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at which time they were to be brought home, and become joint-possessors of the mansion until the marriage of one of them should take place. He also appointed Mrs. Burton to the charge of his wife until his elder daughter came of age, and as much longer as might be agreeable to his children; making a suitable provision for the maintenance of his wife. To Mrs. Neale and her husband he also bequeathed a handsome legacy, and gave permission to his uncle to reside in the mansion-house till his daughters were of age; taking for granted, no doubt, that his wife's apartments would never be invaded. In short, he made every arrangement which prudence and affection could suggest for the benefit of his family; summing up his will in a manner which proved that he had the feelings of a Christian, though perhaps not of one highly enlightened. It was, however, much to be lamented, that he wanted that insight into character which would have prevented his entrusting such persons as Mrs. Burton and her sister with the charge of his poor unfortunate wife.

As I am obliged to enter with considerable minuteness into some parts of this history, I shall endeavour to pass over the less interesting particulars of it with the more haste.


The above-mentioned articles of Mr. Danzy's will, which did not require any length of time for their performance, were put in execution immediately after his death. Mr. Barnet, the uncle before spoken of, was immediately sent for on Mr. Danzy's removal. gentleman, without loss of time, proceeded to the execution of his nephew's will, and, as soon as the father's remains were deposited in the family-vault, set out with his two great-nieces to London, where, not meeting with a school to his taste, he carried them over to France, and established them in a convent at Amiens. On his return to England, he dismissed the greater part of the servants, and fixed himself in one corner of the familymansion, while the poor lady and her harsh attendants occupied the other.

Things being thus established, years rolled on, with little change of scene at the mansion, and no variation of ideas to the poor afflicted lady, who still spoke of her infant children, and could never be made to understand

that her affectionate husband was dead. And through this long interval, she was seen daily arranging the pillow and satin quilt for her baby, and preparing the chair to receive the visits of her husband; sometimes talking to her linnet when left alone, which was frequently for many hours in the day, and sometimes playing on her guitar, of which instrument she had been a perfect mistress in her happier days.

In the mean time, the young ladies in the convent acquired such accomplishments as were taught in those days; and, as they advanced in years, they improved so greatly in their appearance as to promise an extraordinary degree of beauty, especially the younger, who had a sweetness of countenance and manner which made her singularly attractive.

There was in the convent a widow lady, an English woman, residing as a pensioner, of high rank and considerable piety, who, though a Protestant, had made this convent her place of residence in order more fully to separate herself from the society of a large worldly acquaintance. It was the happiness of Isabella and Clarissa to win the regards of this lady; who took great pains to attract them to her, for the purpose of preserving them from those ignorant and superstitious notions which they were in danger of acquiring from constant intercourse with the other inhabitants of the house. From the society of this lady, Clarissa, whose mind, through the divine blessing on the early labours of her nurse, was prepared for the reception of good instruction, derived such advantage, that few young women of nineteen, which was the age she had attained when her uncle came to convey the sisters home, could in any degree be compared to her with respect to intellectual attainments. Her person also and manners were charming; while her entire freedom from selfishness could only be attributed to the influence of that free grace by which the nature of man is radically changed, and from which his feelings and affections take a new direction. But Isabella, I am sorry to say, had by no means reaped an equal advantage from the instructions of this excellent lady; the same impatience of control which she had evidenced in early life still continuing to direct her conduct, rendered her much less docile than her sister.

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Clarissa's separation from this lady was affecting; but she received much comfort from a promise which she made of visiting her in England, and which promise was afterwards fulfilled, to the great joy of both parties, though not till after the lapse of some years.

After taking leave of this dear lady, Clarissa had no other feeling left on undertaking her journey home but an extreme impatience to come to the end of it, in order that she might once again salute her mother and her nurse; and this feeling prompted her to entertain her sister, whenever she was not restrained by her uncle's presence, with the plans she had formed for her mother's happiness.


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'O, many many

Why," said her sister to her, when she first opened the subject, "what can you do for our mother?" "Do for her!" said Clarissa; things: I will do every thing for her." "Absurd!" replied Isabella: "will you not allow her a waiting-maid?”

Just as she pleases in that respect," replied Clarissa. "But this I know, that Mrs. Burton shall be dismissed she has been with her too long at least by nineteen years."

