to reason. With true English pigheadednes\ 
they went every man of them and polled for an independent 
candidate of their own choosing, whose wife, forsooth, was 
proper behaved woman. 

' The only thing I had to console me for all this wi 
Clarence Herve/s opinion that I looked better in m; 
than my friend Harriot Freke. Clarence was charmed wit 
my spirit and grace ; but he had not leisure at that time I 
attach himself seriously to me, or to anything. He was the 
/about nineteen or twenty: he was all vivacity, presumptira 
{ and paradox ; he was enthusiastic in support of his opiniona'': 
but he was at the same time the most candid man ir 
■ for there was no set of tenets which could be called exclusively 
his ; he adopted in liberal rotation every possible absun^ty 
and, to do him justice, defended each in its turn with the mos 
ingenious arguments that could be devised, and with a flow 
words which charmed the ear, if not the sense. His essay i 
female duelling was a most extraordinary performance j it w 
handed about in manuscript tjli it was worn out ; he talked 
publishing it, and dedicating it to me. However, this schema 
amongst a million of others, he talked of, but never put ii 
Luckily for him, many of his follies evaporated 
60 



LADY DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 



1 



Mds. I saw but little either of him or hh follies at this time. 
P I know about him is, that after he had lost his bet of a 
Irdred gtiineas, as a pig-driver, by his knight- errantry in 
bcuing the female duellists from a mob, he wrote a very 
larming copy of verses upon the occasion ; and that he was 
) much provoked by the stupidity of some of his brother 
fficers who could not understand the verses, that he took a 
pisgust to the army, and sold his commission. He set out upon 
; continent, and I returned with Harriot Freke lo 
lOadon, and forgot the existence of such a person as Clarence^ 
lervey for three or four years. Unless people can be of some, 
5^ or unless they are actually present, let them be ever sti 
reeable or meritorious, we are very apt lo forget them. One 
jws strangely selfish by living in the world ; 'tis a perfect 
re for romantic notions of gratitude, and love, and so forth. 
r I had lived in the country in an old manor-house, Clarence 
lervey would have doubtless reigned paramount in my i 

nagioation as the deliverer of my life, etc. But in London I 

r«ne has no time for thinking of deliverers. And yet what I 
did with my time I cannot lell you ; 'tis gone, and no trace 
left. One day after another went I know not how. Had I 
wept for every day I lost, I'm sure I should have cried my 
I eyes out before this time. If I had enjoyed any amusement in 
" e midst of this dissipation, it would all have been very well ; 
t I declare to you in confidence 1 have been tired to death. 
Nothing can be more monotonous than the life of a hackneyed 
Be lady ; — I question whether a dray-horse, or a horse in a ' 

lull, would willingly exchange places with one, if they could I 

i much of the matter as I do. You are surprised at 
earing all this from me. My dear Belinda, how I envy you ! i 

I yet tired of everything. T/ie world has still the 

_„.. ^velty for you ; but don't expect that can last above 

R season. My first winter was certainly entertaining enough. 
me begins with being charmed with the bustle and glare, ' 

lad what the French call spectacle; this is over, I think, in six ' 

lonths. I can but just recollect having been amused at the I 

itres, and the Opera, and the Pantheon, and RanelaghT^ 
all those places, for their own sakes. Soon, very soon, we 1 ^Jt 
lUt to see people, not things ; then we grow tired of seeing 1 . 
wple J then we grow tired of being seen by people ; and then I ]| 
e %a out merely because we can't stay at home. A dismal \ 
f., ■ ^ 



BELINDA 

story, and a true one. Excuse me for showing you the simple 
truth ; well-dressed falsehood is a personage much more pre- 
sentable. I am now come to an epoch in my history in which 
there is a dearth of extraordinary events. What shall I do ? 
Shall I invent ? I would if I could ; but I cannot. Then I 
must confess to you that during these last four years I should 
have died of ennui if I had not been kept alive by my hatred 
of Mrs. Luttridge and of my husband. I don't know which I 
hate most — Oh yes, I do — I certainly hate Mrs. Luttridge the 
most ; for a woman can always hate a woman more than she 
can hate a man, unless she has been in love with him, which I 
never was with poor Lord Delacour. Yes ! I certainly hate 
Mrs. Luttridge the most ; I cannot count the number of ex- 
travagant things I have done on purpose to eclipse her. We 
have had rival routs, rival concerts, rival galas, rival theatres : 
she has cost me more than sh^s worth ; but then I certainly 
have mortified her once a month at least. My hatred to Mrs. 
Luttridge, my dear, is the remote cause of my love for you ; 
for it was the cause of my intimacy with your aunt Stanhope. — 
Mrs. Stanhope is really a clever woman — she knows how to 
turn the hatred of all her friends and acquaintance to her own 
advantage. — To serve lovers is a thankless office compared 
with that of serving haters — polite haters I mean. It may be 
dangerous, for aught I know, to interpose in the quarrels of 
those who hate their neighbours, not only with all their souls, 
but with all their strength — the barbarians fight it out, kiss, and 
are friends. The quarrels which never come to blows are 
safer for a go-between ; but even these are not to be compared 
to such as never come to words : your true silent hatred is that 
which lasts for ever. The moment it was known that Mrs. 
Luttridge and I had come to the resolution never to speak to 
one another, your aunt Stanhope began to minister to my 
hatred so that she made herself quite agreeable. She one 
winter gave me notice that my adversary had set her heart 
upon having a magnificent entertainment on a particular day. 
On that day I determined, of course, to have a rival gala. Mrs. 
Stanhope's maid had a lover, a gardener, who lived at Chelsea ; 
and the gardener had an aloe, which was expected soon to 
blow. Now a plant that blows but once in a hundred years is 
worth having. The gardener intended to make a public 
exhibition of it, by which he expected to gain about a hundred 

62 



LADV DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 

15. VoEir aunt Stanhope's maid got it from him for n 
for fifty ; and I had it whispered about that an aloe in full blow 
would stand in the middle of one of Lady Delacour's supper 
tables. The difhcuiiy was to make Mrs. Luttridge fix upon 
the very day we wanted ; for you know we could not possibly 
^ I off the blowing of our aloe. Your aunt Stanhope managed 
lie thing admirably by means of a common Jritnii, who was 
1 a suspected person with the Lutlridges ; in short, my dear, 
[ gained my point — everybody came from Mrs. Luttridge's lo 
my aloe. She had a prodigiously fine supper, but 
scarcely a soul stayed with her ; tliey all came to see what 
cotdd be seen but once in a hundred years. Now the aloe, you 
, is of a cumbersome height for a supper ornament. My 
a luckily has a dome, and under the dome we placed it. 
^ound the huge china vase in which it was planted we placed 
,t beautiful, or rather the most expensive hothouse plants 
»e could procure. After all, the aloe was an ugly thing ; hut 
't answered my purpose — it made Mrs, Luttridge, as I am 
credibly informed, absolutely weep with vexation. I was 
Bccessively obliged to your aunt Stanhope ; and I assured her 
vere in my power, she might depend upon my 
jratitude. Pray, when you write, repeat the same thing lo her, 
knd tell her that since she has introduced BeUnda Portman to 
[ne, I am a hundred times more obliged to her lian ever I was 

o proceed with my important history, — 1 will not tire 
a with fighting over again all my battles in my seven years' 
r with Mrs. Luttridge. 1 believe love is more to your taste 
1 hatred ; therefore I will go on as fast as possible to 
Harence Hervey's return from his travels. He was much 
mproved by them, or at least 1 thought so ; for he was heard 
declare, that after all he had seen in France and Italy, Lady 
Pelacour appeared to him the most charming woman, ofherage, 
' s Europe. The words, of her age, piqued me ; and I spared 
jlo pains to make him forget Iheni. A stupid n 
icadily be persuaded out of his senses— what he se 
ind neither more nor less ; but 'tis the easiest thing in 
ttorld to catch hold of a man of genius : you have nothing tc 
but to appeal from his senses to his imagination, and then he si 
dm the eyes of his imagination, and hears with the ears of his 
~°""imtion ; and then no matter what the age, beauty, oryrtt 
63 



1 
I 



fclSTORV CONTINUED 


~ 


Bpation 10 me to aei my part in 




lonsense, if they do not amuse or 




reflection. May you never know 




I Tlie idea of ihat poor wrelcli, 




urdercd as much as if I had shot 




I am alone. It is now between 




e died, and I have lived ever since 




ation ; but it won't do-^ conscience. 




iince my health has been weakened. 




ore conscience. I really think that 




;ither ideas nor sensations, except 




hundred times happier than I am. 




a ; I promised that you should not 




) my word. It is, however, a great 




me who has some feeling ; Harriot 




inced that she has no more feeling 




j'et told you how she has used me. 


-'-> 


ho led or rather dragged me into 


^ 


for that I never reproached her. 


=s 


ightened me into fighting that duel 


g 


i I never reproached her. She has 


my health, my life ; she knows it, 


^ 


suits, and leaves me to die. I can- 


f._ 


iufliciently to be coherent when I 


?3B 


press in words what 1 feel. How 


S 


of beings, for ten years, make me 


end ? Whilst 1 thought she really 


f^ 


U her faults — all — what a compre- 


SW 


r^ave i and continualSy said—" but 




jood heart ! — she has no heart I — 




Aa.% creature but herself. I always 




no one but for me ; but now I find 




iily as she would her glove. And 




Is a frolic ; or, in iier own vulgar 




ilieve it ?— What do you think she's 




as gone over at last to odious Mrs. i . . 




5 gone down with the Luttridges ' 




indent member having taken the 


•^^^^^^^^H 


his seat : a new election comes on 




to bring in Freke — not Harriot's 




—but her husband, who is now to _ 


^^^H^^IHH 


t m 


m 



BELINDA 

of the charmer may be — no mailer whether it be Lady 
Delacour or Belinda Porlman. I think I know Clarence 
Hervey's character au Jin fond, and I could lead him where (i 
pleased : but don't be alarmed, my dear ; you know I can't' 
lead him into matrimony. You look at me, and from me, ; 
you don't well know which way to look. Vou are surpris 
perhaps, after ail that passed, all that I felt, and all that I : 
feel about poor Lawless, I should not be cured of coquetij 
So am I surprised ; but habit, fashion, the devil, I beli< 
lead us on : and then, Lord Delacour is so obstinate i 
jealous — you can't have forgotten the polite conversation I 
passed one moniitig at breakfiist between his lordship and 
about Clarence Hervey ; but neither does his lordship know, 
nor does Clarence Her\-ey suspect, that my object with him is 
to conceal from the world what I cannot conceal irom mysdf— 
that I am a dying woman. 1 am, and I see you tliink me, 
I strange, weak, inconsistent creature. I was intended for 
thing better, but now it is too late ; a coquette I have livedi 
jand a coquette I shall die : I speak frankly to you. Let nK 
have the glory of leading Clarence Hervey about with me 
public for a few months longer, then I must quit the sta( 
As to love, you know with me that is out of the question ; aU 
I ask or wish for is admiration.' 

Lady Delacour paused, and leaned back on the sofa ; she 
appeared in great pain. 

'Oh! — I am sometimes,' resumed she, 
terrible pain. For two years after I gave myself that blo* 
with the pistol, I neglected the warning twinges that I iUI 
from lime to time ; at last I was terrified. Marriott was 
only person to whom I mentioned my fears, and she was _ 
foundly ignorant : she flattered me with false hopes, till, alast 
J doubt of the nature of my complain 
3 consult a physician ; that I would no 
could not — 1 never will consult a physician, — I would 

e have my situation known. You stare — you cannnf 
I my feelings. Why, my dear, if 1 lose admiration, 
what have I left ? Would you have me live upon pity 
Consider what a dreadful thing it must be to me, who have 
friends, no family, to be confined to a sick room — a sick bed 
'tis what I must come to at last, but not yet— not yet. 1 hat 
^^'fartitu de ; I should despise myself if I had no species of 

64 



I LADV DELACOUR'S HISTORY CONTINUED 

besides, it is still some occupation to me to act my part in 
public; and bustle, noise, nonsense, if they do not amuse or 

I interest me, yet they stifle reflection. May you never know 
what it is to feel remorse ! The idea of that poor wretch, 

^awless, whom 1 actually murdered as much as if [ had shot 
I Hiin, haunts me whenever I am alone. It is now between 
I .Pight and nine years since he died, and I have lived ever since 
"se of dissipation ; but it won't do — conscience, 
E will be heard 1 Since my health has been weakened, 

I I believe I have acquired more conscience. I really think that 
tupid lord, who has neither ideas nor sensations, except 

when he is intoxicated, is a hundred times happier than 1 am. 

But I will spare you, Belinda ; I promised that you should not 

have a scene, and I will keep my word. It is, however, a great 

I relief to open my mind to one who has some feehng ; Harriot 

^Freke has none; 1 am convinced that she has no more feeling 

than this table. I have not yet told you how she has used me. 

■You know that it was she who led or rather dragged me into 

phat scrape with Lawless ; for that I never reproached her. 

u know it was she who frightened me into fighting that duel 

Urith Mrs. Luttridge ; for this I never reproached her. She has 

^€ost me my peace of mind, my health, my life ; she knows it, 

md she forsakes, betrays, insults, and leaves me to die. I can- 

t command my temper sufficiently to be coherent when I 

B'speak of her ; 1 cannot express in words what I feel. How 

Miuld that most treacherous of beings, for ten years, make me 

jelieve that she was my friend ? Whilst 1 thought she really 

floved me, I pardoned her all her faults — a// — what a compre- 

e word 1 — All, all I forgave j and continually said^" 5ut 

flie has a good heart." A good heart I — she has no heart 1 — 

a feeling for any living creature but herself. I always 

Aought that she cared for no one but for me ; but now I find 

ti throw me off as easily as she would her glove. And 

this, too, I suppose she calls a froUc ; or, in her own vulgar 

' mguage, fun, Can you believe it f— What do you think sheN i 

done, my dear f She has gone over at last to odious Mrs, \^ 

E,uliridge — actually she has gone down with the Luttridges ,' 

The independent member having taken the ' 

^hiltern Hundreds, vacates his seat : a new election comes on 

Qirectly : the Luttridges are to bring in Freke — rot Hartiofa 

Wnsin — they have cut him, — but her husband, who is no w tO 



BELINDA 

commence senator : he is to come in for the county, upon 
condition that Luttridge shall have Freke's borough. Lord 
Delacour, without saying one syllable, has promised his interest 
to this precious junto, and Lady Delacour is left a miserable 
cipher. My lord's motives I can dearly understand : he lost 
a thousand guineas to Mrs. Luttridge this winter, and this is a 
convenient way of paying her. Why Harriot should be so 
anxious to serve a husband whom she hates, bitterly hates, 
might surprise anybody who did not know les dessaus des cartes 
as well as I do. You are but just come into the world, 
Belinda — the world of wickedness, I mean, my dear, or you 
would have heard what a piece of work there was a few years 
ago about Harriot Freke and this cousin of hers. Without 
betraying her confidence, I may just tell you what is known to 
everybody, that she went so far, that if it had not been for me, not 
a soul would have visited her : she swam in the sea of folly out 
of her depth — the tide of fashion ebbed, and there was she left 
sticking knee deep in the mud — a ridiculous, scandalous figure. 
I had the courage and foolish good nature to hazard myself for 
her, and actually dragged her to terra firma : — how she has 
gone on since I cannot tell you precisely, because I am in the 
secret ; but the catastrophe is public : to make her peace with 
her husband, she gives up her friend. Well, that I could have 
pardoned, if she had not been so base as to go over to Mrs. 
Luttridge. Mrs. Luttridge offered (IVe seen the letter, and 
Harriot's answer) to bring in Freke, the husband, and to make 
both a county and a family peace, on condition that Harriot 
should give up all connection with Lady Delacour. Mrs. 
Luttridge knew this would provoke me beyond measure, and 
there is nothing she would not do to gratify her mean, 
malevolent passions. She has succeeded for once in her life. 
The blame of the duel, of course, is all thrown upon me. And 
(would you believe it ?) Harriot Freke, I am credibly informed, 
throws all the blame of Lawless's business on me ; nay, hints 
that Lawless's death-bed declaration of my innocence was very 
generous. Oh, the treachery, the baseness of this woman ! And 
it was my fate to hear all this last night at the masquerade. I 
waited, and waited, and looked everywhere for Harriot — ^she 
was to be the widow Brady, I knew : at last the widow Brady 
made her appearance, and I accosted her with all my usual 
familiarity. The widow was dumb. I insisted upon knowing 

66 



BIRTHDAY DRESSES 

ie of this sudden loss of speech. The widow took n 
to another apartment, unmasked, and there I beheld Mr. 
«ke, the husband. 1 was astonished — had no idea of Ihe 
"Where is Harriot?" I believe, were the first words 
said. " Gone to the country." " To the country ! ' 

-shire, with Mrs. Luttridge." — Mrs. Luttridge— odio 
[rs, Luttridge ! I could scarcely believe ray senses. But 
reke, who always hated me, believing that 1 led his wife, 
stead of her leading me into mischief, would have enjoyed 
astonishment and my rage ; so I concealed both, with all 
iible presence of mind. He went on ovenvhelming me 
Itb explanations and copies of letters ; and declared it was ai 
s. Freke's request he did and said all this, and that he was 

fallow her early the next morning to shtre. I broke 

m him, simply wishing him a good journey, and as much 
lily peace as his patience merited. He knows that I know 
wife's history, and though sAe has no shame, he has some. 
had the satisfaction to leave him blushing with anger, and I 
ipported the character of the comic muse a full hour after- 
to convince him that all their combined malice would 
break my spirit in public : what I suffer in private is 
town only to my own heart.' 
As she finished these words, Lady Delacour rose abruptly, 
hummed a new opera air, Then she retired to her 
idoir, saying, with an air of levity, to Belinda as she left 



' Good-bye, my dear Belinda ; I leave you 
t and bitter thoughts ; to think of the last speech and 
I of Lady Delacour, or what will interest you much 
i, the first speech and confession of — Clarence Hervey. 



CHAPTER V 



BIRTHDAY DRESSES 



r DelaCOUr'S history, and the manner in which i 
lated, excited in Belinda's mind astonishment, pity, admira- 
, and contempt : astonishment at her inconsistency, pity 



a 



J 



/ 



BEUNPA 



for her misfortunes, admiration of her talents, and contempt 
for her conduct. To these emotions succeeded the recollection 
of the promise which she had made, not to leav' 
last illness at the mercy of an insolent attendant. This promise 
Belinda thought of with terror : she dreaded the sight of suffer- 
ings which she knew must end in death : she dreaded the sight 
of that affected gaiety and of that real levity which so ill became 
the condition of a dying woman. She trembled at the idea of 
being under the guidance of one who was so little able to con- 
duct herself : and she could not help blaming her aunt Stanhope 
severely for placing her in such a perilous situation. It was 
obvious that some of Lady Deiacour^s history must have been 
known to Mrs. Stanhope i and Belinda, the more she reflected, 
was the more surprised at her aunt's having chosen such a 
chaperon for a young woman just entering into the world 
When the understanding is suddenly roused and forced to 
itself, what a multitude of deductions it makes in a shoil 
Belinda saw things in a new light ; and for the first 
in her life she reasoned for herself upon what she saw 
ind felt. It is sometimes safer for young people to see thaa 
Ito hear of certain characters. At a distance. Lady Delacour 
ihad appeared to Miss Portnian the happiest person in the 
world ; upon a nearer view, she discovered that her ladyship 
was one of the most miserable of human beings. To have 
married her niece to such a man as Lord Delacour, Mrs. 
Stanhope would have thought the most fortunate thing im- 
aginable ; but it was now obvious to Belinda, that neither the 
title of viscountess, nor the pleasure of spending three fortunes, 
could ensure felicity. Lady Delacour confessed, that in the 
midst of the utmost luxury and dissipation she had been a 
constant prey to ennui ; that the want of domestic happiness 
could never be supplied by that public admiration of which she 
was so ambitious ; and that the immoderate indulgence of her 
vanity had led her, by inevitable steps, into follies and im- 
prudences which had ruined her health, and destroyed hei 
peace of mind. ' If Lady Delacour, with all the advantaE^a 
of wealth, rank, wit, and beauty, has not been able to make 

\ herself happy in this life of fashionable dissipation,' said 
Belinda to herself, ' why should I follow the same course, and 

I expect to be more fortunate ? ' 

It is singular, that the very means which Mrs. Stanhope 
6» J 



opt I 

ha I 
lise I 



BIRTHDAY DRESSES 

had taken lo make a fine lady of her niece tended to produce 
1 an effect diametrically oppiosite to what might have been 
I expected. The result of Belinda's reflections upon Lady 
I Delacour's history was a resolution to benefit by her bad 
I example ; but this resolution it was more easy to form than 
to keep. Her ladyship, where she wished to please or to 
govern, had fascinating' manners, and could alternately use the 
itic powers of wit, and the fond lone of persuasion, to 
accomplish her purposes. It was Belinda's intention, in 
pursuance of her new plans of life, to spend, whilst she re- 
mained in London, as little money as possible upon super- 
fluities and dress. She had, at her own disposal, only /loo 
per annum, the interest of her fortune ; but besides this, her 
aunt, who was desirous that she should go to court, and make 
a splendid figure there, had sent her a draft on her banker 
for two hundred guineas. ' You will, I trust,' said her aunt, 
at the conclusion of the letter, ' repay me when you are estab- 
lished in the world ; as I hope and believe, from what I hear 
from Lady Delacour of the power of your charms, you will soon 
be, to the entire satisfaction of all your friends. Pray do not 
neglect to mention my friend Clarence Hervey particularly when 
you write next. I understand from one who is well acquainted 
with him, and who has actually seen his rent-roll, that he has 
a clear ^^ 10,000 a year.' 

Belinda resolved neither to go to court, nor lo touch her 

int's two hundred guineas ; and she wrote a long letter lo 

her, in which she explained her feelings and views at large. 

In this letter she meant to have returned Mrs. Stanhope's 

draught, but her feelings and views changed between the 

writing of this epistle and the going out of the post. Mrs. 

Franks, the milliner, came in the interim, and brought home 

L Lady Delacour's beautiful dress : it was not the sight of this, 

I however, which changed Belinda's mind ; but she could not 

I TesLst Lady Delacour's raillery. 

' Why, my dear,' said her ladyship, after having listened 
a all Miss Portman could say about her love of independence, 
I and the necessity of economy to preserve that independence, 
'all this is prodigiously fine — but shall I translate it into 
r plain English ? You were mortally wounded the other night 
I by some random reflections of a set of foolish young men— 
L Clarence Hervey amongst the number ; and instead of punish- 

69 



BELINDA 

ing them, you sagely and generously determined to punish 
yourself. Then, to convince this youth that you have not a 
thought of those odious nets and cages, that you have no design 
whatever upon his heart, and that he has no manner of influence 
on yours, you very judiciously determine, at the first hint fimn 
him, to change your dress, your manners, and your character, 
and thus to say to him, in as plain terms as possible — *' You 
see, sir, a word to the wise is enough; I understand you 
disapprove of showy dress and coquetry, and therefore, as I 
dressed and coquetted only to please you, now I shall lay aside 
dress and coquetry, since I find that they are not to your 
taste — and I hope, sir, you like my simplicity ! " Depoid 
upon it, my dear, Clarence Hervey understands simplicity as 
well as you or I do. All this would be vastly well, if he did 
not know that you overheard that conversation ; but as he does 
know it, trust me, he will attribute any sudden change in your 
manners and appearance, right or wrong, to the motives I 
have mentioned. So don't, novice as you are I set about to 
manoeuvre for yourself. Leave all that to your aunt Stanhope, 
or to me, and then you know your conscience will be all the 
time as white as your hands, — which, by the bye, Clarence 
Hervey, the other day, said were the whitest hands he had 
ever seen. Perhaps all this time you have taken it into your 
head that full dress will not become you ; but I assure you 
that it will — ^you look well in anything — 

< But from the hoop's bewitching round, 
The very shoe has power to wound. 

So come down to Mrs. Franks, and order your birthnight dress 
like a reasonable creature.' 

Like a reasonable creature. Miss Portman followed Lady 
Delacour, and bespoke, or rather let her ladyship bespeak for 
her, fifty guineas' worth of elegance and fashion. * You must 
go to the drawing-room with me next week, and be presented,' 
said Lady Delacour, * and then, as it is the first time, you must 
be elegantly dressed, and you must not wear the same dress on 
the birthnight. So, Mrs. Franks, let this be finished first, as 
fast as you can, and by that time, perhaps, we shall think of 
something superlatively charming for the night of nights.' 

Mrs. Franks departed, and Belinda sighed. *A silver 
penny for your thoughts ! ' cried Lady Delacour. * You are 

70 



BIRTHDAY DRESSES 

* thinking thai you are like Camilla, and I like Mrs. Mitten. 
Novel reading — as I daresay you have been told by your 
l^ovcmess, as 1 was told by mine, and she by hers, I suppose, 
^novel reading for young ladies is the most dangerous 
' Oh, Clarence Hervey, I protest 1 ' cried Lady Delacour, 
as he at this instant entered the room. ' Do, pray, Clarence, 
help me out, for the sake of this young lady, with a moral 
sentence against novel reading ; but that might go against your 
conscience, or your interest ; so we'll spare you. How 1 
tegret that we had not the charming serpent at the mas- 
Ijuerade the other night ! ' 

The moment her ladyaliip mentioned the masquerade, the 

Mnversation which had passed at Lady Singleton's came full 

o Clarence Herve/s recollection, and his embarrassment 

3 evident— not indeed to Belinda, who had turned away to 

jok over some new music that lay upon a stand at the farthest 

!nd of the room ; and she found this such a wonderfully 

bteresting occupation, that she did not for some minutes hear, 

r appear to hear, one word of the conversation which was 

[oing on between Mr. Hervey and Lady Delacour. At last, 

r ladyship tapped her upon the shoulder, saying, in a playful 

le, ' Miss Porlman, I arrest your attention at the suit of 

Clarence Hervey : this gentleman is passionately fond of 

— to my curse — for he never sees my harp but he worries 

ne with reproaches for having left off playing upon it. Now 

s has just given me his word that he will not reproach me 

"or a month to come if you will favour us with one air. 

e you, Clarence, that Belinda touches a harp divinely — 

die would absolutely charm ' ' Your ladyship should not 

iraste such valuable praise,' interrupted Belinda. ' Do you 
DTget that Belinda Portman and her accomplishments have 
Iready been as well advertised as Packwood's raior-strops ? ' 

The manner in which these words were pronounced made 
t great impression upon Clarence Hen'ey, and he began to 
wlieve it was possible that a niece of the match-making Mrs. 
Itanhope might not be 'a compound of art and affectation.' 
Though her aunt has advertised her,' said he to himself, 
,he seems to have too much dignity to advertise herself, and 
would be very unjust to blame her for the faults of another 

will see more of her,' 
Some morning visitors were announced, vbo tor the time 



^^^v 


^ 


r ,j^ -^ 




1 -SI 11 ,j — 


! 


1 Tl |i ' 


ua ' 


L ^ .-* |«« 


i'' '' 


^^B 1k^ »^»-^ «^ 


% 


/Twi^^^N 


^ 

V 


1 ^1 




HI 


wj 


^mr 


F 


W" 'f 


~ ^ 


A" 


(t'Xi^f 






•neyov/cvgil lh>t Bclii-Ja Porlman >.itdherace 


om^tUhmmU kajn alrpoh 






^^^^ 




^^^^V^^^ 


^^^ 



BIRTHDAY DRESSKS 

suspended Clarence Hervey's reflections : tlie effect of ihcm, 
however, immediately appeared ; for as his good opinion of 
lieJinda increased, his ambition to please her was strongly 
Cxciled. He displayed all his powers of wit and humour ; and 
nol only Lady Delacour but everybody present obser\*ed, ' tbal 
Mr. Hervey, who was always the most entertaining man in the 
World, this morning surpassed himself, and was absolutely the 
most entertaining man in the universe.' He was mortified, 
ithsianding ; for he distinctly perceived, that whilst 
Belinda joined with ease and dignity in the general con- 
tion, her manner towards him was grave and reserved. 
The next morning he called earlier than usual ; but though 
Lady Delacour was always at home to him, she was then 
luckily dressing to go to court: he inquired whether Miss 
Portman would accompany her ladyship, and he learned from 
his friend Marriott that she was not to be presented this day, 
because Mrs. Franks had not brought home her dress. Mr. 
Hervey called again two hours afterwards. — Lady Delacour 
was gone to court. He asked for Miss Portman. ' Not at 
home,' was the mo4ifi?ing answer ; though, as he had passed - 
by the windows, he had heard the ddightful sound of her harp. 
He walked up and down the square impatiently, till he saw 
Lady Delacour's carriage appear. 

' The drawing-room has lasted an unconscionable time this 
morning,' said he, as he handed her ladyship out of her coach, 
' Am nol 1 the most virtuous of virtuous women,' said Lady 

flacour, ' to go to court such a day as this ? Bui,' whispered 
:, as she went upstairs, ' like all other amazingly good 
iple, I have amazingly good reasons for being good. The 
xn is soon to give a charming breakfast at Frogmore, and I 
paying my court with all my might, in hopes of being asked ; 
for Belinda must see one of their galas before we leave town, 
fiat I'm determined upon.- — But where is she ? ' ' Not at 
home,' said Clarence, smiling. ' Oh, not at home is nonsense, 
you know. Shine out, appear, be found, my lovely Zara 1 ' 
cried Lady Delacour, opening the library door. ' Here she is 
— what doing I know not — studying Hervey's Meditations on 
the Tomdi, 1 should guess, by the sanctilicalion of her looks. 
U you be not tolally above all sublunary considerations, admire 
my lilies of the valley, and let me give you a lecture, not upon 
heads, or upon hearts, but on what is of much i 
73 



BELINDA 

sequence, upon hoops. Everybody wears hoops, but how fn 
— 'tis a melancholy consideration — -how very few can manage 

them I There's my friend Lady C ; in an elegant undress 

she passes for very gcnieel, but pui her into a hoop and she 
looks as pitiable a fit,'ure, as much a prisoner, and as little able 
to walk, as a child in a go-eart. She gets on, 1 grant you, and 
so does the poor child ; but getting on, you know, i 
walking. Oh, Clarence, I wish you had seen the two Lady R.'s 
sticking close to one another, their father pushing them on 
together, like two decanters in a bottle- coaster, with such 
magniticent diamond labels round their necks I ' 

Encouraged hy Clarence Herve/s laughter, Lady DelacouT 
went on to mimic what she called the hoop awkwardness of all 
her acquaintance ; and if these could have failed to divert 
Belinda, it was impossible for her to be serious when she heard 
Clarence Her\'ey declare that he was convinced he could 
manage a hoop as well as any woman in England, except Lady 
Delacour. 

' Now here,' said he, ' is the purblind dowager, Lady 
Boucher, just at the door, Lady Delacour ; she would not. 
know my face, she would not see my beard, and I will bet 
fifty guineas that I come into a room in a hoop, and that shC' 
does not find me out by my air — that I do not betray myself 
in short, by my masculine awkwardness.' 

' I hold you to your word, Clarence,' cried Lady Delacqur. 
'They have let the purblind dowager in; I hear her o 
stairs. Here — through this way you can go ; as you do every- 
thing quicker than anybody else in the world, you will cei" 
tainly be full dressed in a quarter of an hour ; I'll engage to 
keep the dowager in scandal for that time. Go I Marriott h 
old hoops and old finery of mine, and you have all-powerfiil in- 
fluence, I know, with Marriott ; so go and use it, and let u 
you in all your glory — though I vow I tremble for my fiftj 
guineas.' 

Lady Delacour kept the dowager in scandal, according to 
her engagement, for a good quarter of an hour ; then thtt 
dresses at the drawing-room took up another quarter ; 
at last, the dowager began to give an account of sundry 
wonderful cures that had been performed, to her certaifl 
knowledge, by her favourite concentrated extract or anii 

She entered into the history of the negro sla'ri 

" 1 




BIRTHDAY DRESSES 

i, who discovered this medical wood, which he kept ' 
a close secret till Mr. Daghlberg, a magistrate of Surinam, 
wonned it out of him, brought a branch of the tree to Europe, 
and communicated it to the great Linnxus— when Clarence 
Hervey was announced by the title of 'The Couriess dc 
Pomenars.' 

An ^migrdc — a charming woman ! ' whispered Lady 
Delacour j ' she was to have been ai the drawing-room to-day 
but for a blunder of mine : ready dressed she wa£, and 1 
didn't call for her ! Ah, Mad. de Pomenars, I am actually 
ashamed to see you,' continued her ladyship ; and she went 
forward to meet Clarence Hervey, who really made his enMe 
with very composed assurance and grace. He managed his 
'loop with such skill and dexterity, that he well deserved the 
ipraise of being a universal genius. The Countess de Pomenars 
ispoke French and broken English incomparably well, and she 
that she was descended from the Pomenars of the 
.time of Mad. de Sevign^ ; she said Ihat she had in her 
ossession several original letters of Mad. de Sevigne, and a 
>ck of Mad. de Grignan's fine hair. 

' I have sometimes fancied, but I believe it is only my fancy,' 
lid Lady Delacour, ' that this young lady,' turning to Belinda, 
is not unlike your Mad, de Grignan. I have seen a picture 
f her at Strawberry Hill.' 

Mad. de Pomenars acknowledged that there was a rcsem- 
lance, but added, that it was flattery in the extreme to Mad. 
B Grignan to say so. 

' It would be a sin, undoubtedly, to waste flattery upon the 
ead, my dear countess,' said Lady Delacour ; ' but Jiere, 
itbout flattery to the living, as you have a lock of Mad. de 
irignan's hair, you can tell us whether la belle chevelure, of 
rhicb Mad. de Sevigne talked so much, was anything to be 
ampared to my Belinda's.' As she spoke, Lady Delacour, 
efore Belinda was aware of her intentions, dexterously let 
own her beautifiil tresses ; and the Countess de Pomenars 
as so much struck at the sight, that she was incapable of 
i^ng the necessary compliments. ' Nay, touch it,' said 
ady Delacour — ' it is so fine and so soft,' 

At this dangerous moment her ladyship artfully let drop the 
wnb. Clarence Hervey suddenly stooped to pick it up, 
iially foi^tting his hoop and his chaiac let. H.ft fatwi towR 
75 




BIRTHDAY DRESSES 

IE-Stand with his hoop. Lady Delacour exclaimed 
al' and burst out a-laughing. LnHv Po^-Vic- in 

. . ,., : .•■ .T,-, .. -li- i.'.i,l ^At. ^'..'^M 

■. , •^■u.v,.It,ij:.-,l lit l.a>l 

L, . d lUl filly ^UT.r:,i 

... :.i.i:^( tiaic that he had 
■ beheld. * 1 dccLiic he deserves a Jock of /a belle 
ehevelure for that speech, Miss Portman,' cried Lady Delacour ; 
' I'll appeal to all the world — Mad. de Pomenars must have a 
lock to measure with Mad. de Grignan's ? Come, a second 
rape of the lock, Belinda,' 

Fortunately for lielinda, 'the glittering forfex' was not 
immediately produced, as line ladies do not now, as in former 
), carry any such useless implements about with them, 

modest, graceful dignity of Miss Portman's 
iaers, that she escaped without even the charge of prudery, 
i retired to her oivn apartment as soon as she coiild. " 
PShc passes on in unblcnched majesty,' said Lady 

■She is really a charming woman,' said Clarence Hen-ey, in 
f voice, to Lady Delacour, drawing her into a recessed 
: same low voice continued, ' Could I obtain 
a private audience of a few minutes when your ladyship is at 

leisure ?— I have ' ' I am never at leisure,' interrupted Lady 

Delacour ; ' but if you have anything particular to say to me — 
as I guess you have, by my skill in human nature^ — come here 
to my concert to-night, before the rest of the world. Wail 
fjaliently in the music-room, and perhaps I may grant you a 
'Kite audience, as you had the grace not to call it a IHe-i- 
itime, my dear Countess de Pomenars, had 
Eliot better take off our hoops ? ' 

n the evening, Clarence Hervey was in the music-room a 
buderable time before Lady Delacour appeared : how 
iently he waited is not known to any one but himself. 
b Have not I given you time to compose a charming speech ?' 
1 Lady Delacour as she entered the room \ 'but make it as 
m, unless you wish that Miss Portman should 
't it, for she will be downstairs in three minutes.' 

i word, then, my dear Lady Delacour, can you, and 
I you, make my peace with Miss Portman ■( — \ ai 
77 



BELINDA 

■w .r-Af**^ about that foolish razor-strop dialogue whicV: i^i.^ 

■ -.'iiu ','f: .'X.;. -I. i-T,;.; ,}ml >1k ovi:rhcanl it, no doubt' 

iu.ir'i ■'. sin«.c it ha>'. i-ctii ;hc.iiu:ins of --^iivir.cii ,:e of my 
mistake; but 1 .n i concc: ■ ] v m 1 V.tI ihc pre- .iptidn ind 
injustice to judge of Misb ±s,i -^t .■-» so h.ijtily. I ■■-. convir .»d 
that, though she is a niece of Mrs. Staimcpr>'s. sL^ iias dignity 
of mind and simplicity of character. Will you, my dear Lady 
Delacour, tell her so ? ' 

* Stay,' interrupted Lady Delacour ; * let me get it by heart. 
I should have made a terrible bad messenger of the gods and 
goddesses, for I never in my life could, like Iris, repeat a 
message in the same words in which it was delivered to me. 
Let me see — " Dignity of mind and simplicity of character,'' 
was not it.*^ May not I say at once, <*My dear Belinda, 
Clarence Hervey desires me to tell you that he is convinced 
you are an angel ? " That single word ang'ei is so expressive, 
so comprehensive, so comprehensible, it contains, believe me, 
all that can be said or imagined on these occasions, de part et 
^ autre J 

* But,' said Mr. Hervey, * perhaps Miss Portman has heard 
the song of — 

* What know we of angels ? — 
I spake it in jest.' 

* Then you are not in jest, but in downright sober earnest ? 
— Ha ! ' said Lady Delacour, with an arch look, * I did not 
know it was already come to this with you.' 

And her ladyship, turning to her pianoforte, played — 

There was a young man in Ballinacrasy, 
Who wanted a wife to make him \xaasy^ 
And thus in gentle strains he spoke her, 
Arrah, wll you marry me, my dear Ally Croker ? 

* No, no,' exclaimed Clarence, laughing, * it is not come to 
that with me yet. Lady Delacour, I promise you ; but is not it 
possible to say that a young lady has dignity of mind and 
simplicity of character without having or suggesting any 
thoughts of marriage ? ' 

*You make a most proper, but not sufficiently emphatic 
difference between having or suggesting such thoughts,' said 

1% 



1 


0^' ■ 


. 


S"^ V 


|R!rLl 


ipK. ^ 


j^^3fe.— ='-—■ ^^^ 






^^M 


^Hlwi^, -'j^ggBagJ^MB^^^^^Bf- 


HHPI^^ ---^s^^SS^^^^^^hBj^ 1 


■ ^^^^^^^v<^^ j0 Ka « ^■z'^'^^vl^l^^gi^^ ^^^^1 


V '-f"/0^"" ^ ■ 


VilKOi I",' txclalmed CUrrnce, laag/ilng, ' il U ml loiiu la Ihat -Blili mryil, ^^^^^| 



BELINDA 

Lady Delacour. <A gentleman sometimes finds it for his 
interest, his honour, or his pleasure, to suggest what he would 
not for the world promise, — I mean perform.' 

<A scoundrel,' cried Clarence Hervey, <not a gentleman, 
may find it for his honour, or his interest, or his pleasure, to 
promise what he would not perform ; but I am not a scoundreL 
I never made any promise to man or woman that I did not 
keep faithfully. I am not a swindler in love.' 

' And yet,' said Lady Delacour, < you would have no scruple 
to trifle or flatter a woman out of her heart.' 

* Cela est selon I ' said Clarence, smiling ; * a fair exchange, 
you know, is no robbery. When a fine woman robs me of my 
heart, surely Lady Delacour could not expect that I should 
make no attempt upon hers.' — < Is this part of my message to 
Miss Portman?' said Lady Delacour. *As your ladyship 
pleases,' said Clarence ; * I trust entirely to your discretion.' 

* Why, I really have a great deal of discretion,' said Lady 
Delacour ; * but you trust too much to it when you expect that 
I should execute, both with propriety and success, the delicate 
commission of telling a young lady, who is under my protec- 
tion, that a young gentleman, who is a professed achnirer of 
mine, is in love with her, but has no thoughts, and wishes to 
suggest no thoughts, of marriage.' 

* In love I ' exclaimed Clarence Hervey ; * but when did I 
ever use the expression ? In speaking of Miss Portman, I 
simply expressed esteem and ad ^ 

*No additions,' said Lady Delacour; * content yourself 
with esteem — simply, — and Miss Portman is safe, and you 
too, I presume. Apropos ; pray, Clarence, how do your 
esteem and admiration (I may go as far as that, may not I ?) 
of Miss Portman agree with your admiration of Lady 
Delacour ? ' 

* Perfectly well,' replied Clarence ; * for all the world must 
be sensible that Clarence Hervey is a man of too much taste 
to compare a country novice in wit and accomplishments to 
Lady Delacour. He might, as men of genius sometimes do, 
look forward to the idea oif forming a country novice for a 
wife. A man must marry some time or other — ^but my hour, 
thank Heaven, is not come yet.' 

* Thank Heaven 1 ' said Lady Delacour ; * for you know a 
married man is lost to the world of fashion and gallantry.' 

80 



BIRTHDAY DRESSES 



,' sffl^^^ 



I, 1 should hope, than a married 
Hervey. Here a loud knocking at Uie door 
nounced the arrival of company to the concert. 'You will 
Bke my peace, you promi"; me, with Miss Portman,' cried 
irence eagerly. 

'Yes, I will make your peace, and you shall see Behnda 
Dtle upon you once more, upon condition,' continued Lady 
lelacour, speaking' very quickly, as if she was hurried hy the 
of people coming upstairs — 'but we'll talk of that 
BotbeT time.' 

'Nay, nay, my dear Lady Delacour, now, now,' said 
irence, seizing her hand. — ' Upon condition I upon what 
mdition ?' 

' Upon condition that you do a little job for me — indeed for 
elinda. She is to go with me to the birthnighi, and she has 
n hinted to me that our horses are shockingly shabby for 
Bople of our condition. I know she wishes that upon such 
—her first appearance at court, you know — we 
ilould go in style. Now my dear positive lord has sai'ii he 
ill not let us have a pair of the handsomest horses I ever 
w, which are at Tattersall's, and on which Belinda, I know, 
s secretly set her heart, as I have openly, in vain.' 
* Your ladyship and Miss Portman cannot possibly set your 
arts on anything in vain— especially on anything that it is 
I the power of Clarence Hervey to procure. Then,' added he, 
ftllantly kissing her hand, 'may I thus seal my treaty of peace?' 
'What audacity! — don't you see these people coming in?' 
lied Lady Delacour ; and she withdrew her hand, but with no 
t precipitation. She was evidently, ' at this moment, as 
I all the past,' neither afraid nor ashamed that Mr. Hervey's 
o her should be paid in public. With much address 
isfied herself as to his views with respect to Belinda. 
lie was convinced that he had no immediate thoughts of 
lalrimony ; but that if he were condemned to marry, Miss 
lortman would be his wife. As this did not interfere with 
r plans, Lady Delacour was content. 



r 



CHAPTER VI 

WAVS AND MEANS 



When Lady Delacour repeated to Miss Portman the message 
about ' simplicity of mind and dignity of character,' she frankly 

' Behnda, notwithstanding all this, observe, I'm determined 
to retain Clarence Hervey among the number of my pubhc wor- 
shippers during my hfe — which you know cannot last long. 
After I am gone, my dear, he'll be all your own, and of that I 
give you joy, Posthumous fame is a silly thing, but posthur 
jealousy detestable.' 

There was one part of the conversation between Mr. Hervey 

and her ladyship which she, in her great discretion, did r 

immediately repeat to Miss Portman — that part which related 

to the horses. In this transaction Belinda had no farther share 

than having once, when her ladyship had the handsome horses 

brought for her to look at, assented to the opinion that they 

were the handsomest horses she ever beheld. Mr, Hen-ey, 

however gallantly he replied to her ladyship, was secretly 

vexed to find that Belinda had so little delicacy as to permit 

her name to be employed in such a manner. He repented 

having used the improper expression ai dignity of mind, and he 

relapsed into his former opinion of Mrs. Stanhope's niece. A 

relapse is always more dangerous than the first disease. He 

sent home the horses to Lady Delacour the next day, and 

addressed Belinda, when he met her, with the air of a man of 

gallantry, who thought that his peace had been cheaply made. 

in proportion as his manners became more familiar, here 

grew more reserved. Lady Delacour rallied her upon Aer 

mdety, but in vain. Clarence Hervey seemed to think that 

I her ladyship had not fulfilled her part of the bargain. — ' Is not 

I stHtling,' said he, ' the epithet always applied to peace ? yet I 

V have not been able to obtain one smile from Miss Portman 

I since I have been promised peace.' Embarrassed by Mr. 

J Hervey's reproaches, and provoked to find that Belinda was 

I proof against all her raillery, Lady Delacour g^rew qui^ 



H 



WAYS AND MEANS 



r 

I lnunoured towards her. Belinda, unconscious of having given 
any just cause of offence, was unmoved ; and her ladyship's 
embarrassment increased. At last, resuming all her former 
appearance of friendship and confidence, she suddenly exclaimed 
one night after she had flattered Belinda into high spirits — 

' Do you know, my dear, that I have been so ashamed of 
myself for this week past, that I have hardly dared to look you 
in the face. I ajn sensible 1 was downright rude and cross to 
you one day, and ever since 1 have been penitent ; and, as all 
penitents are, very stupid and disagreeable, I am sure : but tell 
me you forgive my caprice, and Lady Delacour will be herself 
again.' 

Ii was not difficult to obtain Belinda's forgiveness. 

' Indeed,' continued Lady Delacour, ' you are loo good ; but 
then in my own justification I must say, that I have more things 
to make me ill-humoured than most people have. Now, my 
dear, that most obstinate of human beings. Lord Delacour, has 
reduced me to the most terrible situation — 1 have made Clarence 
Hervey buy a pair of horses for me, and I cannot make my 
Lord Delacour pay for them ; but I forgot to tell you that I 
took your name — not in vain indeed — in this business. I told 
Clarence, that upon condition he would do ih.\s job for me, you 
would for^ve him for all his sins, and^ — nay, my dear, why do 
you look as if I had stabbed you to the heart ? — after all, I 
only drew upon your pretty mouth for a few smiles. Pray let 
me see whether it has actually forgotten kmu to smile.' 

Belinda was too much vexed at this instant to understand 
raillery. She was inspired by anger with unwonted courage, 
and, losing all fear of Lady Delacour's wit, she very seriously 
expostulated with her ladyship upon having thus used her name 
without her consent or knowledge. Belinda felt she was now 
in danger of being led into a situation which might be fatal 
to her reputation and her happiness ; and she was the more 
I surprised at her ladyship, when she recollected the history 
[■ she had so lately heard of Harriot Freke and Colonel Lawless. 

' You cannot but be sensible, Lady Delacour,' said Belinda, 
'that after the contempt I have heard Mr. Hervey express for 
I oiatch- making with Mrs. Stanhope's nieces, I should degrade 
(.jnyself by any attempts to attract his attention. No wit, no 
leloquence, can change my opinion upon this subject — I cannot 
Vendure contempt.' /•tj-wa "l,^ ■■'' 



BELINDA 

' Very likeiy — no doubt ' — interrupted Lady Delacour ; ' but 
If you would only open your eyes, which heioines make it a 
principle never to do — -or else there would be an end of the 
novel — if you would only open your eyes, you would see that 
this man is in love with you ; and whilst j'ou are afraid of Iiis 
contempt, he is a hundred times more afraid of youi-s ; and as 
long as you are each of you in such fear of you know not what, 
you niust excuse me if I indulge myself in a little wholesoine 
raillery.'— Belinda smiled. — 'There now; one such smile as 
that for Clarence Hervey, and I'm out of debt and danger,' 
said Lady Delacour. 

' O Lady Delacour, why, why will you try your power over 
me in this manner ? ' said Belinda. ' You know that I ought 
not to be persuaded to do what 1 am conscious is wrong. But 
a few days ago you told me yourself that Mr. Hervey is — is not 
a marrying man ; and a woman of your penetration must see 
that — that he only means to flirt with me. 1 am not a matdi 
for Mr. Hervey in any respect. He is a man of wit and gallantry 
— 1 am unpractised in the ways of the world. I was not 
educated by my aunt Stanhope — I have only been with her a 
few years — I wish I had never been with her in my life.' 

'I'll take care Mr. Hervey shall know that,' said Lady 
Delacour ; ' but in the meantime I do think any fair appraiser 
of delicate distresses would decide that I am, a!I the circum- 
stances considered, more to be pitied at this present moment 
than you are : for the catastrophe of the business evidently isi 
that I must pay two hundred guineas for the horses somehow 

' I can pay for them,' exclaimed Belinda, 'and ™11 with tbe 
greatest pleasure. I will not go to the birthnight — my dress 
is not bespoke. Will two hundred guineas pay for the horses? 
Oh, take the money — pay Mr. Hervey, dear Lady Delacour, 
and it will all be right.' 

' You are a charming girl,' said Lady Delacour, embracing 
her ; ' but how can I answer for it to my conscience, or to your 
Stanhope, if you don't appear on the birthnight ? That 
be, my dear ; besides, you know Mrs. Franks will send 
home your drawing-room dress to-day, and it would be so 
foolish to be presented for nothing — not to go to the birthnight 
afterwards. If you say a you must say i.' 

Then,' said Belinda, ' I will not go to the draw ing-rooin.' 
84 



WAYS AND ME.\NS 



;as for f 



.'Not go, my dear! Whatl throw away fifty guineas f 
ithing I Really I never saw any one so lavish of her money, 
d so economic of her smiles.' 

' Surely,' said Miss Portman, ' it is betier for mc lo throw 
way fifty guineas, poor as I am, than to hazard the happiness ^y^ 
t my life. Your ladyship knows that if I say a to Mr. Hervey, 
must say d. No, no, my dear Lady Delacour ; here is the 
"or two hundred guineas : pay Mr. Hervey, for Heaven's 
^e, and there is an end of the business.' 
'What a positive child it is ! Well, then, it shall not be 
iced to say the a, b, c, of Cupid's alphabet to that terrible 
edagogue, Clarence Hervey, till it pleases : but seriously. Miss 
rtman, I am concerned that you will make me take this 
ift : it is absolutely robbing you. But Lord Delacour's 
i person you must blame — it is all his obstinacy : having 
ce said he would not pay for the horses, he would see them 
i me and the whole human race expire before he would 
bange his silly mind. — Next month I shall have it in my 
er, my dear, to repay you with a thousand thanks ; ajid in 
few months more we shall have another birthday, and a new 
I shall appear in the firmament of fashion, and it shall be 
ailed Belinda. In the meantime, my dear, upon second 
loughts, perhaps we can get Mrs. Franks to dispose of your 
rawing-room dress to some person of taste, and you may keep 
r fifty guineas for the next occasion. I'll see what can be 
,e. — Adieu ! a thousand thanks, silly child as you are.' 
Mrs. Franks at first declared that it would be an impossi- 
Hity to dispose of Miss Portman's dress, though she would do 
pything upon earth to oblige Lady Delacour ; however, ten 
s made everything possible. Belinda rejoiced at having, 
1 she thought, extricated herself at so cheap a rate ; and well 
ased with her own conduct, she wrote to her aunt Stanhope, 
I inform her of as much of the transaction as she could dis- 
without betraying Lady Delacour. ' Her ladyship,' she 
lid, 'had immediate occasion for two hundred guineas, and 
^ accommodate her with this sum she had given up the idea of 
'ing to court.' 

The tenor of Miss Portman's letter will be sufficiently ap- 
rent from Mrs. Stanhope's answer. 



RS. STANHOPE TO MISS PORTMAN, 

' Bath, zndj'un 

' I cannot but feel some astonishment, Belinda, ai your very 

ettraordinary conduct, and more extraordinary letter. What 

' you can mean by principles and jelicacy I ( 

tend to understand, when I see you not only forget the respect 
that is due to the opinions and advice of the aunt to whom 

I you owe everything ; but you take upon yourself to lavish her 
money, without common honesty. I send you two hundred 
guineas, and desire you to go to court — you lend my two 
hundred guineas to Lady Delacour, and inform me that as you 
think yourself bound in honour to her ladyship, you cannot 
explain all the particulars to me, otherwise you are sure I 
should approve of the reasons which have influenced you. 
Mighty satisfactory, truly ! And then, to mend the matter, 
you tell me that you do not think that in your situation in life 
^_ it is necessary that you should go to court. Your opinions and 
f mine, you add, differ in many points. Then I must say that 
you are as ungrateful as you are presumptuous ; for 1 am not 
such a novice in the affairs of the world as to be ignorant that 
when a young lady professes to be of a different opinion from 
her friends, it is only a prelude to something worse. She 
( begins by saying that she is determined to think for herself, and 
1 j she is determined to act for herself — and then it is all oyer 
[ / with her; and all the money, etc,, that has been spent upon 
yl her education is so much dead loss to her friends. 
' f ' ' Now I look upon it that a young girl who has been brought 
I up, and brought forward in the world as you have been by 
\ connections, is bound to be guided implicitly by them in all 
her conduct. What should you think of a man who, after he 
had been brought into parliament by a friend, would go and 
vote against that friend's opinions ? You do not want sense, 
Belinda— you perfectly understand me ; and consequently 
[your errors I must impute to the defect of your heart, and not 
of your judgment. I see that, on account of the illness of the 
'princess, the king's birthday is put off for a fortnight. If 

you manage properly, and if {unknown to Lady — , who 

certainly has not used you well in this business, and to whom 
therefore you owe no peculiar delicacy) you make Lord - 
sensible how much your aunt Stanhope is disappointedf 



Hi 



WAYS AND MEANS 

displeased (as I most truly am) at your inieniion of missing ihis 
■opportunity of appearing at court ; it is ten to one but his lord- 
Ship — who has not made it a point to rciuse your request, I 
soppose^will pay you your two hundred guineas. You of 
; will make proper acknowledgments; hut at the same 
entreat that his lordship will not commit you with his 
as she might be otfended at your application to him. I 
understand from an intimate acquaintance of his, that you are 
a great favourite of his lordship ; and though an obstinate, he 
is a good-natured man, and can have no fear of being governed 
by you ; consequently he will do Just as you would have him. 
'Then you have an opportunity of representing the thing in 

the prettiest manner imaginable to Lady , as an instance 

of her lord's consideration for her ; so you will oblige all 
parties (a very desirable thing) without costing yourself one 
penny, and go to the birthnight after all ; and this only by 
using a little address, without which nothing is to be done in 
this world. — -Vours affectionately (if you follow my advice), 
' S EL IN A Stanhope.' 

Belinda, though she could not, consistently with what she 
Uiought right, follow the advice so artfully given to her in this 
epistle, was yet extremely concerned to find that she had in- 
curred the displeasure of an aunt to whom she thought herself 
under obligations. She resolved to lay by as much as she 
possibly could, from the interest of her fortune, and to repay 
|he two hundred guineas lo Mrs. Stanhope, She was conscious 
that she had no right to lend this money to Lady Delacour, if 
her aunt had expressly desired that she should spend it only on 
ter court-dress ; but this had not distinctly been expressed when\ 
;. Stanhope sent her niece the draft. That lady was in the ' 
habit of speaking and writing ambiguously, so that even those 
who knew her best were frequently in doubt how to interpret 
her words. Vet she was extremely displeased when her hints 
and her half-expressed wishes were not understood. Beside 
the concern she felt from the thoughts of having displeased 
jnt, Belinda was both vexed and mortified to perceive 
1 Clarence Hervey's manner towards her there was not 
; change which she had expected that her conduct would 
laturally produce. 

One day she was surprised at his reproaching her for caprice 



\A 



J 



BELINDA 

in having given up her intentions of going to court. Lady 
Delacour's embarrassment whilst Mr. Hen'ey spoke, Belinda 
attributed to her ladyship's desire that Clarence should m 
that she had been obliged to borrow the money to pay hira for 
the horses. Belinda thought that this was a species of meat 
pride ; but she made it a point to keep her ladyship's secret — 
she therefore slightly answered Mr. Hervey, ' that she wondered 
that a man who was so we!! acquainted with the female sex 
should be surprised at any instance of caprice from a worn 
The conversation then took another turn, and whilst they v 
talking of indifferent subjects, in came Lord Delacour's n 
Champfort, with Mrs. Stanhope's draft for two hundred 
guineas, which the coachmaker's man had just brought back 
because Miss Portman had forgotten to endorse it. Belinda's 
astonishment was almost as great at this instant as Lady 
Delacour's confusion. 

' Come this way, my dear, and we'll find you a pen and ink. 
You need not wait, Champfort ; but tell the man to wait for 
the draft-^Miss Portman will endorse it immediately.' — And 
she took Belinda into another room. 

' Good Heavens 1 Has not this money been paid to Mr. 
Hervey ? ' exclaimed Belinda. 

' No, my dear ; but I will take all the blame upon myself, 
or, which will do just as well for you, throw it all upon my 
better half. My Lord Delacour would not pay for my new 
carriage. The coachmaker, insolent animal, would not let it 
It of his yard without two hundred guineas in ready money. 
Now you know 1 had the horses, and what could I do with 
the horses without the carriage ? Clarence Hervey, 1 knew, 
could wait for his money better than a poor devil of a coach- 
maker J so I paid the coachmaker, and a few months sooner 
r later can make no difference to Clarence, who rolls in gold, 
my dear — -if that will be any comfort to you, as I hope it 
will.' 

• Oh, what will he think of me 1 ' said Belinda. 

' Nay, what will he think of »/c, child ! ' 

' Lady Delacotu",' said Belinda, in a firmer tone than she 
had ever before spoken, ' J must insist upon this draft being 
given to Mr. Hervey.' 

' Absolutely impossible, my dear.-^I cannot take it from the 
coachmaker [ he has sent home the carriage : the thing's T 






THE SERPENTINE RIVER 




be undone. But come, since I kno\ 
will make you easy, I will take this mighty favi 

, Hen'ey entirely upon my own conscience : 

I to that, for yon are not ihe keeper of my 
tell Clarence the whole husiaess, and do you honour due, my 
dear : so endorse the cheque, whilst I t'o and sound both the 
praises of your dignity of mind, and simplicity of character, 

Her ladyship broke away from Belinda, returned to Clarence 
Hervey, and told the whole affair with that peculiar grace with 
which she knew how to make a good story of a bad one. 
Clarence was as favourable an auditor at this lime as she 
coiUd piossibly have found ; for no human being could value 
money less than he did, and all sense of her ladyship's 
meanness was lost in his joy at discovering that Belinda was 
I worthy of his esteem. Now he felt in its fullest extent all the 
I power she had over his heart, and he was upon the point of 

■ 'declaring his attachment to her, when malheureusenient Sir 
" Philip Baddely and Mr, Rochfort announced themselves by 

flie noise they made on the staircase. These were the young 

men who had spoken in such a contemptuous manner at Lady 

Singleton's of the match-making Mrs. Stanhope and her 

I nieces. Mr, Hervey was anxious that they should not 

■ penetrate into the state of his heart, and lie concealed his 
I by instantly assuming that kind of rattling gaiety 

I which always delighted his companions, who were ever in 
ne one to set their stagnant ideas in motion. At 
I last they insisted upon carrying Clarence away with them to 
I taste some wines for Sir Philip Baddely. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE SEKPENTINE RIVER 

to St. James's Street, where the wine-merchant 
Ffived, Sir Philip Baddely picked up several young men of his 
■ acquaintance, who were all eager to witness a trial of taste, of 
■epicurean taste, between the baronet and Clarence Hervg 



p^ 



BELINDA 



Amongst his other accomplishments our hero piqued himself 
J upon the exquisite accuracy of his organs of taste. He neither 
loveii wine, nor was he fond of eating ; but at fine dinneis, 
with young men who were real epicures, Hcrvey gave himself 
the airs of a connoisseur, and asserted superiority even in 
judging of wine and sauces. Having gained immortal honour 
at an entertainment by gravely protesting that some turtle 
would have been excellent if it had not been done a bubble fog 
muck, he presumed, elate as he was with the applauses of the 
company, to assert, that no man in England had a 
correct taste than himself. — Sir Philip Baddely could not 
-■"^ssively submit lo this arrogance | he loudly proclaii 
though he would not dispute Mr. Hervey's judgment as far as 
eating was concerned, yet he would defy him as a connoisseur 
in wines, and he offered to submit the competition to any 
eminent wine-merchant in I^ndon, and to some common fiiend. 
of acknowledged taste and experience, — Mr. Rochfort was 
chosen as the common friend of acknowledged 
perience ; and a fashionable wine-merchant was pitched upon 
to decide with him the merits of these candidates for baccha^ 
nalian fame. Sir Philip, who was just going to furnish his 
cellars, was a person of importance to the wine-merchant, who 
produced accordingly his choicest treasures. Sir Philip and, 
Clarence tasted of all in their turns ; Sir Philip with real, and 
Clarence with affected gravity ; and they delivered their. 
opinions of the positive -and comparative merits of each, Tb* 
wine-merchant evidently, as Mr. Hervey thought, leaned to- 
wards Sir Philip. ' Upon my word, Sir Philip, you 
I that wine is the best I have — you certainly have a most dis* 
criminating taste,' said the complaisant wine-merchant. 
' I'll tell you what,' cried Sir Philip, ' the thing is this : by 
Jove I now, there's no possibility now — no possibility now, by 
Jove t of imposing upon me." 
'Then,' said Clarence Heney, 'would you engage to teU 
the differences between these two wines ten times running, 
blindfold?' 
'Ten times I that's nothing,' replied Sir Philip: 'yes, fifty 
times, I would, by Jove I ' 
But when it came to the trial, Sir Philip had nothing left 
but oaths in his own favour. Clarence Hervey 
and his sense of the importance of this victory was much 




THE SERPENTINE RIVER 

J erased by the fumes of ihe w-ine, which began to operate 
F upon his brain. His triumph was, as he said it ought to be, 
J bacchanalian : he laughed and sang with anacreontic spirit, 
I and finished by declaring that he deserved to be crowned 
vine-leaves. 

' Dine with mc, Clarence,' said Rochfort, ' and we'll 
you with three times three ; and,' whispered he to Sir Philip, 
'U have another trial after dinner.' 

But as it's not near dinner-time yet — what shall we do 
with ourselves till dinner-time ? ' said Sir Philip, yawning 
pathetically. 

Clarence not being used to drink in a morning, though all 
his companions were, was rnuch affected by the wine, and 
Rochforl proposed that they should take a turn in Ihe park to 
cool Herve/s head. To Hyde Park they repaired ; Sir Philip 
boasting, all the way they walked, of the superior strength of 
bis head. 

Clarence protested that his own was stronger than any 
lan's in England, and observed, that at this instant he walked 
better than any person in company. Sir Philip Baddely not 
excepted. Now Sir Philip Baddely was a noted pedestrian, 
and he immediately challenged our hero to walk with him for 
iny money he pleased. 'Done,' said Clarence, 'for ten 
guineas^ — for any money you please:' and instantly Ihey set 
I walk, as Rochfort cried 'one,ltwo, three, and away; 
keep the path, and whichever reappfes that elm tree first 

They were exactly even for some yards, then Clarence got 
ahead of Sir Philip, and he reached the elm tree first ; but, as 
he waved his hat, exclaiming, ' Clarence has won the d.iy,' Sir 
Philip came up with his companions, and coolly informed him 
that he had lost his wager — ' Lost I lost ! lost I Clarence— 
fairly lost." 

' Didn't I reach the tree first ?' said Clarence. 

'Yes,' answered his companions; 'but you didn't keep the 
path. You turned out of the way when you met that crowd of 
children yonder.' 

' Now /,' said Sir Philip, ' dashed f.iirly through them — 
kept the path, and won my bet.' 

' But,' said Hervey, ' would you have had me run over that 
^e child, who was stooping down just in my way ? ' 
91 



BELINDA 

' not I,' said Sir Philip; 'but 1 would have you ( 
through with your dvilily : if a man will be polite, he mu 

I pay for his politeness sometimes.— You said you'd lay me any 
money I pleased, recollect — now I'm very moderaie — and as 
you are a particular friend, Clarence, I'll only take your ten 
guineas.' 

A loud laugh from his companions provoked Clarence; 
they were glad ' to have a laugh against him,' because he 
excited universal envy by the real superiority of his talents, 
\ and by his perpetually taking' the lead in those trifles which 
were beneath his ambition, and exactly suited to engage the 
attention of his associates. 

' Be it so, and welcome ; Til pay ten guineas for having 
better manners than any of you,' cried Hervey, laughing ; 
'but remember, though I've lost this beij I don't give up my 
pedestrian fame.— Sir Philip, there are no women to throw 
golden apples in my way now, and no children for me 
stumble over : I dare you to another trial^double or quit,' 

' I'm off, by Jove ! ' said Sir Philip. • I'm too hot, damme, 
to walk with you any more — but I'm your man if you'vi 
mind for a swim — here's the Serpentine river, Clarence — hey ? 
damn il ! — hey?' 

Sir Philip and all his companions knew that Clarence had 
never learned lo swim. 

'You may wink at one another, as wisely as you please,' 
said Clarence, ' but come on, my boys— 1 am your man for a 
swim — a hundred guineas upon it I 



■Dai 



Leap in with 
Ands' ' 



Ihou, Rochfoit, uow 
nto this weedy flood, 
yonder point ? ' 



' and i 



ostantly Hervey, who had in his confused head f 

recollection of an essay of Dr. Frani.lin on swimming, by 

which he fancied that he could ensure at once his safety and 

I his fame, threw off his coat and jumped into the river — luckily 

■ 1 boots. Rochfort, and all the other young e 

stood laughing by the river-side. 

' Who the devil are these two that seem to be making up 
us ? ' said Sir Philip, looking at two gentlemen who i 
1 coming towards them ; ' SL George, hey ? you know ev 
tbodv.' 



THE SERPENTINE RIVER 

' TTie foremost is Percival, of Oakly Park, I tliink, 'pon n^ 
honour,' replied Mr. St. George, and he then began to settle 
how many thousands a year Mr. Percival was worth. This 
point was not decided when the gentlemen came up lo the 
spot where Sir Philip was standing. 

The child for whose sake Clarence Hervey had lost his bet 
was Mr. Perdvai's, and he came to thank him for his civility. — 
The gentleman who accompanied Mr. Percival was an old 
friend of Clarence Herveys ; he had met him abroad, but had 
not seen him for some years. 

' Pray, gentlemen,' said he to Sir Philip and his party, ' is 
Mr. Clarence Hervey amongst you ? I think I saw him pass 
by me just now.' 

' Damn it, yes — where is Clary, though ? ' exclaimed Sir 
Philip, suddenly recollecting himself — Clarence Hervey at this 
instant was drowning : he had got out of his depth, and had 
struggled in vain to recover himself. 

' Curse me, if it's not all over with Clary,' continued Sir 
Philip. ' Do any of you see his head anywhere ? Damn you, 
Rochfort, yonder it is.' 

' Damme, so it is,' said Rochfort ; 'but he's so heavy in his 
clothes, he'd pull me down along with him to Davy's locker : 
damme, if Pll go after him.' 

' Damn it, though, can't some of ye swim ? Can't some of 
,ye jump in?' cried Sir Philip, turning to his companions: 
^'damn it, Clarence will go to the bottom.' 

And so he inevitably would have done, had not Mr. Percival 
t this instant leaped into the river, and seized hold of the 
; drowning Clarence. It was with great difficulty that he 
ragged him to the shore. — Sir Philip's party, as soon as the 
danger was over, officiously offered their assistance. Clarence 
■ Hervey was absolutely senseless. ' Damn it, what shall we do 
with him now ? ' said Sir Philip : ' Damn it, we must call some 
of the people from the boat-house — he's as heavy as lead ; 
damn me, if I know what to do with him." 

Whibt Sir Philip was damning himself, Mr. Percival ran to 
.&ie boat-house for assistance, and they carried the body into 

' The manners, if not the raorals, of genllemen, have improved Eince 

! first pablitation of this work. .Swearing has gone out of fashion. 

iBut Sir Philip Badiiely's oaths ore retained, as marks in a portrail of the 

" liekl up lo the public, touched by ridicule, the Ijeat reproliatiQi 

93 



BELINDA 

the house. The elderly gentleman who had accompanied Mr. 
Percival now made his way through the midst of the noisy 
crowd, and directed what should be done to restore Mr. 
Herve/s suspended animation. Whilst he was employed in 
this benevolent manner, Clarence's worthy friends were sneering 
at him, and whispering to one another ; * Ecod, he talks as 'd 
he was a doctor,' said Rochfort. 

*Ton honour, I do believe,* said St George, * he is the 

famous Dr. X ; I met him at a circulating library t'other 

day.' 

* Dr. X the writer, do you mean ? ' said Sir Philip ; 

* then, danm me, we'd better get out of his way as fast as we 
can, or he'll have some of us down in black and white ; and 
curse me, if I should choose to meet with myself in a book.' 

* No danger of that,' said Rochfort ; * for how can one 
meet with oneself in a book, Sir Philip, if one never opens one ? 
— By Jove, that's the true way.' 

* But, 'pon my honour,' said St. George, * I should like of 
all things to see myself in print ; 'twould make one famously ^ 
famous.' 

* Damn me, if I don't flatter myself, though, one can make 
oneself famous enough to all intents and purposes without 
having anything to say to these author geniuses. You're a 
famous fellow, faith ! to want to see yourself in print — I'll 
publish this in Bond Street : damn it, in point of famousness, 
rd sport my Random against all the books that ever were read 
or written, damn me ! But what are we doing here ? ' 

* Herve/s in good hands,' said Rochfort, * and this here's 
a cursed stupid lounge for us — besides, it's getting towards 
dinner-time ; so my voice is, let's be off, and we can leave St 
George (who has such a famous mind to be in the doctor's 
book) to bring Clary after us, when he's ready for dinner and 
good company again, you know — ha I ha ! ha ! ' 

Away the faithful friends went to the important business of 
their day. 

When Clarence Hervey came to his senses he started up, 
rubbed his eyes, and looked about, exclaiming — * What's all 
this ? — Where am I ? — ^Where's Baddely ? — Where's Rochfort ? 
— Where are they all ? ' 

* Gone home to dinner,' answered Mr. St. George, who was 
a hanger-on of Sir Philip's ; * but they left me to bring you after 

94 



THE SERPENTINE RIVER 

them. Failh, Clary, you've had a squeak for your life ! Ton 
my honour, we thought at one time it was all over with you — 
but you're 3 tough one: we shan't have to "pour over your 
grave a full bottle or red" as yet, my boy — you'll do as well as 
ever. So I'll step and caD a coach for you, Clary, and we 
shall be at dinner as soon as the best of 'cm after all, by 
jingo ! I leave you in good haitds with the doctor here, that 
brought you to life, and the gentleman that dragged you out 
of Ihe water. Here's a note for you,' whispered Mr. St. 
George, as he leaned over Clarence Hervoy — 'here's a note 
for you from Sir Philip and Rochfort : read it, do you mind, to 
yeurseip 

'If I can,' said Clarence; 'but Sir Phi hp writes a bloody 
6ad hand' ^ 

' Oh, he's a baronet^ said St. George, ' ha I ha ! ha ! ' and, 
tharmed with his own wit, he left the boat-house. 

Clarence with some difficulty deciphered the note, which 
3>ntained these words : 

' Quiz the doctor, Clary, as soon as you are up to it — he's 
an author — so fair game — qui^ the doctor, and we'll drink your 
health with three times three in Rochfort's burgundy. — Yours, 
tc. Phil. Daddelv. 

'P.S.— Bm'n this when read.' 

With the request contained in the postscript Clarence 
nmediately complied ; he threw the note into the fire with 

indignation the moment that he had read it, and turning 

towards the gentleman to whom it alluded, he began to express, 
the strongest terms, his gratitude for his benevolence. 

But he stopped short in the midst of his acknowledgments, 

irhen he discovered to whom he was speaking. 

'Dr. X— — -!' cried he. 'Is it possible? How rejoiced 
itn to see you, and how rejoiced I am to be obliged to you ! 

There is not a man in England to whom 1 would rather be 

obliged.' 

' You are not acquainted with Mr. Percival, I believe,' said 
. X ; ' give me leave, Mr. Percival, to introduce to you 

he young gentleman whose life you have saved, and whose 
-though, by the company in which you found him, ^ou. 
"" IP heraldic desigiialion ol Vtie' 





THE SERPENTINE RIVER 



Kmiglit not think so — is worth saving. This, sir, is no less a 
■Itiaji than Mr. Clarence Hervey, of whose universal genius you 
Fhave just had a specimen ; foe which he was crowned with 
nsedges, as he well deserved, by the god of the Serpentine river, 
IPo not be so unjust as to imagine that he has any of the 
■presumption which is sometimes the chief characteristic of a 
Btnan of universal genius. Mr. Clarence Her\'ey is, without 
I exception, the most humble man of my acquaintance; for 

■ ■whilst all good judges would think him fit company for Mr, 

■ Percival, he has the humility to think himself upon a level 
I with Mr. Rodifort and Sir Philip Baddely." 

P ' You have lost as little of your satirical wit. Dr. X ■ ■■ , as 
of your active benevolence, I perceive,' said Clarence Hervey, 
' since I met you abroad. But as I cannot submit to your 

I unjust charge of humility, will you tell me whei'c you are to be 

Vibund in town, and to-morrow— — ' 

■^ 'To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,' said Dr. 

B ■ 1 am engaged,' said Clarence, hesitating and laughing — 

■ ■I am unfortunately engaged to-day to dine with Mr. Rochfort 
■and Sir Philip Baddely, and in the evening 1 am to be at Lady 
KDelacoiu's.' 

H ' Lady Delacour I Not the same Lady Delacour whom four 
Hyeais ago, when we met at Florence, you compared to the 
VVenus dei Medici — no, no, it cannot be the same — a goddess 
■of four years' standing I — ^Incredible !' 

■ ' Incredible as it seems,' said Clarence, ' it is true ; I admire 
Bter ladyship more than ever I did.' 

I 'Like a true connoisseur,' said Dr. X , 'you admire a 

V^e fiictufe the older it grows ; I hear that her ladyship's face 
■Is teally one of the finest pieces of painting extant, with the 
■ftdvantage of 

■ 1 Ev'ry grace which time alone can grant. ' 

■ ' Come, come. Dr. X ,' cried Mr. Percival, ' no more 

W wit at Lady Delacout's expense ; I have a fellow-feeling for 

■ Mr. Hervey.' 

I 'Why, you are not in love with her ladyship, are you?" 

Bsaid Dr. X . 'I am not in love with Lady Delacour's 

B|picture of herself,' replied Mr. Percival, ' but I was once in 
fcryi^Mi the origin^' 



BELINDA 

* How ? — When ? — Where ? * cried Clarence Hervey, in a 
tone totally different from that in which he had first addressed 
Mr. Percival. 

' To-morrow you shall know the how, the when, and the 
where,' said Mr. Percival : * here's your friend, Mr. St George, 
and his coach.' 

* The deuce take him ! ' said Clarence : 'but tell me, is it 
possible that you are not in love with her still ? — and why?' 

* Why ? ' said Mr. Percival — * why ? Come to-morrow, as 
you have promised, to Upper Grosvenor Street, and let me 
introduce you to Lady Anne Percival; she can answer your 
question better than I can — if not entirely to your satisfection, 
at least entirely to mine, which is more surprising, as the lady 
is my wife.' 

By this time Clarence Hervey was equipped in a dry suit of 
clothes ; and by the strength of an excellent constitution, which 
he had never injured, even amongst his dissipated associates, 
he had recovered from the effects of his late imprudence. — 

* Clary, let's away, here's the coach,' said Mr. St. George. 

* Why, my boy — thaf s a famous fellow, feith ! — why, you look 
the better for being drowned. 'Pon honour, if I were you, I 
would jump into the Serpentine river once a day.' 

nf I could always be sure of such good friends to pull me 
out,' said Hervey. — * Pray, St. George, by the bye, what were 
you, and Rochfort, and Sir Philip, and all the rest of my 
friends doing, whilst I was drowning ? ' 

* I can't say particularly, upon my soul,' replied Mr. St 
George ; * for my own part, I was in boots, so you know I was 
out of the question. But what signifies all that now ? Come, 
come, we had best think of looking after our dinners.' 

Clarence Hervey, who had very quick feelings, was ex- 
tremely hurt by the indifference which his dear friends had 
shown when his life was in danger : he was apt to believe that he 
was really an object of affection and admiration amongst his com- 
panions ; and that though they were neither very wise, nor very 
witty, they were certainly very good-natured. When they had 
forfeited, by their late conduct, these claims to his regard, his 
partiality for them was changed into contempt. 

* You had better come home and dine with me, Mr. Hervey,' 
said Mr. Percival, * if you be not absolutely engaged ; for here 
is your physician, who tells me that temperance is necessary 

98 



■r 

moan just 



A FAMILY PARTY 



just recovered from drowning:, and Mr. Rochfott 
Iceeps too good a lable, I am told, for one in your condition.' 

Clarence accepted of this invitation with a degree of pleasure 
which perfectly astonished Mr. St. George. 

Every man knows his own affairs best,' said he to Clarence, 
as he stepped into his hackney coach ; ' but for my share, 1 
ill do my friend Rochfort the justice to say that no one lives 
I well as he does.' 

' If to live well mean nDttiing bul to ent,' 
id Clarence. 

'Now,' said Dr. X , looking at his watch, 'it will be 

sight o'clock by the time we get lo Upper Grosvenor Street, 

and Lady Anne will probably have waited dinner for us about 

'o hours, which I apprehend is sufficient to try the patience 

■ any woman but Griselda. ' Do not,' continued he, turning 

to Clarence Hervey, 'expect to see an old-fashioned, spiritless, 

patient Griselda, in Lady Anne Perci^'al : I can assure you 

that she is — but I will neither tell you what she is, nor what 

Every man who has any abilities, likes to have 

tiie pleasure and honour of finding out a character by his own 

penetration, instead of having it forced upon him at full length 

capital letters of gold, finely emblazoned and illuminated by 

the hand of some injudicious friend ; every child thinks the 

iolct of his own finding the sweetesL I spare you any farther 

illusion and illustrations,' concluded Dr. X , ' for here we 

:, thank God, in Upper Grosvenor Street.' 



CHAPTER Vm 

A FAMILY PARTY 



[Ev found Lady Anne Percival in the midst of her children, 
'ho all turned their healthy, rosy, intelligent feces towards the 
jdoor, the moment that they heard their father's voice. Clarence 
rlervey was so much struck with the expression of happiness 1/ 
" Lady Anne's countenance, that he absolutely forgot to com- 
ber beauty with Lady Delacoui's. VJ\\tt\\et Vw t-i^* 
99 .^- 



i 



BELINDA 



w 

l^wera tai^e or small, blue or liazel, he could not tel 
j might have been puzzled if he had been asked the colour of 
I her hair. Whether she were handsome by the rules of art, he 
knew not ; but he felt that she had the essential charm of 
beauty, the power of prepossessing the heart immediately in 
her favour. The effect of her manners, like that of her beauty, 
was rather to be felt than described. Everybody was at ease 
in her company, and none thought themselves called upon lo 
admire her. To Clarence Hervey, who had been used lo ihe 
brilliant and exigeanle Lady Delacour, this respite from the 
fatigue of admiration was peculiarly agreeable. The un- 
constrained cheerfulness of Lady Anne Percival spoke a mind 
at ease, and immediately imparted happiness by exacting 
sympathy ; but in Lady Delacour's wit and gaiety there was 
an appearance of art and effort, which often destroyed the 
pleasure that she wished to communicate. Mr. Hervey was, 
perhaps unusually, disposed to reflection, by having just escaped 
from drowning ; for he had made all these comparisons, and 
came to this conclusion, with the accuracy of a metaphysician, 
who has been accustomed to study cause and effect — indeed 
there was no species of knowledge for which he had not taste 
and talents, though, to please fools, he too often affected ' the 
bliss of ignorance.' 

The children at Lady Anne Percival's happened to be 
looking at some gold fish, which were in a glass globe, and 

Dr. X , who was a general fa%'ourite with the younger as 

well as with the elder part of the family, was seized upon the 
moment he entered the room : a pretty little girl of five yeais 
old took him prisoner by the flap of the coat, whilst two of her 
brothers assailed him with questions about the ears, eyes, and 
(rf fishes. One of the little boys filliped the glass globe, 
[Observed that the fish immediately came to the surface of 
:er, and seemed to hear the noise very quickly ; but his 
doubted whether the fish heard the noise, and remarked 
that they might be disturbed by seeing or feeling the motion 
of the water, when the glass was struck. 

Dr. X obsen'ed that this was a very learned dispute, 

and that the question had been discussed by no less a person 
than the Abb^ NoUet i and he related some of the ingenious 
experiments tried by that gentleman, to decide whether fishes 
can or cannot hear. Whibt the doctor was speaking. 



f, Clarja^J 



A FAMILY PARTY 



m 



.ervey was struck with the intelligent 
the little auditors, a girl of about ten or twelve years old 
was surprised lo discover in her features, (hough not in their 
expression, a singular resemblance to Lady Delacoiu". He 
remarked this to Mr. Percival, and the child, who overheard 
him, blushed as red as scarlet Dinner was announceil at this 
instant, and Clarence Hervey thought no more of the circum- 
stance, attributing the girl's blush lo confusion at being looked 
earnestly. One of the little boys whispered as they were 
going down to dinner, ' Helena, I do believe that this is the 
good-natured gentleman who went out of the path to make 
loom for us, instead of running over us as the other man did.' 
The children agreed that Clarence Hervey certainly was /A« 
good-natured gaUleman, and upon the strength of this observa- 
tion, one of the boys posted himself next to Clarence at dinner, 
and by all the little playful manceuvres in his power endeavoured 
to show his gratitude, and to cultivate a friendship which had 
been thus auspiciously commenced. Mr. Hervey, who piqued 
'tiiinself upon being able always to suit his conversation to his 
companions, distinguished himself at dinner by an account of 
ttie Chinese fishing-bird, from which he passed to the various 
ingenious methods of fishing practised by the Russian Cossacks. 
From modem he went to ancient fish, and he talked of that 
which was so much admired by the Roman epicures for 
exhibiting a succession of beautiful colours whilst it is dying ; 
and which was, upon that account, always suffered to die in 
ttie presence of the guests, as part of the entertainment.— 
Clarence was led on by the questions of the children from fishes 
to birds ; he spoke of the Roman aviaries, which were so 
constructed as to keep from the sight of the prisoners that they 
contained, ' the fields, woods, and every object which might 
ind them of their former liberty.' — From birds he was 
going on to beasts, when he was nearly struck dumb by the 
fcrbidding severity with which an elderly lady, who sat opposite 
'to him, fixed her eyes upon him. He had not, till this instant, 
j>aid the smallest attention to her ; but her stem countenance 
was now so strongly contrasted with the approving looks of the 
children who sat next to her, that he could not help remarking 
it He asked her to do him the honour to drink a glass of 
wine with him. She declined doing him that honour ; observing 
Chat she never drank more than one glass of wine at dinner, 



BELINDA 

and that she had just taken one wiih Mr. Percival, 
manner was well-bred, but haughty in the extreme ; and she 
was so passionate, that her anger sometimes contiuered even 
her politeness. Her dislike to Clarence Hervey was apparent, 
even in her silence. ' If the old gentlewoman has taken an 
antipathy to me at first sight, 1 cannot help it," thought he, 
and he went on to the beasts. The boy, who sat next him, 
had asked some questions about the proboscis of the elephant, 
and Mr. Heri'ey mentioned Ives's account of the elephants in 
India, who have been set to watch young children, and who 
draw them back gently with their trunks, when they go c 
bounds. He talked next of the unicorn ; and addressing 

himself to Dr. X and Mr. Percival, he declared that tn his 

opinion Herodotus did not deserve to be called the father of 
lies ; he cited the mammoth to prove that the apocryphal 
chapter in the history of beasts should not be contemned — that 
it would in all probability be soon established as true history. 
The dessert was on the table before Clarence had done with 
the mammoth. 

As the butler put a fine dish of cherries upon the table, he 

' My lady, these cherries are a present from the old gardener 
to Miss Delacour.' 

' Set them before Miss Delacour then,' said Lady Anne. 
' Helena, my dear, distribute your own cherries,' 

At the name of Delacour, Clarence Hervey, though his 
head was still half full of the mammoth, looked round in 
astonishment ; and when he saw the cherries placed before the 
young lady, whose resemblance to Lady Delacour he had before 
observed, he could not help exclaiming — 

' That young lady then is not a daughter of your ladyship's?' 

' No ; but 1 love her as well as if she were,' replied Lady 
Anne.—-' What were you saying about the mammoth ? ' 

' That the mammoth is supposed to be ' but inter- 
rupting himself, Clarence said in an inquiring tone — 'A niece 
of Lady Delacour's ? ' 

' Her ladyship's daughter, sir,' said the severe old lady, in 
& voice more terrific than her looks. 

' Shall I give you some strawberries, Mr. Hervey,' said 
Lady Anne, ' or will you let Helena help you to some 
Cherries?' 



A FAMILY PARTY 

' Her ladyship's daughter!' exclaimed Clarence Hervey, ii 
tone of surprise, 

' Some cherries, sir?' said Helena; but her voice faltered .. 
D much, thai she could hardly utter llie words. 

Clareoce perceived that he had been the cause of her agila- 
I though he knew not precisely by what means ; and he 
ow applied himself in silence to the picking of his strawberries 
imh great diligence. 

The ladies soon afterwards withdrew, and as Mr. Pcrcival 
lid not touch upon the subject again, Clarence forebore to ask 
iny further questions, though he was considerably surprised 
ly this sudden discovery. When he went into the drawing- 
) tea, he found hjs friend, the stern old lady, speaking 
1 a high declamatory tone. The words which he heard as be 
ame into the room were — 

' If there were no Clarence Hen'eys, there would be no 
^dy Delacours.'^ Clarence bowed as if he had received a 
tigh compliment — the old lady walked away to an antechamber, 
~ inning herself with great energy. 

' Mrs. Margaret Delacour,' said Lady Atme, in a low voice 
J Hervey, ' is an aunt of Lord Delacour's. A woman whose 
pieart is warmer than her temper.' 

' And that is never cool^ said a young lady, who sat next to 
JLady Anne. ' 1 call Mrs. Margaret Delacour the volcano ; 
e 1 am never in her company without dreading an 
■uption. Every now and then out comes with a tremendous 
ise, fire, smoke, and rubbish.' 

'And precious minerals,' said Lady Anne, 'amongst the 
EUbbish.' 

' But the best of it is,' continued the young lady, ' that she 
g seldom in a passion without making a hundred mistakes, for 
^hich she is usually obliged afterwards to ask a thousand 

' By that account,' said Lady Anne, ' which I believe to 
^ just, her contrition is always ten times as great as her 



' Now you talk of contrition, Lady Anne,' said Mr. Hervey, 

I should think of my own offences ; I am very sorry that my 

Indiscreet questions gave Miss Delacour any pain — my head 

I full of the mammoth, that I blundered on without 

idng what I was about til! it was too late.' 

103 




A FAMILY PARTY 






' Pray, sir,' said Mrs. Margaret Delacour, who now returned, 
pud. took her seat upon a sofa, with the solemnity of a person 
Who was going to sit in judgment upon a criminal, ' pray, sir, 
daay I ask how long you have been acquainted with my Lady 
(Deiacour f ' 

1 Clarence Hen-ey took up a book, and with great gravity 
Jdssed it, as if he had been upon his oath in a court of justice, 
land answered — ■ 

' To the best of my recollection, madam, it is now four 
'years since I had first the pleasure and honour of seeing l^ady 
Pelacour.' 

' And in that time, intimately as you have had the pleasure 
of being acquainted with her ladyship, you have never dis- 
■ covered that she had a daughter ? ' 

' Never,' said Mr. Hervey. 

' There, Lady Anne I — There ! ' cried Mrs. Delacour, ' will 
you tell me after this, that Lady Delacour is not a monster?' 

' Everybody says that she's a prodigy,' said Lady Anne ; 
'and prodigies and monsters are sometimes thought synonymous 

' Such a mother was never heard of,' continued Mrs. Dela- 
cour, ' since the days of Savage and Lady Macclesfield. I am 
■convinced that she /laUs her daughter. Why, she never speaks 
rf her — she never sees her — she never thinks of her t ' 

' Some mothers speak more than they think of their children, 
and others think more than they speak of them,' said Lady Anne. 
' I always thought,' said Mr. Hervey, ' that Lady Delacour 
was a woman of great sensibility.' 

, ' Sensibility ! ' exclaimed the indignant old lady, ' she has 
,ao sensibility, sir — ^none — none. She who lives in a constant 
lound of dissipation, who performs no one duty, who exists 
lOnly for herself ; how does she show her sensibility ? — Has she 
aensibility for her husband — for her daughter — for any one 
Refill purpose upon earth? — Oh, how I hate the cambric 
iandkerchief sensibility that is brought out only to weep at a 
toagedy ! — Yes ; Lady Delacour has sensibility enough, I grant 
ye, when sensibility is the fashion. I remember well her per- 
frrming the part of a nurse with vast applause ; and I remem- 
^r, too, the scmiiility she showed, when the child that she 
■ursed fell a sacrifice to her dissipation. The second o" 
^ildren that she killed ^ ' 

! 105 




BEMNDA 

' Killed ! — Oh 1 surely, my dear Mrs, Delacour, thai is too 
strong a word,' said Lady Anne : ' you would not make a 
Medea of Lady Delacour ! ' 

' It would have been better if I had,' cried Mrs. Delacour. 
' 1 can understand that there may be such a thing in nature as 
a jealous wife, but an unfeeling mother I cannot comprehend 
— that passes my powers of imagination.' 

'And mine, so much,' said Lady Anne, 'that I cannot 
believe such a being to exist in the world — notwithstanding all 
the descriptions I have heard of it : as you say, my dear Mrs. 
Delacour, it passes my powers of imagination. Let us leave 
it in Mr. Hervey's apocryphal chapter of animals, and he will 
excuse us if I never admit it into true history, at least without 
some belter evidence than I have yet heard.' 

' Why, my dear, dear Lady Anne,' cried Mrs. Delacour — 
'bless me, I've made this coffee so sweet, there's no drinking 
it— what evidence would you have ? ' 

' None,' said Lady Anne, smiling, ' I would have none.' 

'That is to say, you will take none,' said Mrs. Delacour; 
' but can anything be stronger evidence than her ladyship's 
conduct to my poor Helen — to your Helen, 1 should say — for 
you have educated, you have protected her, you have been a 
mother to her. I am an infirm, weak, ignorant, passionate 
old woman^I could not have been what you have been to 
that child— God bless you ! — God will bless you ! ' 

She rose as she spoke, to set down her coffee-cup on the 
table. Clarence Hervey took it from her with a look which said 
much, and which she was perfectly capable of understanding. 

'Young man,' said she, 'it is very unfashionable to treat 
age and infirmity with politeness. I wish that your friend, 
Lady Delacour, may at my lime of life meet with as much 
respect, as she has met with admiration and gallantry in her 
youth. Poor woman, her head has absolutely been turned 
with admiration — and if fame say true, Mr. Hervey has bad 
his share in turning that head by his flattery.' 

' I am sure her ladyship has tmried mine by her charms,' 
said Clarence; 'and I certainly am not to be blamed for 
admiring what all the world admires.' 

' I wish,' said the old lady, 'for her own sake, for the safes 
of her family, and for the sake of her reputation, that 
Delacour had fewer admirers, and mote f 
io6 



lat my La^ 



A FAMILY PARTY /T-V,. 

'Women who have met with so many admirers, seldom 
meet with many friends,' said Lady Anne. 
■ ' No,' said Mrs. Delacour, ' for they seldom are wise enough 
to know their value.' 

' We learn the value of aJl things, but especially of friends, 
by experience,' said Lady Anne ; ' and it is no wonder, there- 
fore, that those who have little experience of the pleasures of 
(nendship should not be wise enough to know their value.' 

' This is very good-natured sophistry ; but Lady Delacour 
is loo vain ever to have a friend,' said Mrs. Delacour. ' My 
dear Lady Anne, you don't know her as well as I do — she has 
more vanity than ever woman had.' 

' That is certainly saying a great deal,' said Lady Anne ; 
'but then we must consider, that Lady Delacour, as an heiress, 
a beauty, and a wit, has a right to a triple share at least.' 

' Both her fortune and her beauty are gone ; and if she had 
any wit left, it is time it should teach her how to conduct her- 
self, I think,' said Mrs. Delacour : ' but I give her up — I give 

■ Oh no,' said Lady Anne, ' you must not give her up yet, 
I have been informed, and upon the best autfiority, that Lady 
Delacour was not always the unfeeling, dissipated fine lady 
that she now appears to be. This is only one of the Irarisfor- 
maiions of fashion — the period of her enchantment will soon 
be at an end, and she will return to her natural character. I 
should not be at all surprised, if Lady Delacour were to appear 

'Or la bonne mkref said Mrs, Delacour, sarcastically, 
•after thus leaving her daughter ' 

' Pour bonne boucke,' interrupted Lady Anne, ' when she is 
tired of the insipid taste of other pleasures, she will have a 
higher relish for those of domestic hfe, which wili be new and 
fresh to her.' 

' And HO you really think, my dear Lady Anne, that my 
Lady Delacour will end by being a domestic woman. Well,' 
said Mrs. Margaret, after taking two pinches of snuff, ' some 
people believe in the millennium ; but I confess I am not one 
of them^are you, Mr. Hervey ? ' 

' If it were foretold to me by a good angel,' said Clarence, 

smiling, as his eye glanced at Lady Anne ; ' if it were foretold 

to me by a good angel, how could I doubt iXi' 

107 



"-4 



BELINDA 

Here the conversation was interrupted by llie c 
one of Lady Anne's little boys, who ca.iiie running eagerly up 
to his mother, to ask whether he might have < the sulphur 
show to Helena Delacour. I want to show her Vertmnnus and 
Pomona, mamma,' said he, ' Were not the cherries that the 
old gardener sent very good?' 

■ What is this about the cherries and the old garden 
Charles?' said the young lady who sat beside Lady Anne: 
' come here and tell nie the whole story.' 

■ 1 will, but 1 should tell it you a great deal better another 
time,' said the boy, ' because now Helena's waiting for Ver- 
tumnus and Pomona.' 

'Go then to Helena,' said Lady Anne, 'and I will tell tia 
story for you.' 

Then turning to the young lady she began — ' Once iqxm 
a time there lived an old gardener at Kensington ; and ibis 
old gardener had an aloe, which was older than himself; for it 
was very near a hundred years of age, and it w ' 
blossom, and the old gardener calculated how much he might 
make by showing his aloe, when it should be in full blow, t 
the generous public — and he calculated that he might make 
^loo; and with this j^ioo he deiemiined to do more than 
was ever done with ^loo before: but, unluckily, as he was 
thus reckoning his blossonis before they were blown, he 
chanced to meet with a fair damsel, who ruined all his : 
calculations.' 

'Ay, Mrs. Stanhope's maid, was not it ?' interrupted Mrs. 
Margaret Delacour. ' A pretty damsel she was, and almost as 
good a politician as her mistress. Think of that jilt's tricking 
this poor old fellow out of his aloe, and — oh, the meanness of 
Lady Delacour, to accept of that aloe for one of her extravagant 

' But I always understood that she paid fifty guineas for it,' 
s^d Lady Anne. 

'Whether she did or not,' said Mrs. Delacour, 'her ladyship 
and Mrs. Stanhope between them were the ruin of this poor 
old man. He was taken in to marry that jade of a waiting- 
maid i she turned out just as you might expect from a pupil 
of Mrs. Stanhope's — -the match-making Mrs. Stanhope— you 
know, sir.' (Clarence Hervey changed colour.) 'She turned 
out,' continued Mrs. Delacour, ' everything that \ 
108 




A FAMILY PARTY 
husband — ran away from him^and left hii 






said Clarence Hervey. 
id Lady Anne, 'let's come to the best part 
story — mark how good comes out of evil. If this poor 
nan had not lost his aloe and his wife, 1 probably should 
ever have been acquainted with Mrs. Delacour, or with my 
tUe Helena. About the time that the old gardener was left 
1 beggar, as I happened to be walking one fine evening in 
Hoane Street, I met a procession of schoolgirls — an old man 
legged from them in a most moving voice; and as they passed, 
«veral of the young ladies threw halfpence to him. One little 
jiri, who observed that the old man could not stoop without 
;reat difficulty, stayed behind ihe rest of her companions, and 
Allected the halfpence which they had thrown to him, and put 
hem into his hat. He began to tell his story over again to her, 
pd she stayed so long listening to it, that her companions had 
Btned the comer of the street, and were out of sight. She 
Soked about in great distress i and I never shall forget the 
athetic voice with which she said, " Oh I what will become of 
le ? everybody will be angry with me." 1 assured her that 
Dbody should be angry with her, and she gave me her little 
and with the utmost innocent confidence. I took her home 
a her schoolmistress, and I was so pleased with the beginning 
f this acquaintance, that I was determined to cultivate it. One 
Ood acquaintance I have heard always leads to another. 
lelena introduced me to her aunt Delacour as her best 
riend. Mrs. Margaret Delacour has had the goodness to let 
jer little niece spend the holidays and all her leisure time 
rith me, so that our acquaintance has grown into friendship. 
Helena has become quite one of my family.' 

'And I am sure she has become quite a different creature 
iCe she has been so much with you,' cried Mrs. Delacour ; 
spirits were quite broken by her mother's neglect of her ; 
g as she is, she has a great deal of real sensibility ; but as 

her mother's sensibility ' 

At the recollection of Lady Delacour's neglect of her 
Id, Mrs. Delacour was going again to launch forth into 
ignant invective, but Lady Anne stopped her, by whisper- 

; what you say of the mother, for here is the 



J 



dauf^ter conung, and she has, indeed, a great deal ofjjaL 
sensibility.' 

- Helena and her young companions now came into ihe 
room, bringing with them the sulphurs at which they had 
been looking. 

'Mamma,' said little Charles Percival, 'we have brou^. 
the sulphurs to you, because there are some of them that / 
don't know.' 

' Wonderful I ' said Lady Anne ; ' and what is not quite so 
wonderful, there are some of them that / don't know.' 

The children spread the sulphurs upon a Utile table, and all 
the company gathered round it. 

' Here are all the nine muses for you,' said the least of the 
boys, who had taken his seat by Clarence Hen-ey at dinner ; 
'here are all the muses for you, Mr. Hervey : which do you 
like best ? — Oh, that's the tragic muse that you have chosen ! 
— You don't like the tragic belter tlian the comic muse, do yoa?' 

Clarence Hervey made no answer, for he was at that instant 
recollecting how Belinda looked in the character of the tragic 

' Has your ladyship ever happened to meet with the young 
lady who has spent this winter with Lady Delacour?' said 
Clarence to Lady Anne. i 

' I sat near her one nigbt at the opera,' said Lady Anne;. 
'she has a charming countenance.' 

' Who ?— Belinda Portman, do you mean ? * said Mrs. 
Delacour. ' I am sure if I were a young man, I would not 
trust to the charming countenance of a young lady who b a 
pupil of Mrs. Stanhope's, and a friend of — Helena, my dear, 
shut the door — -the most dissipated woman in London.' 

' Indeed,' said Lady Anne, ' Miss Portman is in a dangerous 
situation ; but some young people learn prudence by being 
placed in dangerous situations, as some young horses, I have 
heard Mr. Percival say, learn to be sure-footed, by being left 
to pick their own way on bad roads.' 

Here Mr. Percival, Dr. X , and some other gentlemen, 

came upstairs to tea, and the conversation took another turn. 
Clarence Hervey endeavoured to take his share in it with his 
usual vivacity, but he was thinking of Belinda Portman, 
dangerous situations, stumbling horses, etc. ; and be made 
several blunders, which showed his absence of mind. 



ADVICE 




['What have you there, Mr. Hervey?' said Dr. 
king over his shoulder — 'the tragic muse f This tragic 
tnuse seems to rival Lady Delacour in your admiration.' 
I ' Oh,' said Clarence, smiling, ' you know 1 was always a 
yotary of the muses.' 

'And a favoured votary,' said Dr. X . 'I wish, for 

ttie interests of literature, that poets may always be lovers, 
iQiough I cannot say that I desire lovers should always be 
.poets. But, Mr. Hervey, you must never marry, remember,' 

continued Dr. X , 'never — for your true poet must always 

he miserable. You know Petrarch tells us, he would not have 
^een happy if he could ; he would not have married his mistress 
jf it had been in his power ; because then there would have been 
ta end of his beautiful sonnets.' 

'Every one to his taste,' said Clarence ; 'for my part I have 
geven less ambition to imitate the heroism than hope of being 
spired with the poetic genius of Petrarch. I have no wish to 
^ass whole nights composing sonnets. I would (am 1 not 
jight, Mr. Percival ?) infinitely rather be a slave of the ring than 
a slave of the lamp.' 

' Here the conversation ended ; Clarence took his leave, and 
^rs. Margaret Deiacour said, the moment he had left the room, 
' Quite a different sort of young man from what I had expected 



■ CHAPTER IX 

P ADVICE 

The next morning Mr. Hervey called on Dr. X , and 

b^ged that he would accompany him to Lady Delacour's. 

' To be introduced to your tragic muse ?' said the doctor. 

' Yes,' said Mr. Hervey : ' I must have your opinion of her 
before I devote myself.' 

H ' My opinion ! but of whom ? — Of Lady Delacour ? ' 
I ' No ; but of a young lady whom you will see with her.' 
I ' Is she handsome ? ' 
I- ' Beautiful I ' 
I ' And young ? ' 

L 




BELINDA 

' And young.' 
'And graceful ?' 

y' The most graceful person you ever beheld.' 
'Young, beautiful, graceful ; then the deuce take me,' i 

Dr. X , ' if I give you my opinion of her ; for the o 

are, that she has a thousand faults, at least, to balance these 

■ A thousand faults ! a charitable allowance,' said Clarence, 
smiling. 

' There now,' said Dr. X 

' Touch him, and no minister's so sore.' 

To punish you for wincing ai my first setting out, I promise you, 
that if the lady have a million of faults, each of them high as 
huge Olympus, I will see them as with the eye of a flatterer— 
not of a friend.' 

