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The host soon appeared; and, after dispatching the least consequential part of his business, he made some distant enquiries of him about his other guest, but could obtain no other information, than that the gentleman came there late the preceding evening on a post-horse, had appeared at some times thoughtful, and at others disturbed, had made no mention of his intention to depart, and had just ordered his dinner.
After a moment's consideration, General Harcourt charged his host with a message to the young gentleman, purporting, that a fellowtraveller, detained by indisposition, and quite alone, would esteem it as a favour if he would partake of his chicken with him: an invitation which was readily accepted; and Mr. Mandeville, the name by which he had desired to be announced, entered soon after the apartment of General Harcourt, and expressed his thanks for the honour conferred on him, and his apologies for his dishabille, in terms which would have in. terested the worthy general strongly in his favour, if he had not at first sight received an impression which needed no other prepossession.
As the conversation naturally turned on the journey of each, and that subject drew from the general a full account of his destination, it seemed incumbent on the young traveller to be equally communicative; but he rather avoided an explanation, though he appeared more embarrassed than reserved, and to want that encouragement which was kindly given him by the general, in assurances, that though he sought not to extort from him any circumstance which he might think it prudent to conceal, yet that, if his apparent anxiety arose from any of the common disappointments of life, he might safely unbosom himself to a man who, having shared in the calamities of human nature, had a heart to feel, and at least to pity, the distress which he was unable to relieve.
Thus soothed, Mr. Mandeville informed his kind companion, that he was a friendless orphan, who had been deprived of both his parents at a very early period of his life; that he had been liberally educated by a sister of his father, who he had also very lately had the misfortune to lose ; that the care of his person, and the very scanty remains of his father's fortunes, had, at her death, devolved on her's and his father's elder brother, who was a country squire of little understanding, and less humanity, and who had placed him, against his inclination, to learn a profession which he abhorred, and had absolutely forbid him to think of any other way of life, on the pain of his withdrawing from him his protection; that notwithstanding his total dislike of his situation, he should have persevered in his endeavours to conquer this aversion, but that a hopeless love-entanglement had made it necessary for him to quit at once the object of his passion, and the seat of his dissatisfaction ; and that he was now on the stream, doubtful what course to steer; but inclined and thus far on his way to Portsmouth, to enter into the service of his country as a private soldier or sailor; to either of which stations be had much rather submit, than put a cruel restraint on his inclinations on the one hand, or involve the object of his passion in his distresses on the other.
This communication, the truth of which the general found not the least reason to doubt, induced him to become at once the patron and protector of the unfortunate youth. He told him, he applauded his resolu
ions, as the efforts of a virtuous mind, though, perhaps, the generality of the world would not be ready to subscribe to his prudence; that he had too much delicacy to ask for farther particulars, and would even decline enquiring what part of the kingdom he had left; that he would immediately procure him a pair of colours in the regiment he was about to join; and as he doubted not but his conduct would justify his recommendation, he would from time to time assist in his promotion as opportunity offered, and his merit demanded.
Penetrated with gratitude at an offer which led to the gratification of every wish of his heart, he attempted to unburden his overflowing soul, and to pay the tribute of thanks to his kind, his benevolent benefactor; but he was only eloquent in tears, and his endeavours were exhausted in the broken and incoherent expressions of · Father!...... Friend !......and Messenger of Heaven ....... A language more delightful to the ears of the brave and generous Harcourt
, than all the powers of oratory, aided by the utmost graces of elocution.
He accordingly embarked with his protector, who liberally supplied him with every necessary for his voyage; and joining the British forces on the continent of America, he continued to serve there for two years, with unblemished reputation; his public conduct recommending him to the notice of his superior officers, and his private character procuring him universal regard and esteem. At the expiration of this time, General Harcourt, preparing to return to England, on account of his health, which had been impaired by a dangerous wound, which had never been compleatly cured, he obtained leave of absence for Mr. Mandeville; who was become so dear to him, that he could not bear to be deprived of his company, at a time when his spirits, which always appeared to labour under some particular weight, were peculiarly depressed from bodily infirmity, and the chearful and enlivening conversation of his youthful and less affected brother in adversity, and his grateful and affectionate personal care, were so necessary to alleviate the distresses of his mind, and the pains of indisposition.