"And will you dismiss her without consulting me, Clarissa?" returned Isabella.

"I am sure you will not oppose her dismissal, if we discover that she has been unkind to our mother," said Clarissa.

“But you have as yet no proof of her unkindness," replied the other.

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'No," said Clarissa, "I have not any absolute proof, to be sure: but I shall soon see how it is; for I shall watch every word and action."

"And if you do so with an intention to find fault, Clarissa," said Isabella, "these women must be more than human to escape your censure."

"All this may be true," replied Clarissa. "Notwithstanding which, I have such strong suspicions that my poor parent has been misused by them, that I shall never be easy till I have sifted this matter to the bottom."

"I think," replied Isabella, "that you should be equally afraid of being unjust to Mrs. Burton as to your mother."

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'No," returned Clarissa, "I cannot see that, Isabella. Mrs. Burton is not wholly dependent on us, as our poor mother is. She can speak for herself; she can plead her own cause; she is prepared to fight her own battles: and if we put her away, she has other resources. But our poor helpless parent-O, Isabella! Isabella! my future life, with the divine help, shall be devoted to her; and I never will enter into any engagement by which I may be prevented from doing my duty to her as an affectionate daughter.'

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"Your professions, Clarissa," replied Isabella, "remind me of those of the two elder daughters of King Lear; and I shall not be surprised if they are no better fulfilled."

Clarissa made no further reply; but she inwardly prayed, that her present resolutions of watching over and comforting her mother, as long as she needed such care and consolation, might be strengthened and confirmed from on high.

It was about noon on the third day of their leaving town, that the two young ladies and their guardian arrived at the family-mansion; for travellers did not in those days fly over the country with the velocity they now do. They found every thing at the old mansion nearly in the same state as they had left them; for Mr. Barnet had been a faithful steward to them with respect to all their worldly concerns. On the great flight of steps which led up to the hall-door, stood Mrs. Burton, and several more of the old servants, prepared to offer their young ladies the most respectful reception. While Isabella was addressing these, Clarissa looked eagerly round for her nurse; and not seeing her, she was running forwards to her mother's room, when Mrs. Burton, perceiving her intentions, stepped forward, and, in a fawning manner, besought her not to think of going to her mother at that time-" For this," said she," is the hour when our dear lady is accustomed to take her repose; after which, when she rises to receive her dinner, I will endeavour to prepare her for your appearance, ladies. But," added she, looking at Miss Isabella, "if we were to break suddenly upon her, it is not possible to foresee what might be the consequence: for no one knows," proceeded Mrs. Burton, lifting up her eyes and


drawing up her lips, as if under the influence of acute feelings, no one can have an idea what that poor lady has suffered, and still suffers, from her dreadful disorder."

"That she has suffered and still suffers severely I doubt not," replied Clarissa, casting a glance at her sister, which Isabella well understood; "and this very assurance," continued she, "will make me the more determined to devote myself, in every possible way, to the alleviation of her sufferings."

"Alas, Miss!" said Mrs. Burton, "you will find the task a heavier one than you now imagine."

"If it is a heavy task, Mrs. Burton," rejoined Clarissa, "who is so fit for it as a daughter?"

"Surely, Miss," said Mrs. Burton, "nothing is more true than what you have said: one thing only I have to remark that I hope you young ladies will take care how you begin this work of kindness; since it is not easy for me to give you an idea how my poor lady suffers whenever she is put out of her way, or in any degree hurried and confused in her poor mind."

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'Nothing can be more rational than what you say,' returned Isabella; "and I am sure that I can answer both for my sister and myself, that we shall not attempt to interfere with your very judicious and kind management of our poor mother."

Clarissa heard this speech of her sister's, but made no observation upon it, being resolved to judge for herself of the situation of her mother, and to act according to that judgment.

The young ladies were at this moment called by their guardian to dinner; during which repast Clarissa, hearing her uncle say that he must now enquire after a suitable habitation for himself, having for some years past resided in the mansion-house according to Mr. Danzy's will, thought it right to propose that he should still occupy his favourite little study and bed-chamber at the further end of the house, and attend the family meals when it suited him so to do.

This was the very thing which the old gentleman wished; but it was a proposal not altogether so pleasing to Isabella, who, however, felt that she could not make any reasonable objection: though she remarked, half in good

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