' I defy you to be so good or so bad as your word, doctor,' 
said Hervey. 'You have too much wit to make a good I 
flatterer.' 

' And perhaps you think too much to make a good fnend,' 
said Dr. X- — -. 

' Not so,' said Clarence : ' I would at any time rather be cut 
by a sharp knife than by a blunt one. But, tny dear doctor, 1 
hope you will not be prejudiced against Belinda, merely because 
she is with Lady Delacour ; for to my certain knowledge, she 
is not under her ladyship's influence. She judges and acts for 
herself, of which 1 have had an instance.' 

'Very possibly I' interrupted Dr. X . 'But before we 

go any farther, will you please to tell me of what Belinda you 

' Belinda Portman. I forgot that I had not told you.' 

' Miss Portman, a niece of Mrs. Stanhopie's ?' 

' Yes, but do not be prejudiced against her on that accotmt,' , 
said Clarence, eagerly, ' though I was at first myself 

'Then you will excuse my following your example instead of 
your precepts.' 

' No,' said Clarence, ' for my precepts are far better than , 
my example.' 

Lady Delacour received Dr. X most courteously, and 

thanked Mr. Hervey for introducing to her a gentleman with 
' ^had long desired to converse. Dr. 




b 



AD Vice 

great literary reputation, and she saw that he was a perfectly 
well-bred man ; consequently she was ambitious of winning his 
admiration. She perceived also that he had considerable 
influence with Clarence Hervey, and this was a sufficient reason 
to make her wish for his good opinion. Belinda was particularly 
pleased with his manners and conversation ; she saw that he 
paid her much attention, and she was desirous that he should 
think favourably of her ; but she had the good sense and good r/j 
taste to avoid a display of her abilities and accomplishments. 
A sensible man, \vho has any knowledge of the world and 
talents for conversation, can easily draw out the knowledge of 
those with whom he converses. Dr. X possessed this 

rei in a superior degree. 

Well,' cried Clarence, when their visit was over, 'what is 
your opinion of Lady Delacour ? * 

' I am " blasted with excess of light," ' said the doctor. 

' Her ladyship is certainly very brilliant,' said Clarence, 
'but I hope that Miss Portman did not overpower you.' 

' No — I turned my eyes from Lady Delacour upon Miss 
Portman, as a painter turns his eyes upon mild green, to rest 
them, when they have been daziled by glaring colours. 
' She yields her charms of mind with sweet dclsy.' 

•I was afraid,' said Hervey, 'that you might think her 
manners too reserved and cold : they are certainly become 
more so than they used to be. But so much the better ; by 
and by we shall find beautiful flowers spring up from beneath 
the snow.' 

' A very poetical hope," said Dr. X ; ' but in judging 

of the human character, we tnust not entirely trust to analogies 
and allusions taken from the vegetable creation.' 

'Whatl' cried Clarence Hervey, looking eagerly in the 
doctor's eyes, ' what do you mean f I am afraid you do not 
approve of Belinda.' 

' Your fears are almost as precipitate as your hopes, my good 

: but to put you out of pain, I will tell you, that I approve 
of all I have seen of this young lady, but that it is absolutely 
out of my power to form a decisive judgment of a woman's 
temper and character in the course of a single morning visit. 
Women, you know, as well as men, often speak with one species 
of enthusiasm, and act with another. 1 must see nowi Bctoda. 



BELINDA 

act, I must study her, before 1 can give you my linal judgmeot. 

Lady Delaeour has honoured me with her command; 
her as often as possible. For your sake, my dear Hervey, 
shall obey her ladyship most punclually, that I may have 
frequent opportunities of seeing your Miss Portman.' 

Clarence expressed his gratitude with much energy, for this 
instance of the doctor's friendship, Belinda, who had been ■ 

tertained by Dr. X 's conversation during the first visit, 

was more and more delighted with his company as she became 
more acquainted with his understanding and character. She 
felt that he unfolded her powers, and that with the greatest 
pohteness and address he raised her confidence in herself, 
without ever descending to flattery. By degrees she learned 
to look upon him as a friend ; she imparted to him with great 
ingenuousness her opinions on various subjects, and she was 
both amused and instructed by his observations on the characters 
and manners of the company who frequented Lady Delacoui's 
assemblies. She did not judge of the doctor's sincerity merely 
by the kindness he showed her, but by his conduct towards 
others. 

One night, at a select party at Lady Delacour's, a Spanish 
gentleman was amusing the company with some anecdotes, to 
prove the extraordinary passion which some of his countrymen 
formerly showed for the game of chess. He mentioned 
families, in which unfinished games, bequeathed by will, had 
descended from father to son, and where victory was doubtfij] 
for upwards of a century. 

Mr. Hervey observed, that gaining a battle was, at that 
time, so common to the court of Spain, that a victory at chess 
seemed to confer more Mai; for that an abb^, by losing 
adroitly a game at chess to the Spanish minister, obtained a 
cardinal's hat. 

The foreigner was flattered by the manner in which Hervey 
introduced this slight circumstance, and he directed to him his 
conversation, speaking in French and Italian successively ; he 
was sufficiently skilled in both languages, but Clarence spoke 
them better. Till he appeared, the foreigner was the principal 
object of attention, but he was soon eclipsed by Mr. Hervey. 
Nothing amusing or instructive that could be said upon the 
game of chess escaped him, and the literary ground, which the 

r Don would have taken some hours to go regularly over, 

1T4 



\ 



ADVICE 

DT hero traversed in a. few minutes. From Twiss to Vida, 
Xiin Irwin lo Sir William Jones, from Spain to India, he 

Ksed with admirable celerity, and seized all that could adorn | 

course from Indian Antiquities or Asiatic Researches. 

By this display of knowledge he surprised even his friend 

Dr. X . The ladies admired his taste as a poet, the 

gentlemen his accuracy as a critic ; Lady Delacour loudly 
applauded, and Belinda silently approved. Clarence was 
elated. The Spanish gentleman, to whom he had Just quoted 
a case in point from Vida's Scacchia, asked him if he were 
as perfect in the practice as in the theory of the game. 
Clarence was too proud of excelling jn everything to decline 
the Spaniard's challenge. They sat down to chess. Lady 
Delacour, as they ranged the pieces on the board, cried, 
'Whoever wins shall be my knight; and a silver chessman 
shall be his prize. Was it not Queen Elizabeth who gave a 
alver chessman to one of her courtiers as a mark of her royal (/ 
fevour ? 1 am ashamed to imitate such a pedantic coquette — 
but since 1 have said it, how can I retract ? ' 

'Impossible! impossible!' cried Clarence Hervey : 'a 
silver chessman be our prize ; and if I win it, like the gallant 
Raleigh, I will wear it in my cap ; and what proud Essex shall 
dare to challenge it ? ' 

The combat now began — the spectators were silent. 
Clarence made an error in his first move, for his attention was 
distracted by seeing Belinda behind his adversary's chair. 
The Spaniard was deceived by this mistake into a contemptu- 
'WIS opinion of his opponent — -Belinda changed her place — 
Clarence recovered his presence of mind, and convinced him 
Ihat he was not a man to be despised. The combat was long 
^ubtful, but at length, to the surprise of all present, Clarence 
■Hervey was victorious. 

Exulting in his success, he looked round for Lady Delacour, 
from whom he expected the honours of his triumph. She had 
ikft the room, but soon she returned, dressed in the character 
6f Qaeen Elizabeth, in which she had once appeared at a 
masquerade, with a large ruff, and al! the costume of the 
times. 

Clarence Hervey, throwing himself at her feet, addressed 

^r in that high-flown style which her majesty was wont to 

hear from the gallant Raleigh, or the accomplished Essex. 

115 




ClariMi llii-pcy Ihrtw kimid/allicr-ficL 



ioon ihe coquetry of the queen entirely conquered her 
I PlTidery; and the favoured courtier, evidently elated by his 
1 ^'tuarion, was as enthusiastic as her majesty's most insatiable 
Canity could desire. The characters were well supported ; 
Mth the actor and actress were highly animated, and seemed 
io fiilly possessed by their parts as to be insensible to ihe 
comments that were made upon the scene, Clarence Hervcy 
' Was first recalled to himself by the deep blush which he saw 
I Belinda's cheek, when Queen Elizabeth addressed her as 
le of her maids of honour, of whom she affected to be jealous, 
e was conscious that he had been hurried by the enthusiasm 
of the moment farther than he either wished or intended. It 
was difficult to recede, when her majesty seemed disposed to 
advance ; but Sir Walter Raleigh, with much presence of 
mind, turned to the foreigner, whom he accosted as the 
Spanish ambassador. 

' Vour excellency sees,' said he, 'how this great queen turns 
the heads of her faithful subjects, and afterwards has the art 
of paying them with nothing but words. Has the new world 
afforded you any coin half so valuable > ' 

The Spanish gentleman's grave replies to this playful 
'question gave a new turn to the conversation, and relieved 
Clarence Hervey from his embarrassment. Lady Delacour, 
though still in high spirils, was easily diverted to other objects. 
She took the Spaniard with her to the next room, to show him 
a picture of Mary, Queen of Scots. The company followed 

—Clarence Hervey remained with Dr. X and Belinda, 

who had just asked the doctor to teach her the moves at chess. 
'Lady Delacour has charming spirits,' said Clarence 
ilervcy ; ' they inspire everybody with gaiety.' 

* Everybody I they incline me more to melancholy than 

teirth,' said Dr. X . ' These high spirits do not seem 

; natural The vivacity of youth and of health, Miss 
Tortman, always charms me ; but this gaiety of Lady Dela- 
coar's does not appear to me that of a sound mind in a sound 
body.' 

The doctor's penetration went so near the truth, that 
Belinda, afraid of betraying her friend's secrets, never raised 
her eyes from the chess-board whilst he spoke, but went on 
Betting up the fallen castles, and bishops, and kings, with 
expeditious diligence. 



' 



BELINDA 

' You are putting the bishop inlo the place of the knigb^ 

said Clarence. 

' Lady Delacour,' continued the doctor, ' seems to be in * 
perpetual fever, either of mind or body— I cannot tell which— 
and as a professional man, I really have some curiosity to 
determine the question. If I could feel her pulse, I could in- 
stantly decide ; but I have heard her say that she has a horror 
against having her pulse felt, and a lady's horror is invincible, 
by reMon • 

' But not by address,' said Clarence. ' I can tell you a 
method of counting her pulse, without her knowing it, without 
her seeing you, without your seeing her.' 

' Indeed ! ' said Dr. X— — , smiling ; ' that may be a usefid 
secret in my profession ; pray impart it lo me — you who excd. 
in everything,' 

'Are you in earnest, Mr. Hen-ey?' said Belinda. 

' Perfectly in eamesl^ — my secret is quite simple. Look 
through the door at the shadow of Queen Elizabeth's ruff- 
observe how it vibrates ; the motion as well as the figure is 
magnified in the shadow. Cannot you count every puis 
distinctly ? ' 

' I can,' said Dr. X , ' and I give you credit for making 

an ingenious use of a trifling observation.' The doctor paused 
and looked round. ' Those people carmot hear what we a 
saying, I believe ? ' 

' Oh no,' said Belinda, ' they are intent upon themselves.' 

Doctor X fixed his eyes mildly upon Clarence Harvey, 

and exclaimed in an earnest fHendly tone — 'What a pity, Mr, 
Hervey, that a young man of your talents and acquirements, a 
man who might be anything, should— pardon the expression — ■ 
, choose to be — nothing ; should waste upon petty obji 
powers suited to the greatest ; should lend his soul to every 
contest for frivolous superiority, when the same energy 
centrated might ensure honourable pre-eminence among the 

I first men in his country. Shall he who might not only dis- 
tinguish himself in any science or situation, who might not 
only acquire personal fame, but, oh, far more noble motive I' 
who might be permanently useful to his fellow-creatures, con- 
tent himself with being the evanescent amusement 
drawing-room ? — Shall one, who might be great in public, ov 
happy in private life, waste in rtus AcpWabXe nrnTmcx the beat 



rf^^s of his existence — lime that can ne\er be recalled? — 
Tliis is declamation ! — No : it is truth put into the strongest 
language that I have power to use, in the hope of making 
some impression : I speak from my heart, for T have a sincere 
Kgsrd for you, Mr, Hervey, and if I have been impertinent, 
you must foi^ve me.' 

' Forgive you ! ' cried Clarence Hervey, taking Dr. X 

by the hand, ' I think you a real friend ; you shall have the 
best thanks not in words, but in actions : you have roused my 
ambition, and 1 will pursue noble ends by noble means. A 
few years have been sacrificed ; but the lessons that they have 
taught me remain. I cannot, presumptuous as I am, flatter 
myself that my exertions can be of any material utility to my 
fellow-creatures, but what I can do I will, my excellent friend ! 
If I be hereafter either successful in public, or happy in private 
life, it is to you I shall owe it.' 

Belinda was touched by the candour and good sense with 
which Clarence Hervey spoke. His character appeared in a 
new light : she was proud of her own judgment, in having 
discerned his merit, and for a moment she permitted herself to 
feel ' unreproved pleasure in his company.' 

The next morning, Sir Philip Baddely and Mr. Rochfort 
called at Lady Delacour's — Mr. Hervey was present— her 
ladyship was summoned to Mrs. Franks, and Belinda was left 
with these gentlemen. 

' Why, damme, Clary ! you have been a lost man,' cried Sir 
Philip, 'ever since you were drowned. Damme, why did not 
you come to dine with us that day, now 1 recollect it ? We 
were all famously merry ; but for your comfort, Clarence, we 
missed you cursedly, and were damned sorry you ever took 
that unlucky jimip into the Serpentine river-— damned sorry, 
were not we, Rochfort ? ' 

'Oh,' said Clarence, in an ironical tone, 'you need no 
vouchers to convince me of the reality of your sorrow. You 
know I can never forget your jumping so courageously into the 
river, lo save the life of your friend.' 

' Oh, pooh 1 damn it,' said Sir Philip, ' what signifies who 
pulled you out, now yon are safe and sound ? By the bye, 
Clary, did you ever qui? that doctor, as 1 desired you ? No, 
that I'm sure you didn't i but I think he has made a quiz of 
you ; for, damme, I believe you have taken such a fancj to the 



ABVICE 



BELINDA 

old quizzical fellow, that you can't live without him. Miss 
Portman, don't you admire Herve/s taste ! ' 

< In this instance I certainly do admire Mr. Herve/s taste,' 
said Belinda, * for the best of all possible reasons, because it 
entirely agrees with my own.' 

* Very extraordinary, faith,' said Sir Philip. 

'And what the devil can you find to like in him. Clary?' 
continued Mr. Rochfort, ' for one wouldn't be so rude as to pot 
that question to a lady. Ladies, you know, are never to be 
questioned about their likings and dislikings. Some have pet 
dogs, some have pet cats : then why not a pet quiz f ' 

* Ha ! ha ! ha ! that's a good one, Rochfort — a pet quiz ! — 

Ha ! ha ! ha ! Dr. X shall be Miss Portman's pet quiz. 

Put it about, put it about, Rochfort,' continued the witty 
baronet, and he and his facetious companion continued to 
laugh as long as they possibly could at this happy hit 

Belinda, without being in the least discomposed by their 
insolent folly, as soon as they had finished laughing, very 
coolly observed, that she could have no objection to give her 

reasons for preferring Dr. X 's company but for fear they 

might give offence to Sir Philip and his friends. She then 
defended the doctor with so much firmness, and yet with so 
much propriety, that Clarence Hervey was absolutely enchanted 
with her, and with his own penetration in having discovered 
her real character, notwithstanding her being Mrs. Stanhope's 
niece. 

* I never argue, for my part,' cried Mr. Rochfort ; * 'pon 
honour, 'tis a deal too much trouble. A lady, a handsome 
lady, I mean, is always in the right with me.' 

* But as to you, Hervey,' said Sir Philip, * damme, do you 
know, my boy, that our club has come to a determination to 
black-ball you, if you keep company with this famous doctor ? ' 

*Your club, Sir Philip, will do me honour by such an 
ostracism.' 

* Ostracism ! ' repeated Sir Philip. — * In plain English, does 
that mean that you choose to be black-balled by us ? Why, 
damn it, Clary, you'll be nobody. But follow your own genius 
— damn me, if I take it upon me to understand your men of 
genius — they are in the Serpentine river one day, and in the 
clouds the next : so fare ye well. Clary. I expect to see you a 
doctor of physic, or a methodist parson, soon, damn me if I 

1 20 



ADVICE 

!l. Clary. Is black-ball your last word ? 
f will you ihink better on't, and give up the doctor ? ' 

can never give up Dr. X 's friendship — I would 

...r be black-balled by every club in London. The good 
M«sson you g:ave me, Sir Philip, the day I was fool enough lo 
Ijomp into the Serpentine river, has made me wiser for life. I 
Ijinow, for I have fell, the difference between real friends and 
J fashionable acquaintance. Give up Dr. X ! Never ! 

' Then fare you well, Clary,' said Sir Philip, ' you're tio 
Jonger one of us.' 

' Then fare ye well, Clary, you're no longer the man for me,' 
$aid Rochfort. 

' Tant pis, and iant mieux,' said Clarence, and so they 
parted. 

As they left the room, Clarence Hervey involuntarily turned 
to Belinda, and he thought that he read in her ingenuous, ani- 
mated countenance, full approbation of his conduct. 

'Hist! are they gone ? quite gonef said Lady Delacour, 
entering the room from an adjoining apartment ; ' they have 
.stayed an unconscionable time. How much I am obliged to 
(Mrs. Franks for detaining me! I have escaped their vapid 
impertinence ; and in truth, this morning I have such a multi- 
!|rficity of business, that 1 have scarcely a moment even for wit 
'and Clarence Hervey. Belinda, my dear, will you have the 
diarity to look over some of these letters for me, which, as 
..Marriott tells me, have been lying in my writing-table this week 
— expecting, most unreasonably, that I should have the grace to 
Open them ? We are always pimished for our indolence, as 

your friend Dr. X said the other day : if we suffer business 

ito accumulate, it drifts with every ill wind like snow, till at last 
an avalanche of it comes down at once, and quite overwhelms 
■us. Excuse me, Clarence,' continued her ladyship, as she 
[Opened her letters, ' this is very rude : but I know I have 
igecured my pardon from you by remembering your friend's wit 
- — wisdom, 1 should say : how seldom are wit and wisdom 
foined ! They might have been joined in Lady Delacour, 
perhaps — there's vanity I— if she had early met with such a 

jviend as Dr. X ; but it's too late now,' said she, with a 

Aeep sigh. 

e Her\-ey heard it, and it made a great impresna^ 



<J 



BELINDA 

y upon his benevolent imagination. * Why too late ^ ' said li' ''^ | 
biniseir. ' Mrs. Margaret Delacour is mistaken if she thinks 
this woman wants sensibility.' 

' What have you got there. Miss Portman ? ' said Ladj 
Delacour, taking from Belinda's hand one of the letters v 
she had begged ber to look aver : ' something wondrous 
pathetic, I should guess, by your countenance. " Helena 
Delacour." Oh I read it to yourself, my dear — a schoolgitVs 
letter is a thing I abominate — I make it a rule never lo read 
Helena's epistles.' 

' Let me prevail upon your ladyship lo make an exception 
to the general rule then, ' said Belinda ; ' I can assure you this 
is not a common schoolgirl's letter: Miss Delacour seen 
inherit her mother's eloquence de billet.' 

* Miss Portman seems to possess, by inheritance, by instinct, 
by magic, or otherwise, powers of persuasion, which no one can 
resist. There's compliment for compliment, my dear. Is there 
anything half so well turned in Helena's letter? Really, 'tis 
vastly well,' continued her ladyship, as she read the letter : 
' where did the little gipsy learn to write so charmingly ? I 
protest I should like of all things to have her at home with me 
this suramer^the sist of June — well, after the birthday, I 
shall have time lo think about it. But then, we shall be going 
out of town, and at Harrowgate I should not know what to do 
/ith her : she had better, much better, go to her humdrum 



Aunt Margare 
Grosvenor Squai 
zoophile friends, 
Margaret Delacour i 
She has, i 



> she always does 

These stationary good people, these 
sometimes very convenient ; and Mrs. 
s the most unexceptionable zoophile in the 
intipathy to me, because I'm 
of such a different nature from herself; but then her antipathy 
does not extend to my offspring ; she is kind beyond measure 
to Helena, on purpose, I believe, to provoke nie. Now I 
provoke her in my turn, by never being provoked, and she 
\ vast deal of trouble, for which she is overpaid by 
the pleasure of abusing me. This is the way of the world, 
Clarence. Don't look so serious — you are not come yet to 
daughters and sons, and schools and holidays, and all the evils 
of domestic life.' 

'Evils!' repeated Clarence Hervey, in a tone which sur- 
r ladyship. She looked immediately with a signili- 




J 




'^l smile at Belinda. 'Why do not you echo evils, Miss 

^ortraan ? ' 

'Pray, Lady Delacour,' interrupted Clarence Hervey, 'when 
do you go to Harrowgate ? ' 

'What a sudden transition !' said Lady Delacour. 'What 
assoriation of ideas could Just at that instant take you to 
Harrowgate? When do I go to Harrowgate? Immediately 

r the birthday, 1 believe we shaU^I advise you to be of 
ihe parly.' 

' Your ladyship does me a great deal of honour,' said 
Hervey ; ' I shall, if it be possible, do myself the honour of 
attending you.' 

And soon after this arrangement was made, Mr. Hervey 
took his leave. 

'Well, my dear, are you still poring over that letter of 
Helena's?' said Lady Delacour to Miss Portman. 

' I fancy your ladyship did not quite finish it,' said 
Belinda. 

' No ; I saw something about the Leverian Museum, and a 
swallow's nest in a. pair of garden-shears ; and 1 was afraid I 

i to have a catalogue of curiosities, for which I have little 
taste and less time.' 

' You did not see, then, what Miss Delacour says of the lady 
who took her to that Museum ? ' 

'Not L What lady? her aunt Mat^aret?' 

'No; Mrs. Margaret Delacour, she says, has been so ill 

some time past, that she goes nowhere but to Lady Anne 
Percival's.' 

' Poor woman,' said Lady Delacour, ' she will die soon, and 
then I shall have Helena upon my hands, unless some other 
kind friend takes a fancy to her. Who is this lady that has 

Tied her to the Leverian Museum ? ' 

' Lady Anne Perciva! ; of whom she speaks with so much 
gratitude and affection, that I quite long ' 

' Lord bless me ! ' interrupted Lady Delacour, ' Lady Anne 
Fercival I Helena has mentioned this Lady Anne Percival to 
nie before, I recollect, in some of her letters.' 

' Then you did read some of her letters.' 

' Half !^ — I never read more than half, upon my word,' said 
Lady Delacour, laughing. 

' Why will you deliglit in making yourself appear less good 



u 




) you arc, my dear Lady Delacour?' 
her hand. 

' Because I hale to be hke other people, 
' who delight in making themselves appear i 
are. But 1 was going lo tell you, that 1 
voke Percival by marrying Lord Delacour : 
how much this idea delights me — I am sure that the r 
a lively remembrance of me, or else he would never make his 
wife take so much notice of my daughter.' 

' Surely, your ladyship does not think,' said Belinda, ' Ihat 
a, wife is a being whose actions are necessarily governed by a 
husband.' 

' Not necessarily — but accidentally. When a lady accident- 
ally sets up for being a good wife, she must of course love, 
honour, and obey. Now, you understand, I am not in the 
least obliged to Lady Anne for her kindness to Helena, because 
it all goes under the head of obedience, in my imagination ; 
and her ladyship is paid for it by an accession of character : 
she has the reward of having it said, " Oh, Lady Anne Percival 
is the best wife in the world ! "-^<' Oh, Lady Anne Percival is 
quite a pattern woman I " I hate pattern women. I hope I 
may never see Lady Anne ; for I'm sure I should detest her 
beyond ail things living — Mrs. Luttridge not excepted.' 

Belinda was surprised and shocked at the malignant vehe- 
mence with which her ladyship uttered these words ; it was in 
vain, however, that she remonstrated on the injustice of pre- 
determining to detest Lady Anne, merely because she had 
shown kindness lo Helena, and because she bore a high 
character. Lady Delacour was a woman who never listened 
to reason, or who listened to it only that she might parry it by 
wit Upon this occasion, her wit had not its usual effect upon 
Miss Portman ; instead of entertaining, it disgusted her. 

'You have called me your friend, Lady Delacour,' said she j 
' I should but ill deserve that name, if I had not the courage to 
speak the truth to you — if I had not the courage to tell you 
when I think you are wrong.' 

' But I have not the courage to hear you, my dear,' said 

Lady Delacour, stopping her ears. ' So your conscience 'may 

; you may suppose that you have said everything 

I that is wise, and good, and proper, and sublime, and that you 

1 deserve to be called the best of friends ; you shall enjoy the 



ADVICE 

f 'office of censor lo Lady Delacour, and welcome ; but remember, 
sinecure place, though I will pay you with my love and 
Weem to any exlenl you please. You sigh^for my folly. 
Alas ! my dear, 'tis hardly worth while — my follies will soon 
in end. Of what use could even the wisdom of Solomon 
be to me now .' If y(m have any humanity, you wii! not force 
o reflect : whilst 1 yet lii'e, 1 must ketp it up with incessant 
dissipation — the teetotum keeps upright only while it spins : so 
let us talk of the birthnight, or the new play that we are to see 

lo-night, or the ridiculous figure Lady H made at the 

concert ; or let us talk of Harrowgate, or what you will.' 

Pity succeeded to disgust and displeasure in Belinda's mind, 
and she could hardly refrain from tears, whilst she saw this 
unhappy creature, with forced smiles, endeavour to hide the 
real anguish of her soul : she could only say, ' But, my dear 
Lady Delacour, do not you think that your htcle Helena, who 
to have a most affectionate disposition, would add to 
your happiness at home ? ' 

'Her affectionate disposition can be nothing to me,' said.. 
Lady Delacour. ^ 

Belinda felt a hot tear drop upon her hand, which lay upon 
Lady Delacour's lap. 

'Can you wonder,' continued her ladyship, hastily wiping J 
away the tear which she had let fall ; ' can you wonder that I 
should talk of detesting Lady Anne Percival ? Vou see she has 
robbed me of the affections of my child. Helena asks to come 
home : yes, but how does she ask it ? Coldly, formally, — as a 
duty. But look at the end of her letter ; I have read it all — 
every bitter word of it I have tasted. How differently she 
writes — look even at the flowing hand — the moment she begins 
to speak of Lady Anne Percival ; then her soul breaks out : 
" Lady Anne has offered to take her to Oakly Park — she should 
be extremely happy lo go, if I please." Yes, let her g 
her go as far from me as possible ; let her never, never s 
wretched mother more 1 — Write,' said Lady Delacour, turning 
hastily to Belinda, ' write in my name, and tell her i 
Oakly Park, and to be happy.' 

' But why should you take it for granted that she cannot be i 
happy with you ? ' said Belinda. ' Let us see ber- 
ths exfjeriment.' 

' No,' said Lady Delacour ; ■ no. — it is too late ; 



BELINDA 

condescend in my last moments to beg for that affection to 
wiiich it may be thought I have forfeited my natural dainL' 

Pride, anger, and sorrow, struggled in her countenance as 
she spoke. She turned her fsice from Belinda, and walked out 
of the room with dignity. 

Nothing remains for me to do, thought Belinda, but to sooth 
this haughty spirit : all other hope, I see, is vain. 

At this moment Clarence Hervey, who had no suspicion that 
the gay, brilliant Lady Delacour was sinking into the grave, 
had formed a design worthy of his ardent and benevolent 
character. The manner in which her ladyship had spoken of 

his friend Dr. X , the sigh which she gave at the reflection 

that she might have been a very different character if she had 
early had a sensible friend, made a great impression upon Mr. 
Hervey. Till then, he had merely considered her ladyship as 
an object of amusement, and an introduction to high life ; but 
he now felt so much interested for her, that he determined to 
exert all his influence to promote her happiness. He knew 
Mrt/ influence to be considerable : not that he was either cox- 
comb or dupe enough to imagine that Lady Delacour was in 
love with him ; he was perfectly sensible that her only wish 
was to obtain his admiration, and he resolved to show her that 
it could no longer be secured without deserving his esteem. 
Clarence Hervey was a thoroughly generous young man : 
capable of making the greatest sacrifices, when encouraged 
by the hope of doing good, he determined to postpone the 
declaration of his attachment to Belinda, that he might devote 
himself entirely to his new project. His plan was to wean 
Lady Delacour by degrees from dissipation, by attaching her 
to her daughter, and to Lady Anne Percival. He was sanguine 
in all his hopes, and rapid, but not unthinking, in all his 
decisions. From Lady Delacour he went immediately to Dr. 
X , to whom he communicated his designs, 

* I applaud your benevolent intentions,' said the doctor : 
*but have you really the presumption to hope, that an in- 
genuous young man of four-and- twenty can reform a veteran 
coquette of four-and-thirty ? ' 

* Lady Delacour is not yet thirty,' said Clarence ; * but the 
older she is, the better the chance of her giving up a losing 
game. She has an admirable understanding, and she will 
soon — I mean as soon as she is acquainted with Lady Anne 

126 



^ 



THE MYSTERIOUS BOUDOIR 

'ercival— discover that she has mistaken the road lo happiness. 
.11 the difficulty will be to make them fairly acquainted with 
[ch other ; for this, my dear doctor, 1 must trust to you. Do 
lu prepare Lady Anne to tolerate Lady Delacour's faults, and 
will prepare Lady Delacour to tolerate Lady Anne's virtues.' 
You have generously taken the more diffictalt task of the 

' replied Dr. X . 'Well, we shall see what can be 

done. After the birthday, Lady Delacour talks of going to 
Harrowgate : you know Oakly Park is not far from Harrowgate, 
so they will have frequent opportunities of meeting. But, take 
my word for it, nothing can be done till after the birthday ; for 
Lady Delacour's head is at present full of crape petticoats, and 
horses, and carriages, and a certain Mrs. Luttridge, whom she 
hates with a hatred passing that of women.' 



CHAPTER X 

THE MYSTERIOUS BOUDOIR 

Accustomed to study human nature, Dr. X had acquired 

peculiar sagacity in judging of character. Notwithstanding the 
address with which Lady Delacour concealed the real motives 
for her apparently thoughtless conduct, he quickly discovered 
that the hatred of Mrs. Luttridge wasJifirruUng passion. Above 
nine years of continual warfare had exasperated the tempers of 
both parties, and no opportunities of manifesting their mutual 
antipathy were ever neglected. Extravagantly as Lady Dela- 
' cour loved admiration, the highest possible degree of positive 
praise was insipid lo her taste, if it did not imply some 
superiority over the woman whom she considered as a perpetual 

iw it had been said by the coachmaker that Mrs. Luttridge 
would sport a most elegant new vis-A-vh on the king's birthday. 
Lady Delacour was immediately ambitious to outshine her in 
equipage ; and it was this paltry ambition that made her con- 
descend to all the meanness of the transaction by which she 
.obtained Miss Porlman's draft and Clarence Hervey's two 
lltmdred guineas. The great, the important day, at length 
12; 



^ 



DELINnA 



9 arrived — her ladyship's triumph in the morning at the drawing- 

room was complete. Mrs. Luttridge'a dress, Mrs. Luttridge's 
vis-d-vis, Mrs. Lultridge's horses were nothing, absolutely 
nothing, in comparison with Lady Delacour's : her ladyship 
enjoyed the fijil exultation of vanity ; and at night she went in 
high spirits to the ball. 

' O my dearest Belinda,' said she, as she left her dressing- 
room, 'how terrible a thing it is that you cannot go with me I — 
None of the joys of this life are without alloy '.■ — 'T would be 
too much to see in one night Mrs. Luttridge's mortification, and 
my Belinda's triumph. Adieu 1 my love : we shall live to 
another birthday, it is to be hoped. Marriott, my drops. 
1 have taken them.' 

Belinda, after her ladyship's departure, retired to the library. 
Her time passed so agreeably during Lady Delacour's absence, 
that she was surprised when she heard the clock strike twelve. 
I ' Is it possible,' thought she, ' that I have spent two hours 
I by myself in a library without being tired of my e 
How different are my feelings now from what they would have 
been in the same circumstances six months ago I — 1 should 
then have thought the loss of a birthnight bal! a mighty trial 
of temper. It is singular, that my having spent a winter with 
one of the most dissipated women in England should have 
sobered my mind so completely. If I had never seen the 
utmost extent of the pleasures of the world, as they are called, 

D my imagination might have misled me to the end of my hfe ; 

I but now I can judge from my own experience, and I am con- 
L vinced that the life of a fine lady would never make me 
\ happy. Dr. X told me, the other day, that he thinlra 

me formed for something better, and he is incapable of 
'v flattery.' 

The idea of Clarence Hervey was so intimately connected 
with that of his friend, that Miss Portman could seldom separate 
them in her imagination ; and she was just beginning lo reflect 

II upon the manner in which Clarence looked, whilst he declared 

I to Sir Philip Baddely that he would never give up Dr. X , 

B when she was startled by the entrance of Marriott. 

^t 'O Miss Portman, what shall we do? what shall we do? — i 

B My lady 1 my poor lady 1 ' cried she, 

B ' What is the matter ? ' said Belinda. 

^h 'The horses — the young horses ! — Oh, 1 wiali my lady'b 

ti 




BELINDA 

ne^'er seen them. O my lady, my poor lady, what will become 
of her ? ' 

It was some minutes before Belinda could obtain froni 
Marriott any intelligible account of what had happened. 

'All 1 know, ma'am, is what Jame5 has just told me,' said 
Marriott. 'My lady gave the coachman orders upon no ac- 
count to let Mrs. Luttridge's carriage get before hers, Mrs, 
Luttridge's coachman would not give up the point either. My 
lady's horses were young and ill broke, they tell me, and there 
was no managing of them no ways. The carriages got somehow 
across one another, and my lady was overturned, and all smashed 
to atoms. O ma'am,' continued Marriott, ' if it had not been 
for Mr. Hervey, ihey say, my lady would never have been got 
out of the crowd alive. He's bringing her home in his own 
carriage, God bless him I ' 

' But is Lady Delacour hurt ? ' cried Belinda. 

' She must,— to be sure, she must, ma'am,' cried Marriott, 
putting her hand upon her bosom. ' But let her be ever so 
much hurt, my lady will keep it to herself: the footmen swear 
she did not give a scream, not a single scream ; so it's their 
opinion she was no ways hurt — but that, I know, can't be — and, 
indeed, they are thinking so much about the carriage, that they 
, can't give one any rational account of anything j and, as for 
myself, I'm sure I'm in such a flutter. Lord knows, I advised 
my lady not to go with the young horses, no later than ' 

'Hark I' cried Behnda, 'here they are.' She ran down- 
stairs instantly. The first object that she saw was Lady Dela- 
cour in convulsions — the street-door was open — the hall was 
crowded with servants. Belinda made her way through them, 
and, in a calm voice, requested that Lady Delacour might im. 
mediately be brought to her own dressing-room, and that she 
should there be left to Marriott's care and hers. Mr. Hervey 
assisted in carrying Lady Delacour — she came to her senses as 
they were taking her upstairs. ' Set me down, set me down,' 
she exclaimed ; ' I am not hurt — I am quite well — Where's. 
Marriott? Where's Miss Portman?' i 

'Here we are — you shall be carried quite safely — trust to 

/ said Belinda, in a firm tone, ' and do not struggle.' 

Lady Delacour submitted : she was in agonising pain, but 
:r fortitude was so great that she never uttered a 

which she had put upon herself, by endeavoor- , 

I JO 




THE ItVSTERIorS' BOUDOIR 

cam, which threw her into convulsions. ' She is 
hurt — I am sure she is hurt, though she will not acknowledge 
it,' cried Clarence Hervey. ' My ankle is sprained, that's all,' 
said Lady Uelacour^' lay me on this sofa, and leave me to 
Belinda.' 

'What's all this?' cried Lord Delacour, staggering into the 
room 1 he was much intoxicated, and in this condition had just 
: home, as they were carrying Lady Delacour upstairs ; 
he could not be made to understand the truth, but as soon as 
he heard Clareoce Hervey's voice, he insisted upon going up to 
wifis dress lag-room. It was a very unusual thing, but 
neither Champfort nor any one else could restrain him, the 
moment that he had formed this idea i he forced his way into 
the room. 

'What's all this ?— Colonel, Lawless ! ' said he, addressing 
himself to Clarence Hervey, whom, in the confusion of liis 
Inind, he mistook for the colonel, the first object of his jealousy. 
^Colonel Lawless,' cried his lordship, 'you are a villain. I 
always knew it.' 

' Softly ! — she's in great pain, my lord,' said Belinda, catch- 
g Lord Delacour's arm, Just as he was going to strike Clarence 
Hervey. She led him to the sofa where Lady Delacour lay, 
i uncovering her ankle, which was much swelled, showed it 
to him. His lordship, who was a humane man, was somewhat 
moved by this appeal to his remaining senses, and he began 
roaring as loud as he possibly could for arquebusade. 

Lady Delacour rested her head upon the back of the sofa, 

er hands moved with convulsive twitches— she was perfectly 

lent. Marriott was in a great bustle, running backwards and 

fcrwards for she knew not what, and continually repeating, ' I 

Irish nobody would come in here but Miss Portman and me. 

My lady says nobody must come in. Lord bless me ! my lord 

' Have you any arquebusade, Marriott ? Arquebusade, for 

Lir lady, direcdy I ' cried his lordship, following her to the 

or of the boudoir, where she was going for some drops. 

' Oh, my lord, you can't corae in, I assure you, my lord, 

Ihere's nothing here, my lord, nothing of the sort,' said 

'larriott, setting her back against the door. Her terror and 

mbarrassment instantly recalled all the jealous suspicions of 

jxA Delacour. ' Woman ! ' cried he, ' 1 ■mili aee ■wVofa. ^«ii. 



BELINDA 

ive in this room ! — You have some one concealed there, and 
1 iifiU go in.' Then with brutal oaths he dragged Marriott 
from the door, and snatched the key from her struggling hand. 

Lady Delacour started up, and gave a scream of agony. 
' My lord ! — Lord Delacour,* cried Belinda, springing forward, 
' hear me.' 

Lord Delacour stopped short ' Tell me, then,' cried Lord 
Delacour, ' is not a lover of Lady Delacour's concealed there i ' 
'No! — No! — No I' answered Belinda. 'Then a lover of 
Miss Portman?' said Lord Delacour. 'Gad! we have hit it 
now, I believe.' 

' Believe whatever you please, my lord,' said Belinda, 
hastily, 'but give me the key,' 

Clarence Hervey drew the key from Lord Delacour's hand, 
gave it to Miss Portman without looking at her, and immedi- 
ately withdrew. Lord Delacour followed him with a sort of 
drunken laugh ; and no one remained in the room but Marriott, 
Belinda, and Lady Delacour. Marriott was so xaach JUiltered, 
as she said, that she could do nothing. Miss Portman locked 
the room door, and began to undress Lady Delacour, who lay 
motionless. 'Are we by ourselves?' said Lady Delacour, 
opening her eyes. 

'Yes — are you much hurt?' said Belinda. 'Oh, you are 
a charming girl t ' said Lady Delacour. ' Who would have 
thought you had so much presence of mind and courage — 
have you the key safe ? ' ' Here it is,' said Belinda, producing 
it ; and she repeated her question, ' Are you much hurt ? ' 'I 
am not in pajn now,' said Lady Delacour, 'but I have suffered 
terribly If I could get rid of all this finery, if you could pnt 
me to bed, 1 could sleep perhaps.' 

Whilst Belinda was undressing Lady Delacour, she shrieked 
several times ; but between every inten'ai of pain she repeated, 
' I shall be better to-morrow.' As soon as she was in bed, she 
desired Marriott to give her double her usual quantity of 
laudanum ; for that all the inclination which she had felt to 
sleep was gone, and that she could not endure the shooting 
pains that she felt in her breast. 

'Leave me alone with your lady, Marriott,' said Miss Port- 
man, taking the bottle of laudanum from her trembling hand, 
and go to bed ; for I am sure you are not able to sit up any 



THE MYSTERIOUS BOUDOIR 



^1 



As she spoke, she look Marriott into the adjoining dressing' 1 

jom. 'O dear Miss Poitman,' said Marriott, who was 

ncerely atlached to her lady, and who at this instant forgot 

all her jealousies, and all her love of power, 'I'll do anything 

you ask me ; but pray lei me stay in the room, though I know 

n quite helpless. It will be too much for you lo be here all 

night by yourself. The convulsions may take tny lady. What 

shrieks she gives every now and then ! — and nobody knows 

what's the matter but ourselves ; and everybody in the house 

asking me why a surgeon is not sent for, if my lady is so 

much hurt. Oh, I can't answer for it lo my conscience, to 

have kept the matter secret so long ; for to be sure a physician, 

if had in time, might have saved my lady— but now nothing 

n save her ! ' And here Marriott burst into tears. 

' Why don't you give me the laudanum ? ' cried Lady Dela- 

jr, in a loud peremptory voice ; ' Give it to me instantly.' 

' No,' said Miss Portman firmly.—' Hear me. Lady Dela- 

iir^^you must allow me to judge, for you know that you are 

t in a condition to judge for yourself, or rather you must 

allow me to send for a physician, who may judge for us both.' 

'A physician!' cried Lady Delacour, 'Never — never. I 

charge you let no physician be sent for. Remember your 

promise ; you cannot betray me — you ivill not betray me.' 

' No,' said Belinda, ' of that I have given sufficient proof — 
but you will betray yourself; it is already known by your 
servants that you ha.ve been hurt by the overturn of your 
carriage ; if you do not let either a surgeon or physician see 
it will excite surprise and suspicion. It is not in your 

power, when violent pain seizes you, to refrain from ' 

It is,' interrupted Lady Delacour ; ' not another scream 
shall you hear — only do not, do not, my dear Belinda, send 
for a physician.' 

' You will throw yourself again into convulsions,' said 
Belinda. ' Marriott, you see, has lost all command of herself 
— I shall not have strength to manage you — perhaps I may 
lose my presence of mind — I cannot answer for myself — your 
husband may desire to see you,' 

' No danger of that,' said l.ady Delacour ; ' tell him my 
ankle is sprained — tell him I am bruised all over — tell him 
mything you will— he will not trouble himself any more about 
me — he will forget all that passed to-night by the 
133 



BELINDA 

saber. Oh I give me the laudanun), dearest Belinda, and say 
no more about physicians.' 

It was in vain to. reason with Lady Delacour. Belinda 
attempted to persuade her ; ' For my sake, dear Lady Dela- 
cour,' said she, ' let me send for Dr. X ; he is a man of 

honour, your secret will be perfectly safe with him.' 

' He will tell it to Clarence Hervey,' said Lady Delacour : 

' of all men living, I would not send for Dr. X ; I will 

not see him if he comes.' 

' Thea,' said Belinda calmly, but with a fixed determination 
of countenance, ' I must leave you to-morrow morning — I must 
return to Bath.' 

' Leave me ! remember your promise.' 

• Circumstances have occurred, about which I have made 
no promise,' said Belinda ; ' I must leave you, unless you will 
now give me your permission to send for Dr. X .' 

Lady Delacour hesitated. 'You see,' continued Belinda, 
' that I am in earnest ; when I am gone, you will have no 
friend left ; when I am gone, your secret will inevitably be 
discovered ; for without me, Marriott will not have sufficient 
strength of mind to keep it.' 

'Do you think we might trust Dr. X ?' said Lady 

Delacour. 

'I am sure you may trust him,' said Belinda, with energy; 
' I will pledge my life upon his honour.' 

' Then send for him, since it must be so,' said Lady Delacour. 

No sooner had the words passed Lady Delacour's lips than 
Belinda flew to execute her orders. Marriott recovered her 
senses when she heard that her ladyship had consented to send 
for a physician ; but she declared that she could not conceive 
how anything less than the power of magic could have brought 
her lady to such a determination. 

Belinda had scarcely despatched a sei-vant for Dr. X , 

when Lady Delacour repented of the permission she had given, 
and all that could be said lo pacify only irritated her temper. 
She became delirious ; Belinda's presence of mind never forsook 
her, she remained quietly beside the bed waiting for the arrival 

of Dr, X , and she absolutely refused admittance to the 

servants, who, drawn by their lady's outrageous cries, continu- 
ally came to her door with offers of assistance. 

About four o'clock the doctor arrived, and Miss Portman 



THE MYSTERIOUS BOUDOIR 

was relieved from some of her anxiety. He assured her 'i 
there was no immediale danger, and he promised that the 
secret which she had eninisted to him should be faithfully 
kept. He remained with her some hours, till Lady Delacour 
becaine more quiet and fell asleep, exhausted with delirious 

exertions. — 'I think I may now leave you,' said Dr. X ; 

but as he was going through the dressing-room, Belinda 
stopped him. — ' Now that I have time to think of myself,' said 
she, ' let me consult you as my friend : I am not used to act y. 
entirely for myself, and I shall be most grateful if you will ^ 
assist me with your advice. 1 hale all mysteries, but I feel 
myself bound in honour to keep the secret with which Lady 
Delacour has entrusted me. Last night I was so circumstanced, 
Ihat I could not extricate her ladyship without exposing myself 
to — to suspicion.' 

Miss Portman then related all that had passed about the 
mysterious door, which Lord Delacour, in his fit of drunken 
jealousy, had insisted upon breaking open. 

' Mr. Her\'ey,' continued Belinda, ' was present when all 
this happened — he seemed much surprised ; I should be sorry 
that he should remain in an error which might be fatal to my 
reputation- — you know a woman ought not even to be suspected ; 
yet how to remove this suspicion I know not, because I cannot 
enter into any explanation, without betraying Lady Delacour — 
she has, I know, a peculiar dread of Mr. Hervey's discovering 
the truth.' 

' And is it possible,' cried Dr. X , ' that any woman / 

should be so meanly selfish, as thus to expose the reputation ' 
of her friend merely lo preserve her own vanity from mortifica- 

' Hush — don't speak so loud,' said Belinda, ' you will 
awaken her ; and at present she is certainly more an object of 
pity than of indignation. — If you will have the goodness to 
come with me, I will take you by a back staircase up to the 
mysterious boudoir. I am not too proud to give positive proofs 
■of my speaking truth ; the key of that room now lies on I^dy 
Delacour's bed — it was that which she grasped in her hand 
during her delirium — she has now let it fall — it opens both the 
doors of the boudoir — you shall see,' added Miss Portman, 
with a smiie, ' that I am not afraid to let you unlock either of 

US 



BELINDA 

' As a polite man,' said Dr. X , ' 1 believe thai I should 

absolutely refuse to lake any external evidence of a lady's truth ; 
but demonstration is unanswerable even by enemies, and 1 wil! 
not sacrifice your interests to the foppery of my politi 
I am ready to follow you. The curiosity of the s 
have been excited by last night's disturbance, and I see r 
method so certain as that which you propose of preventing 
busy rumour. That goddess (let Ovid say what he pleases) 
was bom and bred in a kitchen, or a servants' hall. — But,' 

continued Dr. X , 'my dear Miss Portman, you will put a 

stop to a number of charming stories by this prudence of yours 
>^ . — a romance called the Mysterious Boudoir, of nine volumes a 
Aleast, might be written on this subject, if you would only con- 
aldBScend to act like almost all other heroines, that i 
f Without common sense.' 

The doctor now followed Belinda, and satisfied himself by 
ocular demonstration, that this cabinet was the retirement of 
disease, and not of pleasure. 

It was about eight o'clock in the morning when Dr. 
got home ; he found Clarence Hervey waiting for him. Clarence 
seemed to be in great agiiation, though he endeavoured, with 
all the power which he possessed over himself, to suppress his 



' You have been to see Lady Delacour,' said he calmly ; 
' is she much hurt ? — It was a terrible accident.' 

' She has been much hurt,' said Dr. X , ' and she has 

been for some hours delirious ; but ask me no more questions 
now, for I am asleep, and must go to bed, unless you have 
anything to say that can waken me ; you look as if some great 
misfortune had befallen you ; what is the matter?' 

'O my dear friend,' said Hervey, taking his hand, ' 
not jest with me ; 1 am not able to bear your raillery in 
present temper— in one word, 1 fear that Belinda is unworthy 
of my esteem : I can tell you no more, except that I a 
miserable than I thought any woman could make me.' 

' You are in a prodigious hurry to be miserable,' said Dr. 

, X . ' Upon my word I think you would make a mighty ' 

\ pretty hero in a novel; you take things very properly for 
I granted, and, stretched out upon that sofa, 
.distracted lover vastly well — and (o complete the matter, you 
cannot tell me why you are more miserable than ever man at- 

136 



THE MYSTERIOUS BOUDOIR 

hero was before. I must tell you, then, that you have still 
more cause for jealousy than you suspect. Ay, start — every 
jealous man starts at the sound of the word jealousy — a certain 
symptom this of the disease." 

'You mistake me,' cried Clarence Hervey ; 'no nian is less 
disposed to jealousy than 1 am — but — ' 

' But your mistress — no, not your mistress, for you have 
never yet declared to her your attachment — but the lady you 
admire will not let a drunken man unlock a door, and you 
immediately suppose ' 

' She has mentioned the circumstance to you ! ' exclaimed 
Hervey, in a joyful tone : ' then she musl be innocent.' 

' Admirable reasoning ! — I was going to have told you just 
now, if you would have suffered me to spealc connectedly, that 
you have more reason for jealousy than you suspect, for Miss 
Portman has actually unlocked for me — for me t look at me — 
the door, the mysterious door— and whilst I live, and whilst 
she lives, we can neither of us ever tell you the cause of the 
mystery. All I can tell you is, that no lover is in the case, 
upon my honour — and now, if you should ever mistake curiosity 
in your ovra mind for jealousy, expect no pity from me.' 

' 1 should deserve none,' said Clarence Hervey ; ' you have 
made me the happiest of men.' 

' The happiest of men ! — No, no ; keep that superlative 
exclamation for a future occasion. But now you behave like a 
reasonable creature, you deserve to hear the praises of your 
Belinda — -1 am so much charmed with her, thai I wish ' 

' When can 1 see her ? ' interrupted Hervey ; ' I'll go to her 
this instant.' 

' Gently,' said Dr. X , ' you forget what time of the day 

it is — you forget that Miss Portman has been up all night^ 
Jhat Lady Delacour is extremely ill — and that this would be 
. |he most unseasonable opportunity you could possibly choose 
■for your visit.' 

To this observation Clarence Hervey assented ; but he 
immediately seized a pen from the doctor's writing-table, and 
lt>egan a letter to Belinda. The doctor threw himself upon the 
saying, ' Waken rae when you want me,' and in a few 
tes he was fast asleep. 

Doctor, upon second thoughts,' slid Clarence, rising 

iaUft Bud tearing his letter down the middle, ' I ca nnot 

137 



) 



BELINDA 

write to her yet — I forgot the reformation of Lady Delacour ; 
how soon do you think she will be well? Besides, I have 
another reason for not writing to Belinda at present — you 
must know, my dear doctor, that I have, or had, ano^er 
mistress.' 

* Another mistress, indeed ! ' cried Dr. X , trjring to 

waken himsel£ 

* Good Heavens 1 I do believe youVe been asleep.' 

* I do believe I have.' 

* But is it possible that you could fall soimd asleep in that 
time ? ' 

* Very possible,' said the doctor : * what is there so extra- 
ordinary in a man's falling asleep ? Men are apt to sleep some 
time within the four-and-twenty hours, unless they have half-a- 
dozen mistresses to keep them awake, as you seem to have, my 
good friend.' 

A servant now came into the room with a letter, that had 
ju»t arrived express from the country for Dr. X . 

* This is another affair,' cried he, rousing himself. 

The letter required the doctor's immediate attendance. He 
shook hands with Clarence Hervey : * My dear friend, I am 
really concerned that I cannot stay to hear the history of your 
six mistresses ; but you see that this is an affair of life and 
death.' 

* Farewell,' said Clarence ; * I have not six, I have only 
three goddesses ; even if you count Lady Delacour for one. 
But I really wanted your advice in good earnest' 

* If your case be desperate, you can write, cannot you ? 
Direct to me at Horton Hall, Cambridge. In the meantime, as 
far as general rules go, I can give you my advice gratis, in the 
formula of an old Scotch song 

* 'Tis good to be merry and wise, 

*Tis good to be honest and true, 

Tis good to be off with the old love 

Before you be on with the new.' 



138 



^^^^B DIFFICULTIES '^^^^^^^^| 

^^^P CKAPTEK XI ^^^1 

■ DIFFICULTIES 

I 

TOFORE he left town, Dr. X called in Berkeley Square, to 

see Lady Delacour ; he found that she was out of all immediate 
danger. Miss Portman was sorry that he was obliged to quit 
her at this time, but she felt the necessity for his going ; he 
I sent for to attend Mr, Horton, an intimate friend of his, a 
fleman of great talents, and of the most active benevolence, 
k had just been seized with a. violent fever, in consequence 
lis exertions in saving the poor inhabitants of a village in 
neighbourhood from tlie effects of a dreadful fire, which 
ke out in the middle of the night. 

Lady Delacour, who heard Dr. X . giving this account 

Belinda, drew back her curtain, and said, ' Go this instant, 
tor — I am out of all immediate danger, you say ; but if I 
e not — -I must die in the course of a few months, you know 
nd what is my Life, compared with the chance of saving 
IT excellent friend 1 He is of some use in the world— I am 
one — go this instant, doctor.' 

'What a pity,' said Dr. X , as he left the room, 'that a 

Dan who is capable of so much magnanimity should have 
ted her life on petty objects ! ' 

Her life is not yet at an end — oh, sir, if you a>u^d save 
I ' cried Belinda. 

Doctor X shook his head ; but returning to Belinda, 

t going half-way downstairs, he added, ' When you read 
paper, you will know all that I can tell you upon the 
set.' 

letinda, the moment the doctor was gone, shut herself up 
;r own room to read the paper which he had given to her. 

X- first stated that he was by no means certain that 

ly Delacour really had the complaint which she so much 
;d ; but it was impossible for him to decide without 
r examination, to which her ladyship could not be pre- 
upon to submit. Then he mentioned all that he thought 
be most efficacious in mitigating the paVtv Oaa.^ \ja&-j 

139 jM 



BEUNDA 

Delacour might feel, and all that could be done, with the 
greatest probability of prolonging her life. And he condaded 
with the following words : ' These are all temporising ex- 
pedients : according to the usual progress of the disease, Lady 
Delacour may live a year, or perhaps two. 

* It is possible that her life might be saved by a skilfid 
surgeon. By a few words that dropped from her ladyship last 
night, I apprehend that she has some thoughts of submitting to 
an operation, which will be attended with much pain and danger, 
even if she employ the most experienced surgeon in London ; 
but if she put herself, from a vain hope of secrecy, into ignorant 
hands, she will inevitably destroy herself.' 

After reading this paper, Belinda had some £unt hopes 
that Lady Delacour's life might be saved ; but she determined I 
to wait till Dr. X should return to town, before she men- 
tioned his opinion to his patient ; and she earnestly hoped that 
no idea of putting herself into ignorant hands would recur to 
her ladyship. 

Lord Delacour, in the morning, when he was sober, retained 
but a confused idea of the events of the preceding night ; but 
he made an awkwardly good-natured apology to Miss Portman 
for his intrusion, and for the disturbance he had occasioned, 
which, he said, must be laid to the blame of Lord Studle/s 
admirable burgundy. He expressed much concern for Lady 
Delacour's terrible accident ; but he could not help observing, 
that if his advice had been taken, the thing could not have 
happened — that it was the consequence of her ladyship's self- 
willedness about the young horses. 

* How she got the horses without paying for them, or how 
she got money to pay for them, I know not,' said his lordship ; 
* for I said I would have nothing to do with the business, and 
I have kept to my resolution.' 

His lordship finished his morning visit to Miss Portman, by 
observing that *the house would now be very dull for her: 
that the office of a nurse was ill-suited to so young and beauti- 
ful a lady, but that her undertaking it with so much cheerfulness 
was a proof of a degree of good nature that was not always to 
be met with in the young and handsome.' 

The manner in which Lord Delacour spoke convinced 
Belinda that he was in reality attached to his wife, however 
the fear of being, or of appearing to be, governed by her 

140 



BELINDA 



arose from the circumstances in which she was placed. Before 
Belinda had completed her self-examination, Clarence Hervey 
called to inquire after Lady Delacour. Whilst he spoke of her 
ladyship, and of his concern for the dreadful accident of which 
he believed himself to he in a great measure the cause, his 
manner and language were animated and unaffected ; but the 
moment that this subject was exhausted, he became embar- 
rassed ; though he distinctly expressed perfect confidence and 
esteem for her, he seemed to wish, and yet to be unable, to 
support the character of a friend, contradistinguished to an 
admirer. He seemed conscious that he could not, with pro- 
priety, advert to the suspicions and jealousy which he had felt 
the preceding night ; for a man who has never declared love 
would be absurd and impertinent were he to betray jealousy. 
Clarence was destitute neither of address nor presence of 
mind ; but an accident happened, when he was just takings 
leave of Miss Portman, which threw him into utter confusion.; 
It surprised, if it did not confound, Behnda. She had forgotten 

to ask Dr. X for his direction! and as she thought it, 

might be necessary to write to him concerning Lady Delacourt 
health, she begged of Mr. Hervey to give it to her. He took 
a letter out of his pocket, and wrote the direction 
but as he opened the paper, to tear off the outside, on which; 
he had been writing, a lock of hair dropped out of the letter 
hastily stooped for it, and as he took it up from the ground the 
lock unfolded. Belinda, though she cast but one involuntary,, 
hasty glance at it, was struck with the beauty of its colour, and 
its uncommon length. The confusion of Clarence Hervey 
convinced her that he was extremely interested about the 
person lo whom the hair belonged, and the species of alarm, 
which she had felt at this discovery opened her eyes effectually 
to the state of lier own heart. She was sensible that the sightk 
of a lock of hair, however long, or however beautiful, 
hands of any man but Clarence Hervey, could not possiblyi 
have excited any emotion in her mind. 'Fortunately,' thought 

I she, ' 1 have discovered that he is attached lo another, whilst. 
it is yet in my power to command my affections ; and he shall, 

I see that I am not so weak as to form any false expectations. 

■ from what I must now consider as mere commonplace flattery/ 

< Belinda was glad that Lady Delacour was not present at tho 
discovery of the lock of hair, as she was aware that she wouM 

1^2 




DIFFICULTIES 

lave rallied her immercifully upon the occasion J 
rejoiced that she had not been prevailed upon to give Mitdame 
't Cotntesse de Pomcnars a lock of her belle chevelurc. She 




BiUitda, 



\ could not help thinking, from the recollection of several 
I. circumstances, that Clarence Hervey had endeavoured to gain 
■ on interest in her affections, and she felt that there would be 
I great impropriety In receiving his ambiguous visits during Lady 
'43 



r 



BELINDA 

Delacout's conRnement to her room. She therefore gave 
orders that Mr. Herve>- should not in future be admi tied, till 
her ladyship should again see company. This precauiiM 
proved totally superfiuous, for Mr. Hcrvey never called again 
during the whole course of Lady Delacour's confinement, though 
his servant regularly came every morning with inquiries after 
her ladyship's health. She kept her room for about ten days; 
a. confinement to which she submitted with extreme impatience : 
bodily pain she bore with fortitude, but constraint and enniu 
I she could not endure. 

One morning as she was sitting up in bed, looking over i 
large collection of notes, and cards of inquiry after her health, 
she exclaimed — 

'These people will soon be tired of^ bidding their footman 
put it into their heads to inquire whether 1 am alive or dead — 
I must appear amongst them again, if it be only for a 
minutes, or they will forget me. When I am fatigued, I will 
retire, and you, my dear Belinda, shall represent me, sc 
them to open my doors, and unmuffle the knocker, let me 
hear the sound of music and dancing, and let the house be 
filled again, for Heaven's sake. Dr. Ztmmermann should 
never have been my physician, for he would have prescribed 
solitude. Now solitude and silence are worse for me than 
poppy and mandragora. It is impossible to tell hoiv much 
silence tires the ears of those who have not been used to it. 
For mercy's sake, Marriott,' continued her ladyship, turning to 
Marriott, who just then came soflly into the room, ' for mercy's 
sake, don't walk to all eternity on tiptoes : to see people gliding 
about like ghosts makes me absolutely fancy myself amongst 
the shades below, I would rather be stunned by the loudest 
paal that ever thundering footman gave at my door, than 
hear Marriott lock that boudoir, as if my life depended oi 
not hearing the key turned.' 

' Dear me t I never knew any lady that was ill, exccp 
lady, complain of one's not making a noise to disturb her,' 
Marriott. 

' Then to please you, Marriott, I will complain of the only 
ise that does, or ever did disturb me — the screaming of your 
ious macaw.' 

' Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead, 



DIFFICULTIES 



V Marriott had a prodigious affection for this 
land she defended it with as much eagerness as if it had been 
%beT child. 

' Odious '. oh dear, my lady ! to call my poor macaw odious I 
— I didn't expect it would ever have come to this — I am sure 
1 don't deserve it — I'm sure I don't deserve that my lady 
should have taken such a dislike lo me,' 

And here Marriott actually burst into tears, ' But, my 
dear Marriott,' said Lady Delacour, ' I only object to your 
macaw — may not 1 dislike your macaw without disliking you? 
■ — I have heard of "love me, love my dog"; but I never 
heard of "love me, love my bird" — did you, Miss Portman?' 

Marriott turned sharply round upon Miss Porlmau, and 
darted a fiery look at her through the midst of her tears. 
'Then 'tis plain,' said she, 'who I'm to thank for this'; and 
as she left the room her lady could not complain of her shut- 
ting the door after her too gently. 

' Give her three minutes' grace and she will come to her 
senses,' said Lady Delacour, 'for she is not a bankrupt in 
Oh, three minutes won't do; I must allow her three 
days' grace, I perceive,' said Lady Delacour, when Marriott 
half an hour afterward reappeared, with a face which might 
have sat for the picture of ill-humour. Her ill-humour, how- 
ever, did not prevent her from attending her lady as usual ; she 
performed all her customary offices with the most officious 
' 1 profound silence, except every now and then she 
would utter a sigh, which seemed to say, ' See how much I'm 
attached to my lady, and yet my lady hates my macaw I ' 
r lady, who perfectly understood the language of sighs, and 
fclt the force of Marriott's, forebore to touch again on the 
tender subject of the macaw, hoping that when her house was 
more filled with company, she should be relieved by 
more agreeable noises from continually hearing this pertina- 
Lpous tormentor. 

t was known that Lady Delacour was sufficiently 

Recovered to receive company, her door was crowded with 

carriages ; and as soon as it was understood that balls and 

3 go on as usual at her house, her ' troops of 

bends' appeared to congratulate lier, and to amuse them- 



/ 




id Lady Delacout Vi 





BELINDA 

Klatory speeches from people, who would not care 
the black hole at Calcutta this minute ; but "' 
; lake the world as it goes — dirt and precious ston's 
mixed together. Clarence Hervey, however, n'a pas une aiiti 
de bout; he, I am sure, has been really concerned for me: be 
ihinlcs that his young horses were the sole cause of the whole 
evil, and he blames himself so sincerely, and so unjusdy, ibat 
I really was half tempted to undeceive him ; but that would 
have been doing him an injury, for you know great philosophers 
tell us that there is no pleasure in the world equal to that of 
being well deceived, especially by the fait sex. Seriously, 
Belinda, is it my fimcy, or is not Clarence wonderfully changed? 
Is not he grown pale, and ihin, and serious, not to say melan- 
choly ? What have you done to him since I have been ill?' 

' Nothing — 1 have never seen him.' 

' No 1 then the thing is accounted for very naturally — he 
in despair because he lias been banished from your divine 
presence.' 

' More likely because he has been in anxiety about your 
ladyship,' said Belinda. 

* I will find out the cause, let it be what it may,' said Lad]r 
Delacour : ■ luckily my address is equal to my curiosity, and: 
that is saying a great deal.' 

Notwithstanding all her ladyship's address, her curiosity 
was baffled ; she could not discover Clarence Hervey's secret, 
and she began to believe that the change which she had noticed 
in his looks and manner was imaginary or accidental. Had 
she seen more of him at this time, she would not have so easily 
given up her suspicions ; but she saw him only for a few 
minutes every day, and during that time he talked to her with 
all his former gaiety ; besides, Lady Delacout had herself a 
daily part to perform, which occupied almost her whole atten- 
tion. Notwithstanding the vivacity which she affected, Belinda 
perceived that she was now more seriously alarmed than she 
had ever been about her health. It was all that her utmost 
exertions could accomplish, to appear for a short time in the 
day — some evenings she came into company only for half an 
hour, on other days only for a few minutes, just walked through 
the rooms, paid her compliments to everybody, complained of 
a nervous headache, left Belinda to do the honours for her, 
and retired. 

146 



DIFFICULTIES 

Miss Porlman was now really placed in a difficult and 
iangerous situation, and she bad ample oppoit unities of 
'earning and practising prudence. All the fashionable dissi- 
pated young men in London frequented Lady Deiacour's house, 
' it was said that they were dravm thither by the attractions 
of her fair representative. The gentlemen considered a niece 
of Mrs. Stanhope as their lawful prize. The ladies wondered 
Chat the men could think Belinda Portman a beauty ; but 
whilst they affected to scorn, they sincerely feared her charms. 
, left entirely to her own discretion, she was exposed at 
to the malignant eye of envy, and the insidious voice of 
flattery — she had no friend, no guide, and scarcely a protector ; 
aunt Stanhope's letters, indeed, continually supplied her 
mth advice, but with advice which she could not follow consist- 
;ntly with her own feelings and principles. Lady Delacour, 
;ven if she had been well, was not a person on whose couns^. -, 
(he could rely ; our heroine was not one of those daring spirits, 
who are ambitious of acting for themselves ; she felt the utmost ' 
diffidence of her own powers, yet at the same time a firm i 
resolution not to be ied e*'en by timidity into follies which the '. 
Example of Lady Deiacour had taught her to despise. ' 
Belinda's prudence seemed to increase with the necessity for I 
tertion. It was not the mercenary wily prudence of aT 
young lady, who has been taught to think it virtue to sacrifice 
, the afieclions of her heart to the interests of her fortune — it 

lot the prudence of a cold and selfish, but of a modesty i 
and generous woman. She found it most difficult to satisfy " 
herself in her conduct towards Clarence Hervey : he seemed 
rtified and miserable if she treated him merely as a common 
acquaintance, yet she felt the danger of admitting him to the 
bmiliarity of friendship. Had she been thoroughly convinced 
that he was attached to some other woman, she hoped that she 
could freely converse with him, and look upon him as a married 
man ; but notwithstanding the lock of beautiful hair, she could 
ntirely divest herself of the idea that she was beloved, 
when she observed the extreme eagerness with which Cfarcncc 
'Hervey watched all her motions, and followed her with his eye 
i if his fate depended upon her. She remarked that he 
endeavoured as much as possible to prevent this species of 
attention from being noticed, either by the public or by herself ; 
lanner towards her every day became more distant and, 
"47 



BELINDA 

respectful, more constrained and embarrassed ; but now and 
then a diflferent look and expression escaped. She had often 
heard of Mr. Herve/s great address in affairs of gallantry, and 
she was sometimes inclined to believe that he was trifling with 
her, merely for the glory of a conquest over her heart ; at other 
times she suspected him of deeper designs upon her, such as 
would deserve contempt and detestation ; but upon the whole 
she was disposed to believe that he was entangled by some 
former attachment from which he could not extricate himself 
with honour ; and upon this supposition she thought him 
worthy of her esteem, and of her pity. 

About this time Sir Philip Baddely began to pay a sort of 
lounging attention to Belinda : he knew that Clarence Hervey 
liked her, and this was the principal cause of his desire to 
attract her attention. ' Belinda Portman ' became his favourite 
toast, and amongst his companions he gave himself the air of 
talking of her with rapture. 

*Rochfort,' said he, one day, to his friend, Mamma, if I 
was to think of Belinda Portman in any way — you take me — 
Clary would look damned blue — hey? — damned blue, and 
devilish small, and cursed silly too— hey ? ' 

*'Pon honour, I should like to see him, said Rochfort : 
* 'pon honour, he deserves it from us, Sir Phil, and Til stand 
your friend with the girl, and it will do no harm to give her a 
hint of Clary's Windsor flame, as a dead secret — ^'pon honour, 
he deserves it from us.* 

Now it seems that Sir Philip Baddely and Mr. Rochfort, 
during the time of Clarence Herve/s intimacy with them, 
observed that he paid frequent visits at Windsor, and they took 
it into their heads that he kept a mistress there. They were 
very curious to see her : and, unknown to Clarence, they made 
several attempts for this purpose : at last one evening, when 
they were certain that he was not at Windsor, they scaled the 
high garden wall of the house which he frequented, and actually 
obtained a sight of a beautiful young girl and an elderly lady, 
whom they took for her gouvemante. This adventure they 
kept a profound secret from Clarence, because they knew that 
he would have quarrelled with them immediately, and would 
have called them to account for their intrusion They now 
determined to avail themselves of their knowledge, and of his 
ignorance of this circumstance : but they were sensible that it 

14S 



DIFFICULTIES 

"M necessary lo go warily to work, lest they should betray 
'nemselves. Accordingly they began by dropping distant 
"■yswrious hints about Clarence Hervey lo Lady Delacour and 
Miss Portman. Such for instance as — ' Damme, we all know 
Clary's a perfect connoisseur in beauty— hey, Rochfort ? — one 
beauty at a time is not enough for him — hey, damme ? And 
II is not fashion, nor wit, nor elegance, and all that, that he 
Jooks for always,' 

These obsen'ations were accompanied with the most signi- 
ficant looks. Belinda heard and saw all this in painful silence, 
bat Lady Delacour often used her address to draw some farther 
Mplanation from Sir Philip : his regular answer was, ' No, no, 
your ladyship must excuse me there ; I can't peach, damme — 
hey, Rochfort ? ' 

He was in hopes, from the reser^'e with which Miss Portman 
began to treat Clarence, that he should, without making any 
distinct charge, succeed in disgusting her with his rival. Mr. 
Hervey was about this time less assiduous than formerly in 
his visits at l^dy Delacour's ; Sir Philip was there every day, 
and often for Miss Portman's entertainment exerted himself so 
far as to tell the news of the town. One morning, when 
Clarence Hervey happened to be present, the baronet thought 
it incumbent upon him to eclipse his rival in conversation, and 
he began to talk of the \a,stJS/e ckatnpitre at Frograore. 

' What a cursed unlucky overturn that was of yours. Lady 
Delacour, with those famous young horses I Why, what with 
this sprain, and this nervous business, you've not been able to 
stir out since the birthday, and you've missed the breakfast, 
and ail that, at Frogmore— why, all the world stayed broiling 
in town on purpose for it, and you that had a card too — how 
damned provoking ! ' 

' I regret extremely that my illness prevented me from being 
at this charming fliej 1 regret it more on Miss Portman's 
account than on my own,' said her ladyship. Belinda assured 
ber that she felt no mortification from the disappointment. 

' Oh, damme 1 but I would have driven you in my curricle,' 
said Sir Philip : ' it was the finest sight and best conducted I 
ever saw, and only wanted Miss Portman to make it complete. 
We had gipsies, and Mrs. Mills the actress for the queen of 
the gipsies ; and she gave us a famous good song, Rochfort, 
you know — and then there -was two children upon an ojj — ■ 

149 i 



BELINDA 

damme, I don't know how they came there, for they're things 
one sees every day — and belonged only to two of the soldiers' 
wives — for we had the whole band oiihe Staffordshire playing at 
dinner, and we had some &mous glees — and Fawcett gave us 
his laughing song, and then we had the launching oi the ship, 
and only it was a boat, it would have been well enough — but 
damme, the song of Polly Oliver was worth the whole — except 
the Flemish Hercules, Ducrow, you know, dressed in light blue 
and silver, and — Miss Portman, I wish you had seen this — 
three great coach-wheels on his chin, and a ladder and two 
chairs and two children on them — and after that, he sported a 
musket and bayonet with the point of the bayonet on his 
chin — faith ! that was really famous ! But I forgot the Pyrrhic 
dance. Miss Portman, which was damned fine too — danced in 
boots and spurs by those Hungarian fellows — they jump and 
turn about, and dap their knees with their hands, and put 
themselves in all sorts of ways — and then we had that song of 
Polly Oliver, as I told you before, and Mrs. Mills gave us — 
no, no — it was a drunmier of the Staffordshire dressed as a 
gipsy girl, gave us TAe Cottage on the Moor, the most charming 
thing, and would suit your voice. Miss Portman — damme, 
you^d sing it like an angel. — But where was I ? — Oh, then they 
had tea — and fireplaces built of brick, out in the air — and then 
the entrance to the ballroom was all a colonnade done with 
lamps and flowers, and that sort of thing — and there was 
some bon-mot (but that was in the morning) amongst the 
gipsies about an orange and the stadtholder — and then there 
was a Turkish dance, and a Polonese dance, all very fine, but 
nothing to come up to the Pyrrhic touch, which was a great 
deal the most knowing, in boots and spurs — damme, now, I 
can^t describe the thing to you, 'tis a cursed pity you weren't 
there, damme.' 

Lady Delacour assured Sir Philip that she had been more 
entertained by the description than she could have been by 
the reality. — * Clarence, was not it the best description you 
ever heard } But pray favour us with a touch of the Pyrrhic 
dance, Sir Philip.' 

Lady Delacour spoke with such polite earnestness, and the 
baronet had so little penetration and so much conceit, that he 
did not suspect her of irony : he eagerly began to exhibit the 
Pyrrhic dance, but in such a manner that it was impossible for 

150 



DIFFICULTIES 

human gravity to withstand the sight — Rochfort laughed first, 
Wy Delacour followed him, and Clarence Hervey and Belinda 
(^Ouid no longer restrain themselves. 

'Damme, now I believe you've all been quiizing me,' cried 

(lie baronet, and he fell into a sulky silence, eyeing Clarence 

Kervey and Miss Portman from time to time with what he 

meant for a ^wo^w'n^ look. His silence and sulkiness lasted 

tifl Clarence took his leave. Soon afterward Belinda retired to 

the music-room. Sir Philip tiien begged to speak a few words 

lo Lady Delacour, with a face of much importanct : and after 

a preamble of nonsensical expletives, he said that his regard for 

her ladyship and Miss Portman made him wish to explain hints 

M-hich had been dropped from him at times, and which he could 

not explain to her satisfaction, without a promise of inviolable 

secrecy. ' As Hervey is or was a sort of a friend, I can't mention 

of thing without such a preliminary.' — Lady Delacour 

gave the preliminary promise, and Sir Philip informed her, that 

people began to take notice that Hervey was an admirer of Miss 

Portman, and that it might be a disadvantage to the young lady, 

Mr. Hervey could have no serious intentions, because he 

an attachment, to his certain knowledge, elsewhere. 

A matrimonial attachment ? ' said Lady Delacour. 

Why, damme, as to matrimony, I can't say ; but the girl's 

so famously beautiful, and Clary has been constant to her so 

many years ' 

' Many years 1 then she is not young ? ' 
' Oh, damme, yes, she is not more than seventeen, — and, let 
her be what else she will, she's a famous Ane girl. I had a 
sight of her once at Windsor, by stealth.' 

And then the baronet described her after his manner. — 
Where Clary keeps her now, I can't make out ; but he has 
taken her away from Windsor. She was then with a gouver- 
nante, and is as proud as the devil, which smells like matrimony 
for Clary.' 

And do you know this peerless damsel's name ? ' 
I think the old Jezebel called her Miss St. Pierre — ay, 
damme, it was Virginia too — Virginia St. Pierre.' 

Virginia St. Pierre, a pretty romantic name,' said Lady 
Delacour: 'Miss Portman and I are extremely obliged by 
your attention to the preservation of our hearts, and 1 promise 
shall keep your counsel and o 
151 




BELINDA 

r Philip then, with more than his usual 7 
oaths, pronounced Miss Portman to b« the finest girl he had 
L, and took his leave. 

When Lady Delacour repeated this story to Belinda, shf 
concluded by saying, ' Now, my dear, you know Sir Philip 
Baddely has his oirn views in telling us all this — in telling/i'ti 
all this ; for evidently he admires you, and consequendy hates 
Clarence. So ! believe only half the man says ; and the other 
half, though it has made you turn so horribly pale, my love, 
I consider as a thing of no manner of consequence to you.' 

■ Of no manner of consequence to me, 1 assure your lady- 
ship,' said Belinda ; ' I have always considered Mr. Hetvey 
as ' 

* Oh, as a common acquaintance, no doubt — but we'll pass 
over ail those pretty speeches : I was going to say that tliis 
" mistress in the wood " can be of no consequence t 
happiness, because, whatever that fool Sir Philip may think, 
Clarence Hervey is not a man to go and marry a girl who has 
been hia mistress for half a dozen years. [ 0o not took so 
shocked, my dear — I really cannot help laughing. I con- 
graiulaiG you, however, that the thing is no worse — it is all in 
rule and in course — when a man marries, he sets up ni 
equipages, and casts off old mistresses ; or if you like to s 
the thing as a woman of sentiment rather than as a woman oi 
the world, here is the prettiest opportunity for your lover's 
making a sacrifice. I am sorry I cannot make you smile, my 
dear ; but consider, as nobody knows this naughty thing but 
ourselves, we are not called upon to bristle up our morality, 
and the most mora! ladies in the world do not expect men to 
be as moral as themselves ; so we may suit the measure of 
our external indignation to our real feelings. Sir Philip can- 
not stir in the business, for he knows Clarence would call him 
out if his secret viz to Virginia were to come to light. I advise 
you daller votre train with Clarence, without seeming to suspect 
him in the least ; there is nothing like innocence in these cases, 
my dear : but I know by the Spanish haughtiness of your air . 
at this instant, that you would sooner die the death of the/' 
sentimental^ — ihan follow my advice.' - -/ 

Belinda, without any haughtiness, but with firm gentleness, 

replied, that she had no designs whatever upon Mr. Hervey, 

^ aiidthat therefore there could be no necessity for any n 





DIFFICULTIES 



It i — that the ambiguity of his conduct towards 
ler had determined her long since to guard her affections, 
Ihat she had the satisfaction to feel that they w 
under her command. 

That is a great satisfaction, indeed, my dear,' said Lady 
Oelacour. ' It is a pity that your countenance, which is usually 
expressive enough, should not at this instant obey your wishes 
id express perfect felicity. But though you feel no pain from 
isappoinledaflection, doubtless theconcem that you showarises 
om the necessity you are under of withdrawing a portion of 
)ur esteem from Mr. Hervey — this is the style for you, is it 
X ? After all, tny dear, the whole may be a quizzification of 
ir Philip's — and yet he gave me such a minute description of 
sr person I I am sure the man has not invention or taste 
lough to produce such a fancy piece.' 

' Did he mention,' said Belinda, in a low voice, ' the colour 
[ her hair ? ' 

' Yes, light brown ; but the colour of this hair seems to 
feet you more than all the rest.' 

Here, to Belinda's great relief, the conversation was inter- 

ipted by the entrance of Marriott. From all she had heard, 

but especially from the agreement between the colour of the 

hair which dropped from Hervey's letter with Sir Philip's 

lescription of Virginia's, Miss Portman was convinced that 

had some secret attachment ; and she could not help 

ilaraing him in her own mind for having, as she thought, 

ideavoured to gain her affections, whilst he knew that his 

:art was engaged to another, Mr. Hervey, however, gave 

ler no further reason to suspect him of any design to win her 

e ; for about this time his manner towards her changed, — 

obviously endeavoured to avoid her ; his visits were short, 

.ion was principally directed to Lady Delacour ; 

icn she retired, he took his leave, and Sir Philip Baddely 

the field to himself. The baronet, who thought that he 

succeeded in producing a coldness between Belinda and his 

ival, was surprised to find that he could not gain any advantage 

himself; for some time he had not the slightest thought: 

f serious connection with the lady, but at last he was piqued 

her indifference, and by the raillery of his friend Rochfort. 

' 'Pon honour,' said Rochfort, ' the girl must be in love 

iry, for she minds you no more than if you were ■(ms"qq4.'j; 

'53 



v/aids ^ 
«irdy I 

Lady 1 



Liage 
tsof 

qued d 

on. i 

with I 

m 



msfr 



BELINDA 



' I could make her sing to another tune, if I pleased,' saK* 
Sir Phiiip ; ' but, damme, it would co5t me too much- — a wife^. 
too expensive a. thing, nowadays. Why, a man could have 
twenty cumcles, and a fine stud, and a pack of hounds, and 
as many mistresses as he chooses into the bargain, for what it 
would cost hint to take a wife. Oh, damme, Belinda Fortman's 
a fine girl, but not worth so much as that comes to ; and yet, 
confound me, if I should not like to see how blue Clary would 
look, if I were to propose for her in good earnest— hey, 
Rochfort ? — I should like to pay him for the way he served US 
' ^ about that quiz of a doctor, hey ? ' 

'Ay,' said Rochfort, 'you know he told us there was a iaiit 
pis and a iani micux in everything — he's not come lo the tanl 
pis yet. 'Pon honour. Sir Philip, the thing rests with you,' 

The baronet vibrated for some time between the fear of 
being taken in by one of Mrs. Stanhope's nieces, and the hope 
of triumphing over Clarence Hervey. At last whst he called 
love prevailed over prudence, and he was resolved, cost him 
what it would, to have Belinda Portman. He had not the 
least doubt of being accepted, if he made a proposal of 
marriage ; consequently, the moment that he came to thia 
determination, he could not help assuming fim-anct the tone of 
a favoured lover, 

' Damme,' cried Sir Philip, one night, at Lady Delacotw's 
concert, ' I think that Mr. Hervey has taken out a patent for 
talking to Miss Portman ; but damme if I give up this piac^ 
now I have got it,' cried the baronet, seating himself beside 
Belinda. 

Mr. Hervey did not contest his seat, and Sir Philip kept his 
post during the remainder of the concert ; but, though he had 
the field entirely to himself, he could not think of anything 
more interesting, more amusing, to whisper in Belinda's 
ear than, ' Don't you think the candles wa 
famously ? ' 




The baronet determined the next day upon the grand attack. 

He waited upon Miss Portman with the certainty of being 

[ iavourably received ; but he was, nevertheless, somewhat em- 

j barrassed to know how to begin the conversation, when he 

k found himself alone with the lady. 

wirled and twisted a short stick that he held in his 
md, and put it into and out of his boot twenty times, and at 
fiasi. he began with — ' Lady Delacour's not gone to Harrowgate 
I?' 

' No : her ladyship has not yet felt herself well enough to 
undertake the journey.' 

' That was a cursed unlucky overturn ! She may thank 
Clarence Hervey for that: it's like him,— he thinks he's a 
better judge of horses, and wine, and everything else, than 
anybody in the world. Damme, now if I don't believe he 
thinks nobody else but himself has eyes enough to see that a 
fine woman's a fine woman ; but I'd have him to know, that 
Miss Belinda Portman has been Sir Philip Baddely's toast 
these two months.' 

As this intelligence did not seem to make the expected im- 
pression upon Miss Belinda Portman, Sir Phihp had recourse 
again to his little stick, with which he went through the sword 
exercise. After a silence of some minutes, and after walking 
to the window, and back again, as if to look for sense, he 
I exclaimed, ' How is Mrs. Stanhope now, pray, Miss Portman ? 
Land your sister, Mrs. Tollemache ? she was the finest woman, 
I I thought, the first winter she came out, that ever I saw, 
Examine. Have you ever been told that you're like her ? ' 

' Oh, damn it then, but you are ; only ten times handsomer.' 
' Ten times handsomer than the finest woman you ever saw, 
r Philip ? ' said Behnda, smiling. 
' Than the finest woman I had ever seen /i^n,' said Sir 
K Fhilip ; ' for, damme, I did not know what it was to be in love 
»55 




BELINDA 

: Qie baronel heaved an audible sigh) : ' 1 alwayi 
laughed at love, and all thai, thm-t and marriage pariicularly. 
I'll trouble you for Mrs. St?Jihope'5 direction, Miss Portman^ 
I believe, to do the thing in style, I ought to write to her before 
I speak to you.' 

Belinda looked at him with astonishment ; and laying down 
the pencil with which she had just begun to write a direction 
to Mrs. Stanhope, she said, ' Perhaps, Sir Philip, to do ike 
tkitig in style, I ought to pretend at this instant not to under- 
stand you ; but such false delicacy might mislead you ; permit 
mc, therefore, to say, that if I have any concern in the letter 
which you are going to write to my aunt Stanhope 

'Well guessed I' interrupted Sir Philip: 'to be s 

' have, and you're a charming girl — damn me if you are 

meeting my ideas in this way, which will save a cursed deal of 

trouble,' added the polite lover, seating himself on the sofa, 

beside Belinda. 

' To prevent your giving yourself any flirther trouble then, 
sir, on my account,' said Miss Portman — — 

' Nay, damme, don't catch at that unlucky word, trontJf, 
nor look so cursed angry ; though it becomes you, too, uncom- 
monly, and I like pride in a haiidsome woman, if it was only 
for variety's sake, for it's not what one meets with often, n 
ada.ys. As to trouble, all I meant was, the trouble of writing 
to Mrs, Stanhope, which of course I thank you for saving me; 
for to be sure, I'd rather (and you can't blame me for thai) 
have my answer from your own charming lips, if it was only 
for the pleasure of seeing you blush in this heavenly sort 
style.' 

'To put an end to this heavenly sort of style, sir,' s 
Belinda, withdrawing her hand, which the baronel took a 
he was confident of its being his willing prize, ' 1 must 
plicitly assure you, that it is not in my power to encourage 
your addresses. I am fully sensible,' added Miss Portman, | 
' of the honour Sir Philip Baddely has done me, and I hope I 
he will not be offended by the frankness of my a 

'You can't be in earnest, Miss Portman 1' exclaimed the I 
astonished baronet. | 

' Perfectly in earnest, Sir Philip.' 

' Confusion seiie me,' cried la, starting up, ' if this i: 

Mt extraordinary thing 1 ever heard 1 Will you do j 

156 




M 


■ 


I 


1 


•\ 


tm 


1 


1 




~]|jwfv* 




1 


1 




1- 


i 1^ 


^ 


■ 




PP^' 


\m 


P 


P 


^'/. i 


H • r<H> am-l It m laneit. Mi, 


Ptrlman 

m 


te 


■ 


ulonMidiarcmtl. J 



BELINDA 

I, to let me know your particular objections b 
Sir Philip Baddely ? ' 

'My objections,' said Belinda, 'cannot be obviated, ani 
therefore it would be useless to state them.' 

' Nay, pray, ma'am, do me the favour — I only ask fin 
information sake — is it to Sir Philip Baddeiys fortune, ;£iS,oo( 
a year, you object, or to his family, or to his person ?— -Oh^ 
curse it I ' said he, changing his tone, ' you're only quizzing 
me to see how I should look — damn me, you did it too well 
I you little coquette ! ' 
I Belinda again assured him that she was entirely in earnest, 
' and that she was incapable of the sort of coquetry which he 
ascribed to her. ' 

' Oh, damme, ma'am, then I've no more to say — a coquette i 
is a thing 1 understand as well as another, and if we had been I 
only talking in the air, it would have been another thing ; but 
when I come at once to a proposal in form, and a wi 
seriously tells me she has objections that cannot be obviated, 
damme, what must I, or what must the world conclude, bat 
that she's very unaccountable, or that she's engaged — which 
last I presume to be the case, and it would have been a satis- 
faction to me to have known it sooner — at any rate, it is i 
satisfaction to me to know it now.' 

' I am sorry to deprive you of so much satisfaction,' said 
Miss Portman, 'by assuring you, that I am not engaged to any 

Here the conversation was interrupted by the entrance of 
Lord Delacour, who came to inquire of Miss Portman how his 
lady did. The baronet, after twisting his little black slick ii 
all manner of shapres, finished by breaking it, and then having 
no other resource, suddenly wished Miss Portman a good< 
morning, and decamped with a look of silly ill-humour, 
was determined to write to Mrs. Stanhope, whose influence 
over her niece he had no doubt would be decisive ir 
favour. 'Sir Philip seems to be a little out of sorts this, 
morning,' said Lord Delacour : ' I am afraid he's angry with 
me for interrupting his conversation ; but really I did not 
know he was here, and I wanted to catch you a moment alone^ 
that I might, in the first place, thank you for all your goodness 
to Lady Delacour. She has had a tedious sprain of it ; these 
s fevers and convulsions— I don't understand them, bnf 

158 



THE MACAW 

[ ihink Dr. X 's prescriptions seem lo have done her good, 

for she is ccna.inl)' better of kte, and I am glad to hear music 
and people again In the house, because I know all this is what 
my Lady Delacour Ukes, and there is no reasonable indulgence 
that I would not willingly allow a wife ; but 1 think there is a 
medium in all things. I am not a man to be governed by a 
wife, and when I have once said a thing, I like to be steady 
and always shall. And I am sure Miss Porlman has too much 
good sense to think me wrong: for now, Miss Portman, in 
that quarrel about the coach and horses, which you heard part 
of one morning at breakfast — I must tell you the beginning of 
that quarrel.' 

' Excuse me, my lord, but I would rather hear of the end 
than of the beginning of quarrels.' 

' That shows your good sense as well as your good nature. , 
I wish you could make my Lady Delacour of your taste — she: . / 
does not ivant sense — but (hen (I speak lo you freely of all ' 
that lies upon my mind, Miss Portman, for I know— I know' 
I you have no delight in making mischief in a house), between 
' you and me, her sense is rot of the right kind. A woman 
may have too much wit— now too much is as bad as too little, )/ 
and in a woman, worse ; and when two people come to 
quarrel, then wit on either side, but more especially on the 
wife's, you know is very provoking — 'tis like concealed weapons, 
which are wisely forbidden by law. If a person kill another in 
a fray, with a concealed weapon, ma'am, by a sword in a cane, 
for instance, 'tis murder by the law. Now even if it were not 
contrary to law, I would never have such a thing in my cane 
to carry about with me ; for when a man's in a passion he 
, forgets everything, and would as soon lay about him with a 
tsword as with a cane : so it is better such a thing should not 
I be in his power. And it is the same with wit, which would be 
I safest and best out of the power of some people.' 

3ut is it fair, my lord, to make use of wit yourself to abuse 
n others ? ' said Belinda, with a smile, which put his lord- 
K«hip into perfect good-humour with both himself and his lady. 

' Why, really,' said he, ' there would be no living with Lady 
iQelacour, if I did not come out with a little sly bit of wit now 
I and then ; but it is what I am not in the habit of doing, I 
; you, except when very hard pushed. But, Miss Port- 
i, as you like so much to hear the end of quarrels, here^ 
159 ~ 



BELINDA 

the end of one which you have a particular right to hear 
thing of,' coRlinued his lordship, taking out his pocket-bool 
and producing some banknotes; '>'ou should have rece' 
this before, madam, if I had knotvn of the transaction sooni 
of your part of it, I mean,' 

' Milord, de man call to speak about de burgimdy 
order, milord,' said Champfbrt, who came into the room wid 
a sly, itiquisitive face. 

'Tell him I'll see him immediately— show him into thft 
parlour, and give him a newspaper to read,' 

' Yes, milord — milord has it in his pocket since he dress.' 

' Here it is,' said his lordship ; and as Champfort cai 
forward to receive the newspaper, his eye glanced at the bank- 
notes, and then at Miss Portmaii. 

' Here,' continued Lord Delacour, as Champfort had left the 
room, 'here are your two hundred guineas, Miss Portman 
and as I am going to this man about my but^undy, and shalli 
be out all the rest of the day, let me trouble you the next 
you see Lady Delacour to give her this pocket-book from me. 
I should be sorry that Miss Portman, from anything that has 
passed, should run away with the idea that I am a niggardly 
husband, or a tyrant, though I certainly like to be 
my own house. What are you doing, madam ? — that is your 
note, that does not go into the pocket-book, you knov 

' Permk me to put it in, my lord,' said Belinda, returning' 
the pocket-book to him, ' and to beg you will give Lady 
Delacour the pleasure of seeing you : she has inquired several 
times whether your lordship were at home. 1 will run up to 
her dressing-room, and tel! her that you are here.' 

' How lightly she goes on the wings of good nature ! ' said 
Lord Delacour. ' I can do no less than follow her ; for 
though 1 like to be treated with respect in my own house, 
there is a time for everything. I would not give Lady 
Delacour the trouble of coming down here to me with her 
sprained ankle, especially as she has inquired for me several. 

His lordship's visit was not of unseasonable length ; for he 
recollected that the man who came about the burgundy was 
waiting for him. But, perhaps, the shortness of the visit 
rendered it the more pleasing, for Lady Delacour afterward 
■aid to Belinda, ' My dear, would you believe it, my Lord 
160 



THE MACAW I 

iDelacour was absolutely a perfect example of the useful and . 
Bagrecable this moming — who knows but he may become the 1/ ' 
■ sublime and beautiful in time ? En atlenilanl here are your 
Itwo hundred guineas, my dear Belinda : a thousand thanks for 
l.the thing, and a million for the manner — manner is all in alt I 

" k conferring favours. My lord, who, to do him justice, has I 

Itoo much honesty to pretend to more delicacy than he really I 
I possesses, told me (hat he had been taking a lesson from Miss | 
I Portman this moming in the art of obliging ; and really, for a 
I grown gentleman, and for the first lesson, he comes on sur- 
1 prisingly. I do think, that by the time he is a widower his 
lordship will be quite another thing, quite an agreeable man — 
it a genius, not a Clarence Hervey — that you cannot expect. 
Apropos, what is the reason that wc have seen so little of 
Clarence Hervey lately ? He has certainly some secret 
attraction elsewhere. It cannot be that girl Sir Philip men- 
tioned ; no, she's nothing new. Can it be at Lady Anne 
Percival's ?— or where can it be ? Whenever he sees me, 1 
think he asks when we go to Harrowgate. Now Oakly Park 
is within a few miles of Harrowgate. I will not go there, that's 
decided. Lady Anne is an exemplary matron, so she is out of 
the case ; but I hope she has no sister txcelUnee, no niece, no 
cousin, to entangle our hero.' 
' Ours ! ' said Belinda. 
' Well, yours, then,' said Lady Delacour. 
'Mint!' 

' Ves, yours ; I never in my life saw a better struggle between 
a sigh and a smile. But what have you done to poor Sir 
Philip Baddely ? My Lord Delacour told me — you know all 
people who have nothing else to say, tell news quicker than 
others — my Lord Delacour told me, that he saw Sir Philip 
part from you this moming in a terrible bad humour. Come, 
whilst you tell your story, help me to string these pearls ; that 
I will save you from the necessity of looking at me, and will 
conceal your blushes : you need not be afraid of betraying Sir 
Philip's secrets ; for I could have told you long ago, that he 
I 'would inevitably propose for you — the fact is nothing new or 

surprising to me, but I should really like to hear how ridiculous ' 

V the man made himself.' , 

' And that,' said Belinda, ' is the only thing which I do not ^^^ 
birish to tell your ladyship.' 

161 



BELINDA 

* Lord, my dear, surely it is no secret that Sir Philip 
Baddely is ridiculous ; but you are so good natured that I can't 
be out of humour with you. If you won't gratify my curiosity, 
will you gratify my taste, and sing for me once more that 
charming song which none but you C€m sing to please me ? — 
I must learn it from you, absolutely.' 

Just as Belinda was beginning to sing, Marriott's macaw 
began to scream, so that Lady Delacour could not hear any- 
thing else. 

* Oh, that odious macaw ! ' cried her ladyship, < I can endure 
it no longer ' (and she rang her bell violently) : * it kept me 
from sleeping all last night — Marriott must give up this bird. 
Marriott, I cannot endure that macaw — you must part with it 
for my sake, Marriott It cost you four guineas : I am sure I 
would give five \^ath the greatest pleasure to get rid of it, for it 
is the torment of my life.' 

*■ Dear, my lady I I can assure you it is only because they 
will not shut the doors after them below, as I desire. I am 
certain Mr. Champfort never shut a door after him in his life, 
nor never will if he was to live to the days of Methuselah.' 

* That is very little satisfaction to me, Marriott,' said Lady 
Delacour. 

* And indeed, my lady, it is very little satisfaction to me, to 
hear my macaw abused as it is every day of my life, for Mr. 
Champfort's fault' 

* But it cannot be Champfort's fault that I have ears.' 

* But if the doors were shut, my lady, you wouldn't or 
couldn't hear — as I'll prove immediately,' said Marriott, and 
she ran directly and shut, according to her own account, 
* eleven doors which were stark staring wide open.' — *Now, 
my lady, you can't hear a single syllable of the macaw.' 

* No, but one of the eleven doors will open presently,' said 
Lady Delacour : * you will observe it is always more than ten 
to one against me.' 

A door opened, and the macaw was heard to scream. 
*The macaw must go, Marriott, that is certain,' said her 
ladyship firmly. 

* Then / must go, my lady,' said Marriott angrily, * that is 
certain ; for to part with my macaw is a filing I cannot do to 
please anyho&yj Her eyes turned with indignation upon 
Belinda, from association merely ; because the last time that 

162 



THE MACAW 



le had been angry about her macaw, she had also been angty 

JwU Miss Portman, whom she imagined to be the secret enemy 

ft her favourite. 

'To stay another week in the house after my macaw' 

" 'n disgrace is a thing nothing shall prevail u|>on i 

She flung out of the room in a fury. 

' Good Heavens I am I reduced to this ? ' said Lady 

'she thinks that she has me in her power. No ; I 

D die without her ; I have but a short lime to live~I will 

I slave, 1-el the woman betray me, if she will. 

lllow her this moment, my dear generous friend ; te!i her 

o this room again ; take this pocket-book, 

jr her whatever is due to her in the first place, and give her 

f guineas — observe I — not as a bribe, but as a reward.' 

a delicate and difficult commission. Belinda found 
Marriott at first incapable of listening to reason. ' I am sure 
there is nobody in the world that would treat me and my 
macaw in this manner, except my lady,' cried she ; ' and 
jomebody must have set her against me, for it is not natural to 
pr : but since she can't bear me about her any longer, 'tis 
^e I should be gone.' 
'The only thing of which Lady Delacour complained was 
: noise of this macaw,' said Belinda ; ' it was a pretty bird — 
IV long have you had it ? ' 
' Scarcely a month," said Marriott, sobbing. 
'And how long have you lived with your lady ?' 

' Six years ! — and to part with her after all 1 ' 

'And for the sake of a macaw [ And at a time when your 
idy is so much in want of you, Marriott 1 You know she 
nuiot live long, and she has much to suffer before she dies, 
1 if you leave her, and if in a fit of passion you betray the 
mfidence she has placed in you, you will reproach yourself for 
r afterward. This bird — or all the birds in the world — 
It be able to console you ; for you are of an afiectionaie 
isposition, I know, and sincerely attached to your poor lady.' 
'That I ami— and to betray her!— O Miss Portman, 1 
lould sooner cut off my hand than do it And I have been 
led more than my lady knows of, or you either, for Mr. 
katnpfort, who is the greatest mischief-maker in the world, 
1 is the cause, by not shutting the door, of all this dilemma ■, 
la'am, I'm convinced, by the tenderness of your 
163 



cmy 1 

dis- 

■ m I 



speaking, ihai you are not the enemy lo me I supposed, and 
beg your pardon ; but I was going to say that Mr. Champfof^ 
who saw the friicas between my lord and me, about the key 
and the door, the night of my lady's accident, has whispereo 
it about at Lady Singleton's and everywhere — Mrs. Luliridge's 
maid, ma'am, who is my cousin, has pestered me witb so many 
questions and offers, from Mrs. Luttridge and Mrs. Freke, <tf 
any money, if I would only tell who was in the boudoii 
I have always answered, nobody — and I defy them to get any- 
thing out of nie. Betray my lady ! I'd sooner cut my tongue 
out this minute \ Can she have such a base opinion of me, 

' No, indeed, 1 am convinced that you are incapable of be- 
traying her, Marriott ; but in all probability after you have left 

' If my lady would let mc keep my macaw,' interrupted 
Marriott, ' I should never think of leaving hei 

'The macaw she will not suffer to remain in the house, nor 
is it reasonable that she should : it deprives her of sleep — it 
kept her awake three hoiurs this morning.' 

Marriott was beginning the history of Chainpfort and the 
doors again ; but Miss Portman stopped her by saying, 'All 
this is past now. How much is due to you, Mrs. Marriott? 
Lady Delacour has commissioned me to pay you everything 
that is due to you.' 

' Due to me ! Lord bless me, ma'am, am 1 to go ?' 

' Certainly, it was your own desire— it is consequendy your 
lady's : she is perfectly sensible of your attachment to her, and 
of your services, but she cannot suffer herself to be treated 
with disrespect. Here are fifty guineas, which she gives you 
as a reward for your past fidelity, not as a bribe to secure your 
future secrecy. You are at liberty, she desires me to say, to 
tell her secret to the whole world, if you choose to do so.' 

' O Miss Portman, take my macaw — do what you will with 
it— only make my peace with my lady,' cried Marriott, clasping 
her hands, in an agony of grief: 'here are the fifty guineas, 
ma'am, don't leave them with me^I will never be disre- 
spectful again — take my macaw and ail I No, I will carry it 
myself lo my lady.' 

Lady Delacour was surprised by the sudden entrance of 

Marriott, and her macaw. The chain which held the bii " 

164 



THK MACAW 



ible T^^l 

raJllcd I 

il this I 



Manioil put into her ladyship's hand without being able 

say anything more than, ' Do what you please, my liidy, 
«— and with me.' 

Pacified by this submission. Lady Delacour granted 
Marriott's pardon, and she most sincerely rejoiced 
reconciliation. 

next day Belinda asked the dowager Lady Boucher, 
going to a bird-fancier's, to take her with her, in hopes 
that she might be able to meet with some bird more musical 
than a macaw, to console Marriott for the loss of her scream- 
ing favourite. Lady Delacour commissioned Miss Ponman to 
any price she pleased. ' If I were able, 1 would 
acconnpany you myself, my dear, for poor Marriott's sake, 
though I would almost as soon go to the Augean stable.' 

There was a bird-fancier in High Holbom, who had bought 
several of the hundred and eighty beautiful birds, which, as the 
newspapers of the day advertised, had been ' collected, after 
great labour and expense, by Mons. Marten and Co. for the 
Republican Museum at Paris, and lately landed out of the 
French brig Ursellc, taken on her voyage from Cayenne to 
Brest, by his Majesty's Ship Unicom.' 