In the course of the voyage to England, after a night of unusual restlessness, during which he had been attended with the most watchful solicitude by his young companion and friend, General Harcourt took an opportunity of mingling with the tenderest expressions of approbation, some hints of the causes of his own mental uneasiness; and finding Mr. Mandeville eagerly though diffidently anxious for a more explicit communication, he gave him the following short sketch of his
That he was the only son of a private gentleman of large whose fondness had prevented his parting with him, even for the purpose of education, which he received from a private tutor in his father's house, till he was of a proper age to be sent to the university.....that he there contracted an intimacy with the son of a clergyman; and visiting with him at his father's, he fell in love with his friend's only sister; and, after offering her marriage privately, and engaging himself to her by the most solemn ties, she, in a moment of tenderness, surrendercú to him that virtue which he was bound to protect.....that his amour ye very soon discovered by his father, who compelled him to accept a co... mission in a regiment then embarking for the East Indies, where he had remained but little more than three years before he was informed that his wife (for so he had ever esteemed her) had paid the debt of nature,
together with an infant son), who had been born a few nionths after his departure......that the letters which conveyed this intelligence contained also an invitation to him to return, and he accordingly procured leave of absence from his regiment; but, on his arrival in England, found that his father had been dead some months; and having now no attachment, he determined to pursue a military life; and purchasing superior rank in a regiment stationed in America, he took his passage for that continent in a vessel which carried several other
among them a young woman with whom he formed a connection, and who had brought him a daughter; but as he had great reason to disapprove the conduct of the mother, they had parted, and she had since married; though he had charged himself with the care of the child, who was now about seventeen, beautiful in her person, and of disposition truly amiable......that he had never got over the impression of his first love, por found it possible to suppress an idea that the fruit of that unhappy affection had survived its unfortunate mother......that he had, however, in vain sought to discover his existence; and was now returning to England with a design to retire to the seat of his ancestors, and to spend the remainder of a life, which, from a combination of mental and corporeal injuries, seemed drawing to a period, in the enjoyment of those comforts which he might derive from the conversation of his darling daughter, and in providing for her such an establishment as might extend his care of her happiness even beyond the period of his dissolution......that on his arrival in England, he should spend some months in the metropolis, for the necessary purposes of arrangements, as to past and future concerns; and should immediately send for his Annabella, who had never yet known the name she was in future to bear, and whose education he had entrusted a worthy and excellent woman at N
As the general advanced in his recital, the mind of Mandeville underwent the most agonizing sensations of curiosity and apprehension; but the conclusion of it removed all his doubts, and excited all his fears: to have found in the person of his beloved, the daughter and intended heiress of his benefactor, to aspire to whose hand, would be equally absurd and ungrateful; yet, at the same time, to have found an additional reason for the increase, if possible, of an affection which could only be heighiened by such discoveries; were circumstances so distressful, that an involuntary exclanțation of Good God!' escaped him the moment General Harcourt had" finished his tale; who, turning his eyes to his young friend, was astonished to find him bathed in tears, and discovering the most violent emotions, though his attention only had appeared to be engaged during the former part of the recital.
It was impossible for him to avoid enquiring into the occasion of this very extraordinary appearance; and the general had no sooner
asked Mr. Mandeville what particular part of bis story had proved so extremely affecting to him, than he threw himself at the feet of his patron, and with anguish which wrung the heart of the humane veterait, besought him to abandon the most unfortunate of men : who was not only destined to feel the sharpest pangs of misery himself; but, like a contagious disease, to communicate his wretchedness to those whose tenderness deserved from him such returns only as should be productive of pleasure and satisfaction. But though you abandon me, Sir,' continued the unhappy Mandeville, 'condemn me not: my offence has been involun.