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and large pockets disfigured their good men. They came forward with gold-headed canes in their hands, the lady every now and then uttering a short cough or hem; and so slow was their progress, and their appearance at first in a situation so remote, (for the trellis was very long,) that I had an opportunity of making several comments upon them to my sister before it was necessary for me to arise and pay my compliments. But, just at the moment when it was needful to move, I was surprised to see the worthy pair, who had hitherto advanced arm-in-arm, separate by a simultaneous motion, to give room for a delicate young female to step in between them. She was a young girl, full grown indeed, but of so pleasingly a youthful form and air, as to give rather the idea of a child than of a woman.
The appearance of this fair creature added wonderful interest to the scene, which I was beginning to consider an insufferable bore, (to adopt the sort of language I should have used at that time,) and imparted such alacrity to my motions, and such assiduity to my manner, that I have no doubt I made, at this first interview, a very pleasing impression on my father's old friend. It was, however, with some difficulty, after having succeeded in getting the party settled at the table, that I could withdraw my attention sufficiently from the sweet face of Mary Daurien (for the young lady was the granddaughter of Sir William) to enable me to pay proper attention to the old people, whose long, formal expressions were only to be endured, because I could not see Mary under any conditions but those of being polite to her friends.
Much as I had been in the habit of associating with the noblest and fairest of my countrywomen, I had never been so captivated by any lovely countenance as that which then first broke upon my view. But, much as I admired Miss Daurien, I misunderstood her mind and character. I confounded her remarkable modesty and simplicity with childishness, and, in fact, (for why should I not speak out ?) thought her destitute of strength of mind; while I attributed her reserve and silence to a deficiency of talent; little wondering at that, supposing her to have been brought up by her grandmother. But
I had felt the perverted influence of the strong mind of my sister, and had always protested against marrying a clever woman; therefore my admiration of Mary was not in the least diminished by the erroneous ideas I had conceived respecting her; and when the worthy old couple rose up to take their leave, I attended them, most obsequiously, to the door of their apartments; and we separated with as many compliments on each side as would have served Sir Charles Grandison for the day of his nuptials.
When returning to Naples, I asked my sister what she thought of Daurien for my second wife.
She replied, that, if I must have a wife,—and perhaps it would be as well that I should, as my son was a poor, weakly thing,—the piece of wax-work I had seen that evening would do as well as any other, and, in some respects, better; as there are some fine fields attached to her person, which would form a pretty addition to my estates at Hartlands.
Under these considerations, it was resolved that I should strive to make myself agreeable to Miss Daurien; and endeavour to win over the old people, who were already very well prepared to like me on account of my name and family.
Sir William and Lady Daurien came into Naples the next day, and I lost no time in paying my respects to them, accompanied by my sister; and found them living in an exceedingly handsome style, in a beautiful house on the Bay.
On a second view of the lovely Mary I became more delighted with her than ever. I thought that she resembled a beautiful madona in white marble which I had seen in a church in Rome, excepting that the madona wanted that soft and tender flush which mantled in her cheek when she moved or spoke.
During my first visit I was all mildness and complaisance, speaking in the softest and smoothest cadences, listening with unwearied attention to the long stories of Sir William, and being observant, to the last degree, of all the minutie of ceremony which Lady Daurien thought necessary to exercise herself
, and to require of others. In short I played the hypocrite to perfection
talked pathetically of my departed parents, and ventured, though I felt somewhat awkwardly, to express some moral sentiments; which brought a smile of approbation from the old lady, and a ruder sort of compliment from Sir William ; who, on one occasion of this kind, shook me heartily by the hand, and said, with tears in his eyes, “There now, I recognise the son of my honourable and respectable friend, the late worthy and excellent Earl of Roxeter."