When Lady Boucher and Belinda arrived at this bird- 
fencicr's, they were long in doubt to which of the feathered 
beauties they should give the preference. Whilst the dowager 
was descanting upon their various perfections, a lady and three 
children came in ; she immediately attracted Belinda's atten- 
tion, by her likeness to Clarence Hcn-ey's description of Lady 
Anne Percival— it was Lady Anne, as Lady Boucher, who 
was slightly acquainted with her, informed Belinda in a whisper. 

The children were soon eagerly engaged looking at the birds. 

' Miss Porlman,' said Lady Boucher, ' as Lady Delacour is 
BO far from well, and wishes to have a bird that will not make 
any noise in the house, suppose you were to buy for Mrs. 
Marriott thia beautiful pair of green parroquets ; or, stay, a 
goldfinch is not very noisy, and here is one thai can play a 
thousand pretty tricks. Pray, sir, make it draw up water in 
its tittle bucket for us.' 

' O mamma I ' said one of the little boys, ' this is the very 
thing that is mentioned in Bewick's Nisfoty of Birds. Pray 
look at this goldfinch, Helena, now it is drawing up its little 
bucket — but where is Helena ? here's room for you, Helena.' 

ifis Mm 



BELINDA 

Whilst ihe little boys were looking at the goldfincli, IkliiiiJ* 
felt somebody touch her gently : it was Helena. Delacour. 

' Can I speak a few words to you ? ' said Helena. 

Belinda walked to the farthest end of the shop with her. 

* Is my nutmma better?' said she, in a timid tone. *' 
have some goldfish, which you know cannot make the least 
noise : may I send them to her ? I heard that lady call yoU 
Miss Porlman ; I believe you are the lady who wrote such a 
kind postscript to me in mamma's last letter — that is the 
reason 1 speak so freely to you now. Perhaps yoti would 
write to tell me if mamma will sec me ; and Lady Anne 
Percival would take me at any time, I am sure — but she 
to Oakly Park in a few days. I wish I might be with mamma 
whilst she is ill ; I would not make the least noise. But don't 
ask her, if you think it will be troublesome — only let me send 
the goldfish.' 

Belinda was touched by the manner in which this affec- 
tionate little giri spoke to her. She assured her that she would 
say all she wished to her mother, and she begged Helena to 
send the goldfish whenever she pleased. 

' Then,' said Helena, ' 1 wii! send them as soon as I go 
Aoww— as soon as I go back to Lady Anne Percival's, 1 mean,' 

Belinda, when she had finished speaking to Helena, heard 
the man who was showing the birds lament that he had not a 
blue macaw, which Lady Anne Percival was commissioned to 
procure for Mrs. Margaret Delacour. 

' Red macaws, my lady, I have in abundance ; but un- 
fortunately, a blue macaw 1 really have not at present ; not 
have I been able to get one, though I have inquired amongst 
all the bird-fanciers in town ; and I went to the auction at 
Haydon Square on purpose, but could not get one.' 

Belinda requested Lady Boucher would tell her servants to 
bring in the cage that contained Marriott's blue macaw ; and 
as soon as it was brought she gave it to Helena, and begged 
that she would carry it to her Aunt Delacour. 

' Lord, my dear Miss Portman,' said Lady Boucher, draw- 
ing her aside, ' I am afraid you will get yourself into a scrape ; 
for Lady Delacour is not upon speaking terms with this Mrs. 
Margaret Delacour— she cannot endure her ; yoii know she 
is my Lord Delacour's aunt.' 

Belinda persisted in sending the macaw, for she was in 



SORTES VIRGILIANAE 

hopes that these terrible family quarrels might be made up, if 
either party would condescend to show any disposition to 
oblige the other. 

Lady Anne Percival understood Miss Portman's civility as 
it was meant. 

* This is a bird of good omen,' said she ; * it augurs family 
peace.' 

* I wish you would do me the favour. Lady Boucher, to in- 
troduce me to Miss Portman,' continued Lady Anne. 

' The very thing I wished I ' cried Helena. 

A few minutes' conversation passed afterward upon different 
subjects, and Lady Anne Percival and Belinda parted with a 
mutual desire to see more of each other. 



CHAPTER XIII 

SORTES VIRGILIANAE 

When Belinda got home. Lady Delacour was busy in the 
library looking over a collection of French plays with the ci- 
devant Count de N ; a gentleman who possessed such 

singular talents for reading dramatic compositions, that many 
people declared that they would rather hear him read a play 
than see it performed at the theatre. Even those who were 
not judges of his merit, and who had little taste for literature, 
crowded to hear him, because it was the fashion. Lady 
Delacour engaged him for a reading party at her house, and 
he was consulting with her what play would be most amusing 
to his audience. * My dear Belinda ! I am glad you are 
come to give us your opinion,' said her ladyship ; * no one has 
a better taste : but first I should ask you what you have done 
at your bird-fancier's ; I hope you have brought home some 
homed cock^ or some monstrously beautiful creature for 
Marriott. If it has not a voice like the macaw I shall be 
satisfied ; but even if it be the bird of paradise, I question 
whether Marriott will like it as well as its screaming 
predecessor.' 

^ See Adventures of a Guineat vol. i. chap. xvi. 

167 



BELINDA 

' 1 am sure she will like what is coming Tor het,' sai" 
Belinda, ' and so will your ladyship ; bul do not lei m* 
iniernipi you and Monsieur le Comie.' And as she spoke, sfec 
took up 3 volume of plays which lay upon the table. 

' Nanine, or La FruiU, which shall we have ? ' said Lady 
DeLicour : ' or what do you think of L'Ecossaise f 

'The scene oi L'Ecossaise is laid in London,' said Belinda; 
' 1 should think with an English audience it would therefore be 

' Yes I so it will," said Lady Delacour ; ' then let i 
UEcossaise. M. le Comte I am sure will do justice to the 
character of Friporl the Knglishman, "qui s^ait donner, niais 
qui ne sgait pas vivre." My dear, I forgot to tell you that 
Clarence Hervey has been here : it is a pity you did not ci 
a little sooner, you would have heard a charming scene of Thi 
School for Scandal read by him. M, le Comte was quite 
delighted ; but Clarence was in a great hurry, he would only 
give us one scene, he was going to Mr. Percival's on business. 
I am sure what I told you the other day is true : but, how- 
ever, he has promised to come back to dine with me — M. le j 
Comte, you will dine with us, 1 hope ? ' 

The count was extremely sorry that it was impossible — he 
was engaged. Belinda suddenly recollected that it was tin 
dress for dinner ; but just as the count took his leave, and as 
she was going upstairs, a footman met her, and told her that 
Mr. Hervey was in the drawing-room, and wished to speak tt 
her. Many conjectures were formed in Belinda's mind as shi 
passed on to the drawing-room ; but the moment that she 
opened the door, she knew the nature of Mr. Hervey's business, 
for she saw the glass globe containing Heiena Delacour's gold- 
fishes standing on the table beside him. ' I have been com- 
missioned to present these to you for Lady Delacour,' said Mr 
Hervey, ' and I have seldom received a commission that has 
given me so much pleasure. I perceive that Miss Portman is 
indeed a real friend to Lady Delacour — how happy she is to 
have such a friend I ' 

After a pause Mr. Hervey went on speaking of Lady Dela- 
cour, and of his earnest desire to see her as happy in domestic 
life as she appeartii to be in public. He frankly confessed, 
that when he was first acquainted with her ladyship, he had 
looked upon her merely as a dissipated woman of fashion, and 



Tfe had conside 



SORTES VIKGILIANAE 



had considered only his own amusement in cullivaiiiig her 
society : ' Dut,' continued he, ' of late I have formed a different 
opinion of her character ; and 1 think, from what 1 have 
observed, that Miss Portman's ideas on this subject agree with 
[_Biine. I had laid a plan for making her ladyship acquainted 
with Lady Anne Percival, who appears to me one of the most 
niable and one of the happiest of women. Oakly Park is 
it a few miles from Harrowgate. — But I am disappointed in 
is scheme ; Lady Delacour has changed her mind, she says, 
id will not go there. Lady Anne, however, has just told me 
at, though it is July, and though she loves the country, she 
HI most willingly stay in town a month longer, as she thinks 
tbat, with your assistance, there is some probability of her 
Reeling a reconciliation between Lady Delacour and her 
gtisbaiid's relations, with some of whom Lady Anne is inii- 
tdsiely acquainted. To begin with my friend, Mrs. Margaret 
Delacour : the macaw was most graciously received, and I 
Salter myself that I have prepared Mrs. Delacour to think 
Komewhat more favourably of her niece than she was wont to 
So. All now depends upon Lady Delacour's conduct towards 
Jier daughter: if she continues to treat her with neglect, 1 
'1 be convinced that I have been mistaken in her character.' 
Belinda was much pleased by the openness and the unaffected 
with which Clarence Hervey spoke, and she eer- 
ily was not sorry to hear from his own lips a distinct ex- 
of his views and sentiments. She assured him that 
effort that she could make with propriety should be wanting 
effect the desirable reconciliation between her ladyship and 
femily, as she perfectly agreed with him in thinking thai 
ly Delacour's character had been generally misimderstood 
the world. 

id Mr. Hervey, 'her connection with that Mrs. 
'reke hurt her more in the eyes of the world than she was 
tacitly understood by the public, that every 
ly goes bail for the character of her female friends. If 
ly Delacour had been so fortunate as to meet with such a 
id as Miss Portman in her early life, what a diffei-enl 
she would have been ! She once said some such thing 
tne herself, and she never appeared to me so amiable as at 



Dfr. Her vey proaounced these last words m a TOatv-nCT DtvM»_ 
169 



^ BELINDA 

than usually animated ; and whilst he spoke, Belinda stooped 
to gather a sprig from a myrtle, which stood on the hearth. 
She perceived that the myrtle, which was planted in a large 
china vase, was propped up on one side with the broken bits 
of Sir Philip Baddel/s little stick : she took them up, and 
threw them out of the window. * Lady Delacour stuck those 
fragments there this morning,' said Clarence, smiling, 'as 
trophies. She told me of Miss Portman's victory over the 
heart of Sir Philip Baddely ; and Miss Portman should certainly 
have allowed them to remain there, as indisputable evidence in 
favour of the baronet's taste and judgment.' 

Clarence Hervey appeared under some embarrassment, and 
seemed to be restrained by some secret cause from laying open 
his real feelings : his manner varied continually. Belinda could 
not avoid seeing his perplexity — she had recourse again to 
the goldfishes and to Helena : upon these subjects they could 
both speak very fluently. Lady Delacour made her appearance 
by the time that Clarence had finished repeating the Abbd 
NoUet's experiments, which he had heard from his friend Doctor 
X . 

* Now, Miss Portman, the transmission of sound in water,' 
said Clarence 

* Deep in philosophy, I protest ! ' said Lady Delacour, as she 
came in. * What is this about the transmission of sound in 
water ? — Ha ! whence come these pretty goldfishes ? ' 

* These goldfishes,' said Belinda, *are come to console 
Marriott for the loss of her macaw.' 

* Thank you, my dear Belinda, for these mute comforters,' 
said her ladyship ; * the very best things you could have 
chosen.' 

* I have not the merit of the choice,' said Belinda, * but I am 
heartily glad that you approve of it.' 

* Pretty creatures,' said Lady Delacour : * no fish were ever 
so pretty since the days of the prince of the Black Islands in the 
Arabian Tales. And am I obliged to you, Clarence, for these 
subjects ? ' 

* No ; I have only had the honour of bringing them to your 
ladyship from ' 

*From whom? — Amongst all my numerous acquaintance, 
have I one in the world who cares a goldish about me ? — Stay, 
don't tell me, let me guess — Lady l^evj\3Ltv^'^— "^o\ >jw5.^qs^^ 

170 



_ Bct^ because I ksov ibe 

ifchga t MiMJj attAatotatoooecfbastapii 
; ate wants Id |k1 oat a<' me tiste CBORgb to 
e. Bat TOO stf il was not Lady Nnrlaad ? — 
UnBt thai prrtops ? fcr ite tuts t«« daogfatets wbooi she 
*■& OK to ask to my coooens. Ii was not Mrs. Him? — 
W^ tbcB, it aas Mn. Uasttisan ; far she tus 2 miad to go 
widi HM to HxmmsaiK, vhecc, by iIk bj-e, I sluJI dm go j so I 
won't dtcat faer am «< her eotdfisbes ; h was Mis. MaMersott, 
tar?' 

ibesc fiitJe g«ddfisbs tame from a. penon mho 
«mdd be m; fbd M s^ with you to Hanowgate ! ' said 
~ Herreir. * Or who would be very glad to stay whfa 

town,' said Belinda ; ' from a person *lio vanta nothine 
oci but — your lovt' 
ale or female?' said Lady DeUcour. 
•Female.' 

* FemaJe ? I have not a female friend in the »-orlil but j'Ouf- 
sel^ my dear Belinda ; nor do I know anothei female in tbe 
world, arbose love 1 should thinic aboot lor half an instant. But 
piay ten me tbe name of this unknown &iend of mine, who H-ants 
&fm me but \oveS 
Excuse me,' said Belinda ; ' 1 cannot tell her name, onlcss 
yoa sill promise to see her.' 

' Vou have really made me impiatient to see her,' said Lady 
Dejacoor : ' but I am not able to go out, j-ou know, yet ; and 
«-itb a new acquaintance, one most go tbrough the ceremony 
of a rooming visit. Now, en comcUiue, is it worth while ? ' 

' \'cry well worth while,' cried Belinda and Claicnce Hervey 
eageriy. 

' Ah, fardt.' as M. le Comte exclaims continually. Ah, fiariU? 
Voa are both wonderfully interested in this business. It is some 
sister, niece, or cousin of Lady Anne Percival's ; or^no, Belinda 
looks as if I were wTong. Then, perhaps, it is Lady Anne her- 
self? — Well, take me where you please, my dear Belinda, and 
i&iroduce me where you please : I depiend on your taste and 
judgment in all things ; but I really am not yet able to pay 
morning visits.' 

' The ceremony of a morning visit is quite unnecessary here," 
said Belinda : ' I will introduce the unknown friend to you 
,lO-roorrow, if you will let me invite her to your reading parly.' 

171 J^^ 



BELINDA 



^ 



' Willi pleasure. She is some cliarming imigr^i: oi C\ai<M^ 
Hcrvej^s acquaintance. IJul where did you meet with herlfc 
morning ? Vou have both of you conspired to puiile me, Tiffi 
It upon yourselves, then, if this new acquaintance should not, 
as Ninon de TEnclos used to say, guit cost. If she he halT 
agreeable and graceful, Clarence, as Madame ia Comtessc dc 
Pomenars, 1 should not think her acquaintance too dearly par- 
chased by a dozen morning visits.' 

Here the conversation was interrupted by a thundering knock 
at the door. 

' Whose carriage is it ? ' said Lady Delacour. ' Oh ! Lady 
Newland's ostentatious livery ; and here is her ladyship getting 
out of her carriage as awkwardly as if she had never been in one 
before. Overdressed, like a true city dame 1 Pray, Clarence, 
look at her, entangled in her bale of gold muslin, and conscious 
of her bulse of diamonds! — "Worth, if I'm worth a farthing, five 
hundred thousand pounds bank currency !" she says 
to say, whenever she comes into a room. Now let u 

' Bui, my dear,' cried Lady Delacour, starting at the sight 
of Belinda, who was still in her morning dress, ' absolutely be- 
low par 1 — Make your escape to Marriott, I conjure you, by all 
your fears of the contempt of a lady, who will at the first look 
estimate you, aujusU, to a farthing a yard." 

As she left the room, Belinda heard Clarence Hervey repeat 
to Lady Delacour — 

' Give nie a look, give me a liice. 
That makes simplicity a grace ; 
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free ' 

he paused^buf Belinda recollected the remainder of the 

Such sweet n^lect more taketh me 

Than all Ih' adulteries of art. 

That strike mine eyes, but not mine heart. 

It was observed, that Miss Portman dressed herself this 
day with the most perfect simphcity. 

Lady Delacour's curiosity was raised by the descriptioa 
which Belinda and Clarence Hervey had given of the r 
acquaintance who sent her the goldfishes, and who wantetl 
nothing from her but her love, 






SORTES VIRGILIANAE 

Miss Portman told her that the unknown would probably 
come half an hour earlier to the reading party than any of ihe 
rest of the company. Her ladyship was alone in the library, 
when Lady Anne Percival brought Helena, in consequence of 
a note from Belinda. 

Miss Portman ran downstairs to the hall to receive her : 
the little girl took her hand in silence. ' Your mother was 
much pleased with the pretty goldfishes,' said Belinda, ' and 
she will be still more pleased, when she knows that they came 
fiom you : — she does not know that yet.' 

' I hope she is better to^iay f I will rot make the least 
noise,' whispered Helena, as she went upstairs on tiptoe. 

You need not be afraid to make a noise^you need not 
■walk on tiptoe, nor shut the doors softly ; for Lady Delacour 
seems to like all noises except the screaming of the macaw. 
This way, my dear.' 

Oh, I forgot — it is so long since '. — Is mamma up and 
dressed f ' 

' Yes. She has had concerts and balls since her illness. You 

ill hear a play read to-nighl,' said Belinda, 'by that French 

gentleman whom Lady Anne Percival mentioned to me yesterday.' 

But there is a great deal of company, then, with mamma ? ' 

Nobody is with her now : so come into the library with 

said Belinda. ' Lady Delacour, here is the young lady 

who sent you the goldfishes.' 

' Helena 1 ' cried Lady Delacour. 

' You must, I am sure, acknowledge that Mr. Hervey was 
tbe right when he said that the lady was a striking resem- 
blance of your ladyship.' 

Mr. Hervey knows how to flatter. 1 never had that in- 
genuous countenance, even in my best days ; but certainly the 
hair of her head is like mine^ — and her hands and arms. But 
why do you tremble, Helena? Is there anything so very 
terrible in the looks of your mother f ' 
No, only — ■ — ' 
Only what, ray dear ? ' 

Only — I was afraid — you might not like me.' 
Who has filled your litde foolish head with these vain 
i ? Come, simpleton, kiss me, and tell me how comes it 
that you are not at Oakly Kali, or^ — Whafs the name of the 
place ? — Oakly Park ? * 





F 


1 


^ 




i^ 




K 


rr 




nnn 




fflf' 


fl^^"^3 


i 




m 




HH 




|jp,M 






W 




^3 




"^i 1 


lfi%' f 




™#WW^:S 




■4-" 


T 








'£-.& Dt/ncs 


vr,hirti!lheyim»i 


m 


'•cnlf^nlhfg^ldf.ilK,.- 





SORTES VIRGILIANAE 



UdyAone Percival ivould not lake me — , 

™U] nbiJgt you were ill ; because she thought that you might 
*isli_( mean she thought that I should like to see you — if 
y°a pleased.' 
' Lady Anne is very good — very obliging — very considerate.' 
'She is ve»y good-natured,' said Helena. 
'Vou love this Lady Anne Percival, I perceive.' 
Oh yes, that I do. She has been so kind lo me 1 1 love 

ha as if she were ' 

As if she were — What ? finish your sentence.' 
My mother,' said Helena, in a low voice, and she blushed. 
You love her as well as if she were your mother,' repeated 
iady Delacour : ' that is intelligible : speak intelligibly what- 
trer you say, and never leave a sentence unfinished.' 

'Nothing can be more ill-bred, nor more absurd; for it 
diows that you have the wish without the power to conceal 
"Our sentiments. Pray, my dear,' continued Lady Delacour, 
go to Oakly Park immediately — all farther ceremony towards 
|ne may be spared.' 

■ Ceremony, mamma \ ' said the little girl, and the tears 
ame into her eyes. Belinda sighed ; and for some moments 
here was a dead silence. 

' I mean only to say, Miss Porlman,' resumed Lady Dela- 
Xmr, ' that I hate ceremony : but I know that there are people 
n the world who love it, who think all virtue, and all affection, 
lepend on ceremony — who are 

' Content to dwell in ilei£iidfs for ever. 

I shall not dispute their merits. Verily, they have iheir re- 
lard in the good opinion and good word of all little minds, 
bat is lo say, of above half the world. I envy them not their 
ttrd-eamed fame. Let ceremony curtsey to ceremony with 
^inese decorum ; but, when ceremony expects lo be paid 
rilh afTection, I beg to be excused.' 

' Ceremony sets no value upon affection, and therefore 
tould not desire to be paid with it,' said Belinda. 

' Never yet,' continued Lady Delacour, pursuing the train 
4 her own thoughts without attending to Belinda, ' never yet 
ras anything like real affection won by any of these cere- 
ious people.' 



I, sh^^^ 



BELINDA 

'Never,' said Miss Portman, looking ai Helena; i/b"' 
having quickness enough to perceive that her mother aim^ 
this tirade against ceremony at Lady Anne Percival, sat in th^ 
most painful embarrassmeni, her eyes cast down, and hei face 
and neck colouring all over. ' Never yet,' said Miss Portmaiii 
'did a mere ceremonious person win anything like real flffK- 
lion, especially from children, who are often excellent, because 
unprejudiced, judges of character.' 

' We are all apt to think, that an opinion that ditters [nun 
our own is a prejudice,' said Lady Delacout : ' what ii 

■ Facts, I should think,' said Belinda. 

' But it is so difficult to get at fads, even about the merest 
trifles,' said Lady Delacour. 'Actions we see, but their 
causes we seldom see — an aphorism worthy of Confucius him- 
self: now to apply. Pray, my dear Helena, how came 
by the pretty goldfishes that you were so good as to send lo 
me yesterday ! ' 

' Lady Anne Percival gave them to nie, ma'am.' 

' And how came her ladyship to give them to you, ma'i 

' She gave them to me,' said Helena, hesitating. 

' You need not blush, nor repeat to me that she gave them 
to you i that 1 have heard already — that is the fact ; no 
the cause — unless it be a secret. If it be a secret which you 
have been desired to keep, you are quite right to keep it. 1 
make no doubt of its being necessary, according lo some 
systems of education, that children should be laught to keep 
secrets ; and I am convinced (for Lady Anne Percival is, I 
have heard, a perfect judge of propriety) that it is peculiarly ■ 
proper that a daughter should know how to keep secrets from 
her mother : therefore, my dear, you need not trouble yourself 
to blush or hesitate anymore — I shall ask no farther questions: 
I was not aware that there was any secret in the case.' 

' There is no secret in the world in the case, mamma,' said 
Helena ; ' I only hesitated because ' 

' You hesitated only because, I suppose you mean. I pre- 
sume Lady Anne Percival will have no objection to your 
speaking good English ?' 

' I hesitated only because I was afraid it would not be right 
to praise myseIC Lady Anne Percival one day asked i 



SOKTES VIRGILIANAF. 
'Us all?' 



■ account of some experiments, on the hearing of fishes, wliich 

H Br. X had lold to us ; she promised lo give the gold- 

B fetes, of which we were all very foiid, to whichever of us 
■■rtouM give the best account of them — Lady Anne gave the 
■^Eties to me.' 

'And is this all the secret ? So it was real modesty made 

^r hesitate, Belinda ? I beg your pardon, my dear, and 
dy Anne's; you see how candid I am, Belinda. But one 
jnestion more, Helena: Who put it into your head to send 
e your goldfishes ?' 

' Nobody, mamma ; no one put it into my head. But I 
ts at the bird-fancier's yesterday, when Miss Portman was 
qring lo get some bird for Mrs. Marriott, that could not 
■ e any noise to disturb you ; so I thought my fishes would 
B the nicest things for you in the world ; because they cannot 
take the least noise, and they are as pretty as any birds iti 
B world — prettier, 1 think — and I hope Mrs. Marriott thinks 

' I don't know what Marriott thinks about the matter, but I 
n teli you what I think,' said Lady Delacour, ' that you arc 
le of the sweetest little girls in the world, and that you would 
ake me love you if I had a heart of stone, which I have not, 
liatever some people may think. — Kiss me, my child ! ' 

The litde girl sprang forwards, and threw her arras round 
Br mother, exclaiming, 'O mamma, are you in earnest?' 
ltd she pressed close to her mother's bosom, clasping her 
ith all her force. 

Lady Delacour screamed, and pushed her daughter away. 
' 'She is not angry with you, my love,' said Belinda, 'she is 
I sudden and violent pain- — don't be alarmed — she will be 
etter soon. No, don't ring the beil, but try whether you can 
pen these window-shutters, and throw up the sash.' 

While Belinda was supporting Lady Delacour, and whilst 
[elena was trying to open the window, a servant came into 

! room to announce the Count de N . 

•Show him into the drawing-room,' said Belinda. Lady 
Iclacour, though in great pain, rose and retired to her dressing- 
' I shall not be able to go down to these people yet,' 
s; '^u mast make my excuses t 
177 



1 




BELINDA 



everybody ; and lell poor Helena 1 was not angry, ihougli 
pushed her away. Keep her below stairs : I will come 3S 
soon iis I am able. Send MarriotL Do not forget, my dca^t 
to tell Helena I was tiot angry.' 

The reading party went on, and Lady Delacour made hc 
appeanince as the company were drinking orgeat, between the 
fourth and fifth act. ' Helena, my dear,' said she, ' will yoo 
bring me a glass of orgeat f ' 

Clarence Hervey looked at Belinda with a congratulatory 
smile: 'do not you Ihink,' whispered he, 'that we shall 
succeed ? Did you see thai look of Lady Delacour's ? ' 

Nothing tends more to increase the esteem and affection of 
two people for each other than their having one and the same 
benevolent object. Clarence Hervey and Belinda seemed to 
know one anothei's thoughts and feelings this evening better 
than they had ever done before during the whole course of 
their acquaintance. 

After the play was over, most of the company went away ; 
only a select party of beaux esprits stayed to supper ; they were 
standing at the table at which the count liad been readmg: 
several volumes of French plays and novels were lying there, 
and Clarence Harvey, taking up one of them, cried, ' Come, 
let us try our fate by the Sortes Vitgilianae,' 

Lady Delacour opened the book, which was a volume of 
Marmontel's Tales. 

' La femme comme il y en a peu 1 ' exclaimed Hervey. 

' Who will ever more have faith in the Sortes Virgilianae?' 
said Lady Delacour, laughing ; but whilst she laughed she 
went closer to a candle, to read (he page which she had opened. 
Belinda and Clarence Hervey followed her, ' Really, it is 
somewhat singular, Belinda, that I should have opened upon 
this passage,' continued she, in a low voice, pointing it out to 
Miss Portman. 

It was a description of the manner in which la femme 
comme il y en a peu managed a husband, who was excessively 
afraid of being thought to be governed by his wife. As her 
ladyship turned over the page, she saw a leaf of myrtle which 
Belinda, who had been reading the story the preceding d^y, 
had put into the book for a mark. 

' Whose mark is this ? Yours, Belinda, I am stire, by ita 
elegance,' said Lady Delacour. < So ! this is a concerted 
1,8 



SORTliS VIRGILI,\NAE 



■"•ween you two, 1 see,' coniinued her ladyship, with 

pique; 'you have contrived prettily de me dire des v^rit^s 

One says, " Let us try our fate by the Sortes Virgilianae " ; ilie 

Wlifr has dexterously put a mark in the book, to make it open 

"pan a lesson for the naughty child.' 
Belinda and Mr. Hervey assured her that ihey had used no 

uch mean arts, that nothing had been concerted between 

'How came this leaf of myrtle here, then?' said Lady 

eiacour. 

' I was reading that story yesterday, and left it as my 
ioark.' 

' I cannot help believing you, because you never yet deceived 
lie, even in the merest trifle : you are truth itself, Belinda. 
Veil, you see tha.tyou were the cause of my drawing such an 
irtraordinary lot ; the book would not have opened here but 
jr your mark. My fate, I find, is in your hands ; if Lady 
jelacour is ever to be la femme comme il y en a peu, which is 
!m most improbajth thing in the world, Miss Porlman will be 
lie cause of it.' 

* Which is the most probable thing in the world,' said 
3arence Hervey. 'This myrtle has a delightful perfume,' 
dded he, rubbing the leaf between his fingers. 

' But, after all,' said Lady Delacour, throwing aside the book. 
This heroine of Marmontel's is not la femme comme il y en a 
leu, but la femme comme il n'y en a point.' 

' Mrs, Margaret Delacour's carriage, my lady, for Miss 
Jelacour,' said a footman to her ladyship. 

t 'Helena stays with me to-night — my compliments,' said 
lady Delacour. 

' How pleased the little gipsy looks ! ' added she, turning to 
Jelena, who heard the message ; ' and how handsome she 
ioks when she is pleased t — Do these auburn locks of yours, 
{elena, curl naturally or artificially?' 

' Naturally, mamma.' 
. ' Naturally ! so much the better : so did mine at your age." 
, Some of the company now took notice of the astonishing 
psemblance between Helena and her mother; and the more 
^y Delacour considered her daughter as a part of herself, 
e more she was inclined to be pleased with her. The glass 
Dbe containing the goldfishes was put in the middle o f the 



1 



Bi; LINDA 

Ble at supper ; and Clarence Hervey never paid her ladyship 
such respectful attention in his life as he did this evening. 

The conversation at supper turned upon a niagnificeni and 
elegant enlertainmeni which had lately been given by a fashion- 
able duchess, and some of the company spoke in high terms d 
the beauty nnd accomplishments of her grace's daught^, who 
had for the first time appeared in public on that occasion. 

'The daughter will eclipse, totally eclipse the mother,' said 
Lady Delacour. ' That total eclipse has been foretold by 
many knowing people,' said Clarence Hervey ; ' but how can 
there be an eclipse between two bodies which never cross on* 
another ; and that I understand 10 be the case between the 
duchess and her daughter.' 

This observation seemed to make a great impression upon 
Lady Delacour. Clarence Hervey went on, and with mnch 
eloquence expressed his admiration of the mother who bad 
stopped short in the career of dissipation to employ her inimit- 
able talents in the education of her children ; who lud 
absolutely brought virtue into fashion by the irresistible powers 
of wit and beauty. 

' Really, Clarence,' said Lady Delacour, rising from table, 
• vous parlez avec beaucoup d'onction. 1 advise you to write a 
sentimental comedy, a com^die larmoyante, or a drama on the 
German model, and call it The School for Mothers, and beg 
her grace of to sit for your heroine,' 

'Your ladyship, surely, would not be so cruel as to send a 
faithful servant a-begging for a heroine?' said Clarence Hervey. 

Lady Delacour smiled at first at the compliment, but a few 
minutes afterwards she sighed bitterly. ' It is loo late for me 
to think of being a heroine,' said she, 

'Too late?' cried Hervey, following her eagerly as she 
walked out of the supper-room ; ' too late ? Her grace of 
• is some years older than your ladyship.' 

' Well, I did not mean to say /ao lale^ said Lady Delacour ; 
' but let us go on to something else. Why were you not at 
the fife champHre the other day? and where were you all 
this morning f And pray can you tell me when your friend 
Dr. X returns to town ? ' 

' Mr. Horton is gelling better,' said Clarence, ' and I hope 

that we shall have Dr. X soon amongst us again. I hear 

that he is to be in town in the course of a few days.' 



THE EXHIBITION 



' Did he inquire for me P^Did he ask how I did 
No. I fancy he took it for granted that your ladyship was 
e vi-ell ; for I told hjm you were gelling better every day, 
d thai you were in charming spirits." 
' Yes,' said Lady Delacour, ' but I 
0iese charming spirits. I am very 
and sitting up late is not good for me 
i all the world a good night. You 
fonned rake.' 



^ 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE EXHIBITION 



,r myself out with 
still, 1 assure you, 
I 1 shall wish you n 

1 am absolutely ]^h^ 



(Two hours after her ladyship had retired to her room, as 
Belinda was passing by the door to go to her own bedchamber, 
iibe heard Lady Delacour call to her. 

' Belinda, you need not walk so softly ; 1 am not asleep. 
Come in, will you, my dear ? I have something of consequence 
h) say to you. Is all the world gone ? ' 

' ' Yes ; and I thought that you were asleep. I hope you 
^re not in pain.' 

' Not just at present, thank you ; but that was a terrible 
{embrace of poor little Helena's. You see to what accidents I 
li^ould be continually exposed, if I had that child always about 
toe ; and yet she seems of such an affectionate disposition, 
biat I wish it were possible to keep her at home. Sit down 
|»y my bedside, my dear Belinda, i 
^ve resolved upon.' 

Belinda sat down, and Lady Delacour e 
■minutes. 

■ 'I am resolved,' said she, 'to make oi 
ifor my life. New plans, new hopes of happiness, have opened 
to my imagination, and, with my hopes of being happy, my 
leourage rises. I am determined to submit to the dreadful 
tftperation which alone can radically cure me — you understand 
ine ; but it must be kept a profound secret. I know of a 
1 who could be got to perform this operation with the 
most secrecy.' 

iSi 



ivill tell you what I 
s silent for some 



! desperate effort 




BELINDA 

iut, soTcIyr'said Belinda, *»fely must be your first object!' 
No, secrecy is my lirst object Nay, do not reason with 
me ; it is a subject on which I cannot. wiU not, reason. Hear 
mc — I will keep Helena with me for a few days ; she w 
surprised by what passed in the library this evening — I must 
remove all suspicion from her mind." 

' There is no suspicion in her mind,' said Belinda. 

' So much the better : she shall go immediately to school, 
or to Oakiy Park. I will then stand my trial for life m 
death ; and if I live I will be, what I have never yet been, s 
mother to Helena. If I die, you and Clarence Hen-ey will 
take care of her ; I know you will. That young i 
worthy of you, Belinda, if I die, I charge you to tel! hiin 
that I knew his value ; that I had a soul capable of being 
touched by the eloquence of virtue.' Lady Delacour, after a 
pause, said, in an altered tone, ' Do you think, Belinda, that I 
shall survive this operation ? ' 

'The opinion of Dr. X ,' said Belinda, 'must certainly 

be more satisfactory than mine ;' and she repeated what the 
doctor had left with her in writing upon this subject. 'Yon 

see,' said Belinda, ' that Dr. X is by no means certain 

that you have the complaint which you dread.' 

' I am certain of it,' said Lady Delacour, with a deep sigh. 
Then, after a pause, she resumed ; 'So it is the doctor^s 
opinion, that I shall inevitably destroy myself if, from a vain 
hope of secrecy, I put myself into ignorant hands ? These are 
his own words, are they ? Very strong ; and he is prudent 
to leave that opinion in writing. Now, whatever happens, he 
cannot be answerable for " measures which he does not guide" : 
nor you either, my dear ; you have done all that is prudent and 
proper. But I must beg you to recollect, that I am neither a 
child nor a fool ; that 1 am come to years of discretion, and 
that I am not now in the delirium of a fever ; consequently, 
there can be no pretence for managing me. In this particular j 
I must insist upon managing myself. I have confidence in 

the skill of the person whom I shall employ ; Dr. X , ,; 

I very likely, would have none, because the man may not have 

a diploma for killing or curing in form. That is nothing te 

the purpose. It is I that am to undergo the operation ; it is 

my health, my life that is risked ; and if I am satisfied, that is 

Secrecy, as I told you before, is my first object.' 




THE EXHIBITION 

' And cannot you,' said Belinda, ' depend wiih n 
upon the honour of a surgeon who is at the head of his profes 
Inon, and who has a high reputation at stake, ihan upon a 
iragtie promise of secrecy from some obscure quack, ivho lias 
no reputation lo lose?' 

' No,' said Lady Delacour ; ' 1 tell you, my dear, that 1 

inot depend upon any of these '■ honourable men." I have 
taken means to satisfy myself on this point ; iheir honour and 
foolish delicacy would not allow them to perform such an 
tqjetation for a wife, without the knowledge, privity, consent, 
etc etc., of het husband. Now Lord Delacour's knowing 
tiie thing is quite out of the question.' 

' Why, my dear Lady Delacour, why ? ' said Belinda, with 
great earnestness. 'Surely a husband has the strongest 
tlilaim to be consulted upon such an occasion ! Let me entreat 
you to tell Lord Delacour your intention, and then all will be 
light. Say Ves, my dear friend I let me prevail upon you,' 
said Belinda, taking her ladyship's hand, and pressing it 
~ ;tween both of hers with the most affectionate eagerness. 

Lady Delacour made no answer, but fixed her eyes upon 
Belinda's. 

'Lord Delacour,' continued Miss Portman, 'deserves this 
from you, by the great interest, the increasing interest, that 
he has shown of late about your health : his kindness and 
handsome conduct the other morning certainly pleased you, and 
you have now an opportunity of showing that confidence in 
him, which his affection and constant attachment to you merit.' 

' I trouble myself very little about the constancy of Lord 
Delacour's attachment to me,' said her ladyship coolly, with- 
drawing her hand from Belinda ; ' whether his lordship's 
affection for me has of late increased or diminished, is an 
object of perfect indifference to me. liut if 1 were incliiied 
to reward him for his late attentions, I should apprehend that 
e might hit upon some better reward than you have pitched 
upon. Unless you imagine that Lord Delacour has a peculiar 
taste for sui^ical operations, I cannot conceive how his becoming 
tny confidant upon this occasion could have an immediate 
tendency to increase his affection for me — about which atTection 
I don't care a straw, as you, better than any one else, must 
know ; for I am no hypocrite. I have laid open my whole 
heart to you, Belinda.' 

■83 



BELINDA 

•For tliat very reason,' said Miss Portman, 'I am' 
to use the influence which 1 know I have in your heart for 
your happiness. 1 am convinced that it will be absolutely 
impossible that you should cany on this scheme in the house 
with your husband without its being discovered. If he discwir 
it by accident, he will feel very differently from what he would 
do if he were trusted by you.' 

'For heaven's sake, my dear,' cried Lady Delacour, Met 
me hear no more about Lord Delacour's feelings.' 

' Out allow me then to speak of my own,' said Belinda : ' I 
cannot be concerned in this afiair, if it is lo be concealed from 
your husband.' 

'You will do about that as you think proper,' said Lady 
Delacour haughtily. ' Your sense of propriety towards Lord 
Delacour is, I observe, stronger than your sense of honour 
towards me. But I make no doubt that you act upon principle 
— .just principle. You promised never to abandon me 
when I most want your assistance, you refi:se it, from 
sideration for Lord Delacour. A scruple of delicacy absolves 
a person of nice feeling's, I 6nd, from a positive promise — a 
new and convenient code of morality 1 ' 

Belinda, though much hurt by the sarcastic lone in which 
her ladyship spoke, mildly answered, that the promise she had 
made to stay with her ladyship during her illness was very 
different from an engagement lo assist her in such a scheme 
as she had now in contemplation. 

Lady Delacour suddenly drew the curtain between her and 
Belinda, saying, ' Well, my dear, at all events, 1 am glad 
hear you don't forget your promise of staying with me^ 1^ 
are, perhaps, prudent to reftise me your assistance, all circu 
stances considered. Good-night : 1 have kept you up too long 
— good-night ! ' 

' Good-night I ' said Belinda, drawing aside the curtai 
' You will not be displeased with me, when you reflect coolly. 

' The light blinds me,' said Lady Delacour ; and she turned 
her face away from Miss Portman, and added, in a drowsy 
voice, ' I vnll think of what has been said some time or other: 
but just now I would rather go to sleep than say or hear any 
more ; for I am more than half asleep already.' 

Belinda closed the curtains and left the room. But Lady 
polocour, notwithstanding the drowsy tone in which she 
184 




TITE EXHIBITION 



iced these last words, was not in [he least inclined 
A pas&ion had taken possession of her mind, which kept 
broad awake the remainder of the night — the passion 
jealousy. The extreme eagerness with which Behnda had 
urged her to consuh Lord Delacour, and to trust him with her 
secret, displeased her ; not merely as an opposition to her will, 
and undue attention to his lordship's feehngs, but as 'con- 
firmation strong' of a hint which had been dropped by Sir 
Philip Baddely, but which never till now had appeared to her 
worthy of a moment's consideration. Sir Philip had obseri'ed, 
ftat, ' if a young' lady had any hopes of being a viscountess, it 
»as no wonder she thought a baronet beneath her notice.' 
Now," thought Lady Delacour, ' this is not impossible. In 
tiie first place, Belinda Portman is niece to Mrs. Stanhope ; 
:she may have all her aunt's art, and the still greater art to 
conceal it under the mask of openness and simplicity ; Vol/a 
sdolio^ ^ensieri sirelii, is the grand maxim of the Stanhope 
school.' The moment Lady Delacour's mind turned to 
■suspicion, her ingenuity rapidly supplied her with circum- 
ifilances and arguments to confirm and justify her doubts. 

Miss Portman fears that my husband is growing loo fond 

oe : she says, he has been very attentive to me of late. 

I so he has ( and on purpose to disgust him with me, she 
immediately urges me to tell him that I have a loathsome 
'disease, and that I am about to undergo a horrid operation. 
my eyes have been Winded hy her artifice ! This last 
Stroke was rather too bold, and has opened them effectually, 
And now I see a thousand things that escaped me before, 
to-night, the Sortes Vii^lianae, the myrtle leaf. Miss 
Portman's mark, left in the book exactly at the place where 
Marmontel gives a receipt for managing a husband of Lord 
Delacour's character. Ah, ah 1 By her own confession, she 
bad been reading this ; studying it. Ves, and she has studied 
some purpose ( she has made that poor weak lord of 
think her an angel. How he ran on in her praise the 
'other day, when he honoured me with a morning visit I That 
inoming visit, too, was of her suggestion ; and the banknotes, 
AS he, like a simpleton, let out in the course of the conversa- 
tion, had been offered to her first. She, with a delicacy that 
pAarmed my short -sighted folly, be^ed that they might go 
"iTOUgh my hands. How artfully managed t Mrs. Stanhope 
iSs 



;pt her 
a had 



JJ 



[ 



/ 



BELINDA 

herself could not have done belter. So, she can make Lord 
Delacour do whatever she pleases ; and she condescends t 
make him behave prettUy to me, and desires him lo bring m 
peace-offerings of banknotes ! She is, in fact, become my 
banker ; mistress of my house, my husltand, and myself I Ten 
days t have been confined to my room. Truly, she has made 
a good use of her time : and I, fooi that I am, have been 
[hanking her for all her disinterested kindness ! 

'Then her attention to my daughter! disinterested, too, a 
I thought ! — But, good heavens, what an idiot 1 have been 1 
She looks forward to be the step-mother of Helena ; she would 
win the simple child's affections even before my face, and show 
Lord Delacour what a charming wife and mother she would 
make ! He said some such thing to me, as well as I remember, 
the other day. Then her extreme prudence ! She m 
coquets, not she, with any of the young men who come here 
on purpose to see her. Is this natumi ? Absolutely unnatural 
— artifice ! artifice ! To contrast herself with me in Lord 
Delacour's opinion is certainly her object. Even to Clarence 
Hervey, with whom she was, or pretended to be, smitten, how 
cold and reserved she is grown of late ; and how haughtily 
she rejected my advice, when 1 hinted that she was not taking 
the way to win him I I could not comprehend her ; she had 
no designs on Clarence Hervey, she assured me. Immaculate 
purity 1 1 believe you. 

' Then her refusal of Sir Philip Baddely ! — a baronet with 
fifteen thousand a year to be refused by a girl who has nothing, 
and merely because he is a fool I How could I be such a 
as to believe it ? Worthy niece of Mrs. Stanhope, I know you 
And now I recollect that extraordinary letter of Mrs, 
Stanhope's which I snatched out of Miss Portman's hands 
months ago, fiill of blanks, and inuendoes, and references 
lo some letter which Belinda had written about my disputes 
with my husband ! From that moment to this. Miss Portman 
has never let me see another of her aunt's letters. So I may 
conclude they are all in the same style ; and I make no doubt 
that she has instructed her niece, all this time, how to proceed. 
Now I know why she always puts Mrs. Stanhope's letters ir 
her pocket the moment she receives them, and never opens 
them in my presence. And I have been laying open my whole 
heart, telling my whole history, confessing all my faults and 



THE EXHIBITION 

follies, to this girl I And I have totd her ihat I am dyi^^ 
I have taught her to look forward with joy and certainty to the 
coronet, on which she has fixed her heart. 

' On my knees I conjured her lo slay with me lo receive 
my last breath. O dupe, miserable dupe, that I am ! could 
nothing warn me ? In the moment that 1 discovered the 
treachery of one friend, I went and prostrated myself to the 
artifices of another — of another a thousand times more danger- 
ous — ten thousand times more beloved I For what was 
Harriot Freke in comparison with Belinda Porlman ? Harriot 
Frefce, even whilst she diverted me most, I half despised. 
But Belinda ! — O Belinda I how entirely have I loved^ — 
tnisted^-admired — adored — respected — revered you ! ' 

Exhausted by the emotions to which she had worked her- 
self up by the force of her powerful imagination. Lady Delacour, 
after passing several restless hours in bed, fell asleep late in 
the morning ; and when she awaked, Belinda was standing by 
her bedside, ' What could you be dreaming of ? ' said Belinda, 
smiling. ' Vou started, and looked at me with such horror, 
when you opened your eyes, as if I had been your evil genius.' 

It is not in human nature, thought Lady Delacour, suddenly 
overcome by the sweet smile and friendly lone of Belinda, it is 
not in human nature lo be so treacherous ; and she stretched 
out both her arms to Belinda, saying, ' You my evil genius ? 
No, My guardian angel, my dearest Belinda, kiss me, and 
forgive me.' 

' Forgive you for what ?' said Belinda ; ' I believe you are 
dreaming still, and 1 am sorry to awaken you ; but I am come 
to tell you a wonderful thing^ — that Lord Delacour is up, and 
dressed, and actually in the breakfast-room ; and that he has 
been talking lo me this half hoi:r — of what do you think ? — of 
Helena. He was quite surprised, he said, to see her grown 
such a fine girl, and he declares that he no longer regrets that 
she was not a boy ; and he says that he will dine at home to- 
day, on purpose lo drink Helena's health in his new burgundy ; 
and, in short, I never saw him in such good spirits, or so 
agreeable ; I always thought he was one of the best-natured 
men I had ever seen. Will not you get up to breakfast ? 
Lord Delacour has asked for you ten limes within these five 
minutes.' 

Indeed 1 ' said Lady Delacour, rubbing her eyes. 



this is vastly wonderful ; but I wish you had not awakened m 
so soon.' 

' Nay, nay,' said Belinda, ' I know by the lone of your 
voice that you do not mean what you say ; 1 know you w " 
get up, and come down to us directly — so I will send Marriott' 

Lady Delacour got up, and went down to breakfast, in 
much uncertainty what to think of Miss Portman ; but ashamed 
to let her into her mind, and still more afr^d that Lord Dela- 
cour should suspect her of doing him the honour lo be jealous. 
Belinda had not the least guess of what was really passing in 
her ladyship's heart ; she implicitly believed her expressions ol 
complete indifference to her lord ; and jealousy was the last 
I feeling which Miss Portman would have attributed to Lady 
, Delacour, because she unfortunately was not sufficiendy aware 
' that jealousy can exist without love. The idea of Lord Dela- 
j cour as an object of attachment, or of a coronet as an object 
I of ambition, or of her friend's death as an object of joy, i 
so foreign to Belinda's innocent mind, that it was scarcely 
possible she could decipher Lady Delacour's thoughts. Her 
ladyship affected to be in 'remarkable good spirits this morning,' 
declared that she had never felt so well since her illness, 
ordered her carriage as soon as breakfast was over, and said 
she would take Helena to Maillatdet's, to see the wonders of 
his little conjuror and his singing-bird. ' Nothing equal I 
Maillardet's singing-bird has ever been seen or heard of, my 
dear Helena, since the days of Aboulcasem's peacock in the 
Pei-sian Tales. Since Lady Anne Percival has not shown you 
these charming things, 1 must.' 

' But 1 hope you won't tire yourself, mamma,' said the little 
girl. 

' I'm afraid you will,' said Belinda. ' And you know, my 
dear,' added Lord Delacour, ' that Miss Portman, who is so 
very obliging and good-natured, eovld go just as well with 
Helena ; and I am sure, -would., rather than that you should 
tire yourself, or give yourself an unnecessary trouble." 

' Miss Portman is very good,' answered Lady Delacour 
hastily; 'but I think it no unnecessary trouble to give my 
daughter any pleasure in my power. As to its tiring me, I am 
neither dead, nor dying, yet; for the rest, Miss Portman, who 
understands what is proper, blushes for you, as you see, my 
lord, when you propose that she, who is not yet a married 




THE EXIIIIIITION 

should cliaperon a young lady, it is quite out of rule ; 
and Mrs. Stanhope would be shocked if her niece could, or 
rouid, do such a thing lo oblige anybody.' 

Lord Delacour was too much in the habit of hearing sar- 
astic, and _to him incomprehensible speeches from her lady- 
ship, to take any extraordinary notice of this ; and if Belinda 
blushed, it was merely from the confusion into which she was 
:fiirown by the piercing glance of Lady Delacour's black eyes 
e which neither guilt nor innocence could withstand. 
Belinda imagined that her ladyship still retained some dis- 
pleasure from the conversation that had passed the preceding 
night, and the first time that she was alone with Lady Dela- 
3ur, she again touched upon the subject, in hopes of softening 
r convincing her. 'At all events, my dear friend,' said she, 
you will not, I hope, be offended by the sincerity with which 
1 speak — I can have no object but your safety and happiness.' 
' Sincerity never offends me,' was her ladyship's cold answer. 
And all the time that they were out together, she was unusually 
IS to Miss Portman ; and there would have been but 
little conversation, if Helena had not been present, to whom 
mother talked with fluent gaiety. When lliey got to 
Spring Gardens, Helena exclaimed, ' Oh I there's Lady Anne 
Percival's carriage, and Charles and Edward with her— they 
J lo the same place that we are, I daresay, for I heard 
Charles ask Lady Anne to take him to see Maillardet's little 
bird — Mr. Hervey mentioned it to us, and he said it was a 
ious piece of machinery.' 

' I wish you had told me sooner that Lady Anne was likely 
to be there — I don't wish to meet her so awkwardly : I am 
3l well enough yet, indeed, to go to these odious, hot, close 
laces ; and, besides, 1 hate seeing sights.' 
Helena, with much good humour, said that she would rather 
give up seeing the sight than be troublesome to her mother. 
When they came to Maillardet's, however. Lady Delacour saw 

Mrs. getting out of her carriage, and to her she consigned 

Helena and Miss Portman, saying that she would take a turn 
■ or two in the pai*k, and ca!i for them in half an hour. When 
the half hour was over, and her ladyship returned, she carelessly 
. asked, as they were going home, whether they had been pleased 
with their visit to the bird and the conjuror. ' Oh yes, 
' said Helena : ' and do you know that one of the 



questions that the people ask the conjuror is, ■' W^w is the 
happiest family to be found t" And Charles and Edward im- 
mediately said, if he is a good conjuror, if he tells truth, he'll 
answer, "At Oakly Park."' 

'Miss Portman, had you any con\'ersation with Lady Anne 
Percival F' said Lady Deiacour coldly. 

' A great deal,' said Belinda, ' and such as I am sure you 
would have liked : and so far from being a ceremonious peison, 
I think 1 never saw anybody who had such easy engaging 



■And did she ask you, Helena, again to go with her to that 
place where the happiest family in the world is to be found?' 

' Oakly Park ? — No, mamma ; she said that she was very 
glad that I was with you ; but she asked Miss Portman to come 
to see her whenever it was in her power.' 

'And could Miss Portman withstand such a temptation?' 

' You know that I am engaged to your ladyship,' said 
Belinda. 

Lady Dclacour bowed. ' But from what passed last night,' 
said she, ' I was afraid that you might repent your engagement 
to me : and if so, I give up my bond, t should be miserable 
if I apprehended that any one, but more especially Miss Port- 
man, felt herself a prisoner in my house.' 

Dear Lady Delacour ! I do not feel myself a prisoner ; I 
have always till now felt myself a friend in your house ; but 
we'll talk of this another time. Do not look at me with so 
much coldness ; do not speak to me with so much politeness. 
I will not let you forget that 1 am your friend.' 

' I do not wish to forget it, Belinda,' said Lady Delacour, 
with emotion ; ' I am not ungrateful, though I may seem 
capricious — bear with me.' 

' There now, you look like yourself again, and I am satisfied,' 
cried Belinda. 'As to going to Oakly Park, I give you my 
word I have not the most distant thoughts of it. I stay with 
you from choice, and not from compulsion, believe me.' 

' 1 do believe you,' said Lady Delacour ; and for a moment 
she was convinced that Belinda stayed with her for her own 
sake alone ; but the next minute she suspected that Lord 
Delacour was the secret cause of her refusing to go to Oakly 
Park. His lordship dined at home this day, and tvi'o or three 
sgcceeding days, and he was not intoxicated from Monday till 
190 



THE EXHIBITION 

Thursday. These circuraslances appeared to his lady very 
extraordinary. lu fact, he was pleased and amused with liis 
little daughter, Helena; and whilst she was yet almost a 
stranger to him, he wished to appear to her in the most agree- 
able and respectable light possible. One day after dinner, 
Lord Delacour, who was in a remarkably good humour, said 
to her ladyship, ' My dear, you know that your new carriage 
broken almost to pieces the night when you were over- 
turned. Well, I have had it all set to rights again, and new 
painted, and it is all coinpleie, except the hammer-cloth, which 
must have new fringe. What colour will you have the fringe?' 
' What do you say, Miss Portman ? ' said her ladyship. 
' Black and orange would look well, I think,' said Belinda, 
and would suit the lace of your liveries — would not it ? ' 

' Certainly : black and orange then,' said Lord Delacour, 
it shall be.' 

' If you ask my opinion,' said Lady Delacour, ' 1 am for 
due and white, to matcli the cloth of the liveries.' 

' Blue and white then it shall be,' said Lord Delacour. 
' Nay, Miss Portman has a beiicr taste than I have ; and 
she says black and orange, my lord.' 

Then you'll have it black and orange, will you ? ' said Lord 
Delacour. 

Just as you please,' said Lady Delacour, and no more 

Soon afterward a note came from Lady Anne Percival, with 
Bome trifles belonging to Helena, for which her mother had 
It. The role was for Belinda — another pressing invitation 
Oakly Park — and a very civil message from Mrs. Margaret 
Delacour, and thanks to Lady Delacour for the macaw. Ay, 
thought Lady Delacour, Miss Portman wants to ingratiate her- 
self in time with all my husband's relations. 'Mrs. Margaret 
Delacour should have addressed these thanks to you, Miss 
Portman, for I had not the grace to think of sending her the 
macaw,' Lord Delacour, who was very fond of his aunl, im- 
medialely joined his Ihanks, and observed that Miss Portman 
always considerate — always obliging — always kind. Then 
drank her health in a bumper of burgundy, and insisted 
I his little Helena's drinking her health. ' I 
it, my dear, for Miss Portman is very good — too good to 
cfaikL 




JJ 



BELINDA 

' Very good — not too good, I hope,' said Lady Delacour, 
' Miss I'ortman, your health.' 

'And 1 hope-,' continued his lordship, after swallowing bU 
bumper, ' thai my Lady Anne Percival does noi 
veigle you away from lis, Miss Portman. You don't think of 
leaving us. Miss Portman, I hope? Here's Helena would 
break her little heart ;^1 say nothing for my Lady Delacour, 
because she ca.a say everything so much better for herself; 
and I say nothing for myself, because I am the worst man ii 
the world at making speeches, when I really have a thing al 
heart — as I have your staying with us, Miss Portman,' 

Belinda assured him that there was no occasion to press her 
to do what was perfectly agreeable to her, and said that s' 
had no thoughts of leaving Lady Delacour. Her ladysbi[^. 
with some embarrassment, expressed herself ' extremely obliged, 
and gratified, and happy,' Helena, with artless Joy, threw her 
arms about Belinda, and exclaimed, ' I am glad you are no 
going ; for I never liked anybody so much, of whom I knew si 
little.' 

' The more you know of Miss Portman the more you will 
like her, child — at least I have found it so,' said Lord Delacour. 

' Clarence Hervey would, I am sure, have given the Pigot 
diamond, if it were in his gift, for such a smile as you bestowed 
on Lord Delacour just now,' whispered Lady Delacour. 
an instant Belinda was struck with the tone of pique and re- 
proach in which her ladyship spoke. ' Nay, my dear, I did 
not mean to make you blush so piteously,' pursued her lady- 
ship ; ' I really did not think it a blushing matter — but you 
know best. Believe me, 1 spoke without malice ; we 
apt to judge from our own feelings — and I could : 
blush about the old man of the mountains as about my Lord 
Delacour.' 

• Lord Delacour ! ' said Belinda, with a look of such i 
feigned surprise, that her ladyship instandy changed coun 
nance, and, taking her hand with gaiety, said, ' So, my litllc 
Belinda, I have caught you — the blush belongs then to Clarence 
Hervey ? Well, any man of common sense would rather have 
one blush than a thousand smiles for his share : now we under- 
stand one another. And will you go with me to the exhibition 
to-morrow ? I am told there are some charming pictures this 
year. Helena, who really has a genius for drawing, should si 



THE EXHIBITION 

these things ; and whilst she is with me, I will make her as 
happy as possible. You see the reformation is beginning — 
Clarence Hen-ey and Miss Portman can do wonders. If it be 
my fete, at last, to be la bonne mire, or la femme commc U y 
n a peu, how can I help it ? There is no struggling against 
ite, my dear I ' 
Whenever Lady Delacour's suspicions of Belinda were sus- 
pended, all her affections returned with double force ; she 
wondered at her own folly, she was ashamed that she could 
have let such ideas enter her mind, and she was beyond 
measure astonished that anything relative to Lord Delacour 
could so far have interested her attention. ' Luckily,' said she 
D herself, ' he has not the penetration of a blind beetle ; and, 
besides, he has little snug jealousies of his own : so he will 
It would be an excellent thing indeed, if 
my "rnaster-tonnent" against myself — it 
would be a judgment upon me. The manes of poor Lawless 
would then be appeased. But it is impossible I should ever be 
a jealous wife : I am only a jealous friend, and I must satisfy 
myself about Belinda. To be a second time a dupe to the 
treachery of a friend would be too much for me — too much for 
my pride — too much for my heart.' 

The next day, when they came to the er'iibiiion, Lady 
, Delacour had an opportunity of judging of Belinda's real feel- 
As they went up the stairs, they heard the voices of Sir 
Philip Baddely and Mr. Rochfort, who were standing upon the 
landing-place, leaning over the banisters, and running their 
little sticks along the iron rails, to try which could make the 
loudest noise. ' Have you been much pleased with the pictures, 
gentlemen?' said Lady Delacour, as she passed them. 

'Oh, damme! no — 'tis a cursed bore; and yet there are some 
fine pictures : one in particular— hey, Rochfort ? — one damned 
fine picture I' said Sir Philip. And the two gentlemen, laughing 
significantly, followed Lady Delacour and Belinda into the rooms. 
'Ay, there's one picture that's worth all the rest, 'pen 
nour ! ' repeated Rochfort ; ' and we'll leave it to your lady- 
ship's and Miss Portman's taste and judgment to find it out, 
' mayn't we, Sir Philip ?' 

' Oh, damme I yes,' said Sir Philip, ' by all means." But 
lie was so impatient to direct her eyes, that he could not keep 
^himself still a 

193 



BELINDA 

' Oh, curse it 1 Rochfort, we'd better teU the ladies at once, 
else they may be all day looking and looking I ' 

' Nay, Sir Philip, may not I be allowed to guess ? Must I 
be told which is your fine picture ? — This is not much in favour 
of my taste.' 

' Oh, damn it ! your ladyship has the best taste in the world, 
everybody knows ; and so has Miss Portman— and this picture 
will hit her taste particularly, I'm sure. It is Clarence Hcrvey"! 
fancy ; but this is a dead secret — dead — Clary no more thinks 
that we know it, than the man in the 

' Clarence Hen'ey's fancy ! Then 1 make no doubt of its 
being good for something,' said Lady Delaconr, ' if the painter 
have done justice to his imagination ; for Clarence has really a 
fine imagination.' 

' Oh, damme ! 'tis not amongst the history pieces,' cried Sir 
Philip ; "tis a poilraii.' 

' And a history piece, too, 'pon honour ! ' said Rochfort : ' 
family history piece, 1 take it, 'pon honour ! it will turn out,' said 
Rochfort ; and both the gentlemen were, or affected to be, thrown 
into convulsions of laughter, as they repeated the words, ' family 
history piece, 'pon honour I^family history piece, damme ! ' 

' I'll take my oath as to the portrait's being a devilish 
good likenes?.' added Sir Philip ; and as he spoke, he turned - 
to Miss Portman : ' Miss Portman has it 1 damme. Miss Port- 
man has him I ' 

Belinda hastily withdrew her eyes from the picture at which 
she was looking. ' A most beautiful creature 1 ' exclaimed Lady ' 
Delacour. 

' Oh, faith ! yes ; I always do Clary the justice to say, hs | 
has a damned good taste for beauty.' 

' But this seems to be foreign beauty," continued Lady 
Delacour, 'if one may judge by her air, her dress, and the 
scenery about her — cocoa trees, plantains : Miss Portman, what 
think you ? ' 

' I think,' said Belinda (but her voice faltered so much that 
she could hardly speak), ' that it is a scene from Paul and 
Virginia, I think the figure is St. Pierre's Virginia.' 

' Virginia St. Pierre I ma'am,' cried Mr. Rochfort, winking 
at Sir Philip. ' No, no, damme 1 there you are wrong, Roch- 
fort ; say Hervey's Virginia, and then you have it, daitune I 
maybe, Virginia Hervey — who knows?' 



THE EXHIBITION 

a portrait,' whispered the baronet to Lady Dda- 
of Clarence's mistress.' Whilst her ladyship leant 
to this whisper, which was sufficiently audible, she fixed 
ngly careless, but most observing, inquisitive eye upon 
poor Belinda. Her confusion, for she heard the whisper, was 
[cessive. 
' She loves Clarence Hervey — she has no thoughts of Lord 
Pelacour and his coronet : I have done her injustice,' thought 
Lady Delacour, and instantly she despatched Sir Phihp out 
"le room for a catalogue of the pictures, begged Mr. Roch- 
to get her something else, and, drawing Miss Portman's 
within hers, she said, in a low voice, ' Lean upon me, 
ny dearest Belinda : depend upon it, Clarence will never be 
1 a fool as to marry the girl— Virginia Hervey she will 
er be ! ' 

■And what will become of her? can Mr. Hervey desert 
? she looks like innocence itself — and so young, loo I Can 
leave her for ever to sorrow, and vice, and infamy?' 
Siought Belinda, as she kept her eyes fixed, in silent anguish, 
ipon the picture of Virginia. ' No, he cannot do this ; if he 
Eould he would be unworthy of me, and I ought to think of him 
more. No ; he will ffiarry her ; and I must think of him 

She turned abruptly away from the picture, and she saw 
Clarence Hervey standing beside her. 

What do you think of this picture ? is it not beautiftil ? 
We are quite enchanted with it ; but you do not seem to be 
Struck with it, as we were at the first glance,' said Lady 
Delacour. 

Because,' answered Clarence gaily, ' it is not the first 
glance 1 have had at that picture — I admired it yesterday, and 
admire it to-day.' 

But you are tired of admiring it, I see. Well, we shall 

force you to be in raptures with it— shall we. Miss Port- 
man ? A man may be tired of the most beautiful face in the 
world, or the most beautiful picture ; but really there is so 
much sweetness, so much innocence, such tender melancholy 
iis countenance, that, if I were a man, I should inevitably 

in love with it, and in love for ever I Such beauty, if it 
were in nature, would certainly iix the i: 



1 



■95 



u 



THE EXHIBITION 



from m^l 



Belinda ventured to take her eyes for an instant from t 
picture, to see whether Clarence Hervey looked like the most 
inconstant man upon earth. He was intently gaiing upon her; 
but as soon as she looked round, he suddenly exclaimed, as he 
turned to the picture — 'A heavenly counteoance, indeed I — the 
painter has done justice to the poel.' 

'Poet!' repeated Lady Delacour : 'the man's in the 
clouds 1 ' 

' Pardon me,' said Clarence ; ' does not M. de SL Pierre 
deserve to be called a poet ? Though he does not write in 
rhyme, surely he has a poetical imagination.' 

' Certainly,' said Belinda ; and from the composure with 
which Mr, Hervey now spoke, she was suddenly inclined to 
believe, or lo hope, that all Sir Philip's story was false. ' M. 
de St. Pierre undoubtedly has a great deal of imagination, and 
deserves to be called a poet.' 

' Very likely, good people I ' said Lady Delacour ; ' but what 
has that to do with the present purpose ?' 

' Nay,' cried Clarence, ' your ladyship certainly sees that this 
is St. Pierre's Virginia?' 

' St. Pierre's Virginia ! Oh, I know who it is, Clarence, as 
well as you do. I am not quite so blind, or so stupid, as you 
take me to be.' Then recollecting her promise, not to betray 
Sir Philip's secret, she added, pointing to the landscape of the 
picture, 'These cocoa trees, this fountain, and the words Fon^ 
tains de Virginie, inscribed on the rock — 1 must have been 
stupidity itself, if I had not found it out 1 absolutely can read, 
Clarence, and spell, and put together. But here comes Sir 
Philip Baddely, who, I believe, cannot read, for I sent him an 
hour ago for a catalogue, and he pores over the book as if he 
had not yet made out the title.' 

Sir Philip had purposely delayed, because he was afraid of 
rejoining Lady Delacour whilst Clarence Hen-ey was with her, 
and whilst they were talking of the picture of Virginia. 

' Here's the catalogue ; here's the picture your ladyship 
wants. St. Pierre's Virginia ; damme ! ! never heard of that 
fellow before — he is some new painter, damme I that is the 
reason 1 did not know the hand. Not a word of what I told 
you. Lady Delacour — you won't blow us to Clary,' added he 
aside to her ladyship. ' Rochfort keeps aloof; and so will I, 



197 



- J 



BELINDA 

\ gentleinan at this instant beckoned to Mr. Hervey 
an air of great eagerness. Clarence went and spoke to hin, 
then returned with an altered countenance, and apologised to 
Lady Delacour for not dining with her, as he had promised. 
Business, he said, of great importance required that he should 
leave town immediately. Helena had just taken Miss Portn\aii 
into a little room, where WesiaJi's drawings were hung, to 
show her a group of Lady Anne Percival and her children ; 
and Belinda was alone with the little girl, when Mr. Hervey 
came to bid her adieu. He was in much agitation. 

' Miss Portman, I shall not, I am afraid, see you again for 
some time ; — perhaps I may never have that — hem t — happi- 
ness. I had something of importance that 1 wished to say to 
you before I left town ; but I am forced to go so suddenly, I 
can hardly hope for any moment but the present to speak lo 
you, madam. May I ask whether you purpose remaining 
much longer with Lady Delacour ? ' 

' Yes,' said Belinda, much surprised. ' I believe — 1 am not 
quite certain — but 1 believe 1 shall stay with her ladyship some 

Mr. Hervey looked painfully embarrassed, and his eyes in- 
voluntarily fell upon little Helena, Helena drew her hand gently 
away from Belinda, left the room, and retired to her mother. 

'That child, Miss Porlman, is very fond of you,' said Mr. 
Hervey. Again he paused, and looked round to see whether 
he could be overheard. ' Pardon me for what I am going to 
say. This is not a proper place. 1 must be abrupt ; for I am 
so circumstanced, that 1 have not a moment's time to spare. 
May I speak to you with the sincerity of a friend ? ' 

'Yes. Speak to me with sincerity,' said Behnda, 'and you 
will deserve that 1 should think you my friend.' She trembled 
excessively, but spoke and looked with all the firmness that she 
\ could command. 

' ' 1 have heard a report,' said Mr. Hervey, ' which is most 
injurious to vou.' 

' To me :'' 

' Yes. No one can escape calumny. It is whispered, that 
if Lady Delacour should die 

At the word A'e, Belinda started. 

' That if Lady Delacour should die, Miss Portman would 
become the mother of Helena 1 ' 



THE EXHIBITION 

' Good Heavens 1 what an absurd report 1 Surely yau could 
not for an instant believe it, Mr. Hervey ?' 

It for an instant. But I resolved, as soon as I heard it, 
o you ; for I believe that half the miseries of the 
world arise from foolish mysteries — from the want of courage\ 
to speak the truth. Now that you are upon your guard, your 
own prudence will defend you sufficiently. I never saw i 
f your sex who appeared to me to have so much pnider 

a little art ; but — farewell — 1 have not a moment to lose,' 
dded Clarence, suddenly checking himself; and he hurried 
ray from Belinda, who stood fixed to the spot where he left 
T, till she was roused by the voices of several people who 
me into the room to see the drawings. She started a 
from a dream, and went immediately in search of Lady 
Delacour. 

Sir Philip Baddely was in earnest conversation with her 
ladyship ; but he stopped speaking when Belinda came within 
hearing, and Lady Delacour turned to Helena, and said ' My 
dear, if you are satisfied, for mercy's sake let us be gone, for 
I absolutely overcome with heat — and with curiosity,' 
added she in a low voice to Belinda : ' I long to hear how 
Clarence Hervey likes Westall's drawings,' 

s they got home, Lady Delacour sent her daughter 

K practise a new lesson upon the pianoforte. ' And now sit 
iwn, my dear Belinda,' said she, 'and satisfy my curiosity, 
[t is the curiosity of a fHend, not of an impertinent busybody. 
Has Clarence declared himself? He chose an odd time and 
place i but that is no matter ; 1 forgive him, and so do you, I 
laresay. But why do you tear that unfortunate carnation to 
ces ? Surely you cannot be embarrassed in speaking to 
! What's the matter ? I once did tell you, that I would 
give up my claim to Clarence's adorations during my life ; 
: 1 intend to live a few years longer after the ama/onian 
operation is performed, you know ; and I could not have the 
; to keep you waiting whole years. It is better to 
do things with a good grace, lest one should be forced at last 
" o do them with an ill grace. Therefore I give up all manner 
of claim to everything but— flattery ! that of course you will 
allow me from poor Clarence. So now, do not begin upon 
another flower ; but, without any farther superfluous modesty, 
el me hear all the pretty things Clarence said or swore.' 
199 



BELINDA 

Whilst Belinda was pulling the carnation to pieces, she 
recollected what Mr. Hervey had said to her about mysteries : 
his words still sounded in her ear. * I believe that half the 
miseries of the world arise from foolish mysteries — from the 
want of courage to speak the truthJ I will have the courage 
to speak the truth, thought she, whatever it may cost me. 

* The only pretty thing that Mr. Hervey said was, that he 
never saw any woman who had so much prudence and so little 
art,' said Belinda. 

< A very pretty thing indeed, my dear 1 But it might have 
been said in open court by your grandfather, or your great- 
grandfather. I am sorry, if that was all, that Helena did not 
stay to hear such a charming moral compliment — Morality d la 
glace. The last thing I should have expected in a tite-d^tite 
with Clarence Hervey. Was it worth while to pull that poor 
flower to pieces for such a pretty speech as this ? And so that 
was all ? ' 

* No, not all : but you overpower me with your wit ; and I 
cannot stand the " lightning of your eyes." ' 

* There ! ' said her ladyship, letting down her veil over her 
face, * the fire of my eyes is not too much for you now.' 

* Helena was showing me WestalPs drawing of Lady Anne 
Percival and her children ' 

* And Mr. Hervey wished that he was the father of such a 
charming group of children, and you the mother — hey.** was 
not that it ? It was not put in such plain terms, but that was 
the purport, I presume ? ' 

* No, not at all ; he said nothing about Lady Anne Percival's 
children, but — ^ 

* But — why then did you bring in her ladyship and her 
children ? To gain time } — Bad policy ! — Never, whilst you 
live, when you have a story to tell, bring in a parcel of people 
who have nothing to do with the beginning, the middle, or the 
end of it. How could I suspect you of such false taste 1 I 
really imagined these children were essential to the business ; 
but I beg pardon for giving you these elements of criticism. 
I assure you I interrupt you, and talk on so fast, from pure 
good nature, to give you time to recollect yourself; for I know 
youVe the worst of memories, especially for what Clarence 
Hervey says. But come, my dear, dash into the middle of 
things at once, in the true Epic style.' 

200 



1 



^M THE EXHIBITION 

^F ' Then to dash into the midst of things at once,' said Miss 
r Portman, speaking very quick : ' Mr. Hervey observed that 
B Miss Delacour was growing very fond of me.' 
I ' Miss Delacour, did you say ? ' cried her ladyship : ' £l 

■ At this instant Champfort opened the door, looked in, and 
^Lpeciog Lady Delacour, immediately retired. 

' Champfort, whom do you want — or what do you want ? ' 
aid her ladyship. 

' Miladi, c'est que — I did come from milord, to see if miladi 
ad mademoiselle were visible. I did tiuk miladi was not at 

' You see I am at home, though,' said her ladyship, ' Has 
Lord Delacour any business with me ? ' 

' No, miladi : not with miladi, said Champfort ; ■ it was with 
Inademoiselle.' 

' With me. Monsieur Champfort ? then you will be so good 

to tell Lord Delacour I am here.' 

' And that / am not here, Champfort : for I must be gone 

She rose hastily to leave the room, but Miss Portman caught 
er hand ; ' You won't go, I hope. Lady Delacour,' said she, 
^lill I have finished my long story ? ' Lady Delacour sat down 
Bgain, ashamed of her own embarrassment. 

Whether ibis be art, innocence, or assurance, thought she, I 
cannot tell ; but we shall see. 

Lord Delacour now came in, with a half-unfolded newspaper, 
" a packet of letters in his hand. He came to apologise to 
s Portman for having, by mistake, broken the seal of a letter 
a her, which had been sent under cover to him. He had simply 
isked Champfort whether the ladies were at home, that he 
night not have the trouble of going upstairs if they were out. 
' ir Champfort possessed, in an eminent degree, the 
mischievous art of appearing mysterious about the simplest 
^ings in the world. 

' TTiough I was so thoughtless as to break the seal before I 

looked at the direction of the letter,' said Lord Delacour, 

e you 1 went no farther than the first three words ; 

[or I knew " my dear niece " could not possibly mean me.' He 

I'e Miss Portman the letter, and left the room. This explana- 

n was perfectly satisfactory to Belinda ; but Lady Delacour., 

20I 



i 



prejudiced by Che hesitation of Champfort, could n 

pecting that this letter was merely the ostensible cause of bis 

lordship's visit. 

' From my aunt Stanhope,' said Miss Portman, as she opened 
her letter. She folded it up again after glancing over the first 
page, and put it into her pocket, colouring deeply. 

All Lady De lac our' 5 suspicions about Mrs. Stanhope's 
epistolary counsels and secrets instantly recurred; with almost 
the force of conviction to her mind. 

' Miss Portman,' said she, ' I hope your politeness to me 
does not prevent you from reading your letter ? Some cere- 
monious people think it vastly rude to read a letter in com- 
pany ; but I am not one of them ; 1 can write whilst you read, 
for I have fifty notes and more to answer. So pray read your 
letter at your ease.' 

Belinda had but just unfolded her letter again, when Lord 
Delacour returned, followed by Champfort, who brought with 
him a splendid hammer-cloth. 

' Here, my dear Lady Delacour,' said his lordship, ' is a little 
surprise for you : here is a new hammer.doth, of my bespeaking 
and taste, which I hope you will approve of.' 

'Very handsome, upon my word 1' said Lady Delacour 
coldly, and she fixed her eyes upon the fringe, which was black 
and orange ; ' Miss Portman's taste, I see I ' 

' Did you not say black and orange fringe, my dear ? ' 

' No. I said blue and white, my lord,' 

His lordship declared he did not know how the mistake had 
happened ; it was merely a mistake : — but her ladyship was 
convinced that it was done on purpose. And she said to her- 
self, ' Miss Portman will order my liveries next ! 1 have not 
even the shadow of power left in my own house 1 I am not 
treated with even a decent show of respect ! But this shall go 
on till I have full conviction of her views.' i 

Dissembling her displeasure, she praised the hammer-cloth, 
and especially the fiinge. Lord Delacour retired satisfied ; and 
Miss Portman sat down to read the following letter from her 

it SBmhope. 



CHAPTER XV 

jealousv 

•Crescent, Bath, 
' J^^y — Widnesday. 
•My dear Niece — I received safely the bank-noies for 
my two hundred guineas, enclosed in your last. But you 
should never trust unnecessarily in this manner to the post — 
always when you are obliged to send bank-notes by post, cut 
Aem in two, and send half by one post and half by another. 
This is what is done by all prudent people. Prudence, whether 
in trifles or in matters of consequence, can be learned only by 
experience (which is often too dearly bought), or by listening, 
which costs nothing, to the suggestions of those who have a 
thorough knowledge of the world. 

' A report has just reached me concerning you and a certain 
lordy which gives me the most heartfelt concern. I always 
knew, and told you, that you were a g>eat favourite with the 
person in question. I depended on your prudence, delicacy, 
and principles, to understand this hint properly, and I trusted 
that you would conduct yourself accordingly. It is too plain, 
(from the report alluded to), that there has been some miscon- 
duct or mismanagement somewhere. The misconduct 1 cannot 
— the mismanagement 1 must, attribute to you, my dear ; for 
let a man's admiration for any woman be ever so great, unless 
she suffer herself to be dazzled by vanity, or unless she be 
naturally of an inconsiderate temper, she can sufely prevent 
his partiality from becoming so glaring as to excite envy : 
tnvy is always to be dreaded by handsome young women, as 
'being, sooner or later, infallibly followed by scandal. Of this, 
I fear, yon have not been sufiiciently aware, and you see the 
consequences — consequences which, to a female of genuine 
delicacy or of real good sense, must be extremely alarming. 
Men of contracted minds and cold tempers, who are absolutely 
incapable of feeling generous passion for our sex, ai 
accountably ambitious to gain the reputation of being if «// with 
jmy woman whose beauty, accomplishments, or connection{ 
203 




BELINDA 

^ have brought her into fashion. Whatever affection may 
be pretended, this is frequently the ultimati and sole object of 
these selfish creatures. Whether or not the person I have in 
my eye deserves to be included in this class, I will not presume 
positively to determine j but you, who have personal oppor- 
tunities of observation, may decide this point (if you have any 
curiosity on the subject) by observing whether he most affects 
to pay his devoiis to you in public or in private. If the latter 
be the case, it is the most dangerous ; because a man evei 
the most contracted understanding has always sense or Jnsti 
enough to feel that the slightest taint in the reputation of the 
woman who is, or who is to be, his wife, would affect his own 
private peace, or his honour in the eyes of the world. A 
liusband who has in a first marriage been, as it is said, in con- 
stant fear both of matrimonial subjugation and disgrace, would, 
in his choice of a second lady, be peculiarly nice, and probably 
tardy. Any degree of favour that might have been shown him, 
any report that may have been raised, and above all, any 
restraint he might feel himself under from implied engagement, 
or from the discovery or reputation of superior understanding 
and talents in the object beloved, would operate infaUibly 
against her, to the confusion of all her plans, and tbe niin at 
once of her reputation, her peace of mind, and her hopes of an 
establishment. Nay, supposing the best that could possibly 
happen — that, after playing with the utmost dexterity this 
desperate game, the poo! were absolutely your own ; yet if there 
were any suspicions of unfair play buzzed about amongst the 
bystanders, you would not in the main be a gainer ; for my 
/dear, without character, what is even wealth, or all that wealth 
' can bestow f I do not mean to trouble you with stale wise 
sayings, which young people hate ; no r musty nj fliaiity, which 
is seldom fit for use in the world, or which smellFtoo much of 
books to be brought into good company. This is not my way 
of giving advice ; but I only beg you to obser\-e what actually 
£ before your eyes in the circle in which we live. Ladies 
best families, with rank and fortune, and beauty and 
nd everything in their favour, cannot (as yet in this 
ispense with the strictest obser\'ance of the rules of 
decorum. Some have fancied themselves raised so I 
J danger from the thunder . 
tlic o pinion ; but these l.-idies in the clouds j 
S04 J 





JEALOUSY 

fcimd themselves mistaken — they have been E 
havefeJlen nobody knows where! What is become of Lady — 

and the Countess of , and others I could n- 

as high as envy could look ? I remember seeing the Countes 

of , who was then the most beautiful creature my eyes eve 

beheld, and the most admired that ever was heard of, c 
the Opera-house, and sit the whole night in her box without any 
woman's speaking or courtesying to her, or taking any more 
notice of her than you wotild of a post, or a beggar-woman. 
Even a coronet cannot protect a woman, you see, from disgrace : 
if she falls, she and it, and all together, are trampled under 
foot. But why should I address all this to my dear niece ? 
Whither have the terror and confusion I was thrown into b;- 

thisstrangereport about you and Lord led me? And yet one 

cannot be too cautious — " Ce n'est que le premier mot qui coute " 
- — Scandal never stops after the first word, unless she be 
mstantly gagged by a dexterous hand. Nothing shall be 
wanting on my part, but you alone are the person who can do 
anything effectual. Do not imagine that I would have you 

quit Lady ; that is the first idea, I know, that will come 

into your silly litde head, but put it out directly. If you were 
upon this attack to quit the field of batde, you yield the 

victory to your enemies. To leave Lady 's house would 

he folly and madness. As long as she is your friend, or appears 
such, all is safe ; but any coolness on her part would, in the 
present circumstances, be death to your reputation. And, 
even if you were to leave her on the best terms possible, the 
malicious world would say that you left her on the worst, and 
would assign as a reason the report alluded to. People who 
have not yet believed it would then conclude that it must be 
true ; and thus by your cowardice you would furnish an in- 
controvertible argument against your innocence. I therefore 
desire that you will not, upon any account, think of coming 
home to me at present ; indeed, I hope your own good sense 
would prevent you from wishing it, after the reasons that I have JJ 

given. Far from quitting Lady from false delicacy, it is v i 

your business, from consideration for her peace as well as your 
own, to redouble your attentions to her in private, and, above ; 

all things, to appear as much as possible with her in public, 
I am glad to hear her health is so far re-established that she 
\fan appear again in public ; her spirits, as you may hint, will 



BEUNDA 

be the better for a. little amusement Luckily, you have it 

completely in your power to convince her and all the world of 

the correctness of your mind. I believe I certainly should 

have fainted, my dear, when I first heard this shocking report, 

if I had not just afterward received a letter from Sir Philip 

Baddely which revived me. His proposal at this crisis 

you, my dear, is a charming thing. You have nothing l 

but to encourage his addresses immediately, — the report dies 

away of itself, and ail is Just as your best friends wish. Such 

an establishment for you, my dear, is indeed beyond their mosE 

sanguine expectations. Sir Philip hints in his letter that my 

influence might be wanting with you in his favour ; but this 

surely cannot be. As I have told him, he has merely mistaken 

. becoming female reserve for a want of sensibility on your part, 

'-.which would be equally unnatural and absurd. Do you know, 

my dear, that Sir Philip Baddely has an estate of fifteen 

thousand a-year in Wiltshire ? and his uncle Barton's estate b 

Norfolk win, in due time, pay his debts. Then, as to family — 

look in the lists of baronets in your pocket-book ; and surely, 

my love, an old baronetage in actual possession is worth 

something more than the reversion of a nsw coronet ; supposing 

that such a thing could properly be thought of, which Heaven 

forbid I So I see no possible objection to Sir Philip, my 

dear Belinda ! and I am sure you have too much candour and 

good sense to make any childish or romantic difficulties. 

Philip is not, I know, a man of what you call genius. So much 

the belter, my dear — those men of genius are dangerous 

, husbands ; they have so many oddities and eccentricities, there 

is no managing them, though they are mighty pleasant m( 

company to enliven conversation ; for example, your favourite^ 

Clarence Hervey. As it is well known he is not a marrying 

; man, you never can have thought of him. You are not a girl to 

I expose yourself to the ridicule, etc., of all your female acquaint- 

I ance by romance and nonsense. I cannot conceive that a niece 

I of mine could degrade herself by a mean prepossession for a 

1 man who has never made any declaration of his attachment ti 

- jl her, and who, I am sure, feels no such attachment. That 

k ij you may not deceive yourself, it is fit 1 should tell you, what 

otherwise it might not be so proper to mention to a young lady, 

t he keeps, and has kept, a mistress for some years ; and 

se who are most intimately in his confidence have asBured'i 



JEALOUSY 



H 

this gmi 



me Uiat, if ever he marries anybody, he viill marry this g 
which is not impossible, considering that she is, they say, the 
4Dost beautiful young creature that ever was seen, and he a man 
of genius. If you have any sense or spirit, I have said enough. 
So adieu !^Let me hear, by return of the post, that everything 
'is going on as it should do. I am impatient to write to your 
sister Tollemache this good news. I always foretold that my 
Belinda would marry better than her sister, or any of her 
cousins, and lake place of them all. Are not you obliged to me 

for sending you this winter to town to Lady ? It was an 

^admirable hit. Pray tell Lady Deiacour, with my best com- 
pliments, that our aloe friend (her ladyship will understand me) 
cheated a gentleman of my acquaintance the other day, at 
casino, out of seventy guineas. He hates the sight of her 
odious red wig as much now as we always did. I knew, and 

told Lady D , as she will do me the justice to remember, 

that Mrs. cheated at play. What a contemptible 

character !— Pray, my dear, do not forget to tell Lady Deiacour, 
that I have a charming anecdote for her, about another friend 
of ours, who has lately gone over to the enemy. Has her 
ladyship seen a manuscript that is handed about as a great 

secret, and said to be by , a parallel between our friend 

I and the Chevaher d'Eon ? It is done with infinite wit and 
[ humour, in the manner of Plutarch. 1 would send a copy, hut ' 

am afraid my frank would be too heavy if I began upon another 
I sheet. So once more adieu, my dear niece I Write to me 
[without fail, and mention Sir Philip. I have written to him to 
■ give my approbation, etc — Yours sincerely, 

' Selina Stanhope.' 

' Mrs, Stanhope seems to have written you a volume instead 
a letter. Miss Portman,' cried Lady Deiacour, as Belinda 
I turned over the sheets of her aunt's long epistle. She did not 
f attempt to read it regularly through : some passages here and 
there were sufficient to astonish and shock her extremely, ' No 
bad news, I hope?' said Lady Deiacour, again looking up 
^m her writing at Belinda, who sat motionless, leaning her 
head upon her hand, as if deep in thought, Mrs. Stanhope's 
unfolded letter hanging from her hand. In the midst of the 
variety of embarrassing, painful, and alarming feelings e 
by this letter, she had sufficient strength of mind to adhere t< 

K 207 



1% excited A 
adheret^H 



BELINDA 

her resolution of speaking the enact truth to Lady Dclacour, 
When she was roused by her ladyship's question, ' No baJ 
news, I hope, Miss Portman?' she instantly answered, with 
all the firmness she could command. ' Yes. My 
been alarnied by a strange report which I heard myself for the, 
iirsl time this morning from Mr. Hervey. I am sure I ailt: 
much obliged to him for having the courage to speak the. 
truth to me.' 

Here she repeated what Mr. Hervey had said to her. 

Lady Delacour never raised her eyes whilst Belinda spok^ 
but went on scratching out some words in what she was writing. 
Through the mask of paint which she wore no change of colour- 
could be visible ; and as Belinda did not see the expression of 
her ladyship's eyes, she could not in the least judge of what' 
was passing in her mind. 

' Mr, Hervey has acted like a man of honour and sense,' 
said Lady Delacour ; ' but it is a pity, for your sake, he did 
not speak sooner — before this report became so public — befbrRj 
it reached Bath, and your aunt. Though it could not surpriss* 
her much, she has such a perfect knowledge of the world, 

Lady Delacour uttered these broken sentences in a voice of 
suppressed anger ; cleared her throat several limes, and at last, 
unable to speak, stopped short, and then began with much 
precipitation to put wafers into several notes that she had been- 
writing. So it has reached Bath, thought she — the report is 
public ! I never till now heard a hint of any such thing except 
from Sir Philip Baddely ; but it has doubtless been the common 
talk of the town, and I am laughed at as a dupe and an idio^ 
as I am. And now, when the thing can be concealed no longer, 
she comes to me with that face of simplicity, and, knowing my 
generous temper, throws herself on my mercy, and trusts that 
her speaking to me with this audacious plainness will convince 
me of her innocence. ' You have acted in the most prudent 
manner possible, Miss Portman,' said her ladyship, as she 
went on sealing her notes, 'by speaking at once to me of this 
strange, scandalous, absurd report. Do you act from your 
aunt Stanhope's advice, or entirely from your own judgment 
and knowledge of my character?' 

' From my own judgment and knowledge of your character, 
^:«iticb I hope — 1 am not — I cannot be mistaken,' 



r 



JEALOUSY 



Belinda, looking at her with a mixture of doubt and astonish- 

' No — you calculated admirably — 'twas the best, the only 
thing you could do. Only,' said her ladyship, falling back in 
her chair with a hysteric laugh, 'on!y the blunder of Champ- 
fort, and the entrance of my Lord Delacour, and the hammer- 
cloth with the orange and black fringe — forgive me, my dear ; 
for the soul of me I can't help laughing — it was rather unlucky ; 
so awkward, such a conlrelemps I But you,' added she, wiping 
her eyes, as if recovering from laughter, ' you have such 
admirable presence of mind, nothing disconcerts you 1 You 
are equal to all situations, and stand in no need of such long 
letters of advice from your aunt Stanhope,' pointing to the two 
folio sheets which lay at Belinda's feet. 

The rapid, unconnected manner in which Lady Delacour 
spoke, the hurry of her motions, the quick, suspicious, angry 
glances of her eye, her laugh, her intelligible words, all 
conspired at this moment to gi^'e Belinda the idea that her 
intellects were suddenly disordered. She was so firmly per- 
t Boaded of her ladyship's utter indifference to Lord Delacour, 
r conceived the possibility of her being actuated 
1^ the passion of jealousy — by the jealousy of power — a species 
pf jealousy which she had never felt, and could not comprehend. 
Sut she had sometimes seen Lady Delacour in starts of passion 
Oiat seemed to border on insanity, and the idea of her losing 
^ command of her reason now struck Belinda with irresist- 
ible force. She felt the necessity of preserving her own 
Composure ; and with all the calmness that she could assume, 
«he took up her aunt Stanhope's letter, and looked for the 
passage in which Mrs. Luttridge and Harriot Freke were 
mentioned. If I can turn the course of Lady Delacour's 
thought she, or catch her attention, perhaps she will 
r herself. 'Here is a message to you, my dear Lady 
.Delacour,' cried she, 'from my aunt Stanhope, about— about 
Mrs, Luttridge,' 

Miss Portman's hand trembled, as she turned over the 
^Bges of the letter. ' I am all attention,' said Lady Delacour, 
with a cjmposed voice ; 'only take care, don't make a 
Histake : I'm in no hurry : don't read anything Mrs. Stanhope 
toight not wish. It is dangerous to garble letters, almost as 
dangerous as to snatch them out of a friend's hand, : 



u 



BELINDA 

did, you know — but you need not now be under the 1« 

Conscious that this letter was not fit for her ladyship to se 
Belinda neither offered to show it to her, nor attempted ai 
apology for her reser\-e and embarrassmenl, but hastily began 
read the message relative to Mrs. Luttridge; her voice gainii 
confidence as she went on, as she observed that she had fat 
Lady Delacour's attention, who now sat listening to her, cal 
and motionless. But when Miss Portman came to the wordjj 

' Do not forget to tell Lady D , tha 1 ha e a harmiii| 

anecdote for her about another_/Wrmrf of hers who a ely wen 
over to the enemy,' her ladyship ex 1 ned w h great 
vehemence, ^Friend! — Harriot Freke ! — ^ Ike all othe 
friends — Harriot Freke l^WTiat was she n i 
too much forme — too much?' and she p h hand o hef 

' Compose yourself, my Aeax frieitii,' sa d B 1 nda, n a cahB, 
gentle tone ; and she went toward her 
soothing her by caresses ; but, at her app a h Lady DelacoBT 
pushed the table on which she had been writing from her wili 
violence, started up, flung back the veil which fell over her face 
as she rose, and darted upon Belinda a look, which fixed her 
the spot where she stood. It said, ' Come not a step nearer, » 
your peril ! ' Belinda's blood ran cold — she had no longer any 
doubt that this was insanity. She shut the penknife which lay 
upon the table, and put it into her pocket. 

' Cowardly creature ! ' cried Lady Delacour, and her counte- 
nance changed to the expression of inefTable contempt ; 'what 
is it you fear ? ' 

' That you should injure yourself. Sit down — for Heaven'^ 
sake listen to me, to your friend, to Belinda I ' 

' My friend ! my Belinda 1 ' cried Lady Delacour, and she 

turned from her, and walked away some steps in silence ; iheii. 

suddenly clasping her hands, she raised her eyes to heaveil 

with a ferient but wild expression of devotion, and exclaimed^ 

'Great God of Heaven, my punishment is just! the death i^ 

Lawless is avenged. May the present agony of my soi4 

I expiate my folly ! Of guilt — dehberate guilt — of hypocrisy 

I — treachery — I have not — oh, never may I have — to repent I'^ 

\ She paused — her eyes involuntarily relumed upon Belinda. 

■ 7 Pelind a 1 You, whom I have so loved — so trusted I 



JEALOUSY 

The tears rolled fast down her painted cheeks ; she wipeT 
them hastily away, and so roughly, that her face became a 
strange and ghastly spectacle. Unconscious of her disordered 
appearance, she rushed past Belinda, who vainly attempted to 
stop her, threw up the sash, and stretching herself far out of 
d for breath. Miss Portman drew her back, 
and closed the window, saying, ' The rouge is all off your face, 
' dear Lady Delacour ; you are not fit to be seen. Sit 
wn upon this sofa, and I will ring for Marriott, and gel some 

fresh rouge. Look at your face in this glass— you sec ' 

' I see,' interrupted Lady Delacour, looking full at Belinda, 
fthat she who I thought had the noblest of souls has the 
I see that she is incapable of feeling. Rouge! net 
U to be seen .'—At such a time as this, to talk to me in this 
i of Mrs. Stanhope ! — dupe ! — dupe that I 
She flung herself upon the sofa, and struck her forehead 
Rrith her hand violently several times. Belinda, catching her 
, and holding it with all her force, cried in a tone of 
luthority, 'Command yourself, Lady Delacour, 1 conjure you, 
r you will go out of your senses ,■ and if you do, your secret 
inll be discovered by the whole world.' 

' Hold me not — you have no right,' cried Lady Delacour, 
tttugghng to free her hand. ' All-powerful as you are in this 
bouse, you have no longer any power over me I 1 am not 
going out of my senses I You cannot get me into Bedlam, 
Bll-powerful, all-artful as you are. You have done enough to 
; mad — but I am not mad. No wonder you cannot 
)elieve me — no wonder you are astonished at Ihe strong 
Expression of feelings that are foreign to your nature — no 
ffonder that you mistake the writhings of the heart, the agony 
f a generous soul, for madness 1 Look not so terrified ; I 
»ill do you no injury. Do not you hear that I can lower my 
" e ?— do not you see that I can be calm ? Could Mrs. 
Itanhope herseif^could you. Miss Portman, speak in a softer, 
ailder, more polite, more proper tone than 1 do now ? Are 
)U pleased, are you satisfied ?' 
' I am better satisfied — a little better satisfied,' said Belinda. 
'That's well ; but still you tremble. There's not the least 
:caston for apprehension — you see I can command myself, and 
nile upon you.' 
"Ob, do not smile in that horrid manner 1' 



BELINDA 

* Why not ? — Horrid ! — Don't you love deceit ? ' 
' I detest it from my soul.' 

* Indeed ! ' said Lady Delacour, still speaking in the same 
low, soft, unnatural voice ; * then why do you practise it, ii)y 
lo>-c ? ' 

*1 never practised it for a moment — I am incapable of 
deceit When you are really calm, when you can really 
command yoursdf^ you will do me justice, Lady Delacour; 
but now it is my business, if I can, to bear with you.' 

*You are goodness itself, and gentleness, and prudence 
personified. You know perfectly how to manage a friend, 
whom you fear you have driven just to the verge of madness. 
But tell me, good, gentle, prudent Miss Portman, why need 
you dread so much that I should go mad? You know, if I 
went mad, nobody would mind, nobody would believe whatever 
I say — I should be no evidence against you, and I should be 
out of your way sufficiently, shouldn't I ? And you would have 
all the power in your own hands, would not you ? And would 
not this be almost as i^'ell as if I were dead and buried ? No ; 
N-our calculations are better than mine. The poor mad wife 
1%-ould still be in your way, would yet stand between you and 
the fond object of your secret soul — a coronet ! ' 

As she pronounced the word coronet^ she pointed to a 
coronet set in diamonds on her watch-case, which lay on the 
table. Then suddenly seizing the watch, she dashed it upon 
the marble hearth with all her force — * Vile bauble ! ' cried 
she ; * must I lose my only friend for such a thing as you ? 
O Belinda! do you see that a coronet cannot confer 
happiness?* 

* I have seen it long : I pity you from the bottom of my 
souV said Belinda, bursting into tears. 

*Pity me not I cannot endure your pity, treacherous 
^^-oman I ' cried Lady Delacour, and she stamped with a look 
of vAj^ — * roost perfidious of ^*omen I ' 

* Yes, call me perfidious, treacherous — stamp at me — say, 
.10 >x-hAt >\MJ >*'ill ; I can and vAM bear it all — all patiently ; for 
\ am innocent, and you are mistaken and unhappy,' said 
IVlindA. * YvMi will lox"* «« when you return to your senses ; 
th^n hoxv oan I be an^* with >'ou ? * 

* V\^n.il<^ wo ni>t; «iid Lady Delacour, starting back from 
IVlimU's caw««s ; * do iwl degrade \xwrself to no purpose— I 





Your protestations ot i 
o blind as you imagine— dupe as 
you think me, I have seen much in silence. The whole world, 
you find, suspects you now. To save your reputation, you want 
my friendship — you want—' 

' 1 want nothing from you. Lady Delacour,' said Belinda. 
' Vau Aare smpected me long in silence .' then I have mistaken 
your character — I can love you no longer. Farewell for ever! 
Find another — a better friend.' 

She walked away from Lady Delacour with proud indigna- 
tion ; but, before she reached the door, she recollected h«t 
promise to remain with this unfortunate » 

Is a dying woman, in the paroxysm of insane passion, ft fit 
object of indignation ? thought Belinda, and she stopped short 
' No, Lady Delacour,' cried she, ' I will not yield to my 
humour — I will not listen to my pride. A few words said ii 
the heat of passion shall not make me forget myself or you. 
You have given me your confidence ; I am gratefiil for it. I 
cannot, will not desert you : my promise is sacred,' 

' Your promise 1 ' said Lady Delacour, contemptuously. ' I 
absolve you from your promise. Unless you find it convetntnt 
to yourself to remember it, pray let it be forgotten ; and if 1 
must die ' 

At this instant the door opened suddenly, and little Helena 
came in singing — 

' Merrily, merrily shall we live now, 
Uodct the blossqm that hangs On the bougb. 

What coraes next. Miss Portman?" 

Lady Delacour dragged her veil across her face, and rushed 
out of the room. 

'What is the matter ? — Is mamma ill ?' 
' Yes, my dear,' said Belinda. But at this instant she heard 
I the sound of Lord Delacour's voice upon the stairs ; she broke 
', from the little girl, and with the greatest precipitation retreated 
\ to her own room. 

She had not been alone above an hour before Marriott 
knocked at the door. 

' Miss Portman, you don't know how late it is. Lady 

Singleton and the Mis3 Singletons are come. But, merdful 

Heaven 1 ' exclaimed Marriott, as she entered the n 

li^^l jbis packing up f What is (his trunk ? ' 

2U 



JEALOUSY 

' I am going to Oakly Park with Lady Anne Percival,' said 
Belinda, catmly. 

' I thought there was something wrong ; my mind misgave 
me all the time I was dressing my lady, — she was in such a 
flutter, and never spoke to me. Td lay my life this is, some 
way or other, Mr. Champfort's doings. But, good dear Miss 
Poitman, can you leave my poor lady when she wants you so 
much % and I'll take upon me to say, ma'am, loves you so much 
at the bottom of her heart ? Dear me, how your face is flushed ! 
Pray let me pack up these things, if it must be. But I do hope, 
if it be possible, that you should stay. However, I've no busi- 
ness to speak. 1 beg pardon for being so impertinent : I hope 
you won't take it ill, — it is only from regard to my poor lady I 
ventured to speak,' 

' Your regard to your lady deserves the highest approbation, 
Marriott,' said Behnda. ' It is impossible that I should stay 
with her any longer. When I am gone, good Marriott, and 
when her health and strength decline, your fidelity and your 
services will be absolutely necessary to your mistress ; and 
from what I have seen of the goodness of your heart, I am 
convinced that the more she is in want of you, the more re- 
spectful will be your attention.' 

Marriott answered only by her tears, and went on packing 
up in a great hurry. 

Nothing could equal Lady Delacour's astonishment when 
she learnt from Marriott that Miss Portman was actually pre- 
paring to leave the house. After a moment's reflection, however, 
she fjersuaded herself that this was only a new artifice to work 
upon her affections ; that Belinda did not mean to leave her i 
but that she would venture all lengths, in hopes of being at the 
last moment pressed to stay. Under this persuasion. Lady 
Delacour resolved to disappoint her expectations: she deter- 
mined to meet her with that polite coldness which would best 
become her own dignity, and which, without infringing the 
laws of hospitality, would effectually point out to the world that 
Lady Delacour was no dupe, and that Miss Portman was an 
unwelcome inmate in her house. 

The piower of assuming gaiety when her heart was a prey to 
the most poignant feelings, she had completely acquired by 
long practice. With the promptitude of an actress, she could 

iiandy appear upon the stage, and support a character totally 
15 



BELINDA 

fgreign to her own. Tlie loud knocks at the door, which 
announced the arrival of company, were signals that operated 
punctually upon her associations ; and to this species of ci 
ventional necessity her most violent passions submitted with 
magical celerity. Fresh rouged, and beautifully dressed, she 
was performing her part to a brilliant audience in her drawing- 
room when Belinda entered. Belinda beheld her with much 
astonishment, but more pity. 

' Miss Portman,' said her ladyship, turning carelessly towards 
her, ' where do you buy your rouge ? — Lady Singleton, would 
you rather at this moment be mistress of the pfclosopber's stone, 
or have a patent for rouge that will come and go like Miss 
Portman's ? — Apropos ! have you read St. Leon t ' Her lady- 
ship was running on lo a fresh train of ideas, when a footman 
announced the arrival of Lady Anne Percival's carriage ; and 
Miss Portman rose to depart, 

' You dine with Lady Anne, Miss Portman, 1 understand ? — 
My compliments to her ladyship, and my duty to Mrt. Margaret 
Delacour, and her macaw. Au revoir! Though you talk of 
running away from me to Oakly Park, I am sure you will do no 
such cruel thing. I am, with all due humility, so confident of 
the irresistible attractions of this house, that I defy Oakly Park 
and all its charms. So, Miss Portman, instead of adieu, 1 shall 
only say, au revoir! ' 

'Adieu, Lady Delacour!' said Behnda, with a look and 
tone which struck her ladyship to the heart. All her suspicions, 
all her pride, all her affected gaiety vanished ; her presence of 
mind forsook her, and for some moments she stood motionless 
and powerless. Then recollecting herself, she flew after Miss 
Portman, abruptly stopped her at Ihe head of the stairs, and 
exclaimed, ' My dearest Belinda, are you gone }■ — My best, my 
only friend I — Say you are not gone for ever I — Say you wilt 
return I ' 

' Adieu 1 ' repeated Belinda. It was all she could say ; she 
broke from Lady Delacour, and hurried out of the house with 
the strongest feeling of compassion for ihjs unhappy woman, 
^ut with an unaltered sense of the propriety and necessity q£ , 
l>er own finnness. 



DPMESTIC HAPPINESS 



CHAPTER XVI 

DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 



1 



There was an air of benevolence and perfect sincerity in the [ 
politeness with which Lady Anne Percival received Belinda, 
that was peculiarly agreeable to her agitated and harassed | 

mind. 

' You see. Lady Anne,' said Belinda, ' that I come [o you at I 

last, after ha«ng so often refused your kind invitations.' 

' So you surrender yourself at discretion, just when I was ' 

going to raise the siege in despair,' said Lady Anne : ' now I 
may make my own terms ; and the only terms I shall impose ' 

, that you will stay at Oakly Park with us, as long as we can I 

make it agreeable to you, and no longer. Whether those who i 

cease to please, or those who tease to be pleased, are most to 
blame,' it may sometimes be difficult to determine [ so difficult, 
that when this becomes a question between two friends, they 
pertaps had better part than venture upon the discussion.' 

Lady Anne Percival could not avoid suspecting that some- I 

thing disagreeable had passed between Lady Delacour and ' 

Belinda ; but she was not troubled with the disease of idle " j 
curiosity, and her example prevailed upon Mrs. Margaret 
Delacour, who dined with her, to refrain from all questions and , 

comments. i 

The prejudice which this lady had conceived against our 
heroine, as being a niece of Mrs. Stanhope's, had lately been 
vanquished by the favourable representations of her conduct 
which she had heard from her nephew, and by the kindness ' 

that Belinda had shown to little Helena. { 

' Madam,' said Mrs. Delacour, addressing herself to Miss j 

Portman with some formality, but much .dignity, ' permit me, ' 

one of my Lord Delacour's nearest relations now living, to 

am you my thanks for having, as my nephew informs me, | 

exerted your influence over Lady Delacour for the happiness of 
his family. My little Helena, I am sure, feels her obligations j 

towards you, and I rejoice that I have had an opportunity of ' 
' Marmonlel. J 



"7 



i_l 




BELINDA 

i person, my sense of what our family ( 
Miss Portman. As to the rest, her own heart will reward her. 
The praise of the world is but an inferior consideration. How^ 
it desen'es to be mentioned, as an instance of the world's 
candour, and for the singularity of the case, that everybody 
agrees in speaking well even of so handsome a young- lady a; 
Miss Portman.' 

' She must have had extraordinary prudence,' said Lady 
Anne; 'and the world does justly to reward it with extra- 
Belinda, with equal pleasure and surprise, observed that all 
this was said sincerely, and that the report, which she had 
feared was public, had never reached Mrs. Delacour or Lady 
Anne Percival. 

In fact, it was known and believed only by those who had 
been prejudiced by the malice or folly of Sir Philip Baddely. 
Piqued by the manner in which his addresses had been received 
by Belinda, he readily listened to the comfortable words of his 
valci de chambre, who assured him that he had it from the 
best possible authority (Lord Delacour's own gentleman, Mr. 
Champfort), that his lordship was deeply taken with Miss 
Portman — that the young lady managed everything in the 
house — -that she had been very prudent, to be sure, and had 
refused large presents — but that there was no doubt of her 
becoming Lady Delacour, if ever his lordship should be at 
liberty. Sir Philip was the person who mentioned this to 
Clarence Hervey, and Sir Philip was the person who hinted 
it to Mrs. Stanhope, in the very letter which he wrote to im- 
plore her influence in favour of his own proposal. This 
manceuvring lady represented this report as being universally 
known and believed, in hopes of frightening her niece into an 
immediate match with the baronet. In the whole extent of 
I ' Mrs. Stanhope's politic imagination, she had never foreseen 
the possibility of her niece's speaking the simple truth to I^dy 
Delacour, and she had never guarded against this danger. 
She never thought of Belinda's mentioning this report to her 
ladyship, because she would never have dealt so openly, had 
she been in the place of her niece. Thus her art and falsehood 
operated against her own views, and produced consequences 
diametrically opposite to her expectations. It was her ex- 
aggerations that made Lady Delacour believe^whei^Bd^^J^ 
218 



DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 



nivtrsSI^^I 



repeated what she had said, ihat this report i 
known and credited ; her own suspicions were by these n 
again awakened, and her jealousy and rage were raised to such 
a pitch, thai, no longer mistress of herself, slie insulted her 
friend and guest. Miss Poriman was then obliged to do the 
\'ery thing that Mrs. Stanhope most dreaded— to leave Lady 
Delacour's house and all its advantages. As to Sir Philip 
Baddely, Belinda never thought of him from the moment she 
read her aunt's letter, till after she had left her ladyship ; her 
mind was firmly decided upon this subject ; yet she could not 
help fearing that her aunt would not understand her reasons, 
or approve her conduct. She wrote to Mrs. Stanhope in the 
most kind and respectful manner ; assured her that there bad 
been oo foundation whatever for the report which had produced 
so much uneasiness ; that Lord Delacour had always treated 
her with politeness and good nature, but that such thoughts or 
views as had been attributed to him, she was convinced had 
never entered his lordship's mind ; that heating of the publicity 

of this report had, however, much affecltd Lady D . ' I 

have, therefore,' said Belinda, ' thought it prudent to quit her 
ladyship, and to accept of an invitation from Lady Anne 
Percival to Oakly Park. I hope, my dear aunt, that you will 
not be displeased by my leaving town without seeing Sir Philip 
Baddely again. Our meeting could indeed answer no purpose,..- 
as it is entirely out of my power to return his partiality. Of ' 
his character, temper, and manners, I know enough to be 
convinced, that our union could tend only to make us both 
miserable. After what I have seen, nothing can ever tempt 
me to marry from any of the common views of interest or 

' On this subject Belinda, though she declared her own 
sentiments with firm sincerity, touched as slightly as she i 
could, because she anxiously wished to avoid all appearancej 
of braving the opinions of an aunt lo whom she was under 
obligations. She was tempted lo pass over in silence all that 
part of Mrs. Stanhope's letter which related Co Clarence 
Hervey; but upon reflection, she determined to conquer her 
repugnance to speak of him, and to make perfect sincerity the 
steady rule of her conduct. She therefore acknowledged lo 
her aunt, that of all the persons she had hitherto seen, this 
gentleman was the most agreeable to her ; but a 
219 



BELINDA 

time she assured her, that the refusal of Sir Philip Baddely 
was totally independent of all thoughts of Mr. Hervey — that, 
before she had received her aimt's letter, circumstances had 
convinced her that Mr. Hervey was attached to another 
woman. She concluded by saying, that she had neither 
romantic hopes nor wishes, and that her affections were at 
her own command. 

Belinda received the following angry answer from Mrs. 
Stanhope : — 

< Henceforward, Belinda, you may manage your own affairs 
as you think proper; I shall never more interfere with my 
advice. Refuse whom you please — ^go where you please — get 
what friends, and what admirers, and what establishment you 
can — I have nothing more to do with it — I will never more 
undertake the management of young people. There's your 
sister Tollemache has made a pretty return for all my kind- 
ness ! she is going to be parted from her husband, and basely 
throws all the blame upon me. But 'tis the same with all of 
you. There's your cousin Joddrell refused me a hundred 
guineas last week, though the pianoforte and harp I bought 
for her before she was married stood me in double that sum, 
and are now useless lumber on my hands ; and she never could 
have had Joddrell without them, as she knows as well as I do. 
As for Mrs. Levit, she never writes to me, and takes no 
manner of notice of me. But this is no matter, for her notice 
can be of no consequence now to anybody. Levit has run out 
everything he had in the world ! — All his fine estates advertised 
in to-day's paper — an execution in the house, I'm told. I 
expect that she will have the assurance to come to me in her 
distress : but she shall find my doors shut, I promise her. 
Your cousin Valleton's match has, through her own folly, 
turned out like all the rest. She, her husband, and all his 
relations are at daggers-drawing ; and Valleton will die soon, 
and won't leave her a farthing in his will, I foresee, and all 
the fine Valleton estate goes to God knows whom 1 

* If she had taken my advice after marriage as before, it 
would have been all her own at this instant. But the passions 
run away with people, and they forget everything — common 
sense, gratitude, and all — as you do, Belinda. Clarence 
Hervey will never think of you, and I give you up ! — Now 

220 



DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 

Pinanage for yourself as you please, and as you can '. I'll have 
T nothing more to do with the a&irs of young ladies who will 
take no advice. Selina Stanhope. 

' P.S. — If you return directly to Lady Delacour's, and 
L many Sir Philip Baddely, I will forgive the past.' 

The regret which Belinda felt at having grievously offended 
, somewhat alleviated by the reflection that she 
had acted with integrity and prudence. Thrown off her guard 
by anger, Mrs. Stanhope had inadvertently furnished her niece 
■with the best possible reasons against following her advice with 
ird to Sir Philip Baddely, by stating that her sister and 
who had married with mercenary views, had made 
es miserable, and had shown their aunt neither grali- 

tranquillity of Belinda's mind was gradually restored by 
the society that she enjoyed at Oakly Park. She found herself 
the midst of a large and cheerful family, with whose domestic 
happiness she could not forbear to sympathise. There was an 
affectionate confidence, an unconstrained gaiety in this house, 
which forcibly struck her, from its contrast with what she had 
Lady Delacour's. She perceived that between Mr. 
Percival and Lady Anne there was a union of interests, occupa- 
tions, taste, and affection. She was at first astonished by the 
openness with which they talked of their affairs in her presence j 
tha.t there were no family secrets, nor any of those petty 
mysteries which arise from a discordance of temper or struggle 
for power. In conversation, every person expressed without 
constraint their wishes and opinions ; and wherever these 
differed, reason and the general good were the standards to 
which they appealed. The elder and younger part of the 
family were not separated from each other ; even the youngest 
child in the house seemed to form part of the society, to have 
some share and interest in the general occupations or amuse- 
ments. The children were treated neither as slaves nor as 
playthings, but as reasonable creatures ; and the ease with 
which they were managed, and with which they managed 
themselves, surprised Belinda ; for she heard none of that 
continual lecturing which goes forward in some houses, to the 
great fatigue and misery of all the parties concerned, and of 
all the spectators. Without force or any factitious i 



BELINDA 



l^^nn^, tbe taste for knowledge, and the habits of applicaticm, 

j were induced by example, and confirmed by sympathy. Mr, 
' Percival was a man of science and literature, and his d^y 
pursuits and general conversation were in the happiest manner 
I instructive and interesting to his family. His knowledge of 
I the world, and his natural gaiety of disposition, rendered his 
I conversation not only useful, but in the highest degree amusing. 
From the merest trifles he could lead to some scientific fact, 
L some happy literary allusion, or philosophical investigation. 
* — ■ Lady Anne Percival had, without any pedantry or ostenta- 
tion, much accurate knowledge, and a taste for literature, 
I) which made her the chosen companion of her husband's 
Jl understanding, as well as of his heart. He was not obliged 
il to reserve his conversation for friends of his om-d sex, nor was 

I' he forced to seclude himself in the pursuit of any branch of 
knowledge ; the partner of his warmest affections was also the 
partner of his most serious occupations ; and her sympathy 
and approbation, and the daily sense of her success in tbe 
education of their children, inspired him with a degree of 
happy social enei^y, unknown to the selfish solitary votaries of 
avarice and ambition. 
1 In this large and happy family there was a variety of 

" pursuits. One of the boys was fond of chemistry, another of 
gardening ; one of the daughters had a talent for painting, 
another for music ; and all their acquirements and accomplish- 
ments contributed to increase their mutual happiness, for there 
I' was no envy or jealousy amongst them. 

l Those who unfortunately have never enjoyed domestic 

happiness, such as we have just described, will perhaps 
suppose the picture Co be visionary and romantic ; there are 
others — it is hoped many others — who will feel that it is 
drawn from truth and real life. Tastes that have been ritiated 
L by the stimulus of dissipation might, perhaps, think these 
I simple pleasures insipid. 

Everybody must ultimately judge of what makes them 

V happy, from the comparison of their own feelings in different 

r ffltuations. Belinda was convinced by this comparison that 

domestic life was that which could alone make her really and 

permanently happy. She missed none of the pleasures, none 

of the gay company, to which she had been accustomed a 

'^Lady Delacour's. She was conscious, at the end o' 



end of ea di day, 1 




DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 



ettn^^^ 
seemed ] 



S It had been agreeably spent ; yel Ihere were 
ordinary exertions made to entertain her ; everythit 
" I its natural course, and so did her mind. Where there was 
} much happiness, no want of what is called p/easiire was 
/er experienced. She had not been at Oakly Park a week 
before she forgot that it was within a few miles of Harrowgate, 
i she never once recollected her vicinity to this fashionable 
ter-drinking place for a month afterwards. 
' Impossible I ' some young ladies will exclaim. We hope 
others will feel that it was perfectly natural. But to deal 
fa\t\y with our readers, we must not omit to mention a certain 
. Vincent, who came to Oakly Park during the first week of 
Belinda's visit, and who stayed there during the whole succeed- 
ing month of felicity, Mr. Vincent was a Creole ; he was 
. about two-and-twenty : his person and manners were striking 
and engaging ; he was tall, and remarkably handsome ; he 
had large dark eyes, an aquiline nose, fine hair, and a manly 
sunburnt complexion ; his countenance was open and friendly, 
md when he spoke upon any interesting subject, it lighted up, 
and became full of fire and animation. He used much gesture 
' 1 conversation ; he had not the common manners of young 
len who are, or who aim at being thought, fashionable, hut 
e was perfectly at ease in company, and all that was un- 
common about him appeared foreign. He had a frank, ardent 
temper, incapable of art or dissimulation, and so unsuspicious 
of all mankind, that he could scarcely believe falsehood existed 
L the world, even after he had himself been its dupe. He 
as in extreme astonishment at the detection of any species of 
ibaseness in a gi^ntkman; for he considered honour and 
Igenerosity as belonging indefeasibly, if not exclusively, to the 
Ipriviteged orders. His notions of virtue were certainly aristo- 
Icratic in the extreme, hut his ambition was to entertain such 
lonly as would best support and dignity an aristocracy. His 
pride was magnanimous, not insolent ; and his social prejudices 
e such as, in some degree, to supply the place of the power 
and habit of reasoning, in which he was totally deficient. One 
principle of philosophy he practically possessed in perft 

;njoyed the present, undisturbed by any unavailing regret 
for the past, or troublesome solicitude about the future, 
the goods of life he tasted with epicurean zest ; all the evils 
bore with stoical indifference. The mere pleasure of existence 
223 



regret , 
. All 

'ils be ' 

icence J 



BELrNDA 



KQ keep him in perpetual good humour with him 
■s ; and his neve r-fiii ling flow of animal spirits exhiiar- 
j ated even the ni05t phlegmatic. To persons of a cold and 
reserved temper he sometimes appeared rather too much of ai 
I egotist : for he talked with fluent enthusiasm of the excellent 
' qualities and beauties of whatever he loved, whether it were 
liis dog, his horse, or his country : hut this was not the egotism 
of vanity ; it was the overflowing of an affectionate heart, con- 
fident of obtaining sympathy from his fellow-creatures, because 
conscious of feeling it for all that existed. 

He was as grateful as he was generous ; and though high- 
spirited and impatient of restraint, he would submit with 
aflectionate gentleness to the voice of a friend, or listen with 
deference to the counsel of those in whose superior judgment 
he had confidence. Gratitude, respect, and affection, all con- 
spired to give Mr. Percival the strongest power over his soul. 
Mr. Percival had been a guardian and a father to him. His 
own father, an opulent merchant, on his death-bed requested 
that his son, who was [hen about eighteen, might be immedi- 
ately sent to England for the advantages of a European 
education, Mr. Percival, who had a regard for the father, 
arising from circumstances which it is not here necessary to 
explain, accepted the charge of young Vincent, and managed 
so well, that his ward when he arrived at the age of twent)'-one 
did not feel relieved from any restraint. On the contrary, his 
attachment to his guardian increased from that period, when 
I the laws gave him full command over his fortune and his 
L actions. Mr. Vincent had been at Harrowgate for some time 
^uefore Mr. Percival came into the country ; but as soon as he 
^Huard of Mr. Percival's arrival, he left half finished a game of 
^Billiards, of which, by the bye, he was extremely fond, to pay 
^Bnis respects at Oakly Park. At the first sight of Belinda, he 
^•did not seem much struck with her appearance ; perhaps, from 

■ his thinking that there was too little languor in her eyes, and 
H too much colour in her cheeks ; he confessed that she was 
H graceful, hut her motions were not quite slow enough to please 

■ ^im. 

W It is somewhat singular that Lady Delacour's faithflil friend, 
V Harriot Freke, should be the cause of Mr. Vincent's first fixing 
I ll's favourable attention on Miss Portman. 



He had a black servant of the name of Juba. who \iaa ta- 



DOMESTIC IIAPriNESS 

;mely attached to hitn : he had known Juba from a boy, 
id brought him over with him when he first came lo England, 
'because the poor fellow begged so earnestly to go wilh young 
Juba had lived with him ever since, and accompanied 
him wherever he went. Whilst he was at Harrowgate, Mr. 
Vincent lodged in the same house with Mrs. Freke. Some 
dispute arose between their servants, about the right to a 
coach-house, which each party claimed as exclusively their 
own. The master of the house was appealed to by Juba, who 
sturdily maintained his massa's right ; he established it, and 
rolled his massa's curricle into the coach-house in triumph. 
Mrs. Freke, who heard and saw the whole transaction torn 
her window, said, or swore, lh;tt she would make Juba repent 
of what she called his insolence. The threat was loud enough 
reach his ears, and he looked up in astonishment to hear 
such a voice from a woman ; but an instant afterwards he 
began to sing very gaily, as he jumped into the curricle to turn 
the cushions, and then danced himself up and down by the 
springs, as if rejoicing in his victory. A second and a third 
time Mrs. Freke repeated her threat, confirming it by an oath, 
.and then violently shut down the window and disappeared. 
Mr. Vincent, to whom Juba, with much simplicity, expressed 
his aversion of the man-woman who lived in the house with 
them, laughed at the odd manner in which the black imitated 
her voice and gesture, but thought no more of the matter. 
Some time afterward, however, Juba's spirits forsook him ; he 
was never heard to sing or to whistle, he scarcely ever spoke 
even lo his master, who was much surprised by this sudden 
change from gaiety and loquacity to melancholy taciturnity. 
Nothing could draw from the poor fellow any explanation of 
the cause of this alteration in his humour ; and though he 
seemed excessively grateful for the concern which his master 
showed about his health, no kindness or amusement could 
restore him to his wonted cheerfulness. Mr. Vincent knew 
that he was passionately fond of music ; and having heard him 
once express a wish for a tambourine, he gave him one ; but 
Juba never played upon it, and his spirits seemed every day to 
grow worse and worse. This melancholy lasted during the 
whole time that he remained at Harrowgate, but from the first 
day of his arrival at Oakly Park he began to mend ; after he 
had been there a week, he was heard to sing, and whistle, and 

O 225 ^ 



DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 



Blk as he used lo do, and his master congratulated him 
his recovery. One evening his master asked hi 

I Harrowgate for his tambourine, as little Charles I' 
wished to hear him play upon it. This simple requc: 
wonderful effect upon poor Juba ; he began to tremble from 
liead to foot, his eyes became fixed, and he stood motionless ; 
after some time, he suddenly clasped his hands, fell upon his 
knees, and exclaimed : 

' Oh, massa, juba die ; If Juba go back, Juba die 1 ' and he 
wiped away the drops that stood upon his forehead. ' But me 
will go, if massa bid — roe will die ! ' 

Mr. Vincent began to imagine that the poor fellow was out of 
is senses. He assured him, with the greatest kindness, that 
e would almost as soon hazard his own life as that of such a 
^lUthliil, aAectianate servant ; but he pressed him to explain 
what possible danger he dreaded from returning to Harrow- 
.fale. Juba was silent, as if afraid to speak-^' Don't fear to 
^>eak to me,' said Mr. Vincent ; ' I will defend yon : if any- 
ibody have injured you, or if you dread that anybody will injure 
^u, trust to me ; I will protect you.' 

' Ah, massa, you no can 1 Me die, if me go back ! Me no 
can say word more ;' and he put his finger upon his lips, and 
shook his head. Mr. Vincent knew that Juba was excessively 
Bnperstitious ; and convinced, that, if his mind were not already 
.deranged, it would certainly become so, were any secret terror 
thus to prey upon his imagination, he assumed a very grave 
countenance, and assured him, that he should be extremely 
displeased if he persisted in this foolish and obstinate silence. 

ercome by this, Juba hurst into tears, and answered : 

' Den me will tell all.' 

This conversation passed before Miss Portman and Charles 
Percival, who were walking in the park with Mr, Vincent, at 
et Juba and asked him to go for the tambourine. 
When he came lo the words, ' Me will tell all,' he made a sign 
that he wished to tell it to his master alone. Belinda and the 
little boy walked on, to leave him at liberty to speak ; and 
then, though with a sort of reluctant horror, he told that the 
figure of an old woman, all in fiames, had appeared lo him in 
his bed-chamber at Harrowgate every night, and that he was 
_ jne of the obeah-women of his own country, who 

Cd pursued him to Europe to revenge his having once, when 
J 



n upon I 

'ercival I 

had a f 



BELINDA 

he was a child, trampled upon an egg-shell that contained 
some of her poisons. The extreme absurdity of this stoiy 
made Mr. Vincent burst out a laughing ; but his humanity the 
next instant made him serious ; for the poor victim of super- 
stitious terror, after having revealed what, according to the 
belief of his country, it is death to mention, fell senseless oo 
the ground. When he came to himself, he calmly said, that 
he knew he must now die, for that the obeah-women never 
forgave those that talked of thera or their secrets ; and, with a 
deep groan, he added, that he wished he might die before 
night, that he might not see her again. It was in vain lo 
attempt to reason him out of the idea that he had actually seen 
this apparition : his account of it was, tliat it first appeared lo 
him in the coach-house one night, when he went thither in the 
dark — that he never afterwards went to the coach-house in the 
dark — but that the same figure of an old woman, all in flames, 
appeared at the foot of his bed every night whilst he stayed at 
Jlarrowgale ; and that he was then persuaded she would nevw 
let him escape from her power till she had killed him. That 
since he had left Harrowgate, however, she had not tormented 
him, for he had never seen her, and he was in hopes that she 
had forgiven him ; but that now he was sure of her vengeance 
for having spoken of her. 

Mr. Vincent knew the astonishing power which the belief 
in this species of sorcer>' ^ has over the minds of the Jamaica 
negroes ; Ihey pine and actually die away from the moment 
they fancy themselves under the malignant influence of these 
witches. He almost gave poor Juba over for lost. The first 
person that he happened to meet after his conversation was 
Belinda, to whom he eagerly related it, because he had 
observed, that she had listened with much attention and 
sympathy to the beginning of the poor fellow's story. The 
moment that she heard of the flaming apparition, she re- 
collected having seen a head drawn in phosphorus, which one 
of the children had exhibited for her amusement, and it occurred 
to her that, perhaps, some imprudent or ill-natured person 
might have terrified the ignorant negro by similar means. 
When she mentioned this to Mr, Vincent, he recollected the 
threat that had been thrown out by Mrs. Freke, the day thai 
Juba had taken possession of the disputed coach-house ; and 
^^^ ' See Edwards's History of the IVest [ndiez-t vqL IL 



DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 



M 



from the character of this lady, Belinda judged that she w 
be likely to play such a trick, and to call il, as usual, fun a 
frolic. Miss Portman suggested that one of the children 
should show him the pho5phorus, and should draw some 
ludicrous figure with it in his presence. This was done, and it 
had the effect thai she expected. Juba, familiarised by degrees 
with the object of his secret horror, and convinced that no 
obeah-woman was exercising over him her sorceries, recovered 
his health and spirits. His gratitude to Miss Portman, who 
was the immediate cause of his cure, was as simple and touch- 
ing as it was lively and sincere. This was the circumstance 
which first turned Mr. Vincent's attention towards Belinda. 
Upon examining the room in which the negro used to sleep at 
Harrowgate, the strong smell of phosphorus was perceived, and 
part of the paper was burnt on the very spot where he had 
always seen the figure, so that he was now perfectly convinced 
that this trick had been purposely played to frighten him, in 
revenge for his having kept possession of the coach-house. 

Mrs. Freke, when she found herself detected, gloried in the 
jest, and told the story as a good joke wherever she went — 
triumphing in the notion, that it n-as she who had driven both 
master iind man from Harrowgate. 

The exploit was, however, by no means agreeable in its 
consequences to her friend Mrs. Luttridge, who was now at 
Harrowgate. For reasons of her own, she was very anxious 
to fix Mr. Vincent in her society, and she was much provoked 
by Mrs. Freke's conduct. The ladies came to high words 
upon the occasion, and an irreparable breach would have 
ensued had not Mrs. Freke, in the midst of her rage, re- 
collected Mrs. Luttridge's electioneering interest ; and suddenly 
changing her tone, she declared that ' she was really sorry to 
have driven Mr. Vincent from Harrowgate ; that her only 
intention was to get rid of his black ; she would lay any 
wager, that, with Mrs. Luttridge's assistance, they could soon 
get the gentleman back again ; ' and she proposed, as a certain 
method of fixing Mr. Vincent in Mrs. Luttridge's society, to 
invite Belinda to Harrowgate. 

'You may be sure,' said Mrs. Freke, 'that she must by this 
time be cursedly tired of her visit to those stupid good people 
at Oakly Pari:, and never woman ■mantedxa excuse to do any- 
tfaiiig she liked : so trust to her own ingenuity to make si 
229 



BELINDA 

decent apology to the Percivah for running away froni (hem. 
As to Vincent, you may be sure Belinda Portman is his only 
inducement for staying with that precious family party ; and if 
we have her we have him. Now we can be sure of her, for 
she has just quarrelled with our dear Lady Delacour. I had 
the whole story from my maid, who had it from Champfort.' 
Lady Delacour and she are at daggers-drawing, and it will be 
delicious to her to hear her ladyship handsomely abused. We 
are the declared enemies of her enemy, so we must be her 
friends. Nothing unites folk so quickly and so solidly, as 
hatred of some common foe.' 

This argument could not fail to convince Mrs. Luttridge, 
and the next day Mrs. Freke commenced her operations. She 
drove in her unicorn to Oakly Park to pay Miss Portman a 
visit She had no acquaintance either with Mr. Percival or 
Lady Anne, and she had always treated Belinda, when she 
met her in town, rather cavalierly, as an humble companion of 
Lady Delacour. But it cost Mrs. Freke nothing to diange 
her tone : she was one of those ladies who can remember or 
forget people, be perfectly familiar or strangely rude, just as it 
fashion, or humour of the minute. 



CHAPTER XVII 

RIGHTS OF WOMAN 

Belinda was alone, and reading, when Mrs. Freke dashed 
into the room. 

'How do, dear creature?' cried she, stepping up to her, 
and shaking hands with her boisterously — ' How do ? — Glad 
to see you, faith ! — Been long here ? — Tremendously hot to- 
day !' 

She flung herself upon the sofa beside Belinda, threw her 
hat upon the table, and then continued speaking. 

'And how d'ye go on here, poor chiId?^Gadl I'm glad 
you're alone — expected to find you encompassed by a whole 
iiost of the righteous. Give me credit for my course in 
230 



RIGHTS OF WOMAN 

coming to deliver yovi out of their hands. Luttridge and 1 
had such compassion upon you, when we heard you were 
close prisoner here! I swore lo set the distressed damsel 
free, in spite of all the dragons in Christendom ; so let me 
carry you off in triumph in my unicorn, and leave these good 
people to stare when they come home from their sober walk, 
and find you gone. There's nothing 1 like so much as to 
make good people stare — I hope you're of my way o' thinking 
— you don't look as if you were, though ; but I never mind I , 
young ladies' looks — always give the lie lo their thoughts. / 
Now we talk o' looks — never saw you look so well in my life — ~ 
as handsome as an angel ! And so much the belter for me. 
Do you know, I've a bet of twenty guineas on your head — on 
your face, I mean. There's a young bride at Harrowgate, , 

Lady H , they're all mad about her : the men swear she's 

the handsomest woman in England, and I swear 1 know one . 
ten times as handsome. They've dared me to make good my i 
word, and I've pledged myself to produce my beauty at the 
next ball, and lo pit her against their belle for any money. 
Most votes carry it. I'm willing lo double my bet since I've 
seen you again. Come, had not we best be off? Now don't 
refuse me and make speeches— you know ihat's all nonsense — 
I'll take all the blame upon myself.' 

Belinda, who had not been suffered to utter a word whilst 
Mrs. Freke ran on in this strange manner, looked in unfeigned 
astonishmejit ; but when she found herself seized and dragged 
towards the door, she drew back with a degree of gentle firm- 
ness that astonished Mrs. Freke. With a smiling countenance, 
but a steady tone, she said ' that she was sorry Mrs. Freke's 
knight-errantry should not be exerted in a better cause, for that 
she was neither a prisoner, nor a distressed damsel.' 

'And will you make me lose my bet?' cried Mrs. Freke. 
' Oh, at all events, you must come to the ball ! — I'm down for 
it But I'll not press it now, because you're frightened out of 
your poor little wits, I see, at the bare thoughts of doing any 
thing considered out of rule by these good people. Well, well I 
it shall be managed for you— leave that to me ; I'm used to 
I managing for cowards. Pray tell me — you and Lady Delacour 
are off, 1 understand ?— Give ye joy ! — She and 
great friends ; that is to say, 1 had over her " that power which 
strong minds have over weak ones," but she was too weak for 



BELINDA 

me — one of those people that have neither courage to be good, 
nor to be bad.' 

< The courage to be bad,' said Belinda, < I believe, indeed, 
she does not possess.' 

Mrs. Freke stared. 'Why, I heard you had quarreUed 
with her.' 

< If I had,' s£ud Belinda, < I hope that I should still do justice 
to her merits. It is said that people are apt to suffer more by 
their friends than their enemies. I hope that will never be the 
case with Lady Delacour, as I confess that I have been one of 
her friends.' 

* Gad, I like your spirit — you don't want courage, I see, to 
fight even for your enemies. You are just the kind of girl I 
admire. I see you have been prejudiced against me by Lady 
Delacour ; but whatever stories she may have trumped up, the 
truth of the matter is this, there's no living with her, she's so 
jealous — so ridiculously jealous — of that lord of hers, for whom 
all the time she has the impudence to pretend not to care more 
than I do for the sole of my boot,' said Mrs. Freke, striking it 
with her whip ; * but she hasn't the courage to give him tit for 
tat : now this is what I call weakness. Pray, how do she and 
Clarence Hervey go on together ? — ^Are they out o' the hornbook 
of platonics yet ? ' 

* Mr. Hervey was not in town when I left it,' said Belinda. 
'Was not he? — Ho! ho!— He's off then !— Ay, so I 

prophesied ; she's not the thing for him : he has some strength 
of mind — some soul — above vulgar prejudices ; so must a 
woman be to hold him. He was caught at first by her grace 
and beauty, and that sort of stuff ; but I knew it could not last 
— knew she'd dilly-dally with Clary, till he would turn upon his 
heel and leave her there.' 

* I fancy that you are entirely mistaken both with respect to 
Mr. Hervey and Lady Delacour,' Belinda very seriously began 
to say. But Mrs. Freke interrupted her, and ran on ; * No I 
no ! no ! I'm not mistaken ; Clarence has found her out. She's 
a very woman — fAa^ he could forgive her, and so could I ; 
but she's a mere woman — and that he can't forgive — no more 
can I.' 

There was a kind of drollery about Mrs. Freke, which, with 
some people, made the odd things she said pass for wit. 
Hiunour she really possessed; and when she chose it, she 

232 



] 






RIGHTS OF WOMAN 



could be diverting to those who like buffoonery ii 
She had sei her heart upon winning Belinda over to her party. 
She began by flattery of her tieauty ; but as she saw that this 
1 had no effect, she next tried what could be done by insinuating 
that she had a high opinion of her understanding, by talking 
to her as an esprit fort. 

' For my part,' said she, ' I own 1 should like a strong devil 
better than a weak angel.' 

You foi^et,' said Belinda, ' that it is not Milton, but Satan, 
who says, 

' Fallen splrii, to be weak is lo be miserable.' 

' You read, I see 1 — I did not know you were a reading girl. 

was I once ; but I never read now. Books only spoil the 
originality of genius : very well for those who can't think for 
themselves — but when one has made up one's opinion, there 

no use in reading.' 

'But to make them up,' replied Belinda, 'may it not be 

o use upon earth to minds of a certain class. You, 
who can think for yourself, should never read.' 

' But I read that I may think for myself 

' Only ruin your understanding, trust me. Books are full 
of trash — nonsense, conversation is worth all t!ie books in the 

' And is there never any nonsense in conversation ? ' 
'What have you here ?' continued Mrs. Freke, who did not 
oosc to attend to this question ; exclaiming, as she reviewed 
each of the books on the table in their turns, in the summary 
language of presumptuous ignorance, ' Smith's Theory of Moral 
Sentiments — milk and water ! Moore's Travels — hasty pud- 
ding t La Bruyfire — nettle porridge ! This is what you were 
at when I came in, was it not ? ' said she, taking up a book ' 
'n which she saw Belinda's mark : ' " Against Inconsistency in 
lur Expectations." Poor thingl who bored you with this task?' 
' Mr. Percival recommended it to me, as one of the best 
essays in the English language.' 

' The devil 1 they seem to have put you in a course of the 
bitters — a course of the woods might do your business better. 
Do you ever hunt ? — Let me take you out with me some morning 
•Manioui Pieces, liy Mrs. Barbauld and Dr. i 
233 



r 



BELINDA \ 

-you'd be quite an angel on horseback; or k 
out some day in my unicorn.' 

Belinda declined this invilalion, and Mrs. Freke strode 
away to the window to conceal her mortification, threw up the 
sash, and called out to lier groom, 'Walk those horses about, 
blockhead ! ' 

Mr. Percival and Mr. Vincent at this instant came into the 

' Hail, fellow I well met ! ' cried Mrs. Freke, stretching out 
her hand to Mr. Vincent. 

It has been remarked, that an antipathy subsists between 
creatures, who, without being the same, have yet a strong 
external resemblance. Mr. Percival saw this instinct rising 
in Mr. Vincent, and smiled. 

' Hail, fellow ! well met ! 1 say. Shake hands and be 
friends, man! Though I'm not in the habit of making 
apologies, if it will be any satisfaction to you, I beg your 
pardon for frightening your poor devil of a black.' 

Then turning towards Mr. Percival, she measured him with 
her eye, as a person whom she longed to attack. She thought, 
that if Belinda's opinion of the understanding of /Aere Percrvais 
could be lowered, she should rise in her esteem ; accordingly, 
she determined to draw Mr. Percival into an argument. 

' Pve been talking treason, I believe, to Miss Portman,' 
cried she ; ' for I've been opposing some of your opinions, Mr. 
Percival.' <" 

' If you opposed them all, madam,' said Mr. Percival, ' I 
should not think it treason.' 

' Vastly polite I^But I think all our poHteness hypocrisy : 
what d'ye say to that?' 

'You know that best, madam 1' 
. 'Then III go a step farther ; for I'm determined you shall 
I contradict me : I think all virtue is hypocrisy.' 

' I need not contradict you, madam,' said Mr. Percival, ' for 
the terms which you make use of contradict themselves.' 

'It is my system,' pursued Mrs. Freke, 'that shame is 
always the cause of the vices of women.' 

' It is sometimes the effect,' said Mr. Percival ; ' and, as 
cause and effect are reciprocal, perhaps you may, in some 
instances, be right.'- 

Oh 1 I h ate qualifying arguers^piump ass ertioa or \ 
"3* 



RIGHTS OF WOMAN 



I say shame is the 



me : you sha'n'l get off s 
ise of all women's vices.' 

' False shame, I suppose you mean ? ' said Mr. Percival. 
• Mere play upon words : All shame is false shame — ' 
ihould be a great deal better without it. What say you, Miss 
• portman ? — Silent, hey ? Silence that speaks.' 

i Portman's blushes,' said Mr. Vincent, ' speak /of 

' Against her,' said Mrs. Freke : ' women blush because 
I they understand." 

' And you would have them understand without blushing ? 
\ said Mr. Percival. ' I grant you that nothing can be more differ- 

t than innocence and ignorance. Female delicacy ' 

' This is Just the way you men spoil women,' cried Mrs. 
I Freke, ' by talking to them of the delicacy of their sex, and 
|| such stuff. This deiicacy enslaves the pretty delicate dears." 
' No ; it enslaves us,' said Mr. Vincent. 
' I hate slavery ! Vive la hberl^ !' cried Mrs. Freke. ' I'm 
a champion for the Rights of Woman.' 

' I am an advocate for their happiness,' said Mr. Perdval, 
'and for their delicacy, as I think it conduces' to their 
bappiness.' 

1 enemy to their delicacy, as I am sure it conduces 
to their misery.' 

' You spieak from experience ? ' said Mr. Percival. 
' No, from observation. Your most delicate women are 
always the greatest hypocrites ; and, in my opinion, no hypocrite 
1 or ought to be happy.' 

' But you have not proved the hyjrocrisy,' said Belinda. 
' Delicacy is not, I hope, an indisputable proof of it ? If you 

" " e delicacy ■' 

jt the matter short at once,' cried Mrs. Freke, ' why, 
when a woman likes a man, does not she go and tell him so 
honestly ? ' 

Belinda, surprised by this question from a woman, was too 
much abashed instantly to answer. 

' Because she's a hypocrite. That is and must be the 
ajjswer.' 

'No,' said Mr. Percival; 'because, if she be a woman of 
sense, she knows that by such a step she would disgust the 
object of her affection.' 

235 




BELINDA 

'Cumiing! — cunning I — cunning 1— the arms of Ihe weakest.' 
' Prudence 1 prudence I — the arms of the strongest. Taking 
the best means to secure our own happiness without injuring 
that of others is the best proof of sense and strength of mind, 
whether in man or woman. Fortunately for society, the same 
conduct in ladies which best secures their happiness most 



I Mrs. Freke beat the devil's tattoo for some moments, and then 
exclaimed, ' You may say what you will, but the present system 
of society is radically wrong ; — ^whatever is, is wrong.' 
' How would you improve the slate of society ? ' asked Mr. 
Percival, calmly. 

' I'm not tinker-genera! to the worid,' said she. 
' I'm glad of it,' said Mr. Percival ; ' for I have heard that 
tinkers often spoil more than they mend.' 

I' But if you want lo know,' said Mrs. Freke, ' what I would 
do to improve the world, I'll tell you : I'd have both sexes call 
things by their right names.' 
'This would doubtless be a great improvement,' said Mr. 
Percival ; ' but you would not overturn society to attain it, 
would you? Should we find things much improved by tearing 
away what has been called the decent drapery of life ? * 

'Drapery, if you ask me my opinion,' cried Mrs. Freke, 
' drapery, whether wet or dry, is the most confoundedly in- 
decent thing in the world.' 
-- 'That depends on /«WjV opinion, I allow,' said Mr. Percival. 
' The Lacedaemonian ladies, who were veiled only by public 
opinion, were better covered from profane eyes than some 
English ladies are in wet drapery.' 

' I know nothing of the Lacedaemonian ladies ; I took ray 
leave of them when I was a schooIboy^ — girl, I should say. Bui 
■pray, what o'clock is it by you ? I've sat till I'm cramped all 
'over,' cried Mrs. Freke, getting up and stretching herself so 
violently that some part of her habiliments gave way. ' Honi 
soit qui mal y pense ! ' said she, bursting into a horse laugh. 

Without sharing in any degree Ihat confiision which Belinda 
felt for her, she strode out of the room, saying, ' Miss Portman, 
you understand these things better than I do ; come and set 
me to rights.' 

When she was in Belinda's room, she threw herself inl 
Ann-chair, and laughed immoderately. 
336 





y^ 



BELINDA 

' How I have trimmed Perci\-al this morning ! ' s^d she. 

' I am glad you think 50,' said Belinda ; 'for I really was 
aftaid he had been too severe upon you.' 

• I only wish,' continued Mrs. Freke, ' 1 only wish his wife 
' had been by. Why the devil did not she make her appearance? 

1 suppose the prude was afraid of my demolishing and i 
\ rigging her.' 

' There seems to have been more danger of that for you th^^n 
for anybody else,' said Belinda, as she assisted to set Mrs. 
Freke's rigging, as she called it, to rights. 

' 1 do of all things delight in hauling good people's opinions 
out of their musty drawers, and seeing how they look when 
they're all pulled to pieces before their faces ! Pray, are those 
Lady Anne's drawers or yours ? ' said Mrs. Freke, pointing to 
a chest of drawers. 

' I'm sorry for it ; for if they were hers, to punish her for 
shirking xa^, by the Lord, I'd have every rag she has in the 
world out in the middle of the floor in ten minutes ! You don't 
know me — I'm a terrible person when provoked — stop at 
nothing I ' 

As Mrs. Freke saw no other chance left of gaining her point 
with Belinda, she tried what intimidating her would do. 

' 1 stop at nothing,' repealed she, fixing her eyes upon Mis: 
Portman, to fascinate her by terror. ' Friend or foe 1 peace 01 
war ! Take your choice. Come to the ball at Harrowgate, I 
win my bet, and I'm your sworn friend. Stay away, I lose my 
bet, and am your sworn enemy,' 

' It is not in my power, madam,' said Belinda, calmly, ' 
comply with your request.' 

' Then you'll take the consequences,' cried Mrs. Freke. She 
rushed past her, hurried downstairs, and called out, ' Bid my 
blockhead bring my unicorn.' 

She, her unicorn, and her blockhead, wire out of sight i 
few minutes. 

Good may be drawn from evil. Mrs. Freke's conversation, 
though at the time it confounded Belinda, roused her, upon re- 
flection, to examine by her reason the habits and principles 
which guided her conduct. She had a general feeling that they 
were right and necessary ; but now, with the assistance of Lady 
Ai>>"^ i ' '•erdval, she established in her own understand- 

35S J 



RIGHTS OF WOMAN 

le exact boundaries between right and wrong upon many 
subjects. She felt a species of satisfaction and security, from 
seeing the demonstration of those axioms of morality, in which 
she bad previously acquiesced. Reasoning gradually became 
as agreeable to her as wit ; nor was her taste for wit diminished, 
it was only refined by this process. She now compared and 
judged of the value of the different species of this brilliant 
talent 

Mrs. Freke's wit, thought she, is like a noisy squib, the 
momentary terror of passengers ; Lady Delacour's like an 
elegant firework, which we crowd to see, and cannot forbear to 
applaud ; but Lady Anne Percival's wit is like the refulgent 

'Love the miid lays, and bless the nsefiil liglil.' 

' Miss Portraan,' said Mr. Percival, ' are not you afraid of 
making an enemy of Mrs. Freke, by dechning her invitation to 
Harrowgate ? ' 

' I think her friendship more to be dreaded than her 
enmity,' replied Belinda. 

' Then you are not to be terrified by an obeah-woman ? ' said 
Mr. Vincent. 

' Not in the least, unless she were to come in the shape of 
a &lse friend,' said Belinda. 

' Till lately,' said Mr. Vincent, ' 1 was deceived in the 
character of Mrs. Freke. I thought her a dashing, free-spoken, 
free-hearted sort of eccentric person, who would make a staunch 
friend and a jolly companion. As a mistress, or a wife, no 
man of any taste could think of her. Compare that woman 
. now with one of our Creole ladies.' 

' But why with a Creole ? ' said Mr. Percival. 

' For the sake of contrast, in the first place ; our Creole 
women are all softness, grace, delicacy ' 

'And indolence,' said Mr. Percival. 

'Their indolence is but a slight, and, in my judgment, an 
amiable defect ; it keeps them out of mischief, and it attaches 
them to domestic life. The activity of a Mrs. Freke would 
never excite their emulation ; and so much the better.' 

' So much the better, no doubt,' said Mr. Percival. ' But 
is there no other species of activity that might excite tbeii- 
ambition with propriety? Without diminishing their grace, 



BELINDA 

softness, or delicacy, might not they cultivate their iiunds i| 

I Do you think ignorance, as well as indolence, an amiably 
defect, essential to the female character?' 
' Not essential. You do not, I hope, imagine that I am so 
much prejudiced in favour of my countrywomen, that I can 
neither see nor feel the superiority in same instantes of 
European cultivation ? I speak only in general,' 

'And in general,' said Lady Anne Percival, 'does Mr. 
Vincent wish lo confine our sex to the bliss of ignorance ? ' 

' If it be bliss,' said Mr, Vincent, 'what reason would they 
have for complaint?' 

'If,' said Belinda ; 'but that is a question which you have 
not yet decided.' 

'And how can we decide it?' said Mr. VincenL 'The 
taste and feelings of individuals must be the arbiters of their 
happiness.' 

' You leave reason quite out of the question, then,' said Mr. 
Percival, ' and refer the whole lo taste and feeling ? So that if 
the most ignorant person in the world assert that he is happier 
than you are, you are bound to believe him.' 

' Why should not 1 ? ' said Mr. Vincent 

'Because,' said Mr. Percival, 'though he can judge of his 
own pleasures, he cannot judge of yours ; his are common to 
both, but yours are unknown to him. Would you, at this 
instant, change places with that ploughman yonder, who is 
whislling as he goes for want of thought ? or, would you 
choose to go a step higher in the bliss of ignorance, and turn 
savage ? ' 

Mr. Vincent laughed, and protested that he should be very 
nwiiling to give up his title to civilised society i and that, in- 
stead of wishing to have less knowledge, he regretted that he 
had not more. ' I am sensible,' said he, ' that I have many 
prejudices ; — Miss Portman has made me ashamed of some of 

There was a degree of candour in Mr, Vincent's manner and 
conversation, which interested everybody in his favour ; Belinda 
nniongst the rest. She was perfectly at ease in Mr. Vincent's 
company, because she considered him as a person who wished 
for her friendship, without having any design to engage her 
aRections. From several hints that dropped from him, from 
Mr. Percival, and from Lady Anne, she was persuaded Aa^^^ 
240 



A DECLARATION 

^tached to some Creole lady ; and all that he said in 
fevour of the elegant softness and delicacy of !iis countrywomen 
confirmed this opinion. 

s Portman was not one of those young ladies who fancy \ ' 

that every gentleman who converses freely with them will Jl 

vitably fall a victim to the power of their charms, and who / 

in every man a lover, or nothing. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

A DECLARATION 



^^Tv^ fbimd it : — I've found it, mamma I ' cried little Charles 
Percival, running eagerly into the room with a plant in his 
hand. ' Wi!i you send this in your letter to Helena Delacour, 
and tell her that is the thing that goldfishes are so fond of? 
And tell her that it is called lemna, and that it may be found 
in any ditch or pool.' 

' But how can she find ditches and pools in Grosvenor 
Square, my dear?' 

' Oh, I forgot that. Then will you tell her, mamma, that 1 
will send her a great quantity ? ' 

' How, my dear ?' 

' I don't know, mamma, yet— but I will find out some way.' 

' Would it not be as well, my dear,' said his mother, smiling, 
' to consider how you can perform your promises before you 
make them ? ' 

'A gentleman,' said Mr, Vincent, 'never makes a promise 
that he cannot perform.' 

'I know that very well,' said the boy proudly; 'Miss 
Portman, who is very good-natured, will, I am sure, be so 
good, when she goes back to Lady Delacour, as to carry food 
for the goldfishes to Helena — you see that I have found out 
a way to keep my promise.' 

'No, I'm afraid not,' said Belinda; 'for I am not going 
back to Lady Delacour's.' 

' Then I am very glad of it 1 ' said the boy, dropping the 
weed, and clapping his hands joyfiUly ; ' for then I hope y 



ippmg the J 
hope you^J 




will always stay here, don't you, mamma? — don't you, Mr. 

Vincent ? Oh, you do, I am sure, for 1 Iieard you say so to 
papa the other day ! But what makes you grow so red ? ' 

His mother look him by the hand, as he was going to 

repeat the questioti, and leading him out of the room, desired 

him to show her the place where he found the food for the 

goldfishes. 

I Belinda, to Mr. Vincent's great relief, seemed not to take 

I I any notice of the child's question, nor to have any sympathy in 

I his curiosity ; she was intently copying WestaU'a sketch of 

I Lady Anne Percival and her femily, and she had been roused, 

I by the first mention of Helena Delacour's name, to many 

painful and some pleasing recollections, ' What a charming 

woman, and what a charming family ! ' said Mr. Vincent, as 

he looked at the drawing ; ' and how much more interesting is 

I this picture of domestic happiness than all the pictures of 

shepherds and shepherdesses, and gods and goddesses, that 

'Yes,' said Belinda, 'and how much more interesting this 
picture is to us, fi-oni our knowing that it is not a fancy-piece ; 
that the happiness is real, not imaginary : that this is the 
natural expression of affection in the countenance of the 
mother ; and that these children, who crowd round her, are 
what they seem to be — the pride and pleasure of her life ! ' 

' There cannot,' exclaimed Mr. Vincent, with enthusiasm, 
' be a more delightful picture I O Miss Portman, is it 
possible that you should not feel what you can paint so 
' well?' 

' Is it possible, sir,' said Belinda, 'that you should suspect 
me of such wretched hypocrisy, as to affect to admire what I 
am incapable of feeling ? ' 

' You misunderstand — you totally misunderstand me. Hypo- 
crisy 1 No ; there is not a woman upon earth whom I believe 
to be so far abo\e all hypocrisy, all affectation. But I ima- 
gined — I feared ' 

As he spoke these last words he was in some confusion, and 
hastily turned over the prints in a portfolio which lay upon the 
table, Belinda's eye was caught by an engraving of Lady 
Delacour in the character of the comic muse. Mr, Vincent 
did not know the intimacy that had subsisted betwi 
ladyship and Miss Portman — she sVgted fcom the recol 



iiween ner 



A DECLARATION 

«rf Clarence Hervey, and of all that had passed i 
masquerade. 

' What a contrast ! ' said Mr. Vincent, placing the print of 
Lady Delacour beside the picture of Lady Anne Percival. 
'What a contrast! Compare their pictures — compare their 
characters — compare ' 

' Excuse me,' interrupted Belinda ; ' Lady Delacom- was 

:e my friend, and I do not like to make a comparison so 
much to her disadvantagre. I have never seen : 
who would not suffer by a comparison with Lady Anne 
Percival.' 

' I have been more fortunate, I have seen one — one equally 
worthy of esteem — admiration — love.' 

Mr. Vincent's voice (altered in pronouncing the word love ; 
yet Belinda, prepossessed by the idea that he was attached to 

e Creole lady, simply answered, without looking up from her 
drawing, ' You are indeed very fortunate — peculiarly fortunate. 
Are the West- Indian ladies ' 

'West-Indian ladies!' interrupted Mr. Vincent. 'Surely, 
Miss Portman cannot imagine that I am at this instant thinking 
of any West-Indian lady I' Belinda looked up with an air of 
surprise. ' Charming Miss Portman,' continued he, ' I have 
learnt to admire European beauty, European excellence .' I have 
acquired new ideas of the female character — ideas — feelings that 

It henceforward render me exquisitely happy or exquisitely 
miserable.' 

Miss Portman had been too often called ' c/iamiing' to be 
much startled or delighted by the sound ; the word would have 
passed by unnoticed, but there was something so impassioned 
"n Mr, Vincent's manner, that she could no longer mistake it 
or common gallantry, and she was in evident confiasion. Now 
for the first time the idea of Mr, Vincent as a lover came into i 
her mind : the next instant she accused herself of vanity, I 
and dreaded that he should read her thoughts. 'Exquisitely J 
miserable ! ' said she, in a tone of raillery : ' I should not 
suppose, from what I have seen of Mr. Vincent, that anything 
could make him exquisitely miserable.' 

' Then you do not know ray character — you do not know my 
heart ; it is in your power to make me exquisitely miserable. 
t the cold, hackneyed phrase of gallantry, but the 
fervid language of passion,' cried he, seizing her hand. 
243 





• instant one of the children came in with soine flowers | 
to Belinda ; "an^ glad of the interruption, she hastily put up 
her drawings and left the room, observiBg that she should 
scarcely have time to dress before dinner. However, as soon 
as she found herself alone, she forgot how late it was ; and 
though she sat down before the glass Co dress, she made no 
progress in the business, but continued for some time motion- 
less, endeavouring to recollect and to understand all that had 
passed. The result of her reflections was the conviction that 
her partiality for Clarence Hervey was greater than she ever 
had till this moment suspected, 'I have told my aunt Stanhope,' 
thought she, ' that the idea of Mr. Hervey had no influence in 
my refusal of Sir Philip Baddely ; I have saiil that my aflections 
are entirely at my own command : then why do I feel this alarm 
at the discovery of Mr. Vincent's views ? Why do I compare 
him with one whom I thought I had forgotten ? — And yet how 
are we to judge of character? How can we form any estimate 
of what is amiable, of what will make us happy or miserable, 
but by comparison ? Am I to blame for perceiving superiority ? 
Am I to blame if one person be more agreeable, or seem tcrbe 
more agreeable, than another ? Am I to blame if I cannot 
love Mr. Vincent ? ' 

Before Belinda had answered these questions to her satis- 
faction, the dinner-bell rang. There happened to dine this 
day at Mr. Percival's a gentleman who had just arrived from 
Lisbon, and the conversation turned upon the sailors' practice 
of stilling the waves over the bar of Lisbon by throwing oil 
Upon the water. Charles Percival's curiosity was excited by 
this conversation, and lie wished to see the experiment. In 
the evening his father indulged his wishes. The children were 
delighted at the sight, and little Charles insisted upon Belinda's 
following him to a particular spot, where he was well convinced 
that she could see better than anywhere else in the world. 
' Take care," cried Lady Anne, ' or you will lead your friend 
into the river, Charles.' The boy paused, and soon afterwards 
asked his father several questions about swimming and drown- 
ing, and bringing people to life after they had been drowned. 
'Don't you remember, papa,' said he, '//;a/ Mr. Hervey, who 
was almost drowned in the Serpentine river in London?' — 
Belinda coloured at hearing unexpectedly the name of the 
was at that instant thinking, i 



A DECLARATION 

child continued — 'I liked that Mr. Hervey very much — I iiked 
him from the first day I saw him. What a number of entertain- 
ing things he told us at dinner I We used to call him the good- 
natured gentleman : I like him very much — I wish he was here 
this minute. Did you ever see him. Miss Portman ? Oh, yes, 
you must have seen him ; for ii was he who carried Helena's 
goldfishes to her mother, and he used often to be at Lady 
Delacour's — was not he ?' 

' Yes, my dear, often.' 

'And did not you like him very much?' — This simple 
question threw Belinda into inexpressible confiision : but for- 
tunately the crimson on her face was seen only by Lady Anne 
PercivaL To Belinda's great satisfaction, Mr. Vincent forbore 
this evening any attempt to renew the conversation of the 
morning ; he endeavoured to mix, with his usual animation and 
gaiety, in the family society ; and her embarrassment was much 
lessened when she heard the next day, at breakfast, that he was 
gone to Harrowgate. Lady Anne Percival took notice that she 
was this morning unusually sprightly. 

After breakfast, as they were passing through the haJ! to take 
a walk in the park, one of the little boys stopped to look at a 
musical instrument which hung up against the wall. 

' What is this, mamma ? — It is not a guitar, is it ? ' 

' No, my dear, it is called a banjore ; it is an African instru- 
ment, of which the negroes are particularly fond. Mr. Vincent 
mentioned it the other day to Miss Portman, and I believe she 
expressed some curiosity to see one. Juba went to work im- 
mediately to make a banjore, 1 find. Poor fellow ! I daresay 
that he was very sorry to go to Harrowgate, and to leave his 
African guitar half finished ; especially as it was intended for an 
offering to Miss Portman. He is the most grateful, afTeclionate 

' But why, mamma,' said Charles Percival, ' is Mr. Vincent 
gone away ? I am sorty he is gone ; I hope he will soon 
come back. In the meantime, I must run and water my 
carnations.' 

' His sorrow for his friend Mr. Vincent's departure does not 

1 affect his spirits much,' said Lady Anne. ■ People 

who expect sentiment from children of six years old will be 

disappointed, and will probably leach them affectation. Surely 

s much better to let their natural affections have time to 
"45 




BELINDA 

expand. If wc tear the rosebud open we spoil the flower. 
Belinda smiled at this parable of the rosebud, which, she 
said, might be applied to men and women, as well 
children. 

'And yet, upon reflection,' said Lady Anne, 'the heart has 
nothing in common with a rosebud. Nonsensical allusions pass 
off very prettily in conversation. I mean, when we converse 
with partial friends ; but we should reason ill, and conduct our- 
selves worse, if we were to trust implicitly to poetical analogies. 
Our affections,' continued Lady Anne, ' arise from circiun- 
stances totally independent of our will.' 

' That is the very thing I meant to say,' intermpted Belinda 
eagerly. 

' They are excited by the agreeable or useful qualities that 
we discover in things or in persons.' 

' Undoubtedly,' said Belinda. 

' Or by those which our fancies discover,' said Lady Anne. 

Belinda was silent; but, after a pause, she said, 'That it 
was certainly very dangerous, especially for women, lo trust to 
fancy in bestowing their affections.' 'And yet,' said Lady 
Anne, 'it is a danger to which they are much exposed in 
society. Men have it in their power to assume the appearance 
of everything that is amiable and estimable, and women have 
scarcely any opportunities of detecting the counterfeit.' 
I 'Without Ithuriel's spear, how can they distinguish the good 
from the evil ?' said Belinda. 'This is a commonplace com- 
plaint, I know j the ready excuse that we silly young women 
plead, when we make mistakes for which our friends reproach 
us, and for which we too often reproach ourseh'es.' 

' The complaint is commonplace precisely because it is 
general andjust,' replied Lady Anne. ' In the slight and frivolous 
intercourse, which fashionable belles usually have with those 
' fashionable beaux who call themselves their lovers, it is surprising 
I that they can discoi-er anything of each other's real character. 
, Indeed they seldom do ; and this probably is the cause why there 
' arc so many unsuitable and unhappy marriages. A woman who 
I'has an opportunity of seeing her lover in private society, in 
domestic life, has infinite ad\ antages ; for if she has any sense, 

i he has any sincerity, the real character of both may perhaps 

developed.' 
Tni^' said Belinda (who now suspected that Lady Anne 
246 



1 



A DECLARATION 

alluded to Mr. Vincent); 'and in such fi 

■would readily be able to decide whether the man who ad- 

•dressed her would suit her taste or not ; so she would be ii 

<nisable if, either from vanity or coquetry, she disguised her real 

sentiments.' 

'And will Miss Portman, who cannot, by any one to whom 
he is known, be suspected of vanity or coquetry, permit me 
3 speak to her with the freedom of a friend ? ' 

Belinda, touched by the kindness of Lady Anne's manner, 
pressed her hand and exclaimed, ' Yes, dear Lady Anne, speak 
vith freedora^you cannot do me a greater favour. No 
thought of my mind, no secret feeling of my heart, shall be 
concealed from you.' 

~ t imagine that I wish to encroach upon the generous 
iS of your temper,' said Lady Anne ; ' tell me when I go 
too far, and 1 will be silent. One who, like Miss Portman, has 
lived in the world, has seen a variety of characters, and probably 
faas had a variety of admirers, must have formed some deter- 
; idea of the sort of companion that would make her 
happy, if she were to marry ^unless,' said Lady Anne, 'she 
has formed a resolution against marriage.' 

' I have formed no such resolution,' said Belinda. ' Indeed, 
ce I have seen the happiness which you and Mr. Percival 
enjoy in your own family, I have been much more disposed to 
think that a union^that a union such as yours, would increase 
my happiness. At the same time, my aversion to the idea of 
marrying from interest, or convenience, or from any motives 
but esteem and love, is increased almost lo horror. O Lady 
I Aime I there is nothing that I would not do to please the 
I fiiends to whom I am under obligations, except sacrificing my 

J peace of mind, or my integrity, the happiness of my life, b y ' 

I Lady Anne, in a gentle tone, assured her that she was the 
last person in the world who would press her to any union 
which would make her unhappy. ' You perceive that Mr. 
Vincent has spoken to me of what passed between you yester- 
day. You perceive that I am his friend, but do not forget that 
n also yours. If you fear undue influence from any of your 
relations in &vour of Mr. Vincent's large fortune, etc., let his 
proposal remain a secret between ourselves, till you can decide, 
from farther acquaintance with him, whether it will be in your 

power to return his atfeclion.' 

247 



BELINDA 

-, my dear Lady Anne,' cried Belinda, 'thai it' 
in my power to return his affection.' 

' And may I asic your objections ? ' 

' Is it not a sufRcient objection, that I am perstiaded 1 
cannot love him ? ' 

' No ; for you may be mistaken in that persuasion.. 
Remember what we said a little while ago, ahaat fancy and spon^ 
tmieous affections. Does Mr. Vincent appear to you defective 
in any of the qualities which you think essential to happiness? 
Mr. Percival has known him from the time he was a man, and 
can answer for his integrity and his good temper. Are not 
these the first points you would consider ? They ought to be, 
I am sure, and I believe they are. Of his understanding I 
shall say nothing, because you have had full opportunities of 
judging of it from his conversation.' 

' Mr. Vincent appears to have a good understanding,' said 
Belinda. 

' Then to what do you object ? — Is there anything disgusting 
to you in his person or manners ? ' 

' He is very handsome, he is well bred, and his manners are 
unaffected,' said Belinda ; ' but — do not accuse me of caprice 
— altogether he does not suit my taste ; and I cannot think it 
sufficient not to feel disgust for a husband — though I believe 
this is the fashionable doctrine.' 

' It is not mine, I assure you,' said Lady Anne. ' 1 ant not 
oneof those who think it "safest to begin with a little aversion"; 
but since you acknowledge that Mr. Vincent possesses the 
essential good qualities that entitle him to your esteem, I am 
satisfied. We gradually acquire knowledge of the good qualities 
of those who endeavour to please us ; and if they are really 
amiable, their persons become agreeable to us by degrees, when 
we become accustomed to them.' 

' Accustomed I ' said Belinda, smiling: 'one does grow 
accustomed even to disagreeable things certainly ; but at this 
rate, my dear Lady Anne, I do not doubt but one might grow 
accustomed to Caliban.' 

' My belief in the reconciling power of custom does not go 
quite so far,' said Lady Anne. ' It does not extend to Caliban, 
OT even to the hero of La Be/Uet La B^/i J bull do believe, that, 
in a mind so well regulated as yours, esteem may certainly in 
time he improved into love. I will tell Mr. Vincent so, my dear. 
24S 



A DECLARATION 

No, my dear Lady Anne I no ; you must not — indeed yon 
must not. You have too good an opinion of me — my mind is 
not so well regulated — I am much weaker, much sillier, than 
you imagine — than you can conceive,' said Belinda. 

Lady Anne soothed her with the most affectionate expres- 
sions, and concluded with saying, ' Mr. Vincent has promised 
not to return from Harrowgate, to torment you with his 
addresses, if you be absolutely determined against him. He is 
of too generous, and perhaps too proud a temper, to persecute 
you with vain solicitations ; and however Mr. I'ercival and I 
may wish that he could obtain such a wife, wc shall have the 
common, or uncommon, sense and good nature to allow our 
friends to be happy their own way.' 

' You are very good — too good. But am I then to be t!ie 
cause of banishing Mr. Vincent from all his friends — from 
Oakly Park ? ' 

' Will he not do what is most prudent, to avoid the charm- 
ing Miss Porlman,' said Lady Anne, smiling, ' if he must not 
love her ? This was at least the advice I gave him, when he 
consulted us yesterday evening. But I will not sign his writ 
of banishment lightly. Nothing but the assurance that the 
heart is engaged can be a sufficient cause for despair ; nothing 
else could, in my eyes, justify you, my dear Belinda, from the 
charge of caprice.' 

' I can give you no such assurance, 1 hope — -I believe,' said 
Belinda, in great confusion ; ' and yet I would not for the 
world deceive you : you have a right to my sincerity.' She 
paused; and Lady Anne said with a smile, 'Perhaps 1 can 
spare you the trouble of telling me in words what a blush told 
me, or at least made me suspect, yesterday evening, when we 
were standing by the river side, when little Charles asked 
you^— ' 

Yes, I remember — -1 saw you took at me.' 

' Undesignedly, believe me.' 

' Undesignedly, I am sure ; but I was afraid you would 
think ' 

' The truth.' 

' No J but more than the truth. The truth you shall 
hear ; and the rest 1 will leave to your judgment and to your 
. kindness.' 

Belinda gave a full account of her acquaintance with Clarence 
249 



BELINDA 

Hervey ; of the variations in his manner towards her 
excellent conduct with respect to Lady Delacour (of this, 
by the bye, she spoke at large). But she was more concise 
when she touched upon the state of her own heart ; and her 
voice almost bUed when she came to the history- of the !ock of 
beautiful hair, lie Windsor incognita, and the picture of Virginia. 
She concluded by expressing her conviction of the propriety of 
forgetting a. man, who was in all probability attached to another, 
and she declared it to be ber resolution to banish him from her 
thoughts. Lady Anne said, ' that nothing could be more 
prudent or praiseworthy than forming such a resolution — except 
keeping it.' Lady Anne had a high opinion of Mr. Hervey j 
but she had no doubt, from Belinda's account, and from her 
own observations on Mr. Hervey, and from slight circumstances 
which had accidentally come to Mr. Percival's knowledge, that 
he was, as Belinda suspected, attached to another person. She 
wished, therefore, to confirm Miss Portman in this belief, and 

> to turn her thoughts towards one who, beside being deserving 
of her esteem and love, felt for her the most sincere affection. 
She did not, however, press the subject farther at this dnie, but 
contented herself with requesting that Belinda would take three 
days (the usual time given for deliberation in fairy tales) before 
she should decide against Mr. Vincent. 

The next day they went to look at a porter's lodge, which 
Mr. Percival had just built ; it was inhabited by an old man 
and woman, who had for many years been industrious tenants, 
but who, in their old age, had been reduced to poverty, not by 
imprudence, but by misfortune. Lady Anne was pleased to 
see them comfortably settled in their new habitation ; and whilst 
she and Belinda were talking to the old couple, their grand- 
daughter, a pretty -looking girl of about eighteen, came in with 
a basket of eggs in her hand. 'Well, Lucy,' said Lady Anne, 
'have you overcome your dislike to James Jackson?' The 
girl reddened, smiled, and looked at her grandmother, who 
, Uiswered for her in an arch tone, ' Oh yes, my lady I -We are 
Hot afraid of Jackson naic-y we are grown very great friends. 
This pretty cane chair for my goodman was his handiworl^ 
and these baskets he made for me. Indeed, he's a most 
industrious, Ingenious, good-natured youth ; and our Lucy lakes 
no offence at his courting her now, my lady, I can assure yoii. 

[ That necida ce, which is never off her neck now, he turned for 




BELINDA 



n at I 
eta 1 



r, my lady ; it is a present of his. So I Icll bim he need 1 
not be discouraged, though so be she did not take ii 
the first ; for she's a good girl, and a sensible girl — I say it, 
I though she's my own ; and the eyes are used to a face after a 
time, and then it's nothing. They say, fancy's all in all in love: 
I now in my judgment, fancy's little or nothing with girls that 
have sense. But 1 beg pardon for prating at this rate, more 
■ especially when I am so old as to have forgot all the httle 1 
. ever knew about such things.' 

' But you have the best right in the world to speak about 
such things, and your granddaughter has the best reason in 
the world to listen to you," said Lady Anne, ' because, in spite , 
of all the crosses of fortune, you have been an excellent and 
happy wife, at least ever since I can remember.' 

'And ever since I can remember, that's more; no offence 
to your ladyship,' said the old man, striking his crutch against 
the ground. ' Ever since 1 can remember, she has made me 
the happiest man in the whole world, in the whole parish, as 
everybody knows, and I best of all I' cried he, with a degree 
of enthusiasm that lighted up his aged countenance, and 
animated his feeble voice. 

' And yet,' said the honest dame, ' if 1 had followed my 
fancy, and taken up with my first love, it would not ha' been; 
with ht, Lucy. 1 had a sort of a fancy (since my lady's W 
good as to let me speak), I had a sort of a fancy for an idle 
young man ; but he, very luckily for nic, took it into his head 
to fall in love with another young woman, and then I had' 
leisure enough left me to think of your grandfather, who was. 
not so much to my taste like at first. But when t found oat 
his goodness and cleverness, and joined lo all, his great 
tenderness for me, I thought better of it, Lucy (as who knows' 
but you may do, though there shall not be a word said on my; 
part to press you, for poor Jackson ?) ; and my thinking bettet 
is the cause why I have been so happy ever since, and am sK 
still in my old age. Ah, Lucy I dear, what a many years that 
same old age lasts, after all I But young folks, for the most 
part, never think what's to come after thirty or forty at farthest^ 
But I don't say this for you, Lucy ; for you are a good giA 
and a sensible girl, though my own granddaughter, as 1 sue 
before, and therefore won't be run away with by fancy, whid 
soon past and gone ; but make a prudent choice, that y 
a S3 



, thatyo! 




A DECLARATION 



^tnever have cause to repent of. But I'll not say a 
ire J I'll leave it all to yourself and James Jackson.* 
'You do right," said Lady Anne ; 'good-morning to you ! 
Fareweil, Lucy ! That's a pretty necklace, and is very be- 
coming to you — fare ye well ! ' 

She hurried out of the cottage with Belinda, apprehensive 
that the talkative old dame might weaken the effect of her 
good sense and experience by a farther profusion of words. 

' One would think,' said Belinda, with an ingenuous smile, 
'that this lesson upon the dangers oi fancy was intended for 
; : at any rate, I may turn it to my own advantage 1 ' 
' Happy those who can turn all the experience of others to 
;ir own advantage ! ' said Lady Anne ; ' this would be a 
>re valuable privilege than the power of turning everything 
that is touched lo gold.' 

They walked on in silence for a few minutes ; and then 
liss Portman, pursuing the train of her own thoughts, and 
oconscious that she had not explained them lo Lady Anne, 
abruptly exclaimed, ' But if I should be entangled, so as not 
to be able to retract ! — and if it should not be in my power to 
love him at last, he will think me a coquette, a jilt, perhaps ; 
lie will have reason to complain of me, if I waste his time, and 
trifle with his affections. Then is it not belter that I should 
avoid, by a decided refusal, all possibility of injury to Mr. 
~""ncent, and of blame to myself? ' 

' There is no danger of Mr. Vincent's misunderstanding or 
paisrepresenting you. The risk that he runs is by his voluntary 
; and I am sure that if, after farther acquaintance with 
.him, you find it impossible lo return his affection, he will not 
consider himself as ill-used by your refusal.' 

' But after a certain time^ — ^after the world suspects that two 
people are engaged to each other, it is scarcely possible for the 
recede : when they come within a certain distance, 
they are pressed to unite, by the irresistible force of external 
A woman is too often reduced to this 
dilemma : either she must marry a man she does not love, or 
ust be blamed by the world^-either she must sacrifice a 
n of her reputation, or the whole of her happiness.' 
'The world is indeed often too curious and too rash 
^ese affairs,' said Lady Anne. 'A young w 
piis respect allowed sufficient time for freedom of delibei 
=53 







BELINDA 

! sees, OS Mr, Percival once said, "ihe drawn sword of 
tyrant custom suspended over her head by a. single hair," ' 

' And yet, notwithslandmu you are so well aware of Ihe 
danger, your ladyship would expose me to it?' said Belinda. 

' Yes i for I think the chance of happiness, in this instance, 
overbalances the risk,' said Lady Anne. ' As we cannot alter 
the common law of custom, and as we cannot render the 
world less gossiping, or less censorious, we must not expect 
always to avoid censure ; all we can do is, never to deseri'e it 
— and it would be absurd to enslave ourselves to the opinion 
of the idle and ignorant. To a certain point, respect for ih^ 
opinion of the world is prudence ; beyond that poiiit^t i^ 
weakness. You should also consider that the luorld at Oakly 
Park and in London are two different worlds. In London if 
you and Mr. Vincent were seen often in each other's company, 
it would be immediately buzzed about that Miss Portman and 
Mr. Vincent were going to be married ; and if the match did 
not take place, a thousand foolish stories might be told to 
account for its being broken off. But here you are not sur- 
rounded by busy eyes and busy tongues. The butchers, 
bakers, ploughmen, and spinsters, who compose our world, 
have ai! affairs of their own to mind. Besides, their comments 
can have no very extensive circulation ; they are used to see 
Mr. Vincent continually here ; and his staying with us the 
remainder of the autumn wit] not appear to them anything 
wonderful or portentous.' 

Their conversation was interrupted. Mr. Vincent rettitned 
to Oakly Park — but upon the express condition that he should 
not make his attachment public by any particular attention^ 
and that he should draw no conclusions in his favour from 
Belinda's consenting to converse with him freely upon every 
common subject. To this treaty of amity Lady Anne Percivd 
was guarantee. 




A WEDDING 

Belinda and Mr. Vincem could never sgrae in their definition 
of the word flattery; so that there were continual complaints 
on the one hand of a breach of treaty, and, on the other, 
solemn protestations of the most scrupulous adherence to his 
compact. However this might be, it is certain that the gentle- 

1 gained so much, eiOier by truth or fiction, that, in the 

rse of some weeks, he got the lady as far as 'gratitude and 
esteem.' 

One evening, BeliiiJa was playing with little Charles 
ferciva! at spillikins. Mr. Vincent, who found pleasure in 
everything that amused Belinda, and Mr. Percival, who took 
' 1 everything which entertained his children, were 
looking on at this simple game. 

' Mr. Percival,' said Belinda, ' condescending lo look at a 
fiame of jack-straws !' 

'Yes,' said Lady Anne; 'for he is of Dryden's opinion, 
that, if a straw can be made the instrument of happiness, he is 
A wise man who does not despise it.' 

'Ah I Miss Portman, take care!' cried Charles, who was 
anxious that she should win, though he was playing against 

r, ' Take care ! don't touch that knave.' 

' I would lay a hundred guineas upon the steadiness of Miss 
Portman's hand,' cried Mr. Vincent. 

' I'll lay you sixpence, though,' cried Charles eagerly, ' that 
rfie'll siir the king, if she touches that knave — I'll lay you a 
■hilling,' 

' Done ! done 1 ' cried Mr. Vincent. 

' Done ! done 1 ' cried the boy, stretching out his hand, but 
his father caught it. 

' Softly ! softly, Charles ! — No betting, if you please, my 
' s ends in — undone.' 
i I who was in the wrong,' cried 




BELINDA 

TTs 'better than my saying so, Miss Portman thinks 
so, as her smile tells me.' 

'You moved, Miss Portman!' cried Charles : — 'Oh, indeed ! 
Lhe king's head stirred, the very instant papa spoke. I knew 
it was impossible that you could get that knave clear off 
without shaking the king. Now, papa, only look how they 
were balanced.' 

' I grant you,' said Mr. Vincent, ' I should have made a 
imprudent bet. So it is well I made none ; for now I see th 
chances were ten to one, twenty to one, a hundred to one agains 

' It does not appear to 
Mr. Percival. ' This is a 
that is the reason I like it.' 

' Oh, papa 1 Oh, Miss Portman ! look how nicely these are 
balanced. There I my breath has set (hem in motion. Look, 
they shake, shake, shake, like the great rocking -stones at 
Brimham Crags.' 

' That is comparing small things to great, indeed '. ' said 
Mr. Percival. 

' By the bye,' cried Mr. Vincent, ' Miss Portman has never 
seen those wonderful roclring-s tones — suppose we were to ride 
to see them to-morrow ? ' 

The proposal was warmly seconded by the children, and 
agreed to by every one. It was settled, that after they had 
seen Brimham Crags they should spend the remainder of the 
day at Lord C — — -'s beautiful place in the neighbourhood. 

The ne« morning was neither too hot nor too cold, and 
they set out on their little party of pleasure ; the children went 
with their mother, to their great delight, in the sociable ; and 
Mr. Vincent, to his great delight, rode with Belinda. When 
they came within sight of the Crags, Mr. Percival, who was. 
riding with them, exclaimed^ — -'What is that yonder, on the: 
top of one of the great rocking-s tones ? ' 

' It looks like a statue,' said Vincent. ' It has been put uj 
since we were here last.' 

' I fancy it has got up of itself,' said Belinda, ' for it 
to be getting down of itself I think I saw it stoop. Oh I I 
see now, it is a man who has got up there, and he 
have a gun in his hand, has not he ? He is going through hia 
" ! for his diversion — for the diversion of the 

3^6 



A WEDDING 
below, I perceive^ there is a party of people looking- 



F 

■ at him. 

H ' Him ! ' said Mr. Percival, 

H ' I protest it is a woman 1 ' said Vincent. 

H ' No, surely,' said Belinda : ' it cannot be a woman ! ' 

H ' Not unless it be Mrs. Freke,' replied Mr. Percival. 

H In fact it was Mrs Freke, who had been out shooting with 

K a party of gentlemen, and who had scrambled upon this rocking- 

■ stone, on the summit of which she went through the manual 
I exercise at the word of command from her officer. As they 
E Tode nearer to the scene of action, Belinda heard the shrill 

screams of a female voice, and they descried amongst the 
gentlemen a sUght figure in a riding habit. 

' Miss Moreton, I suppose,' said Mr. Vincent. 

' Poor girl ! what are they doing with her ? ' cried Belinda. 
' They seem to be forcing her up to the top of that place, 
where she has no mind to go. Look how Mrs. Freke drags 
er up by the arm ! ' 

As they drew nearer, they heard Mrs. Freke laughing loud 
as she rocked this frightened girl upon the top of the stone, 

'We had better keep out of the way, I think,' said Belinda: 

ir perhaps, as she has vowed vengeance against me, 

; might take a fancy to setting me upon that pinnacle of 
glory.' 

' She dare not,' cried Vincent, his eyes flashing with anger: 
<you may trust to us to defend you.' 

' Certainly ! — But I will not run into danger on purpose to 
give you the pleasure of defending me,' said Belinda ; and as 
she spoke, she turned her horse another way. 

'You won't turn back. Miss Portman ?' cried Vincent 
eagerly, laying his hand on her bridle. — ' Good Heavens, 
1 away ! — We came here to look at these 
Wcking-stones 1 — We have not half seen them. Lady Anne 
and the children will be here immediately. You would not 
^prive them of the pleasure of seeing these things ! ' 

' I doubt whether they would have much pleasure in seeing 

He of Ihese things ! and as to the rest, if I disappoint the 
children now, Mr. Percival will, perhaps, have the goodness to 
bring them some other day.' 

' Certainly,' said Mr. Percival : ' Miss Portman shows her 



BELINDA 




^^^^TBc children are so good tempered, 

will forgive me,' continued Belinda ; ' and Mr. Vincent will be 
ashamed not to follow their example, though he seems to be 
rather angry with me at present for obliging him to turn back 
— out of the path of danger,' 

' You must not be surprised at that,' said Mr. Pcrcival, 
laughing ; ' for Mr. Vincent is a lover and a hero. You know 
it is a ruled case, in all romances, that when a lover and his 
i' mistress go out riding together, some adventure must befal 
i them. The horse must run away with the lady, and the genlle- 
I man must catch her in his arms just as her neck is about to be 
broken. If the horse has been too well trained for the heroine's 
purpose, " some footpad, bandit fierce, or mountaineer," some 
jealous rival must make his appearance quite unexpectedly at 
the turn of a road, and the lady must be carried off — robes 
flying — hair streaming— like Buerger's Leonora. Then her 
lover must come to her rescue just in the proper moment. But 
if the damsel cannot conveniently be run away with, she must, 
as the last resource, tumble into a river to make herself inter' 
esting, and the hero must be at least half drowned in dra^ng 
her out, that she may be under eternal obligations to him, and 
at last be forced to marry him out of pure gratitude.' 

' Gratitude I ' interrupted Mr. Vincent : 'he Is no hero, to 
I my mind, who would be content with gratitude, instead of 
love.' 

' You need not alann yourself: Miss Portman does not seem 
inclined to put you to the trial, you see,' said Mr. Percival, 
miling. ' Now it is really to be regretted that she deprived 
, you of an opportunity of lighting some of the gentlemen in 
~ ~ i. Freke'a train, or of delivering her from the perilous height 

jne of those rocking-s tones. It wotUd have been a new 
incident in a novel." 

How that poor girl screamed ! ' said Behnda. ' Was her 
terror real or affected ? ' 

' Partly real, partly affected, I fancy,' said Mr. Pcrcival. 

' I pity her,' said Mr. Vincent ; ' for Mrs, Freke leads her 
a weary life.' 

' She is certainly to be pitied, but also to be blamed,' said 
Mr, Percival. 'You do not know her history. Miss Moreion 

1 away from her friends to live with this Mrs. Freke, who 
bas ted her into all kinds of mischief and absurdity. The 




A WEDDING 

is weak and vain, and belie*'es ihat everything tiecoines 
which Mrs. Freke assures her is becoming. At one time she 
s persuaded to go to a public ball with her arms as bare as 
Juno's and Iier feet as naked as Mad. Tallien's. At another 
Moreton (who unfortunately has never heard the 
Greek proverb, that half is belter than the whole) was persuaded 
by Mrs. Freke to lay aside her half boots, and to equip herself 
s whole boots ; and thus she rode about the country, to 
(the amazement of al! the world. These are trifles ; but women 
Iwho love to set the world at defiance in trifles seldom respect 
jits opinion in matters of consequence. Miss Moreton's whole 
'boots in the morning, and her bare feet in the evening, were 
: talked of by everybody, till she gave them more to talk of about 

Rher attachment to a young otBcer. Mrs. Freke, whose philo- 
sophy is professedly latitudinarian in morals, laughed at the 
girl's prejudice in favour of the ceremony of marriage. So did 
the officer, for Miss Moreton had no fortune. It is suspected 
that the young lady did not feci the difficulty, which philo- 
sophers are sometimes said to (ind in suiting their practice to 
their theory. The unenlightened world reprobated the theory 
much, and the practice more. I am inclined, in spite of scandal, 
I think the f>oor girl was only imprudent : at all events, she 
repents her folly too late. She has now no friend upon earth 
but Mrs. Freke, who is, in fact, her worst enemy, and who 
■ tyrannises over her without mercy. Imagine what it is to be 
the butt of a buffoon 1 ' 

' What a lesson to young ladies in the choice of female 
friends 1 ' said Belinda, ' But had Miss Moreton no rela- 
tions, who could interfere to get her out of Mrs. Freke's 
hands ? ' 

' Her father and mother were old, and, what is more con- 
temptible, old-fashioned ; she would not listen to their advice ; 
■she ran away from thera. Some of her relations were, I 
ce, willing that she should stay with Mrs. Freke, because 
»as a dashing, fashionable woman, and they thought it 
might be what is called an advantage to her. She had one 
relation, indeed, who was quite of a different opinion, who saw 
the danger of her situation, and remonstrated in the strongest 
no purpose. This was a cousin of Miss 
Moreton's, a respectable clerg>-man. Mrs. Freke was so 
^Blnuch incensed by his insolent interference, as she was pleased 
259 



BELINDA 

to call it, that she made an effigy of Mr. Moreton dressed in 
his canonicals, and hung the figure up as a scarecrow in a 
garden close by the high road. He was so much beloved and 
respected for his benevolence and unaffected piety, that Mrs. 
Freke totally failed in her design of making him ridiculous ; 
her scarecrow was torn to pieces by his parishioners ; and 
though, in the true spirit of charity, he did all he could to 
moderate their indignation against his enemy, the lady became 
such an object of detestation, that she was followed with hisses 
and groans whenever she appeared, and she dared not venture 
within ten miles of the village. 

* Mrs. Freke now changed the mode of her persecution : she 
was acquainted with a nobleman from whom our clergyman ex- 
pected a living, and she worked upon his lordship so successfully, 
that he insisted upon having an apology made to the lady. Mr. 
Moreton had as much dignity of mind as gentleness of character ; 
his forbearance was that of principle, and so was his firmness : 
he refused to make the concessions that were required. His 
noble patron bullied. Though he had a large family to pro- 
vide for, the clergyman would not degrade himself by any 
improper submission. The incumbent died, and the living was 
given to a more compliant friend. So ends the history of one 
of Mrs. Freke's numerous frolics.' 

*This was the story,' said Mr. Vincent, * which effectually 
changed my opinion of her. Till I heard it, I always looked 
upon her as one of those thoughtless, good-natured people, 
who, as the common saying is, do nobody any harm but 
themselves.' ^^^ 

r * It is difficult in society,' said Mr. Percival, * especially for 

women, to do harm to themselves, without doing harm to 
others. They may begin in frolic, but they must end in 
malice. They defy the world — the world in return excommuni- 
cates them — the female outlaws become desperate, and make 
it the business and pride of their lives to disturb the peace of 
their sober neighbours. Women who have lowered themselves 
in the public opinion cannot rest without attempting to bring 
others to their own level' 

* Mrs. Freke, notwithstanding the blustering merriment that 
I she affects, is obviously unhappy,' said Belinda ; * and since 

we cannot do her any good, either by our blame or our pity, 
we had better think of something else.' 

260 



\ WEDDING 



"1 

to give you jl 



' Scandal,' said Mr. Vincent, ' does not s 
much pleasure. Miss Portman. You will be glad to hear that 
Mrs. Freke's malice against poor Mr. Morcton has not ruined 
him. Do you know, Mr. Percival, that he has just been pre- 
sented to a good living by a generous young man, who heard 
of his excellent conduct ? ' 

'I am extremely glad of it,' said Mr. Percival. 'Who is 
this generous young man ? I should like to be acquainted 

' So should I,' said Mr. Vincent : 'lie is a Mr. Hervey.' 

'Clarence Hervey, perhaps?' 

' Yes, Clarence was his name.' 

' No man more likely to do a generous action than Clarence 
Hen'ey,' said Mr. Percival. 

'Nobody more likely to do a generous action than Mr. 
Hervey,' repealed Belinda, in rather a low tone. She could 
now praise Clarence Hervey without blushing, and she could 
think even of his generosity without partiality, though not with- 
out pleasure. By strength of mind, and timely exertion, she 
had prevented her prepossession from growing into a passion 
that might have made her miserable. Proud of this conquest 
over herself, she was now disposed to treat Mr. Vincent with 
more favour than usual. Self-complacency generally puts us 
in good humour with our friends. 

After spending some pleasant hours in Lord C — — 's beauti- 
ful grounds, where the children explored to their satisfaction 
every dingle and bushy dell, they returned home in the cool of 
the evening, Mr. Vincent thought it the most dehghtfid 
evening he had ever felt. 

' What ! as charming as a West Indian evening ? ' said Mr. 
PercivaL ' This is more than I expected ever to hear you 
acknowledge in favour of England. Do you remember how you 
used (o rave of thp climate and of the prospects of Jamaica ? ' 

' Yes, but my laste has quite changed.' 

' 1 remember the time,' said Mr. Percival, ' when you 
thought it impossible that your taste should ever change ; when 
you told me that taste, whether for the beauties of animate or 
inanimate nature, was immutable.' 

' You and Miss Portman have taught me better sense. First 
loves are generally silly things,' added he, colouring a little. 
Belinda coloured also. 

261 



BELINDA 

inued Mr, Percival, ' are not necessarily 
more foolish than others ; but the chances are certainly against 
them. From poetry or romance, young people usually fonn 
Iheir earlier ideas of love, before they have actually felt the 

passion ; and the image which they have in their own minds of 
the beau idea! is cast upon the first objects they afterward be- 
hold. This, if I may be allowed the expression, is Cupid's 
Fata Morgana. Deluded mortals are in ecstnsy whilst the 
illusion lasts, and in despair when it vanishes.' 

Mr. Percival appeared to be unconscious that what he wal 
saying was any way applicable to Belinda. He addressed 
himself to Mr. Vincent solely, and she listened at her ease. 

' But," said she, ' do not you think that this prejudice, as I 
am willing to allow it to be, in favour of first loves, may it 
sex be advantageous .' Even when a woman may be convinced 
that she ought not to indulge a _first love, should she not be 
prevented by delicacy from thinking of a second?' 

' Delicacy, my dear Miss Porlman, is a charming word, and 
a still more charming thing, and Mrs. Freke has probably 
increased our affection for it ; but even delicacy, like all other 
virtues, must be judged of by the test of utility. We should 
run into romance, and error, and misery, if ive did not c 
stantly refer lo this standard. Our reasonings as to the conduct 
of life, as far as moral prudence is concerned, must depend 
ultimately upon facts. Now, of the numbers of people " 
world, how many do you think have married their Jirst loves f 
Probably not one out of ten. Then, would you have n' 
of ten pine all their lives in celibacy, or fret in matrimony, 
because they cannot have the persons who first struck their 
fancy?' 

' I acknowledge this would not add to the happiness of 
society,' said Belinda. 

' Nor to its virtue,' said Mr. Percival. ' I scarcely know a 
idea more dangerous to domestic happiness than this belief in 
the unextinguishable nature of a first fiame. There are people 
who would persuade us that, though it may be smothered for 
years, it must break out at last, and blaie with destructive fury. 
Pernicious doctrine ! false as it is pernicious l^The struggles 
between duty and passion may be the charm of romance, but 
must be the misery of real life. The woman who marries one 
man, and loves another, who, in spite of all that an amiable and> 
261 



r 



A WEDDIKG 

imable husband can da to win her confidence and afTection, 
nourishes in secret ^ fatal prepossession for her first love, may 
perhaps, by the eloquence of a fine writer, be made an interest- \ 
ing heroine ;— bui would any man of sense or feeling choose to ' 
be troubled with such a wife ?— Would not even the idea that 
women admired such conduct necessarily tend to diminish our 
confidence, if not in their virtue, at least in their sincerity ? 
And would not this suspicion destroy our happiness ? Husbands 
may sometimes have delicate feelings as well as their wives, 
though they are seldom allowed to have any by these unjust V 
novel writers. Noiv, could a husband who has any delicacy be 
content to possess the person without the mind ? — the duty with- 
out the love ? — Could he be perfectly happy, if, in the fondest 
moments, he might doubt whether he were an object of disgust 
or aflTection ? — whether the smiles of apparent joy were only the 
efforts of a suffering martyr? — Thank Heaven! 1 am not 
married to one of these charming martyrs. Let those live with 
them who admire them. For my part, I admire and love the 
wife, who not only seems but is happy — as I,' added Mr. Per- 
cival, smiling, ' have the fond credulity to believe. If I have 
spoken too long or too warmly upon the chapter of first loves, 
I have at least been a perfectly disinterested declaimer ; for I 
can assure you, Miss Portman, that I do not suspect Lady Anne 
I Percival of sighing in secret for some vision of perfection, any 
I more than she suspects me of pining for the charming Lady 
I Delacour, who, perhaps, you may have heard was my first love. 
In these days, however, so few people marry with even the 
pretence to love of any sort, that you will think I might have 
spared this tirade. No ; there are ingenuous minds which will 
never be enslaved by fashion or interest, though they may be 
exposed to be deceived by romance, or by the delicacy of their 
own imag^'nations.' 

' I hear,' said Belinda, smiling, ' I hear and understand the 
emphasis with which you pronounce that word delicacy. I see 
yon have rot forgotten that I used it improperly half an hour 
ago, as you have convinced me.' 

' Happy they,' said Mr. Percival, ' who can be convinced in 
half an hour ! There are some people who cannot be con- 
vinced in a whole life, and who end where they began, with 
saying — " This is my opinion — I always thought so, and always 






BELrNDA 

Mr. Vincent at a.11 times loved Mr. Percival ; but be n 
fell so much affection for him as he did this evening-, and his 
arguments appeared to him unanswerable. Though Belinda 
had never mentioned to Mr. Vincent the name of Clarence 
Hervey till this day, and though he did not in the least s 
pcct from her manner that this gentleman ever possessed any 
interest in her heart ; yet, with her accustomed sincerity, she 
had confessed to him (hat an impression had been made upon 
her mind before she came to Oakly Park. 

After this conversation wiih Mr. Percival, Mr. Vincent 
perceived that he gained ground more rapidly in her &vour; 
and his company grew every day more agreeable to her taste ; 
he was convinced that, as he possessed her esteem, he should 
in time secure her affections. 

' In time,' repeated Lady Anne Percival : ' you must allow 
her time, or you will spoil all.' 

It was with some difficulty that Mr. Vincent restrained his 
impatience, even though he was persuaded of the prudenr 
his friend's advice. Things went on in this happy, but a 
thought slow, state of progression till towards the latter end of 
September. 

One fine morning Lady Anne Percival came into Belinda's 
room with a bridal favour in her hand. ' Do you know,' said 
she, ' that we are to have a wedding to-day f This favoi 
just been sent to my maid. Lucy, the pretty girl whom you 
may remember to have seen some time ago with that prettily 
turned necklace, is the bride, and James Jackson is the bride- 
groom. Mr. Vincent has let them a very pretty little farm 
in the neighbourhood, and — hark ! there's the sound of 

They looked out of the window, and they saw a troop of 
villagers, gaily dressed, going to the wedding. Lady Anne, 
who was always eager to promote innocent festivity, 
immediately to have a tent pitched in the park ; and all the 
rural company were invited to a dance in the evening : 
a very cheerful spectacle. Belinda heard from all sides praises 
of Mr, Vincent's generosity ; and she could not be insensible 
to the simple but enthusiastic testimony which Juba bore tc 
master's goodness. Juba had composed, in his broken dialect, 
a little song in honour of his master, which he sang 1 
banjore with the most touching expression of joyful gralitn 
364 



ill gr atitnde,^^ 

Ji 




A WEDDING 



e of the stanzas Belinda could distinguish that her own 
i frequently repealed. Lady Anne called bim, and 
desired to have the words of this song. They were a mixture 
of English and of his native language ; they described in the 
strongest manner what had been his feelings whilst he was 
under the terror of Mrs. Freke's fiery obeah-woman, then his 
I being relieved from these horrors, with the delightful 
;ions of returning health ; — and thence he suddenly 
passed to his gratitude to Belinda, the person to whom he 
owed his recovery. He concluded with wishing her all sorts of 
I happiness, and, above all, that she might be fortunate in her 
love ; which Juba thought the highest degree of felicity. He 
bad no sooner finished his song, which particularly touched 
and pleased Miss Portman, than he begged his master to oSer 
to her the little instrument, which he had made with much 
pains and ingenuity. She accepted the banjore with a smile 
that enchanted Mr. Vincent ; but at this instant they were 
tartled by the sound of a carriage driving rapidly into the 
park. Belinda looked up, and between the heads of the 
dancers she just caught a glimpse of a well-known livery. 
' Good Heavens I ' she exclaimed, ' Lady Delacour's carriage ! 
— Can it be Lady Delacour?' 

The carriage stopped, and Marriott hastily jumped out of it. 
Belinda pressed forward to meet her ; poor Marriott was in 
great agitation :— ' O Miss Portman 1 my poor lady is very 
-very ill, indeed. She has sent rne for you — here's her 
letter. Dear Miss Portman, 1 hope you won't refuse to come i 
she has been very ill, and is very ill ; but she would be better, 
if she could see you again. But I'll tell everything, ma'am, 
when we are by oiu-selves, and when you have read your 
: letter." 

Miss Portman immediately accompanied Marriott towards 
the house ; and as they walked thither, she learned that Lady 
Delacour had applied to the quack-doctor in whom she had 
h implicit faith, and had in vain endeavoured to engage him 
to perform for her the operation to which she had determined 
o submit. He was afraid to hazard it, and he prevailed upon 
ler to give up the scheme, and to try some new external 
remedy from which he promised wonders. No one knew what 
his medicines were, hut they affected her head in the most 
Slarming manner. 

365 



ler own ^1 



h. 



BELINDA 

her delirium she called frequently upon Mis 
accusing her of the basest treachery, 
addressing her as if she were present, and pouring forth the 
wannest expressions of friendship. ' In her lucid intervals, 
ma'am," continued Marriott, ' she for some weeks scarcely ever 
mentioned your name, nor could bear to hear me meDtion iL 
One day, when 1 was saying how much 1 wished that you were 
with her again, she darted at me tlie most terrible look that 
ever I beheld. 

' " When I am in my grave, Marriott," cried my lady, " it 
will be time enough for Miss Portman again to visit this house, 
and you may then express your attachment to her with more 
propriety than at present." These were my lady's own words 
— 1 shall never forget them : they struck and astonished me, 
ma'am, so much, I stood like one stupefied, and then left the 
room to think them over again by myself, and make sense of 
them, if I could. Well, ma'am, to be sure, it then struck 
me like a fiash of lightning, that my lady was jealous — and, 
begging your pardon, ma'am — of you. This seemed to me 
the most unnatural thing in the world, considering how easy 
my lady had always seemed to be about my lord ; but it was 
now clear to me, that this was the cause of your leaving us so 
suddenly, ma'am. Well, I was confident that Mr. Champfort 
was at the bottom of the business from the first ; and now that 
1 knew what scent to go upon, I went to work. with fresh spirit 
to find him out, which was a thing 1 was determined upon— 
and what I'm determined upon, 1 generally do, ma'am. So I 
put together things about Miss Portman and my lord, that had 
dropped at odd times from Sir Philip Baddely's gentleman ; 
and 1, partly serious and partly flirting, which in a good cause 
drew from him (for he pretends to be a little an 
admirer of mine, ma'am, though I never gave him the sraaileit 
encouragment) all he knew or suspected, or had heard reported, 
or whispered ; and out it came, ma'am, that Mr. Champfort 
was the original of all ; and that he had told a heap of lies 
about some banknotes that my lord had given yoti, and that 
you and my lord were to be married as soon as my lady was 
dead ; and I don't know what, which he maliciously circulated 
through Sir Philip's gentleman to Sir Philip himself, and so 
round again to my lady. Now, Sir Philip's man behaved like 
a gen tleman upon the occasion, which I shall ever be free to 

366 



A WEDDING 

^knowledge and remember : and when I represented things 
properly, and made him sensible of the mischief, which, he 
assured me, was done purely with an eye to serve Sir Philip, 
■, he very candidly offered to assist me to unmask 
that villain Champfon, which he could easily do with the 
I bottles of claret, and a few fair words ; 
which, though I can't abide hypocrisy, I thought quite allowable 
upon such an occasion. So, ma'am, when Mr. Champfort was 
thrown off his guard by the claret. Sir Philip's gentleman 
began to talk of my lord and my iady, and Miss Portman ; 
and he observed that my lord and my lady were coming 
together more than they used to be since Miss Portman left 
the house. To which Champfort replied with an oath, like an 
I uninannered reprobate as he is, and in his gibberish, French 
' and English, which I can't speak ; but the sense of it was this ; 
— " My lord and lady shall never come together, if I can help 
It. It was to hinder this t got Miss Portman banished ; for 
my lord was quite another man after she got Miss Helena into 
the house ; and I don't doubt but he might have been brought 
J leave off his burgundy, and set up for a sober, regular man ; 
which would not suit me at all. If my lady once was to get 
1 again, I might go whistle — so (with another 
reprobate oath) my lord and my lady shall never come together 
again whilst I live.'' 

'Well, ma'am,' continued Marriott, 'as soon as I was in 
possession of this precious speech, I carried it and a letter of 
Sir Philip Baddely's gentleman vouching it to my lady. My 
lady was thunderstruck, and so vexed to have been, as she 
said, a dupe, that she sent for my lord directly, and insisted 
upon his giving up Mr. Champfort. My lord demurred, 
because my lady spoke so high, and said insist. He would 
have done it, I'm satisfied, of his own accord with the greatest 
pleasure, if my lady bad not, as it were, commanded it. But 
he answered at last, "My Lady Delacour, I'm not a man 
) be governed by a wife. — 1 shall keep or part with my own 
srvants in my own house, according to my own pleasure " ; 
and saying so, he left the room. I never saw my lady so 
angry as she was at this refusal of my lord to part with him. 
The house was quite in a stale of distraction for some days, 
r would sit down to the same table, ma'am, with Mr. 
Champfort, nor speak to him, nor look at him, and parties ran 




) much weakened before by the quack medicines and 
convulsions, and all her sufferings in secret. She would not 
see my lord on no account, and Champfort persuaded him h« 
iUness was pretence, to bring him to her purpose ; which 




A WEDDING 

i readily believed, because nobody was evCT^T 
my lady's bedchamber but myself. All this time she r 
mentioned your name, ma'am ; but once, when 1 was sitting 
by her bedside, as she was asleep, she started suddenly, and 
cried out, " O my dearest Belinda I are you come back to 
me ?" — She awakened herself with the start ; and raising her- 
self quite up in her bed, she pulled back the curtains, and 
looked all round the room. I'm sure she expected lo see you; 
and when she found it was a dream, she gave a heai-y sigh, 
and sank do\vn upon her pillow. I then could not forbear to 
speak, and this time my lady was greatly touched when I 

t mentioned your name; — she shed tears, ma'am i and you 
know it is not a little thing that can draw tears from my lady. 
But when 1 said something about sending for you, she 
answered, she was sure you would not return to her, and that 
she would never condescend to ask a favour in vain, even from 
you. Then I replied that I was sure you loved her still, and 
as well as ever ; and that the proof of that was, that Mrs. 
Luttridge and Mrs. Freke together, by all their wiles, could 
not draw you over to their party at Harrowgate, and that you 
had affronted Mrs. Freke by defending her ladyship. My lady 
was all surprise at this, and eagerly asked how I came to know 
Now, ma'am, I had it all by a post letter from Mrs. 
Luttridge's maid, who is my cousin, and knows everything 
' t]iat's going on. My lady from this moment forward could 
1 instant without wishing for you, and fretting for 
you as I knew by her manner. One day my lord met me on 
■ the stairs as 1 was coming down from my poor lady's room, 
and he asked me how she was, and why she did not send for 
a physician. "The best physician, my lord, she could send 
for," said I, " would be Miss Portman ; for shell never be well 
till that good young lady comes back again, in my humble 
opinion." 