All this was vastly well; yet I could not perceive that I made any advances in the favour of the golden-haired Mary, who sat apart during the whole of our visit busily engaged with a piece of embroidery fixed in a frame. Several formal morning and evening visits passed between the two families before I had the slightest opportunity of improving my acquaintance with Miss Daurien. But at length a party was made to visit Pompeii; and then I trusted that such an opportunity would be afford
but Sir William made his granddaughter take his arm, and that so perseveringly, that I had not an opportunity of even addressing one word to her, till on our return, when we chanced to pass the door of a church in which some ceremony was taking place which we desired to see, and for that reason entered. I soon perceived that something very absurd was going forward, although the organ was playing a very solemn and beautiful air. The crowd in the church was great, and I contrived to get close to Miss Daurien, though í did not presume to speak to her. _ As we were coming out again, my sister, speaking in English, which was probably not understood by any one present beyond our party, expressed extreme contempt of the absurdities of popery; on which I reproved her, thinking this was a fine opportunity of shewing off; and, throwing as much pathos as I possibly could into my voice, and assuming as much humility as I thought might appear natural in my manner, I said that I would willingly endure every aspersion which the proud world might throw upon me, could I but feel all those warm and ardent emotions of religion which many who are called fools and zealots are known to experience. I hoped this sentiment would be approved, but I expected not so warm an approval as
it met with : for the lovely young lady by whom I was walking, suddenly turned to me, and, while her countenance beamed with evident approbation, she smiled upon me ;-it was the first smile she had bestowed on me particularly ;-and, at the same time, such a ray of intellectual light and glory passed over her features as I had never before beheld on any human countenance. She spoke, and said, softly, “I am pleased, my Lord, to hear this sentiment from you. We should not despise any of our fellow-creatures."
I had now ascertained the sort of thing which would please; and I made such ample use of my discovery, that I obtained the prize, and, in short, made Miss Daurien my own within the second year after my first wife's death, and within three months of my arrival at Naples.
As money had not been the leading object of this marriage, as it had been of the former, I left Sir William to manage the settlements according to his own wishes. A certain portion of the estates must needs go with the title to the heir male, but fortunately these were not the lands adjoining to Hartlands, neither was the house in that neighbourhood so limited. This unentailed estate, therefore, and a very large sum of money, was to pass to Mary's children. And the deed was so worded, that, in case of the death of my eldest son, which we talked of as a thing very probable, my eldest son by Miss Daurien was to have no part of her fortune in case of younger children, though the estates were to be his if the elder brother lived. By this arrangement, though not intended, it was evident that it would become the interest of every child I might have by my second wife to desire the death of the son of my first.
I had passed off so well at Naples for a discreet, steady, and virtuous young man, that I was in great dread lest any gossiping countryman, or countrywoman, should arrive before the knot was tied, to betray my true history: but fortune favoured meno such person appeared. The settlements were finished and signed, the marriage was concluded, and we were on our way towards England, before my lovely young wife had found, by experience, that I was very different from what I had always appeared to her.
VOL. VII. T
A few days before my marriage was to take place, I received a letter from Mr. Helmly, informing me that my son had been several times attacked by convulsions; and that, as there was no hope of his life, it would be well for me to hasten home, lest the Goldings should raise any difficulties respecting his mother's fortune. I was well aware that no difficulties could be raised; yet, as I thought it would be better to be on the spot, I resolved to return immediately, and to return by sea, which I concluded would be the most speedy and easy method. However, as it did not suit me to seem sad just at that time, I did not say any thing respecting this communication till I had been actually married about two days. I then informed my wife of the state of my son, affecting to have just received the letter; and she not only instantly acquiesced in the necessity of returning, but undertook to reconcile her parents to the measure. Passages, therefore, were immediately procured in an English vessel, which was only waiting fair winds, and we embarked directly; Sir William and lady Daurien, having engaged to follow us to England, over land, as soon as possible.
I did not much increase my acquaintance with the character of Lady Roxeter at sea ; for she was so much affected by the usual malady of young mariners, that I was obliged to deliver her over to the care of my sister; but we had a speedy and prosperous voyage; and, entering the channel with a fair wind, soon found ourselves on English ground. We remained only one night in the sea-port, and arrived at our house in town the next day, where I found a servant just come up from Hartlands. This man, by name Thomas Jefferies, an old groom of my late father, hastened to meet us in the hall, as soon as we had entered it, proclaiming, in high glee, the convalescence of my son, after such an illness as few infants are able to contend with; adding, “But, my Lord,” (for I remember the words he uttered, as if I had heard them but yesterday, as well as the broad grin with which they were delivered,)“you must expect to see the babe looking uncommon bad: he is quite a sight, poor little gentleman; but I warrant he will be quite another thing when he has his father to see