"And what should prevent that good young lady from 
coming back again? Not I, surely," rejoined my lord, "for I 
wish she were here with all my heart." 

t easy to suppose, iny lord," said I, " after all 
that has passed, that the young lady would choose to return, 
T that my lady would ask her, whilst Mr. Champfor 
laramount in the house." " If that's all," cried my lord, ' 
n^^bdy I'll part with Champfort upon the spot ; for 



BEUNDA 

Se Insolence to insist upon ti, that a pati 
« boots are not loo tight for me, when I said they were. 
I'll show him 1 can be master, and ivill, in tny own house." 
Ma'am, my heart leaped for joy within me at hearing these 
words, and 1 tan up lo my lady with them. I easily concluded 
in my own mind, that my lord was glad of the pretence of the 
boots, to give up handsomely after his standing out so long. 
To be sure, my lord's mightily jealous of being master, and 
mighty fond of his own way ; but I forgive him everything for 
doing as I would have him at last, and dismissing Ibat prince 
of mischief-makers, Mr. Champfort. My lady called for her 
writing-desk directly, and sat up in her bed, and with her 
trembling hand, as you see by the writing, ma'am, wrote a 
letter to you as last as ever she could, and the postchaise was 
ordered. 1 don't know what fancy seized her— but if you 
remember, ma'am, the hammer-cloth to her new carriage had 
orange and black fringe at first : she would not use it, till this 
had been changed to blue and white. Well, ma'am, she recol- 
lected this on a sudden, as 1 was getting ready to come for 
you ; and she set the servants al work directly to take off the 
blue and white, and put on the black and orange fringe again, 
which she said must be done before your coming. And my 
lady ordered her own footman lo ride along with me ; and I 
have come post, and have travelled night and day, and will 
never rest till I get back. But, ma'am, I won't keep you any 
longer from reading your letter, only to say, that 1 hope to 
Heaven you will not refuse to return to my poor lady, if it be 
only to put her mind at ease before she dies. She cannot 
have long to live.' 

As Marriott finished these words they reached the house, 
and Belinda went to her oivn room to read Lady Delacour's 
letter. It contained none of her customary dloquente du 
billet, no sprightly wit, no real, no affected gaiety ; her mind 
seemed to be exhausted by bodily suffering, and her high spirit 
subdued. She expressed the most poignant anguish for having 
indulged such unjust suspicions and intemperate passions. 
She lamented having forfeited the esteem and affection of the 
only real friend she had ever possessed — a friend of whose for- 
bearance, tenderness, and fidelit)', she had received suc^ indis- 
putable proofs. She concluded by saying, ' I feel my end fast 
approaching, and perhaps, Belinda, your humanity will induce 



RECONCILIATION 

H grant my last request, and to let me see 
I before I die.' 

Belinda immediately decided to return to Lady Deiacour^ — 
I though it was with real regret that she thought of leaving Lady 
2 PercivaJ, and the amiable and happy family to whom she 
[ had become so much attached. The children crowded round 
I her when they heard that she was going, and Mr. Vincent stood 
n silent sorrow — but we spare our readers this parting scene. 
I Miss Portman promised to return to Oaldy Park as soon as she 
I possibly could. Mr. Vincent anxiously requested permission 
D follow her (o town ; but this she positively refused ; and he 
' submitted with as good a grace as a lover can submit to any- 
thing that crosses his passion. 



CHAPTER XX 



RECONCILIATION 

Aware that her remaining in town at such an unusual season 
of the year would appear unaccountable to her fashionable 
acquaintance. Lady Delacour contrived for herself a character- . 
istic excuse; she declared that there was no possibility of | 
finding pleasure in anything but novelty, and that the greatest ^ 
novelty to her would be to remain a whole summer in town. | 
Most of her friends, amongst whom she had successfully I 
established a character for caprice, were satisfied that this was 
merely some new whim, practised to signalise herself by singu- 
larity. The real reason that detained her was her dependence 
upon the empiric, who had repeatedly visited and constantly 
prescribed for her. Convinced, however, by the dreadful 
situation to which his prescriptions had lately reduced her, 
that he was unworthy of her confidence, she determined to 
dismiss him : but she could not do this, as she had a consider- 
able sum to pay him, till Marriott's return, because she could 
not trust any one but Marriott to let him up the private staircase 
into the boudoir. 

During Marriott's absence, her ladyship suffered no one to 
attend her but a maid who was remarkable for her stupidity. 




BELINDA 

t she could have nothing to fear from this 
girl's spirit of inquiry, for never was any human being s 
destitute of curiosity. It was about noon when Behnda and 
Marriott arrived. Lady Delacour, who had passed a restless 
night, was asleep. When she awoke, she found Marriott 
standing beside her bed. 

' Then it is all in vain, I see,' cried her ladyship : 
Portraan is not with you ?— Gi\e inc my laudanum.' 

'Miss Portman is come, my lady,' said Marriott; ' 
in the dressing-room : she would not come in here with me, 
lest she should startle you.' 

' Belinda is come, do you say ? Admirable Belinda ! ' cried 
Lady Delacour, and she clasped her hands with ecstasy. 

' Shall I tell her, my lady, that you are awake ? ' 

' Yes — -no — stay — Lord Delacour is at home. 1 will get 
up immediately. Let my lord be told that I wish to speak , 
with him — that I beg he will breakfast with me in my dressing- 
room half an hour hence. 1 wi!l dress immediately.' | 

Marriott in vain represented that she ought not to hurry 
herself in her present weak state. Intent upon her own 
thoughts, she listened to nothing that was said, but frequently 
urged Marriott to he expeditious. She put on an unusual 
quantity of rouge ; then looking at herself in the glass, she 
said, with a forced smile, ' Marriott, I look so charmingly, that 
Miss Portman, perhaps, tt-ill be of Lord Delacour's opinion, 
and think that nothing is the matter with me. Ah ! no ; she 
has been behind the scenes — she knows the truth too well ! 
Marriott, pray did she ask you many questions about me ? — 
Was not she very sorry to leave Oakiy Park ?— Were not they 
all extremely concerned to part with her ? — Did she ask after 
Helena? — Did you lell her that I insisted upon my lord's 
parting with Champfort ?' 

At the word Champfort, Marriott's mouth opened eagerly, 
and she began to answer with her usual volubility. Lady 
Delacour waited not for any reply to the various questions 
which, in the hurry of her mind, she had asked ; but, passing 
swiftly by Marriott, she threw open the door of her dressing- 
At the sight of Belinda she stopped short ; and, totally 
overpowered, she would have sunk upon the floor, had r 
Miss Portman caught her in her arms, and supported her Ic 
, s«&. When she came to herself and heard the soothiiy 





RECONCILIATION 

^da's voice, she looked up timidly in her face for 
moments without being able to speak. 

And are you really here once more, my dear Belinda?' 
cried she at last ; 'and may I still call you my friend f^atid 
do you forgive me ? — Yes, I see you do — and from you I can 
endure the humiliation of being forgiven, Enjoy [he noble 
sense of your own superiority.' 

' My dear Lady Delacour,' said Belinda, 'yon see a!i this in 
too strong a light : you have done me no injury — I have 
nothing to forgive.' 

' I cannot see it in too strong a light— Nothing to forgive I 
— Yes, you have ; that which ii is the most difficult to forgive 
— injustice. Oh, how you must have despised me for the 
folly, the meanness of my suspicions! Of al l leniBErs that 
which appears to me, and I am sure to you, tlie.mjjst despic- 
able, the mos t intolerable, is a saspjciQUS temper. Mine was 
lonce open, generous as your own^ — you see how the best 
Idispiositions may be depraved — what am I now ? Fit only 
) 'To point a moral, or adorn a tale — 

a mismatched, misplaced, miserable, perverted being.' 

' And now you have abused yourself till you are breatliless, 
I may have some chance,' said Belinda, ' of being heard in 
your defence. 1 perfectly agree with you in thinking that a 
suspicious temper is despicable and intolerable ; but there is a 
vast difference between an acute lit of jealousy, as our friend 

Dr. X would say, and a chronic habit of suspicion. The 

noblest natures may be worked up to suspicion by designing 
villany ; and then a handkerchief, or a hammer-cloth, " trifles 

as light as air"^ ' 

'Oh, my dear, you are too good. But my folly admits of 
no excuse, no palliation,' interrupted Lady Delacour i 'mine 
was jealousy without love.' 

' That indeed would admit of no excuse,' said Belinda ; 
'therefore you will pardon me if I think it incredible — 
especially as I have detected you in feeling something like 
affection for your liftle daughter, after you had done your best, 
your worst, to make me believe that you were a 
mother.' 
That was quite another affair, my dear. I did not know 
Helena was worth loving, I did not imagine my little 
273 




^ 



BELINDA 

daughter could love me. When I found my mistake, I 
changed my tone. Dm there is no hope of mistake with my 
poor husband. Vour own sense must show you thai Lord 
Delacour is not a man to be loved.' 

■ That could not always have been your ladyship's opinion,' 
said Belinda, witb an arch smile. 

' Lord 1 my dear," said Lady Delacour, a little embarrassed, 
' in the highest paroxysm of my madness, I never suspected 
that you could lo^'t Lord Delacour ; I surely only hinted that 
you were in love with his coronet. That was absurd enough 
in all conscience — don't make me more absurd than I am.' 

' Is it then the height of absurdity to love a husband ? ' 

' Love I Nonsense 1— Impossible I — Hush ! here he comes, 
with his odious creaking shoes. What man can ever expea to 
be loved who wears creaking shoes ?' pursued her ladyship, as 
Lord Delacour entered the room, his shoes creaking at every 
step ; and assuming an air of levity, she welcomed him as a 
stranger to her dressing-room. 'No speeches, my lord! no 
speeches, I beseech you,' cried she, as he was beginning to 
speak to Miss Portman. ' Believe me, that explanations 
always make bad worse. Miss Portman is here, thank 
Heaven ! and her ; and Champfort is gone, thank you — or 
your boots. And now let us sit down to breakfast, and forget 
as soon as possible everything that is disagreeable." 

When Lady Delacour had a mind to banish painful recollec- 
tions, it was scarcely possible to resist the magical influence of 
her conversation and manners ; yet her lord's features never 
relaxed to a smile during this breakfast. He maintained an 
obstinate silence, and a profound solemnity — till at last, rising 
from table, he turned to Miss Portman, and said, 'Of all the 
caprices of fine ladies, that which surprises me the most is the 
whim of keeping their beds without being sick. Now, Miss 
Portman, you would hardly suppose that my Lady Delacour, 
who has been so hvely this morning, has kept her bed, as I 
am informed, a fortnight — is not this astonishing?' 

' Prodigiously astonishing, that my Lord Delacoiu', like all 
the rest of the world, should be liable to be deceived by appear- 
ances,' cried her ladyship. ' Honour me with your attention 
for a few minutes, my lord, and perhaps I may increase your 
astonishment.' 

H^grd^^^U^^by the sudden change of her voice from 

in 




RECONCILIATION 



gaiety to gravity, fixed his eyes upon her and returned 
seat. She paused — then addressing herself to Belinda, 'My 
incomparable friend,' said she, ' I wiU now give you a convinc- 
ing proof of the unlimited power you have over my mind. My 
lord. Miss Portman has persuaded me to the step which I am 
now going to take. She has prevailed upon me to make a 
decisive trial of your prudence and kindness. Slie has deter- 
;d me to throw myself on your mercy.' 
Mercy ! ' repeated Lord Delacour ; and a confused idea, 
she was now about to make a confession of the justice of 
e of his former suspicions, took possession of his mind ; 
looked aghast. 

' I am going, my lord, to confide lo you a secret of the 
iJCmost importance — a secret which is known to but three 
nple in the world — Miss Portman, Marriott, and a man 

rse name I cannot reveal to you.' 
Stop, Lady Delacour ! ' cried his lordship, with a degree of 
(notion and energy which he had never shown till now : ' stop, 
conjure, I command you, madam ! I am not sufficiently 
aster of myself — I once loved you too well to bear such a 
roke. Trust me with no such secret — say no more- — you 
ive said enough — too much. 1 forgive you, that is all 1 can 
I : but we must part. Lady Delacour I ' said he, breaking 
Om her with agony expressed in his countenance. 

' The man has a heart, a soul, I protest I Vou knew him 
Itler than I did, Miss Portman. Nay, you are not gone yet, 
iy lord I You really love me, [ find.' 

' No, no, no,' cried he vehemently ; ' weak as you take me 
be. Lady Delacour, I am incapable of loving a woman who 
s disgraced me, disgraced herself, her family, her station, 

X high endowments, her ' His utterance failed. 

'O Lady Delacour]' cried Belinda, 'how can you trifle 
this manner?' 

' I meant not,' said her ladyship, ' to trifle : I am satisfied. 
By lord, it is time that you should be satisfied. 1 can give 
OD the most irrefragable proof, that whatever may have been 
apparent levity of my conduct, you have had no serious 
.e for jealousy. But the proof will shock — disgust you. 
e you courage to know more ? — Then follow me.' 
ie followed her. — Belinda heard the boudoir door unlocked. 
1 a few minutes they returned. — Grief and horror 
275 



tohb I 

, 'My 



jU 



RECONCILIATION 

pity were painted in Lord Delacoiir's i 
passed hastily through the room. 

' My dearest friend, I have taken your advice ; would to 
Heaven I had taken it sooner!' said Lady Dclacour to Miss 
Portman. ' I have revealed to Lord Delacour my real s' 
tion. Poor man ! he was shocked beyond expression. He 
behaved incomparably well. I am convinced that he would, 

he said, let his hand be cut off to save my life. The 

oient his foolish jealousy was extinguished, his love for me 
revived in full force. Would you believe it ? he has promised 
break witli odious Mrs. Luttridge. Upon my charging 
him to keep my secret from her, he instantly, in the handsomest 
manner in the world, declared he would never see her more, 
rather than give me a moment's uneasiness. How I reproach 
myself for having been for years the torment of this man's life I ' 

' You may do better than reproach yourself, my dear Lady 
Delacour,' said Belinda ; ' you may yet live for years to be the 
blessing and pride of his life. I am persuaded that nothing , 
but your despair of obtaining domestic happiness has so long 
enslaved you to dissipation ; and now that you find a friend in 
your husband, now that you know the affectionate temper of 
your little Helena, you will have fresh views and fresh hopes ; 
you will have the courage to live for yourself, and not for what 
is called the world.' 

' The world I ' cried Lady Delacour, with a tone of disdain ; 
'how long has that word enslaved a soul formed for higher 
purposes 1 ' She paused, and looked up towards heaven with 
an expression of fervent devotion, which Belinda had once, and 
but once, before seen in her countenance. Then, as if forget- 
ful even that Belinda was present, she threw herself upon a . 
Khfa, and fell, or seemed to fall, into a profound reverie. She 
■was roused by the entrance of Marriott, who came into the 
room to ask whether she would now take her laudanum. ' 1 
thought I had taken it,' said she in a feeble voice i and as she 
raised her eyes and saw Behnda, she added, with a faint smile, 
'Miss Portman, I believe, has been laudanum to mc this 
morning : but even that will not do long, you see ; nothing 
■will do for me now but this,' and she stretched out her hand 
for the laudanum. ' Is not it shocking to think,' continued she, 
after she had swallowed it, ' that in laudanum alone I find the 
sieans of supporting existence ? ' 
377 



BELINDA 

She put her hand to her head, as if partly conscious of the 
confusion of her own ideas : and ashamed that Belinda should 
witness it, she desired Marriott to assist her to rise, and to 
support her to her bedchamber. She made a sign to Miss 
Portman not to follow her. * Do not take it imkindly, but I 
am quite exhausted, and wish to be alone ; for I am grown 
fond of being alone some hours in the day, and perhaps I 
shall sleep.' 

Marriott came out of her lady's room about a quarter of an 
hour afterward, and said that her lady seemed disposed to sleep, 
but that she desired to have her book left by her bedside. 
Marriott searched among several which lay upon the table, for 
one in which a mark was put. Belinda looked over them 
along with Marriott, and she was surprised to find that they 
had almost all methodistical titles. Lady Delacour's mark was 
in the middle of Wesley's Admonitions. Several pages in 
other books of the same description Miss Portman found 
marked in pencil, with reiterated lines, which she knew to be 
her ladyship's customary mode of distinguishing passages 
that she particularly liked. Some were highly oratorical, but 
most of them were of a mystical cast, and appeared to Belinda 
scarcely intelligible. She had reason to be astonished at 
meeting with such books in the dressing-room of a woman of 
Lady Delacour's character. During the solitude of her illness, 
fher ladyship had first begun to think seriously on religious 
i subjects, and the early impressions that had been made on her 
j mind in her childhood, by a methodistical mother, recurred. 
Her understanding, weakened perhaps by disease, and never 
accustomed to reason, was incapable of distinguishing between 
truth and error ; and her temper, naturally enthusiastic, hurried 
her from one extreme to the other — from thoughtless scepticism 
*to visionary credulity./ Her devotion was by no means steady 
or permanent ; it came on by fits usually at the time when the 
effect of opium was exhausted, or before a fresh dose began to 
operate. In these intervals she was low-spirited — ^bitter reflec- 
tions on the manner in which she had thrown away her talents 
and her life obtruded themselves ; the idea of the untimely 
death of Colonel Lawless, of which she reproached herself as 
the cause, returned; and her mind, from being a prey to 
remorse, began to sink in these desponding moments under the 
most dreadful superstitious terrors — terrors the more powerful 

27^ 



RECONCIUATION 

tliey were secret. Whilst the stimulus of laudanum lasted, 
; train of her ideas always changed, and she was amaicd at 
the weak fears and strange notions by which she had been 
disturbed ; yet it was not in her power entirely to chase away 
of the night, and they gained gradually a 
dominion over her, of which she was heartily ashamed. She 
resolved to conceal this -weakness, as in her gayer moments 
she thought it, from Belinda, from whose superior strength 
of understanding she dreaded ridicule or contempt. Her ex- 
perience of Miss Portman's gentleness and friendship might 
reasonably have prevented or dispelled such apprehensions ; 
Lady Delacour was governed by pride, by sentiment, by 
whim, by enthusiasm, by passion — by anything but reason. 

When she began to revive after her fit of languor, and had 
been refreshed by opium and sleep, she rang for Marriott, and 
inquired for Belinda. She was much provoked when Marriott, 
by way of proving to her that Miss Portman could not have 
been tired of being left alone, told her that she had been in 
the dressing-room rummaging oiier the books. 

What books f ' cried Lady Delacour. ' I forgot that they 
were left there. Miss Portman is not reading them still, I 
suppose ? Go for them, and let them be locked up in my own 
bookcase, and bring me the key.' 

ladyship appeared in good spirits when she saw Belinda 

again. She rallied her upon the serious studies she had chosen 

for her morning's amusements. ' Those inethodistical books, 

th their strange quaint titles,' said she, 'are, however, 

diverting enough to those who, like myself, can find diversion 

the height of human absurdity.' 

Deceived by the levity of her manner, Belinda concluded 
that the marks of approbation in these books were ironical, and 
thotjght no more of the matter ; for Lady Delacour 
suddenly gave a new turn to the conversation by exclaiming', 
Now we talk of the height of human absurdity, what are wo 
o think of Clarence Hervey ? ' 

' Why should we think of him at all ? ' said Belinda. 
' For two excellent reasons, my dear ; because we cannot 
bclp it, and because he deserves it. Yes, he deserves it, 
believe me, if it were only for having written these charming 
letters,' said Lady Delacour, opening a cabinet, and taking out 
4 Slnail packet of tetters, which she put into Belinda's hands. 
279 



BELINDA 

' Pray read them ; you will find them amaiingly edifying, as 
well as entertaining. I protest I am only puzzled to know 
whether I shall bind thejrt up with Sterne's Seniiiiunlai 
Journey or Fordyce's Sermons for Young Women. Here, my 
love, if you like description,' continued her ladyship, opening 
one of the letters, ' here is a. Radclifiean tour along the pictur- 
esque coasts of Dorset and Devonshire. Why he went this 
tour, unless for the pleasure and glory of describing it, Heaven 
knows ! Clouds and darkness rest over the tourist's private 
history : but this, of course, renders his letters more piquant 
and interesting. All who have a just taste either for literature 
or for gallantry, know how much we are indebted to the obscure 
_i!aLlhfi-siiiilime ; and orators and lovers feel what felicity there 
is in the use of the fine figure of suspension.' 

' Very good description, indeed ! ' said Belinda, without 
raising her eyes from the letter, or seeming to pay any attention 
to the latter part of Lady Delacour's speech ; ' very good 
description, certainly ! ' 

' Well, my dear ; but here is something better than pure 

1 description — here is sense for you ; and pray mark the polite- 
ness of addressing sense to a woman— to a woman of sense, I 
mean — and which of us is not ? Then here is sentiment for 
you,' continued her ladyship, spreading another letter before 
Belinda ; ' a story of a Dorsetshire lady, who had the misfor- 
tune to be married to a man as unlike Mr. Percival, and as 
like Lord Delacour as possible ; and yet, oh, wonderfiU I they 
make as happy a couple as one's heart could wish. Now, I 
am truly candid and good-natured to admire this letter ; for 
every word of it is a lesson to me, and evidently was so 
intended. But I take it all in good part, because, to do 
Clarence justice, he describes the joys of domestic Paradise in 
such elegant language, that he does not make me sick. In 
short, my dear Belinda, to finish my panegyric, as it has been 
said of some other epistles, if ever there were letters calculated 
to make you &11 in love with the writer of them, these are 
they. 

'Then,' said Miss Portman, folding up the letter which she 
was just going to read, ' 1 will not run the hazard of reading 

' Why, my dear,' said Lady Delacour, with a look of' 
mingled co aceni, reproach, and raillerj', 'have you a ctuaP] " 




RECONCILUTION 

[grvea up my poor Ciarence, mcrd)- on account of this n 

■ood, this Virginia St. Pietrc? Nonsense ! Begging 
your pardon, my dear, the man loves you. Some entasgle- 
meot, some punctilio, some doubt, some delicacy, some folly, 
prevents him from being just at this moment, where, I confess, 
he ought to be — at your feet ; and you, out of patience, which 
a youQg lady ought oe^-er to be if she can help it, u-iU go and 
marry — I know you will — some stick of a rival, purely to 
provoke hitn.' 

' If ever I marry,' said Belinda, with a look of proud 
humility, ■ I shall certainly marry to please myself, and not to 
provoke anybody else ; and, at all events, I hope I shall never 
marry a stick.' 

' Pardon me that word,' said Lady Delacour. ' I am 
convinced you never will — but one is apt to judge of others 

by one's self. 1 am willing to believe that Mr. Vincent ' 

. ' Mr- Vincent ! How did you know— — ' exclaimed 
Belinda. 

' How did 1 know ? Why, my dear, do you think I am so 
little interested about you, that I have not found out some of 
your secrets ? And do you think that Marriott could refrain 
from telling me, in her most triumphant tone, that " Miss Port- 
man has not gone to Oakly Park for nothing ; that she has 
made a conquest of a Mr. Vincent, a West Indian, a ward, or 
lately a ward, of Mr. Percival's, the handsomest man that ever 
was seen, and the richest, etc. etc. etc. ? " Now simple I 
rejoiced at the news ; for I took it for granted you would never 
seriously think of marrying the man.' 

'Then why did your ladyship rejoice?' 

' Why ? Oh, you novice at Cupid's chess-board ! do not 
you see the next move ? Check with your new knight, and the 
game is your own. Now, if your aunt Stanhope saw your look 
at this instant, she would give you up for ever — if she have not 
done that already. In plain, unmetaphorical prose, then, 
cannot you comprehend, my straightforward Belinda, that if 
you make Clarence Hervcy heartily jealous, let the impediments 
to your union be what they may, he will acknowledge himself 
to be heartily in love with you ? I should make no scruple of 
frightening him within an inch of his life, for his good. Sir 
Philip Baddely was not the man to frighten him ; but this Mr. 
Vincent, by all accounts, is just the thing.' 



BELINDA 



' And do you imagine that 1 could use Mr. Vincent 
ill ? — And can you think me capable of such double dealing 

' Oh t in love and war, you know, all stratagems are alk 
able. But you take the matter so seriously, and you redden 
with such virtuous indignation, that I dare not say a word 
more — only— may 1 ask— are you absolutely engaged to Mr. 
Vincent ? ' 

' No. We have had the prudence to avoid all promises, all 
engagements.' 

' There's my good girl ! ' cried Lady Delacour, kissing her : 
' all may yet turn out well. Read those letters — take them to 
your room, read them, read them ; and depend upon it, my 
dearest Belinda ! you are not the sort of woman that will, that 
can be happy, if you make a mere match of convenience; 
Forgive me — I love you too well not to speak the truth, though 
it may offend for a moment.' 

'You do not offend, but you misunderstand me," said 
Belinda. ' Have patience with me, and you shall find that 1 
am incapable of making a mere match of convenience.' 

Then Miss Portman gave Lady Delacour a simple but full 
account of all that had passed at Oakly-Park relative to Mr. 
Vincent. She repeated the arguments by which Lady Anne 
Percival had first prevailed upon her to admit of Mr. Vincent's 
addresses. She said, that she had been convinced by Mr. 
Percival, that the omnipotence of a first love was an idea 
/ founded in error, and realised only in romance; and that to 
believe that none could be happy in marriage, except with the 
first object of their fancy or their affections, would be an error 
pernicious to individuals and to society. When she detailed 
the arguments used by Mr. Percival on this subject, Lady 
Delacour sighed, and observed that Mr. Percival was certainly 
right, judging from his own experience^ to declaim agaitist the 
folly o^ first loves; 'and for the same reason,' added she, 
'perhaps I may be pardoned if I retain some prejudice in 
their favour.' She turned aside her head to hide a starttng 
I tear, and here the conversation dropped. Belinda, recollecting 
the circumstances of her ladyship's early history, reproached 
herself for having touched on this tender subject, yet at the 
same time she felt with increased force, at this moment, the 
justice of Mr, Perctval's observations ; for, evidently, the hold' 
^ich this prejudice had kept ia Lady Delacom^s 
2&a 



I 



> mind ha^l 



RECONCILIATION 

I materially injured her happiness, by making her neglect, a 
her marriage, all the means of content that were in her reach. 
Her incessant comparisons between her first love and her 
husband excited perpetual contempt and disyust in her mind 
for her wedded lord, and for rnany years precluded all percep- 
tion of his good qualities, all desire to live with him upon good 
terms, and all idea of securing that share of domestic happiness 
that was actually in her power. Belinda resolved at some 
fiiture moment, whenever she could, with propriety and with 
effect, to suggest these reflections to Lady Delacour, and in 
the meantime she was determined to turn them to her own 
advantage. She perceived that she should have need of all her ] 
Steadiness to preserve her judgment unbiassed by her ladyship's 
wit and persuasive eloquence on the one hand, and on the 
other by her own high opinion of Lady Anne Percival's 
judgment, and the anJiious desire she felt to secure her 
approbation. The letters from Clarence Hervey she read at 
night, when she retired to her own room ; and they certainly 
raised not only Belinda's opinion of his talents, but her esteem 
for his character. She saw that he had, with great address, 
made use of the influence he possessed over Lady Delacour, to 
turn her mind to everything that could make her amiable, 
estimable, and happy — she saw that Clarence, so far from 
.attempting, for the sake of his own vanity, to retain his pre- 
eminence in her ladyship's imagination, used on the contrary 
'his utmost skill' to turn the tide of her affections toward her 
husband and her daughter. In one of his letters, and but in 
one, he mentioned Belinda. He expressed great regret in 
.hearing from Lady Delacour that her friend, Miss Portman, was 
no longer with her. He expatiated on the inestimable advant- 
ages and happiness of having such a friend — but this referred 
to Lady Delacour, not to himself. There was an air of much 
respect and some embarrassment in all he said of Belinda, 
but nothing like love. A few words at the end of this para- 
graph were cautiously obliterated, however ; and, without any 
obvious link of connection, the writer began a new sentence 
with a general reflection upon the folly and imprudence of 
(ibrming romantic projects. Then he enumerated some of the 
various schemes he had formed in his early youth, and humor- 
ously recounted how they had failed, or how they had been 
■abandoned. Afterward, changing his tone from playful 'v ' 




BELINDA 

s philosophy, he observed the Lhauges which the^^ 
periments had made in his own character. 

' My friend, Dr. X ■,' said he, ' divides mankind i 

three classes : those who learn from the experience of others — 
they are happy men ; those who learn from their own experience 
— they are wise men ; and, lastly, those who learn neither from. 
their own nor from other people's experience— they : 
This class is by far the largest. I am content,' continued 
Clarence, 'to be in the middle class — perhaps you will say 
because 1 cannot be in the first : however, were it in my power 
to choose my own character, I should, forgive me the seeming' 
vanity of the speech, still be content to remain in my present 
station upon this principle — the characters of those who are 
taught by their own experience must be progressive in know- 
ledge and virtue. Those who learn from the experience of 
others may become stationary, because they must depend for 
their progress on the experiments that we brave volunteers, at 
whose espense they are to live and learn, are pleased to try. 
There may be much safety in thus snugly fighting, or rather 
seeing the battle of life, behind the broad shield of a s 
warrior ; yet it seems to me to be rather an ignominious than 
an enviable situation. 

' Our friend, Dr. X^ -, would laugh at my insisting i 

being amongst the class of learners by their own experience. 
He would ask me, whether it be the ultimate end of my philo- 
sophy to try experiments, or to be happy. And what answer 
should I make ? 1 have none ready. Common s 
me in the face, and my feelings, even at this instant, alas i 
confute my system. I shall pay too dear yet for some of my 
experiments. "Sois grand homme, et sois malheureux," is, I 
am afraid, the law of nature, or rather the decree of the world. . 
Your ladyship will not read this without a smile ; for yoti will 

mediately infer, that I think myself a great man ; and as I dft- 
' test hypocrisy yet more than vanity, I shall not deny the charge. 
At all events, I feel that 1 am at present — however gaily I talk 



— in as fair a way to be u 
i earnest, the greatest m 
t respectful admirer, and s 



ihappy for life, a 
.n in Europe. 



)ur ladyshii/S 



' Clarence Hervev. 



*P.S. — is there any hope that your friend, Mis; 



^^raough L 



RECONCILIATION 



lOugh Lady Delacour had been much fatigued by the 
of her spirits during the day, she sat up at night lo 

to Mr. Hcn-ey, Her love and gratitude to Miss Portman 
;d her most warmly for her happiness, and she was 
persuaded that the most effectual way to secure it would he to 
promote her union with hsr Jirsl love. Lady DelacouT, who 
had also the best opinion of Clarence Hervey, and the most 
friendship for him, thought she was likewise acting 
highly for his interest ; and she felt that she had some merit in 
parting with him from the train of her admirers, and 
urginS him to become a dull, married man. Besides these 
generous motives, she was, perhaps, a little influenced by 
jealousy of the superior power which Lady Anne Pereival had 

short a time acquired over Belinda's mind. ' Strange,' 
thought she, 'if love and 1 he not a match for Lady Anne 
Pereival and reason 1 ' To do Lady Delacour justice, it must 
be observed, that she took the utmost care in her letter not to 
commit her friend ; she wrote with all the delicate address of 
which she was mistress. She began by rallying her corre- 
spondent on his indulging himself so charmingly in t^e 
melanekoly cf giniiis; and she prescribed as a cure lo her 
tHolfteureux imaginaire, as she called him, those joys of 
domestic life which he so well knew how to paint. 

' Pr^cepte commence, exemple aekive,' said her ladyship. 
Vou will never see me lafemme comme il y en a peu, till I see 
you le ban mart. Belinda Porlman has this day returned to 
me from Oakly Park, fresh, blooming, wise, and gay, as 
country air, flattery, philosophy, and love can make her. It 
aeems that she has had full employment for her head and heart. 
Pereival and Lady Anne, by right of science and reason, 
lia.ve taken possession of the head, and a Mr. Vincent, their 
ci-devant ward and declared favourite, has laid close siege to 
the heart, of which he is in a fair way, I think, to take posses- 
sion, by the right of conquest. As far as I can understand — 
for I have not yet seen le futur — he deserves ray Belinda ; for 
besides being as handsome as any hero of romance, ancient or 
modem, he has a soul in which neither spot nor blemish can 
be found, except the amiable weakness of being desperately in 
love — a weakness which we ladies are apt to prefer to the 
most philosophic stoicism : apropos of philosophy — wc may pre- 

that notwithstanding Mr. V is a Creole, he has been 



BELINDA 



I bred up by his guardian in ihe class of men who learn by the 
experience of others. As such, according to your systeni, he 

] has a right to expect to be a happy man, has not he f Accord- 
ing to Mrs. Stanhope's system, I am sure that he has ; for his 
thousands and tens of thousands, as I am credibly informed, 
pass the comprehension of the numeration table. 

' But these will weigh not a grain in the estimation of her 
truly disinterested and noble-minded niece. Mrs. Stanhope 
knows nothing of Mr. Vincent's proposals ; and it is well for 
him she dnes not, for her worldly good word would i 
whole. Not so as to Lady Anne and Mr. Percival's appro- 
bation—their opinion is all in all with my friend. How they 
have contrived it, I know not, but they have gained over 
Belinda's mind a degree of power almost equal to parental 
authority ; so you may guess that the doubtful beam will not 
much longer nod from side to side ; indeed it seems to me 
scarcely necessary to throw in the sword of authority to turn 

I the scale. 

' If you can persuade yourself to finish your picturesque tour 
before the ides of the charming month of November, do, my 
dear Clarence ! make haste and come back to us in time for 
Belinda's wedding — and do not forget my commission about 
the Doisetshire angel ; bring me one in your right hand with 
a gold ring upon her taper finger — so help you, Cupid ! or 
never more expect a smile from your sincere friend and 
admirer, T. C. H. Delacour. 

^ P.S. — Observe, my good sir, that I am not in such a 
desperate hurry to congratulate you on your marriage, that 1 
should be satisfied with an ordinary Mrs. Hervey : so do not, 
under pretence of obliging me, or for any other consideration, 
yoke yourself to some damsel that you will be ashamed to pro- 
duce. For one woman worthy to be Clarence Hervey's wife, I 
have seen, at a moderate computation, a hundred fit to be his 
mistress. If he should, on this subject, mistake \\icfitnesi of 
things or of persons, he would indeed be in a fair way to be 
unhappy for life. 

' The substance of a lady's letter, it has been said, always is 
comprised in the postscript.' 



After Lady Delacour had finished this letter, which she had 
toubl would bring Clarence immediately J ' "" 




■ RECONCILIATION 

left it with Marriott, with orders to have it sent by tbc uexf 
post. Much fatigued, she then retired to rest, and va; 
visible the next day till near dinner-time. When Miss Ponman 
returned the packet of Mr. Hervey's letters, her ladyship v 
dissatisfied with the measured terms of Belinda's approbation, 
and she said, vnth a sarcastic smile, ' So, they have made a 
complete philosopher of you at Oakly Park I You are perfect 
in the first lesson — not to admire. And is the torch of Cupid \ 
to be extinguished on the altar of Reason ? ' ] 

' Rather to be lighted there, if possible,' said Belinda i and I 
she endeavoured to turn the conversation to what she thought 
must be more immediately interesting to Lady Delaeour— her 
own health. She assured her, with perfect truth, that she was 
at present more intent upon her situation than upon Cupid or 

' 1 believe you, my generous Belinda ! ' said Lady Delaeour ; 
' and for that very reason I am interested in your affairs, I 
am afraid, even to the verge of impertinence. May I ask why 
this preux cluvalier of yours did not attend you, or follow you 
lo town ? ' 

' Mr. Vincent ? — He knew that I came to attend your lady- 
ship. I told him that you had been confined by a nervous 
fever, and that it would be impossible for me to see him at 
present ; but I promised, when you could spare me, to return 
to Oakly Park.' 

Lady Delaeour sighed, and opened Clarence Hen-ey's letters 
one after another, looking over them without seeming well to 
know what she was about. Lord Delaeour came into the room 
whilst these letters were still in her hand. He had been 
absent since the preceding morning, and he now seemed as if 
he were just come home, much fatigued. He began in a tone 
of great anxiety to inquire after Lady Delacour's health. She 
was piqued at his having left home at such a time, and, merely 
bowing her head to him, she went on reading. His eyes 
glanced upon the letters which she held in her hand ; and 
when he saw the well-known writing of Clarence Hen'ey, his 
manner immediately altered, and, stammering out some com- 
monplace phrases, he threw himself into an arm-chair by the 
fireside, protesting that he was tired to death — that he was 
half dead- — that he had been in a post-chaise for three hours, 
which he hated — had ridden fifty miles since yesterday; and 

287 



BELINDA 

e muttered that he was a fool for his pains — an observation 
which, though it reached her ladyship's ears, she did not think 
proper to contradict. 

His lordship had then recourse to his watch, his never- 
failing friend in need, which he always pulled out with ii 
particular jerk when he was vexed. 

' It is time for me to be gone — I shall be late at Studley's.' 

' You dine with his lordship then ? ' said Lady Delacour, in 
a caieless tone. 

' Ves ; and his good burgundy, I hope, will wind me up 
again,' said he, stretching himself, ' for I am quite down.' 

' Quite down ? Then we may conclude that my friend Mrs. 
Lutlridge is not yet come lo Raiilipole, Rantipole, my dear,' 
continued Lady Delacour, turning to Miss Portman, ' is the 
name of Harriot Freke's villa in Kent. However strange it 
may sound to your ears and mine, I can assure you the name 
has made for/line amongst a certain description of wits. And 
candour must allow that, if not elegant, it is appropriate ; it 
gives a just idea of the manners and way of life of the place, 
for everything at Rantipole is rantipole. But I am really con- 
cerned, my lord, you should have ridden yourself down in this 
way for nothing. Why did not you get better intelligence 
before you set out ? I am afraid you feel the loss of Champfort 
Why did not you contrive to learn for certain, my dear good 
lord, whether ihe Lutlridge was at Rantipole, before you set 
out on this wild-goose-chase ? ' 

' My dear good lady,' replied Lord Delacour, assuming 
degree of spirit which startled her as much as it became him, 
'why do you not get better intelligence before you suspect mft. 

I of being a brute and a liar? Did not I promise you yesterday, 
that I would break with ihe Lutlridge, as you call her? and ho* 
could you imagine that the instant fifterwards, just at the time 
I was wrung to the soul, as you know 1 was — how could yoO' 
imagine I would leave you to go to Rantipole, or to any woman 
upon earth ? ' 
' O my lord ! I beg your pardon, 1 beg your 
thousand times,' cried Lady Delacour, rising with much emotion^ 
and, going towards him with a sudden impulse, she kissed hia- 
forehead. 
'And so you ought to beg my pardon,' said Lord Delacouf) 
9 filtering voice, but without moving his posture. 
7%& 



RECONCILIATION 

' You will acknowledge you left me, however, my lord ? Thai 

' Left you I Yes, so I did i to ride ail over the country in 
t^Search of a house thai would suit you. For what else did you 
I think I could leave you at such a lime as this ? ' 

Lady Delacour again stooped, and leaned her arm upon his 
LSboulder. 

' I wish to Heaven, my dear,' said his lordship, shrinking as 
he put away her hand, which still held Clarence Hervey's 
letters, ' 1 wish to Heaven, my dear, you would not hold those 
abominable perfumed papers just under my very nose. You 
Imow I cannot stand perfumes.' 

' Are they perfumed ? Ay ; so everything Js that I keep in 
'that cabinet of curiosities. Thank you, my dear Miss Portman,' 
:Cftid her ladyship, as Belinda rose to take the letters from her 
!sand. ' Will you have the goodness to put them back into 
jQieir cabinet, if you can endure to touch them, if the perfume 
has not overcome you as well as my lord ? After all, it is only 
<pUar of roses, to which few people's olfactory nerves have an 
lantipaEhy.' 

' I have the honour to be one of Uic few,' said his lordship, 
'lisng from his seat with so sudden a motion as to displace 
;X.ady Delacour's arm which leaned upon him. ' For my part,' 
'Continued he, taking down one of the Argand lamps from the 
cihimney-piece, and trimming it, ' I would rather a hundred to 
one snuff up the oil of this cursed lamp.' 
1 Whilst his lordship applied himself to trimming the lamp 
With great earnestness. Lady Delacour negligently walked away 
'^a the ferthest end of the room, where stood the cabinet, which 
'^elinda was trying to unlock, 

' Stay, my love ; it has a secret lock, which I alone can 
Vtanage.' 

' O my dear Lady Delacour ! ' whispered Belinda, holding 
r hand as she gave her the key, ' I never can love or esteem 
J if yon use Lord Delacour ill now.' 

w ? ill now ? This lock is spoilt, I do believe,' said 

' Nay, you understand me, Lady Delacour ! You see what 




' To be sure : I am not a fool, though he is. I see he is 
nlous, though he has had such damning proof Xhali alt's right 




e man's 'a fool, that's all. Are you sure this is the 
gave you, my dear ? ' 

'And can you think him a. fool,' pursued Belinda, in a still 
more earnest whisper, ' for being more jealous of )-our mind 
than of your person ! Fools have seldom so much penetration, 
or so much delicacy.' 

' Bui, Lord ! what would you have me do ? what would you 
have me say? That Lord Delacour writes better letters than 

' Oh, no ! but show him these letters, and you will do justice 
to him, to yourself, to Cla , lo everj-body.' 

' I am sure I should be happy lo do justice to everybody! 

' Then pray do this very instajil, my dearest Lady Delacour! 
and I shall love you for it all my life.' 

' Done ! — for who can withstand that offer ? — Done I ' said 
her ladyship. Then turning to Lord Delacour, ' My lord, will 
you come here and tell us what can be the matter with this 
lock?' 

' If the lock be spoiled. Lady Delacour, you had better send 
for a locksmith,' replied his lordship, who was still employed 
about the wick of the Argand : ' I am no locksmith — I do not 
pretend to understand locks — especially secret locks." 

' But you will not desert us at our utmost need, I am sure, 
my lord,' said Belinda, approaching him with a conciliatory 

' Vou want the hght, I believe, more than I do,' said his 
lordship, advancing with the lamp to meet her. ' Well ! what 
is the matter with this confounded lock of yours, Lady Delacour? 
I know I should be at Siudley's by this time — but how in the 
devil's name can you expect me to open a secret lock when I 
do not know the sccrel. Lady Delacour?' 

' Then I will tell you the secret. Lord Delacour — that there 

I is no secret at all in the lock, or in the letters. Here, if you 
can stand the odious smell of otiar of roses, take these letters 
and read them, foolish man ; and keep them till the shocking 
fierfume is gone off.' 
Lord Delacour could scarcely believe his senses ; he looked' 
in Lady Delacour's eyes to see whether he had understood her^ 
rightly. 
'But I am afraid,' said she, smiling, 'that you will find 
l^ifame too overcoming.' 
r ago 




s you ordered, to gn 
-, and his burgundy 



RECONCILIATION 

Not half so overcoming,' cried he, seizing her hand, a 

kissing it often with eager tenderness, ' not half so overcoming 

as this confidence, this kindness, this condescension from you.' 

' Miss Portman will think us both a couple of old fools,' said 
Jher ladyship, making a slight effort to withdraw her hand. 
:' But she is almost as great a simpleton herself, 1 think,' con- 
tinued she, observing that the tears stood in Belinda's eyes. 

'My lord,' said a footman who came in at this instant, 'do 
you dress f The carriage is at the door, 
to Lord Studley's.' 

; Lord Studley at the devil, si 
along with him, before I'd go to him to-day ; and you may tell 
' n so, if you please,' cried Lord Delacour. 

'Very well, my lord,' said the footman. 

' My lord dines at home — they may put up the carriage — 
that's all,' said Lady Delacour: 'only let us have dinner 
directly,' added she, as the servant shut the door. ' Miss 
Portman will be famished amongst us : there is no living upon 
sentiment.' 

'And there is no living with such belles without being 

nething more of a heau,' said Lord Delacour, looking at his 
splashed boots. ' I will be ready for dinner before dinner is 
ready for me.' With activity very unusual to him, he hurried 
. out of the room to change his dress. 

' O day of wonders 1 ' exclaimed Lady Delacour. ' And, 

night of wonders ! if we can get him through the evening 
I -without the help of Lord Studley's wine. You must give us 
iomc music, my good Belinda, and make him accompany you 
with his flute. 1 can tell you he has really a very pretty taste 
For music, and knows fifty times more of the matter than half 
the dilettanti, who squeeze the human face divine into all 
tnanner of ridiculous shapes, by way of persuading you that 
they are in ecstasy I And, my dear, do not forget to show us 
e charming little portfolio of drawings that you have brought 
from Oakly Park. Lord Delacour was with me at Harrowgate 
in the days of his courtship : he knows the charmii 
that you have been taking about Knaresborough and Fountain's 
Abbey, and all those places, I will answer for it, he remembers 
them a hundred times better than I do. And, my love, I 
assure you he is a better judge of drawing than many whom 
■c saw ogling Venus rising from the sea, in the Orleans gallery. 
291 



HELENA 

Lord Delacour has let his talents go to sleep in a shameless 

ler ; but really he has talents, if they could be wakened. 
By the bye, pray make him tell you the story of Lord Studley's 
original Titian : he tells that story with real humour. Perhaps 
you have not found it out, hut Lord Delacour has a vast deal 
of drollery in his own way, and ' 

Dinner's ready, my lady ! ' 

That is a pity 1 ' whispered Lady Delacour ; ' for if they 
bad let me go on id my present humour, I should have found 
out that my lord has every accomplishment under the sun, and 
every requisite under the moon, to make the marriage state 
happy.' 

With the assistance of Belinda's portfolio and her harp, and 
the good-humour and sprightiiness of Lady Delacoui's wit, his 
lordship got through the evening much to his own satisfaction. 

played on the flute, he told the story of Siudleys original 
Titian, and he detected a fault that had escaped Mr. Percival 
the perspective of Miss Portman's sketch of Foimtain's 
Abbey. The perception that his talents were called out, and 
that he appeared to unusual advantage, made him excellent 
etnnpany : he found that the spirits can be raised by self- 
complacency even more agreeably than by burgundy. 



CHAPTER XXI 



Whilst they were at hreakfast the next morning in Lady 
Delacour's dressing-room, Marriott knocked at the door, and 
immediately opening it, exclaimed in a joyful tone, 'Miss 
Portman, they're eating it ! Ma'am, they're eating it as fast 

' Bring them in ; your lady will give you leave, Marriott, \ 
fancy,' said Miss Portman. Marriott brought in her gold- 
fishes ; some green leaves were floating on the top of ihe water 
in the glass globe. 

' See, my lady,' said she, ' what Miss Portman has been so 
good as to bring from Oakly Park for my poor goldfishes, 



1 

aic 1 



BELINDA 

sure, ought to be much obliged to her, as well 
myself.' Marriott set the globe beside her lady, and retired. 

' From Oakly Park ! And by what name impossible 
pronounce must I call these green leaves, lo please botanic 
ears ? ' said Lady Delacour. 

' This,' replied Belinda, ' is what 

' Th' unlearned, duckweed — learned, lemna, call ; 

and it is to be found in any ditch or standing pool.' 

'And what possessed you, my dear, for the sake of Marriott 
and het goldfishes, to trouble yourself to bring such stuff a 
hundred and seventy miles ? ' 

' To obhge little Charles Percival,' said Miss Portman. 
' He was anxious lo keep his promise of sending it to your 
Helena. She found out in some book that she was reading 
with him last summer, that goldfishes are fond of this plant; 
and I wish,' added Belinda, in a timid voice, ' that she were 
here at this instant to see them eat it.' 

Lady Delacour was silent for some minutes, and kept her 
eye steadily upon the goldfishes. At length she said, 'I 
never shall forget how well the poor little creature behaved 
about those goldfishes. I grew amazingly fond of her whilst 
she was with rae. But you know, circumstanced as 1 was, 
after you left me, I could not have her at home.' 

' But now I am here,' said Belinda, ' will she be any trouble 
to you ? And will she not make your home more agreeable 
to you, and to Lord Delacour, who was evidendy very fond 

'Ah, my dear!' said Lady Delacour, 'you forget, and so 
do I at times, what I have to go through. It is in vain to 
talk, to think of making home, or any place, or any thing, or 
any person, agreeable to me now. What am I ? The outside ■ 
rind is left — the sap is gone. The tree lasts from day to day 
by miracle — it cannot last long. You would not wonder to 
hear me talk tn this way, if you knew the terrible time I had 
last night after we parted. But I have these nights constantly 
s talk of something else. What have you there — 
a manuscript ? ' 

' YeSi a little journal of Edward Percival's, which he sent 
nmeni of Helena.' 
r stretched out her hand for 




HELENA 



will write as like his father as possible,' said she, turning 
the leaves. 'I wish to have this poor gitl with me — but I 
bave no spirits. And you know, whenever Lord Delacour can 
find a house that will suit us, we shall leave town, and I could 
not take Helena with me. But this may be the last oppor- 
tunity I may ever have of seeing her ; and I crin refuse you 
nothing, my dear. So will you go for her ? She can stay 
with us a few days. Lady Boucher, that most convenient 
dowager, who likes going about, no matter where, all the 
.morning, will go with you to Mrs. Dumont's academy in 
Isioane Street. I would as soon go to a bird-fancier's as to a 
j boarding-school for young ladies : indeed, I am not well enough 
I to go anywhere. So I will throw myself upon a sofa, and read 
this child's journal. I wonder how that or anything else can 
interest me now.' 

Belinda, who had been used to the \-ariations of Lady 
Delacour's spirits, was not much ala'rmed by the despondent 
strain in which she now spoke, especially when she considered 
that the thoughts of the dreadful trial this unfortunate 
■woman was soon to go through must naturally depress her 
courage. Rejoiced at the permission that she had obtained 
to go for Helena, Miss Portman sent immediately to Lady 
Boucher, who took her to Sloane Street. 

'Now, my dear, considerate Miss Portman,' said Lady 
Boucher, 'I must beg, and request that you will hurry Miss 
' Delacour into the carriage as fast as possible. I have not a 
moment to spare ; for I am to be at a china auction at two, 
that I would not miss for the whole world. Well, what's the 
matter with the people ? Why does not James knock at the 
door ? Can't the man read ? Can't the man see ? ' cried the 
purblind dowager. ' Is not that Mrs. Dumont's name on the 
door before his eyes ? ' 

' No, ma'am, I believe this name is Ellicot,' said Belinda. 

' Ellicot, is it ? Ay, true. But what's the man stopping 
for, then? Mrs. Dumont's is the next door, tell the blind 
dunce. Mercy on us ! To waste one's time in this way ! I 
shall, as sure as fate, be too late for the china auction. What 
opion earth slops us ? ' 

' Nothing but a little covered cart, which stands at Mrs. 
Dumont's door. There, now it is going ; i 
drawing it out of the way as fast as he can.' 



gr v^^^l 




BELINDA 



' Open ihe coach-door, James 1 ' cried Lady Boucher the 
moment that ihey had drawn up. ' Now, my dear, considerate 
Miss Portman, remember the auction, and don't let Mi 
Delacour stay to change her dress or anything.' 

BeUnda promised not to detain her ladyship a minute. The 
door at Mrs, Dumont's was open, and a servant was assisting 
an old man lo carry in some geraniums and balsams out of the 
covered cart which had stopped the way. In the hall a crowd 
of children were gathered round a high stand, on which they 
were eagerly arranging their flower-pots ; and the busy hum of 
voices was so loud, that when Miss Portman first went in, she 
could neither heat the servant, nor make him hear her name. 
Nothing was to be heard but ' Oh, how beautiful ! Oh, how 
sweet I That's mine ! That's yours ! The great rose geranium 
for Miss Jefferson ! The white Provence rose for Miss 
Adderly I No, indeed, Miss Pococke, that's for Miss Delacour; 
the old man said so.' 

'Silence, silence, mesdemoiselles ! ' cried the voice of a 
French woman, and all was silence. The little crowd looked 
towards the hall door ; and from the midst of her companions, 
Helena Delacour, who now caught a glimpse of Belinda, sprang 
forward, throwing down her white Provence rose as she 

' Lady Boucher's compliments, ma'am,' said the servant to 
Mrs. Dumont ; ' she's in indispensable haste, and she begS 
you won't let Miss Delacour think of changing her dress.' 

It was the last thing of which Miss Delacour was likely lo 
think at this instant. She was so much overjoyed, when she 
heard that Belinda was come by her mamma's desire to take 
her home, that she would scarcely stay whilst Mrs, Dumont 
was lying on her straw hat, and exhorting her to let Lady 
Delacour know how it happened that she was ' so far from fit 
to be seen." 

'Yes ma'am ; yes ma'am, I'll remember; I'll be sure to 

remember,' said Helena, tripping down the steps. But just as 

she was getting into the carriage she stoppe<l at the sight (rf 

the old man, and exclaimed, ' Oh, good old man ! 1 must 

it forget you.' 

'Ves, indeed, you must, though, my dear Miss Delacour, 
'.^nid Lady Boucher, pulling her into the carriage 
D think of good old men now.' 



1 



HELENA 

ut t must. Dear Miss Portman, will you speak for me? 
t pay — I must settle — and I have a great deal ti 
iss Portman desired the old man to call in Berkley Square 
at Lady Delacour's ; and this satisfying all parties, they drove 

When they arrived in Berkley Square, Marriott told them 
that her lady was just gone to lie down, Edward Percival's little 
journal, which she had been reading, was left on tlie sofa, and 
Belinda gave it to Helena, who eagerly began to look over it. 
' Thirteen pages I Oh, how good he has been to write so 
much for me ! ' said she ; and she had almost finished reading 
't before her mother came into the room. 

Lady Delacour shrunk back as her daughter ran towards 
ler ; for she recollected too well the agony she had once 
suffered froin an embrace of Helena's. The little girl appeared 
more grieved than surprised at this ; and after kissing her 
lather's hand, without speaking, she again looked doivn at 
je manuscript. 

' Does that engross your attention so entirely, my dear,' said 
Lady Delacour, 'that you can neither spare one word nor one 
look for your mother F ' 

' O mamma I I only tried to read, because I thought you 
;re angry with me.' 

' An odd reason for trying to read, my dear ! ' said Lady 
Delacour, with a smile; 'have you any better reason for 
thinking 1 was angry with you ?' 

1 know you are not angry now, for you smile,' said 
Helena ; 'but I thought at first that you were, mamma, because 
u gave me only your hand to kiss.' 

' Only my hand 1 The next time, simpleton, I'll give you 
only my foot to kiss,' said her ladyship, sitting down, and 
holding out her foot playfully. 

Her daughter threw aside the book, and kneeling down 
kissed her fool, saying, in a low voice, ' Dear mamma, I never 
) happy in my life ; for you never looked so very, very 
kindly at me before.' 

' Do not judge always of the kindness people feel for you, 
child, by their looks ; and remember that it is possible a 
person might have felt more than you could guess by their 
looks. Pray now, Helena, you are such a good judge of 
physiognomy, should you guess that I was dying, by my looks?' 
297 




The little girl laughed, and repeated 'Dying? Oh, no, 

' Oh, no 1 because I have such a liiie colour ii 
cy?' 

' Not for that reason, mamma,' said Helena, withdrawing 
er eyes from her mother's face. 

' What, then you know rouge already when you see it ? — 
^ou perceive some difference, for instance, between Miss 

-tinan's colour and mine? Upon my word, you are a 

i observer. Such nice observers are sometimes dangerous 
□ have near one.' 

' I hope, mother,' said Helena, ' that you do not think I 
trould try to find out anything that you wishj or that I 
maglned you wished, I should not know." 

' I do not understand you, child,' cried Lady Delacour, 
ftisiag herself suddenly upon tho sofa, and looking full in her 
laughters fece. 

Helena's colour rose lo her temples ; but, with a firmness 
lat surprised even Delinda, she repeated what she had said 
eaily in the same words. 

'Do you imderstand her, Miss Portman?' said Lady 
)elacour. 

•She expresses, I think,' said Belinda, 'a very honourable 
mtiment, and one that is easily understood.' 

'Ay, in general, certainly,' said Lady Delacour, checking 
tcrself; 'but 1 thought that she meant to allude to something 
I particular — that was what I did not understand. Un- 
Bubtedly, my dear, you have just expressed a very honourable 
pnliment, and one that I should scarcely have expected from 
. child of your age.' 

' Helena, my dear,' said her mother, after a silence of some 

nutes, ' did you ever read the Arabian Tales ? — " Yes, 
namma," I know must be the answer. But do you remember 
~ c story of Zobeide, who carried the porter home with her on 
ondition that, let him hear or see what he might, he would 

I no questions ? ' 

' Yes, mamma.' 

' On the same conditions should you like to stay with me 

■ a few days ? ' 

'Yes. On any conditions, mamma, 1 should like to stay 

^99 I 



'Agreed, then, my dear ! ' said Lady Delaeoui 
(IS go to the goldfishes, and see them eat lemna, or whatevei 
you please to call it.' 

While they were looking at the goldfishes, the old man, 
who had been desired by Miss Portman to call, arrived, 
' Who is this fine, gray-haired old man ? ' said Lady Delacour. 
Helena, who did not know the share which Belinda's aunt and 
her own mother had in the transaction, began with great 
eagerness to tell the history of the poor gardener, who had 
been cheated by some fine ladies out of his aloe, etc. She 
then related how kind Lady Anne Percival and her aunt 
Margaret had been to him ; that they had gotten him a place 
as a gardener at Twickenham ; and that he had pleased the 
family to whom he was recommended so much by his good 
behaviour, that, as they were leaving their house, and obliged 
to part with him, they had given him all the geraniums and 
balsams out of the greenhouse of which he had the care, and 
these he had been this day selling to the young ladies at Mrs. 
Dumont's. ' I received the money for him, and 1 was just 
going to pay him,' said Helena, 'when Miss Portman came; 
and that put everything else out of my head. May I go and 
give him his money bow, mamma?' 

' He can wait a few minutes,' said Lady Delacour, who had 
listened to this story with much embarrassment and impatience. 
' Before you go, Helena, favour us with the names of the fine 
ladies who cheated this old gardener out of his aloe.' 

'Indeed, mamma, I don't know their names." 

' No ! — Did you never ask Lady Anne Percival, or youf , 
aunt Margaret ?- — Look in my face, child ! Did they never' 
inform you ? ' 

' No, ma'am, never. 1 once asked Lady Anne, and she 
said that she did not choose to tell me ; that It would be of no 
use to me to know.' 

' I give Lady Anne Percival more credit and more thanls 
for this,' cried Lady Delacour, 'than for all the rest. I 
she has not attempted to lower me in my child's opinion, 
am the fine lady, Helena — I was the cause of his being cheated 
— I was intent upon the noble end of outshining a certain Mrs., 
Luttridge — the noble means I left to others, and the mcana 
have proved worthy of the end. 1 deserve to be brought 
shame for my folly ; yet my being ashamed will do nobod] 
300 



HELENA 

any good but myself. Restitution is in these cases the best 
proof of repentance. Go, Helena, my love ! settle your little 
affairs with this old man, and bid him call here again to- 
morrow, 1 wiii see what we can do for him.' 

Lord Delacour had this very morning sent home to her 
ladyship a handsome diajnond ring, which had been intended 
as a present for Mrs. Luttridge, and which he imagined would 
therefore be peculiarly acceptable to his lady. lo the evening, 
when his lordship asked her how she liked Che ring, which he 
desired the jeweller to leave for her to look at it, she answered, 
that it was a handsome ring, but that she hoped he had not 
purchased it for her. 

' It is not actually bought, my dear,' said his lordship ; ' but 
if it suits your fancy, 1 hope you will do me the honour to wear 
it for my sake.' 

' I will wear it for your sake, my lord,' said Lady Delacour, 
' if you desire it; and as a mark of your regard it is agreeable: 
but as to the rest — 



If you wish to do me a kindness, I will tell you what I should 
like much better than diamonds, though I know it is rather 
ungracious to dictate the form and fashion of a favour. But 
as my dictatorship in all human probability cannot last much 

'O my dear Lady Delacour 1 1 must not hear you talk 
in this manner : your dictatorship, as you call it, will I hope 
last many, many happy years. But lo the point — what should 
you like betler, ray dear, than this foolish ring?' 

Her ladyship then expressed her wish that a small annuity 
might be setded upon a poor old man, whom she said she had 
unwittingly injured. She told the story of the rival galas and 
the aloe, and concluded by observing that her lord was in i 
some measure called upon to remedy part of the unnumbered ' 
ills which had sprung from her hatred of Mrs. Luttridge, as 
he had originally been the cause of her unextinguishable ire. 
Lord Delacour was flattered by this hint, and the annuity was 
immediately promised to the old gardener. 

In talking to this old man afterward, Lady Delacour found 
that the family in whose service he lately lived had a house i 




^Fm 



Tmckenbam that would just answer her purpose. Lord 
Delacour's inquiries had hiiherlo been unsuccessful ; he wis 
rejoiced to find what he wanted jusi as he was giving up the 
search. The house was taken, and the old man hired as 
gardener — a circumstance which seemed to give hitn ainusi 
as much pleasure as the annuity ; for there was a moreUo 
cherry-tree in the garden which had succeeded the aloe in IiJs 
affection ; ' it would have grieved him sorely,' he said, 'to leave 
his favourite tree to strangers, after all the pains he had been 
at in netting it to keep off the birds.' 

As the period approached when her fete was to be decided, 
Lady Delacour's courage seemed to rise ; and at the sami 
her anxiety, that her secret should noi be discovered, appeared 



' If I survive this Business,' said she, ' it is my firm ii 
to appear in a new character, or rather to assert my real cha- 
racter. I will break through the spell of dissipation — I wjll at' 
once cast off all the acquaintance that are unworthy of me — I 
will, in one word, go with you, my dear Belinda, to Mr. Per- 
cival's. I can bear to be mo.rtitied for my good ; and 1 am 
willing, since I find that Lady Anne Percival has behaved 
generously to me, with regard to Helena's affections, I am will- 
ing that the recovery of my moral health should be attributed 
lo the salubrious air of Oakly Park. But it would be Inexpres' 
sible, intolerable mortification to me, to have it said or suspected 
in the world of fashion, Ihat I retreated from the ranks disabled 
instead of disgusted. A voluntary retirement is gracefiil and 
dignified ; a forced retreat is awkward and humiliating. You' 
must be sensible that I could not endure to have it whispered — 
" Lady Delacour now sets up for being a prude, because she caD' 
no longer be a coquette." Lady Delacour would become the 
subject of witticisms, epigrams, caricatures without end. It 
would just be the very thing for Mrs. Luttridge ; then she would 
revenge herself without mercy for the ass and her pannitrs. 

We should have " Lord and Lady D , or the Domcstiij 

TiU-h-tlte^' or " The Reformed Amazon," stuck up in a print- 
shop window I O, my dear, think of seeing such a thing 1 I 
should die with vexation ; and of all deaths, that is the death I 
should like the least.' 

Though Belinda could not entirely enter into those feelings, 
)dch thus made Lady Delacour invent wit against herself, an^ 





HELENA 

tpate caricatures ; yet she did everything in ber power 
calm her ladyship's apprehension of a discovery. 

'My dear,' said Lady Ddacour, 'I have perfect confidence 
in Lord Delacour's promise, and in his giwd nature, of which 

I'Jie has within these few days given me proofs that are not lost 
upon my heart ; but he is not the most discreet man in the 
world. Whenever he is anxious about anything, you may read 
it a mile off in his eyes, nose, mouth, and chin. And to tell 
you all my fears in one word, Marriott informed me this morn- 
ing, that the Lullridge, who came from Harrowgate to Ranti- 
pole, to meet Lord Delacour, finding Chat there was no draw- 
ing him to her, has actually brought herself to town. 

' To town 1 — At this strange time of year 1 How will my 

> Icrd resist this unequivocal, unprecedented proof of passion ? 

■ If she catch hold of him again, I am undone. Or, even suppose 
him firm as a rock, her surprise, her jealousy, her curiosity, will 
set all engines at work, to find out by what witchcraft I have 
taken my husband from her. Every precaution that prudence 
could devise against her malicious curiosity I have taken. 
Marriott, you know, is above all temptation. That vile wretch 
(naming the person whose quack medicines had nearly destroyed 
her), that vile wretch will be silent from fear, for his own sake. 
He is yet to be paid and dismissed. That should have been 
done long ago, but I had not money both for him and Mrs. 
Franks the milliner. She is now paid : and Lord Delacour — 
I am glad to tell his friend how well he deserves her good 
opinion — Lord Delacour in the handsomest manner supplied me 
with the means of satisfying this man. He is to be here at 
three o'clock to-day ; and this is the last interview he will ever 
have with Lady Delacour in the mysterious boudoir^ 

The fears which her ladyship expressed of Mrs. Luttridge's 
malicious curiosity were not totally without foundation. Champ- 
fort was at work for her and for himself The memorable night 
of Lady Delacour's overturn, and the bustle that Marriott made 
about the key of the boudoir, were still fresh in his memory ; 
and he was in hopes that, if he could discover the mystery, he 
should at once regain his power over Lord Delacour, reinstate 
himself in his lucrative place, and obtain a handsome reward, 
or, more properly speaking, bribe, from Mrs. Luttridge. The 
means of obtaining information of all that passed in Lady 
Delacour's family were, he thought, still in his power, th< 
303 



though I 



BELINDA 

longer an inmate of the house. The stupid ttiai/i 
was not so stupid as to be impenetrable to the voice of llaiteiy, 
or, as Mr, Champfort called it, the voice of love. He found 
it his interest to court, and she her pleasure to be courted. On 
these ' coquettes of the second table,' on these underplots in ihe 
drama, much of the comedy, and some of the tragedy, of life 
depend. Under the unsuspected mask of stupidity this worthy 
mistress of our intriguing vaiet-de-chambrt concealed the quick 
ears of a listener, and the demure eyes of a spy. Long, how' 
ever, did she listen, and long did she spy in vain, till at last 
Mr, Champfort gave her notice in writing that his love would 
not last anotherweek, unless she could within that time contrive 
to satisfy his curiosity ; and that, in short, she mttst find out 
the reason why the boudoir was always locked, and why Mrs, 
Marriott alone was to be trusted with the key. Now it 
happened that this billet-doux was received on the very day 
appointed for Lady Delacour's last interview with the quack 
surgeon in the mysterious boudoir, Marriott, as it was 
custom upon such occasions, let the surgeon in, and showed 
him up the back stairs into the boudoir, locked the door, and 
bade him wait there till her lady came. The man had not 
been punctual to the hour appointed ; and Lady Delacour, 
giving up all expectation of his coming till the neitt day, had 
retired to her bedchamber, where she of late usually at 
hour secluded herself to read methodistical books, or to sleep, 
Marriott, when she went up to let her lady know that the person, 
as she always called him, was come, found her so fast asl 
that she thought it a pity to waken her, as she bad oot slept at 
all the preceding night. She shut the door very softly, and 
left her lady to repose. At the bottom of the stairs she 
met by the stupid maid, whom she immediately despatched with 
orders to wash some lace : ' Your lady's asleep,' said she, ' 
pray let me have no running up and down stairs.' The tt 
into which the stupid maid went was directly underneath the 
boudoir ; and whilst she was there she thought that she heard. 
the steps of a man's foot walking overhead. She listened 
more attentively— she heard them again. She armed herself 
with a glass of jelly in her hand, for my lady, and hurried up- 
stairs instantly to my lajys room. She was much surprised to 
my lady fast asleep. Her astonishment at finding that Mrs.. 
Marriott had told her the truth was such, as for a moment ta 




HELENA 

bereave her of all presence of mind, and she stood with the 
door ajar in her hand. As thus she stood she was roused by 
the sound of some one clearing his ihroat very softly in the 
boudoir — Ati throat ; for she recollected the footsteps she had 
heard before, and she was convinced it could be no other than 
a masculine throat. She listened again, and stooped down to 
try whether any feet could be seen under the door. As she 
was in this attitude, her lady suddenly turned on her bed, and 
the book which she had been reading fell from the pillow to the 
floor with a noise, that made the listener start up instantaneously 
in great terror. The noise, however, did not waten Lady 
Delacour, who was in that dead sleep which is sometimes the 
effect of opium. The noise was louder than what could have 
been made by the fall of a book alone, and the girl descried a 
key that had fallen along with the book. It occurred to her 
that this might possibly be the key of the boudoir. From one 
of those irresistible impulses which some people make an excuse 
for doing whatever they please, she seized it, resolved at all 
hazards to open the mysterious door. She was cautiously put- 
ting the key into the keyhole, so as not to make the least noise, 
when she was suddenly startled by a voice behind her, which 
said, 'Who gave you leave to open that door?' 

She turned, and saw Helena standing at the half-open bed- 
chamber door. 

' Mercy, Miss Delacour I who thought of seeing you ? For 
God's sake, don't make a noise to waken my lady ! ' 

Did my mother desire you to go into that room ? ' repeated 
Helena. 

Dear me ! no, miss,' said the maid, putting on her stupid 
fiK:e ; 'but I only thought to open the door, to let in a little air 
to freshen the room, which my lady always likes, and bids me 
to do — and I thought — . — ' 

Helena took the key gently from her hand without listening 
to any more of her thoughts, and the woman left the room 
.muttering something about je/fy and wy iaiiy. Helena went 
to the side of her mother's bed, determined to wait there till 
iihc awakened, then to give her the key, and tell her the circum- 
Itance. Notwithstanding the real simplicity of this iitile girl's 
diaracter, she was, as het mother had discovered, a nice observer, 
And she had remarked that her mother permitted no one but 
Uarriott to go into the boudoir. This remark did not 
30s 



^ 



HELENA 



B! into the mystery ; on [he contrary, she carefully 
aJl curiosity, remembering the promise she had given 
to her mother when she talked of Zobeide and the porter. She 
liad not been without temptation to break this promise ; for the 
maid who usually' attended her toilette had employed every art 
in her power to stimulate her curiosity. As she was dressing 
Helena this morning, she had said to her, ' The reason ( was 
Ki late calling you, miss, this morning, was because I was so 
late myself last night ; for I went to the play, miss, last night, 
which was Bluebeard. Lord bless us ! I'm sure, if 1 had been 
Bluebeard's wife, I should have opened the door, if I'd died for 
it ; for to have the notion of living all day long, and all night 
too, in a house in which there was a room that one was never 
to go into, is a thing I could not put up with.' Then after a 
pause, and after waiting in vain for some reply from Helena, 
she added, 'Pray, Miss Delacour, did you ever go into that 
little room within my lad>''s bedchamber, that Mrs. Marriott 
leeps the key of always ? ' 

'No,' said Helena. 

'I've often wondered what's in it: but then that's only 
because I'm a simpleton. I thought, to be sure, you knew.' 

Observing iliat Helena looked much displeased, she broke 
off her speech, hoping that what she had said would operate 
in due time, and that she should thus excite the young lady 
to get the secret from Marriott, which she had no doubt 
afterward of worming from Miss Delacour. 

In all this she calculated 111 ; for what she had said only 
made Helena distrust and dislike her. It was the recollection 
of this conversation that made her follow the maid to her 
mother's bedchamber, to see what detained her there so long. 
Helena had heard Marriott say that ' she ought not to run up 
and down stairs, because her lady was asleep,' and it appeared 
extraordinary that but a few minutes after this information she 
should have gone into the room with a glass of jelly in her hand 

' Ah, mannma ! ' thought Heiena, as she stood beside her 
mother's bed, ' you did not understand, and perhaps you did 
not believe me, when I said that I would not try to find out 
anything that you wished me not to know. Now I hope you 
will understand Tn& better.' 

Lady Delacour opened her eyes ; ' Helena,' cried she, stail- 
b»g up, ' how came you by that key ?' 
, 307 



' O mother ! don't look as if you suspected me.' She then 
told Iter mother how the key came inlo her hands. 

' My dear child, you have done me an essential service,' 
said Lady Delaeour : ' you know not its importance, at least 
in my estimation. But what gives me infinitely more satisfac- 
tion, you have proved yourself worthy of my esteem — my love.' 

Marriott came into the room, and whispered a few words to 
her lady. 

' You may speak out, Marriott, before my Helena,' said 
Lady Delacom-, rising from the bed as she spoke ; ' child a 
she is, Helena has deserved my confidence ; and she shall be 
convinced that, where her mother has once reason to confide^ 
she is incapable of suspicion. Wait here for a few minutes, 
my dear.' 

She went to her boudoir, paid and dismissed the surgeon 
expeditiously, then returned, and taking her daughter by the: 
hand, she said, 'You look all simplicity, my dear! I see youi 
have no vulgar, schoolgirl curiosity. You will have all your 
mother's strength of mind ; may you never have any of her 
fetdts, or any of her misfortunes 1 1 speak to you not 
^a child, Helena, for you have reason far above your years) 
and you will remember what I now say to you as long a 
live, Y'ou will possess talents, beauty, fortune ; you will be 
admired, followed, and flattered, as I have been : but do not 
throw away your life as I have throMH away mine — to wi 
praise of fools. Had I used but half the talents 1 possess, as 
I hope you will use yours, I might have been an ornament t9 
my sex— I might have been a Lady Anne Percival.' 

Here Lady Delacour's voice felled ; but commanding ha- 
emotion, she in a few moments went on speaking. 

' Choose your friends well, my dear daughter ! It wi 
misfortune, my folly, early in life to connect myself with a 
I, who under the name of frolic led me into every species 
of mischief. You are too young, too innocent, to hear the 
particulars of my history now ; but you will hear them all at 
a proper time from my best friend, Miss Portman. I shall 
leave you to her care, my dear, when 1 die.' 

' When you die 1 — O mother ! ' said Helena, ' but why do 
you talk of dying ? ' and she threw her arms round her mother., 

' Gently, my love ! ' said Lady Delaeour, shrinking backj 
i tlus moment to explain to her daughter win 




HELENA 

she shrank ia this manner from her caresses, and why she 
talked of dying. 

Helena was excessively shocked. 

' I wished, my dear,' resumed her mother calmly, ' 1 wished 
to have spared you the pain of knowing all this. I have given 
you but little pleasure in my life ; it is unjust to give you so 
much pain. We shall go to Twickenham to-morrow, and I 
will leave you with your aunt Margaret, my dear, till all is 
If 1 die, Belinda will take you with her immediately to 
Oakley Park — you shall have as little sorrow as possible. If 
jtou had shown me less of your affectionate temper, you would 
have spared yourself the anguish that you now feel, and you 

would have spared me ' 

' My dear, kind mother,' interrapted Helena, throwing 
herself on her knees at her mother's feet, ' do not send me 
away from you — I don't wish to go to my aunt Margaret- — 
1 don't wish to go to Oakly Park — I wish to stay with you. 
not send me away from you ; for I shall suffer ten times 
more if I am not with you, though I know I can be of no use.' 
Overcome by her daughter's entreaties. Lady Delacour at 
last consented that she should remain with her, and that she 
should accompany her to Twickenham. 

The remainder of this day was taken up in preparations for 
'their departure. The stupid maid was immediately dismissed. 
Ho questions were asked, and no reasons for her dismissal 
assigned, except that Lady Delacour had no farther occasion 
for her services. Marriott alone was to attend her lady to 
Twickenham. Lord Delacour, it was settled, should stay in 
lown, lest the unusual circumstance of his attending his lady 
should excite public curiosity. His lordship, who was natur- 
ally a good-natuted man, and who had been touched by the 
.Idndness his wife had lately shown him, n'as in extreme agitation 
during the whole of this day, which he thought might possibly 
be the last of her existence. She, on the contrary, was calm 
md collected ; her courage seemed to rise with the necessity 
for its exertion. 
I In the morning, when the carriage came to the door, as she 

I parted with Lord Delacour, she put into his hand a paper that 
I contained some directions and requests with which, she said, 
r she hofied that he would comply, if they should prove to be 
i her lasl. The paper contained only some legacies to her 



BELINDA 

servants, a provision for Marriott, and a bequest to her excelled 
and beloved friend, Belinda Portman, of the cabinet in whid 
she kept Clarence Her\'e/s letters. 

Interlined in this place, Lady Delacour had written these 
words : 'My daughter is nobly provided for ; and lest any doubt 
or difficulty should arise from the omission, I think it necessary 
to mention that the said cabinet contains the \'aluable jewels 
left to me by my late uncle, and that it is my intention that 
the said jewels should be part of my bequest to the said 
Belinda Portman. — If she marry a man of good fortune, she 
will wear them for my sake : if she do not marry an opulent 
husband, I hope she will sell the jewels without scruple, as 
they are intended for her convenience, and not as an ostentatious 
bequest. It is fit that she should be as independent in her 
circumstances as she is in her mind.' 

Lord Delacour with much emotion looked over this paper, 

and assured her ladyship that she should be obeyed, if 

He could say no more. 

* Farewell, then, my lord ! * said she : * keep up your spirits, 
for I intend to live many years yet to try them.' 



CHAPTER XXII 

A SPECTRE 



The surgeon who was to attend Lady Delacour was prevented 

from going to her on the day appointed ; he was one of the 

surgeons of the queen's household, and his attendance was 

required at the palace. This delay was extremely irksome to 

Lady Delacour, who had worked up her courage to the highest 

point, but who had not prepared herself to endure suspense. 

She spent nearly a week at Twickenham in this anxious state, 

and Belinda observed that she every day became more and 

more thoughtful and reserved. She seemed as if she had 

some secret subject of meditation, from which she could not 

bear to be ^stracted. When Helena was present, she exerted 

iierself to converse in her usual sprightly strain ; but as soon 

as she could escape, as sYl^ Xiiou^lit, unobserved, she would 



A SPECTRE 1 

«hnt herself up in her own apartment, and renuuii there (or 

1 heaven, Miss Portman,' said Marriott, coming 
die morning into her room with a portentous face, ' I wish to 
leaven, ma'am, that you could any way persuade my lady not 
to spend so many hours of the day and night as she does in 
reading those methodistical books that she keeps to herself I — 
I'm sure that they do her no good, but a great deal of harm, 
especially now when her spirits should be kept up as much as 
possible. I am sensible, ma'am, that 'tis those books that 
have made my lady melancholy of a sudden. Ma'am, my 
lady has let drop very odd hints within these two or three 
days, and she speaks in a strange disconnected sort of style, 
nd at times I do not think she is quite right in her head.' 
When Belinda questioned Marriott more particularly about 
the strange hints which her lady had let fall, she with looks of 
embarrassment and horror declined repeating the words that 
had been said to her ; yet persisted in asserting that Lady 
Delacour had been very strange for these two or three days. 
'And I'm sure, ma'am, you'd be shocked if you were to see 
my lady in a morning, when she wakens, or rather when I 
am — for, as to wakening, that's out of the 
question. I am certain she does not sleep during the whole 
night You'll find, ma'am, it is as I tell you, those books will 
quite turn her poor head, and I wish they were burnt. I 
know the mischief that the same sort of things did to a poor 
1 of my own, who was driven melancholy mad by a 
methodist preacher, and came to an untimely end. Oh, 
a'am 1 if you knew as much as I do, you'd be as much 
alarmed for my lady as I am.' 

s impossible to prevail upon Marriott to explain herself 

more distinctly. The only circumstances that could be drawn 

from her seemed to Belinda so trifling as to be scarcely worth 

mentioning. For instance, that Lady Delacour, contrary to 

I Marriott's advice, had insisted on sleeping in a bedchamber 

I upon the ground floor, and had refijsed to let a curtain be put 

I up before a glass door that was at the foot of her bed. ' When 

I I offered to put up the curtain, ma'am,' said Marriott, ' my 

I lady said she liked the moonlight, and that she would not 

B have it put up till the fine nights were over. Now, Miss 

^L Portman, to hear my lady talk of the moon, and moonligl^ 

L 



BELINDA 

and likhig the moon, ts rather extraordinary and unaccount- 
able ; for I never heard her say anjlliing of the sort ii 
life before ; 1 question whether she ei'er knew there ^ 
moon or not from one j-ear's end to another. But they say 
the moon has a great deal to do with mad people ; and, from 
my own experience, I'm perfectly sensible, ma'am, 
my own cousin's case ; for, before he came to the worst, he 
took a prodigious fancy to the moon, and was always for 
walking by moonlight, and talking to one of the beauty of the 
moan, and such melancholy nonsense, ma'am.' 

Belinda could not forbear smiling at this melancholy non- 
sense ; though she was inclined to be of Marriott's opinion 
about the methodistical books, and she determined t 
Lady Delacour on the subject. The moment that she made 
the attempt, her ladyship, commanding her countenance with 
her usual ability, replied only by cautious, cold monosyllables, 
and changed the conversation as soon as she could. 

At night, when they were retiring to rest, Marriott, a 
lighted them to their rooms, observed that she was afraid her 
lady would suffer from sleeping in so cold a bedchamber, and 
Belinda pressed her friend to change her apartment. 

' No, my dear,' replied Lady Delacour calmly. ' I have 
chosen this for my bedchamber, because it is at a distance from 
the servants' rooms ; and when the operation, which I have t( 
go through, shall be performed, my cries, if I should utter any^ 
will not be overheard. The surgeon will be here in a few days, 
and it is noi worth while to make any change.' 

The next day, towai-ds evening, the surgeon and Dr. > 
arrived. Belinda's blood ran cold at the sight of them. 

'Will you be so kind. Miss Poriman,' said Marriott, ' 

let my lady know that they are come ? for I am not well able 

to go, and you can speak more composed to her than I can.' 

Miss Portman went to Lady Delacour's bedchamber. The 
door was bolted. As Lady Delacour opened it, she fixed her 
eyes upon Belinda, and said to her with a mild voice, 'You are 
come to tell me that the surgeon is arrived. 1 knew that by 
the manner in «hich you knocked at the door. I will see him. 
' continued she, in a firm tone ; and she de- 

rately put a mark in the book which she had been reading, 
1 leisurely to the other end of the room, and locked it 
)k-case, There was an air of determined dignit/ J 






A SPECTRE 

1 all ber motions. < Shall we go ? 1 am ready,' said she, 
holding out her hand lo Belinda, who had sunk upon a 

' One would think that you were the person that 
to suffer. But drink this water, my dear, and do not tremble 
e that 1 do not tremble for myself. Listen to 
ine, dearest Belinda ! I owe it to your friendship not lo 
t you with unnecessary apprehensions. Your humanity 
shall be spared this dreadful scene.' 

' No," said Belinda, ' Marriott is incapable of attending you. 
I must— I will — 1 am ready now. Forgive me one moment's 
weakness. I admire, and will imitate, your courage. I will 
keep my promise.' 

' Your promise was to be with me in my dying moments, 
and to let me breathe my last in your arms.' 

' I hope that 1 shall never be called upon to perform that 
I promise.' 

Lady Delacour made no answer, but walked on before her 
with steady steps into the room where Dr. X and the 

k surgeon were waiting. Without adverting Jn the least to the 
object of their visit, she paid her compliments to them, as if 
they came on a visit of mere civility. Without seeming to 
Ootice the serious coimtenaaces of her companions, she talked 
of indifferent subjects with the most perfect ease, occupying 
lieiself all the time with cleaning a sea!, which she unhooked 
from her watch-chain. 'This seal,' said she, turning to Dr. 
X , ' is a fine onyx — it is a head of Escuiapius. I have a 

great value for it. It was given to me by your friend, Clarence 
Hervey; and I have left it in my will, doctor,' continued she, 
smiling, ' to you, as no slight token of my regard. He is an 
excellent young man ; and I request,' said she, drawing Dr. 

X to a window, and lowering her voice, ' 1 request, when 

you see him again, and when I am out of the way, that you 
will tell him such were my sentiments to the hour of my death. 
Here is a letter which you will have the goodness to put into 
his hands, sealed with my favourite seal. You need have no 
scruple to take charge of it ; it relates not to myself. It 
expresses only my opinion concerning a lady who stands 
almost as high in your esteem, I believe, as she does in mine. 
My affection and my gratitude have not biassed my judgment 
^Lin the advice which I have ventured to give to Mr. Hervey.' 



I be here,' Jntemipted Dr. X , 'a 

;n ' 

'And then I shall be gone,' said Lady Delacour coolly, 



Dr. X was going to interrupt her, but she continued 

rapidly, ' And now, my dear doctor, tell me candidly, have 
you seen any symptoms of cowardice in my manoer this 
evening ? ' 

' None,' replied he. ' On the contrary, I have admired 
your calm self-possession.' 

' Then do not suspect me of want of fortitude, when I 
request that this operation may not be performed to-day. I 
have changed my mind within these few hours. I have deter- 
mined, for a reason which I am sure that you would feel to be 
sufficient, to postpone this affair till to-morrow. Believe me, 
I do not act from caprice.' 

She saw that Dr. X did not yield assent to her last 

assertion, and that he looked displeased. 

'I will tell you my reason,' said she; 'and then you will 
have no right to be displeased if 1 persist, as I shall inflexibly, 
in my determination. It is my belief that I shall die this 
night. To submit to a painful operation to-day would be only 
to sacrifice the last moments of my existence to no purpose. 
If 1 survive this night, manage mc as you please I But I am 
the best judge of my own feelings — I shall die to-night,' 

Dr. X looked at her with a mixture of astonishment 

and compassion. Her pulse was high, she was extremely 
feverish, and he thought that the best thing which he could do 

i to stay with her till the next day, and to endeavour to 

divert her mind from this fancy, which he considered as an 

insane idea. He prevailed upon the surgeon to stay with her 

I till the next morning ; and he communicated his intentions to 

, Belinda, who joined with him in doing all that was possible to 

entertain and interest her by conversation during ibe remainder 




of the day. She had suffic' 
y gave not the least faith 



penetration to perceive thai 

her prognostic, and she n 

word more upon the subject ; but appeared willing to 

amused by their attempts to divert her, and resolute to 

_to the \b.s\. motneTA. She did not affect _ 



A SPECTRE 

trifling gaiety : on the contrary, there was in al! she said more 
strength and less point than usual. 

The evening passed away, and Lady Delacour seemed 
totally to have forgotten her own prophecy respecting the event 
)t»f the ensuing night ; so much so, that she spoke of several 
things that she intended to do the next day, Helena knew 
lOothing of what had passed, and Belinda imagined that her 
ifriend put this constraint upon herself to avoid alanning her 
daughter. Yet, after Helena retired, her mother's manner 

continued to be so much the same, that Dr. X hegan to 

believe that her ladyship was actuated merely by caprice. In 
this opinion she confirmed him by bursting out a-Iaughing 
■when he proposed that some one should sit up with her during 
the night. 

' My sage sir,' said she, ' have you lived to this time without 
ever having been duped by a woman before ? 1 wanted a 
day's reprieve, and I have gained it — gained a day, spent in 
most agreeable conversation, for which I thank you. To- 
morrow,' said she, turning to the surgeon, ' I must invent some 
new excuse for my cowardice ; and though I give you notice 
of it beforehand, as Barrington did when he picked the man's 
pocket, yet, nevertheless, I shall succeed. Good-night!' 

She hurried to her own apartment, leaving them all in 
astonishment and perplexity. Belinda was persuaded that she 
only affected this gaiety to prevent Dr. X^ — — from insisting 

upon sitting up in her room, as he had proposed. Dr. X , 

judging, as he said, fhsm her ladyship's general character, 

attributed the whole to caprice i and the surgeon, judging, as 

he said, from human nature in general, was decided in his 

belief that she had been influenced, as she herself declared, by 

cowardice. After having all expressed their opinions, without 

making any impression upon one another, they retired to rest. 

Belinda's bedchamber was next to Helena's ; and after she 

A had been in bed about an hour, she fancied that she heard 

B.gome one walking softly in the next room. She rose, and 

^■fbund Lady Delacour standing beside her daughter's bed. She 

I started at the sight of Belinda, but only said in a low voice, as 

U- she pointed to her child, ' Don't waken her.' She then looked 

W St her for some moments in silence. The moon shone full 

B upon her face. She stooped over Helena, parted the ringlets 

Lof hair upon her forehead, and kissed her gently. 

L 



BELINDA 

^Vou will be good to this poor girl when I am gon^ 
Belinda I ' said she, turning away from her as she spoke : ' 1 1 
only came to look at her for the last lime.' 

'Are you then serious, my dear Lady Delacour?' 

' Hush I Don't waken her,' said Lady Delacour, putting i 
her finger on her lips ; and walking slowly out of the room, < 
she forbade Belinda to follow. 

' If my fears be vain,' said she, 'why should I disturb you 
with them ? If they be just, you will hear my bell ring, and 
then come to me." 

For some time afterward all was perfectly silent in the 
house. Belinda did not go to bed, but sat waiting and listen- 
ing anxiously. The dock struck two ; and as she heard no 
other sound, she began to hope that she had suffered herself 
to be falsely alarmed by a foolish imagination, and she lay 
down upon her bed, resolving to compose herself to rest. She 
was just sinking to sleep, when she thought she heard the faint 
sound of a bell. She was not sure whether she was dreaming 
or awake. She started up and listened. All was silent. But 
in a few minutes Lady Delacour's bell rang violently. Belinda 
flew to her room. The surgeon was already there ; he had 
been sitting up in the next room to write letters, and he had 
heard the first sound of the bell. Lady Delacour was sense- 
less, supported in the surgeon's arms. Belinda, by his direc- 
tions, ran immediately for Dr. X , who was at the other 

end of the house. Before she returned, Lady Delacour had 
recovered her senses. She begged that the surgeon would 

leave the room, and that neither Dr. X nor Marriott might 

be yet admitted, as she had something of 
rnunicate to Miss Portman. The surgeon withdrew, and she 
beckoned to Belinda, who sat down upon the side of her bed> 
Lady Delacour held out her hand to her ; it was covered with 
a cold dew. 

' My dear friend,' said she, ' my prophecy is accomplishing 

' The surgeon said that you were not in the least danger, 

my dear Lady Delacour ; that it was merely a fainting fit, T 

t suffer a vain imagination thus to overpower your reason.' 

' It is no vain imagination — I must die,' said Lady Delacomt 

■ I hear a voice you i 




Whicli beckoDE me away. 
You perceive that 1 am in my perfect senses, my dear, or I 
could not quote poetry. I am not insane — I am not delirious.' 
She paused — ' 1 am ashamed to tell you what I know will 
expose me to your ridicule.' 

' Ridicule ! ' cried Belinda r ' can you think me so cruel as 
to consider your sufferings a subject for ridicule ?' 

Lady Delacour was overcome by the tenderness with which 
Belinda spoke. 

' I will then speak to you,' said she, 'without reserve. In- 
consistent as it is with the strength of mind which you might 
expect from me, I cannot resist the impression which has been 
ide on my mind by — a vision.' 
'A vision I' 

' Three times,' continued Lady Delacour, ' it has appeared 
me about this hour. The first night after we came here 1 
w it ; last night it returned ; and to-night 1 have beheld it 
r the third time, 1 consider it as a warning to prepare for 
ath. Vou are surprised — you are incredulous. I know that 
this must appear to you extravagant ; but depend upon it that 
what I tell you la true. It is scarcely a quarter of an hour 

3 I beheld the figure of , that man for whose untimely 

death 1 am answerable. Whenever I close my eyes the same 
form appears before me.' 

'These visions,' said Belinda, 'are certainly the effects of 
opium.' 

' The forms that flit before my eyes when 1 am between 
sleeping and waking,' said Lady Delacour, ' I am willing to 
believe, are the effeas of opium ; but, Belinda, it is impossible 
I should be convinced that my senses have deceived me with 
respect to what I have beheld when I have been as broad 
awake, and in as perfect possession of my understanding as I 
t this instant. The habits of my life, and the natural 
to say levity, of my temper, have always inclined 
; rather to incredulity than to superstition. But there are 
s which no strength of mind, no temerity can resist, 
■this is a warning to me to prepare for death. 
human means, no human power can save me 1' 

Here they were interrupted by Marriott, who could 
longer be restrained from bursting into the room. Dr. X— 



1 



BELINDA 

followed, and going calmly to the side of Lady Delacour's bt 
took her hand to feel her pulse. 

* Mrs. Marriott, you need not alarm yourself in this mannei 
said he : ' your lady is at this instant in as little danger i 
I am.' 

* You think she'll live ! O my lady ! why did you terrifi 
us in this manner ? ' 

Lady Delacour smiled, and calmly said, as Dr. X still 

continued to count her pulse, 'The pulse may deceive you, 
doctor, but I do not Marriott, you may ' 

Belinda heard no more ; for at this instant, as she was 
standing alone, near the glass-door that was opposite to the 
bed, she saw at a distance in the garden the figure which Lady 
Delacour had described. Lady Delacour was now so intent 

upon speaking to Dr. X , that she saw nothing but him. 

Belinda had the presence of mind to be perfectly silent The 
figure stood still for some moments. She advanced a few 
steps nearer to the window, and the figure vanished. She kept 
her eye steadily fixed upon the spot where it had disappeared, 
and she saw it rise again and glide quickly behind some 

bushes. Belinda beckoned to Dr. X , who perceived by 

the eagerness of her manner that she wished to speak to him 
immediately. He resigned his patient to Marriott, and followed 
Miss Portman out of the room. She told him what she had 
just seen, said it was of the utmost consequence to Lady 
Delacour to have the truth ascertained, and requested that Dr. 

X would go with some of the men-servants and search the 

garden, to discover whether any one was there concealed, or 
whether any footsteps could be traced. The doctor did not 
search long before he perceived footsteps in the borders 
opposite to the glass-door of Lady Delacour's bedchamber ; he 
was carefully following their track, when he heard a loud cry, 
which seemed to come from the other side of the garden wall. 
There was a breach in the wall over which he scrambled 
with some difficulty. The screams continued with redoubled 
violence. As he was making his way to the spot from which 
they proceeded, he was met by the old gardener, who was 
crossing one of the walks with a lantern in his hand. 

* Ho ! ho 1 ' cried the gardener, * I take it that we have the 
thief at last. I fancy that the fellow whose footsteps I traced, 
and who has been at my morello cherry-tree every night, has 

318 




A SPECTRE 

been caught in the trap. 1 hope liis leg is not brati 
— This way, sir- — this way I ' 

The gardener led the doctor to the place, and there they 
found a man, whose leg had actually been caught in the spring- 
trap which had been set for the defence of the cherrj'-tree. 
The man had by this time fallen into a swoon ; they extricated 

him as fast as possible, and Doctor X had him brought to 

Lady Delacour's in order that the surgeon, who was there, 
might see his leg. 

As they were carrying him across the hall, Belinda met 
them. She poured out a glass of water for the man, who was 
just recovering from his swoon ; but as she went nearer lo give 
it him, she was struck with his wonderful resemblance to 
Harriot Freke. 

' It must be Mrs. Freke herself I ' whispered she to Marriott, 
whose wide opening eyes, at this instant, fixed themselves 
upon her, 

' It must he Mrs. Freke herselli ma'am ! ' repeated Marriott 

And so in fact it was. 

There is a certain class of people, who are incapable of 
g'enerous confidence in their equals, but who are disposed to 
yield implicit credit to the underhand information of mean 
emissaries. Through the medium of Champfort and the stupid 
maid, Mrs, Freke had learned a confused story of a man's 
footsteps having been heard in Lady Delacour's boudoir, of 
his being let in by Marriott secretly, of his having remained 
locked up there for several hours, and of the maid's having 
been turned away, merely because she innocently went to 
open the door whilst the gentleman was in concealment. Mrs. 
Freke was farther informed, by the same unquestionable 
authority, that Lady Delacour had taken a house at Twicken- 
ham, for the express purpose of meeting her lover ; that Miss 
Portman and Marriott were the only persons who were to be 
of this party of pleasure. 

Upon the faith of this intelligence, Mrs. Freke, who had 
accompanied Mrs. Luttridge to town, immediately repaired to 
Twickenham, to pay a visit to a third cousin, that she might 
have an opportunity of detecting the intrigues, and afterwards 
of publishing the disgrace, of her former friend. The 
of revenging herself upon Miss Portman, for having decUned 
iter civilities at Harrowgate, had also a powerful influence 
319 



might 
rwards I 

ecUned I 



BELINDA 

stimulating her malicious activity. She knew that if it wen 
proved that Belinda was the confidante of Lady Delacour's 
intrigues, her reputation must be materially injured, and ihai 
the Percivals would then be as desirous lo break off as they 
now were anxious to promote the match with Mr, VincenL 
Charmed with this hope of a double triumph, the vindictive 
lady commenced her operations, nor was she ashamed to 
descend to the character of a spy. The general and con- 
venient name ni frolic, she thought, would cover every species 
of meanness. She swore thai ' it was charming fun to equip 
herself at night in men's clothes, and to sally forth to 
noitre the motions of the enemy.' 

By an unfrequented path she used to gain the window that 
looked into Lady Delacour's bedchamber. This was the figure 
which appeared at night at a certain hour, and which, 
ladyship's disturbed imagination, seemed to be the lorm ol 
Colonel Lawless. There was, indeed, a resemblance in their 
size and persons, which favoured the delusion. For several 
nights Mrs. Freke paid these visits without obtaining any 
satisfaction ; but this night she thought herself overpaid for 
her exertions, by the charming discovery which she fancied 
she had made. She mistook the surgeon for a lover of Lady 
Delacour's ; and she was hurrying home with the joyful in- 
telligence, when she was caught in the gardener's trap. ^ 
agony that she suffered was at first intense, but Jn a few houre 
the pain somewhat subsided ; and in this interval of 
turned to Belinda, and with a malicious smile said, — -' Miss 
Portman, 'tis fair I should pay for my peeping ; but I shall 
not pay quite so dear for it as some of my friends.' 

Miss Portman did not in the least comprehend her, till she 
added, ' I'm sure you'll allow that 'tis better for a lady 
her leg than her reputation — and for my part I'd rather be 

^ caught in a man trap, than have a man caught in my bed? 

^hamber. My service to your friend, Lady Delacoiir, and tdl 

'And do you know who that gentleman was, that you sai 
n her ladyship'; 

" \ot 1, not yet ; but I'll make it my business to find out 
e you fair notice ; I'm a very devil when provoked. Why 
" e me your friend when you could ? — You'll nd 
1 I wanted, and I am capable 




A SPECTRE 



iating all I saw. As to who the man might he, that's 
Mter ; one Lothario is as good as another for my purpose.' 
Longer had Mrs. Freke spoken with mahgnant triumph, 
^ad she not been interrupted by a burst of laughter from the 
iwrgeon. Her vexation was indescribable when he informed 
fccr that he was the man whom she had seen in Lady Dela- 
itour's bedchamber, and whom she had mistaken for a favoured 

Mrs. Freke's leg was much cut and bruised ; and now that 
le was no longer supported by the hopes of revenge, she 
began to lament loudly and incessantly the injury that she had 
ustained. She impatiently inquired how long it was probable 
^at she should be confined by this accident ; and siie grew 
quite outrageous when it was hinted, that the beauty of her 
fegs would be spoiled, and that she would never more be able 
to appear to advantage in man's apparel. The dread of being 
1 by Lady Delacour in the deplorable yet ludicrous situation 
to which she had reduced herself operated next upon her mind, 
md every time the door of the apartment opened, she looked 
■with terror towards it, expecting to see her ladyship appear. 
Jut though Lady Delacour heard from Marriott immediately 
&e news of Mrs. Freke's disaster, she never disturbed her by 
!|ier presence. She was too generous to ins ult a f allen fo . e . 

Early in the imnutllg Mrs. treke was by her own desire 
Conveyed to her cousin's house, where without regret we shall 
ve her to suffer the consequences of her frolic. 
' A &lse prophetess ! Notwithstanding all my visions, I 
/e outlived the night, you see,' said Lady Delacour to Miss 
rtman when they met in the morning. ' I have heard, my 
ir Belinda, and I believe, that the passion of love, which 
1 endure caprice, vice, wrinkles, deformity, poverty, nay, 
^sease itself is notwithstanding so squeamish as to be instan- 
taneously disgusted by the perception of folly in the object 
Steloved, I hope friendship, though akin to love, is of a more 
tobust constitution, else what would become of me ? My folly, 
tnd my visions, and my spectre — oh, that 1 had not exposed 
nyself to you in this manner ! Harriot Freke herself is 
scarcely more contemptible. Spies and cowards are upon an 
Lequal footing. Her malice and her /relic are consistent with 
Lher character, but my fears and my superstition are totally 
fcoconsistent with mine. Forget the nonsense I talked to you 
ft V 321 



It's no^ll 



A SPECTRE 

!ghi, my dear, or fancy that 1 was then under I 
of laudanum. This morning you shall see Lady 

Delacour herself again. Is Dr. X , is ihe surgeon ready? 

Where are they ? I am prepared. My fortitude shall redeem 
in your opinion, Belinda, and in my own.' 
Dr. X ■ and the surgeon immediately obeyed her 



Helena heard them go into Lady Delacour's room, and she 
saw by Marriott's countenance, who followed, that her mother 
as going to submit to the operation. She sal down trembling 
Q the steps which led to her mother's room, and waited there 
i long time, as she thought, in the most painful suspense. At 
st she heard some one call Helena. She looked up, and saw 
;r father close to her, 
' Helena," said he, ' how is your mother ? ' 
' I don't know. O papa, you cannot go in there ttew,' 
laid Helena, stopping liim as he was pressing forwards. 

•Why did not you or Miss Portman write to me yesterday, 
S you promised ? ' said Lord Delacour, in a voice that showed 
e was scarcely able to ask the question. 

' Because, papa, we had nothing to tell you ; nothing was 
one yesterday. But the surgeon is now there,' said Helena, 
jointing towards her mother's room. 

Lord Delacour stood motionless for an instant ; then 
niddenly seizing his daughter's hand, ' Let us go,' said he : 'if 
we stay here, we shall hear her screams ; ' and he was hurry- 
ing her away, when the door of Lady Delacour's apartment 
md Belinda appeared, her countenance radiant with joy. 
' Good news, dear Helena ! O my lord ! you are come 
a happy moment — I give you joy.' 

'Joyl joy! joyi' cried Marriott, following. 

' Is it all over ? ' said Lord Delacour, 

' And without a single shriek ! ' said Helena, ' \\Tial 

' There's no need of shrieks, or courage either, thank God,' 

taid Marriott. ' Dr. X says so, and he is the best man 

1 the world, and the cleverest. Ajid I was right from the 
first ; I said it was impossible my lady should have such a 
Bhodting complaint as she thought she had. There's no such 
|hing at all in the case, my lord ! 1 said so always, till I was 
lersuaded out of my senses by that villainous quack, who con- 
323 



A SPECTRE 

tradicted me for his own 'molument. And Doctor X 

Says, if my lady will leave off ihe terrible quantities of 
laudanum she takes, he'll engage for her recovery.' 

The sui^eon and Dr. X now explained to Lord Dela- 

cour that the unprincipled wretch to whom her ladyship had 
applied for assistance had persuaded her thai she had a 
cancer, though in fact her complaint arose merely from the 
bruise which she had received. He knew too well how to 
make a wound hideous and painful, and so continue her 

delusion for his own advantage. Dr. X obsen'ed, that if 

Lady Delacour would have permitted either ihe surgeon or 
him to have examined sooner into the real state of the case, it 
would have saved herself infinite pain, and them all anxiety. 
Belinda at this moment felt too much to speak. 

' I'm morally certain,' cried Marriott, ' Mr. Champfort 
would die with vexation, if he could see the joy that's painted 
in my lord's face this minute. And we may thank Miss Port- 
man for this, for 'twas she made everything go right, and 1 
never expected to live to see so happy a day.' 

Whilst Marriott ran on in this manner with all the 
volubility of joy. Lord Delacour passed her with some difficulty, 
and Helena was in her mother's arms in an instant. 

Lady Delacour, struck to the heart by their affectionate 
looks and words, burst into tears. ' How little have I deserved 
this kindness from you, my lord ! or from you, my child I But 
my feelings,' added she, wiping away her tears, ' shall not 
waste themselves in tears, nor in vain thanks. My actions, 
I the whole course of my future life, shall show that I am not 
quite a brute. Even brutes are won by kindness. Observe, 
iny lord," continued she, smiling, ' 1 said won, not tamed! — A 
tame Lady Delacour would be a sorry animal, not worth look- 
ing at. Were she even to become domesticated, she would 
fare the worse.' 

' How so ?— How so, my dear ? ' said Lord Delacour and 
Belinda almost in the same breath. 

' How BO ? — Why, if Lady Delacour were to wash off her 
rouge, and lay aside her air, and be as gentle, good, and kind 
as Belinda Portman, for instance, her lord would certainly say 



CHAPTER Xxm 



of joy are always connected wilh 
feelings of benevolence and generosity, Lady Delacour's 
heart expanded with the sensations of friendship and gratitude, 
now that she was relieved from those fears by which she had 
so long been oppressed. 

' My dear daughter,' said she to Helena, ' have you at this 
instant any wish that I can gratify ? — Ask anything you please, 
the fairy Goodwill shall contrive to get it for you in a trice. 
You have thought of a wish at this moment, I know, by your 
eyes, by your blush. Nay, do not hesitate. Do you doubt me 
because I do not appear before you in the shape of a little ugly 
woman, like Cinderella's godmother ? or do you despise me 
because you do not see a wand waving in my band ? — " Ah, 
little skilled of fairy lore ! " know that 1 am in possession of a 
talisman that can command more than ever fairy granted. 
Behold ray talisman,' continued she, drawing out her purse, 
and showing the gold through the net-work. ' Speak boldly, 
then,' cried she to Helena, ' and be obeyed.' 

' Ah, mamma," said Helena, ' I was not thinking of what 
fairies or gold can give ; but yau can grant my wish, and if 
you will let me, I will whisper it to you.' 

Lady Delacour stooped to hear her daughter's whisper. 

' Your wish is granted, my own grateful, charming girl,' 
said her mother. 

Helena's wish was, that her mother could be reconciled to 
her good aunt, Margaret Delacoar. 

Her ladyship sat down instantly, and wrote to Mrs. Dela- 
Helena was the bearer of this letter, and Lady Dela- 
promised to wait upon this excellent old lady as soon as 
she should return to town. 

In the meantime her ladyship's health rapidly improved 

under the skilful care of Dr. X- -: it had been terribly 

injured by the ignorance and villany of the wretch to whom 
she bad so long and so rashly trusted. The nostrums which 




KTHE CHAPLAIN ^^^H 
ed her to take, and the immoderate use of opium" i^^^l 
which she accustomed herself, would have ruined her constitu- 
tion, had it not been uncommonly strong. Dr. X re- 
commended it to her ladyship to abstain gradually from opimn, 
and this advice she had the resolution to follow with uninter- 
rupted perseverance. 

The change in Lady Delacour'a manner of life, in the | 

hours and the company that she kept, contributed much to her 
recovery.' She was no longer in continual anxiety to conceal 
the state of her health from the world. She had no secret to 
keep — no part to act ; her reconciliation with her husband and 
with his friends restored her mind to ease and self-complacency. 
Tier little Helena was a source of daily pleasure ; and no 
longer conscious of neglecting her daughter, she no longer 
feared that the affections of her child should be alienated. I 

Dr. X— — , well aware that the passions have a powerful | 

influence over the body, thought it full as necessary, in some 
cases, to attend to the mind as to the pulse. By conversing 1 

with Lady Delacour, and by combining hints and 
stances, he soon discovered what had lately been the i 
her reading, and what impression it had made on her imagina- 
tion, Mrs. Marriott, indeed, assisted him with her opinion 
concerning the ntethodistical booksj and when he recollected 
the forebodings of death which her ladyship had felt, and the 
terror with which she had been seized on the night of Mrs. 
Frcke's adventure, he was convinced that superstitious horrors 
hung upon his patient's spirits, and affected her health. To 
argue on religious subjects was tiot his province, much less his 
inclination ; but he was acquainted with a person qualified by 
his profession and his character 'to minister to a aiind 
diseased,' and he resolved on the first favourable opportunity 
to introduce this gentleman to her ladyship. 

One morning Lady Delacour was complaining to Belinda, 
that the books in the library were in dreadful confusion, ' My 
lord has really a very fine library,' said she ; ' but 1 wish he 
had half as many books twice as well arranged : I never can 

find anything I want. Dr. X , I wish to heaven you 

could recommend a librarian to ray lord — not a chaplain, 
observe.' 



-y1 

on -J I 



der the medical journal of Lady Delacour's heaUli 
s recovery was gradual and coinplele. 

3"7 



/ 



BELINDA 



the I 



' Why not n. chapUin, may 1 ask your ladyship ? ' said the 

' Oh, because we had once a chaplain, ivho gave me a surieil 
of the whole tribe. The meanest sycophant, yet the most im- 
pertinent busybody — always cringing, yet always intriguing- 
wanting to govern the whole family, and at the same time every 
creature's humble servant- — fawning to my lord the bishop, 
insolent to thepoor curate — anathematising all who differed from 
him in opinion, yet without dignity to enforce the respect due J 
to his faith or his profession- — greedy for preferment, yet with- 
out a thought of the duties of his office. It was the common 
practice of this man to leap from his horse at the church door 
on a holiday, after following a pack of hounds, huddle on his 
surplice, and gabble over the service with the most indecent 
mockery of religion. Do 1 speak with acrimony? 1 have 
reason. It was this chaplain who first led my lord to New- 
market ; it was he who first taught my lord to drink. Then he 
was a ic//— an insufferable wit. His conversation after he had 
drank was such as no woman but Harriot Freke couid imder- 

I stand, and such as few ginthmen could hear. I have never, 
alas 1 been thought a prude, but in the heyday of my youth 
and gaiety, this man always disgi:sted me. In one word, he 

I was a buck parson. I hope you have as great a horror for 
this species of animal as I have ? ' 

' Full as great,' replied Dr. X ; ' but I consider them 

as monsters, which belonging to no species, can disgrace 

' They ought to be hunted by common consent out of cJviW 
ised society,' said Lady Delacour. 

' They are by public opinion banished from all ration^ 
society ; and your ladyship's just indignation proves that they 
have no chance of being tolerated by fashion. But would it 
not allow such beings loo much consequence, would it not 
■eailend their power to do mischief, if we perceived that one 
*uch person could disgust Lady Delacour with the whole race 
■■of chaplains ?' 

' It is uncommon,' replied her ladyship, 'to hear a physician 
tamest in the defence of the clergy — and a literary philosophic 
physician too ! Shall we have an eulogium upon bishops an, 
well as chaplains ?' 

' We have had that already,' replied Dr. 



BELIPfDA 

raiiks, persuasions, and descriptions of people, including, I 
hope, those stigmatised by the name of philosophers, have 
joined in admiration of the bishop of St. Pol de Leon. The 
conduct of ihe real martyrs to their faith amongst the French 
clergy, not even the most witty or brutal sceptic could ridicule.' 

' You surprise me, doctor 1 ' said Lady Delacour ; ' for I 
e you that you have the character of being very liberal in 
your opinions.' 

■ 1 hope 1 am liberal in my opinions,' replied the doctor, 
' and that I give your ladyship a proof of it.' 

' You would rot then persecute a man or woman with 

ridicule for believing more ihan you do ?' said Lady Delacour, 

' ' Those who persecute, to overturn religion, can scarcely 

pretend to more philosophy, or more liberality, than those who 

persecute to support it,' said Dr. X 

' Perhaps, doctor, you are only speaking popularly ? ' 

' I believe what 1 now say to be true,' said Dr. X , * and 

I always endeavour to make truth popular.' 

' But possibly these are only truths for ladies. Dr. X 

may be such an ungallant philosopher, as to think that some 
truthsare not fit for ladies. He may hold a different language 
with gentlemen.' 

' 1 should not only be an ungallant but a «'eik philosopher,' 

said Dr. X , ' if I thought that Inith was not the same for 

all the world who can understand it. And who can doubt Lady 
Delacour's being of that number ?' 

Lady Delacour, who, at the beginning of this conversation 
had spoken guardedly, from the fear of lowering the doctor's 
opinion of her understanding, was put at her ease by the 
manner in which he now spoke ; and, half laying aside the 
tone of raillery, she said to him, 'Well, doctor ! seriously, 1 am 
not so illiberal as to condemn all chaplains for one, odious 
as he was. But where to find his contrast in these degenerate 
days ? Can you, who are a defender of the faith, and so forth, 
assist me ? Will you recommend a chaplain to my lord ? ' 

'Willingly,' said Dr. X ; ' and that is what 1 would not 

say for a world of fees, unless I were sure of my man,' 

' What sort of a man is he ? ' 

' Not a buck parson.' 

' And I hope not a pedant, not a dogmatist, for that would 
■JM almost as bad. Before we domesticate another 



THE CHAPLAIN 



) have a full and true' 



e description of him in 
n must be 



to know all his qualities, and t 
description of him.' 

' Shall I then give you a full and tn 
the words of Chaucer ? ' 

' In any words you please. But Chaucer's chaplai 
a little old-fashioned by this time, I should think.' 

' Pardon me. Some people, as well as some things, never 
grow old-fashioned. I should not be ashamed to produce 
Chaucer's parish priest at this day to the best company in 
England — 1 am not ashamed to produce him to your lady- 
ship ; and if I can remember twenty lines in his favour, I hope 
you will give me credit for being a sincere friend to the worthy 
part of die clergy. Observe, you must take them as I can 
patch them together ; I will not promise that I can recollect 
twenty lines de suite, and without missing a word ; that is 
what I would not swear to do for His Grace the Archbishop 
of Canterbury.' 

' His Grace will probably excuse you from swearing ; at 
least 1 will,' said Lady Delacour, 'on the present occasion : so 
now for your twenty lines in whatever order you please.' 

Doctor X , with sundry intervals of recollection, which 

may be spared the reader, repeated the following lines : 

Yet has his aspect nothing of severe. 

But such a face as promised him sincere. 

Nothing reserved or snlien was to see. 

But sweet ri^ards, and pleasing sanctity, 

Mild was his accent, and his action free. 

With eloquence innate his tongue was arni'd, 

Though harsh the precept, yet the preacher charm'd ; 

For, letting down the golden chain from high, 

He drew his audience upwards to the sky. 

He tauglit the Gospel rather than the law, 

And forced himself to drive, but loved to draw. 
' The tithes his parish freely paid, he look ; 

* But never sued', or t^urs'd with bell and book. 

Wide was his parish, not contracted clus 

In streets — but here and there a straggling house. 

Vet still he was at hand, without request, 

To serve the sick, and succour the distressed. 

The proud he lamed, the penitent he cheer'd, 
' Nor lo rebuke the rich offender fear'd. 

^ His preaching much, but more his pracdce wrought, 

A linug sermon of the truths he taught 






BELINDA 

Lady DeUcour wished that she could find a chaplain, who 
in any degree resembled this charming parish priest, and Dr. 

X promised that be would the next day introduce to hct 

his friend Mr. Moreton. 

■ Mr. Moreton ! ' said Belinda, ' the gentleman of whom Mr. 
Percival spoke, Mrs. Freke's Mr. Moreton?' 

■Yes,' said Dr. X , 'the clergyman whom Mts, Freke 

hanged in effigy, and to whom Clarence Her^-ey has given a 
small living.' 

These circumstances, even if he had not precisely resembled 
Chaucer's character of a benevolent clergyman, would have 
strongly interested Lady Delacour in his favour. She found 
him, upon farther acquaintance, a perfect contrast to her A 
former chaplain; and he gradually acquired such salutary'^ 
influence over her mind, that he relieved her from the terrore ' 
of Methodism, and in their place substituted the consolations j 
of mild and rational piety. I 

Her conscience was now al peace ; her spirits were real and J 
equable, and never was her conversation so agreeable. Ani- 
mated with the new feelings of returning health, and the new 
hopes of domestic happiness, she seemed desirous to impart 
her felicity to all around her, but chiefly to Belinda, who had 
the strongest claims upon her gratitude, and the warmest place 
in her affections, Belinda never made her friend feel the 
weight of any obligation, and consequently Lady Delacoui's 
gratitude was a voluntary pleasure — not an expected duly. 
Nothing could be more delightful to Miss Portman than this 
to feel herself the object at once of esteem, affection, and 
respect ; to see that she had not only been the means of saving 
her friend's life, but that the influence she had obtained over 
her mind was likely to be so permanently beneficial both to her 
and to her family. 

Belinda did not lake all the merit of this reformation to 
herself: she was most willing to share it, in her own imagina- 
tion, not only with Dr. X- and Mr. Moreton, but with poor 

Clarence Hen-ey. She was pleased to observe that Lady 
Delacour never omitted any occasion of doing justice to his 
merit, and she loved her for that generosity, which sometimes 
passed the bounds of justice in her eulogiums. But Belinda 
was careful to preserve her consistency, and to guard her heait 
from the dangerous effect of these enthusiastic praises ; and 



THE CHAPLAIN 

Lady Delacour was now sufficiently re-establisbcd in her bealtE 
she announced ber intention of returning immediately to Oakly 
Park, according to her promise lo Lady Anne Percival and to 

-. \^incent 

' But, my dear,* said Lady Delacour, ' one week more is all 
I ask from you — -may not friendship ask such a sacrifice from 

'You expect, I know,' said Miss Portman ingenuously, 
' that before the end of that time Mr. Hervey will be here.' 

'True. And have you no friendship for him ? ' said Lady 
Delacour, with an arch smile, 'or is friendship for every man in 
e Augustus Vincent always excepted, prohibited 
by the statutes of Oakly Park ?' 

' By the statutes of Oakly Park nothing is forbidden,' said 

Belinda, 'but what reason ' 

' Reason ! Oh, I have done if you go to reason ! Vou are 
invulnerable to the light shafts of wit, I know, when you are 
cased in this heavy armour of reason ; Cupid himself may strain 
his bow, and exhaust his quiver upon you in vain. But have a 
nnot live in armour all your hfe — lay it aside but 
:, and the little bold urchin will make it his prize. 
Remember, in one of Raphael's pictures, Cupid creeping into 
the armour of the conqueror of the world.' 

L sufficiently aware,' said Belinda, smiling, ' of the 
power of Cupid, and of his iviles. I would not brave his malice, 
I but I will fly from it.' 
I ' It is so cowardly to fly !' 

I ' Surely prudence, not courage, is the virtue of our sex ; and 

' seriously, my dear Lady Delacour, I entreat you not to use your 
I influence over my mind, lest you should lessen my happiness, 
though you cannot alter my determination.' 

Moved by the earnest manner in which Belinda uttered these 

words. Lady Delacour rallied her no more, nor did she longer 

oppose her resolution of returning immediately to Oakly Park. 

' May I remind you,' said Miss Portman, ' though it is 

I seldom either politic or polite, to remind people of their 

' promises, — but may I remind you of something like a promise 

' you Kiade, to accompany me to Mr. Percivai's ? ' 

' And would you have me behave so brutally to poor Lord 
Delacour, as to run away from him in this manner the moment 



fc] have Btrei^ tt 



BELINDA 

'Lord Delacour is included in this inviiation,' said Mi! 
Portman, putting the last letter that she had received from Lad) 
Anne Percival into her hands. 

' When I recollect,' said Lad^ Delacour, as she looked ovet 
the letter, 'how well this Lady Anne of yours has behaved lo 
me about Helena, when 1 recollect, that, though you have been 
with her so long, she has not supplanted me in your affections, 
and that she did not attempt to detain you when I sect 
Marriott to Oakly Park, and when I consider how much for my 
own advantage it will be to accept this invitation, I really 
cannot bring mj'self, from pride, or folly, or any other motive, 
to refuse it. So, my dear Belinda, prevail upon Lord Dela- 
cour to spend his Christmas at Oakly Park, instead of a) 
Studley Manor (Rantipole, thank heaven ! is out of the ques-. 
tion), and prevail upon yourself to stay a few days for me, and' 
you shall take us all with you in triumph.' 

Belinda was convinced that, when Lady Delacour had once 
lasted the pleasures of domestic life, she would not easily return 
to that dissipation which she had followed from habit, and into 
which she had first been driven by a mixture of vanity and 
despair. All the connections which she had imprudently formed 
with numbers of fashionable but extravagant and thoughtless 
women would insensibly be broken off by this measure ; for 
Lady Delacour, who was already weary of their company, would 
be so much struck with the difference between their insipid 
conversation and the animated and interesting society in Lad; 
Anne Percival's family, that she would afterwards think them 
not only burdensome but intolerable. Lord Delacour's ind- 
macy with Lord Studley was one of his chief inducements to 
that intemperance, which injured almost equally his constitution 
and his understanding : for some weeks past he had abstained 
from all excess, and Belinda was well aware, that, when the 
immediate motive of humanity to Lady Delacour ceased 




his former habits, if he 

therefore (rf 

th Lord Studley, 



upon him, he would probably 
continued lo visit his formei 
importance to break at once I 

and to place him in a situation where he might form new habits, 

1 where his dormant talents might be roused to exertion, 

; was convinced that his understanding was not so much 

or as she had once been taught to think it : she per- 

;ir reconciliation, Lady DelactWj 

11^ 



PEU A PEU 

was Diixidus to make him appear lo advantage : 
said anything that was worth hearing, she looked at Belinda 
with triumph ; and whenever he happened to make a mistake 
in conversation, she either showed involuntary signs of uneasi- 
ness, or passed it off with that easy wit, by which she generally 
knew how ' to make the worse appear the better reason.' Miss 
Portman knew that Mr. Percival possessed the happy talent of 
drawing out all the abilities of those with whom he conversed, 
and that he did not value men merely for their erudition, science, 
or literature ; he was capable of estimating the potential as well 
as the actual range of the mind. Of his generosity she could 
not doubt, and she was persiiaded that he would take every 
possible means which good nature, joined to good sense, could 
1 suggest, to raise Lord Dclacour in his lady's esteem, and to 
I make that union happy which was indissoluble. All these re- 
flections passed with the utmost rapi3Iiyln Belinda's mind, and 
1 the result of them was, that she consented to wait Lady 
Delacour's leisure for her journey. 



CHAPTER XXIV 



PEU A PGU 



I Things were in this situation, when one day Marriott made 
I her appearance at her lady's toilette with a face which at once 
I proclaimed that something had discomposed her, and that she 
I was impatient to be asked what it was, 

' What (J- the matter, Marriott ? ' said Lady Delacour ; ' for 1 









' Want you to ask ! Oh dear, my lady, no I — for I'm sure, 
> a thing that goes quite against me to tell ; for 1 thought, 
\ indeed, my lady, superiorly of the person in question ; so much 
f iw, indeed, that I wished what 1 declare 1 should now be 
lashamed to mention, especially in the presence of Miss Port- 
T man, who deserves the best that this world can afford of every 
[ denomination. Well, ma'am, in one word,' continued shi 
J addressing herself to Belinda, ' 1 am extremely rejoiced 
I'tfaings are as they are, though I confess that was not always 



335 



she, I 

that 



my wish or opinion, for which I beg Mr. Vincent's pardon and I 
yours ; but I hope to be forgiven, since I'm now come entirdjl 
round to my Lady Anne Percivai's way of thinking, which 1 1 
learnt from good authority at Oakly Park ; and I i 
convinced and confident, Miss Portman, that everything is idrl 
the best' 

■ Marriott will inform us, in due course of lime, what has I 
thus suddenly and happily converted her,' said Lady Delacour ■ 
to Belinda, who was thrown into some surprise and con- 
fusion by Marriott's address ; but Marriott went on with much 
warmth- — 

' Dear me ! I'm sure I thought we had got rid of all double- 
dealers, when the house was cleared of Mr. Champfort ; but, 
oh, mercy ! there's not traps enough in the world for them all; 
I only wish they were all caught as finely as some people were. 
'Tis what all double-dealers, and Champfort at the head of the ] 
whole regiment, deserve — that's certain.' 

' We must take patience, my dear Belinda,' said Lady Dela- 
cour, calmly, ' till Marriott has exhausted all the expletives in 
and out of the English language ; and presently, when she has 
fought all her battles with Champfort over again, we may hope 
lo get at the facu' 

' Dear ! my lady, it has nothing lo do with Mr. Champfoit, 
nor any such style of personage, I can assure you ; for, I'm 
positive, I'd rather think contemptibly of a hundred million > 
Mr. Champforts than of one such gentleman as Mr. Clarence j 

* Clarence Hervey 1 ' exclaimed Lady Delacour : taking it'l 
for granted that Belinda blushed, her ladyship, with superfluous I 
address, instantly turned, so as to hide her friend's face from I 
Mrs. Marriott 'Well, Marriott, what of Mr. Hcn.ey?' 

' O my lady, something you'll be surprised to hear, i 

Miss Portman, too. It is not, by any means, that I am m 

of a prude than is becoming, my lady ; nor that t take upon 

me to be so innocent as not to know that young gentlemen of i 

fortune n-ill, if it be only for fashion's sake, bare such ihmgs J 

^ as kept mistresses (begging pardon for mentioning such tra^) i 1 

, but no one that has lived in the world thinks anything of thst, I 

I txcept,' added she, catching a glimpse of Belinda's countenance, j 

■except, to be sure, ma'am, morally spealdng, it's very n 

shocking, and makes one blush befisre company, till me^ J 
M6 



PEU A PEU 

to it, and ought certainly lo be put down by Act of Parlia- 

, nia'am ; but, my lady, you know, in point of surprising 
nybody, or being discreditable in a. young gentleman of Mr. 
lervey's fortune and pretensions, it would be mere envy and 
candal to deem it anything — worth mentioning.' 

Then, for mercy's sake, or mine,' said Lady Delacour, 'go 
o something that is worth mentioning.' 
Well, my lady, yon must know, then, that yesterday I 
anted some hempseed for my bullfinch — Miss Helena's buU- 
Bch, I mean ; for it was she found it by accident, you know, 
tiss Portman, the day after we came here. Poor thing ! it 
got itself so entangled in the net over the morello cherry-tree, 
in the garden, that it could neither get itself in nor out ; but 
very luckily Miss Helena saw it, and saved, and brought it in : 
almost dead, my lady.' 

'as it ? — I mean I am very sorry for it ; that is what you 
me to say. Now, go on — get us once past the buU- 
or tel! us what it has to do with Clarence Hervey.' 
That is what I am aiming at, as fast as possible, my lady, 
hempseed for the bullfinch, and along with 
hempseed they brought me wrapped round it, as it were, a 
ted handbill, as it might be, or advertisement, which I 
[firew off, d is regard ingly, taking for granted it might have been 
some of those advertisements for lozenges or razor-strops, that 
meet one wherever one goes ; but Miss Delacour picked it up, 
and found it was a kind of hue and cry after a stolen or strayed 
illftnch. Ma'am, I was so provoked, I could have cried, 
len I learnt it was the exact description of our little Bobby 
a feather — -gray upon the back, and red on. — — ' 
' Oh 1 spare me the description to a feather. Well, you 
lok the bird, bullfinch, or Bobby, as you call it, home to its 
[htful owner, I presume ? Let me get you so far on your 
ly.' 
' No, I beg your pardon, my lady, that is not the thing,' 
' Then you did not take the bird home to its owner — and 
u are a bird-stealer ? With all my heart : he a dog-stealer, 
lyou will — only go on.' 

' But, my lady, you hurry me so, it puts everything topsy- 
irvy in my head ; I could tell it as fast as possible my own 



'Do SI 



, then.' 




BELINDA 

* I was ready to cry, when I found our little Bobby was 
claimed from us, to be sure; but Miss Delacour observed, 
that those with whom it had lived till it was gray must be 
sorrier still to part with it : so I resolved to do the honest and 
genteel thing by the lady who advertised for it, and to take it 
back myself^ and to refiise the five guineas reward ofiered. 
The lady's name, according to the advertisement, was Ormond.' 

*Ormond!' repeated Lady Delacour, looking eagerly at 
Belinda : ' was not that the name Sir Philip Baddely mentioned 
to us — ^you remember ? ' 

• Yes, Ormond was the name, as well as I recollect,' said 
Belinda, with a degree <^ steady composure that provoked her 
ladyship. ' Go on, Marriott' 

' And the words were, to leave the bird at a perfumer's in 

Twickenham, opposite to ; but that's no matter. Well, 

my lady, to the perfumer's I went with the bird, this morning. 
Now, I had my reasons for wishing to see this Mrs. Ormond 
m>-self, because, my lady, there was one thing rather remark- 
able about this bullfinch, that it sings a very particular tune, 
which I ne^•er heard any bullfinch, or any human creature, sing 
anything like before : so I determined, in my own cogitations, 
to ask this Mrs. Ormond to name the tunes her bullfinch could 
sing, before I produced it ; and if she made no mention of its 
knowing any one out of the common way, I resolved to keep 
my bird to myself, as I might very conscientiously and genteelly 
too. So, my lady, when I got to the perfumer's, I inquired 
where Mrs. Ormond was to be found ? I was told that she 
received no \nsits from any, at least from the female sex ; and 
that I must leave the bird there till called for. I was consider- 
ing what to do, and the strangeness of the information made 
about the female sex, when in there came, into the shop, a 
gentleman, who saved me all the indelicacy of asking particulars. 
The bullfinch was at this time piping away at a fine rate, and, 
as luck would have it, that very remarkable strange tune that 
I mentioned to you. Says the gentleman, as he came into the 
shop, fixing his eyes on the bullfinch as if they would have 
come feirly out of his head, " How did that bird come here ? " — 
•* I brought it here, sir," said I. Then he began to offer me 
mountains of gold in a very strange way, if I could tell him 
any tidings of the lady to whom it belonged. The shopman 
from behind the counter now bent forward, and whispered the 




PEU A PEU 

gentleman that be could give him some information, if he 
would make it worth his while ; and they both went together 
little parlour behind the shop, and I saw no more of them. 
But, my lady, very opportunely for me, that was dying with 
curiosity, out of the parlour they turned a young ' 
attend the shop, who proved to be an acquaintance of ) 
whom I had done some little favours tc " ' 
London. And this young woman, when 1 told her my dis 
about the advertisement and the bullfinch, let me into the 
whole of the affair. " Ma'am," said she, " all that is known 
about Mrs. Ormond, in this house, or anywhere else, is from 
me ; so there was no occasion For turning me out of the parlour. 
1 lived with Mrs. Ormond, ma'atn," says she, " for half a year, 
in the very house she now occupies, and consequendy nobody 
can be better informed than I am " : — to which I agreed. 
Then she told me that the reason that Mrs. Ormond never 
any company of any sort was, because she is not fit to see 
company — proper company — for she's not a proper woman. 
She has a most beautiful young creature there, shut up, who 
has been seduced, and is now deserted in a most cruel manner 
by a. Mr. Her\-ey. Oh, my lady ! how the name struck upon 
Liny ear I I hoped, however, it was not our Mr. Hervey i but 
it was the identical Mr. Clarence Hervey. I made the young 
describe him, for she had often and often seen him, 
when he visited the unfortunate creature ; and the description 
could suit none but our Mr. Hervey, and besides it put it 
beyond a doubt, she told me his linen was all marked C. H. 
lur Mr. Hervey, ma'am,' added Marriott, turning to Belinda, 
:eTtainly proved to be, to my utter dismay and confusion.' 
Oh, Marriott 1 my poor head ! ' exclaimed Lady Delacour, 
starting from under her hands : ' that cruel comb went at least 
half an inch into my head— heads have feeling as well as 
hearts, believe me.' And, as she spoke, she snatched out the 
comb with which Marriott had just fastened up her hair, and 
flung it on a sofa at some yards' distance. While Marriott 
went to fetch it, Lady Delacour thought thai Belinda would 
have time to recover from that utter dismay and confusion into 
which she hoped that she must now be thrown. ' Come, 
Marriott, make haste. I have done jrott at least a great favour, 
for you have all this hair to perform upon again, and you will 
have leisure to finish this story of yours — which, at all events, 
339 



J 



BELINDA 

if it b nM in anj other respect modefftl, ve must allow n 
waadafidljr hxig.' 

' Wdl, my lady, to be short, then — I was more cnrioDS than 
evo", when I beu^ all this, to bearmore; and asked royfrioid 
bow she could ever think of staring in a bouse «rith ladies of 
such a descripuon ! Upon which she justified bersetf by assor-, 
ing me, upon her honour, that at Gist she believed the ymag 
lady was mairied privately to Mr. Herrcy, for ihii a deigymaB 
came in secret, and read prayei^ and she eerily believes 
the unfortunate young creature was deceived barbarously, and 
made to fancy herself married to all intents and purposes, till 
all at once Mr. Heney threw off the mask, and left off visiting 
her, preteoding a necessity lo lake a journey, and handing her 
over to that vile woman, that Mis. Ormond, who bid her t< 
comforted, and all the things that are said by such women, on 
such occasions, by all accounts. But the poor deluded young 
thing saw how it was now too plain, and she was ready tc 
break her heart ; but not in a violent, common sort of way, 
ma'am, but in silent grief, pining and drooping. My friend 
could not stand the sight, nor endure to look upon Mrs. Onnond ■ 
now she knew what she was ; and so she lefl the house, without 
giving any reason, immediately. I forgot to mention, that the ' 
unfortunate g'u-l's maiden name was St. Pierre, my lady : but 
her Christian name, which was rather an out o' the way name, 
I quite forget,' 

' No matter,' said Lady Delacotu ; ' we can li^-e n-ithout il J 
or we can imagine it' 

' To be sure — I beg pardon | such sort ol people's Dama 
can't be of any consequence, and, I'm sure, I blame myself no* 
for going to the house, after all I had heard.' 

' You did go to the house, then ? ' 

'To my shame he it spoken ; my curiosity got the better oJ 
me, and I went — but only on account of the bullfinch in th( 
Byes of the world. It was a great while before I could get in : 
trat 1 was so firm, that I would not give up the bird to ni 
'"at the lady herself, that I got in at last. Oh, never did mf, 

t Kght upon so beautiful a creature, nor so graceful, n 

1 look at ! '^Belinda sighed — Marriott echoed iha 
and continued ; ' She was by herself, and in tears, whe» 
iS shown in, ma'am, and she started as if she had i 

}ody before in her He. Bu^ -wbta she saw the bul^ 





PEU A PEU 

I, she clapped her hands, and, stnihug through 
teais like a cjiild, she ran up to me, and thanked me again 
again, kissing the bird between times, and putting ' 
bosom. Well, I declare, if she had talked lo all eiernity, she 
could never have made me pity her half so much as all this 
did, for it looked so much like innocence. I'm sure, nobody 
that was not — or, at least, that did not think themselves 
innocent, could have such ways, and such an innocent affection 
for a little bird. Not but what I know ladies of a i 
description often have birds, but then their fondness 
affectation and fashion ; but this poor thing was all nature. 
Ah ! poor unfortunate girl, thought I — but it's no matter what 
I thought now,' said Marriott, shutting her eyes, to hide the 
tears that came into them at this instant ; ' I was ashamed of 
myself, when I saw Mrs. Ormond Just then come into the 
room, which made me recollect what sort of company I was in. 
La ! my lady, how I detested the sight of her ! She looked at 
me, too, more like a dragon than anything else ; though in a 
civil way, and as if she was frightened out of her wits, she 
asked Miss St. Pierre, as she called her, how I had got in (in 
a whisper), and she made all sorts of signs afterward to her, to 
go out of the room. Never having been in such a situation 
before, 1 was quite robbed of all fluency, and could not — what 
with the anger I felt for the one, and sorrow for the other — 
get out a word of common sense, or even recollect what 
pretence brought me into the room, till the bird very luckily 
put it into my head by beginning lo sing ; so then I asked, 
whether they could certify it to be theirs by any particular tune 
«f its own ? " Oh, yes," said Miss St. Pierre ; and she sung 
the very same tune. 1 never heard so sweet a voice ; but, 
poor thing, something came across her mind in the middle of 
it, and she stopped ; but she thanked me again for bringing 
back the bird, which, she said, had been hers for a great 
many years, and that she loved it dearly. I stood, I believe, 
like one stupefied, till I was roused by the woman's offering to 
put the five guineas reward, mentioned in the advertisement, 
into my hand. The touch of her gold made me start, as if it 
had been a snake, and I pushed it from me i and when she 
pressed it again, 1 threw it on the table, scarce knowing what 
1 did ; and just then, in her iniquitous hand, I saw a letter, 
'directed to Clarence Hervey, Esq. Oh, how I hated ihe sight 
341 



y\ 



BELINDA 

of his name, and everything belonging to him, ma'am, at that 
minute ! Fm sure, I could not have kept myself from saying 
something quite outrageous, if I had not taken myself out of 
the house, as I did, that instant. 

* When there are women enough bom and bred good for 
nothing, and ladies enough to flirt with, that would desire no 
better, that a gentleman like Mr. Clarence Hervey, ma'am, 
should set his wits, as one may say, to be the ruin of such a 
sweet, innocent-looking young creature, and then desert her in 
that barbarous way, after bringing a clergyman to deceive her 
with a mock ceremony, and all — oh ! there is no fashion, nor 
nothing can countenance such wickedness ! 'tis the worst of 
wickedness and cruelty — and I shall think and say so to the 
latest hour of my life.' 

* Well said, Marriott,' cried Lady Delacour. 

* And now you know the reason, ma'am,' added Marriott, 
* that I said, I was glad things are as they are. To be sure I 
and everybody once thought — ^but that's all over now — and I 
am glad things are as they are? 

Lady Delacour once more turned her quick eyes upon 
Belinda, and was much pleased to see that she seemed to 
sympathise with Marriott's indignation. 

In the evening, when they were alone. Lady Delacour 
touched upon the subject again, and observed, that as they 
should now, in all probability, see Mr. Hervey in a few days, 
they might be able to form a better judgment of this affair, 
which she doubted not had been exaggerated. *You should 
judge from the whole of Clarence's conduct and character, and 
not from any particular part,' said her ladyship. * Do not his 
letters breathe a spirit of generosity ? ' 

* But,' interrupted Miss Portman, * I am not called upon to 
judge of Mr. Hervey's whole conduct and character, nor of any 
part of it ; his letters and his generosity are nothing ' 

* To you ? ' said Lady Delacour with a smile. 

* This is no time, and no subject for raillery, my dear friend,' 
said Belinda ; * you assured me, and I believed you, that the 
idea of Mr. Hervey's return was entirely out of the question, 
when you prevailed upon me to delay my journey to Oakly 
Park. As I now understand that your ladyship has changed 
your mind, I must request your ladyship will permit me ' 

^ / mil permit you to do "wVval '^o^ ^\&^sej dearest Belinda, 



FEU A PEU 

except to call m^ your ladyship twice in one sentence. You 
shall go to Oakly Park the day after to-morrow: will that 
content you, my dear ? I admire your strength of mind — you 
are much fitter to conduct yourself than I am to conduct you. 
I have done with raillery : my first, my only object, is your 
happiness. I respect and esteem as much as I love you, and 
I love you belter than anything upon earth — poii'er excepted, 
you will say — power not excepted, believe roe ; and if you are 
one of those strange people that cannot believe without proofs 
you shail have proof positive upon the spot,' added she, ringing 
the bell as she spoke. ' I will no longer contend for power 
over your mind with your friends at Oakly Park. I will give 
orders, in your presence, to Marriott, to prepare for our march 
—I did not call it retreat ; but there is nothing shows so 
much generalship as a good retreat, unless it be a great 
victory. I am, 1 confess, rather prejudiced in favour of 
victory.' 

' So am I,' said Belinda, with a smile ; ' 1 am so sti'ongly 
prejudiced in favour of victory, that rather than obtain no 
other, I would even be content with a victory over myself.' 

Scarcely had Belinda pronounced these words, when Lord 
Delacour, who had dined in town, entered the room, accom- 
panied by Mr. Vincent. 

; leave. Lady Delacour, to introduce to you,' said 
bis lordship, ' a young gentleman, who has a great, and, I am 
ited desire to cultivate your ladyship's 
further acquaintance.' 

Lady Delacour received him with all the politeness imagin- 
able ; and even her prepossessions in favour of Clarence 
Hervey could not prevent her from being struck with his 
appearance. II a infiniment I'air d'un heros de roman, thought 
she, and Belinda is not quite so great a philosopher as I 
imagined. In due time her ladyship recollected that she had 
orders to give to Marriott about her journey, that made it 
absolutely necessary she should leave Miss Portman to enter- 

I Mr. Vincent, if possible, without her, for a few minutes ; 
and Lord Delacour departed, contenting himself with the usual 
ntsc of — letters to •write. 

' I ought to be delighted with your gallantry, Mr. Vincent,' 
said Belinda, ' in travelling so many miles, to remind me of my 
promise about Oakly Park ; but on the contrary, I am sorry 
343 



BELINDA 

you have laken so much unnecessary trouble : Lady Delacoar 
is, at this instant, preparing for our journey to Mr. Percival's. 
We intend to set out the day after to-morrow.' 

' I am heartily glad of it — I shall be infinitely overpaid 
for my journey, by having the pleasure of going back with you.' 

After some conversation upon different subjects, Mr. Vincent, 
with an air of frankness which was pecuharly pleasing i 
Belinda, put into her hands an anonymous letter, which he had 
received the preceding day. 

'It is not worth your reading,' said he ; 'but I know you 
too well to fear that it should give you any pain ; and I hope 
you know me too well, to apprehend that it couid make any 
impression on my mind,' ' 

Belinda read with some surprise :— 

' Rash young man I beware of connecting yourself with the 
lady to whom you have lately been drawn in to pay your I 
addresses ; she is the most artful of women. She has been, ■ 
educated, as you may find upon inquir}', by one, whose success- fl 
ful trade it has been to draw in young men of fortune for bcT I 
nieces, whence she has obtained the appellation of Ihe m^A^k 
maker general. The only niece whom she could not get rid ofl 
any other way, she sent to Ihe most dissipated and unprinciple^l 
viscountess in town. The viscountess fell sick, and, as it waJB 
universally reported last winter, the young lady was immediately H 
upon her friend's death, to have been maiTied to the viscountB 
widower. But the viscountess detected the connection, audi 
the young lady, to escape from her friend's rage, and from 
public shame, was obliged to retreat to certain shades in the 
neighbourhood of Harrowgate ; where she passed herself for ■ 
saint upon those who were too honourable themselves to be 
suspicious of others. 

'At length the quarrel between her and the \'iscounless was 
made up, by her address and boldness in declaring, that if she 
was not recalled, she would divulge some secrets respecting a 
certain mysterious boiidotr in her ladyship's house : this threat 
I terrified the viscountess, who sent off express for her late 
discarded humble companion. The quarrel was hushed up, 
and the young lady is now with her noble friend at Twickwi- 
ham. The person who used to be let up the private s 
into the boudoir, by Mrs. Marriott, is now more conveniently 
received at Twickenham.' 



BELINDA 

Much more was said by the letter-writer in the same strain. 
The ncime of Clarence Hervey, in the last page, caught 
Belinda's eye ; and vrith a trepidation which she did not feel at 
the beginning of this epistle, she read the conclusion. 

* The viscount is not supposed to have been unrivalled in 
the young lad/s favour. A young gentleman, of large fortune, 
great talents, and uncommon powers of pleasing, has, for some 
months, been her secret object ; but he has been prudent 
enough to escape her matrimonial snares, though he carries on 
a correspondence with her, through the means of her fnend 
the viscountess, to whom he privately writes. The noble lady 
has bargained to make over to her confidante all her interest 
in Hervey's heart. He is expected every day to return from 
his tour ; and, if the schemes upon him can be brought to bear, 
the promised return to the neighbourhood of Harrowgate will 
never be thought of. Mr. Vincent will be left in the lurch ; he 
will not even have the lady's fair hand — ^her /atr heart is 
Clarence Herve/s, at all events. Further particulars shall he 
communicated to Mr. Vincent, if he pays due attention to this 
warning from A sincere Friend.' 

As soon as Belinda had finished this curious production, 
she thanked Mr. Vincent, with more kindness than she had 
ever before shown him, for the confidence he placed in her, 
and for the openness with which he treated her. She begged 
his permission to show this letter to Lady Delacour, though he 
had previously dreaded the effect which it might have upon her 
ladyship's feelings. 

Her first exclamation was, * This is one of Harriot Freke's 
frolics ; ' but as her ladyship's indignation against Mrs. Freke 
had long since subsided into utter contempt, she did not waste 
another thought upon the writer of this horrible letter ; but 
mstantly the whole energy of her mind and fire of her eloquence 
burst forth in an eulogium upon her friend. Careless of all 
that concerned herself, she explained, without a moment's 
hesitation, everything that could exalt Belinda : she described 
all the difficult circumstances in which her friend had been 
placed; she mentioned the secret with which she had been 
entrusted ; the honour with which, even at the hazard of her 
own reputation, she had kept her promise of secrecy inviolable, 
when Lord Delacour, in a fit of intoxication and jealousy, had 



PEU A PEU 

[vSored to wrest from Marriott the key of tke mysteriou^ 

^inr. She confessed her own absurd jealousy, explained \ 
' it had been excited by the artifices of Champfort and Sir 
Sp Baddcly, how slight circumstances had worked her mind / 
Umost to frenzy. ' The temper, the dignity, the gentler 
liumaniCy, with which Belinda bore with me, during ihisj 
jxysm of madness,' said Lady Delacour, ' I never can foi^et ;\ 

the spirit with which she left my house, when she sa\ 
I unworthy of her esteem, and ungrateful for her kindness 
' the magnanimity with which she returned to me, when II 
bght myself upon my death-bed : all this has made an] 
'pression upon my soul, which never, whilst I have life and 
ason, can be effaced. She has saved my life. She has made 
y life worth saving. She has made me feel my own valuel 
le has made me know my own happiness. She has reconcile^ 
E to my husband. She has united me with my child. She 
IS been my guardian angel. — She, the confidante of my 
trigues ! — she leagued with me in vice !— No, I am bound lo 
■X by ties stronger than vice ever felt ; than vice, even in the 
tnost ingenuity of its depravity, can devise.' 
|Exhausted by the vehemence with which she had spoken, 
idy Delacour paused ; but Vincent, who sympathised in her 
Uusiasm, kept his eyes fixed upon her, in hopes that she 
il yet more to say. 

y* I might, perhaps, you will think,' continued she, smiling, 
^e spared you this history of myself, and of my own affairs, 
tr. Vincent ; but 1 thought it necessary to tell you the plain 
«ts, which malice has distorted into tlie most odious fomi. 
his is the quarrel, this is the reconciliation, of which your 
lonymous fnend has been so well informed. Now, as to 
irence Hervey.' 

■*I have explained to Mr. Vincent,' interrupted Belinda, 
teylhing that he could wish to know on that subject, and I 
tr wish you to tell him that I faithfully remembered ray 
Itnise to return to Oakly Park, and that we were actually 
glaring for the journey.' 

* Look here, sir,' cried Lady Delacour, opening the door of 
r dressing-room, in which Marriott was upon her knees, 
king a trunk, ' here's dreadful note of preparation.' 
'Vou are a happier man than you yet know, Mr. Vincent,' 
(tinned Lady Delacour ; 'for I can tell you, that some per- 
il 347 



BELINDA 

suasion, some raillery, and some wit, I flatter myself^ have 
been used, to detain Miss Portman from you.' 

* From Oakly Park,* interrupted Belinda. 

* From Oakly Park, etc., a few days longer. Shall I be 
frank with you, Mr. Vincent ? — ^Yes, for I cannot help it— 1 
am not of the nature of anonymous letter-wTiters ; I cannot, 
either secretly or publicly, sign or say myself a sincere friend^ 
without being one to the utmost extent of my influence, I 
never give my vote without my interest, nor my interest without 
my vote. Now Clarence Hervey is my friend. Start not at all, 
sir, — >'Ou have no reason ; for if he is my friend. Miss Portman 
is yours : which has the better bargain ? But, as I was going 
to tell you, Mr. Clarence Hervey is my friend, and I am his. | 
My vote, interest, and influence, have consequently been all in j 
his favour. I had reason to believe that he has long admired \ 
the dignity of Miss Portman's mind^ and the simplicity of her 
character^ continued her ladyship, iiith an arch look at Belinda ; 
* and though he was too much a man of genius to begin with 
the present tense of the indicative mood, " I love," yet I was, 
and am, convinced, that he does love her.' 

* Can you, dear Lady Delacour,' cried Belinda, * speak in 
this manner, and recollect all we heard from Marriott this 
morning ? And to what purpose all this ? ' 

* To what purpose, my dear ? To convince your friend, Mr. 
Vincent, that I am neither fool nor knave ; but that I deal 
fairly by you, by him, and by all the world. Mr. Hervey's 
conduct towards Miss Portman has, I acknowledge, sir, been 
undecided. Some circumstances have lately come to my 
knowledge which throw doubts upon his honour and integrity — 
doubts which, I firmly believe, he will clear up to my satisfac- 
tion at least, as soon as I see him, or as soon as it is in his 
power ; with this conviction, and believing, as I do, that no 
man upon earth is so well suited to my friend, — pardon me, 
Mr. Vincent, if my wishes differ from yours : though my 
sincerity may give you present, it may save you from future, 
pain.' 

* Your ladyship's sincerity, whatever pain it may give me, I 
admire,' said Mr. Vincent, with some pride in his manner ; * but 
I see that I must despair of the honour of your ladyship's con- 
gratulations.' 

* Pardon me,* mlerrupted Lady Delacour ; ' there you are 



PEU A PEU 

quite mistaken : ihe man of Belinda's choice must receive my 
■congratulations ; he must do more — he must become my friend. ' 

i would never rest till I had won his regard, nor should I in I 
the least be apprehensive that he would not have sufficient I I 
greatness of mind to forgive my having treated him with a / I 
I degree of sincerity which the common forms of politeness/ ^ 
I cannot justify, and at which common souls would be scandalised/ 
Lpast recovery.' 

Mr. Vincent's pride was entirely vanquished by this speech ; 

Sjd with that frankness by which his manners were usually 

iharacterised, he thanked her for having distinguished him 

I common souls; and assured her that such sincerity as 

pters was infinitely more fo his taste than that refined politeness 

' of which be was aware no one was more perfect mistress than 

Lady Delacour. 

Here their conversation ended, and Mr. Vincent, as it was 
now late, took his leave. 

' Really, my dear Behnda,' said Lady Delacour, when he 
was gone, ' 1 am not surprised at your impatience to return to 
Oakly Park ; I am not so partial to my knight, as to compare 
him, in personal accomplishments, with your hero. 1 acknow- 
ledge, also, that there is something vastly prepossessing in the 
frankness of his manners ; he has behaved admirably well 
about this abominable letter; but, what is better than all in a 
hdy's eyes, he is ^erdument ainoureux.' 
' Not iperdument^ I hope,' said Belinda. 
' Then, as you do not think it necessary for your hero to be 
/fierdumenl amourettx, I presume,' said Lady Delacour, ' you 
do not think it necessary that a heroine should be in love at 
1 all. So love and marriage are to be separated by philosophy, 
1 as well as by fashion. This is Lady Anne Perci^'al's doctrine ; 
I I give Mr. Percival joy. I remember the time, when he 
fiincied love essential to happiness.' 

' I believe he not only fancies, but is sure of it now, from 
experience,' said Belinda. 

' Then he interdicts love only to his friends ? He does not 
I think it essential that you should know anything about the 
natter. You may marry his ward, and welcome, without being 
a love with him.' 

' But not without loving him,' said Belinda. 

' 1 am not casuist enough in these matters to understand 



BELINDA 

the subtle distinction you make, with the true PerdvaJ em; 
between loving and falling in love. But 1 suppose I 
understand by loving, loving as half the world do when they 



1 

bey| 
id,' T 



' As ii would be happy for half the world if they did,' 
rephed Belinda, mildly, but with a linnness of tune thai her 
ladyship felt, * I should despise myself and deserve no 
from any human being, if, after all I have seen, 1 couid it 
of man7ing for convenience or interest.' 

' Oh 1 pardon me ; I meant not to insinuate sucb an id 

even your worst enemy, Sir Philip Baddely, would acquit you 

I thecar- I meant but to hint, my dear Belinda, that a heart such 

; f-^ yours is formed for love in its highest, purest, liappiest 

I state." 

A pause ensued. 

' Such happiness can be secured only,' resumed Belinda, 
' by a union with a man of sense and virtue.' 

' A man of sense and virtue, I suppose, means Mr. Vincenl,' 
said Lady Delacour : 'no doubt you have lately learned ii 
same sober style that a little love will sulKce with a great deai 
of esteem,' 

' I hope I have learned lately that a great deal of 
the best foundation for a great deal of love.' 

' Possibly,' said Lady Delacour ; ' but we often see people 
working at the foundation all their lives without getting an) 
farther.' 

'And those who build their castles of happiness in the ^r,' 
said Belinda, ' are they more secure, wiser, or happier ? ' 

'Wiser! I know nothing about that,' said Lady Delacour' 
' but happier I do believe they are ; for the casde-building is 
always a labour of loi-e, but the foundation of drudgery is 
generally lov^s labour last. Poor Vincent will find it so.' 

'Perhaps not,' said Belinda; 'for already his solid good 
qualities——' 

' Solid good qualities ! ' interrupted Lady Delacour : ' I heg 
your pardon for interrupting you, but, my dear, you know we 
never fail in love with good qualities, except, indeed, when ihey 
are joined to an aquiline nose — -oh 1 that aquiline nose of 
Mr. Vincent's ! I am more afraid of it than of all his solid 
good qualities. He has again, I acknowledge it, much the 
idvuUage of Clarence Hervey in personal accompUsl 





I'EU A PEU 

: a woman to be decided by personaTaSon^ 
Plshments.' 

•And you will not allow me lo be decided by solid good 

,' said Belinda. ' So by what must I be deiermined ? 

' By your heart, my dear ; by your heart : trust your heart 

' Alas 1 ' said Belinda, ' how many, many women have 
leplored their having trusted lo their hearts only.' 

' Their hearts ! but I said your heart ; mind your pronouns, 
my dear ; that makes all the difference. But, to be serious, 
.1 you really and bona fidc^ as my old uncle the 
lawyer used to say, love Mr. Vincent?' 

' No,' said Belinda, ' I do rot love him >'ei.' 

' But for that emphatic j-e/, how I should have worshipped 

U ! I wish 1 could once clearly understand the state of your 
nind about Mr, Vincent, and then I should be able to judge 
low far I might indulge myself in raillery without being 
ibsolutely impertinent. So without intniding upon your con- 
idence, tell me whatever you please.' 

' I will tell you all I know of my own mind,' replied Belinda, 
ooking up with an ingenuous countenance. ' I esteem Mr. 
rtncent ; I am grateful lo htm for the proofs he has given me 
(f steady attachment, and of confidence in my integrity. I 
ike his manners and the frankness of his temper ; but I do 
lot yet love him, and till I do, no earthly consideration could 
(revail upon me lo marry him.' 

' Perfectly satisfactory, my dear Belinda ; and yet I cannot 
-. quite at ease whilst Mr. Vincent is present, and my poor 
lllarence absent ; proximity is such a dangerous advantage 
iren with the wisest of us. The absent lose favour so quickly 
1 Cupid's court, as in all other courts ; and they are such 
ictims to false reports and vile slanderers ! ' 

Belinda sighed. 

' Thank you for that sigh, my dear,' said Lady Delacour. 
May 1 ask, would you, if you discovered that Mr, Vincent 
lad a Virginia, discard him for ever from your thoughts f ' 

'If I discovered that he had deceived and behaved dis- 



jurably to any womar 
ever from my regard.' 
'With as much ease ai 
*^i^^^^ perhaps.' 



, I certainly should banish him for 
you banished Clarence Hervey ?' 




BELINDA 



1 you acknowledge^thal's all I want — that you liked 
Clarence better than you do Vincent ? ' 

' I acknowledge it,' said Belinda, colouring up to het 
temples ; ' but that lime la entirely past, and I ne\'er look 

' But if you were forced to look back to it, my dear, — ii 
Clarence Her\'ey proposed for you, — would nol you cast i 
lingering look behind ? 

' Let me beg of you, my dear Lady Delacour, as my friend,' 
cried Belinda, speaking and looking with great earnestness ; 
' let me beg of you to forbear. Uo not use your poweifii! 
influence over ray heart to make me think of what I ought rot 
to think, or do what I ought not to do. I have permitted Mr. 
Vincent to address me. Vou cannot imagine that I am so 
base as to treat him with duplicity, or that 1 consider him only 
as npis-allerj no— I have treated, I will treat him honourably. 
He knows exactly the state of my mind. He shall have a 
fair trial whether he can win my love ■, the moment I am 
convinced that he cannot succeed, I will tell hitn so decidedly: 
but if ever 1 should feel for him that affection which is 
necessary for my happiness and his, I hope I shall without 
fear, even of Lady Delacour's ridicule or displeasure, avow 
sentiments, and abide by my choice.' 

' My dear, I admire you,' said Lady Delacour ; ' but I 
incorrigible ; I ani not tit to hear myself convinced. After all| 
I am impelled by the genius of imprudence to tell you, that, 
spite of Mr. Percival's cure iot Jirst loves, 1 consider love as 
distemper that can be had but once.' 

' As you acknowledge that you are not fit to hear yourseli 
convinced,' said Belinda, ' I will not ai^e this point 



' But you will allow,' said Lady Delacour, ' 
sung in Cupid's calendar, that — 



s said Of 



and she broke off the 



by singing that beautifiit 



LOVE ME, LOVE MV DOG 



CHAPTER XXV 

LOVE ME, LOVE MV DOG 



P The only interest that honest people can take in the fate of 
■ rogues is in their detection and punishment ; the reader, then, 
will be so far interested in the fate of Mr. Charapfort, as to 
feel some satisfaction at his being safely lodged in Newgate. 
The circumstance which led to this desirable catastrophe was 
I the anonymous letter to Mr. Vincent. From the first moment 
that Marriott saw or heard of the letter, she was convinced, 
; said, that ' Mr. Champfort was at the bottom of it.' Lady 
Delacour was equally convinced that Harriot Freke was the 
author of the epistie ; and she supported her opinion by 
observing, that Champfort could neither write nor spell English. 
Marriott and her lady were both right. It was a joint, or 
rather a triplicate performance. Champfort, in conjunction 
with the stupid maid, furnished the intelligence, which Mrs. 
Freke manufactured ; and when she had put the whole into 
proper style and form, Mr. Champfort got her rough draught 
fairly copied at his leisure, and transmitted his copy to Mr. 
Vincent. Now all this was discovered by a very slight circum- 
statice. The letter was copied by Mr. Champfort upon a 
sheet of mourning paper, off which he thought that he had 
carefully cut the edges ; but one bit of the black edge remained, 
which did not escape Marriott's scrutinising eye. ' Lord bless 
my stars ! my lady,' she exclaimed, 'this must be the paper — 
nean may be the paper — that Mr. Champfort was cutting a 
quire of, the very day before Miss Portman left town. It's a 
great while ago, but 1 remember it as well as if it was yesterday. 
" aw a parcel of black jags of paper littering the place, and 
asked what had been going on F and was told, that it was only 
Mr. Champfort who had been cutting some paper ; which, to 
be sure, 1 concluded my lord had given to him, having no 
forther occasion for, — as my lord and you, my lady, were just 
going out of mourning at that time, as you may remember,' 

Lord Delacour, when the paper was shown to him, recog- 
nised it immediately by a private mark which he had put 
3" 353 



1 



BELINDA 

ihe out^dc sbeet of a division of letter paper, which, indetd, 
he had net'ct given lo Champfon, but which be had tniiseil 
shout the lim* Marriott mentioned. Between the leaves of 
this paper his lordship had pal, as it was ofteo his practice, 
some Irank notes : they were notes but of small value, and when 
he missed them he was easily persuaded by Champfon that, as 
he had been much iatosicated the preceding night, he had 
tbrOK-n them away with some useless papers. He rummaged 
through his writing-desk in vain, and then gave up the search. 
It was tnie that on this very occasion he gave Champfort the 
remainder of some mourning paper, which he made no scruple, 
therefore, of producing openly. Certain that be could sicear 
to his own private mark, and that he could identify his notes 
by their numbers, etc, of which he had luckily a memorandum, 
Lord Delacour, enraged to &nd himself both robbed and duped 
by a favoinite servant, in wham he had placed impUdt conit 
dence, was effectually roused from his natural indolence : he 
took such active and successful measures, that Mr, Champfatt 
was committed to gaol, to take his trial for the robbery. To 
make peace for himself, he confessed that he had been in- 
stigated by Mrs, Freke to get the anonymous letter written. 
This kdy was now suffering jusl punishment for her Jrolki, 
and Lady Delacour thought her fallen so much below indigna- 
tion, that she advised Belinda to take no manner of notice of 
her conduct, except by simply returning the letter to her, with 
' Mbs Fortman's, Mr. Vincent's, and Lord and Lady Delacour's, 
compliments and thanks to a sincere Jriend, who had been the 
means of bringing villainy to justice.' 

So much for Mrs. Freke and Mr. Champfort, who, both 
together, scarcely deserve an episode of ten lines. 

Now to return to Mr. Vincent. Animated by firesh hope, 
he pressed his suit with Belinda with all the ardour of his 
sanguine temper. Though tittle disposed to fear any future 
evil, especially in the midst of present felicity, yet he was 
aware of the danger that might ensue to him from Clarence 
Herve/s arrival ; he was therefore impatient for the inter- 
mediate day to pass, and it was with heartfelt joy that be saw 
the carriages at last at the door, which were actually to convey 
them to Oakly Park. Mr. Vincent, who had all the West 
Indian love for magnificence, had upon this occasion an 
extremely handsome equipage. Lady Delacour, though she 



LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG 

disappointed by Clarence Herve/s not appearing, did not 
attempt to delay their departure. She contented herself with 
leaving a note, to be delivered to him or his arrival, which, 
she still flattered herself, would induce him immediately to go 
to Harrowgate. The trunks were fastened upon the carriages, 
s imperial was carrying out, Marriott was full of a world of 
business, Lord Delacour was looking at his horses as usual, 
Helena was patting Mr. Vincent's great dog, and Belinda was 
rallying her lover upon his taste for ' the pomp, pride, and 
arcumstance' of glorious travelling — when an express arrived 
from Oakly Part It was to delay their journey for a few 
weeks. Mr. Percival and Lady Anne wrote word, that they 

i unexpectedly called from home by . Lady Dela- 

Eour did not stay to read by what, or by whom, she was so 
much delighted by this reprieve. Mr. Vincent bore the dis- 
appointment as well as could be expected ; particularly when 
Belinda observed, to comfort him, that ' the mind is its own 

; ' ; and that hers, she believed, would be the same at 
Twickenham as at Oakly Park. Nor did she give him any 

)n to regret that she was rot immediately under the 

ence of his own friends. The dread of being unduly 
biassed by Lady Delacour, and the strong desire Belinda felt 

rt honourably by Mr. Vincent, to show him that she was 
not trifling with his happiness, and that she was incapable of 
the meanness of retaining a lover as a.pis-aUer, were motives 
which acted more powerfully in his favour than all that even 
l-ady Anne Percival could have looked or said. The contrast 
between the openness and decision of his conduct towards her, 
and Clarence Hervey's vacillation and mystery ; the belief that 
, Hervey was or ought to be attached to another woman ; 
the conviction that Mr. Vincent was strongly attached to her, 
and that he possessed many of the good qualities essential to 
' her happiness, operated every day more and more strongly 
upon Belinda's mind. 

Where was Clarence Hervey all this time ? Lady Delacour, 
alas ! could not divine. She every morning was certain that 
he would appear that day, and every night she was forced to 
acknowledge her mistake. No inquiries^and she had made 
all that could be made, by address and perseverance — no 
inquiries could clear up the mystery of Virginia and Mrs. 
Ormond ; and her impatience to see her friend Clarence every 
355 



BELINDA 

hour increased. She was divided between her confidence in 
him and her affection for Belinda j unwilling to give him up, 
yet afraid to injure her happiness, or to offend her, by injudi- 
cious advice, and improper interference. One thing kept Lady 
Delacour for some time in spirits — Miss Portman's assurance 
that she would not bind herself by any promise or engagement 
( to Mr. Vincent, even when decided in his favour; and that she 
I should hold both him and herself perfectly free till they were 
actually married. This was according to Lady Anne and Mr. 
Percival's principles : and Lady Delacour was never tired of 
I expressing directly or indirectly her admiration of the prudence 
and propriety of their doctrine. 

Lady Delacour recollected her own promise, to give her 
sincere cottgratuiafiotis to Ike mcfon'ous knight; and she 
endeavoured to treat Mr. Vincent with impartiality. She was, 
however, now still less inclined to like him, from a discovery, 
which she accidentally made, of his being stiU upon good 
terms with odious Mrs. Luttridge. Helena, one morning, was 
playing with Mr. Vincent's large dog, of which he was ex- 
cessively fond. It was called Juba, after his faithful servant. 

' Helena, my dear,' said Lady Delacour, ' take care I don't 
trust your hand in that creature's monstrous mouth.' 

' I can assure yoiu' ladyship,' cried Mr. Vincent, ' that he is 
the very quietest and best creature in the world.' 

'No doubt,' said Belinda, smiling, 'since he belongs to you ; 
for you know, as Mr. Percii-al tells you, everything animate 
or inanimate that is under your protection, you think must be 
the best of its kind in the universe.' 

' But, really, Juba is the best creature in the world,' re- 
peated Mr. Vincent, with great eagerness. ' Juba is, without 
exception, the best creature in the imiverse." 

'Juba, the dog, or Juba, the man?' said Belinda: 'you 
know, they cannot be both the best creatures in the universe.' 

' Well ! Juba, the man, is the best man — and Juba, the dog, 
is the best dog, in the universe,' said Mr. Vincent, laughing, 
with his usual candoiu-, at his own foible, when it was pointed 
out to him. ' But, seriously, Lady Delacour, you need not be 
in the least afraid to trust Miss Delacour with this poor fellow ; 
for, do you know, during a whole month that I lent him to Mrs. 
Luttridge, at Harrowgate, she used constantly to let him sleep 

he room with her ; and now, whenever he sees her, he licks 



LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG 

her hand as genlly as if he were a lapdog ; and it was but 
yesterday, when I had him there, she declared he was more 
gentle than any lapdog in London.' 

Ac the name of Luttridge, Lady Delacour changed counte- 
nance, and she continued silent for some time. Mr. Vincent, 
attributing her sudden seriousness to dislike or fear of his dog, 
took him out of the room. 

' My dear Lady Delacour,' said Belinda, observing that she 
still retained an air of displeasure, ' 1 hope your antipathy to 
~ious Mrs. Luttridge does not extend to everybody who 

its her.' 

'Tout au contraire,' cried Lady Delacour, starting from her 
'Crie, and assuming a playful manner : ' I have made a 
general gaol-delivery of all my old hatreds ; and even odious 
Mrs. Luttridge, though a hardened offender, must be included in 
if grace : so you need not fear that Mr. Vincent should 
fall under my royal displeasure for consorting with this siate 
criminal. Though 1 can't sympathise with him, I forgive him, 
both for liking that great dog, and that little woman ; especi- 
ally, as I shrewdly suspect, that he likes the lady's E O table 
better than the lady.' 

' E O table ! Good Heavens ! you do not imagine Mr. 
Vincent ' 

' Nay, my dear, don't look so terribly alarmed 1 I assure 
you, 1 did not mean to hint that there was any serious, im- 
proper attachment to the E O table ; only a little flirtation, 
perhaps, to which his passion for you has, doubtless, put a 

"' ' iee him,' cried Belinda, 'if he 

is fond of play ; I know he used to play at billiards at Oakly 
Park, but merely as an amusement. Games of address are 
not to be put upon a footing with games of hazard.' 

1 may, however, contrive to lose a good deal of 
money at billiards, as poor Lord Delacour can tell you. But 
I beseech you, my dear, do not betray me to Mr. Vincent; 
ten to one I am mistaken, for his great dog put me out of 

humour ' 

But with such a doubt upon my mind, unsatisfied- ' 

' It shall be satisfied ; Lord Delacour shall make inquiries 
' for me. Lord Delacour shall make inquiries, did I say? — 
will, I should have said. If Champfort had heard me, to 



what excellent account he might have turned that unluckf 

sfutll. What a nice grammarian a woman had need to be^ 
who would live weii with a husband inferior to her in under- 
standing I With a superior or an equal, she might use shidl 
and •will as inaccurately as she pleases. Glorious privileged 
How I shall envy it you, my dear Belinda I But hov 
ever hope to enjoy it ? Where is your superior ? Where is 
your equal ? ' 

Mr. Vincent, who had by this time seen his dog fed, which 
was one of his daily pleasures, returned, and politely assured 
Lady Delacour that Juba should not again intrude. To make 
her peace with Mr, Vincent, and to drive the E O table from 
Belinda's thoughts, her ladyship now turned the c 
from Juba the dog, to Juba the man. She talked of Harriot 
Freke's phosphoric Obeah woman, of whom, she said, she had 
heard an account from Miss Portman. From thence she 
went on to the African slave trade, by way of contrast, and she 
finished precisely where she intended, and where Mr. Vin 
could have wished, by praising a poem called ' The Dying 
Negro,' which he had the preceding evening brought to read 
to Belinda. This praise was peculiarly agreeable, because he 
was not perfectly sure of his own critical judgment, and his 
knowledge of English literature was not as extensive ■• 
Clarence Hervey's ; a circumstance which Lady Delacour had 
discovered one morning, when they went to see Pope's famous 
villa at Twickenham. Flattered by her present confirmation 
of his taste, Mr, Vincent readily complied with a request t 
read the poem to Belinda. They were all deeply engaged by 
the charms of poetry, when they were suddenly interrupted by 
the entrance of — Clarence Hervey I 

The book dropped from Vincent's hand the instant that he 

I heard his name. Lady Delacour's eyes sparkled with joy. 
Belinda's colour rose, but her countenance maintained an 
expression of calm dignity. Mr, Her\-ey, upon his first en- 
trance, appeared prepared to support an air of philosophic 
composure, which forsook him before he had walked : 
4e room. He seemed overpowered by the kindness 
which Lady Delacour received his congratulations or 
recovery's truck by the reserve of Belinda's manner— -but not 
surprised, or displeased, at the sight of Mr. Vincent. On the 
contrarj-, he desired iTnmed\a.ve\'i W \k vM.ttidu.ced to him, witb^ 
IS* 



LOVE ME, LOVE MV DOG 

n resolute to cultivate his friendship. Provoked 
and perplexed, Lady Delacour, in a tone of mingled reproach 
and astonishment, exclaimed, ' Though you have not done me 
the honour, Mr. Heney, lo take any other notice of my last 
Q to understand, 1 presume, by the manner in which 
you desire me to introduce you to our friend Mr. Vincent, that 
't has been received." 

' Received ! Good Heavens ! have not you had my 
mswer ? ' cried Clarence Hervey, with a voice and look of 
extreme surprise and emotion ; ' Has not your ladyship re- 
ceived a packet ? ' 

' 1 have had no packet^! have had no letter. Mr. Vincent, 
me the favour to ring the bell,' cried Lady Delacour, 
eagerly ; ' I'll know, this instant, what's become of it.' 

'Your ladyship must have thought me ,' and, as 

he spoke, his eye involuntarily glanced towards Belinda. 

' No matter what I thought you,' cried Lady Delacour, who 
forgave him everything for this single glance ; ' if I did you a 
little injustice, Clarence, when I was angry, you must forgive 
; for, I assure you, i do you a great deal of justice at 
other times.' 

'Did any letter, any packet, come here for me? Inquire, 
inquire,' said she, impatiently, to the servant who came in. 
No letter or packet was to be heard of. It had been directed, 
. Hervey now remembered, to her ladyship's house in town. 
She gave orders to have it immediately sent for ; but scarcely 
. had she given them, when, turning to Mr. Hervey, she laughed 
.and said, 'A very foolish compliment to you and your letter, 
^r you certainly can speak as well as you can write ; nay, 
■ better, I think. — though you don't write ill, neither — but you 
words, what in writing would take half a. 
volume. Leave this gentleman and lady to " The Dying 
Negro," and let me hear your two words in Lord Delacoui's 
, dressing-room, if you please,' said she, opening the door of an 
adjoining apartment, ' Lord Delacour will not be jealous if 
I he find yon tSie-A-lSle with me, 1 promise you. But you 

shall not be compelled. You look ' 

' 1 look,' said Mr. Hervey, affecting to laugh, ' as if 1 felt 
Uie impossibility of putting half a volume into two words. It 

a long story, and ' 

* And I must wait for the packet, whether I will or no — 
.359 



well, be it so,' said Lady Delacour. Struck with the extmtie 
perturbation into which he was thrown, she pressed him with 
no farther raillery, but instantly attempted to change the 
conversation lo general subjects. 

Again she had recourse lo 'The Dying Negro.' Mr. Vincent, 
to whom she now addressed herself, said, ' For my part, I 
neither have, nor pretend to have, much critical taste ; but I 
admire in this poem the manly, energetic spirit of virtue which 
it breathes.' From the poem, an easy transition was made to 
the author ; and Clarence Hervey, exerting himself to join in 
the conversation, observed, 'that this writer (Mr. Day) wai 
an instance that genuine eloquence must spring from the 
heart. Cicero was certainly right,' continued be, addressing 
himself to Mr. Vincent, ' in his definition of a great orator, to 
make it one of the first requisites, that he should be a good 

Mr, \'incent coldly replied, ' This definition would exclnde 
too many men of superior talents, to be easily admitted.' 

'Perhaps the appearance of virtue,' said Belinda, 'mi^^ 
on many occasions, succeed as well as the reality.' 

'Yes, if the man be as good an actor as Mr. Hervey,' said 
Lady Delacour, 'and if he suit "the action to the word" — 
"the word to the action."' 

Belinda never raised her eyes whilst her ladyship tittered 
these words ; Mr. Vincent was, or seemed to be, so deeply 
engaged in looking for something in the book, which he held 
in his hand, that he could take no farther part in the conversa- 
tion ; and a dead siknce ensued. 

Lady Delacour, who was naturally impatient in the extreme, 

especially in the vindication of her friends, could not bear to 

s she did by Belinda's coimtenance, that she had not 

forgotten Marriott's story of Virginia St. Pierre ; and though 

^ler ladyship was convinced that thefiacie/ would clear up all 

teries, yet she coiild not endure that even in the interim 

't Clarence ' should be unjustly suspected ; nor could she 

"l from trying an espedient, which just occurred to her, 

y herself and ever)*body present She was the first to 

* To do ye justice, my friends, you are all good company Uus 
I rooming. Mr. Vincent is excusable, because he is in love ; and 
" " " reusable, because^because — Mr. Hervey, [Hi^ 



LOVE ME, LOVE MV DOG 



am' ^ 

io I 1 



help me to an excuse for Miss Portman's stupidity, for I 
JreadfuUy afraid of blundering out the truth. But why do 
tsV. you to help me? In your present condition, you 
totally unable lo help yourself. — Not a word !— Run over the 
commonplaces of conversation — ^ weather— fashion — scandal — 
^ess — deaths — marriages. — Will none of these do ? Suppose, 
then, you were to entertain me with other people's thoughts, 
»nce you have none of your own unpacked — Forfeit to arbitrary 
power,' continued her ladyship, playfully seizing Mr. Vincent's W 
book. ' I have always observed that none submit with so good a I 
grace to arbitrary power from our sex as your true men of spirit, ] 
who would shed the last drop of their blood to resist it from one 
of their own. Inconsistent creatures, the best of you ! So read 
jfliis charming little poem to us, Mr. Hervey, will you?' 

going lo begin immediately, but Lady Delacour put 
her hand upon the book, and stopped him. 

Stay ; though 1 am tyrannical, I will not be treacherous. 
1 warn you, then, that I have imposed upon you a difficult, a 
dangerous task. If you have any "sins unwhipt of justice," 
ttiere are lines which I defy you to read without faltering — Usten 
to the preface." 

Her ladyship began as follows ; 

' Mr, Day, indeed, retained during all the period of his life, 
might be expected from his character, a strong detestation of 
female seduction, . . . Happening to see some verses, written 
by a young lady, on a recent event of this nature, which was 
succeeded by a fatal catastrophe — the unhappy young woman, 
who had been a victim to the perfidy of a lover, overpowered 
by her sensibility of shame, having died of a broken heart — he 
expresses his sympathy with the tan poetess in the following 
banner.' 

Lady Delacour paused, and fixed her eyes upon Clarence 
Hervey. He, with all the appearance of conscious innocence, 
received the book, without hesitation, from her hands, and read 
^loud the lines, to which she pointed. 

' Swear by the dtead avengers of the lomb, 
By all thy hopes, by death's tremendous gli 
That ne'er by thee deceived, the lender maid 
Shall moom her easy cooGdencc betiay'd, 
3«' 




BEUNDA 

Nor weep in secret the tritunphant art. 

With bitter anguish rankling in her heart ; 

So may each blessing, which impartial fate 

Throws on the good, but snatches from the great, 

Adorn thy 6ivour*d course with rays divine. 

And Heaven's best gift, a virtuous love, be thine ! ' 

Mr. Hervey read these lines with so much unaffected, unem- 
barrassed energy, that Lady Delacour could not help casting a 
triumphant look at Belinda, which said or seemed to say — ^you 
see I was right in my opinion of Clarence ! 

Had Mr. Vincent been left to his own observations, he would 
have seen the simple truth ; but he was alarmed and deceived 
by Lady Delacour's imprudent expressions of joy, and by the 
significant looks that she gave her friend Miss Portman, which 
seemed to be looks of mutual intelligence. He scarcely dared 
to turn his eyes toward his mistress, or upon him whom he 
thought his rival : but he kept them anxiously fixed upon her 
ladyship, in whose face, as in a glass, he seemed to study 
everything that was passing. 

* Pray, have you ever played at chess, since we saw you last ? ' 
said Lady Delacour to Clarence. * I hope you do not forget 
that you are my knight, I do not forget it, I assure you — I 
own you as my knight to all the world, in public and private 
— do not I, Belinda ? ' 

A dark cloud overspread Mr. Vincent's brow — he listened 
not to Belinda's answer. Seized with a transport of jealousy, 
he darted at Mr. Hervey a glance of mingled scorn and rage ; 
and, after saying a few unintelligible words to Miss Portman 
and Lady Delacour, he left the room. 

Clarence Hervey, who seemed afraid to trust himself longer 
with Belinda, withdrew a few minutes afterward. 

* My dear Belinda,' exclaimed Lady Delacour, the moment 
that he was out of the room, * how glad I am he is gone, that 
I may say all the good I think of him ! In the first place, 
Clarence Hervey loves you. Never was I so fully convinced 
of it as this day. Why had we not that letter of his sooner ? 
that will explain all to us : but I ask for no explanation, I ask 
for no letter, to confirm my opinion, my conviction — that he 
loves you : on this point I cannot be mistaken — he fondly 
loves you.' 

* He fondly loves her 1 — ^Yes, to be sure, I could have told 

362 



LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG 

you that news long ago,' cried the dowager Lady Boucher, 
who was in the room before they were aware of her entrance ; 
they had both been so eager, the one listening, a.nd ihe other 
speaking. 

' Fondly loves her ! ' reflated the dowager ; ' yes ; and no 
secret, I promise you. Lady Delacour ; ' and then, turning to 
Belinda, she began a congratulatory speech, upon the report of 
her approaching marriage with Mr. Vincent. Belinda absolutely 
denied the truth of this report : but the dowager continued, ' 1 
distress you, I see, and it's quite out of rule, I am sensible, to 
speak in this sort of way, Miss Portman ; but as I'm an old 
acquaintance, and an old friend, and an old woman, you'll 
n't help saying, I feel quite rejoiced at your 
meeting with such a match.' Belinda again altempfed to 
declare that she was not going to be married ; but the in- 
vincible dowager went on ; ' Every way eligible, and every way 
agreeable. A charming young man, I hear, Lady Delacour ; 
I see I must only speak to you, or I shall make Miss Port- 
man sink to the centre of the earth, which I would not wish to 
especially at such 3 critical moment as this. A charming 
young man, I hear, with a noble West Indian fortune, and a 
noble spirit, and well connected, and passionately in love — no 
But I have done now, I promise you ; I'll ask no 
;: so don't run away, Miss Portman; I'll ask no 
questions, I promise you.' 

~ e the performance of the promise, Lady Deiacour 

asked what news there was in the world ? This question, she 
knew, would keep the dowager in delightful employment. ' I 
live quite out of the world here ; but since Lady Boucher has 
the charity to come to see me, we shall hear all the " secrets 
worth knowing," from the best authority.' 

' Then, the first piece of news I have for you is, that my 
Lord and my Lady Delacour are absolutely reconciled ; and 
that they are the happiest couple that ever lived.' 
' All very true,' replied Lady Delacour. 
' True ! ' repeated Lady Boucher ; ' why, my dear Lady 
Delacour, you amaze me 1 — Are you in earnest ? — Was there 
inylhing so provoking ?^There have I been contradicting 
the report, wherever 1 went ; for I was convinced that the 
whole story was a mistake, and a fabrication.' 

' The history of the reformation might not be exact, but the 

363 




BELINDA 

reformation itself your ladyship may depend upon, since \ 
hear it from my own lips.* 

* Well, how amazing ! how incredible ! — Lord bless m 
But your ladyship certainly is not in earnest ? for you look ju 
the same, and speak just in the same sort of way : I see i 
alteration, I confess.' 

'And what alteration, my good Lady Boucher, did ym 
expect to see ? Did you think that, by way of being exemplarily 

virtuous, I should, like Lady Q ^ let my sentences come out 

of my mouth only at the rate of a word a minute ? 

' Like — minute— drops — from — oflf — the — eaves. 

Or did you expect that, in hopes of being a pattern for die 
rising generation, I should hold my features in penance^ im- 
movably, thus — ^like some of the poor ladies of Antiguai 
after they have blistered their fsLces all over, to get a fine 
plexion, are forced, whilst the new skin is coming, to sit 
speaking, smiling, or moving muscle or feature, lest an u 
wrinkle should be the consequence ? ' 

Lady Boucher was impatient to have this speech 
for she had a piece of news to telL * Well ! ' cried she, * thereni 
no knowing what to believe or disbelieve, one hears so many 
strange reports ; but I have a piece of news for you, that yoo 
may all depend upon. I have one secret worth knowing, I caa 
tell your ladyship — and one, your ladyship and Miss Portman, 
Tm sure, will be rejoiced to hear. Your friend, Clarence 
Hervey, is going to be married.' 

* Married ! married ! ' cried Lady Delacour. 

* Ay, ay, your ladyship may look as much astonished as you 
please, you cannot be more so than I was when I heard it. 
Clarence Hervey, Miss Portman, that was looked upon so 
completely, you know, as not a marrying man ; and now the 
last man upon earth that your ladyship would suspect of 
marrying in this sort of way ! ' 

* In what sort of way? — My dear Belinda, how can you 
stand this fire ? ' said Lady Delacour, placing a screen, dexter- 
ously, to hide her face from the dowager's observation. 

* Now only guess whom he is going to marry,' continued 
Lady Boucher : * whom do you guess. Miss Portman ? ' 

*An amiable woman, I should guess, from Mr. Herve/s 
geneiBl character,' cried Lady Delacour. 




lad His Jin: f ' said Lady D, 



BEUNDA 

' Oil, ao amiable woman, I uke for granted 
is amiable of course, as the newspapeis tell us, when she a 
going CO be married,' said the dowager: 'an amiable wc 
to be sure ; but that means nothing. 1 have not bad a ] 
from Miss Ponnian.' 

* FroQi general character,' Belinda began, i 

' Do not guess from general character, my dear Belinda,' 
interrupted Lady Delacour ; 'for there is no judging, in thee 
cases, from general character, of what people will lite or 

'Then I will leave it to your ladyship to guess this time, tf 
you please,' said Belinda. 

' You will neither of you guess till doomsday I ' crted the 
dowager ; ' I must tell you. Mr. Heney's going to many— 
in the strangest sort of way I — a girl that nobody knows — a 
daughter of a Mr. Hartley. The bcher can give her a good 
fortune, it is true ; but one should not have supposed thai ( 
fortune »-as an object with Mr. Hen-ey, who has such a Bobk . 
one of his own. It's really difficnil to belie\-c it.' J 

'So difficult, that 1 lind it quite impossible,' said Lail| I 
Delacour, «-ith an incredulous smile. I 

' Depend upon it, my dear Lady Delacour,' said the dowagO', j 
laying the convincing neight of her arm upon her ladyship'^ 
' depend upon it, my dear Lady Delacour, that my informatiaB 
is correct. Guess whom I had it &om.' 

'Willingly. But first let me tell yon, that 1 have sets 
Mr. Hervey uithin this half hour, and 1 never saw a man look 
less like a bridegroom.' 

'Indeed! well, I've heard, loo, that he didn't like the match: 
bol what a pity, when you saw him yourself this _ 

that you didn't get all the particulars out of him. But let him 
tool: h*ke what he will, you'll find that my information is perfect^, 
correct Guess whom I had it from — from Mrs. Margaret 
Delacour : it was at her house that Clarence Her\-ey first met 
Mr. Hartley, who, as I mentioned, is the father of the young 
lady. There was a charming scene, and some romantic stotT^ 
about his finding the girl in a cottage, and calling her V'ii ' 
something or other, but I didn't clearly understand about that 
However, this much is certain, that [he girl, as her &ther iM 
Mis. Delacour, is desperately in lo« with Mr. Hency, 




LOVE ME, LOVE MV DOG 

l)e married im mediately. Depend upon it, you'll 
Bnd my information correct. Good morning lo you. Lord 
I recollect, I once heard that Mr, Hervey was 
a great admirer of Miss Portman,' said the dowager. 

The inquisitive dowager, whose curiosity was put upon a 
w scent, immediately fastened her eyes upon Belinda's face ; 
but from that she could make out nothing. Was it because 
she had not the best eyes, or because there was nothing to be 
To determine ibis question, she looked through her 
glass, to take a clearer view ; but Lady Delacour drew off 
her attention, by suddenly exclaiming — ' My dear Lady 
Boucher, when you go back to town, do send me a bottle of 
concentrated anima of quassia.' 

Ah I ah ! have I made a convert of you at last f ' said the 
dowager ; and, satisfied with the glory of this conversion, she 
departed. 

Admire my knowledge of human nature, my dear Belinda,' 

said Lady Delacour. 'Now she will talk, at the next place 

ahe goes to, of nothing but of my faith in anima of quassia ; 

she will forget to make a gossiping story out of that most 

iprudent hint ! gave her, about Clarence Hervey's having 

I an admirer of yours.' 

Do not leave the room, Belinda ; I have a thousand things 
to say to you, my dear.' 

■ Excuse me, at present, my dear Lady Delacour ; I am 
impatient to write a few lines to Mr. Vincent. He went 

Bway ' 

In a fit of jealousy, and 1 am glad of it.' 
And I am sorry for it,' said Belinda ; ' sorry that he should 
liave so little confidence in me as to feel jealousy without cause 
— without sufficient cause, I should say ; for certainly your 
ladyship gave pain, by the manner in which you received 
Mr. Hervey.' 

Lord, my dear, you would spoil any man upon earth. You 

foolishly if the man were your husband. 

you privately married to him f — If you be not — for my 

— for your own — for Mr. Vincent's — do not write till we 

of Clarence Hervey's packet.' 
It can make no alteration in what I write,' said Belinda. 
Well, my dear, write what you please ; but I only hope 
will not send your letter till the packet arrives,' 
3^7 




BEUNDA 

* Pardon me, I shall send it as soon as I possibly can : the 
" dear delight of giving pain " does not suit my taste.' 

Lady Delacour, as soon as she was left alone, b^;an to 
reconsider the dowager's story; notwithstanding her unbelief 
smile, it alarmed her, for she could not refuse to give it some 
d^ree of credit, when she learnt that Mrs. Margaret Delacoor 
was the authority from whom it came. Mrs. Delacour was a 
woman of scrupulous veracity, and rigid in her dislike to gossip- 
ing ; so that it was scarcely probable a report originating with 
her, however it might be altered by the way, should prove to be 
totsilly void of foundation. The name of Virginia coincided with 
Sir Philip Baddel/s hints, and with Marriott's discoveries : 
these circumstances considered, Lady Delacour knew not what 
opinion to form ; and her eagerness to receive Mr. Hervey's 
packet every moment increased. She walked up and down 
the room — looked at her watch — fuicied that it had stopped — 
held it to her ear — ^rang the bell every quarter of an hour, to 
inquire whether the messenger was not yet come back. At 
last, the long-expected packet arrived. She seized it, and 
hurried with it immediately to Belinda's room. 

* Clarence Hervey's packet, my love ! — Now, woe be to the 
person who interrupts us ! ' She bolted the door as she spoke 
— rolled an arm-chair to the fire — * Now for it ! ' said she, seat- 
ing herself. * The devil upon two sticks, if he were looking 
down upon me from the house-top, or Champfort, who is the 
worse devil of the two, would, if he were peeping through the 
keyhole, swear I was going to open a love-letter — and so I 
hope I am. Now for it ! ' cried she, breaking the seal. 

* My dear friend,' said Belinda, laying her hand upon Lady 
Delacour's, * before we open this packet, let me speak to you, 
whilst our minds are calm.' 

* Calm ! It is the strangest time for your mind to be calm. 
But I must not affront you by my incredulity. Speak, then, but 
be quick, for I do not pretend to be calm ; it not being, thank 
my stars, mon tndtier (^Hre pMlosophe. Crack goes the last 
seal — speak now, or for ever after hold your tongue, my calm 
philosopher of Oakly Park : but do you wish me to attend to 
what you are going to say ? ' 

* Yes,' replied Belinda, smiling ; * that is the usual wish of 
those who speak.' 

* Very true : and I can listen tolerably well, when I don't 

36^ 



LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG 



know what people are goiiij; to say ; but when 1 know it 
beforehand, 1 have an unfortunate habit of not being able to 
1 one word. Now, my dear, let me anticipate your 
speecli, and if my anticipation be wrong, then you shall rise to 
explain ; and I will,' said she (putting her finger on her lips), 
•listen to you, like Harpocrates, iviihout moving an eyelash.' 

Belinda, as the most certain way of being heard, consented 
ilo hear before she spoke. 

' I will tell you,' pursued Lady Delacour, ' if not what you 

; going to say to me, at least what you say to yourself, 

'■which is fully as much to the purpose. You say to yourself, 

*'Let this packet of Clarence Hervey contain what it may, it 

too late. Let him say, or let him do, 'tis all the. same 

—because — (now for the reasoning) — because things have 

•gone so far with Mr. Vincent, that Lady Anne Percival and all 

,lhe world (at Oakly Park) will blame me, if I retract In short, 

.tiings hmie gone so far that 1 cannot recede ; because — things 

■■have gone so far. This is the rondeau of your argument. Nay, 

' hear me out, then you shall have your turn, my dear, for an 

hour, if you please. Let things have gone ever so far, they 

can stop, and turn about again, cannot they ? Lady Anne 

Percival is your friend, of course can wish only for your 

happiness. You think she is " the thing that's most un- 

icommon, a reasonable woman " : then she cannot be angry 

with you for being happy your own way. So I need not, as 

the orators say, labour this point any more. Now, as to your 

The fear of displeasing Mrs. Stanhope a little more or 

s not to be put in competition with the hope of your 

1 happiness for life, especially as you have contrived to exist 

; months in a state of utter excommunication from her 

i fevour. After all, you know she will not grieve for anything 

I but the loss of Mr. Vincent's fortune i and Mr. Hervey's 

1 fortune miglit do as well, or almost as well : at least she may 

t compound with her pride for the difference, by considering that 

fan English member of Parliament is, in the eyes of the world 

I' (the only eyes with which she sees), a better connection than 

J the son of a West India planter, even though he may be a 

m.^rotegi oi Lady Anne Percival. 

' Spare me your indignation, my dear 1 — -What a look was 
I there 1 — Reasoning for Mrs, Stanhope, must not I reason as 
[ Mrs. Stanhope does ?^Now I will put this stronger stilL Sup- 

B 369 



'it i^^n 



BELINDA 

I)ose that you had actually acknowledged that Mr. Vmcent 
got beyond esteem with you ; suppose that you had in due f 
consented to marry him ; suppose that preparations were at 
moment making for the wedding ; even in that desperate 
I should say to you, you are not a girl to marry because ; 
wedding-go^Ti is made up. Some few guineas are thrown a' 
perhaps ; do not throw away your whole happiness after t 
— that would be sorry economy. Trust me, my dear, I £h 
say, as I have to you, in time of need. Or, if you fear t< 
obliged to one who never was afraid of being obliged to 
ten to one the preparations for a wedding, though not 
wedding, may be necessary immediately. No matter to ] 
Franks who the bridegroom may be ; so that her bill be \ 
she would not care the turning of a feather whether it be 
by Mrs. Vincent or Mrs. Hervey. 1 hope 1 have convin 
I am sure I have made you blush, my dear, and that is s 
satisfaction. A blush at this moment is an earnest of vici 
lo, triumphe I Now I will open my packet ; my hand s 
not be held an instant longer.' 

* I absolve you from the penance of hearing me for an h 
but I claim your promise to attend to me for a few minutes, 
dear friend,* said Belinda : * I thank you most sincerely for ; 
kindness ; and let me assure you that I should not hesitat 
accept from you any species of obligation.* 

* Thanks 1 thanks 1 — there*s a dear good girl I — my 
Belinda I ' 

But indeed you totally misunderstand me ; your rea 
ing ' 

* Show me the fault of it : I challenge all the logic of all 
Pcrcivals.* 

* Your reasoning is excellent, if your facts were not taker 
granted. You have taken it for granted, that Mr. Hervey i 
love with me.* 

* No,* said Lady Delacour ; * I take nothing for granted 
you will find when I open this packet.* 

* You have taken it for granted,* continued Belinda, * th 
am still secretly attached to him ; and you take it for grai 
that I am restrained only by fear of Lady Anne Percival, 
aunt, and the world, from breaking off with Mr. Vincent : If 
will read the letter, which I was writing to him when you c; 
into the room, perhaps you will be convinced of your mista! 



VIRGINIA 

' Read a letter to Mr. Vincent at such a lime as this I then 
I will go and read my packet in my own room,' cried Lady 
Uelacour, rising hastily, with evident displeasure. 

' Not even your displeasure, my dear friend,' said Belinda, 
' can alter my determination to behave with consistency and 
openness towards Mr. Vincent ; and I can bear your anger, for 
I know it arises from your regard for me.' 

' I never loved you so little as at this instant, Belinda.' 

' You will do me justice when you are cool.' 

' Cool ' ' repeated Lady Delacour, as she was about to leave 
the room, ' I never wish to be as cool as you are, Belinda ! 
So, after all, you love Mr. Vincent^ — you'll marry Mr. Vincent ! ' 

' I never said so,' replied Belinda : ' you have not read my 
letter. O Lady Delacour, at this instant — you should not 
reproach me." 

' I did you injustice,' cried Lady Delacour, as she now 
looked at Belinda's letter. ' Send it — ^send it — you have said 
the very thing you ought ; and now sit down with me to this 
packet of Clarence Herve/s — be just to him, as you are to 
Vincent, that's all I ask — give him a (air hearing : — now 
for it." 



CHAPTER XXVI 



Clarence Hervey's packet contained a history of his con- 
ion with Virginia St. Pierre. 

'.o save our hero from the charge of egotism, we shall 
reUte the principal circumstances in the third person. 

It was about a year before he had seen Belinda that Clarence 
j/Hervey returned from his travels ; he had been in France just 
before the Revolution, when luxury and dissipation were at their 
height in Paris, and when a universal spirit of licentious gal- 
lantry prevailed. Some circumstances in which he was per- 
inally interested disgusted him strongly with the Parisian 
belles J he felt that women who were full of vanity, affectation, 
and artifice, whose tastes were perverted, and whose feelings 



BELINDA 

were depraved, \^8re equally incapable of conferring or enjoying 
real happiness. .' Whilst this conviction was full in his mind, he 
read the works of Rousseau : this eloquent writer's sense made 
its full impression upon Clarence's understanding, and his de- 
clamations produced more than their just effect upon an imagi- 
nation naturally ardent. He was charmed with the picture of 
Sophia, when contrasted with the characters of the women of 
the world with whom he had been disgusted ; and he formed 
the romantic project of educating a wife for himself. Full of 
this idea, he returned to England, determined to carry his 
scheme immediately into execution, but was some time delayed 
by the difficulty of finding a proper object for his purpose : it 
was easy to meet with beauty in distress, and ignorance in 
poverty ; but it was difficult to find simplicity without vulgarity, 
ingenuity without cunning, or even ignorance without prejudice ; 
it was difficult to meet with an understanding totally uncultivated, 
yet likely to reward the labour of late instruction ; a heart 
wholly unpractised, yet full of sensibility, capable of all the 
enthusiasm of passion, the delicacy of sentiment, and the firm- 
^^ ness of rational constancy. It is not wonderful that Mr. Hervey, 
with such high expectations, should not immediately find them 
gratified. Disappointed in his first search, he did not, how- 
ever, relinquish his design ; and at length, by accident, he 
discovered, or thought that he discovered, an object formed 
expressly for his purpose. 

One fine evening in autumn, as he was riding through the 
New Forest, charmed with the picturesque beauties of the place, 
he turned out of the beaten road, and struck into a fresh track, 
which he pursued with increasing delight, till the setting sun 
reminded him that it was necessary to postpone his farther re- 
flections on forest scenery, and that it was time to think of 
finding his way out of the wood. He was now in the most 
retired part of the forest, and he saw no path to direct him ; 
but, as he stopped to consider which way he should turn, a dog 
sprang from a thicket, barking furiously at his horse : his horse 
was high-spirited, but he was master of him, and he obliged the 
animal to stand quietly till the dog, having barked himself 
lu>;\i*so, retreated of his own accord. Clarence watched to see 
which way he would go, and followed him, in hopes of meeting 
with tho person to whom he belonged: he kept his guide in 
^i^hl, till l»o came into a beautiful glp.de, in the midst of which 

3T* 




but very small cottage, with numerous beebi' 
the garden, surrounded by a profusion of rose-trees which 
in full blow. This cultivated spot was strikingly contrasted with 
the wildness of the surrounding scenery. As he came nearer, 
Mr. Hervey saw a young girl watering the rose-trees, which 
grew round the cottage, and an old woman beside her filling a 
basket with the flowers. The old woman was like most other 
old women, except that she had a remarkably benevolent 
coiuitenance, and an air that had been acquired in better days ; 
but the young girl did not appear to Clarence like any other 
young girl that he had ever seen. The setting sun shone upon 
her countenance, the wind blew aside the ringlets of her light 
hair, and the blush of modesty overspread her cheeks when 
she looked up at the stranger. In her large blue eyes (here 
was an expression of artless sensibility with which Mr. Hervey 
was so powerfully struck that he remained for some moments 
silent, totally forgetting that he came to ask his way out of the 
forest. His horse had made so little noise upon the soft grass, 
that he was within a few yards of them before he was perceived 
by the old woman. As soon as she saw him, she turned abruptly 
to the young girl, put the basket of roses into her hand, and 
bid her carry them into the house. As she passed him, the 
girl, with a sweet innocent smile, held up the basket to Clarence, 
and offered him one of the roses. 

' Go in, Rachel ! — go in, child,' said the old woman, in so 
loud and severe a tone, that both Rachel and Mr. Hervey 
Started ( the basket was overturned, and the roses all scattered 
upon the grass. Clarence, though he attempted some apology, 
was by no means concerned for the accident, as it detained 
Rachel some instants longer to collect her flowers, and gave 
him an opportunity of admiring her finely shaped hands and 
aims, and the ease and natural grace of her motions. 

' Go in, Rachel,' repeated the old woman, in a still more 
severe lone; 'leave the roses there — I can pick them up as 
well as you, child — go in.' 

The girl looked at the old woman with astonishment, her 
eyes filled with tears, and throwing down the roses that she 
held in her hand, she said, ' I am going, grandmother.' The 
door closed after her before Clarence recollected himself 
sufficiently to tell the old lady how he had lost his u'ay, etc. 
severity vanished, as soon as her grand-daughter was safe 




J J 




Nr. Hcrvry ihh' a ysaH, 






VIRGINIA 

1 the house, and with much readiness she showed him the road 

}r which he inquired. 
As soon, however, as it was in his power, he relumed thither; 
for he had laken such good note of the place, that he easily 
found his way to the spot, which appeared to him a terrestrial 
paradise. As he descended into the valley, he heard the 
humming of bees, but he saw no smoke rising from the cottage 
chimney — no dog barked — no living creature was to be seen — 
the house door was shut — the window-shutters closed — all was 
still. The place looked as if it had been deserted by all its in- 
babitants ; the roses had not been watered, many of them had 
Bfaed their leaves ; and a basket half fiill of dead flowers was 
a the middle of the garden. Clarence alighted, and tried 
the latch of the door, but it was fastened ; he listened, but heard 
no sound ; he walked round to the back of the house : a small 
lattice window was half open, and, as he went toward it, he 
thought he heard a low moaning voice ; he gently pulled aside 
1, and peeped in at the window. The room was 
darkened, his eyes had been daziled by the sun, so that he 
could not, at first, see any object distinctly ; but he heard the 
□loaning repeated at intervals, and a soft voice at last said- — 

' Oh, speak to me ! — speak to me once again — only once — 
only once again, speak to me ! ' 

The voice came from a comer of the room, to which he had 
not yet turned his eyes ; and as he drew aside more of the 
e light, a figure started up from the side of 
a bed, at which she had been kneeling, and he saw the beautiful 
young girl, with her hair all dishevelled, and the strongest ex- 
pression of grief in her countenance. He asked if he could do 
her any service. She beckoned to him to come in, and then, 
pointing to the bed, on which the old woman was stretched, 

' She cannot speak to me — she cannot move one side — she 
s been so these three days — but she is not dead — she is not 

The poor creature had been struck with the palsy. As 
Clarence went close to the bed, she opened her eyes, and fixing 
them upon him, she stretched out her withered hand, caught 
fast hold of her grand-daughter, and then raising herself, with a 
violent effort, she pronounced the word ' Begone 1' Her face 
grew black, her features convulsed, and she sunk down again ii 
37 S 



BELINDA 

her bed, without power of utterance. Clarence left the house 
instantly, mounted his horse, and galloped to the next town for 
medical assistance. The poor woman was so &r recovered by 
a skilful apothecary, that she could, in a few days, articulate so 
as to be understood. She knew that her end was approaching 
fast, and seemed piously resigned to her &te. Mr. Hervey 
went constantly to see her ; but, though grateful to him for his 
humanity, and for the assistance he had procured for her, yet 
she appeared agitated when he was in the room, and frequently 
looked at him and at her grand-daughter with uncommon 
anxiety. At last, she whispered something to the girl, who 
immediately left the room ; and she then beckoned to him to 
come closer to the arm-chair, in which she was seated. 

* May be, sir,' said she, * you thought me out of my right 
mind the day when I was l)dng on that bed, and said to you in 
such a peremptory tone, " Begone ! " — It was all I could say 
then ; and, in truth, I cannot speak quite plain yet ; nor ever 
shall again. But God's will be done. I had only one thing to 
say to you, sir, about that poor girl of mine ' 

Clarence listened to her with eagerness. She paused, and 
then laying her cold hand upon his, she looked up earnestly in 
his face, and continued, * You are a fine young gentleman, and 
you look like a good gentleman ; but so did the man who broke 
the heart of her poor mother. Her mother was carried off from 
a boarding-school, when she was scarcely sixteen, by a wretch, 
who, after privately marrying her, would not own his marriage, 
stayed with her but two years, then went abroad, left his wife 
and his infant, and has never been heard of since. My daughter 
died of a broken heart. Rachel was then between three and 
four years old ; a beautiful child. God forgive her father ! — 
God's will be done ! ' — She paused to subdue her emotion, and 
then, with some difficulty, proceeded. 

* My only comfort is, I have bred Rachel up in innocence ; 
/ I never sent her to a boarding-school. No, no ; from the 

moment of her birth till now, I have kept her under my own 
eye. In this cottage she has lived with me, away from all the 
world. You are the first man she ever spoke to ; the first man 
who ever was within these doors. She is innocence itself I — 
Oh sir, as you hope for mercy when you are as I am now, spare 
the innocence of that poor child ! — Never, never come here after 
her, when I am dead and gone ! Consider, she is but a child, 

31^ 



Oh, promise me you 
girl, and 1 shall die 



VIRGINIA 

God never made a better c: 
I not be the ruin of my swec 

Clnrence Hervey ivas touched. He instantly made the 
required of him ; and, as nothing less would satisfy the 

■r dying woman, confinned it by a solenm oath. 

' Now I am easy,' said she, ' quite easy ; and may God bless 
Aou for it 1 In the village here, there is a Mrs. Smith, a good 
Bvmer's wife, who knows tw well ; she will see to have me 
Becetitly buried, and then has promised to sell all the little 1 
pave for my girl, and to take care of her. And you'll never 
fome near her more ? ' 

' I did not promise that,' said Hervey. 

The old woman again looked much disturbed, 

' Ah, good young gentleman 1 ' said she, ' lake my advice ; 
tt will be best for you both. If you see her again, you will love 
fcer, sir — you can't help it ; and if she sees you — poor thing, 
■tow innocently she smiled when she gave you the rose 1 — oh 
AT, never come near her when I am gone I It is too late for 
|toe now to get her out of your way. This night, I'm sure, will 
pc my last in this world — oh, promise me you will never come 

I ' After the oath I have taken,' replied Clarence, ' that 
Kromise would be unnecessary. Trust to my honour.' 
I ' Honour I Oh, that was the word the gentleman said that 
Betrayed her poor mother, and lefl her afterwards to die 1 — Oh 

I The violent emotion that she felt was too much for her — she 
fell back exhausted — ^never spoke more — and an hour afterwards 
j&e e.tpired in the arms of her grand-daughter. The poor girl 
Bould not believe that she had breathed her last. She made a 
pgn to the surgeon, and to Clarence Hervey, who stood beside 
Ber, to be silent ; and listened, fancying that the corpse would 
Ittcathe again. Then she kissed her cold lips, and the shrivelled 
dieeks, and the eyelids that were closed for ever. She wanned 
flie dead fingers with her breath — she raised the heavy arm, 
and when it fell she perceived there was no hope : she threw 
herself upon her knees : — ' She is dead 1 ' she exclaimed ; ' and 
she has died without giving me her blessing ! She can never 
bless me again.' 

They took her into the air, and Clarence Hervey sprinkled 
L 377 



BELINDA 

water upon her face. It was a fine night, and the fresh air soon 
brought her to her senses. He then said that he would leave 
her to the care of the surgeon, and ride to the village in search 
of that Mrs. Smith who had promised to be her friend. 

< And so you are going away from me, too ? ' said she ; and 
she burst into tears. At the sight of these tears Clarence 
turned away, and hurried from her. He sent the woman from 
the village, but returned no more that night. 

Her simplicity, sensibility, and, perhaps more than he was 
aware, her beauty, had pleased and touched him extremely. 
The idea of attaching a perfectly pure, disinterested, unpractised 
heart, was delightful to his imagination : the cultivation of her 
understanding, he thought, would be an easy and a pleasing 
task : all difficulties vanished before his sanguine hopes. 

* Sensibility,' said he to himself, * is the parent of great 
talents and great virtues ; and evidently she possesses natural 
feeling in an uncommon degree : it shall be developed with 
skill, patience, and delicacy ; and I will deserve before I claim 
my reward.* 

The next day he returned to the cottage, accompanied by 
an elderly lady, a Mrs. Ormond ; the same lady who afterward, 
to Marriott's prejudiced eyes, had appeared more like a dragon 
than anything else^ but who, to this simple, unsuspicious girl, 
seemed like what she really was, a truly good-natured, 
benevolent woman. She consented, most readily, to put 
herself under the protection of Mrs. Ormond, * provided Mrs. 
Smith would give her leave.' There was no difficulty in 
persuading Mrs. Smith that it was for her advantage. Mrs. 
Smith, who was a plain farmer's wife, told all that she knew 
of Rachel's history ; but all that she knew was little. She had 
heard only hints at odd times from the old woman : these 
agreed perfectly with what Mr. Hervey had already heard. 

* The old gentlewoman^^ said Mrs. Smith, * as I believe I 
should call her by rights, has lived in the forest there, where 
you found her, these many a year — she earned her subsistence 
by tending bees and making rose-water — she was a good soul, 
but very particular, especially about her grand-daughter, 
which, considering all things, one cannot blame her for. She 
often told me she would never put Rachel to a boarding-school, 
which I approved, seeing she had no fortune ; and it is the 
rum of girls, to my mind, to be bred above their means — as it 

31» 




was of ber mother, sir. Then she would never ieacE 
to write, for fear she should take to scrawling 
love-letters, as her mother did before her. Now, sir, this I 
approved too, for I don't much mind about book-learning 
myself ; and 1 even thought it would have been as well if the 
girl had not learnt to read ; but that she did learn, and wns 
always fond of, and I'm sure it was more plague than use too 
her grandmother, for she was as particular about the books 
that the girl was to read as about all the rest. .She went 
farther than all that, sir, for she never would let the girl speak 

man— not a man ever entered the doors of the house,' 

So she told me." 

And she told you true enough. But there, I thought, she 

quite wrong ; for seeing the girl must, some time or other, 
speak to men, where was the use of her not learning to do it 
properly? — Lord, ma'am,' continued Mrs. Smith, addressing 
herself to Mrs. Ormond, ' Lord, ma'am, though it is a sin to 

Bmembering so much of the particularities of the dead, I 

t say there never was an old lady who had more scrupu- 
losities thaji the deceased. I verily thought, one day, she 
-would have gone into fits about a picture of a man, that 
Rachel lit upon by accident, as if a picture had any sense to 
hurt a body ! Now if it had been one of your naked pictures, 
there might have been some dehcacy jn,her dislike to it ; but 

as no such thing, but a very proper picture. 

A picture, ma'am, of a young sea-officer, in his full uniform 
— quite proper, ma'am. It was his mother that left it with me, 
and I had it always in my own room, and the girl saw it, and 
was mightily taken with it, being the first thing of the kind she 
had ever lit upon, and the old lady comes in, ami took on, till 
I verily thought she was crazed. Lord ! I really could not 
but laugh ; but I checked myself, when the poor old soul's eyes 
filled with tears, which made me know she was thinking of her 
daughter that was dead. When I thought on the cause of her 
particularity about Rachel, I could not laugh any more at her 
Strangeness. 

' I promised the good lady that day, in case of her death, to 
take care of her grand-daughter ; and I thought in my own 
mind that, in time to come, if one of my boys should lake a 
fercy to her, 1 should make no objections, because she was 
always a good, modest-behaved girl ; and, I'm sure^ would make 
\ 379 



A 



BELINDA 

a good wife, though too delicate for hard country work ; but, 
as it pleases God to send you, madam, and the good gentle- 
man, to take the charge of her off my hands, I am content it 
should be so, and I will sell everything here for her honestly, 
and bring it to you, madam, for poor Rachel.' 

There was nothing that Rachel was anxious to carry away 
with her but a litde bullfinch, of which she was very foni 
One, and but one, circumstance about Rachel stopped the 
current of Clarence Herve/s imagination, and this, con- 
sequently, was excessively disagreeable to him — her name: 
the name of Rachel he could not endure, and he thought it so 
unsuited to her, that he could scarcely believe it belonged to 
her. He consequently resolved to change it as soon as 
possible. The first time that he beheld her, he was struck 
with the idea that she resembled the description of Virginia 
in M. de St Pierre's celebrated romance ; and by this name 
he always called her, from the hour that she quitted her 
cottage. 

Mrs. Ormond, the lady whom he had engaged to take care 
of his Virginia, was a widow, the mother of a gentleman who 
had been his tutor at college. Her son died, and left her in 
such narrow circumstances, that she was obliged to apply to 
her friends for pecuniary assistance. 

Mr. Her\ey had been liberal in his contributions ; from his 
childhood he had known her worth, and her attachment to him 
was blended with the most profound respect. She was not a 
woman of superior abilities, or of much information ; but her 
excellent temper and gentle disposition won affection, though 
she had not any talents to excite admiration. Mr. Hervey had 
perfect confidence in her integrity ; he believed that she would 
exactly comply with his directions, and he thought that her 
want of literature and ingenuity could easily be supplied by his 
own care and instructions. He took a house for her and his 
fair pupil at Windsor, and he exacted a solemn promise that 
she would neither receive nor pay any visits. Virginia was 
thus secluded from all intercourse with the world : she saw no 
one but Mrs. Ormond, Clarence Hervey, and Mr. Moreton, an 
elderly clergyman, whom Mr. Hervey engaged to attend every 
Sunday to read prayers for them at home. Virginia never 
expressed the slightest curiosity to see any other persons, or 
anything beyond the walls of the garden that belonged to the 



VIRGINIA 



house in mhich she lived ; her present 
greater than that to which she had long been accustomed, and 
consequently she did not feel her seclusion from the wgrld as 
any restraint ; with the circimistaiices that were altered in her 
situation she seemed neither to be dazzled nor charmed ; the 
objects of convenience or luxury that were new to her she 
looked upon with indifference ; but with anything that reminded 
her of her former way of life, and of her grandmother's cottage, 
le was delighted. 

One day Mr. Hervey asked her, wliether she should like 
better to return to that cottage, or to remain where she "as ? 
He trembled for her answer. She innocently replied, ' I 
should like best to go back to the cottage, if you would go with 

—but I would rather stay here with you than live there 
without you.' 

Clarence was touched and flattered by this artless answer, 
and for some time he discovered every day fresh indications, 
s he thought, of virtue and abilities in his charming pupil. 
Her indifference to objects of show and ornament appeared to 
I indisputable proof of her magnanimity, and of the 
.superiority of her unprejudiced mind. What a difierence, 
■fliought he, between this child of nature and the frivolous, 
sophisticated slaves of art ! 

To try and prove the simplicity of her taste, and the purity 
of her mind, he once presented to her a pair of diamond 
earrings and a moss rosebud, and asked her to take whichever 
she liked best. She eagerly snatched the rose, crying, ' Oh ! 
it puts me in mind of the cottage : — how sweet it smells ; ' 

She placed it in her bosom, and then, looking at the 
diamonds, said, 'They are pretty, sparkling things^what are 
' they ? of what use are they ? ' and she looked with more 
isity and admiration at the manner in which the earring 
shut and opened than at the diamonds. Clarence was charmed 
■with her. When Mrs, Ormond told her that these things were 
p, she laughed and said, ' How ! how can 1 
make them hang f ' 

' Have you never observed that I wear earrings ?' said Mrs. 
Ormond. 

'Ay I but yours are not hke these, and^let me look — I 
never saw how you fastened them — let me look — oh ! you have 
■s i but I have none 



ras no^^^ 



i__i_i 



BELINDA 

Mrs. Ormond told her that holes could easily be made in 
her ears, by running a steel pin through them. She shrunk 
back, defending her ear with one hand, and pushing the 
diamonds from her with the other, exclaiming, * Oh no, no !— 
unless,' added she, changing her tone, and ttu^iing to Clarence, 
* unless you wish it : — if you bid me, 1 will.' 

Clarence was scarcely master of himself at this instant; 
and it was with the utmost difficulty that he could reply to 
her with that dispassionate calmness which became his 
situation and hers. And yet there was more of ignorance 
and timidity, perhaps, than of sound sense or philosophy in 
\'irginia's indifference to diamonds ; she did not consider 
them as ornaments that would confer distinction upon their 
possessor, because she was ignorant of the value affixed to 
them by society. Isolated in the world, she had no excite- 
ments to the love of finery, no competition, no means of 
comparison, or opportunities of display; diamonds were 
consequently as useless to her as guineas were to Robinson 
Crusoe on his desert island. It could not justly be said that 
he was free from avarice, because he set no value on the gold ; 
or that she was free from vanity, because she rejected the 
diamonds. These reflections could not possibly have escaped 
a man of Clarence Hervey's abilities, had he not been engaged 
in defence of a favourite system of education, or if his pupil 
had not been quite so handsome. Virginia's absolute ignorance 
of the world frequently gave an air of originality to her most 
trivial observations, which made her appear at once interesting 
and entertaining. All her ideas of happiness were confined to 
the life she had led during her childhood ; and as she had 
accidentally lived in a beautiful situation in the New Forest, 
she appeared to have an instinctive taste for the beauties of 
nature, and for what we call the picturesque. This taste Mr. 
Hervey perceived, whenever he showed her prints and draw- 
ings, and it was a fresh source of delight and self-complacency 
to him. All that was amiable or estimable in Virginia had a 
double charm, from the secret sense of his penetration, in 
having discovered and appreciated the treasure. The affec- 
tions of this innocent girl had no object but himself and Mrs. 
Ormond, and they were strong, perhaps, in proportion as they 
were concentrated. The artless familiarity of her manner, and 
her unsuspicious confidence, amounting almost to credulity, 

IZ2 




VIRGINIA 

itreaistible power over Mr. Hervey's mind ; ie t 
as appeals at once to his tenderness and his generosity. He 
treated her with the utmost delicacy, and his oath was never 
absent from his mind : but he feh proudly convinced, that if 
he had not been bound by any such solemn engagement, no 
temptation could have made him deceive and betray confiding 



Conscious that his views were honourable, anticipating the 
generous pleasure he should have in showing his su])erioriiy to 
all mercenary considerations and worldly prejudices, in the 
choice of a wife, he indulged, with a species of pride, his 
increasing attachment to Virginia ; but he was not sensible of 
the rapid progress of the passion, till he was suddenly awakened 
by a few simple observations of Mrs. Ormond. 

' This is Virginia's birthday — she tells me she is seventeen 

' Seventeen ! — is she only seventeen ? ' cried Clarence, with 
a mixture of surprise and disappointment in his countenance — 
' Only seventeen ! Why she is but a child still.' 

' Quite a child,' said Mrs. Ormond ; 'and so much the better.' 

' So much the worse, I think,' said Clarence. ' But are you 
sure she's only seventeen ? — she must be mistaken — she must 
be eighteen, at least.' 

' God forbid ! ' 

' God forbid 1 — Why, Mrs. Ormond ? ' 

' Because, you know, we have a year more before us. 

' That may be a very satisfactory prospect to you,' said Mr. 
Hervey, smiling. 

'And to you, surely,' said Mrs. Ormond ; 'for, 1 suppose, 
you would be glad that your wife should, at least, know the 
common things that everybody knows.' 

' As to that,' said Clarence, ' 1 should be glad that my wiftf\ 
I were ignorant of what everybody kno-ais. Nothing is so tire- \ t^ 

I 1 some to a man of any taste or abilities as luhat everybody \ 

I I knows. 1 am rather desirous to have a wife who has an 1 
I I uncommon than a common understanding.' 

k* ' But you would choose, would not you,' said Mrs, Ormond, 
■ faesiuting with an air of great deference, ' that your wife should 
B loiow how to write ? ' 
^l ' To be sure,' replied Clarence, colouring. ' Does not 

■MliiiiiiiHiH^^i^^H 



BELINDA 



'How should she?'aaL<l Mrs. Omtond : 'it isno&ultof 
hers, poor girl— she was never taughL You know ii was her 
grandmother's noiion that she should not learn lo write, lest 
she should write love-letters.' 

' But you promised that she should be taught to write, and 
1 trusted to you, Mrs. Ormood.' 

■She has been here only two months, and all thai time, 1 
ajn sure, I have done everything in my power ; but when a 
person comes to be sixteen or seventeen, it is uphill work.' 

' I will teach her myself," cried Clarence : ' I am sure she 
may be taught anything.' 

' By you,' said Mrs. Ormond, smiiiny ; 'but not by me.' 

' You have no doubts of her capacity, surely ? ' 

' 1 am no judge of capacity, especially of the capacity of 
those I love ; and I am grown very fond of Virginia ; she is a 
charming, open-hearted, simple, aJTectionate creature. I rather 
think it is from indolence that she does not learn, and not 
firom want of abilities.' 

'AH indolence arises from want of excitement,' said 
Clarence; 'if she had proper motives, she would conquer 
her indolence.' 

'Why, I daresay, if I were to tell her that she would never 
have a letter from Mr. Hervey till she is able to 
answer, she would learn to write very expedidously ; but I 
thought that would not be a proper motive, because you 
forbade me lo tell her your future views. And indeed it 
would be highly imprudent, on your account, as well as hers, 
to give her any hint of that kind : because you might change 
your mind, before she's old enough for you to think of her 
Beriously, and then you would not know what to do with her j 
and after entertaining hopes of becoming your wife, she would 
be miserable, I am sure, with that aflectlonate tender heart (rf 
hers, if you ivere to leave her. Now that she knows nothing 
of the matter, we are all safe, and as we should be.' 

Though Clarence Hervey did not at this time foresee any 
great probability of his changing his mind, yet he felt the good 
sense and justice of Mrs. Ormond's suggestions ; and he was 
alarmed to perceive that his mind had been so intoxicated 
to suffer such obvious reflections to escape his attention. Mrs. 
Ormond, a woman whom he had been accustomed lo consider 
as fer his inferior in capacity, he now felt was superior to him 



\ 



VIRGINIA 

1 prudence, merely because she was undisturbed by passion. 
He resolved lo master his oivn mind ; to consider that it 
lot a mistress, but a wife he wanted in Virgini[t ; that a 
without capacity or without literature could never be a 
companion suited to him, let her beauty or sensibility be ever 
o exquisite and captivating. The happiness ol hlS'life and 
of hers were at stake, and every motive of prudence and 
delicacy called upon him to command his affections. He was, 
however, still sanguine in his expectations from Virginia's 
understanding, and from his own power of developing her 
capacity. He made several attempts, with the greatest skill 
and patience i and his fair pupil, though she did not by any 
: equal his hopes, astonished Mrs. Ormond by her 
comparatively rapid progress. 

' I always believed that you could make her anything you 
pleased,' said she. ' You are a tutor who can work miracles 
with Virginia.' 

' I see no miracles,' replied Clarence ; ' I am conscious of 
no such power. 1 should be sorry to possess any such 
influence, until I am sure that it would be for our mutual 
happiness.' 

Mr. Hervey then conjured Mrs. Ormond, by all her attach- 
ment to him and to her pupil, never to give Virginia the most 
distant idea that he had any intentions of making her his wife. 
She promised to do all that was in her power to keep this 
secret, but she could not help observing that it had already 
been betrayed, as plainly as looks could speak, by Mr. Hervey 
himself. Clarence in vain endeavoured to exculpate himself 
from this charge ; Mrs. Ormond brought to his recollection so 
many instances of his indiscretion, that it was substantiated 
even in his own judgment, and he was amazed to tind that all 
the time he had put so much constraint upon his inclinations, 
he had, nevertheless, so obviously betrayed them. His 
^ surprise, however, was at this time unmixed with any painful 
K jGgret ; he did not foresee the probability that he should change 
Vbs mind ; and notwithstanding Mrs. Ormond assured him 
■ that Virginia's ^5ensibilit^_had increased, he was persuaded 
[that she was mistaken, and that his pupil's heart and imagina- 
ftion were yet untouched. The innocent openness with which 
r she expressed her affection for him confirmed him, he said, in 
lliis opinion. To do him justice, Clarence had none of the 
a c 385 



BELINDA 

presumption which too often characterises men who have been 
successful, as it is called, with the £eur sex. His acquaintance 
with women had increased his persuasion that it is difficult to 
excite genuine love in the heart ; and with respect to himself 
he was upon this subject astonishingly incredulous. It was 
scarcely possible to convince him that he was beloved 

Mrs. Ormond, piqued upon this subject, determined to 
ascertain more decisively her pupil's sentiments. 

* My dear,' said she, one day to Virginia, who was feeding 
her bullfinch, < I do believe you are fonder of that bird than d 
anything in the world — fonder of it, I am sure, than of me.' 

' Oh 1 you cannot think so,' said Virginia, with an affec- 
tionate smile. 

* Well 1 fonder than you are of Mr. Hervey you will allow, 
at least ? ' 

* No, indeed 1 ' cried she eagerly : * how can you think me 
so foolish, so childish, so ungrateful, as to prefer a little worth- 
less bird to him * (the bullfinch began to sing so loud at 

this instant that her enthusiastic speech was stopped). < My 
pretty bird,' said she, as it perched upon her hand, ' I love you 
very much, but if Mr. Hervey were to ask it, to wish it, I would 
open that window and let you fly ; yes, and bid you fly away 
far from me for ever. Perhaps he does wish it ? — Does he ? — 
Did he tell you so ? ' cried she, looking earnestly in Mrs. Or- 
mond's face, as she moved towards the window. 

Mrs. Ormond put her hand upon the sash, as Virginia was 
going to throw it up 

* Gently, gently, my love — whither is your imagination 
carrying you ? ' 

* I thought something by your look,' said Virginia, blushing. 
*And I thought somethings my dear Virginia,' said Mrs. 

Ormond, smiling. 

* What did you think ?— What could you think 1 ' 

* I cannot — I mean, I would rather not at present tell you. 
But do not look so grave ; I will tell you some lime or other, 
if >'ou cannot guess.' 

Virginia was silent, and stood abashed. 

* I am sure, my sweet girl,' said Mrs. Ormond, ' I do not 
mean, by anything I said, to confuse or blame you. It is very 
natural that you should be grateful to Mr. Hervey, and that 
yxsn, should admire, and, to a certain degree^ love him.' 




Vii^inia looked up delighted, yel with • 
■feer manner. 

(indeed,' said Mrs. Ormond, 'one of the first of human 
I beings : such even / have always thought him ; and I am sure 
t like you the better, my dear, for your_s£nsitiilily,' said she, 
kissing Virginia as she spoke ; ' only we must lake care of it, 

this tenderness might go too far.' 

' How so ?' said Virginia, returning her caresses with fond- 
ss : 'can I love you and Mr. Hervey loo much ?' 

' Not me.' 

' Nor him, I'm sure — he is so good — so very good ! I am 
afraid that 1 do not love him enough' said she, sighing. ' I 
love him enough when he is absent, but not when he is present. 
When he is near 1 feel a sort of fear mixed with my love. I 
■wish to piease him very much, but I should not quite like that 
he should show hia love for me as you do — as you did just 

' My dear, it would not be proper that he should ; you are 
quite right not to wish it.' 

' Am 1 ? I was afraid that it was a sign of my not liking him 
as much as I ought.' 

' Ah, my poor child, you love him full as much as you 
ought' 

' Do you think so ? I am glad of it,' said Virginia, with a 
teok of such confiding simplicity, that her friend was touched 
to the heart. 

' I do think so, my love,' said Mrs. Ormond ; 'and I hope 
I shall never be sorry for it, nor you either. But it is not 
proper that we should say any more upon this subject now. 
Where are your drawings ? Where is your writing f My dear, 
we must get forward with these things as fast as we can. 
That is the way to please Mr. Hervey, I can tell you.' 

Confirmed by this conversation in her own opinion, Mrs. 
Ormond was satisfied. From delicacy (o her pupil, she did 
not repeat all that had passed to Mr. Hervey, resolving to wait 
till the proper moment. ' She is too young and too childish 
for him to think of marrying her yet, for a year or two,' thought 
she ; ' and it is better to repress hen , sensibility till her educa- 
tion is more finished ; by that time Mr. Hervey will find out 
his mistake.' 

la the meantime she could not help thinking that he was 

387 



BELINDA 

blind, for he continued steady in his belief of Virginia's 
indifference. 

To dissipate his own mind, and to give time for the devdop- 
ment of hers, he now, according to his resolution, left his popil 
to the care of Mrs. Onnond, and mixed as much as possible 
in gay and fashionable company. It was at this period that 
he renewed his acquaintance with Lady Delacour, whom he 
had seen and admired before he went abroad. He found that 
his gallantry, on the £eunous day of the battle between the 
turke>'s and pigs, was still remembered with gratitude by her 
ladyship ; she received him with marked courtesy, and he soon 
became a constant visitor at her house. Her wit entertained, 
her eloquence charmed him, and he followed, admired, and 
gallanted her, without scruple, for he considered her merely as 
a coquette, who preferred the glory of conquest to the security 
of reputation. With such a woman he thought he could amuse 
himself without danger, and he everywhere appeared the fore- 
most in the public train of her ladyship's admirers. He soon 
discovered, however, that her talents were far superior to what 
are necessary for playing the part of a fine lady ; his visits 
became more and more agreeable to him, and he was glad to 
feel, that, by dividing his attention, his passion for Virginia 
insensibly diminished, or, as he said to himself, became^ morc 
r easonabl e. In conversing with Lady Delacour, his faculties 
were always called into full play ; in talking to Virginia, his 
understanding was passive : he perceived that a large propor- 
tion of his intellectual powers, and of his knowledge, was abso- 
lutely useless to him in her company ; and this did not raise 
her either in his love or esteem. ^ Her simplicity and naivetd^ 
however, sometimes relieved him, after he had been fatigued by 
the extravagant gaiety and glare of her ladyship's manners ; and 
he reflected that the coquetry which amused him in an acquaint- 
ance would be odious in a wife : the perfect innocence of 
Virginia promised security to his domestic happiness, and he 
did not change his views, though he was less eager for the 
period of their accomplishment. * I cannot expect everything 
that is desirable,' said he to himself : * a more brilliant char- 
acter than Virginia's would excite my admiration, but could not 
command my confidence.' 

It was whilst his mind was in this situation that he became 
acquainted with Belinda. At first, the idea of her having been 



r VIRGINIA ^^^1 

^educated by the match-making Mrs. Stanhope prejudiced h^^^^^ 
gainst her ; but as he had opportunities of observing her con- 
i^Ct, this prepossession was conquered, and when she had 
Fsccured his esteem, he could no longer resist her power over his 
(fceart. In comparison with Belinda, Vit^inia appeared lo him 
^t an insipid, though innocent child : the one he found was 
£is equal, the other his inferior ; the one he saw could be a 
tcompanion, a friend to him for life ; the other would merely be 
lius pupil, or his playtbing^. Belinda had cultivated taste, an 
jVCtive understanding, a knowledge of literature, the power and 
l^e habit of conducting herself; Vii^inia was ignorant and in- 
BoleDt, she had few ideas, and no wish to extend her knowledge ; 
Hie was so entirely unacquainted with the world, that it was 
isbsolutely impossible she could conduct herself with that dis- 
)ereiion, which must be the combined result of reasoning and 
•experience. Mr. Hervey had felt gratuitous confidence in 
rVirginia's innocence ; but on Belinda's prudence, which he had 
'opportunities of seeing tried, he gradually learned to feel a 
jdifierent and a higher species of reliance, which it is neither in 
[our power to bestow nor to refiise. The virtues of Virginia 
(Bprang from sentiment ; those of Belinda from reason. 
V Clarence, whilst he made all these comparisons, became every 
«ay more wisely and more fondly attached to Belinda ; and at 
uength he became desirous to change the nature of his connec- 
f&oa with Virginia, and to appear to her only in the light of a 
Viend or a benefactor. He thought of giving her a suitable 
{fortune and of leaving her under the care of Mrs. Ormond, till 
Isome method of establishing her in the world should occur. 
I'Unfortunateiy, just at the time when Mr. Hen'Cy formed this 
|plan, and before it was communicated to Mrs. Ormond, diffi- 
culties arose which prevented him from putting it into execu- 
«on. 

I Whilst he had been engaged in the gay world at Lady 
jDelacour's, his pupil had necessarily been left much to the 
Jna,nagement of Mrs. Ormond. This lady, with the best 
bossible intentions, had not that reach of mind and variety of 
resource necessary to direct the eKquisite sensibility and ardent 
imagination of Virginia ; the solitude in which she lived added 
to the difficulty of the task. Without companions to interest 
her social affections, without real objects lo occupy her senses 
and understanding, Virginia's mind was either perfectly ii> j 




BELINDA 



y ideas of 1 
society, all 1 



:<dent, or txaJled by romant ic views, and visionary ideas 
happiness. As she hailT ncv'cr seen anything of society, 
her notions were drawn from books ; the severe 
which her grandmother had early laid upon the choice of these 
seemed lo have awakened her curiosity, and to have increased 
her appetite for books — it was insatiable. Reading, indeed, 
was now almost her only pleasure ; for Mrs. Ormond's con- 
versation was seldom entertaining, and Virginia had no longer 
those occupations which filled a portion of her day at the cottage. 
I Mr. Hervey had cautioned Mrs. Ormond against putting 
fommon novels into her hands, but he made no objectioD to 
'romances; these, he thought, breathed a spirit favourable to 
female virtue, exalted the respect for chastity, and inspired en- 
ithusiastic admiration of honour, generosity, truth, and all the 
I noble qualities which dignify human nature. Virginia devoured 
'these romances with the greatest eagerness ; and Mrs. Ormond, 
who found her a prey to ennui when her fancy was not amused, 
indulged her taste ; yet she strongly suspected that Ihey con- 
tributed to increase her passion for the only man who could, in 
her imagination, represent a hero. 

One night Virginia found, in Mrs. Ormond's room, a volume 
of St. Pierre's Paul and Virginia. She knew that her own 
name had been taken from this romance ; Mr. Hen*ey had het 
picture painted in this character; and these circumstances 
strongly excited her curiosity to read the book. Mrs. Ormond 
could not refijse to let her have it ; for, though it was not an 
ancient romance, it did not exactly come under Ihe description 
of a common novel, and Mr. Her%'ey was not at hand to give 
his advice. Virginia sat down instantly to her volume, and 
r stirred from the spot till she had nearly finished it. 
'What is it that strikes your fancy so much ? What are 
you considering so deeply, my love ? ' said Mrs. Ormond, 
observing that she seemed lost in thought. ' Let us see, my 
' continued she, offering to take the book, which hung 
from her hand. Virginia started from her re>'erie, but held the? 
volume fast. — 'Will not you let me read along with you?'' 
said Mrs. Ormond. 'Won't you let me share your pleasure?' 
' It was not pleasure that I felt, 1 believe,' said Virginia. 
' I would rather you should not see just that particular part 
that I was reading; and yet, if you desire it,' added 
nsigniog Ihe book reluctaTvU-^. 



■r 

^Wbat can 



VIRGINIA 



make you so much afraid of me, my sweet girl ? ' 
afraid of you — but — of myself,' said Virginia, 
ighing. 

Mrs. Ormond read the following passage ; 

' She thought of Paul's friendship, more pure than the waters 
the fountain, stronger than the united palms, and sweeter 
m the perfume of tlowers ; and these images, in night and 
in solitude, gave double force to the passion which she 
nourished in her heart. She suddenly left the dangerous 
shades, and went to her mother, to seek protection against 
herself. She wished to reveal her distress to her ; she pressed 
her hands, and the name of Paul was on her lips ; but the 
oppression of her heart took away all utterance, and, laying 
her head upon her mother's hosom, she only wept.' 

And am I not a mother to you, my beloved Virginia?' 
said Mrs. Ormond. ' Though I cannot express my affection 
such charming language as this, yet, believe me, no mother 
s ever fonder of a child." 

Virginia threw Jier arms round Mrs. Ormond, and laid her 

head upon her friend's bosom, as if she wished to realise the 

illusion, and to be the Virginia of whom she had been reading. 

' I know all you think, and all you fee! : I know,' whispered 

Irs. Ormond, 'the name that is on your lips.' 

' No, indeed, you do not ; you cannot,' cried Virginia, 
iddenly raising her head, and looking up in Mrs. Ormond's 
ce, with surprise and timidity : ' how could yon possibly 
sow all my thoughts and feelings ? I never told them to you ; 
r, indeed, 1 have only confused ideas floaring in my imagina- 
an from the books I have been reading. I do not distinctly 
low my own feelings.' 

* This is all very natiu*al, and a proof of your perfect 
nocence and simplicity, tny child. But why did the passage 
)u were reading Just now strike you so much ? ' 

' I was only considering,' said Virginia, 'whether it was the 
ascription of — love." 
' And your heart told you that it was ? ' 

' I don't know,' said she, sighing. ' Rut of this 1 am 
(rtain, that I had not the name, which you were thinking of, 
" kny li ps.' 

391 




BEUNDA 

Ah ! thought Mrs. Onnond^ she has not forgotten how 
I checked her sensibility some time aga Poor girl I she is 
become afraid of me» and I have taught her to dissemble; 
but she betrays herself every moment 

< My dear,' said Mrs. Ormond, ' you need not fear me — 1 
cannot blame you : in your situation, it is impossible that yoa 
could help loving Mr. Hervey.' 

*Isit?' 

* Yes ; quite impossible. So do not blame yourself for it' 

* No, I do not blame myself for that I only blame myself 
for not loving him enough^ as I told you once before.' 

< Yes, my dear ; and the oftener you tell me so, the more I 
am convinced of your affection. It is one of the strongest 
symptoms of love, that we are unconscious of its extent We 
fancy that we can never do too much for the beloved object' 

* That is exactly what I feel about Mr, Hervey.* 

* That we can never love him enough.' 

* Ah ! that is precisely what I feel for Mr. Hervey. 

*And what you ought — I mean, what it is natural you 
should feel ; and what he will himself, I hope, indeed I dare 
say, some time or other wish, and be glad that you should 
feel.' 

* Some time or other ! Does not he wish it now ? ' 

* I — he — my dear, what a question is that ? And how shall 
I answer it ? We must judge of what he feels by what he ex- 
presses : when he expresses love for you, it will then be the 
time to show yours for him.' 

* He has always expressed love for me, I think,' said 
Virginia — 'always, till lately,' continued she; *but lately he 
has been away so much, and when he comes home, he does 
not look so well pleased ; so that I was afraid he was angry 
with me, and that he thought me ungrateful.' 

* Oh, my love, do not torment yourself with these vain fears ! 
And yet I know that you cannot help it* 

* Since you'**are so kind, so very kind to me,' said Virginia, 
* I will tell you all my fears and doubts. But it is late — ^there ! 
the clock struck one. I will not keep you up.' 

* I am not at all sleepy,' said the indulgent Mrs. Ormond. 

* Nor I,' said Virginia. 

'Now, then,' said Mrs. Ormond, «for these doubts and 
fears.' 



d but 1 



[was afraid lliat, perhaps, Mr. Hervey 
if he knew ihat 1 ihoughi of anything in the world 

'Of what else do you think ?^ Of nothing else from 
morning till night, that I can see.' 

' Ah, then you do not see into my mind. In the daytime 
I often think of those heroes, those charming heroes, that I 
read of in the books you have given me.' 

' To be sure you do.' 

'And is not that wrong? Would not Mr. Hervey be dis- 
pleased if he knew it ? ' 

'Why should he?' 

' Because they are not quite like him. I love some of them 
better than I do him, and he might think that ungrateful.^ 

How naturally love inspires the idea of jealousy, thought 
Irs, Ormoad. ' My dear,' said she, ' you carry your ideas of 
delicacy and gratitude lo an extreme ; but it is very natural 
you should; however, you need not be afraid; Mr. Hervey 
it be jealous of those charming heroes, that never existed, 
though they are not quite like him.' 

1 very glad that he would not think me imgratefu!^ 
but if he knew that I dream of ihem sometimes ? ' 

would think you dreamed, as all people do, of what 
they think of in the daytime.' 

'And he would rot be angry ? I am very glad of it. But 
once saw a picture ' 

' I know you did — well,' said Mrs. Ormond, ' and your 
grandmother was frightened because it was the picture of a 
—hey ? If she was not your grandmother, I should say 
that she was a simpleton. I assure you, Mr. Hervey is not 
like her, if that is what you mean to ask. He would not be 
angry at your having seen fifty pictures.' 

' I am glad of it— but I see it very often in my dreams.' 

'Well, if you had seen inore pictures, you would not see 

s so often. It was the first you ever saw, and very naturally 
you remember it. Mr. Hervey would not be angry at that, 
said Mrs. Ormond, laughing. 

' But sometimes, in my dreams, it speaks to me.' 

' And what does it say I ' 

' The same sort of things that those heroes I read of say lo 
their mistresses.' 

393 



I 



BELINDA 

* And do you never, in your dreams, hear Mr. Henrey say 
this sort of things ? ' 

*No.' 

< And do you never see Mr. Hervey in these dreams ?' 

' Someiimes ; hut he does not speak to me ; he does not 

look at me with the same sort of tenderness, and he does not 

throw himself at my feet' 

* No ; because he has never done all this in reality.' 

* No ; and I wonder how I come to dream of such things.' 

* So do I ; but you have read and thought of them, it is 
plain. Now go to sleep, there's my good girl ; that is the best 
thing you can do at present — ^go to sleep.' 

It was not long after this conversation that Sir Philip 
Baddely and Mr. Rochfort scaled the garden wall, to obtain a 
sight of Clarence Hervey's mistress. Virginia was astonished, 
terrified, and disgusted, by their appearance ; they seemed to 
her a species of animals for which she had no name, and of 
which she had no prototype in her imagination. That they 
were men she saw ; but they were clearly not Clarence Herveys : 
they bore still less resemblance to the courteous knights of 
chivalry. Their language was so different from any of the 
books she had read, and any of the conversations she had 
heard, that they were scarcely intelligible. After they had 
forced themselves into her presence, they did not scruple to 
address her in the most unceremonious manner. Amongst 
other rude things, they said, * Damme, my pretty dear, you 
cannot love the man that keeps you prisoner in this manner, 
hey? Damme, you'd better come and live with one of us. 
You can't love this tyrant of a fellow.' 

* He is not a tyrant — I do love him as much as I detest 
you,' cried Virginia, shrinking from him with looks of horror. 

* Damme ! good actress I Put her on the stage when he is 
tired of her. So you won't come with us ? — Good-bye, till we 
see you again. You're right, my girl, to be upon your good 
behaviour ; maybe you may get him to marry you, child 1 ' 

Virginia, upon hearing this speech, turned from the man 
who insulted her with a degree of haughty indignation, of 
which her gentle nature had never before appeared capable. 

Mrs. Ormond hoped that, after the alarm was over, the cir- 
cumstance would pass away from her pupil's mind ; but on the 
contrary, it left the most forcible impression, Virginia became 

S9^ 



I- silent and melancholy, and whole hours were spent in reverie. 
■ Mrs. Ormond imagined, that notwilhslanding Virginia's entire 
I ignorance of the world, she had acquired from books sufficient 
I knowledge to be alarmed at the idea of being taken for 
r Clarence Heney's mistress. She touched upon this subject 
with much delicacy, and the answers that she received con- 
firmed her opinion. Virginia had been inspired by romances\ 
with the most exalted notions of female delicacy and honour 1 ' 

I but from het perfect ignorance, these were rather vague ideas,' 
than principles of conduct. 
' We shall see Mr. Hen'ey to-morrow ; he has written me 
word that he will come from town, and spend the day with us." 

' I shall be ashamed to see him after what has passed,' said 
Virginia. 

' You have no cause for shame, my dear ; Mr. Her\'ey will 
try to discover the persons who insulted you, and he will punish 
them- They will never return here ; you need not fear that. 

; is willing and able to protect you.' 

' Yes, of that I am sure. But what did that strange roan 
mean, when he said ' 

' What, my dear ? ' 

'That perhaps Mr. Hervey would marry me.' 

Virginia pronounced these words with difficulty. Mrs. 
Ormond was silent, for she was much embarrassed. Virginia 
having conquered her first difficulty, seemed resolute to obtain 
1 answer, 

' You do rot speak to me ! Will you not tell me, dear 
Mrs. Ormond,' said she, hanging upon her fondly, ' what did 
he mean ? ' 

' What he said, I suppose.' 

'But he said, that if I behaved well, I might get Mr. 
Hervey to marry me. What did he mean by that ? ' said 
Virginia, in an accent of offended pride. 

' He spoke very rudely and improperly ; but it is not worth 
while to think of what he said, or what he meant.' 

' But, dear Mrs. Ormond, do not go away from me now ; I 
never so much wished to speak to you in my whole life, and 
you turn away from me.' 

' Well, my love, well, what would you say ? ' 

' Tell me one thing, only one thing, and you will set my 
heart at ease. Does Mr. Hervey wish me to he his wife ? ' 



VIRGINIA 



BEUNDA 

* I cannot tell you that, my dearest Vii^g^nia. Time will 
show us. Perhaps his heart has not yet decided.' 

* I wish it would decide,' said Vii^nia, sighing deeply; 

* and I wish that strange man had not told me anything aboot 
the matter ; it has made me \'ery unhappy.' 

She covered her eyes with her hand, bu{4]^g_;(ga£^riclded 
between her fingers, and rolled £ist down her ann. Mi& 
Ormond, quite overcome by the sight of her distress, was no 
longer able to keep the secret with which she had been en- 
trusted by Clarence Hcrvey. And after all, thought she, 
Virginia will hear it from himself soon. I shall only spare her 
some unnecessary pain ; it is cruel to see her thus, and to keep 
her in suspense. Besides, her weakness might be her ruin, in 
his opinion, if it were to extinguish all her energy, and deprive 
her of the very power of pleasing. How wan she looks, and 
how heavy are those sleepless eyes 1 She is not, indeed, in a 
condition to meet him, when he comes to us to-morrow : if she 
had some hopes, she would revive and appear with her natural 
case and grace. 

* My sweet child,* said Mrs. Ormond, * I cannot bear to see 
you so melancholy ; consider, Mr. Hervey will be with us to- 
morrow, and it will give him a great deal of pain to see you 
so.' 

* Will it ? Then I will try to be very gay.* 

Mrs. Ormond was so delighted to see Virginia smile, that 
she could not forbear adding, * The strange man was not wrong 
in everything he said; you «////, one of these days, be Mr. 
Her\'ey*s wife.* 

*That, I am sure,' said Virginia, bursting again into tears, 

* that, I am sure, I do not wish unless he does.* 

* He does, he does, my dear — do not let this delicacy of 
yours, which has been wound up too high, make you miserable. 
He thought of you, he loved you long and long ago.* 

< He is very good, too good,* said Virginia, sobbing. 

* Nay what is more — ^for I can keep nothing from you — he 
has been educating you all this time on purpose for his wife, 
and he only waits till your education is finished, and till he is 
sure that you feel no repugnance for him.* 

* I should be very ungrateful if I felt any repugnance for 
him,* said Virginia ; * I feel none.* 

« Oh, that you need not assure me,' said Mrs. Ormond. 

30 






VIRGINIA 

' But I do not wish lo marry him — I do not wia^^ma^T 
' You are a modest girl to say so ; and this modesty will 
lake you ten times more amiable, especially in Mr. Hervey's 
^5. Heaven forbid that I should lessen it 1 ' 
The next morning Virginia, who always slept in the same 
Voom with Mrs. Ormond, wakened her, by crying out in her 
sleep, with a voice of terror, ' Oh, save him ! — save Mr. Hervey I 
I — Mr. Hervey (^forgive me 1 forgive me 1 ' 

Mrs. Ormond drew back the curtain, and saw Vii^inia lying 
' fast asleep ; her beautiflil face convulsed with agony. 

' He's dead I — Mr. Hervey I ' cried she, in a voice of 
iqoisite distress : then starting up, and stretching out her 
ms, she uttered a piercing cry, and awoke. 
' My love, you have been dreaming frightfully,' said Mrs. 
Onnond, 

. all a dream ? ' cried Virginia, looking round fearfully, 
a dream, my dear I ' said Mrs. Ormond, taking her 
band. 

(1 very, very glad of it 1 — -Let me breathe. It was, in- 
deed, a frightful dream ! ' 

' Your hand still trembles,' said Mrs, Ormond j ' let me put 
I back this hair from your poor face, and you will grow cool, and 
k forget this foolish dream.' 

No ; I must teli it you. I ought to tell it you. But it was 
o confused, I can recollect only some parts of it. First, I 
■remember that I thought I was not myself, but the Virginia 
nhat we were reading of the other night ; and I was somewhere 
n the Isle of France. I thought the place was something like 
5 forest where my grandmother's cottage used to be, only 
Bthere were high mountains and rocks, and cocoa-trees, and 
■ftlan tains.' 

' Such as you saw in the prints of that book I ' 

'Yes; only beautiful, beautiful beyond description I And 

was moonlight, brighter and clearer than any moonlight I 

fever before had seen : and the air was fresh yet perfumed ; and 

s seated under the shade of a plane-tree, beside Virginia's 

fountain.' 

'Just as you are in your picture ?' 
' Yes : but Paul was seated beside me.' 
' Paul 1 ' said Mrs. Ormond, smiling : ' that is Mr. Hervey.' 
' No ; not Mr. Hervey's fece, though il 
397 




BELINDA 

— this is what I thought that I must tell you. It was another 
figure : it seemed a real living person : it knelt at my feet, and 
spoke to me so kindly, so tenderly ; and just as it was going 
to kiss my hand, Mr. Hervey appeared, and I started terribly, 
for I was afraid he would be displeased, and that he would 
think me ungrateful; and he was displeased, and he called me 
ungrateful Virginia, and frowned, and then I gave him my 
hand, and then everything changed, I do not know how 
suddenly, and I was in a place like the great print of the 
cathedral, which Mr. Hervey showed me; and there were 
crowds of people — I was almost stifled. You pulled me on, 
as I remember ; and Mr. Moreton was there, standing upon 
some steps by what you called the altar ; and then we knelt 
down before him, and Mr. Hervey was putting a ring on my 
finger ; but there came suddenly from the crowd that strange 
man, who was here the other day, and he dragged me along 
with him, I don't know how or where, swiftly down precipices, 
whilst I struggled, and at last fell. Then all changed again, 
and I was in a magnificent field, covered with cloth of gold, 
and there were beautiful ladies seated under canopies ; and I 
thought it was a tournament, such as I have read of, only more 
splendid ; and two knights, clad in complete armour, and 
mounted on fiery steeds, were engaged in single combat ; and 
they fought furiously, and I thought they were fighting for me. 
One of the knights wore black plumes in his helmet, and the 
other white ; and, as he was passing by me, the vizor of the 
knight of the white plumes was raised, and I saw it was ' 

* Clarence Hervey ? ' said Mrs. Ormond. 

* No ; still the same figure that knelt to me ; and I wished 
him to be victorious. And he was victorious. And he un- 
horsed his adversary, and stood over him with his drawn sword ; 
and then I saw that the knight in the black plumes was Mr. 
Hervey, and I ran to save him, but I could not. I saw him 
weltering in his blood, and I heard him say, " Perfidious, un- 
grateful Virginia ! you are the cause of my death ! " — and I 
screamed, I believe, and that awakened me.' 

* Well, it is only a dream, my love,' said Mrs. Ormond ; 
* Mr. Hervey is safe : get up and dress yourself, and you will 
soon see him.' 

* But was it not wrong and ungrateful to wish that the knight 
in the white plumes should be vvctorious ? ' 

i9^ 



A DISCOVERY 

' Your poor little head is full of nothing but these ri 
and love for Mr. Hervey. Il is your love for him that makes 
you fear that he will be jealous. But he is not so simple as 
you are. He will forgive you for wishing that the knight in 
the white plumes should be victorious, especially as you did 
not know that the other knight was Mr. Hervey. Come, my 
love, dress yourself, and think no more of these foolish dreams, 
and all will go well.' 



CHAPTER XXVII 



4 



Instead of the open, childish, affectionate famiharity with 
which Virginia used to meet Clarence Hervey, she now received 
him with reserved, timid embarrassment. Struck by this 
change in her manner, and alarmed by the dejection of her 

Kpirits, which she vainly strove to conceal, he eagerly inquired, 
rom Mrs. Ormond, into the cause of this alteration. 

Mrs. Ormond's answers, and her account of all that had 
Ipassed during his absence, increased his anxiety. His in* 
rdignation was roused by the insult which Virginia had been 
iofifered by the strangers who had scaled the garden-walL All 
Jlis endeavours to discover who they were proved ineffectual ; 
but, lest they should venture to repeat their visit, he removed 
ier from Windsor, and took her directly to Twickenham. 
Here he stayed with her and Mrs. Ormond some days, to deter- 
mine, by his own observation, how far the representations that 
ha.d been made to him were just. Tii! this period he had been 
.persuaded that Virginia's regard for him was rather that of 
^^ latitude than of love ; and with this opinion, he thought that 
ie bad no reason seriously to reproach himself for theimprudence 
with which he had betrayed the partiality that he felt for her in 
the beginning of tlieir acquaintance. He flattered himself that 
.even should she have discerned his intentions, her heart would 
not repine at any alteration in his sentiments ; and if her happi- 
ness were uninjured, his reason told him that he was not in 
lOtit bound to constancy. The case was now altered. Un- 
399 



ii 



BELINDA 

willing as he was to believe, he could no longer doubt Vii:ginia 
could neither meet his eyes nor speak to him without a d^^ree 
of embarrassment which she had not sufficient art to conceal: 
she trembled whenever he came near her, and if he looked 
grave, or forebore to take notice of her, she would burst into 
tears. At other times, contrary to the natural indolence of her 
character, she would exert herself to please him with surprising 
energy : she learned everything that he wished ; her capacity 
seemed suddenly to unfold. For an instant, Clarence flattered 
himself that both her fits of melancholy and of exertion might 
arise from a secret desire to see someUiing of that world from 
which she had been secluded. One day he touched upon this 
subject, to see what effect it would produce ; but, contrary to 
his expectations, she seemed to have no desire to quit her re- 
tirement : she did not wish, she said, for amusements such as 
he described ; she did not wish to go into the world. 

It was during the time of his passion for her that Clarence 
had her picture painted in the character of St. Pierre's 
Virginia. It happened to be in the room in which they were 
now conversing, and when she spoke of loving a life of retire- 
ment, Clarence accidently cast his eyes upon the picture, and 
then upon Virginia. She turned away — sighed deeply; and 
when, in a tone of kindness, he asked her if she were unhappy, 
she hid her face in her hands, and made no answer. 
1/ Mr. Hervey could not be insensible to her distress or to her 
I delicacy. He saw her bloom fading daily, her spirits depressed, 
her existence a burden to her, and he feared that his own im- 
prudence had been the cause of all this misery. 

* I have taken her out of a situation in which she might 

have spent her life usefully and happily ; I have excited false 

hopes in her mind, and now she is a wretched and useless being. 

I have won her affections ; her happiness depends totally upon 

me ; and can I forsake her ? Mrs. Ormond says, that "she is 

convinced Virginia would not survive the day of my marriage 

with another. I am not disposed to believe that girls often die 

or destroy themselves for love ; nor am I a coxcomb enough 

to suppose that love for me must be extraordinary desperate. 

/ C'^But here's a girl, who is of a melancholy temperament, who has 

/ \ a great deal of natural sensibility, whose affections have all been 

L«oncentrated, who has lived in solitude, whose imagination has 

dwelt, for a length of time, upon a certain set of ideas, who has 



A DISCOVERY 

but one object of hope ; in such a mind, .ind in such circum- 
Hances, passion may rise to a paroxysm of despair.' 

Pity, generosity, and honour, made him resolve not to 
dbandon this unfortunate girl ; though he felt that every time- 
lie saw Virginia, his love for Belinda increased. It was this 
ttnigglc in his mind betwixt love and honour which produced 
dl the apparent inconsistency and irresolution that puzzled Lady 
[)el3cour and perplexed Belinda. The lock of beautiful hair, 
irfaich so unluckily fell at Belinda's feet, was Virginia's ; he was 
oing to take it to the painter, who had made the hair in her 
icture considerably too dark. How this picture got into the 
achibition must now be explained. 

Whilst Mr. Herveys mind was in that painful slate of doubt 
irhich has just been described, a circumstance happened that 
Dromised him some relief from his embarrassment. Mr. More- 
Ion, the clergyman who used to read prayers every Sunday for 
Mrs. Ormond and Virginia, did not come one Sunday at the 
isual time : the next morning he called on Mr. Hervey, with 
h face that showed he had something of importance to 
Eommunicate. 

' I have hopes, my dear Clarence,' said he, ' that I have 

bund out your Virginia's father. Yesterday, a musical friend 

pf mine persuaded me to go with him lo hear the singing at 

Bie Asylimi for children in St. George's Fields. There is a 

firl there who has indeed a charming voice — but that's not to 

^tc present purpose. After church was over, I happened to he 

bne of the last that stayed ; for I am too old to love bustling 

iirough a crowd. Perhaps, as you are impatient, you think 

bat's nothing to the purpose ; and yet it is, as you shall hear. 

Vhen the congregation had almost left the church, I observed 

diat the children of the Asylum remained in their places, by 

of one of the governors i and a middle-aged gentleman 

round amongst the elder girls, examined their counten- 

liBices with care, and inquired with much anxiety their ages, 

id every particular relative to their parents. The stranger 

miniature picture in his hand, with which he compared 

ich face. I was not near enough to him,' continued Mr. 

toreton, ' to see the miniature distinctly : but from the glimpse 

ight of it, I thought that it was tike your Virginia, though 

seemed to be the portrait of a child but four or five years old. 

understand that this gentleman will be at the Asylum again 

401 ~ 



1 



I 



BELINDA 

next Sunday ; I heard him express a wish to see some of the 
girls who happened last Sunday to be absent.' 

* Do you know this gentleman's name^ or where he lives?' 
said Clarence. 

* I know nothing of him,' replied Mr. Moreton, 'except that 
he seems fond of painting ; for he told one of the directOTS, 
who was looking at his miniature, that it was remarkably veQ 
painted, and that, in his happier days, he had been something 
of a judge of the art' 

Impatient to see the stranger, who^ he did not doubt, was 
Virginia's father, Clarence Hervey went the next Sunday to the 
Asylum ; but no such gentleman appeared, and all that he 
could learn respecting him was, that he had applied to one of the 
directors of the institution for leave to see and question the 
girls, in hopes of finding amongst them his lost daughter ; that 
in the course of the week, he had seen all those who were not 
at the Church the last Sunday. None of the directors knew 
anything more concerning him ; but the porter remarked that 
he came in a very handsome coach, and one of the girls of the 
Asylum said that he gave her half a guinea, because she was 
a little like At's poor Rachel^ who was deadj but that he had 
added, with a sigh, * This cannot be my daughter, for she is 
only thirteen, and my girl, if she be now living, must be nearly 
eighteen.' 

The age, the name, every circumstance confirmed Mr. 
Hervey in the belief that this stranger was the father of Virginia, 
and he was disappointed and provoked by having missed the 
opportunity of seeing or speaking to him. It occurred to 
Clarence that the gentleman might probably visit the Foimdling 
Hospital, and thither he immediately went, to make inquiries. 
He was told that a person, such as he described, had been 
there about a month before, and had compared the face of the 
oldest girls with a little picture of a child : that he gave money 
to several of the girls, but that they did not know his name, or 
anything more about him. 

Mr. Hervey now inserted proper advertisements in all the 
papers, but without producing any efTect. At last, recollecting 
what Mr. Moreton told him of the stranger's love of pictures, 
he determined to put his portrait of Virginia into the exhibition, 
in hopes that the gentleman might go there and ask some 
guestions about it, which might lead to a discovery. The 

402 



A DISCOVERY 



articular | 



who had painted this picture, was under particular 
obligations to Clarence, and he promised that he would faith- 
fully comply with his request, to be at Somerset House 
regularly every morning, as soon as the exhibition opened ; 
that he would stay there till it dosed, and watch whether any 
of the spectators were particularly struck with the portrait of 
Virginia. If any person should ask questions respecting the 
picture, he was to let Mr. Hervey know immediately, and to 
give the inquirer his address. 

Now it happened that the very day when I^dy Delacour 
and Belinda were at the exhibition, the painter called Clarence 
aside, and informed him that a gentleman had just inquired 
from him very eagerly, whether the picture of Virginia was a 
portrait. This gentleman proved to be not the stranger who 
had been at the Asylum, but an eminent jeweller, who told 
Mr. Hervey that his curiosity about the picture arose merely 
from its striking likeness to a miniature, which had been lately 
left at his house tu be new set. It belonged to a Mr. Hartley, 
a gentleman who had made a considerable fortune in the 
West Indies, but who was prevented from enjoying his affiuence 
by the loss of an only daughter, of whom the miniature was a 
portrait, taken when she was not more than four or five years 
old. When Clarence heard all this, he was extremely impatient 
to know where Mr, Hartley was to be found ; but the jeweller 
could only tell him that the miniature had been called for the 
preceding day by Mr. Hartley's servant, who said his master 
was leaving town in a great hurry to go to Portsmouth, to join 
the West India fleet, which was to sail with the first favourable 

Clarence determined immediately to follow him to Ports- 
mouth ; he had not a moment to spare, for the wind was 
actually favourable, and his only chance of seeing Mr. Hartley 
was by reaching Portsmouth as soon as possible. This was 
the cause of his taking leave of Belinda in such an abrupt 
manner : painful indeed were his feelings at that moment, and 
great the difficulty he felt in parting with her, without giving 
any explanation of his conduct, which must have appeared to 
her capricious and mysterious. He was aware that he had 
explicitly avowed to Lady Delacour ])is admiration of Miss 
Portman, and that in a thousand instances he had betrayed 
)iis passion. Yet of her love he dared not trust himself to 



J 



BELINDA 

think, whilst his afTairs were in this doubtful state. He had, 
it is true, some fiunt hopes that a change in Virginia's situation 
might produce an alteration in her sentiments, and he resolved 
to decide his ovm conduct by the manner in which she should 
behave, if her father should be found, and she should become 
heiress to a considerable fortune. New views might then open 
to her imagination : the world, the ^hionable world, in all its 
glory, would be before her; her beauty and fortune would 
attract a variety of admirers, and Clarence thought that 
perhaps her partiality for him might become less exclusive, 
when she had more opportunities of choice. If her love 
arose merely from circumstances, with circumstances it would 
change ; if it were only a disease of the imagination, induced 
by her seclusion from society, it might be cured by mixing with 
the world ; and then he should be at liberty to follow the 
dictates of his o^n heart, and declare his attachment to 
Belinda. But if he should find that change of situation made 
no alteration in Virginia's sentiments, if her happiness should 
absolutely depend upon the realisation of those hopes which 
he had imprudently excited, he felt that he should be bound 
to her by all the laws of justice and honour ; laws which no 
passion could tempt him to break. Full of these ideas, he 
hurried to Portsmouth in pursuit of Virginia's father. The 
first question he asked, upon his arrival there, may easily be 
guessed. 

* Has the West India fleet sailed ? ' 

* No : it sails to-morrow morning,' was the answer. 

He hastened instantly to make inquiries for Mr. Hartley. 
No such person could be found, no such gentleman was to be 
heard of anywhere. Hartley^ he was sure, was the name 
which the jeweller mentioned to him, but it was in vain that 
he repeated it ; no Mr. Hartley was to be heard of at Ports- 
mouth, except a pawnbroker. At last, a steward of one of the 
West Indiamen recollected that a gentleman of that name 
came over with him in the Effing?iamy and that he talked of 
returning in the same vessel to the West Indies, if he should 
ever leave England again. 

* But we have heard nothing of him since, sir,' said the 
steward. * No passage is taken for him with us.' 

*And my life to a china orange,' cried a sailor who was 
standing by, * he's gone to kingdom come, or more likely to 

404 




A DISCOVERY 

afore this j for he was plaguy crazy in his timbers, and 

d wanted righling, I take it, if it was he. Jack, who 

walk the deck, you luiow, with a bit of a picture in his 

3 which he seemed to be mumbling his prayers from 

to night. There's no use in sounding for him, 

master ; he's down in Davy's locker long ago, or stowed into 

the tight waistcoat before this time o' day.' 

Notwithstanding this knowing sailor's opinion, Clarence 
would not desist from his sounding ; because having so lately 
heard of him at different places, he could not believe that he 
was gone either into Davy's locker or to Bedlam. He imagined 
that, by some accident, Mr. Hartley had been detained upon 
the road to Portsmouth ; and in the expectation that he would 
certainly arrive before the fleet should sail, Clarence waited 
with tolerable patience. He wailed, however, in vain ; he saw 
the Effingham and the whole fleet sail — no Mr. Hartley arrived. 
As he hailed one of the boats of the Effingham which was 
rowing out with some passeng'ers, who had been too late to get 
on board, his friend the sailor answered, ' We've no crazy man 
here : I told you, master, he'd never go out no more in the 
Effingham. He's where 1 said, master, you'll find, or nowhere.' 

Mr. Hervey remained some days at Portsmouth, after the 
fleet had sailed, in hopes that he might yet obtain some informa- 
tion ; but none could be had ; neither could any farther tidings be 
obtained from the jeweller, who had first mentioned Mr, Hartley, 
Despairing of success in the object of his journey, he, however, 
determined to delay his return to town for some time, in hopes 
that absence might efface the impression which had been made 
on the heart of Virginia. He made a tour along the picturesque 
coasts of Dorset and Devonshire, and it was during this excur- 
sion that he wrote the letters to Lady Delacour which have so 
often been mentioned. He endeavoured to dissipate his thoughts 
by new scenes and employments, but all his ideas involuntarily 
centred in Belinda. If he saw new characters, he compared 
them with hers, or considered how far she would approve or 
condemn them. The books that he read were perused with a 
constant reference to what she would think or feel ; and during 
his whole journey he never beheld any beautiful prospect, 
without wishing that it could at the same instant be seen by 
Belinda. If her name were mentioned but once in his letters, 
it was because he dared not trust himself to speak of her j she 
40 s 



J 



BELINDA 

was for ever present to his mind : but while he was writing to 
Lady Delacour, her idea pressed more strong-ly upon his heart; 
he recollected that it was she who first gave him a just inaglit 
into her ladyship's real character ; he recollected that she had 
joined with him in the benevolent design of reconciling her to 
Lord Delacour, and of creating in her mind a taste for domestic 
happiness. This remembrance operated powerfuUy to exdte 
him to fresh exertions, and the eloquence which touched Lady 
Delacour so much in these ^edifying* letters, as she called 
them, was in iaxX inspired by Belinda. 

Whenever he thought distinctly upon his future plans, Vir- 
ginia's attachment, and the hopes which he had imprudently 
inspired, appeared insuperable obstacles to his union with Miss 
Portman ; but, in more sanguine moments, he flattered himself 
with a confused notion that these difficulties would vanish. 
Great were his surprise and alarm when he received that letter 
of Lady Delacour's, in which she aimounced the probability of 
Belinda's marriage with Mr. Vincent. In consequence of his 
moving from place to place in the course of his tour, he did not 
receive this letter till nearly a fortnight after it should have 
come to his hands. The instant he received it he set out on 
his way home ; he travelled with all that expedition which 
money can command in England : his first thought and first 
wish when he arrived in town were to go to Lady Delacour's ; 
but he checked his impatience, and proceeded immediately to 
Twickenham, to have his fate decided by Virginia. It was 
with the most painful sensations that he saw her again. The 
accounts which he received from Mrs. Ormond convinced him 
that absence had produced none of the effects which he expected 
on the mind of her pupil. Mrs. Ormond was naturally both 
of an affectionate disposition and a timid temper ; she had 
become excessively fond of Virginia, and her anxiety was more 
than in proportion to her love ; it sometimes balanced and even 
overbalanced her regard and respect for Clarence Hervey him- 
self. When he spoke of his attachment to Belinda, and of his 
doubts respecting Virginia, she could no longer restrain her 
emotion. 

* Oh, indeed, Mr. Hervey,* said she, * this is no time for 
reasoning and doubting. No man in his senses, no man who 
is not wilfully blind, could doubt her being distractedly fond of 
you.* 



A DISCOVERY 

' I am sorry for it,' said Clarence. 

' And why-^oh why, Mr. Hervey ? Don't you recollect the 
time when you were all impatience to call her yours, — when 
you thought her the most charming creiiture in the whole 

' I had not seen Belinda Portman then.' 

'And I wish to Heaven you never had seen her! But oh, 
surely, Mr. Hervey, you will not desert my Virginia ! — Must 
her health, her happiness, her reputation, all be the sacrifice ? ' 

' Reputation 1 Mrs. Ormond.' 

' Reputation, Mr. Hervey : you do not know in what a light 
she is considered here ; nor did I till lately. But I tell you her 
reputation is injured— fatally injured. It is whispered, and 
more than whispered everywhere, that she is your mistress. A 
woman came here the other day with the bullfinch, and she 
looked at me, and spoke in such an extraordinary way, that 1 

s shocked more than I can express. I need not teii you all 
the particulars ; it is enough that I have made inquiries, and 
re, of what 1 say, that nothing but your marriage 
with Vii^inia can save her reputation ; or ' 

Mrs. Ormond stopped short, for at this instant Virginia 
entered the room, walking in her slow manner, as if she were 

'Since my return,' said Clarence, in an embarrassed voice, 
• I have scarcely heard a syllable from Miss St. Pierre's lips.' 

' Aliss Si. Pierre/ — He used to call me Virginia,' said she, 
turning to Mrs. Ormond ; ' he is angry with me — he used to 
call me Virginia.' 

a child then, you know, my love," said Mrs. 
Ormond. 

'And I wish I was stili a child,' said Virginia. Then, after 
a long pause, she approached Mr. Hervey with extreme timidity, 
and, opening a portfolio which lay on the table, she said to him, 
' If you are at leisure^if I do not interrupt you — would you 
look at these drawings ; though they are not worth your seeing, 
iccept as proofs that I can conquer my natural indolence ?' 

The drawings were views which she had painted fixjm 
memory, of scenes in the New Forest, near her grandmother's 
cottage. That cottage was drawn with an exactness that proved 
how fresh it was in her remembrance. Many recollections 
nisbed forcibly into Clarence Herve/s mind at the sight of 
401 ^ 



BELINDA 

this cottage. The channing image of Virginia, as it first struck 
his fancy, — the smile, the innocent smile, with which she offered 
him the finest rose in her basket, — the stem voice in which her 
grandmother spoke to her, — the prophetic fears of her protect- 
ress, — the figure of the dying woman, — the solemn promise he 
made to her, — all recurred, in rapid succession, to his memory. 
< You don't seem to like that,' said Virginia ; and then 
putting another drawing into his hands, < perhaps this may 
please you better.' 

* They are beautiful ; they are surprisingly well done ! ' ex- 
claimed he. 

* I knew he would like them ! I told you so I * cried Mrs. 
Ormond, in a triumphant tone. 

*You see,* said Virginia, *that though you have heard 
scarcely a syllable from Miss St. Pierre's lips since your return, 
yet she has not been unmindful of your wishes in your absence. 
You told her, some time ago, that you wished she would try to 
improve in drawing. She has done her best But do not 
trouble yourself to look at them any longer,' said Virginia, 
taking one of her drawings from his hand ; * I merely wanted 
to show you that, though I have no genius, I have some * 

Her voice faltered so that she could not pronounce the word 
gratitude. 

Mrs. Ormond pronounced it for her ; and added, * I can 
answer for it, that Virginia is not ungrateful.' 

* Ungrateful ! ' repeated Clarence ; * who ever thought her 
so ? Why did you put these ideas into her mind ? ' 

Virginia, resting her head on Mrs. Ormond's shoulder, wept 
bitterly. 

* You have worked upon her sensibility till you have made 
her miserable,' cried Clarence angrily. * Virginia, listen to 
me : look at me,' said he, affectionately taking her hand ; but 
she pressed closer to Mrs. Ormond, and would not raise her 
head. * Do not consider me as your master — your tyrant ; do 
not imagine that I think you ungrateful ! ' 

*0h, I am — I am — I am ungrateful to you,' cried she, 
sobbing ; * but Mrs. Ormond never told me so ; do not blame 
■; her : she has never worked upon my sensibility. Do you 
think,' said she, looking up, while a transient expression of 
indignation passed over her countenance, *do you think I can- 
'noifeel without having been taught ?' 




A DISCOVERY 

Clarence uttered a deep sigh. 

' But if you feel too much, my dearest Virginia,^ — if y< 
way to your feelings in this manner,' said Mrs. Ormond, 
win make both yourself and Mr. Hervey unhappy. 

' Heaven forbid I The first wish of tny soul i: 
paused. ' I should be the most imgrateful wretch in [he world, 
if I were to make him unhappy.' 

' But if he sees you miserable, Virginia ? ' 

' Then he shall not see it,' said she, wiping the tears from 

' To imagine that you were unhappy, and that you concealed 
it from us, would be still worse,' said Clarence. 

' But why should you imagine it?' replied Virginia; 'you 
are too good, too kind ; but do not fancy that 1 am not happy ; 
I am sure I ought to be happy.' 

'Do you regret your cottage ?' said Clarence : 'these draw- 
ings show how well you remember it.' 

Virginia coloured ; and with some hesitation, answered, ' Is 
it my fault if I cannot forget ? ' 

' You were happier then, Virginia, than you are now, you 
will confess,' said Mrs. Ormond, who was not a woman of 
refi ned delicacy, and who thought that the best chance she had 
ol working upon Mr. Hervey's sense of honour was by making 
it plain to him how much her pupil's affections were engaged. 

Virginia made no answer to this question, and her silence 
touched Clarence more than anything she could have said. 
When Mrs. Ormond repeated her question, he relieved the 
trembling girl by saying, ' My dear Mrs. Ormond, confidence 
must be won, not demanded.' 

' I have no right to insist upon confessions, I know,' said 
Mrs. Ormond; 'but ' 

' Confessions 1 1 do not wish to conceal anything, but 1 
think sincerity is not always in our sex consistent with — I 
mean- — ^I don't know what I mean, what I say, or wliat I 
otight to say,' cried Virginia \ and she sunk down on a sofa, in 
extreme confusion. 

'Why will you agitate her, Mrs. Ormond, in this manner?' 
said Mr. Hervey, with an expression of sudden anger. It was 
succeeded by a look of such tender compassion for Virginia, 
that Mrs. Ormond rejoiced to have excited his anger ; at any 
price she wished to serve her beloved pupi' 
409 



r 



BELINDA 

* Do not be in the least apprehensive, my dear Virginia, that 
we should take ungenerous advantage of the openness and sim^ 
plicity of your character,' said Mr. Hervey. 

< Oh no, no ; I cannot, do not apprehend anything ungene- 
rous from you ; you are, you ever have been, my best, my 
most generous friend ! But I fear that I have not the simplicity 
of character, the openness that you imagine; and yet, I am 
sure, I wish, from the bottom of my heart — I wish to do right, 
if I knew how. But there is not one — ^no, not one — person in 
the whole world,* continued she, her eyes moving from Mrs. 
Ormond to Mr. Hervey, and from him to Mrs. Ormond again, 
*not one person in the whole world I dare — I ought — ^to lay 
my heart open to. I have, perhaps, said more than is proper 
already. But this I know,' added she, in a firm tone, rising, 
and addressing herself to Clarence, ^you shall never be made 
unhappy by me. And do not think about my happiness so 
much,' said she, forcing a smile ; * I am, I will be, perfectly 
happy. Only let me always know your wishes, your sentiments, 
your feelings, and by them I will, as I ought, regulate mine.' 

* Amiable, charming, generous girl ! ' cried Clarence. 

* Take care,* said Mrs. Ormond ; * take care, Virginia, lest 
you promise more than you can perform. Wishes, and feelings, 
and sentiments, are not to be so easily regulated.' 

* I did not, I believe, say it was easy ; but I hope it is 
possible,' replied Virginia. * I promise nothing but what I am 
able to perform.' 

* I doubt it,* said Mrs. Ormond, shaking her head. * You 
are — you will be perfectly happy. O Virginia, my love, do 
not deceive yourself; do not deceive us so terribly. I am 
sorry to put you to the blush ; but ' 

* Not a word more, my dear madam, I beg — I insist,' said 
Mr. Hervey in a commanding tone ; but, for the first time in 
her life, regardless of him, she persisted. 

* I only ask you to call to mind, my dearest Virginia,' said 
she, taking her hand, * the morning that you screamed in your 
sleep, the moving when you told me the frightful dream — 
were you perfectly happy then ? ' 

* It is easy to force my thoughts from me,' said Virginia, 
withdrawing her hand from Mrs. Ormond ; * but it is cniel to 
do so.' And with an air of offended dignity she passed them, 
and qmiitd the room. 

410 



A DISCOVERY 

' I wish lo Heaven I ' exclaimed Mrs. Ormon3, 
rtman was married, and oul of the way^I shall never for- 
give myself 1 We bave used this poor girl cruelly amongst us ; 
6he loves you lo dislraction, and I have encouraged her passion, 
ind I have betrayed her — oh, fool that I was ! 1 told her that 
■be would certainly be your wife.' 

'You have told her sol — Did I not charge you, Mrs. 

Ormond ■ 

' Yes ; but 1 could not help it, when 1 saw the sweet girl 
fading away^ — and, besides, 1 am sure she thought it, from your 
jnanner, long and long before I told it to her. Do you forget 
how fond of her you were scarce one short year ago f And do 
you forget how plainly you let her see your passion ? Oh, how 
n you blame her, if she loves you, and if she is unhappy ? ' 
' I blame no one but myself,' cried Clarence ; ' I must abide 
by the consequences of my own folly. Unhappy ! — she shall 
not be unliappy ; she does not deserve lo be so.' 

He walked backward and forward, with hasty steps, for 
)ine minutes ; then sal down and wrote a letter to Virginia. 
When he had finished it, he put it into Mrs. Ormond's 
bands. 

' Read it — seal it — give it to her — and let her answer be 
sent to town to me, at Dr. X.'s, in Clifford Street' 

. Ormond clasped her hands, in an ecstasy of joy, as 
she glanced her eye over the letter, for it contained an offer of 
his hand. 

!s like yourself; like what I always knew you to be 
dear Mr. Hervey!' she exclaimed. 

But her exclamation was lost upon him. When she looked up, 
I to repeat her praises, she perceived he was gone. After the 
~ X which he had made, he wished for time to tmnquillise 
Ellis mind, before he should again see Virginia. What her 
iwer to this letter would be he could not doubt : his fate was 
y decided, and he determined immediately to write to Lady 
jDelacour to enplain his situation ; he felt that he had not 
{.sufficient fortitude at this moment lo make such an explanation 
Xin person. With all the strength of his mind, he endeavoured 
) exclude Belinda from his thoughts, but curiosity — (for he 
■would suffer himself to call it by no otiier name) — curiosity to 
(know whether she were actually engaged to Mr. Vincent 
obtruded itself with such force, that it could not be resisted. 
411 




BELINDA 

next Sunday ; I heard him express a wish to see some of the 
girls who happened last Sunday to be absent' 

* Do you Imow this gentleman's name, or where he lives ? ' 
said Clarence. 

* I know nothing of him,' replied Mr. Moreton, 'except that 
he seems fond of painting ; for he told one of the directors, 
who was looking at his miniature, that it was remarkably well 
painted, and that, in his happier days, he had been something 
of a judge of the art.' 

Impatient to see the stranger, who, he did not doubt, was 
Virginia's father, Clarence Hervey went the next Sunday to the 
Asylum ; but no such gentleman appeared, and all that he 
could learn respecting him was, that he had applied to one of the 
directors of the institution for leave to see and question the 
girls, in hopes of finding amongst them his lost daughter ; that 
in the course of the week, he had seen all those who were not 
at the Church the last Sunday. None of the directors knew 
anything more concerning him ; but the porter remarked that 
he came in a very handsome coach, and one of the girls of the 
Asylum said that he gave her half a guinea, because she was 
a little like his poor Rizcheiy who was deadj but that he had 
added, with a sigh, * This cannot be my daughter, for she is 
only thirteen, and my girl, if she be now living, must be nearly 
eighteen.' 

The age, the name, every circumstance confirmed Mr. 
Hervey in the belief that this stranger was the father of Virginia, 
and he was disappointed and provoked by having missed the 
opportunity of seeing or speaking to him. It occurred to 
Clarence that the gentleman might probably visit the Foundling 
Hospital, and thither he immediately went, to make inquiries. 
He was told that a person, such as he described, had been 
there about a month before, and had compared the face of the 
oldest girls with a little picture of a child : that he gave money 
to several of the girls, but that they did not know his name, or 
anything more about him. 

Mr. Hervey now inserted proper advertisements in all the 
papers, but without producing any effect. At last, recollecting 
what Mr. Moreton told him of the stranger's love of pictures, 
he determined to put his portrait of Virginia into the exhibition, 
in hopes that the gentleman might go there and ask some 
questions about it, which imghx \^2A vq ^ discovery. The 

402 




A DISCOVERY 

ist, who had painted tliis picture, was under paTtii 
(bligations to Clarence, and he promised that he would faith- 
ally comply with his request, to be at Somerset House 
tegularly every morning, as soon as the exhibition opened; 
hat he would stay there till it dosed, and watch whether any 
f the spectators were particularly struck with the portrait of 
Virginia, If any person should ask questions respecting the 
lure, he was to let Mr. Hervey know immediately, and to 
e the inquirer his address. 

Now it happened that the very day when Lady Delacour 
ind Belinda were at the exhibition, the painter called Clarence 
' ^e, and infomned him that a gentleman had just inquired 
n him very eagerly, whether the picture of Virginia was a 
portrait. This gentleman proved to be rot the stranger who 
I been at the Asylum, but an ejninent jeweller, who told 
Ir. Hervey that his curiosity about the picture arose merely 
' s striking likeness to a miniature, which had been lately 
eft at his house to be new set. It belonged to a Mr. Hartley, 
L gentleman who had made a considerable fortune in the 
IVest Indies, but who was prevented from enjoying his affluence 
y the loss of an only daughter, of whom the miniature was a 
portrait, taken when she was not more than four or five years 
tild. When Clarence heard all this, he was extremely impatient 
know where Mr. Hartley was to be found ; but the jeweller 
muld only tell him that the miniature had been called for the 
preceding day by Mr. Hartley's servant, who said his master 
was leaving town in a great hurry to go to Portsmouth, to join 
the West India fleet, which was to sail with the first favourable 
wind. 

Clarence determined immediately to follow him to Ports- 
nouth ; he had not a moment to spare, for the wind was 
ICtually favourable, and his only chance of seeing Mr. Hartley 
i by reaching Portsmouth as soon as possible. This was 
cause of his taking leave of Belinda in such an abrupt 
nner ; painful indeed were his feelings at that moment, and 
it the difficulty be felt in parting with her, without giving 
my explanation of his conduct, which must have appeared to 
:r capricious and mysterious. He was aware that he had 
tplicitly avowed to Lady Delacour his admiration of Miss 
fortman, and that in a thousand instances he had betrayed 
is passion. Yet of her love he dared not trust himacVf 
403 



J 



BELINDA 

think, whilst his affairs were in this doubtful state. He had, 
it is true, some faint hopes that a change in Virginia's situation 
might produce an alteration in her sentiments, and he resolved 
to decide his own conduct by the manner in which she should 
behave, if her father should be found, and she should become 
heiress to a considerable fortune. New views might then open 
to her imagination : the world, the fashionable world, in all its 
glory, would be before her; her beauty and fortune would 
attract a variety of admirers, and Clarence thought that 
perhaps her partiality for him might become less exclusive, 
when she had more opportunities of choice. If her love 
arose merely from circumstances, with circumstances it would 
change ; if it were only a disease of the imagination, induced 
by her seclusion from society, it might be cured by mixing with 
the world; and then he should be at liberty to follow the 
dictates of his own heart, and declare his attachment to 
Belinda. But if he should find that change of situation made 
no alteration in Virginia's sentiments, if her happiness should 
absolutely depend upon the realisation of those hopes which 
he had imprudently excited, he felt that he should be bound 
to her by all the laws of justice and honour ; laws which no 
passion could tempt him to break. Full of these ideas, he 
hurried to Portsmouth in pursuit of Virginia's father. The 
first question he asked, upon his arrival there, may easily be 
guessed. 

* Has the West India fleet sailed ? ' 

* No : it sails to-morrow morning,' was the answer. 

He hastened instantly to make inquiries for Mr. Hartley. 
No such person could be found, no such gentleman was to be 
heard of anywhere. Hartley^ he was sure, was the name 
which the jeweller mentioned to him, but it was in vain that 
he repeated it ; no Mr. Hartley was to be heard of at Ports- 
mouth, except a pawnbroker. At last, a steward of one of the 
West Indiamen recollected that a gentleman of that name 
came over with him in the Effingham^ and that he talked of 
returning in the same vessel to the West Indies, if he should 
ever leave England again. 

* But we have heard nothing of him since, sir,' said the 
steward. * No passage is taken for him with us.' 

* And my life to a china orange,' cried a sailor who was 
standing by, * he's gone to \dngdom c:wcv^, w more likely to 



A disco\t;rv 

1, afore this ; for he was plaguy cfazy in his timbeis, B 
itiis head wanted righting, I take it, if it was he. Jack, who 
used to walk the deck, you know, with a bit of a picture in bis 
'Iiand, to which he seemed to be mutnbhng his prayers from 
moraiog to night. There's no use in sounding for him, 
master j he's down in Davy's locker long ago, or stowed into 
the tight waistcoat before this time o' day.' 

Notwithstanding this knowing sailor's opinion, Clarence 
mould not desist from his sounding ; because ba^-ing so lately 
heard of bim at different places, he could not believe that he 
ls gone either into Davy's locker or to Bedlam. He Jma^ned 
that, by some accident, Mr. Hartley had been detained upon 
lie road to Portsmouth ; and in tlie expectation that he would 
ertainly arrive before the fleet should sail, Clarence waited 
with tolerable patience. He wailed, however, in vain ; he saw 
the Effingham and the whole fleet sail — no Mr. Hartley arrived. 
As he hailed one of the boats of the Effingham which was 
rowing out with some passengers, who had been too late to get 
on board, his friend the sailor answered, ' We've no crazy man 
here ; I told you, master, he'd never go out no more in ihc 
Effingham. He's where I said, master, you'll find, or nowhere.' 
Mr. Hervey remained some days at Portsmouth, after the 
fleet had sailed, in hopes that he might yet obtain some infonna- 
tion ; but none could be had ; neither could any farther tidings be 
obtained from the jeweller, who had first mentioned Mr. Hartley, 
Despairing of success in the object of his journey, he, however, 
determined to delay his return to town for some time, in hopes 
that absence might efface the impression which had been made 
n the heart of Virginia. He made a tour along the picturesque 
□asts of Dorset and Devonshire, and it was during this excur- 
ion that he wrote the letters to Lady Delacour which have so 
often been mentioned. He endeavoured to dissipate his thoughts 
by new scenes and employments, but all his ideas involuntarily 
Icentred in Belinda. If he saw new characters, he compared 
ttiem with hers, or considered how far she would approve or 
condemn them. The books that he read were perused with a 
constant reference to what she would think or feel ; and during 
bis whole journey he never beheld any beautiful prospect, 
without wishing that it could at the same instant be seen by 
Belinda. If her name were mentioned but once in his letters, 
s because he dared not trust himself to speak of her ; she 
40s 



BELINDA 

was for ever present to his mind : but while he was writing to 
Lady Delacour, her idea pressed more strongly upon his heart ; 
he recollected that it was she who first gave him a just insight 
into her ladyship's real character ; he recollected that she had 
joined with him in the benevolent design of reconciling her to 
Lord Delacour, and of creating in her mind a taste for domestic 
happiness. This remembrance operated powerfully to excite 
him to fi-esh exertions, and the eloquence which touched Lady 
Delacour so much in these ^ edifying^ letters, as she called 
them, was in fact inspired by Belinda. 

Whenever he thought distinctly upon his future plans, Vir- 
ginia's attachment, and the hopes which he had imprudently 
inspired, appeared insuperable obstacles to his union with Miss 
Portman ; but, in more sanguine moments, he flattered himself 
with a confused notion that these difficulties would vanish. 
Great were his surprise and alarm when he received that letter 
of Lady Delacour's, in which she announced the probability of 
Belinda's marriage with Mr. Vincent. In consequence of his 
moving from place to place in the course of his tour, he did not 
receive this letter till nearly a fortnight after it should have 
come to his hands. The instant he received it he set out on 
his way home ; he travelled with all that expedition which 
money can command in England : his first thought and first 
wish when he arrived in town were to go to Lady Delacour's ; 
but he checked his impatience, and proceeded immediately to 
Twickenham, to have his fate decided by Virginia. It was 
with the most painful sensations that he saw her again. The 
accounts which he received from Mrs. Ormond convinced him 
that absence had produced none of the effects which he expected 
on the mind of her pupil. Mrs. Ormond was naturally both 
of an affectionate disposition and a timid temper ; she had 
become excessively fond of Virginia, and her anxiety was more 
than in proportion to her love ; it sometimes balanced and even 
overbalanced her regard and respect for Clarence Hervey him- 
self. When he spoke of his attachment to Belinda, and of his 
doubts respecting Virginia, she could no longer restrain her 
emotion. 

* Oh, indeed, Mr. Hervey,' said she, * this is no time for 
reasoning and doubting. No man in his senses, no man who 
is not wilfully blind, could doubt her being distractedly fond of 
you.^ 

406 



1 recollect the 
yours, — when 
in the whole 



A DISCOVERY 

B sorry for it,' said Clarence. 
'And why — oh why, Mr. Herveyf DonH y< 
e when you were all impatience to call hei 
roa thought her the most charming creaturt 
rorld ? ' 

' 1 had not seen Belinda Portman then.' 
' And I wish to Heaven you never had seen her ! But oh, 
lirely, Mr. Hervey, you will not desert my Virginia 1 — -Must 
N health, her happiness, her reputation, all be the sacrifice ? ' 
'Reputation I Mrs. Ormond.' 

' Reputation, Mr. Hervey : you do not know in what a light 

le is considered here ; nor did I till lately. But I tell yon her 

mutation is injured — fatally injured. It is whispered, and 

lore than whispered everywhere, that she is your mistress. A 

1 came here the other day with the bullfinch, and she 

ind spoke in such an extraordinary way, that 1 

e than 1 can express. I need not tell you all 

t is enough that I have made inquiries, and 

;, of what I say, that nothing but your marriage 

e her reputation ; or ' 

Mrs. Ormond stopped short, for at this instant Virginia 
Dtered the room, walking in her slow manner, as if she were 
k a deep reverie. 

,' said Clarence, in an embarrassed voice, 
1 have scarcely heard a syllable from Miss St. Pierre's lips.' 

'Afist St. Pierre! — He used lo call me Virginia,' said she, 
iming to Mrs. Ormond ; ' he is angry with me — he used to 
1 me Virginia.' 

' But you were a child then, you know, my love,' said Mrs, 
ttmond. 

'And I wish I was still a child,' said Virginia, Then, after 
.long pause, she approached Mr. Hervey with extreme timidity, 
nd, opening a portfolio which lay on the table, she said [o him, 
If you are at leisure^if 1 do not interrupt you — would you 
tt these drawings ; though they are not worth your seeing, 
itcept as proofs that I can conquer my natural indolence ?' 

The drawings were views which she had painted from 
lemory, of scenes in the New Forest, near her grandmother's 
Dttagc. That cottage was drawn with an exaclness that proved 
ow fresh it was in her remembrance. Many recollections 
Dshed forcibly into Ciarence Hervey's mind at the sight of 
401 



ESWL 



lis iocT. — .±e g'^'^ :3e Trm^rsit 

im^ciaesc rise a 

ID his menKny. 
jixLf' said Miginn; and tbea 





; :bej are scrpiisiiigly irdl dcHie ! ' ex- 
far-if* be. 

M k-«T bs vrxJd Zke dtexn! ItDldyoaso!' akd Mis. 
Onaxid, ir a tr-:zz.pca=r socc 

'Ycc see." said \lrgir5a. 'that dioagli yoo lare heard 
scarcely a syllable £:oLik 3^055 Si. Picfie^s hps smce your leliini, 
yet she has zmc becc camindfel of yoor wishes m your absence. 
Yoa tc^d her, s<MDe iroe ago, that yoa wished she would try to 
improre in drawizkg. She has done her best. But do not 
trouble yourself to look at them any longer,' said Virginia, 
taking one of her drawings from his hand ; ' I merely wanted 
to show you that, though I have no genius, I have some ' 

Her voice faltered so that she could not pronounce the word 
graiituiU. 

Mrs. Ormond pronounced it for her ; and added, * I can 
answer for it, that Mrginia is not ungrateful' 

* Ungrateful I * repeated Clarence ; * who ever thought her 
so ? Why did you put these ideas into her mind ? ' 

Virginia, resting her head on Mrs. Ormond's shoulder, wept 
bitterly. 

* You have worked upon her sensibility till you have made 
her miserable,' cried Clarence angrily. 'Virginia, listen to 
me : look at me,' said he, aflfectionately taking her hand ; but 
she pressed closer to Mrs. Ormond, and would not raise her 
head. * Do not consider me as your master — your tyrant ; do 
not imagine that I think you ungrateful ! ' 

*0h, I am — I am — I am ungrateful to you,' cried she, 
sobbing ; * but Mrs. Ormond never told me so ; do not blame 
licr : she has never worked upon my sensibility. Do you 
Ihink,' said she, looking up, while a transient expression of 
indignation passed over her countenance, * do you think I can- 
Yioi/ccl without having been taught?' 




A DISCOVERY 

Clarence uttered a deep sigh. 

' But if you feel too much, my dearest Virginia, — if you give \ 
way to your feelings in this manner,' said Mrs. Ormond, 'you 1 
will make both yourself and Mr. Hervey unhappy.' 

' Heaven forbid ! The first wish of my soul is ' bhc 

paused. * ! should be the most ungrateful wretch in the world, 
if 1 were to make him unhappy,' 

' But if he sees yoil miserable, Virginia ? ' . 

' Then he shall not see it,' said she, wiping the tears from I 
her face. ' 

' To imagine that you were unhappy, and that you concealed 
it from us, would be still worse,' said Clarence. 

' Cut why should you imagine it?' replied Virginia; 'you 
are too good, too kind ; but do not fancy that 1 am not bappy : 
1 am sure I ought to be happy.' 

' Do you regret your cottage ? ' said Clarence ; ' these draw- 
ings show how well you remember it,' 

Virginia coloured ; and with some hesitation, answered, ' Is 
t my fault if I cannot forget ? ' 

"'ou were happier then, Virginia, than you are now, you 
will confess,' said Mrs. Ormond, who was not a woman of 
refi ned delicacy, and who thought that the best chance she had 
orking upon Mr. Hervey's sense of honour was by making 
it plain to him how much her pupil's affections were engaged. 

Virginia made no answer to this question, and her silence 
touched Clarence more than anything she could have said. 
When Mrs. Ormond repeated her question, he relieved the 
trembling girl by saying, ' My dear Mrs. Ormond, confidence 
must be won, not demanded.' 

' I have no right to insist upon confessions, I know,' said 
'Mrs. Ormond; 'but ' 

' Confessions I I do not wish to conceal anything, but I 
Qiink sincerity is not always in our sex consistent with — I 
^^ ^I don't know what I mean, what I say, or what I 
Bughl to say,' cried Virginia ; and she sunk down on a sofa, in 
xtreme confusion. 

'Why win you agitate lier, Mrs, Ormond, in this manner?' 
aid Mr. Hervey, with an expression of sudden anger. It was 
Wccceded by a look of such tender compassion for Virginia, 
Oiat Mrs. Otmond rejoiced to have escJted his anger ; at any 

e she wished to serve her beloved pupil. 
409 



i 



BELINDA 

next Sunday ; I heard him express a wish to see some of the 
girls who happened last Sunday to be absent' 

* Do you know this gentleman's name, or where he lives ?' 
said Clarence. 

* I know nothing of him,' replied Mr. Moreton, * except that 
he seems fond of painting ; for he told one of the directors, 
who was looking at his miniature, that it was remarkably well 
painted, and that, in his happier days, he had been something 
of a judge of the art.' 

Impatient to see the stranger, who, he did not doubt, was 
Virginia's father, Clarence Hervey went the next Sunday to the 
Asylum ; but no such gentleman appeared, and all that he 
could learn respecting him was, that he had applied to one of the 
directors of the institution for leave to see and question the 
girls, in hopes of finding amongst them his lost daughter ; that 
in the course of the week, he had seen all those who were not 
at the Church the last Sunday. None of the directors knew 
anything more concerning him ; but the porter remarked that 
he came in a very handsome coach, and one of the girls of the 
Asylum said that he gave her half a guinea, because she was 
a little like his poor Rachely who was dead; but that he had 
added, with a sigh, * This cannot be my daughter, for she is 
only thirteen, and my girl, if she be now living, must be nearly 
eighteen.' 

The age, the name, every circumstance confirmed Mr. 
Hervey in the belief that this stranger was the father of Virginia, 
and he was disappointed and provoked by having missed the 
opportunity of seeing or speaking to him. It occurred to 
Clarence that the gentleman might probably visit the Foundling 
Hospital, and thither he immediately went, to make inquiries. 
He was told that a person, such as he described, had been 
there about a month before, and had compared the face of the 
oldest girls with a little picture of a child : that he gave money 
to several of the girls, but that they did not know his name, or 
anything more about him. 

Mr. Hervey now inserted proper advertisements in all the 

papers, but without producing any effect. At last, recollecting 

what Mr. Moreton told him of the stranger^s love of pictures, 

he determined to put his portrait of Virginia into the exhibition. 

In hopes that the gentleman might go there and ask some 

questions about it, wYvicVv m\^\vX \^^.^ \ft ^ dx^covery. The 



w 

A DISCOVERY 

young anisl, who had painted this picture, was under particuUr 
obligations to Clarence, and he promised that he would faith- 
fully comply with his request, to be at Somerset House 
regularly every morning, as soon as the exhibition opened ; 
that he would stay there till it closed, and watch whether any 
of the sfiectators were particularly struck with the portrait of 
Virginia. If any person should ask questions respecting the 
picture, he was to let Mr. Hervey know immediately, and to 
give the inquirer his address. 

Now it happened that the very day when Lady Delacour 
and Belinda were at the exhibition, the painter called Clarence 
aside, and informed him that a gentleman had just inquired 
from him very eagerly, whether the picture of Virginia was a 
portrait. This gentleman proved to be not the stranger who 
had been at the Asylum, but an eminent jeweller, who told 
Mr. Hervey that his curiosity about the picture arose merely 
from its striking likeness to a miniature, which had been lately 
left at his house to be new set. it belonged to a Mr. Hartley, 
a gentleman who had made a considerable fortune in the 
West Indies, but who was prevented from enjoying his affluence 
' y ihe loss of an only daughter, of whom the miniature was a 
portrait, taken when she was not more than four or five years 
When Clarence heard all this, he was extremely impatient 
Jo know where Mr. Hartley was to be found ; but the jeweller 
could only tell him that the miniature had been called for the 
preceding day by Mr. Hartley's servant, who said his master 
s leaving town in a great hurry to go to I'ortsmouth, to join 
the West India fleet, which was to sail with the first favourable 
wind- 
Clarence determined immediately to follow him to Ports- 
mouth : he had not a moment to spare, for the wind was 
ictually favourable, aod his only chance of seeing Mr. Hartley 
vas by reaching Portsmouth as soon as possible. This was 
ause of his taking leave of Belinda in such an abrupt 
ler i painful indeed were his feelings at that moment, and 
great the difficulty he felt in parting with her, without giving 
any explanation of his conduct, which must have appeared to 
lier capricious and mysterious. He was aware that he had 
sxplicitly avowed to Lady Delacour his admiration of Miss 
Portman, and that in a thousand instances he had betrayed 
" ; passion. Yet of her love he dared not trust himself W 
403 



BEUNDA 

Clarence instantly knew it to be Vii^nia ; but as he ns 
upon the point of making some joyful exclamation, he fek Dl 

X touch his shoulder, and lo(4dng up at Mr. Haitleyi be 

saw in his countenance such strong wortdngs of passion, ftat 
he prudently suppressed his own emotion, and calmly said, 
* It would be cruel, sir, to give yon &lse hopes.' 

''It would kill me — it would kill me^ sir! — or wone!— 
worse ! a thousand times worse 1 ' cried Mr. Hardey, potdng 
his hand to his forehead. < What,' continued he imp^ywrfly , 
< what was the meaning of the look you gave, when you fint 
saw that picture? Speak, if you have any humaahyl JXA 
you ever see any one that resembles that jHCture ? ' 

U have seen, I think, a picture^' said Clarence Hfiifcy^ 
' that has some resemblance to it' 

« When ? where ? * 

< My good sir/ said Dr. X ^ * let me recommend it lo 

you to consider that there is scarcely any possibility ofjviAgmg, 
from the features of children, of what thdr feces may be vin 
they grow up. Nothing can be more fellacious than-.4|||iB 
accidental resemblances between the pictures of childrat^i^ 
of grown-up people.' 

Mr. Hartley's countenance fell 

* But,' added Clarence Hervey, * you will perliaps, sir, dunk 
it worth your while to see the picture of which I speak ; you 

can see it at Mr. F ^'s, the painter, in Newman Street; 

and I will accompany you thither whenever you please.' 

*This moment, if you would have the goodness; my 
carriage is at the door ; and Mrs. Delacour will be so kind to 
excuse ' 

< Oh, make no apologies to me at such a time as this,' said 
Mrs. Delacour. * Away with you, gentlemen, as soon as you 
please ; upon condition, that if you have any good news to 
tell, some of you will remember, in the midst of your joy, that 
such an old woman as Mrs. Margaret Delacour exists, who 
loves to hear gvod news of those who deserve it.' 

It was so late in the day when they got to Newman Street, 
that they were obliged to light candles. Trembling with 
eagerness, Mr. Hartley drew near, while Clarence held the 
light to the picture. 

* It is so like,' said he, looking at his miniature, * that I 
dare not believe my senses. Dr. X , pray do you look. 





■ 


ii« ^ 




IHtt 


m 






1 




• 




i 


1 


■ 




HI 






Hi 


Kk. 1 


1 V^* 


w^ 


11 


UhlfMtlff ^11 lagtntS!, Mr. Ilartliy dmu Kiar 


^ 


.d 



BEUNDA 

My head is so dizzy, and my eyes so W hat do you think, 
sir ? What do you say, doctor ? ' 

* That the likeness is certainly striking — ^but this seems to 
be a fancy piece.' 

*A fancy piece,' repeated Mr. Hartley, with terror: *why 
then did you bring me here ? — A fancy piece ! ' 

' No, sir ; it is a portrait,' said Clarence ; ' and if you will 
be calm, I will tell you more.* 

* I will be calm — only is she alive ? ' 

< The lady, of whom this is the portrait, is alive,' replied 
Clarence Hervey, who was obliged to exert his utmost com- 
mand over himself, to maintain that composure which he saw 
was necessary; *the lady, of whom this is the portrait, is 
alive, and you shall see her to-morrow.* 

* Oh, why not now ? Cannot I see her now ? I must see 
her to-night — this instant, sir ! ' 

* It is impossible,' said Mr. Hervey, * that you should see 
her this instant, for she is some miles off, at Twickenham.* 

* It is too late to go thither now ; you cannot think of it, 

Mr. Hartley,' continued Dr. X , in a tone of conunand, to 

which he yielded more readily than to reason. 

Clarence had the presence of mind to recollect that it 
would be necessary to prepare poor Virginia for this meeting, 
and he sent a messenger immediately to request that Mrs. 
Ormond would communicate the intelligence with all the 
caution in her power. 

The next morning, Mr. Hartley and Mr. Hervey set off 
together for Twickenham. In their way thither Clarence 
gradually confirmed Mr. Hartley in the belief that Virginia 
was his daughter, by relating all the circumstances that he 
had learned from her grandmother, and from Mrs. Smith, 
the farmer's wife, with whom she had formerly been acquainted: 
the name, the age, every particular, as it was disclosed, 
heightened his security and his joy. 

For some time Mr. Hartle/s mind was so intent that he 
could not listen to anything, but at last Clarence engaged his 
attention and suspended his anxiety, by giving him a history 
of his own connection with Virginia, from the day of his first 
discovering her in the New Forest, to the letter which he had 
just written, to offer her his hand. The partiality which it was 
suspected Virginia felt for him was the only circumstance 

^16 



A DISCOVERY 

which he suppressed, because, notwithstanding all Mrs. Ormond 
had said, and all he had himself heard and seen, his obstinate 
incredulity required confirmation under her own hand, or 
positively from her own lips. He still fancied it was possible 
that change of situation might alter her views and sentiments ; 
and he earnestly entreated that she might be left entirely lo 
her own decision. It was necessary to make this stipulation 
with her father i for in the excess of his gratitude for the 
kindness which Clarence had shown to her, he protested that 
he should look upon her as a monster if she did not love him : 
he added, that if Mr, Hervey had not a farthing, he should 
prefer him to every man upon earth ; he, however, promised 
that he would conceal his wishes, and that his daughter should 
acl entirely from the dictates of her own mind. In the fulness 
of his heart, he told Clarence all those circumstances of his 
conduct towards Virginia's mother which had filled his soul 
with remorse. She was scarcely sixteen when he ran away 
with her from a boarding-school ; he was at that time a gay 
officer, she a sentimental girl, who had been spoiled by early 
novel-reading. Her father had a small place at court, lived 
beyond his fortune, educated his daughter, to whom he could 
give no portion, as if she were to be heiress to a large estate ; 
ihen died, and left his widow absolutely in penury. This widow 
was the old lady who lived in the cottage in the New Forest. 
I[ was just at the time of her husband's death, and of her own 
distress, that she heard of the elopement of her daughter from 
school. Mr. Hartley's parents were so much incensed by the 
match, that he was prevailed upon to separate from his wife, 
and to go abroad, to push his fortune in the army. His 
marriage had been secret ; his own friends disavowed it, not- 
withstanding the repeated, urgent entreaties of his wife and of 
her mother, who was her only surviving relation. His wife, 
I her death-bed, wrote to urge him to take charge of his 
daughter ; and, to make the appeal stranger to his feelings, 
ienl him a picture of his little girl, who was then about 

I four years old. Mr. Hartley, however, was intent upon form- 
i new connection with the rich widow of a planter in 
Jamaica. He married the widow, took possession of her 
fortune, and all his affections soon were fixed upon a son, for 
whom he formed, even from the moment of his birth, ■ 

1 schemes of aggrandisement. The boy lived till he was about 

2E 417 




tea jran old, «MH^^^^^H^^^^Hft al that tmie 
tagcd in Jannira, imd, lAer a fav 'm^ Sness, died. His 
motber sas curied offbr the nnc disease ; and >lr. Haitkf, 
left akme in the midst of Us vcahfa, fell bow insufficient it 
was to bapptocssL Renorae now seiied hint ; be recnnied to 
Ellwand ia searcfa at his deserted da^^ht^. To this negleaed 
clttld be BOW (ooked forvaid for the peace and happiness cf 
ibe letnainder of his life. DisappointiDent in all his inquiries 
for soote iDOfUfas pre^-ed opoin his spirits to such a degree, thai 
bis intellects were at times disordered ; this deraageic^it was 
tbe cause of bis not sooner recovering his child. He was in 
COnfinenMOt during the time that Clarence Hervej''s advwtise- 
inents were insertnl in the papers ; and his illness was also the 
cause of his not going to Portsmouth, and s^bng in the Effing- 
ham, as he had originally intended. The history of his conneclion 
with Mr. Horton would be uninteresting to the reader ; it is 
enough to say, that he was prevailed upon, by that gentleman, 
to spend some time in the country with him, for the recovay 
of his health ; and it was there that he became acquainted 

with Dr. X , who introduced him, as we have seen, to Mrs. 

Margaret Delacour, at whose house he met Clarence Hen'ty. 
This is Ibe most succinct account that we can give of him and 
his affairs. His own account was ten times as long ; but we 
spare our readers his incoherences and reflections, because, 
perhaps, they are in a hurry to get to Twickenham, and to 
hear of his meeting with Virginia. 

Mrs. Ormond found it no easy task to prepare Vii^^inia for 
the sight of Mr. Hartley. Virginia had scarcely ever spoken 
of her father ; but the remembrance of things which she had 
heard of him from her grandmother was fresh in her mind ; 
she had often pictured him in her fancy, and she had secretly 
nourished the hope that she should not for ever be a deserted 
child. Mrs. Ormond had observed, that in those romances, 
of which she was so fond, everything that related to children 
who were deserted by their parents affected her strongly. 

The belief in what the French call la force du sang was 
suited to her affectionate temper and ardent imagination, and 
it had taken full possession of her mind. The eloquence of 
romance persuaded her that she should not only discover but love 
her father with intuitive filial piety, and she longed to experience 
those yearnings of affection of which she had read so much. 



I DISCOVERY 



rThe first moment that Mrs. Ormond began to speak i« 
Mr. Clarence Hervey's hopes of discovering her father, she 
was transported with joy. 
^Wy father! — How delightful that word ^//icr sounds 1 — 
My father ? — May I say my father ? — And will he own me, 
and will he love me, and will he give me his blessing, and 
will he fold me in his arms, and call me his daughter, his dear 
daughter ? — Oh, how I shall love him ! I will majte it the 
whole business of my life to please him I ' 

' The -wlwh business ? ' said Mrs. Ormond, smiling, 
' Not the whole,' said Virginia ; ' I hope my father will like 
Mr. Hervey. Did not you say that he is rich f I wish that 
my father may be vity rich.' 

' That is the last wish that I should have expected to hear 
from you, my Virginia.' 

' But do you nut know why I wish it i" — that I may show 
my gratitude to Mr, Hervey." 

' My dear child,' said Mrs. Ormond, ' these are most 
generous sentiments, and worthy of you ; but do not let your 
imagination run away with you at this rate — Mr. Hervey is 
rich enough." 

' I wish he were poor,' said Virginia, ' that I might make 
him rich." 

would not love you the better, my dear,' said Mrs. 
Ormond, ' if you had the wealth of the Indies. Perhaps your 
&ther may not be rich ; therefore do not set your heart upon 
ithis idea." 

Virginia sighed : fear succeeded to hope, and her imagina- 
,tion immediately reversed the bright picture that it had drawn. 
' But I am afraid,' said she, ' that (his gentleman is not my 
her — how disappointed 1 shall be ! 1 wish you had never 
told me all this, my dear Mrs, Ormond." 

' I would not have told it to you, if Mr. Hervey had not 
desired that 1 should ; and you may be sure he would not 
e desired it, unless he had good reason to believe that you 
would not be disappointed.' 

'But he is not sure— he does not say he is quite sure. 
Ind, even if I were quite certain of his being my father, how 
can I be certain tliat he will not disown me^he, who has 
deserted me so long ? My grandmother, I remember, often 
D say that he had no natural affection." 
4ig 



BELINDA 

* Your grandmother was mistaken, then ; for he has heen ' 
searching for his child all over England, Mr. Harvey says ; and 
he has almost lost his senses with grief and with remorse ! ' 

* Remorse ! ' 

* Yes, remorse, for having so long deserted you : he fears 
that you will hate him.' 

* Hate him ! — is it possible to hate a father ? ' said Virginia. 

* He dreads that you should never forgive him.' 

* Forgive him ! — I have read of parents forgiving their 
children, but I never remember to have read of a daughter 
forgiving her father. Forgive / you should not have used that 
word. I caxmot forgive my father : but I can love him, and I 
will make him quite forget all his sorrows — I mean, all his 
sorrows about me.' 

After this conversation Virginia spent her time in imagin- 
ing what sort of person her father would be ; whether he was 
like Mr. Hervey ; what words he would say ; where he would 
sit ; whether he would sit beside her ; and, above all, whether 
he would give her his blessing. 

* I am afraid,' said she, * of liking my father better than 
anybody else J 

* No danger of that, my dear,' said Mrs. Ormond, smiling. 

* I am glad of it, for it would be very wrong and ungrateful 
to like anything in this world so well as Mr. Hervey.' 

The carriage now came to the door : Mrs. Ormond instantly 
ran to the window, but Virginia had not power to move — her 
heart beat violently. 

* Is he come ? ' said she. 

* Yes, he is getting out of the carriage this moment ! ' 
Virginia stood with her eyes eagerly fixed upon the door : 

* Hark ! ' said she, laying her hand upon Mrs. Ormond's arm, 
to prevent her from moving : * Hush ! that we may hear his 
voice.' 

She was breathless — no voice was to be heard : * They 
are not coming,' said she, turning as pale as death. An 
instant afterwards her colour returned — she heard the steps of 
two people coming up the stairs. 

* His step ! — Do you hear it ? — Is it my father ?' 
Virginia's imagination was worked to the highest pitch; 

she could scarcely sustain herself: Mrs. Ormond supported 
her. At this instant her father appeared. 

420 



A DISCOVERY 

' My child I — the image of her mother 1 ' 
Itoppiog short : he sunk upon a. chair. 

' My father ! ' cried Virginia, springing forward, and throw- 
Bg herself at his feet. 

'The voice of her mother!' said Mr. Hartley, 'My 
ilaughtet ! — My long lost child 1 ' 

He tried to raise her, but could not ; her arms were clasped 

round his knee, her fn.ce rested upon it, and when he stooped 

3 kiss her cheek, he found it cold — she had fainted. 

When she came to her senses, and found herself in her 

. lather's arms, she could scarcely believe that it was not a 

' Your blessing ! — give me yout blessing, and then I shall 
ow that you are indeed my father ! ' cried Vit^nia, kneeling 
to him, and looking up with an enthusiastic expression of filial 
piety in her countenance. 

' God bless you, my sweet child 1 ' said he, laying his hand 
upon her ; ' and Cod foi'give your fether I ' 

' My grandmother died without giving me her blessing,' said 
Virginia ; 'but now I have been blessed by my father I Happy, 
happy moment 1 — Oh that she could look down from heaven, 
and see us at this instant I ' 

Virginia was so much astonished and overpowered by this 

sudden discovery of a parent, and by the novelty of his first 

caresses, that after the first violent effervescence of her sen- 

I^Sibility was over, she might, to an indifferent spectator, have 

q)peared stupid and insensible. Mrs. Ormond, though far 

1 indifferent spectator, was hy no means & penetrating 

HUdge of the human heart : she seldom saw more than the 

jitenial symptoms of feeling, and she was apt to be rather 

mpatient with her friends if theirs did not accord with her own. 

' Virginia, my dear,' said she, in rather a reproachful tone, 

P Mr. Hervey, you see, has left the room, on purpose to leave 

■t full liberty to talk to your father | and I am going — but 

' I have so much to say, and my heart is so full I ' said 
l/irginia. 

' Yes, 1 know you told me of a thousand things that you 
say to your father, btfore you saw him.' 
tut now I see him, I have forgotten iliem all. I can 
hink of nothing but of him. 

431 



iJ 



BELINDA 

* Of him and Mr. Hervey,' said Mrs. Onnond. 

' I was not thinking of Mr. Hervey at that moment,' ssud 
Virginia, hlushing. 

* Well, my love, I will leave you to think and talk of what 
you please,' said Mrs. Ormond, smiling significantly as she left 
the room. 

Mr. Hartley folded his daughter in his arms with the 
fondest expressions of parental affection, and he was upon the 
point of telling her how much he approved of the choice of 
her heart ; but he recollected his promise, and he determined 
to sound her inclinations further, before he even mentioned the 
name of Clarence Hervey. 

He began by painting the pleasures of the world, that world 
from which she had hitherto been seduded. 

She heard him with simple indifference : not even her 
curiosity was excited. 

He observed, that though she had no curiosity to see, it 
was natural that she must have some pleasure in the thoughts 
of being seen. 

* What pleasure ? ' said Virginia. 

' The pleasure of being admired and loved : beauty and 
grace such as yours, my child, cannot be seen without com- 
manding admiration and love.* 

* I do not want to be admired,' replied Virginia, * and I 
want to be loved by those only whom I love.' 

* My dearest daughter, you shall be entirely your own 
mistress ; I will never interfere, either directly or indirectly, 
in the disposal of your heart.' 

At these last words, Virginia, who had listened to all 
the rest unmoved, took her father's hand, and kissed it re- 
peatedly. 

* Now that I have found you, my darling child, let me at 
least make you happy, if I can — it is the only atonement in 
my power ; it will be the only solace of my declining years. 
All that wealth can bestow ' 

* Wealth ! ' interrupted Virginia : * then you have wealth ? ' 

* Yes, my child — may it make you happy ! that is all the 
enjoyment I expect from it : it shall all be yours.' 

* And may I do what I please with it ? — Oh, then it will 
indeed make me happy. I will give it all, all to Mr. Hervey. 
How delightful to have something to give to Mr. Hervey ! ' 

422 



A DISCOVERY 
And had you never anything to give to Mr. Hervey till 

'Never! never! he has given me everything. Now— O 
joyfu! day ! — I can prove to him that Virginia is not ungrateful ! ' 

' Dear, generous girl,' said her father, wiping the tears from 
Is eyes, ' what a daughter have I found t But tell me, my 
ichild,' continued he, smiling, ' do you think Mr. Hervey will 
]be content if you give him only your fortune ? Do you think 
that he would accept the fortune without the heart i Nay, do 
not turn away that dear blushing face from me ; remember it 
"s your faiker who speaks to you. Mr. Hervey will not take 
your fortune without yourself, I am afraid ; what shall we do ? 
" ' ist I refuse him your hand f ' 

' Refuse him ! do you think that I could refuse him any- 
thing, who has given me everything ? — I should be a monster 
indeed ! There is no sacrifice I would not make, no exertion 
of which I am not capable, for Mr. Hervey's sake. But, my 
dear father,' said she, changing her tone, 'he never asked for 
my hand till yesterday.' 

But he had won your heart long ago, I see, thought her 
father. 

' I have written an answer to his letter ; will you look at il, 
and tell me if you approve of it f ' 

' I do approve of it, my darling child : I will not read it^I 
ow what it must be : he has a right to the preference he 
s so nobly earned.' 

'Oh, he has^he has, indeedl' cried Virginia, with an 
expression of strong feeling ; ' and now is the time to show 
him that 1 am not ungrateful.' 

' How I love you for this, my child 1 ' cried her father, 
fondly embracing her. ' This is exactly what 1 wished, though 
J did not dare to say so till I was sure of your sentiments, 
Mr. Hervey charged me to leave you entirely to yourself; he 
thought that your new situation might perhaps produce some 
change in your sentiments : I see he was mistaken ; and I am 
heartily glad of it. But you are going to say something, my 
dear ; do not let me interrupt you.' 

was only going to beg that you would give this letter, my 
:dear father, to Mr. Hervey. It is an answer to one which he 
wrote to me when 1 was poor '-^ami deser/ed, she was near 
saying, but she stopped herself, 



BELINDA 

< I wish/ continued she, * Mr. Hervey should know that my 
sentiments are precisely the same now that they have always 
been. Tell him,' added she, proudly, 'that he did me in- 
justice by imagining that my sentiments could alter with my 
situation. He litde knows Virginia.' Clarence at this moment 
entered the room, and Mr. Hartley eagerly led his daughter to 
meet him. 

< Take her hand,' cried he ; * you have her heart — ^yoa 
deser\'e it ; and she has just been very angry with me for 
doubting. But read her letter, — that will speak better for her, 
and more to your satisfaction, no doubt, than I can.' 

Virginia hastily put the letter into Mr. Hervey's hand, and, 
breaking from her father, retired to her own apartment 

With all the trepidation of a person who feels that the 
happiness of his life is to be decided in a few moments, 
Clarence tore open Virginia's letter, and, conscious that he 
was not able to command his emotion, he withdrew from her 
father's inquiring eyes. Mr. Hartley, however, saw nothing in 
this agitation but what he thought natural to a lover, and he 
was delighted to perceive that his daughter had inspired so 
strong a passion. 

Virginia's letter contained but these few lines : 

* Most happy shall I be if the whole of my future life can 
prove to you how deeply I feel your goodness. 

* Virginia St. Pierre.' 

[End of C. Hervey s packet!\ 

An acceptance so direct left Clarence no alternative : his 
fate was decided. He determined immediately to force himself 
to see Belinda and Mr. Vincent ; for he fancied that his mind 
would be more at ease when he had convinced himself by 
ocular demonstration that she was absolutely engaged to 
another ; that, consequently, even if he were free, he could 
have no chance of gaining her affections. There are moments 
when we desire the conviction which at another time would 
overwhelm us with despair: it was in this temper that Mr. 
Hervey paid his visit to Lady Delacour ; but we have seen 
that he was unable to support for many minutes that philo- 
sophic composure to which, at his first entrance into the room, 
he had worked up his mind. The tranquillity which he had 

42 iv 



expected would be the consequence of this visit, he was farther 
than ever from obtaining. The extravagant joy with which 
Lady Delacour received him, and an indescribable something 
in her ii\anner when she looked from him to Behnda, and from 
Belinda to Mr. Vincent, persuaded him her ladyship wished 
that he were in Mr, Vincent's place. Tlie idea was so de- 
lightful, that his soul was entranced, and for a few minutes 
Vii^inia, and everything that related to her, vanished from his 
remembrance. It was whilst he was in this state that Lady 
Delacour (as the reader may recollect) invited him into her 
lord's dressing-room, to tell her the contents of the packet, 
which had not then reached her hands. The request suddenly 
recalled him to his senses, but he fell that he was not at this 
moment able to trust himself to her ladyship's penetration ; he 
therefore referred her to his letter for that explanation which 
he dreaded to make in person, and he escaped from Belinda's 
presence, resolving never more to expose himself to such 
danger. 

What effect his packet produced on Lady Delacour's mind 
and on Belinda's, we shall not at present stop to inquire ; hut 
having brought up Clarence Hervey's affairs to the present 
day, we shall continue his history. 



CHAPTER XXVin 



Though Clarence Hervey was not much disposed to see either 
Virginia or her father whilst he was in the state of perturbation 
o which he had been thrown by his interview with Belinda, 
yet he did not delay to send his servant home with a note to 
1. Ormond, to say that he would meet Mr, Hartley, when- 
ever he pleased, at his lawyer's, to make whatever arrangements 
might be necessary for proper settlements. 

\s he saw no possibility of receding with honour, he, with 

becoming resolution, desired to urge things forward as fast as 

r possible, and to strengthen in his mind the sense of the 

V necessity of the sacrifice that he was bound to make. His 

L _L i- 



J 



BEUNDA 

passions were naturally impetuous, but he had by persevering 
ciTorts brought them under the subjection of his reason. His 
power over himself was now to be put to a severe trial 

As he was going to town, he met Lord Delacour, who was 
riding in the park: he was extremely intent upon his own 
thoughts, and was anxious to pass unnoticed. In former 
times this would have been the most feasible thing* imaginable, 
for Lord Delacour used to detest the sight of Clarence Hervey, 
whom he considered as the successor of Colonel Lawless in 
his lady's fevour ; but his opinion and his feelings had been 
entirely changed by the perusal of those letters, which were 
perfumed with ottar of roses : even this perfume had, from 
that association, become agreeable to him. He now accosted 
Clarence with a warmth and cordiality in his manner that at any 
other moment must have pleased as much as it surprised him ; 
but Clarence was not in a humour to enter into conversation. 

< You seem to be in haste, Mr. Hervey,' said his lordship, 
observing his impatience ; * but, as I know your good nature, 
I shall make no scruple to detain you a quarter of an hour.' 

As he spoke he turned his horse, and rode with Clarence^ 
who looked as if he wished that his lordship had been more 
scrupulous, and that he had not such a reputation for good 
nature. 

* You will not refuse me this quarter of an hour, I am sure,' 
continued Lord Delacour, * when you hear that, by favouring 
me with your attention, you may perhaps materially serve an 
old, or rather a young, friend of yours, and one whom I once 
fancied was a particular favourite — I mean, Miss Belinda 
Portman.' 

At the name of Belinda Portman, Clarence Hervey became 
all attention : he assured his lordship that he was in no haste ; 
and all his difficulty now was to moderate the eagerness of his 
curiosity. 

* We can take a turn or two in the park, as well as any- 
where,' said his lordship : * nobody will overhear us, and the 
sooner you know what I have to say the better.' 

* Certainly,' said Clarence. 

The most malevolent person upon earth could not have 
tired poor Clarence's patience more than good-natured Lord 
Delacour contrived to do, with the best intentions possible, by 
his habitual circumlocution. 

426 



E O 

He descanted at length upon the difficulties, as the world 
goes, of meeting with a confidential friend, whom it is prudent 
1 trust in any affair that demands delicacy, honour, and 
address. Men of talents were often, he observed, devoid of 
integrity, and men of integrity devoid of talents. When he 
had obtained Hervey's assent to this proposition, he next paid 
him sundry handsome, but long'winded compliments : then he 
complimented himself for having Just thought of Mr. Hervey 
as the fittest person he could apply to : then he congratulated 
himself upon his good luck in meeting with the very man he 

I just thinking of. At last, after Clarence had returned 
thanks for all his kindness, and had given assent to all his 
lordship's truisms, the substance of the business came out. 

Lord Delacour informed Mr. Hervey, ' that he had been 
lately commissioned, by Lady Delacour, to discover what 
attractions drew a Mr. Vincent so constantly to Mrs, 
Luttridge' s ' 

Here he was going to explain who Mr. Vincent was ; but 
Clarence assured him that he knew perfectly well that he had 
been a ward of Mr. Percival's, that he was a West Indian of 
large fortune, etc. 

'And a lover of Miss Portman's— that is the most material 
part of the story to me^ continued Lord Delacour; 'for other- 
wise, you know, Mr. Vincent would be no more to me than 
any other gentleman. But in that point of view-^I mean as 
1. lover of Belinda Porfman, and I may say, not quite unlikely 
:o be her husband — he is highly interesting to my Lady 
Delacour, and to me, and to you, as Miss Portman's well- 
wisher, doubdess.' 

' Doubtless ! ' was all Mr. Hervey could reply. 

' Now, you must know,' continued his lordship, ' that Lady 
Delacour has, for a woman, an uncommon share of penetration, 
and can put things together in a wonderful way : in short, it 
come to her (my Lady Delacour's) knowledge, that before 

s Portman was at Oakly Park last summer, and after she 

it this autumn, Mr, Vincent was a constant visitor at Mrs. 
Luttridge's, whilst at Harrowgale, and used to play high 
(though unknown to the Percivals, of course) at billiards 
with Mr. Lutlridge^a man, I confess, 1 disliked always, 
even when 1 carried the election for them. But no matter ; 

s not from enmity 1 speak now. But it is very well known 



BELINDA 

that Luttridge has but a small fbrttine, and yet lives as if he 
had a large one ; and all the young men who like high play 
are sure to be well received at his house. Now, 1 hope 
Mr. Vincent is not well received on that footing. 

< Since my Lady Delacour and I have been such good 
friends,' continued his lordship, * I have dropped all connection 
with the Luttridges ; so cannot go there myself : moreover, I 
do not wish to be tempted to lose any more thousands to the 
lady. But you never play, and you are not likely to be 
tempted to it now ; so you will oblige me and Lady Delacour 
if you will go to Luttridge's to-night : she is always charmed 
to see you, and you will easily discover how the land lies. 
Mr. Vincent is certainly a very agreeable, open-hearted young 
man ; but, if he game, God forbid that Miss Portman should 
ever be his wife ! ' 

* God forbid ! * said Clarence Hervey. 

* The man,' resumed Lord Delacour, * must, in my opinion, 
be very superior indeed who is deserving of Belinda Portman. 

Mr. Hervey, you do not — ^you cannot know her merit, as 

1 do. It is one thing, sir, to see a fine girl in a ball-room, 
and another — quite another — to live in the house with her for 
months, and to see her, as I have seen Belinda Portman, in 
everyday life, as one may call it. Then it is one can judge 
of the real temper, manners, and character ; and never woman 
had so sweet a temper, such charming manners, such a fair, 
open, generous, decided yet gentle character, as this Miss 
Portman.' 

* Your lordship speaks con amore^ said Clarence. 

* I speak, Mr. Hervey, from the bottom of my soul,' cried 
Lord Delacour, pulling in his horse, and stopping short. * I 
should be an unfeeling, ungrateful brute, if I were not sensible 

. of the obligations — yes, the obligations — which my Lady 
. Delacour and I have received from Belinda Portman. Why, 

: sir, she has been the peacemaker between us but we will 

\ not talk of that now. Let us think of her affairs. If Mr. 
Vincent once gets into Mrs. Luttridge's cursed set, there's no 
knowing where it will end. I speak from my own experience, 
for I really never was fond of high play ; and yet, when I got 
into that set, I could not withstand it. I lost by hundreds and 
thousands ; and so will he, before he is aware of it, no doubt. 
Mrs. Luttridge will look upon him as her dupe, and make him 

42^ 



E O 

such. I always — hut this is between ourselves — suspected 
that I did not lose my litst thousand to her fairly. Now, 
Hervey, you know the whole, do try and save Mr. Vincent, 
for Belinda Portman's sake.' 

Clarence Hervey shook hands with Lord Delacour, with a 
sentiment of real gratitude and affection ; and assured him that 
bis confidence was not misplaced. His lordship little suspected 
that he had heen soliciting him to save his rival. Clarence's 
love was not of that selfish sort which the moment that it 
is deprived of hope sinks into indifference, or is converted into 
hatred. Belinda could not be his ; but, in the midst of the 
bitterest regret, he was supported by the consciousness of his 
own honour and generosity ; he felt a noble species of delight 
in the prospect of promoting the happiness of the woman upon 
whom his -fondest affections had been fixed ; and he rejoiced to 
feel that he had sufficient magnanimity to save a rival from 
ruin. He was even determined to make that rival his friend, 
notwithstanding the prepossession which, he clearly perceived, 
Mr. Vincent felt against him. 

' His jealousy will be extinguished the moment he knows 
my real situation,' said Clarence to himself. ' He will be 
convinced that I have a soul incapable of envy ; and, if he 
suspect my love for Belinda, he will respect the strength of 
mind with which I can command my passions. I take it for 
granted that Mr. Vincent must possess a heart and under- 
standing such as I should desire in a friend, or he could never 
be — what he is to Belinda.' 

Full of these generous sentiments, Clarence waited with 
impatience for the hour when he might present himself at 
Mrs. Luttridge's. He went there so early in the evening, that 
he found the drawing-room quite empty ; the company, who 
had been invited to dine, had not yet left the dining-room, and 
the servants had but just set the card-tables and lighted the 
candles. Mr. Hervey desired that nobody should he disturbed 
by his coming so early ; and, fortunately, Mrs. Luttridge was 
detained some minutes by Lady Newland's lingering glass of 
Madeira. In the meantime, Clarence executed his design. 
From his former observations, and from the hints that Lord 
Delacour had let fall, he suspected that there was sometimes 
in this house not only high play, but foul play : he recollected 
that once, when he played there at billiards, he had perceived 



BELINDA 

that the table was not perfectly horizontal ; and it occurred to 
him, that perhaps the £ O table might be so contrived as to 
put the fortunes of all who played at it in the power of tbe 
proprietor. Clarence had sufficient ingenuity to invent the 
method by which this might be done ; and he had the in- 
fallible means in his possession of detecting the fraud. The 
£ O table was in an apartment adjoining to the drawing-room : 
he found his way to it ; and he discovered, beyond a possibility 
of doubt, that it was constructed for the purposes of fraud. 
His first impulse was to tell this immediately to Mr. Vincent, 
to put him on his guard ; but, upon reflection, he determined 
to keep his discovery to himself, till he was satisfied whether 
that gentleman had or had not any passion for play. 

* If he have,* thought Clarence, * it is of the utmost conse- 
quence to Miss Portman that he should early in life receive a 
shock that may leave an indelible impression upon his mind 
To save him a few hours of remorse, I will not give up the 
power of doing him the most essential service. I will let him 
go on — if he be so inclined — to the very verge of ruin and 
despair : I will let him feel all the horrors of a gamester's fete, 
before I tell him that I have the means to save him. Mrs. 
Luttridge must, when I call upon her, refund whatever he may 
lose : she will not brave public shame — she cannot stand a 
public prosecution.' 

Scarcely had Clarence arranged his scheme, when he heard 
the voices of the ladies, who were coming upstairs. 

Mrs. Luttridge made her appearance, accompanied by a 
very pretty, modish, affected young lady. Miss Annabella 
Luttridge, her niece. Her little coquettish airs were lost upon 
Clarence Hervey, whose eye was intently fixed upon the door, 
watching for the entrance of Mr. Vincent. He was one of the 
dinner party, and he came up soon after the ladies. He 
seemed prepared for the sight of Mr. Hervey, to whom he 
bowed with a cold, haughty air ; and then addressed himself 
to Miss Annabella Luttridge, who showed the most obvious 
desire to attract his attention. 

From all that passed this evening, Mr. Hervey was led to 
suspect, notwithstanding the reasons which made it apparently 
improbable, that the fair Annabella was the secret cause of 
Mr. Vincent's frequent visits at her aunt's. It was natural 
that Clarence should be disposed to this opinion, from the 

\7P 



' circumstances of his own situalion. During three hours lliat 
he stayed at Mrs. Luttridge's, Mr. Vincent never joined any of 
the parties at play ; but, just a.s he was going away, he heard 
someone say — ■' How comes it, Vincent, that you've been idle 
all night f ' This question revived Mr. Hervey's suspicions ; 
and, uncertain what report he should make to Lord Deiacour, 
he resolved to defer making any, till he had farther oppor- 
tunities of judging. 

When Mr. Hervey asked himself how it was possible that 
die pupil of Mr. Percival could become a gamester, he forgot 
that Mr. Vincent had not been educated by his guardian ; that 
he had lived in the West Indies till he was eighteen ; and that 
he had only been under the care of Mr. Percival for a few 
years, after his habits and character were in a great measure 
formed. The taste for gambling he had acquired whilst he was 
a child ; but, as it was tlien confined to (rifles, it had been passed 
over, as a thing of no consequence, a boyish folly, (hat would 
never grow up with him : his father used to see him, day af^er 
day, playing with eagerness at games ofchance, with his negroes, 
or with the sons of neighbouring planters ; yet he was never 
alarmed : he was too intent upon making a fortune for his 
family to consider how they would spend it ; and he did not 
foresee that this boyish fault might be the means of his son's , 
losing, in a few hours, the wealth which he had been many I 
years amassing. When young Vincent came over to England, ' 
Mr. Percival had not immediate opportunities of discovering ■ 
this particular foible in his ward ; but he perceived that in his 
mind there was that presumptuous belief Jn his special good ■ 
fortune which naturally leads to the love of gambling. Instead 
of lecturing him, his guardian appealed to his understanding, ' 
and took opportunities of showing him the ruinous effects of i 
high play in real life. Young Vincent was touched, and, as he 
thought, convinced ; but his emotion was stronger than his 
conviction— his feelings were always more powerful than his 
reason. His detestation of the selfish character of a gamester 
was felt and expressed with enthusiasm and eloquence ; and 
his indignation rose afterwards at the slightest hint that Ae 
might ever in future be tempted to become what he abhorred. 
Unfortunately he disdained prudence, as the factitious virtue of. 
inferior minds : he thought that the/ee/irigs of a man of honour 
were to be his guide in the first and bst appeal ; and for his 
43' 



Jd 



BELINDA 

conduct through life, as a man and as a gentleman, he proudly 
professed to trust to the sublime instinct of a good heart His 
guardian's doubts of the infallibility and even of the existence 
of this moral instinct wounded Mr. Vincent's pride instead of 
alarming his understanding; and he was rather eager than 
averse to expose himself to the danger, that he might prove 
his superiority to the temptation. How different are the 
feelings in different situations! Yet often as this has been 
repeated, how difficult it is to impress the truth upon in- 
experienced, sanguine minds ! — ^Whilst young Vincent was 
immediately under his g^uardian's eye at Oakly Park, his safety 
from vice appeared to him inglorious ; he was impatient to 
sally forth into the world, confident rather of his innate than 
acquired virtue. 

When he first became acquainted with Mrs. Luttridge at 
Harrowgate, he knew that she was a professed gambler, and he 
despised the character ; yet without reflecting on the danger, or 
perhaps for the pleasure of convincing Mr. Percival that he was 
superior to it, he continued his visits. For some time he was 
a passive spectator. Billiards, however, was a game of address, 

! not chance ; there was a billiard-table at Oakly Park, as well as 
at Mr. Luttridge's, and he had played with his guardian. Why, 
then, should he not play with Mr. Luttridge ? He did play : 
his skill was admired ; he betted, and his bets were successful : 
but he did not call this gaming, for the bets were not to any 
great amount, and it was only playing at billiards. Mr. Percival 
was delayed in town some weeks longer than usual, and he knew 
nothing of the manner in which his young friend spent his time. 
As soon as Mr. Vincent heard of his arrival at Oakly Park, he 
left half-finished his game at billiards ; and, fortunately for him, 
the charms of Belinda made him forget for some months that 
such a thing as a billiard-table existed. All that had happened at 
Mr. Luttridge's passed from his mind as a dream ; and whilst his 
heart was agitated by his new passion, he could scarcely believe 
that he had ever been interested by any other feelings. He was 
surprised when he accidentally recollected the eagerness with 
which he used to amuse himself in Mr. Luttridge's company; but 
he was certain that all this was passed for ever ; and precisely 

^ecause he was under the dominion of one strong passion, he 
thought he could never be under the dominion of another. Thus 
persisting in his disdain of reason as a moral guide, Mr. Vincent 





.. , acted, and suffered i 

1 Belinda Mt tJakl)' Park "lor ( 
onsequent to violeot passion became insupportable ; and to 

]sole himself for her absence he fleiv to the billiard-table. 

notion of some kind or other was become necessary to him ; 
lie said that not to feel was' not to live ; and soon the 
nispense, the anxiety, the hopes, the fears, the perpetual ] 

' ;situdes of a gamester's life, seemed to him almost as 
ielightful as those of a lover's. Deceived by these appear- 
, Mrs. Luttridge thought that his affection for Belinda 
cither was or might be conquered, and her hopes of obtaining 
;liis fortune for her niece Annabella revived. As Mr. Vincent 
cotdd not endure Mrs. Freke, she abstained, at her friend's 
particular desire, from appearing at her house whilst he was 
.there, and Mrs. Luttridge interested him much in her own 
~ vour, by representing her indignation at Harriofs conduct to 
! such that it had occasioned a total breach in their friend- 
ship. Mrs. Freke's sudden departure from Harrowgate con- 
iGnned the probability of this quarrel ; yet these two ladies 
*ere secretly leagued together in a design of breaking off Mr, 
Vincent's match with Belinda, against whom Mrs, Freke had 
rowed revenge. The anonymous letter, which she hoped 
Jrould work her purpose, produced, however, an effect totally 
tmexpected upon his generous mind ; he did not guess the 
irriter ; but his indignation against such base accusations 
lurst forth with a violence that astounded Mrs. Luttridge. 
^ for Belinda appeared ten times more enthusiastic 

n before — the moment she was accused, he felt himself her 
jflefender, as well as her lover. He was dispossessed of the 
*vil spirit of gambling as if by a miracle; and the billiard- 
lable, and Mrs. Luttridge, and Miss Annabella, vanished from 
He breathed nothing but love ; he would ask no 
5n, he would wait for none from Belinda ; he declared 

t instant he would set out in search of her, and he would 

r that infamous letter to atoms in her presence ; he would 

iw her how impossible suspicion was to his nature. The first 
riolence of the huiTicane Mrs. Luttridge could not stand, and 
bought not of opposing ; but whilst his horses and curricle 

re getting ready, she took such an affectionate leave of his 

J Juba, and she protested so much that she and Annabella 
lould not know how to live without poor Juba, that Mr. 
433 ~ 




BELINDA 

\'incent, who was excessively fScmd of his dog, could not help 
s>-mpathising in their sorrow : reasoning* just as well as they 
wished, he extended his belief in their afTection for this animal 
to friendship, if not love, for his master. He could not grant 
Mrs. Luttridge's earnest supplication to leave the dog behind 
him under her protection ; but he promised — and laid his 
hand upon his heart when he promised — that Juba should 
wait upon Mrs. Luttridge as soon as she went to town. 
This appointment being made, Miss Annabella permitted her- 
self to be somewhat consoled. It would be injustice to omit 
that she did all that could be done by a cambric handkerchief 
to evince delic ate sensibility in this parting scene. Mrs. 
Luttridge also desen-es her share of praise for the manner in 
which she reproved her niece for giving way to her feelings, 
and for the address with which she wished to Heaven that 
poor Annabella had the calm philosophic temper of which Miss 
Portman was, she understood, a most uncommon example. 

As Mr. Vincent drove toward London he reflected upon 
these last words ; and he could not help thinking that if Belinda 
had more faults she would be more amiable. 

These thoughts were, however, driven from his mind, and 
scarcely left a trace behind them, when he once more saw and 
conversed \\'ith her. The dignity, sincerity, and kindness 
which she showed the evening that he put the anonymous 
letter into her hands charmed and touched him, and his real 
feelings and his enthusiasm conspired to make him believe 
that his whole happiness depended on her smiles. The 
confession which she made to him of her former attachment 
to Clarence Hervey, as it raised in Vincent's mind strong 
emotions of jealousy, increased his passion as much as it piqued 
his pride ; and she appeared in a new and highly interesting light 
when he discovered that the coldness of manner which he had 
attributed to want of sensibility arose probably from its excess 
— that her heart should have been preoccupied was more 
tolerable to him than the belief of her settled indifference. 
\He was so intent upon these delightful varieties in his love for 
Ipelinda that it was not till he had received a reproachful note 
from Mrs. Luttridge, to remind him of his promised visit with 
Juba, that he could prevail upon himself to leave Twickenham, 
even for a few hours. Lady Delacour's hatred or fear of Juba, 
which he accidentally mentioned to Miss Annabella, appeared 



J her and lo her aunt ' the most extraordinary thing upon 
earth ' ; and when it was contrasted with their excessive fond- 
j, it seemed lo him indeed unaccountable. From pure 
consideration for her ladyship's nerves, Mrs. Luttridge peti- 
tioned Vincent to leave the dog with her, that Helena might 
"□ such imminent danger from 'the animal's monstrous 
jaws.' The petition was granted ; and as Ihe petitioners fore- 
Tuba became to them a most useful auxiliary. Joba's 
r called daily to see him, and sometimes when he came 
in the morning Mrs, Luttridge was not at home, so that his 
visits were repeated in the evening ; and the evening in London 
's what in other places is called the night. Mrs. Luttridge's 
nights could not be passed without deep play. The sight of 
the E O table at first shocked Mr. Vincent : he thought of Mr. 
Percival, and he turned away from it ; but to his active social 
disposition it was extremely irksome to stand idle and unin- 
terested where all were busy and eager in one common pursuit ; 
his generous temper it seemed un gentleman I ike to stand by 
the silent censor of the rest of the company ; and when he 
considered of how little importance a few hundreds or even 
thousands could be to a man of his large fortune, he cou/d not 
help feeling that it was sordid, selfish, avaricious, to dread their 
possible loss ; and thus social spirit, courage, generosity, all 
conspired to carry our man of feeling to the gaming-table. 
Once there, his ruin was inevitable. Mrs. Luttridge, whilst 
she held his doom in her power, hesitated only whether it 
would be more her interest to marry him to her niece, or to 
content herself with his fortune. His passion for Belinda, 
which she saw had been by some means or other increased, in 
spite of the anonymous letter, gave her little hopes of Anna- 
bella's succeeding, even with the assistance of Juba and delicate 
fSgBg ibilit y . So the aunt, careless of her niece's disappointment, 
determined that Mr. Vincent should be ^ervictim; and sensible 
that she must not give him time for reflection, she hurried him 
m, till, in the course of a few evenings spent at the E O table, 
he lost not only thousands, but tens of thousands. One lucky 
night, she assured him, would set all to rights ; the run could 
not always be against him, and fortune must change in his 
■ &ivour, if he tried her with sufficient perseverance. 

The horror, the agony of mind, which he endured at this 
idden niin which seemed impending over him — the recoUec- 
435 I 



BEUXDA 

tion of Belinda, of Mr. PercK-al, almost drove him to distraction. 
He retreated from the £ O taUe one night, swearing that he 
never would hazard another guinea. But his ruin was not yet 
romplcte — he had thousands yet to lose, and Mrs. Luttridge 
would not thus relinquish her prey. She persuaded him to try 
his fortune once more. She now suffered him to r^iain 
courage, by winning back some of his own money. His mind 
was relieved from the sense of immediate danger ; he rejoiced 
to be saved from the humiliation of confessing his losses to 
Mr. Percival and Belinda. The next day he saw her with 
unusual pleasure, and this was the very morning Clarence 
Her\-ey paid his visit The imprudence of Lady Delacour, 
joined perhaps to his own consciousness that he had a secret 
fault, which ought to lower him in the esteem of his mistress, 
made him misinterpret everything that passed — ^his jealousy 
was excited in the most sudden and violent manner. He flew 
from Lady Delacour's to Mrs. Luttridge's — he was soothed 
and flattered by the apparent kindness with which he was re- 
ceived by Annabella and her aunt ; but after diimer, when one 
of the ser\'ants whispered to Mrs. Luttndge, who sat next to 
him, that Mr. Clarence Hervey was above stairs, he gave such 
a start, that the fair Annabella' s lap did not escape a part of 
the bumper of wine which he was going to drink to her health. 
In the confusion and apologies which this accident occasioned, 
Mrs. Luttridge had time to consider what nught be the cause 
of the start, and she combined her suspicions so quickly and 
judiciously that she guessed the truth — that he feared to be 
seen at the £ O table by a person who might find it for his 
interest to tell the truth to Belinda Portman. * Mr. Vincent,* 
said she, in a low voice, * I have such a terrible headache, that 
I am fit for nothing — I am not up to Ys O to-night, so you 
must wait for your revenge till to-morrow.* 

Mr. Vincent was heartily glad to be relieved from his 
engagement, and he endeavoured to escape Clarence's 
suspicions, by devoting his whole time this evening to Anna- 
bella, not in the least apprehensive that Mr. Hervey would 
return the next night. Mr. Vincent was at the E O table at 
the usual hour, for he was excessively anxious to regain what 
he had lost, not so much for the sake of the money, which he 
could afford to lose, but lest the defalcation in his fortune 
should lead Mr. Percival to the knowledge of the means which 

43^ 



E O 

had occasioned it. He could not endure, after his high 
e himself humbled by his rash confidence in him- 
self^ and he secretly vowed, that if he could but reinstate himself, 
by one night's good luck, he would forever quit the society of 
gamblers. A few months before Ibis time, he would have 
scorned the idea of concealing any part of his conduct, any one 
of his actions, from his best friend, Mr, Percival ; but hia ^nrida 

V reconciled him to the meanness of concealment ; and here, 
acuteaess of his feelings was to his own mind an excuse for 
dissimulation : so fallacious is mora! instinct, unenlightened or 
uncontrolled by reason and religion. 

Mr. Vincent was disappointed in his hopes of regaining 
what he had lost This was not the fortunate night, which 
Mrs, Luttridge's prognostics had vainly taught him to expect : 
he played on, however, with all the impetuosity of his natural 
temper ; his judgment forsook him ; he scarcely knew what he 
said or did ; and, in the course of a few hours, he was worked 
3 such a pitch of insanity, that in one desperate moment he 
betted nearly all that he was worth in the world — and lost ! 
He stood like one stupefied ; the hum of voices scarcely reached 
V figures moving before him ; but he did not 
distinguish who or what they were. 

Supper was announced, and the room emptied fast, whilst 
he remained motionless leaning on the E O table. He was 
rotised by Mrs. Luttridge saying, as she passed, ' Don't you sup 
to-night, Mr. Hervey ? ' — Vincent looked up, and saw Clarence 
Hervey opposite to him. His countenance instantly changed, 
and the lightning of anger flashed through the gloom of despair: 
he uttered not a syllable ; but his looks said, 'How is this, sir? 
e again to-night to watch me ? — to enjoy my ruin ?^ — to be 
1-eady to carry the first news of it to Belinda ? ' 

At (his last thought, Vincent struck his closed hand with 
violence against his forehead ; and rushing by Mr. Hervey, who 
attempted to speak to him, he pressed into the midst of 
the crowd on the stairs, and let himself be carried along with 
them into the supper-room. At supper he took his usual seat 
between Mrs, Luttridge and the fair Annabella ; and, as if de- 
termined to brave the observing eyes of Clarence Hervey, who 
e table, he affected extravagant gaiety ; he ate, 
drank, talked, and laughed, more than any of the company. 
Toward the end of the supper, his dug, who was an inmate at 
437 



BELINDA 

Mrs. Luttridge's, licked his hand to put him in mind that lie 
had given him noihing to eat. 

' Drink, Juba I — drink, and never have done, boy ! ' oW 
Vincent, holding a bumper of wine to the dog^s mouth ; 'he's 
the only dog I ever saw taste wine,' Then snatching up some 
of ihe flowers, which ornamented the table, he swore thai Jute 
should henceforward be called Anacreon, and that he deserved 
to be crowned with roses by the band of beauty. The to 
Annabella instandy took a hothouse rose from her bosom, and 
assisted in making the garland, with which she crowned the 
new Anacreon. Insensible to his honours, the dog, who was 
extremely hungry, turned suddenly to Mrs. Luttridge, by whom 
he had, till this night, regularly been fed with the choicest 
morsels, and lifting up his huge paw, laid it, as he had been 
wont to do, upon her arm. She shook it off: he, knowing 
nothing of the change in his master's affairs, laid the paw again 
upon her arm ; and with that familiarity to which he had long 
been encouraged, raised his head almost close to the lady's 

'Down, Juba I — down, sir, down !' cried Mrs, Luttridge, in 

' Down, Juba I — down, sir ! ' repeated Mr. Vincent, in a tone 
of bitter feeling, al! his assumed gaiety forsaking him at this 
instant : ' Down, Juba ! — down, sir, down 1 ' as low as yooT 
master, thought he ; and pushing back his chair, he rose fi^m 
table, and precipitately left the room. 

Little notice was taken of his retreat ; the chairs closed in; 
and the gap which his vacant place left was visible but for A 
moment : the company were as gay as before ; the fair Aima- 
beila smiled with a grace as attractive j and Mrs. Luttridge 
exulted in the success of her schemes — whilst her victim was in 
the agonies of despair. 

Clarence Hervey, who had watched every change of Vincent's 
countenance, saw the agony of soul with which he rose firoin 
the table, and quitted the room : he suspected his purpose, and 
followed him immediately ; but Mr, Vincent had got out of the 
house before he could overtake him ; which way he was gone 
no one couid tell, for no one had seen him ; the only information 
he could gain was, that he might possibly be heard of at Nerot^ 
Hotel, or at Governor Montford's, in Portland Place. The 
hotel was but a few 'j^ti& (torn Wn, l-uttridge's, Clarence 



out. 



'ent there directly, He asked for Mr, Vincent. One of the 
aiters said, that be was not yet come in ; but another called 
Mr. Vincent, sir, did you say ? I have just shown him 






'Which is the roo 

' Not to-nighl — you 
won't let you in, I can '. 
minutes ago, with somf 
but he would not let mi 
and he swore terribly. 
- — for my life I dare no 

'Where is his own 
here ? — Mr. Vincent's r 



-I 1 



I see him instantly,' cried 



can't see him now, sir. Mr. Vincent 
ssure you, sir. I went up myself three 
letters, that came whilst he was away, 
in. 1 heard him double-lock the door, 
I can't go up again at this time o'night 



n? — Has Mr. Vincent any servant 
! ' cried Clarence ; ' let me see him 1 ' 

'You can't, sir. Mr. Vincent has just sent his black, the 
only servant he has here, out on some message. Indeed, sir, 
there's no use in going up,' continued the waiter, as Clarence 
sprang up two or three stairs at once : ' Mr. Vincent has desired 
nobody may disturb him. I give you my word, sir, he'll be very 
angry ; and, besides, 'twould be to no purpose, for he'll not un- 
lock the door.' 

' Is there but one door to the room?' said Mr. Hervey; and, 
as he asked the question, he pulled a guinea out of his pocket, 
and touched the waiter's hand with it. 

' Oh, now I recollect — -yes, sir, there's a private door through 
a closet : may be that mayn't be fastened.' 

Clarence put the guinea into the waiter's hand, who instantly 
showed him the way up the back staircase to the door that 
opened into Mr. Vincent's bed-chamber. 

' Leave me now,' whispered he, ' and make no noise.' 

The man withdrew ; and as Mr, Hervey went close to the 
concealed door, to try if it was fastened, he distinctly heaxd a 
pistol cocked. The door was not fastened ; he pushed it softly 
open, and saw the unfortunate man upon his knees, the pistol 
in his hand, his eyes looking up to heaven. Clarence was in 
one moment behind him ; and, seizing hold of the pistol, he 
snatched it from Vincent's grasp with so much calm presence 
of mind and dexterity, that, although the pistol was cocked, it 



I 



E O 

'"^covering the power of speech, 'Is this ihe conduct of a 
Sentleman, Mr. Hervey — of a man of honour,' cried he, ' thus 
to intrude upon my privacy ; to be a spy upon my actions ; to 
t-riumph in my ruin ; to witness my despair ; to rob me of the 

He looked wildly at the pistol which Clarence held in his 

hand ; then snatching up another, which lay upon the table, he 

continued, * You are my enemy — 1 know it ; you are my rival ; 

I know it ; Belinda loves you 1 Nay, affect not to start — this 

le for dissimulation — Belinda loves you — you know it ; 

for her sake, for your own, put me out of the world — put me 

out of torture. It shall not be called murder ; it shall be called 

duel. Vou have been a spy upon my actions — -1 demand 

Ltisfaction. If you have one spark of honour or of courage 

idiin you, Mr. Hervey, show it now^ — tight me, sir, openly as 

to man, rival to rival, enemy to enemy — fire.' 

If you fire upon me, j-ou will repent it,' replied Clarence 

calmly ; 'for 1 am not your enemy — I am not your rival' 

YoQ are' interrupted Vincent, raising his voice to the 
highest pitch of indignation; 'you are my rival, though you 
^rc not avow it 1 The denial is base, false, unmanly. O 
Belinda, is this the being you prefer to mef Gamester — 
wretch, as I am, my soul never stooped to felsehood ! Treachery 
I abhor; courage, honour, and a heart worthy of Belinda, I 
possess. I beseech you, sir,' continued he, addressing himself, 
in a tremulous tone of contempt, to Mr, Hervey, ' 1 beseech you, 
sir, to leave me to my own feelings— and to myself." 

' You are not yourself at this moment, and I cannot leave 
you to such mistaken feelings,' replied Hervey ; ' command 
yourself for a moment, and hear me ; use your reason, and you 
will soon he convinced that I am your friend.' 
'My friend !' 

' Your friend. For what purpose did I come here ? to snatch 
this pistol from your hand ? If it were my interest, my wish, 
that you were out of the world, why did I prevent you from 
destroying yourself ? Do you think ^.iii/ the action of an enemy? 
^jsejajiiLteaaon^ 

' 1 cannot,' said Vincent, striking his forehead ; ' I know 
not what to think— I am not master of myself 1 conjure you, 
for your own sake, to leave me.' 
■ For my <nvn sake ! ' repeated Hervey, disdainfully : ' I am 



BELINDA 

not thinking of myself; nor can anything you have said pro- 
voke me from my purpose. My purpose is to save you from 
ruin, for the sake of a woman, whom, though I am no longer 
your rival, I have loved longer, if not better, than you have.* 

There was something so open in Herveys countenance, such 
a strong expression of truth in his manner, that it could not be 
resisted, and Vincent, in an altered voice, exclaimed, 'You 
acknowledge that you have loved Belinda — and could you 
cease to love her ? Impossible 1 — And, loving her, must you 
not detest me ? ' 

* No,' said Clarence, holding out his hand to him ; ' I wish 
to be your friend. I have not the baseness to wish to deprive 
others of happiness because I cannot enjoy it myself. In one 
word, to put you at ease with me for ever, I have no pretensions, 
I can have none, to Miss Portman. I am engaged to another 
woman — in a few days you will hear of my marriage.' 

Mr. Vincent threw the pistol from him, and gave his hand 
to Hervey. 

* Pardon what I said to you just now,' cried he ; * I knew 
not what I said — I spoke in the agony of despair : your purpose 
is most generous — but it is in vain — you come too late — I am 
ruined, past all hope.' 

He folded his arms, and his eyes reverted involuntarily to 
his pistols. 

*The misery that you have this night experienced,' said 
Mr. Hervey, * was necessary to the security of your future 
happiness.' 

* Happiness ! ' repeated Vincent ; * happiness — there is no 
happiness left for me. My doom is fixed — fixed by my own 
folly — my own rash, headstrong folly. Madman that I was, 
what could tempt me to the gaming-table ? Oh ! if I could 
recall but a few days, a few hours of my existence ! But re- 
morse is vain — prudence comes too late. Do you know,' said 
he, fixing his eyes upon Hervey, * do you know that I am a 
beggar ? that I have not a farthing left upon earth ? Go to 
Belinda ; tell her so : tell her, that if she had ever the slightest 
regard for me, I deserve it no longer. Tell her to forget, 
despise, detest me. Give her joy that she has escaped having 
a gamester for a husband.' 

* I will,' said Clarence, * I will, if you please, tell her what 1 
believe to be true, that Ihe agoiv^ ^ou V^sln^ felt this night, the 



7 



E O 

Qear-bought experience you have had, will be for ever a 
Warning.' 

' A warning ! ' interrupted Vincent : ' Oh, (hat it could yet 
be useful to me I — But I tell you il comes too late — nothing 

■7" can,' said Mr. Hervey. 'Swear to me, for Belinda's 
sake — solemnly swear to me, that you will never more trust 
your happiness and hers to the hazard of a die^swear that 
you will never more, directly or indirectly, play at any game of 
chance, and I will restore to you the fortune that you have losL' 

Mr, Vincent stood as if suspended between ecstasy and 
despair ; he dared not trust his senses : with a fervent and 
solemn adjuration he made the vow that was required of him ; 
and Clarence then revealed to him the secret of the E O 
table. 

' When Mrs. Luttridge knows that I have it in my power to 
expose her to public shame, she will instantly refund all that 
she bas iniquitously won from you. Even among gamblers she 
would be blasted for ever by this discovery ; she knows it, and 
if she dared to brave public opinion, we have then a sure 
resource in the law — prosecute her. The laws of honour, as 
well as the laws of the land, will support the prosecution. But 
she will never Jet the affair go into a court of justice. I will 
see her early, as early as I can to-morrow, and put you out of 
suspense.' 

Most generous of human beings ! ' exclaimed Vincent ; ' I 
cannot express to you what I feel ; but your own heart, your 

approbat ion ' 

Farewell, good night,' interrupted Clarence ; ' I see that I 
have made a friend — I was determined that Belinda's husband 
should be my friend — 1 have succeeded beyond my hopes. And 
now I will intrude no longer,' said he, as he closed the doot 
after him. His sensations at this instant were more delightfuA 
than those of the man he had relieved from the depth of \ 
despair. How wisely has Providence made the benevolent and | 
generous passions the most pleasurable 1 



BELINDA 



CHAPTER XXIX 

A JEW 

In the silence of the night, when the hurry of action was over, 
and the enthusiasm of generosity began to subside, the words, 
which had escaped from Mr. Vincent in the paroxysm of despair 
and rage — the words, *• Belinda loves you' — recurred to Clarence 
Hervey ; and it required all his power over himself to banish 
the sound from his ear, and the idea from his mind. He 
endeavoured to persuade himself that these words were dictated 
merely by sudden jealousy, and that there could be no real 
foundation for the assertion : perhaps this belief was a necessary 
support to his integrity. He reflected, that, at all events, his 
engagement with Virginia could not be violated ; his proffered 
services to Mr. Vincent could not be withdrawn : he was 
firm and consistent. Before two o'clock the next day, Vincent 
received from Clarence this short note : 

* Enclosed is Mrs. Luttridge's acknowledgment, that she has 
no claims upon you, in consequence of what passed last night. 
1 said nothing about the money she had previously won, as I 
understand you have paid it. 

* The lady fell into fits, but it would not do. The husband 
attempted to bully me ; I told him I should be at his service, 
after he had made the whole affair public, by calling you out. 

* I would have seen you myself this morning, but that I 
am engaged with lawyers and marriage settlements. — ^Yours 
sincerely, Clarence Hervey.' 

Overjoyed at the sight of Mrs. Luttridge's acknowledgment, 
Vincent repeated his vow never more to hazard himself in her 
dangerous society. He was impatient to see Belinda ; and, full 
of generous and grateful sentiments, in his first moment of joy, 
he determined to conceal nothing from her ; to make at once 
the confession of his own imprudence and the eulogium of 
Clarence Hervey's generosity. He was just setting out for 
Twickenham, when Vie was seivl fox b^ his uncle, Governor 




A JEW 

__._. 1, who had business to settle with him, relative to his 

West India estates. He spent the remainder of the morning 
with his uncle ; and there he received a charming letter from 
Belinda^ — that leller which she had written and sent whilst 
Lady Delacour was reading Clarence Hervey's packet. It 
would have cured Vincent of jealousy, even if he had not, in 
1 Mr. Hervey, and learnt from him the news 
pf his approaching marriage. Miss Fortman, at the conclusion 
rf her letter, informed him that Lady Delacour purposed being 
I Berkeley Square the next day ; that they were to spend 
tt week in town, on account of Mrs. Margaret Delacour, who 
"lad promised her ladyship a visit ; and to go to Twickenham 
would be a formidable journey to an infirm old lady, who 
(cldom stirred out of her house. 

Whatever displeasure Lady Delacour felt towards her friend 
Belinda, on account of her coldness to Mr. Hervey, and her 
steadiness to Mr. Vincent, had by this time subsided. Angry 
people, who express their passion, as it has been justly said, 
always speak worse than they think. This was usually the 
case with her ladyship. 

The morning after they arrived in town, she came into 

lelinda's room, with an air of more than usual sprighdiness 

md satisfaction. ' Great news ! — ^Great news ! — Extraordinary 

s very imprudent to excite your expectations, 

giy dear Belinda. Fray, did you hear a wonderful noise in the 

e a little while ago ? ' 

'Yes, I thought I heard a great bustle; but Marriott 

ftppeased my curiosity, by saying that it was only a battle 

two dogs.' 

s well if this battle between two dogs do not end in a 
due! between two men,' said Lady Delacour. 

' This prospect of mischief seems to have put your ladyship 
1 wonderfully good spiiits,' said Belinda, smiling. 

'But what do you think I have heard of Mr. Vincent?' 
continued Lady Delacour; 'that Miss Annabella Luttridge is 
dying for love of him — or of his fortune. Knowing, as I do, 
the vanity of mankind, I suppose that your Mr. Vincent, all 
lerfect as he is, was flattered by the little coquette ; and 
lerhaps he condescends to repay her in " 
ake it for granted — for I always fill up the gaps in a siory my 
iwn way — 1 take it for granted that Mr. Vincent got int 
445 




BELINDA 

entanglement with her, and that this has been the cause of 
the quarrel with the aunt That there has been a quarrel is 
certain, for your friend Juba told Marriott so. His massa 
swore that he would never go to Mrs. Luttridge*s again ; and 
this morning he took the decisive measure of sending to re- 
quest that his dog might be returned. Juba went for his 
namesake. Miss Annabella Luttridge was the person who 
delivered up the dog ; and she desired the black to tell his 
master, with her compliments, that Juba's collar was rather 
too tight ; and she begged that he would not fail to take it 
off as soon as he could. Perhaps, my dear, you are as simple 
as the poor negro, and suspect no finesse in this message. 
Miss Luttridge, aware that the faithful fellow was too much 
in your interests to be either persuaded or bribed to carry a 
billet-doux from any other lady to his master, did not dare to 
trust him upon this occasion ; but she had the art to make 
him carry her letter without his knowing it. Colin ntaillard^ 
vulgarly called blind maris buff\ was, some time ago, a favourite 
play amongst the Parisian ladies : now hide and seek will be 
brought into fashion, I suppose, by the fair Annabella. Judge 
of her talents for the game by this instance : — she hid her 
billet-doux within the lining of Juba's collar. The dog, un- 
conscious of his dignity as an ambassador, or rather as a 
chargJ d^affairesy set out on his way home. As he was cross- 
ing Berkeley Square he was met by Sir Philip Baddely and 
his dog. The baronet's insolent favourite bit the black's heels. 
Juba, the dog, resented the injury immediately, and a furious 
combat ensued. In the height of the battle Juba's collar fell 
off. Sir Philip Baddely espied the paper that was sewed to 
the lining, and seized upon it immediately : the negro caught 
hold of it at the same instant : the baronet swore ; the black 
struggled : the baronet knocked him down. The great dog 
left his canine antagonist that moment, flew at your baronet, 
and would have eaten him up at three mouthfuls, if Sir Philip 
had not made good his retreat to Dangerfield's circulating 
library. The negro's head was terribly cut by the sharp point 
of a stone, and his ankle was sprained ; but, as he has just 
told me, he did not feel this till afterward. He started up, 
and pursued his master's enemy. Sir Philip was actually 
reading Miss Luttridge's billet-doux aloud when the black 
entered the library. He ttc\avm^d. Vvvs* r£\a.ster's property with 



A JEW 



^M great intrepidity; and a gentlGman who was present took his 
^P part immediately. 

W ' In the meantime, Lord Delacour, who had been looking 

I at the battle from out breakfast-room window, determined to 
V go over to Dangerfield's, to see what was the matter, and how 
I all this would end. He entered the library just as the gentle- 
I man who had volunteered in fevour of poor Juba was disputing 
P with Sir Philip, The bleeding negro told my lord, in as plain 
' words as he could, the cause of the dispute ; and Lord 
Delacour, who, to do him justice, is a man of honour, joined 
instantly in his defence. The baronet thought proper at length 
to submit ; and he left the field of battle, without having any- 
thing to say for himself but — " Damme livery extraordinary, 
damme 1 "—or words to that effect. 

' Now, Lord Delacour, besides being a man of honour, is 
also a man of humanity. 1 know that I cannot oblige you 
more, my dear Belinda, than by seasoning my discourse with 
a little conjugal flattery. My lord was concerned to see the 
poor black writhing in pain ; and with the assistance of the 

I gentleman who had joined in his defence, he brought Juba 
across the square to our house. Guess for what ; — to try upon 
tiie strained ankle an infallible qnack balsam recommended to 
him by the Dowager Lady Boucher. 1 was in the hall when 
Ihey brought the poor fellow in ; Marriott was called. " Mrs. 
Marriott," cried my lord, " pray let us have Lady Boucher's 
mfeliible balsam — this instant ! " Had you but seen the eager- 
ness of face, or heard the emphasis, with which he said 
"/n^/A"i/e balsam"— you must let me laugh at the recollection. 
One human smile must pass, and be forgiven." 

' The smile may be the more readily forgiven,' said Belinda, 
'since 1 am sure you are conscious that it reflected almost as 
much upon yourself as upon Lord Delacour.' 

' Why, yes ; belief in a quack doctor is full as bad as belief 
in a quack balsam, I allow. Your observation is so malicious, 
because so just, that to punish you for it, 1 will not tell you the 
remainder of my story for a week to come ; and I assure you 
that the best part of it I have left untold. To return to our 
friend Mr. Vincent: — could you but know what reasons I 
have, at this instant, for wishing him in Jamaica, you would 
acknowledge that I am truly candid in confessing that I believe 
vay suspicions about E O were unfounded ; and I am truly 



BELINDA 

generous in admitting that you are right to treat him with 
justice.' 

This last enigmatical sentence Belinda could not prevail 
upon Lady Delacour to explain. 

In the evening Mr. Vincent made his appearance. Lady 
Delacour immediately attacked him with raillery, on the subject 
of the fair Annabella. He was rejoiced to perceive that her 
suspicions took this turn, and that nothing relative to the 
transaction in which Clarence Hervey had been engaged had 
transpired. Vincent wavered in his resolution to confess the 
truth to Belinda. Though he had determined upon this in the 
first moment of joyful enthusiasm, yet the delay of four-and- 
twenty hours had made a material change in his feelings ; his 
most virtuous resolves were always rather the effect of sudden 

1 impulse than of steady principle. But when the tide of passion 
had swept away the landmarks, he had no method of ascertain- 
ing the boundaries of right and wrong. Upon the present 
occasion his love for Belinda confounded all his moral calcula- 
tions : one moment, his feelings as a man of honour forbade 
him to condescend to the meanness of dissimulation ; but the 
next instant his feelings as a lover prevailed ; and he satisfied 
his conscience by the idea that, as his vow must preclude all 
danger of his return to the gaming-table in future, it would 
only be creating an unnecessary alarm in Belinda's mind to 
speak to her of his past imprudence. His generosity at first 
revolted from the thought of suppressing those praises of 
Clarence Hervey, which had been so well deserved ; but his 
jealousy returned, to combat his first virtuous impulse. He 
considered that his own inferiority must by comparison appear 
more striking to his mistress ; and he sophistically persuaded 
himself that it would be for her happiness to conceal the merits 
of a rival, to whom she could never be united. In this vacillat- 
ing state of mind he continued during the greatest part of the 
evening. About half an hour before he took his leave, Lady 
Delacour was called out of the room by Mrs. Marriott. Left 
alone with Belinda, his embarrassment increased, and the un- 
suspecting kindness of her manner was to him the most bitter 
reproach. He stood in silent agony whilst in a playful tone 
she smiled and said, 

* Where are your thoughts, Mr. Vincent ? If I were of a 
jealous temper, I should say with the fair Annabella -' 



A JEW 



'You would say wrong, then,' replied Mr. Vincent, 
mstrained voice. He was upon the point of telling the truth 
It to gain a reprieve of a few minutes, he entered into a 
iefence of his conduct towards Miss Luttridge. 

The sudden return of Lady Delacour relieved him from his 
pmbarrassmenC, and they conversed only on general subjects 
during the remainder of the evening ; and he at last departed, 
ecretly rejoicing that he was, as he fancied, under the necessity 
"postponing his explanation ; he even thought of suppressing 
le history of his transaction with Mrs. Luttridge. He knew 
lat his secret was safe with Clarence Hervey : Mrs. Luttridge 
rould be silent for her own sake ; and neither Lady Delacour 
Belinda had any connection with her society. 
I. few days afterward, Mr. Vincent went to Gray, the 
Eweller, for some trinkets which he had bespoken. Lord 
Jelacour was there, speaking about the diamond ring, which 
Sray had promised to dispose of for him. Whilst his lordship 
Mr. Vincent were busy about their own affairs. Sir Philip 
laddely and Mr. Rochfort came into the shop. Sir Philip and 
"Ir. Vincent had never before met. Lord Delacour, to prevent 
m from getting into a quarrel about a lady who was so little 
rorth fighting for as Miss Annabella Luttridge, had positively 
efused to tell Mr. Vincent what he knew of the affair, or to let 
n know the name of the gentleman who was concerned in it. 
The shopman addressed Mr. Vincent by his name, and 
lamediately Sir Philip whispered to Rochfort, that Mr. Vincent 
the master of the black.' Vincent, who unluckily over- 
eard him, instantly asked Lord Delacour if that was the 
entleman who had behaved so ill to his servant ? Lord 
Jelacour told him that it was now of no consequence to inquire. 
If,' said his lordship, 'either of these gentlemen choose to 
ccost you, I shall think you do rightly to retort ; but for 
leaven's sake do not begin the attack \ ' 

Vincent's impetuosity was not to be restrained ; he de- 
,nded from Sir Philip, whether he was the person who had 
servant ? Sir Philip readily obliged him with an 
the affirmative ; and the consequence was the loss 
a finger to the baronet, and a wound in the side to Mr. 
icent, which, though it did not endanger his life, yet con- 
taed him to his room for several days. The impatience of 
mind increased his fever, and retarded his recovery. 
-449 



;, M^^ 



BELINDA 

When Belinda's first alarm for Mr. Vincent's safety was 
over, she anxiously questioned Lord Delacour as to the 
particulars of all that had passed between Mr. Vincent and 
Sir Philip, that she might judge of the manner in which her 
lover had conducted himself. Lord Delacour, who was a man 
of strict truth, was compelled to confess that Mr. Vincent 
had shown more spirit than temper, and more courage than 

[prudence. Lady Delacour rejoiced to perceive that this 
account made Belinda uncommonly serious. 
Mr. Vincent now thought himself sufficiently recovered to 
leave his room ; his physicians, indeed, would have kept him 
prisoner a few days longer, but he was too impatient of re- 
straint to listen to their counsels. 

* Juba, tell the doctor, when he comes, that you could not 
keep me at home ; and that is all that is necessary to be said.' 

He had now summoned courage to acknowledge to Belinda 
all that had happened, and was proceeding, with difficulty, 
downstairs, when he was suddenly struck by the sound of a 
voice which he little expected at this moment ; a voice he had 
formerly been accustomed to hear with pleasure, but now it 
smote him to the heart : — it was the voice of Mr. PercivaL 
For the first time in his life, he wished to deny himself to his 
friend. The recollection of the E O table, of Mrs. Luttridge, 
of Mr. Percival as his guardian, and of all the advice he had 
heard from him as his friend, rushed upon his mind at this 
instant ; conscious and ashamed, he shrunk back, precipit- 
ately returned to his own room, and threw himself into a chair, 
breathless with agitation. He listened, expecting to hear Mr. 
Percival coming upstairs, and endeavoured to compose him- 
self, that he might not betray, by his own agitation, all that he 
wished most anxiously to conceal. After waiting for some 
time, he rang the bell, to make inquiries. The waiter told 
him that a Mr. Percival had asked for him ; but, having been 
told by his black that he was just gone out, the gentleman 
being, as he said, much hurried, had left a note ; for an 
answer to which he would call at eight o'clock in the evening. 
Vincent was glad of this short reprieve. * Alas ! ' thought he, 
'^ * how changed am I, when I fear to meet my best friend ! To 
\ what has this one fatal propensity reduced me ! ' 

He was little aware of the new difficulties that awaited him. 

Mr, PercivaFs note was as follows ; — 

4S^ 



A JEW 

My dear Friend! — Am not I a happy man, to find a 
End in my ci-devant ■wxed ? Bui I have no time for sentiment ; 
does it become the character, in which I am now writing to 
—that of a DUN. You are so rich, and so prudent, that the 
d in capital letters cannot frighten you. Lady Anne's cousin, 
r Mr. Carysfort, is dead. I am guardian id his boys ; they 
Ee but ill provided for. 1 have fortunately obtained a partner- 
good house for the second son. Ten thousand 
Dunds are wanting to establish him — we cannot raise the 
mney amongst us, without dunning poor Mr. Vincent. En- 
tosed is your bond for the purchase-money of the little estate 
bought from me last summer. I know that you have 
Duble the sum we want in ready money — so I make no 
aremony. Let me have the ten thousand this evening, if you 
I wish to leave town as soon as possible, — Yours most 
ncerely, Henry Percival.' 

Now Mr. Vincent had lost, and had actually paid to Mrs. 

^tridge, the ready money which had been destined to dis- 

liarge his debt to Mr. Percival : he expected fresh remit- 

ices from the West Indies in the course of a few weeks ; 

t, in the meantime, he must raise this money immediately : 

5 he could only do by having recourse to Jews-^a desperate 

[pedient. The Jew, to whom he applied, no sooner dis- 

jvered that Mr, Vincent was under a necessity of having this 

before eight o'clock in the evening than he became ex- 

ibitant in his demands ; and the more impatient this un- 

Rtunate young man became, the more difGculties he raised. 

last, a bargain was concluded between them, in which 

Incent knew that he was grossly imposed upon i but lo this 

submitted, for he had no alternative. The Jew promised 

bring him ten thousand pounds at five o'clock in the 

rening, but it was half after seven before he made his appear- 

; and then he was so dilatory and circumspect, in reading 

and signing the bonds, and in completing the formalities 

$ the transaction, that before the money was actually in 

Scent's possession, one of the waiters of the hotel knocked 

the door to let him know that Mr. Percival was coming up- 

lairs. Vincent hurried the Jew into an adjoining apartment, 

nd bid him wait there, till he should come to finish (he 

isiness. Though totally unsuspicious, Mr. Percival could 

451 ~ 



BELINDA 

not help being struck ivith the peituTbaiion in which he fbund 
his young friend. Vincent immediateiy began to talk of the 
duel, and his friend was led to conclude that his anxiety 
from this affair. He endeavoured lo put him at ease by 
changing the conversation. He spoke of the business which 
brought him to town, and of the young man whom he was 
going to place with a banker. 




' 1 hope,' said he, observing that Vincent grew 
embarrassed, ' that my dunning you for this money 

'Not in the least— not in the least. I have the money 
ready — in a few moments — if you'l! be so good as lo wait here 
— I have the money ready in ihe next room.' 

At this instant a loud noise was heard— the rais 
of two people quarrelling. It was Juba, the black, and 



A JEW 

Solomon, the Jew, Mr. Vincent had sent Juba out of the 
way, on some errand, whilst he had been transacting his 
affairs with the Jew; but the black, having executed the 
commission on which he had been sent, returned, and went 
his master's bedchamber, to read at his leisure a letter 
which he had just received from his wife. He did not at first 
; the Jew, and he was spelling out the words of his wife's 
letter. 

' My dear Juba, 
' I lake this op-por-tu — ' 

— nity he would have said ; but ihe Jew, who had held his 
breath in to avoid discovery, till he could hold it no longer, 
V drew it so ioud, that Juba started, looked round, and saw 
the feet of a man, which appeared beneath the bottom of the 
window-curtain. Where fears of supernatural appearances 
Irere out of the question, our negro was a man of courage ; he 
^lad no doubt that the man who was concealed behind the 
surtain was a robber, but the idea of a robber did not unnerve 
lim like that of an Obeah woman. With presence of mind 
irorthy of a greater dang'er, Juba took down his master's pistol, 
hrhich hung over the chimney-piece, and marching dehberalely 
p to the enemy, he seized the Jew by the throat, exclaiming — 
' You rob my massa .' — You dead man, if you rob my massa.' 
Terrified at the sight of the pistol, the Jew instantly ex- 
|>Iained who he was, and producing his large purse, assured 
[uba that he was come to lend money, and not to take it from 
\a% master ; but this appeared highly improbable to Juba, who 
t>elieved his master to be the richest man in the world ; 
besides, the Jew's language was scarcely intelligible to him, 
:and he saw secret terror in Solomon's countenance. Solomon 
'had an antipathy to the sight of a black, and he shmnk from 
the negro with strong signs of aversion. Juba would not 
relinquish his hold ; each went on talking in his own angry 
'igibberish as loud as he could, till at last the negro fairly 
lagged the Jew into the presence of his master and Mr. 
Percival. 

: is impossible to describe Mr. Vincent's confiision, or Mr. 
Percival's astonishment. The Jew's explanation was perfectly 
Intelligible to him ; he saw at once all the truth. Vincent, 
overwhelmed with shame, stood the picture of despair, incap- 
ible of uttering a single syllable. 
L 4S3 



BELINDA 

* There is no necessity to borrow this money on my account/ 
said Mr. Percival, calmly ; * and if there were, we could prob- 
ably have it on more reasonable terms than this gentleman 
proposes.' 

* I care not on what terms I have it — I care not what 
becomes of me — I am undone ! ' cried Vincent 

Mr. Percival coolly dismissed the Jew, made a sign to Juba 
to leave the room, and then, addressing himself to Vincent, 
said, * I can borrow the money that I want elsewhere. Fear 
no reproaches from me — I foresaw all this — you have lost this 
sum at play : it is well that it was not your whole fortune. I 
have only one question to ask you, on which depends my 
esteem — have you informed Miss Portman of this affair ? ' 

< I have not yet told her, but I was actually half downstairs 
in my way to tell her.' 

* Then, Mr. Vincent, you are still my friend. I know the 
difficulty of such an avowal — ^but it is necessary.* 

* Cannot you, dear Mr. Percival, save me the intolerable 
shame of confessing my own folly ? Spare me this mortifica- 
tion ! Be yourself the bearer of this intelligence, and the 
mediator in my favour.' 

* I will with pleasure,' said Mr. Percival ; * I will go this 
instant : but I cannot say that I have any hope of persuading 
Belinda to believe in your being irrevocably reclaimed from 
the charms of play.' 

* Indeed, my excellent friend, she may rely upon me : I feel 
such horror at the past, such heartfelt resolution against all 
future temptation, that you may pledge yourself for my total 
reformation.' 

Mr. Percival promised that he would exert all his influence, 
except by pledging his own honour ; to this he could not con- 
sent. * If I have any good news for you, I will return as soon 
as possible ; but I will not be the bearer of any painful intelli- 
gence,' said he ; and he departed, leaving Mr. Vincent in a 
state of anxiety, which, to his temper, was a punishment 
sufficient for almost any imprudence he could have com- 
mitted. 

Mr. Percival returned no more that night. The next 
morning Mr. Vincent received the following letter from 
Belinda. He guessed his fate ; he had scarcely power to read 
the words. 



A JEW 



promised you that, whenever my own mind should 
:ided, 1 would not hold yours in suspense 
I find it difficult to keep my word. 
Instead of lamenting, as you have often done, that my 
sm for your many excellent qualities never rose beyond the 
bounds of friendship, we have now reason to rejoice at this, 
much useless pain. It spares me the 
tffRculty of conquering a passion that might be fatal to my 
happiness ; and it will diminisli the regret which you may feel 
separation. 1 am now obliged to say, that circum- 
stances have made me certain we could not add to our mutual 
fclicity by any nearer connection. 

The hope of enjoying domestic happiness with a person ■ 
whose manners, temper, and tastes suited my own, inclined 
your addresses. But this happiness 1 could 
Bever enjoy with one who has any propensity to the love of 
play. 

' For m y own sake, as well as for yours, 1 rejoice that your 
ibrlune ha£ not been materially injured ; as this relieves me 
^m the fear that my present conduct should be imputed to 
Interested motives. Indeed, such is the generosity of your 
own temper, that in any situation 1 should scarcely have 
reason to apprehend from you such a suspicion. 

' The absolute impossibility of my forming at present a con- 
nection with another, will prevent you from imagining that I 
am secretly influenced by sentiments different from those which 1 
avow; nor can any weak doubts on this subject expose me to 
Dwn reproaches. 

You perceive, sir, that I am not willing utterly to lose 
■ esteem, even when 1 renounce, in the most unequivocal 
manner, all claim upon your affections. If anything should 
appear to you harsh in this letter, 1 beg you to impute it to 
real cause— my desire to spare you all painful suspense, by 
convincing you at once that my determination is irrevocable. 
With sincere wishes for your happiness, I bid you farewell. 
' Belinda Portman.' 

A few hours after Mr. Vincent had read this letter he threw 
bimself into a post-chaise, and set out for Germany. He saw 
tiliat all hopes of being united to Belinda were over, and he 
llurried as &r from her as possible. Her letter rather soothed 
455 



iid'i^^l 



)thed I 



BELINDA 

than irritated his temper ; her praises of his generosity were 
highly gratifying, and they had so powerful an effect upon his 
mind, that he was determined to prove that they were deserved. 
His conscience reproached him with not having made suffici- 
ently honourable mention of Clarence Hervey's conduct, on the 
night when he was on the point of destroying himself. Before 
he left London he wrote a full account of this whole transaction, 
to be given to Miss Portman after his departure. 

Belinda was deeply touched by this proof of his generosity. 
His letter — his farewell letter — she could not read without 
great emotion. It was written with true feeling, but in a 
manly style, without one word of vain lamentation. 

* What a pity,' thought Belinda, * that with so many good 
and great qualities, I should be forced to bid him adieu for 
ever ! ' 

' Though she strongly felt the pain of this separation, yet she 
could not recede from her decision : nothing could tempt her 
to connect herself with a man who had the fatal taste for play. 
Even Mr. Percival, much as he loved his ward, much as he 
wished for his union with Belinda, dared not pledge his honour 
for Mr. Vincent on this point. 

Lady Anne Percival, in a very kind and sensible letter, ex- 
pressed the highest approbation of Belinda's conduct ; and the 
most sincere hope that Belinda would still continue to think of 
her with affection and esteem, though she had been so rash in 
her advice, and though her friendship had been apparently so 
selfish. 



CHAPTER XXX 

NEWS 

* Do not expect that I should pretend to be sorry for Mr. 
Vincent,' said Lady Delacour. ' Let him be as generous and 
as penitent as he pleases, I am heartily glad that he is on his 
way to Germany. I daresay he will find in the upper or lower 
circles of the empire some heroine in the Kotzebue taste, who 
will a/temately make him misetabl^ Ull he is happy, and happy 



r 



NEWS 




|l be is miserable. He is one of those men who require great 

fine lovers these make (or stage effect— but the 
h)rst husbands in the world I 

'I hope, Belinda, you give me credit, for having judged 
;tter of Mr. Vincent Ihan Lady Anne Percival did ? ' 

' For having judged worse of him, you mean ? Lady Anne 
ways judges as ivell as possible of everybody.' 
' I will allow you to play upon uords in a friend's defence, 
Hit do not be alarmed for the reputation of Lady Anne's 
Qdgment. If it will be any satisfaction to you, I can with 
liorough sincerity assure you that I never liked her so well 
B my life as since I have detected her in a mistake. It saves 
my imagination, from the odium of being a perfect 
iiaracter.' 

' And there was something so handsome in her manner of 

ting to me, when she found out her error,' said Belinda. 

' Very true, and my friend Mr. Percival behaved handsomely. 

IVhere friendships clash, it is not every tnan who has clearness 

rf head sufficient to know his duty to his neighbour. Mr. 

Percival said no more than just the thing he ought, for his 

prard. VoQ have reason to be obliged to him : and as we are 

etuming thanks to all persons concerned in our deliverance 

rom this imminent danger, juba, the dog, and Juba, the 

Uack, and Solomon, the Jew, ought to come in for their share ; 

ithout that wrestling match of theirs, the truth might 

have been dragged to light, and Mr. Vincent would have 

|»een in due course of time your lord and master. But the 

Janger is over ; you need not look so terrified : do not be like 

3ie man who dropped down dead with terror, when he was 

iwn by daylight the broken bridge which he had galloped 

:r in the dark.' 

Lady Delacour was in such high spirits that, without regard 
connection, she ran on from one subject to another. 
' You have proved to me, my dear,' said she, ' that you are 
. a girl to marry, because the day was fixed, or because things 
%adgone so for. I give you infinite credit for your ci-vil courage, 
IS Dr. X— — calls it : military courage, as he said to me yester- 
day— military courage, that seeks the bubble reputation even in 
0ie cannon's mouth, may be had for sixpence a day. But civil 
gourage, such as enabled the Princess Parizade, in the Arabian 
Fales, to go straight up the hill to her object, though the 
457 



J 



BELINDA 

magical multitude of advising and abusive voices continually 
called to her to turn back, is one of the rarest qualities in man 
or woman, and not to be had for love, money, or admiration.' 

* You place admiration not only above money, but above love, 
in your climax, I perceive,' said Belinda, smiling. 

* I will give you leave to be as philosophically sarcastic as 
you please, my dear, if you will only smile, and if you will not 
look as pale as Seneca's Paulina, whose story we heard — from 
whom ? ' 

*From Mr. Hervey, I believe.' 

' His name was ready upon your lips ; I hope he was not far 
from your thoughts ? ' 

* No one could be farther from my thoughts,* said Belinda. 

* Well, very likely — I believe it, because you say it ; and 
because it is impossible.' 

* Rally me as much as you please, my dear Lady Delacour, 
I assure you that I speak the simple truth.' 

* I cannot suspect you of affectation, my dear. Therefore 
honestly tell me, if Clarence Hervey were at your feet this in- 
stant, would you spurn him from you ? ' 

* Spurn him ! no — I would neither spurn him, nor tnotion 
him from me; but without using any of the terms in the hero ine's 
dictionary ' 

""■ '* You would refuse him ? ' interrupted Lady Delacour, with 
a look of indignation — * you would refuse him ? ' 

* I did not say so, I believe? 

* You would accept him ? ' 

* I did not say so, / am sure? 

* Oh, you would tell him that you were not accustomed \.o him ?' 

* Not exactly in those words, perhaps.* 

* Well, we shall not quarrel about words,' said Lady Dela- 
cour ; * I only beg you to remember your own principles ; and 
if ever you are put to the trial, be consistent. The first thing 
in a philosopher is to be consistent.' 

* Fortunately, for the credit of my philosophy, there is no 
immediate danger of its being put to the test.' 

* Unfortunately, you surely mean ; unless you are afraid that 
it might not stand the test. But I was going, when I spoke of 
consistency, to remind you that all your own and Mr. Percival's 
arguments about first loves may now, with equal propriety, be 
turned against you.' 





NEWS 

S against me ? ' 

' They are evidently as applicable to second a: 
t think." 

' Perhaps they are,' said Belinda; 'but I really a: 
not inclined to think of love at present ; particularly as there i* 
no necessity that I should.' 

Belinda took up a book, and Lady Delacour for one half 
hour abstained from any farther raillery. But longer than half 
an hour she could not be silent on the subject uppermost in her 
bough ts. 

' if Clarence Hervey,' cried she, ' were not the most honour- 
able of blockheads, he might be the most happy of men. This 
'Virginia l^oh, how 1 hate her I — 1 am sure poor Clarence 
cannot love her.' 

' Because you hate her — or because you hate her without 
baving ever seen her ? ' said Belinda. ^ 

' Oh, I know what she must be,' replied Lady Delacour : ' a J 
loft, sighing, dying damsel, who puts bullfinches into her bosom, i 
Smile, smile, my dear ; you cannot help it ; in spite of alT 
|rour generosity, I know you must think as 1 do, and wish 
Is I do, that she were at the bottom of the Black Sea this 
instant.' 

Lady Delacour stood for some minutes musing, and then ex- 
daimed, ' I will move heaven and earth to break off this absurd 

' Good Heavens ! my dear Lady Delacour, what do you 

'Meanl my dear — I mean what I say, which very few 
people do ; no wonder I should surprise you.' 

' 1 conjure you,' cried Belinda, ' if you have the least regard 
for my honour and happiness ' 

' I have not the least, but the greatest ; and depend upon it, 
jny dear, 1 will do nothing that shall injure i/iat dignity of mind 
and delicacy of character, which I admire and love, as much as ^ 
Clarence Hervey did, and does. Trust lo me : not Lady Anne J 
Percival herself can be more delicate in her notions "f pmprif ly 
than I am for my friends, and, since my reformation, I hope I 
may add, for myself. Fear nothing.' As she finished these 
words, she rang for her carriage. ' 1 don't ask you to go out 
writh me, my dear Belinda ; I give you leave to sit in this arm- 
Cliair till I come hack again, with your feet upon the fender, a 
459 



i J 



BELINDA 

book in your hand, and this little table beside you, like Lady S.'s 
picture of Comfort' 

Lady Delacour spent the rest of the morning abroad ; and 
when she returned home, she gave no account of what she had 
been doing, or of what or whom she had seen. This was so 
unusual, that Belinda could not avoid taking notice of it 
Notwithstanding her ladyship's eulog^um upon her own delicate 
sense of prrmp^fy^ Miss Portman could not confide, with perfect 
^ resignation, in her_gruifincp. 

* Your ladyship reproached me once,' said she, in a playful 
tone, * for my provoking want of curiosity : you have completely 
cured me of this defect, for never was woman more curious than 
I am, at this instant, to know the secret scheme that you have 
in agitation.' 

* Have patience a little longer, and the mystery will be 
unravelled. In the meantime, trust that everything I do is 
for the best However, as you have behaved pretty well, 
I will give you one leading hint, when you have explained 
to me what you meant by saying that your heart is not at 
present inclined to love. Pray, have you quarrelled with love 
for ever ? ' 

* No ; but I can exist without it.' 

* Have you a heart ? ' 

* I hope so.' 

* And it can exist without love ? I now understand what 
was once said to me by a foolish lordling : — " Of what use is 
the sun to the dial?"'i 

Company came in, and relieved Belinda from any further 
raillery. Lady Boucher and Mrs. Margaret Delacour were, 
amongst a large party, to dine at Lady Delacour's. At dinner, 
the dowager seized the first auspicious moment of silence to 
announce a piece of intelligence, which she flattered herself 
would fix the eyes of all the world upon her. 

* So Mr. Clarence Hervey is married at last ! ' 

* Married ! ' cried Lady Delacour : she had sufficient pre- 
sence of mind not to look directly at Belinda ; but she fixed 
the dowager's eyes, by repeating, * Married ! Are you sure 
of it?' 

* Positive — positive ! He was privately married yesterday 
at his aunt, Lady Almeria's apartments, at Windsor, to Miss 

^60 



NEWS 

Hartley. I told you it was to be, and tioiv it is over ; and a 
■very extraordinary match Mr. Hervey liaa made of it, after all. 
Think of his going at last, and marrying a girl who has been his 
mistress for years ! Nobody will visit her, to be sure. Lady 
Almeria is excessively distressed ; she did all she could lo 
prevail on her brother, the bishop, to marry his nephew, but he 
very properly refused, giving it as a reason, that the girl's 
character was too well laiown.' 

' I thought the bishop was at Spa,' interposed a gentleman, 
■whilst the dowager drew breath. 

* Oh dear, no, sir ; you have been misinformed,' resumed 
she. ' The bishop has been returned from Spa this great while, 
and he has refused to see his nephew, to my certain knowledge. 
After all, I cannot but pity poor Clarence for being driven into 
this match. Mr. Hartley has a prodigious fine fortune, to be 
sure, and he hurried things forward at an amazing rate, to patch 
up his daughter's reputation. He said, as I am credibly 
informed, yesterday morning, that if Clarence did not marry the 
girl before night, he would carry her and her fortune off the 
next day to the West Indies. Now the fortune was certainly 

' My dear Lady Boucher,' interrupted Lord Delacour, 'you 
I must be misinformed in that particular : fortune is no object to 
Clarence Hen-ey ; he is too generous a fellow to marry for 
fortune. What do you think — -what do you say, Lady Dela- 

' I say, and think, and feel, as you do, my lord,' said Lady 
Delacour. 

' You say, and think, and feel the same as my lord. — Very 
extraordinary indeed I ' said the dowager. ' Then if it were 
not for the sake of the fortune, pray why did Mr. Hervey 
marry at all ? Can anybody guess ? ' 

' I should guess because he was in love,' said Lord Dela- 
cour ; ' for I remember that was the reason I married myself.' 

' My dear good lord— but when I tell you the girl had been 
his mistress, till he was lired of her — ~' 

'My Lady Boucher,' said Mrs. Margaret Delacour, who 
had hitherto listened in silence, ' my Lady Boucher, you have 
been misinformed ; Miss Hartley never was Clarence Hervey's 
mistress.' 

mighty glad you think so, Mrs. Delacour j but I 



BELINDA 

assure you nobody else is so charitable. Those who live in 
the world hear a great deal more than those who live out of 
the world. I can promise you, nobody will visit the bride, and 
that is the thing by which we are to judge.' 

Then the dowager and the rest of the company continued 
to descant upon the folly of the match. Those who wished to 
pay their court to Lady Delacour were the loudest in their 
astonishment at his throwing himself away in this manner. 
Her ladyship smiled, and kept them in play by her address, 
on purpose to withdraw all eyes from Miss Portman, whilst, 
from time to time, she stole a glance at Belinda, to observe 
how she was affected by what passed : she was provoked by 
Belinda's self-possession. At last, when it had been settled 
that all the Herveys were odd^ but that this match of Clarence's 
was the oddest of all the odd things that any of the &mily had 
done for many generations, Mrs. Delacour calmly said, *Are 
you sure, Lady Boucher, that Mr. Hervey is married ? * 

* Positive ! as I said before, positive ! Madam, my woman 
had it from Lady Newland's Swiss, who had it from Lady 
Singleton's Frenchwoman, who had it from Longueville, the 
hairdresser, who had it from Lady Almeria's own woman, who 
was present at the ceremony, and must know if anybody does.' 

* The report has come to us zigzag as quick as lightning, 
yet it does not flash conviction upon me,' said Lady Delacour. 

* Nor upon me,' said Mrs. Delacour, * for this simple reason. 
I have seen Miss Hartley within these two hours, and I had it 
from herself that she is not married.' 

* Not married ! ' cried the dowager with terror. 

* I rather think not ; she is now with her father, at my 
house at dinner, I believe, and Clarence Hervey is at Lady 
Almeria's, at Windsor : her ladyship is confined by a fit of the 
gout, and sent for her nephew yesterday. If people who live 
out of the world hear less, they sometimes hear more correctly 
than those who live in it.' 

* Pray when does Mr. Hervey return from Windsor ? ' said 
the incorrigible dowager. 

* To-morrow, madam,' said Mrs. Delacour. * As your lady- 
ship is going to several parties this evening, I think it but 
charitable to set you right in these particulars, and I hope you 
ivjJJ be so charitable as to contradict the report of Miss 

Hartleys having been CYaxetice^s m\?»\x^?a,' 

^62 



NEWS 

* Why, as to that, if the young lady is not married, we must 
presume there are good reasons for it,' said the dowager. 
* Pray, on which side was the match broken off?' 

* On neither side,' answered Mrs. Delacour. 

* The thing goes on then ; and what day is the marriage to 
take place ? ' said Lady Boucher. 

* On Monday — or Tuesday — or Wednesday — or Thursday 
— or Friday — or Saturday — or Sunday, I believe,' replied Mrs. 
Delacour, who had the prudent art of giving answers effectually 
bafHing to the curiosity of gossips. 

The dowager consoled herself in her utmost need with a 
full plate of brandy peaches, and spoke not a word more during 
the second course. When the ladies retired after the dessert, 
she again commenced hostilities : she dared not come to open 
war with Mrs. Delacour ; but in a bye-battle, in a comer, she 
carried everything before her ; and she triumphantly whispered, 
< We shall see, ma'am, that it will turn out, as I told you, that 
Miss Rachel, or Virginia, or whatever he pleases to call her, 
has been what I said ; and, as I said, nobody will visit her, 
not a soul : fifty people I can count who have declared to me 
they've made up their minds ; and my own's made up, I 
candidly confess ; and Lady Delacour, I am sure by her silence 
and looks, is of my way of thinking, and has no opinion of the 
young lady : as to Miss Portman, she is, poor thing, of course, 
so wrapped up in her own affairs, no wonder she says nothing. 
That was a sad business of Mr. Vincent's ! I am surprised to 
see her look even so well as she does after it. Mr. Percival, 
I am told,' said the well-informed dowager, lowering her voice 
so much that the lovers of scandal were obliged to close their 
heads roimd her — * Mr. Percival, I am informed, refused his 
consent to his ward (who is not of age) on account of an 
anonymous letter, and it is supposed Mr. Vincent desired it for 
an excuse to get off handsomely. Fighting that duel about 
her with Sir Philip Baddely settled his love — so he is gone to 
Germany, and she is left to wear the willow, which, you see, 
becomes her as well as everything else. Did she eat any 
dinner, ma'am ? you sat next her.' 

* Yes ; more than I did, I am sure.* 

* Very extraordinary ! Then perhaps Sir Philip Baddel/s 
on again — Lord bless me, what a match would that be for her ! 
Why, Mrs. Stanhope might then, indeed, deserve to be called 

463 



BELINDA 

the match-maker general. The seventh of her nieces this. 
But look, there's Mrs. Delacour leading Miss Portman off into 
the trictrac cabinet, with a face full of business — her hand in 
hers — Lord, I did not know they were on that footing ! I 
wonder what's going forward. Suppose old Hartley was to 
propose for Miss Portman — there would be a dinouement! 
and cut his daughter off with a shilling ! Nothing's impossible, 
you know. Did he ever see Miss Portman ? I must go and 
find out, positively.' 

In the meantime, Mrs. Delacour, unconscious of the curi- 
osity she had excited, was speaking to Belinda in the trictrac 
cabinet. 

* My dear Miss Portman,' said she, * you have a great deal 
of good nature, else I should not venture to apply to you on 
the present occasion. Will you oblige me, and serve a firiend 
of mine — 2l gentleman who, as I once imagined, was an admirer 
of yours 1 ' 

* I will do anything in my power to oblige any friend of 
yours, madam,' said Belinda ; * but of whom are you speaking?' 

* Of Mr. Hervey, my dear young lady.' 

* Tell me how I can serve him as a friend,* said Belinda, 
colouring deeply. 

*That you shall know immediately,' said Mrs. Delacour, 
rummaging and rustling for a considerable time amongst a 
heap of letters, which she had pulled out of the largest pockets 
that ever woman wore, even in the last century. 

*0h, here it is,' continued she, opening and looking into 
them. * May I trouble you just to look over this letter ? It is 
from poor Mr. Hartley ; he is, as you will see, excessively fond 
of his daughter, whom he has so fortunately discovered after 
his long search : he is dreadfully nervous, and has been terribly 
annoyed by these idle gossiping stories. You find, by what 
Lady Boucher said at dinner, that they have settled it amongst 
them that Virginia is not a fit person to be visited ; that she 
has been Clarence's mistress instead of his pupil. Mr. Hartley, 
you see by this letter, is almost out of his senses with the 
apprehension that his daughter's reputatio n is ruined. I sent 
my carriage to Twickenham, the moment I received this letter, 
for the poor girl and her gouvemante. They came to me this 
morning ; but what can I do ? I am only one old woman 
against a confederacy oi vexticaxi gossips ; but if I could 



NEW-S 

gam you and Lady Delacour for my allies, I should fear no , 
adversaries. Virginia is to slay with me for some days ; and ' 
Lady Delacour, I see, has a great mind to come to see her ; 
but she does not like to come without you, and she says that 
she does not like to ask you to accompany her. I don't 
understand her dclisacy about the matter — I have none ; be- 
lieving, as I do, that there is no foundation whatever for these 
malicious reports, which, entre nous, originated, I fancy, with 
Mrs. Marriott. Now, will you oblige me ? If you and Lady 
Delacour will come and see Virginia to-morrow, all the world 
would follow your example the next day. It's often cowardice 
that makes people ill-natured ; have you l!ie courage, my good 
Miss Portman, to be the first to do a benevolent action f I do 
assure you,' continued Mrs. Delacour with great earnestness, 
' I do assure you I would as soon put my hand into that fire, 
this moment, as ask you to do anything that I thought im- 
proper. But foi^ive me for pressing this point ; I am anxious I 
to have your suffrage in her favour : Miss Belinda Portman's 1 I 
character for prudence and propriety stands so high, and is^ ' 
fixed so firmly, that she may venture to let us chng to it ; and i 
I am as we!) convinced of the poor girl's innocence as I am of 
yours ; and when you see her, you will be of my opinion.' 

' I assure you, Mrs. Delacour,' said Belinda, ' that you 
have wasted a great deal of eloquence upon this occasion, 
for-^' 

' I am sorry for it,' interrupted Mrs. Delacour, rising from 
her seat, with a look of some displeasure. ' I meant not to 
distress or offend you. Miss Portman, by my eloquence .■ I am 
only concerned that I should have so far mistaken your 
character as to expose myself to this refusal.' 

'I have given no refusal,' said Belinda, mildly: 'you did 
not let me finish my sentence.' 

' I beg pardon ; that is a foolish old trick of mine.' 

' Mrs. Delacour, I was going to say, has wasted a great 
deal of eloquence : for I am entirely of her opinion, and I 
shall, with the greatest readiness, comply with her request.' 

' You are a charming, generous girl, and I am a passionate 
old fool — thank you a thousand times.' 

' You are not at all obliged to me,' said Belinda. ' When 
I first heard this story, I believed it, as Lady Boucher now 
does — but I have had reason to alter my opinion, and perhaps 
465 



NEWS 

'■«e same means of infonnation would have changed hers ; 
*^ce convinced, it is impossible to relapse into suspicion.' 

'Impossible lo you; the most truly virtuous women are 
always the least suspicious and uncharitable in their opinion of 
their own sex. Lady Anne Percival inspired me with this 
belief, and Miss Portman confirms it. I admire your courage 
in daring to come forward in the defence of innocence. I am 
very rude, alas t for praising you so much.' 

' I have not a right to your admiration,' said Belinda ; ' for 
1 must honestly confess to you that I should not have this 
courage if there were any danger in the case. I do not think 
that in doubtful cases it is the business of a young woman to 
hazard her own reputation by an attempt to preserve another's : \ 
I do not imagine, at least, that I am of sufficient consequence | 
in the world for this purpose ; therefore 1 should never attempt 
it. It is the duty of such women as Mrs. Delacour, whose 
reputation is beyond the power of scandal, to come forward in ( 
the defence of injured innocence ; but this would not be courage 
in Belinda Poriman, it would be presumption and temerity.' 

' Well, if you will not let me admire your courage, or your 
generosity, or your prudence,' said Mrs. Delacour laughing, 
'you must positively let me admire you altogether, and love 
you too, for 1 cannot help iL Farewell.' 

After the company was gone, Lady Delacour Was much 
surprised by the earnestness with which Belinda pressed the 
request that they might the next morning pay a visit to 
Virginia. 

'My dear,' said Lady Delacour, 'to tell you the truth, I am 
full of curiosity, and excessively anxious to go. 1 hesitated 
merely on your account : I fancied that you would not like the 
visit, and that if 1 went without you, it might be taken notice 
of; but I am delighted to find that you will come with me : I 
can only say that you have more generosity than I should 
have in the same situation.' 

The next morning they went together to Mrs. DelacouHs. 
In their way thither, Belinda, to divert her own thoughts, and 
to rouse Lady Delacour from the profound and unnatural 
silence into which she had fallen, petitioned her to finish the 
history of Sir Philip Baddely, the dog. Miss Annabella Lutt- 
ridge, and her biilet-doux. 

; of my high crimes and misdemeanours, you 
467 



BELINDA 

vowed that you would not tell me the remainder of the story 
till the whole week had elapsed ; now will you satisfy my 
curiosity ? You recollect that you left off just where you said 
that you were come to the best part of the story.* 

* Was I ? did I ? — Very true, we shall have time enough to 
finish it by and by, my dear,' said Lady Delacour ; * at present 
my poor head is running upon something else, and I have 
left off being an accomplished actress, or I could talk of 
one subject and think of another as well as the best of you. — 
Stop the carriage, my dear ; I am afraid they have forgot my 
orders.' 

* Did you carry what I desired this morning to Mrs. 
Delacour ? ' said her ladyship to one of the footmen. 

* I did, my lady.* 

* And did you say from me, that it was not to be opened 
till I came ? * 

* Yes, my lady.* 

' Where did you leave it ? * 

* In Mrs. Delacour's dressing-room, my lady : — she desired 
me to take it up there, and she locked the door, and said no 
one should go in till you came.* 

* Very well — go on. Belinda, my dear, I hope that I have 
worked up your curiosity to the highest pitch.* 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE DENOUEMENT 

Curiosity was not, at this instant, the strongest passion in 
Belinda's mind. When the carriage stopped at Mrs. Delacour's 
door, her heart almost ceased to beat ; but she summoned 
resolution to go through, with firmness and dignity, the task 
she had undertaken. 

Clarence Hervey was not in the room when they entered, 

nor was Virginia : Mrs. Ormond said that she had been 

extremely feverish during the night, and that she had advised 

her not to get up till lale m \Yv^ ^"a.-^, "Bwt Mrs, Delacour 




THE DENOUEMENT 
lately went for her, and in a few minutes she made 



adehe^l! 



[ appeal 

Belinda and Lady Delacour exchanged a glance of siirprise 
and admiration. There was a grace and simplicity in her . 
manner, joined to an air of^£fli2£^_that made an irresistible / 
impression in her favour. Lady Delacour, however, after the 
fii'st surprise was over, seemed to relapse into her former 
opinion ; and the piercing looks which her ladyship from time 
to time cast upon Virginia as she spoke, produced their effect. 

. She was abashed and silent. Belinda endeavoured to engage 
; talked with ease and even 
with freedom. Virginia examined Miss Portman's countenance 
with a species of artless curiosity and interest, that was not 

t restrained by factitious politeness. This examination was not 
peciiliarly agreeable to Belinda, yet it was made with so much 
apparent simplicity, that she could not be displeased. 

On the first pause in the conversation, Mrs. Delacour said, 
' Pray, my dear Lady Delacour, what is this wonderful present 
that you sent to me this morning, which you desired tliat no 
one should see till you came ? ' 

' I cannot satisfy your curiosity yet,' replied Lady Delacour. 
' I must wait till Clarence Hervey comes, for the present is 
intended for him,' 

r of solemn mystery in her ladyship's manner, as she 

i pronounced these words, excited general attention. There was 

' a dead silence, which lasted several minutes ; some feeble 

1 attempts were then made by each of the company to start a 

fresh subject of conversation ; but it would not do — all relapsed 

1 the silence of expectation. At last Clarence Hervey 

arrived. Belinda rejoiced that the universal curiosity which 

Lady Delacour had inspired prevented any one's observing the 

sudden change in Mr. Hervey's countenance when he beheld 

her. 

'A pretty set of curious children you are I' cried Lady 
Delacour, laughing. ' Do you know, Clarence, that they arc 
all dying with impatience to see un gage iPamitU that I have 
brought for you ; and the reason that they are so curious is 
simply because I had the address to say, in a solemn voice, 
itisfy your curiosity till Clarence Har\-ey arrives." 
Now follow me, my friends i and if you be disappointed, lay 
the blame, not on me, but on your own imaginations.' 
469 



pns.' II 



BELINDA 

She led the way to Mrs. Delacour*s dressing-room, and all 
the company followed. 

* Now, what do you expect to see ? ' said she, putting the 
key into the door. 

After waiting some moments for a reply, but in vain, she 
threw open the door, and they saw, hung before the wall 
opposite to them, a green curtain. 

* I thought, my dear Clarence,' resumed Lady Delacour, 
* that no present could be more agreeable to you than a com- 
panion for your Virginia. Does this figure,' continued she, 
drawing back the curtain, * does this figure give you the idea 
of Paul ? ' 

* Paul ! ' said Clarence ; * it is a naval officer in full uniform : 
what can your ladyship mean ? ' 

* Virginia perhaps will know what I mean, if you will only 
stand out of her way, and let her see the picture.' 

At these words Clarence made way for Virginia : she turned 
her eyes upon the picture, uttered a piercing shriek, and fell 
senseless upon the floor. 

* Take it coolly,' said Lady Delacour, * and she will come to 
her senses presently. Young ladies must shriek and faint upon 
certain occasions ; but men (looking at Clarence Hervey) need 
not always be dupes. This is only a scene; consider it as such, 
and admire the actress as I do.' 

* Actress ! Oh, she is no actress ! ' cried Mrs. Ormond. 
Clarence Hervey raised her from the ground, and Belinda 

sprinkled water over her face. 

* She's dead ! — she's dead ! Oh, my sweet child ! she's 
dead ! * exclaimed Mrs. Ormond, trembling so violently, that 
she could not sustain Virginia. 

* She is no actress, indeed,' said Clarence Hervey : ' her 
pulse is gone ! ' 

Lady Delacour looked at Virginia's pale lips, touched her 
cold hands, and with a look of horror cried out, * Good 
Heavens ! what have I done ? What shall we do with 
her?