I waited several days, without any opportunity offering of speaking to the young man, though I walked every morning and evening in the garden, where I saw him constantly employed: but madam Diserre being always at my elbow, I never could execute my design. One evening, after two or three unsuccessful stratagems to elude the vigilance of madam Diserre, I retired to my chamber, more affected with my condition than I had yet been; and after having, for two or three hours, been taken up in forming different projects for my escape, which all, upon greater reflection, appeared impracticable, I burst into a flood of tears, deploring the misery into which my fatal credulity, and the count's ungenerous arts, had plunged me.
While I was thus employed, from a large closet in the room, a young man, very richly dressed, rushed out, and, preventing my crying out by holding his hand upon my mouth, told me, at the same time, not to be alarmed; for he was come to do me service. These words, and the tone of his voice, which was inexpressibly soft and insinuating, a little reassured me, and gave me spirits enough to ask his intention in concealing himself in my chamber. "Speak softly, mademoiselle, replied the youth; your watchful spy, madam Diserre, is but in the next chamber. If she discovers me, it will be impossible for me to give you liberty, which is what I intend; and, to calm the fears which I see you still labor under know, I am a woman, and have only taken this disguise in order to accomplish my design." Saying this, she discovered her bosom, which entirely banished my apprehensions. "Is it possible, said I, (quite transported) that in a stranger I should find so much friendship! Tell me, I beseech you, madam, who you are, that I may know to whom I am so greatly obliged!" As I spoke this, I looked earnestly in the face of the pretended youth, who was now seated by me, and thought I had never beheld any thing more beautiful. "My story, mademoiselle, said she, is too long to relate, in our present dangerous circumstances. For your satisfaction, I shall inform you that my name is Danville. The count de R---- courted me, while I was yet very young, and under the guardian ship of an uncle, my parents being both dead. I was charmed with his person; and, too young to be sensible of the danger of his addresses, (his quality rendering him a husband I could never, with reason, expect) I suffered myself to be seduced by his artifices, and followed him to Paris, where I have remained near three years, in absolute possession, as I thought, of his heart. The count, sensible that I had forsaken every thing for him, has always treated me with uncommon tenderness; and 'tis but within a very little while that I have suspected a change in his inclinations. From the first moment that I entertained this doubt, I lost all repose; and determined, if possible, to find out if my lover had any new engagement upon his hands. I have had him watched to every place he went, and intelligence brought me of the most trifling of his actions. It was not long before I was informed, that the count had a young lady in this house, and also of the restraint in which you was kept. I could not conceive it possible, that you was here contrary to your inclinations; and resolving to be convinced, I took the disguise you see, and was, by my faithful informer, introduced privately into the house and your closet. I saw your tears, I heard your complaints, and must confess I admire your virtue, and wish my own had been equal to it. I should not, then, be a despised, abandoned mistress; for, whatever false raptures our lovers may utter, 'tis what all must come to, who fall a sacrifice to a guilty passion." This sentiment, notwithstanding I was prepossessed against this lady, from her story, restored her to some part of my good opinion; and I pressed her, earnestly, to put me in a method to make my escape. "I am afraid, replied the lady, there will be some difficulty in effecting it. La Valere the valet, who has served me thus far, will hardly consent to your stealing away; and, indeed, I never made this proposal to the fellow, as it would inevitably ruin him with his master. My only design, I told him, was to satisfy my curiosity, by seeing you." "Alas, madam, interrupted I, have you only flattered me then, with a vain hope of procuring my liberty? How unfortunate am I!" "Hold, mademoiselle, said she, do not despair. Do you think I am not greatly interested in your getting out of the count's power? I have thought of an expedient, if you have courage enough to put it in execution. La Valere is provided with a false key to your closet-door, by which he introduced me: I expect he will be at the door in an hour at farthest, to conduct me out. It will not be so light but he may easily mistake you for me, when you are dressed in the clothes I have on. Will you consent to be thus disguised? I'll stay in your stead, and, when the count comes, shall have an Opportunity of upbraiding him with his infidelity. Madam Diserre cannot know any thing of the matter, till you are quite out of danger; and I'll take care she shall send no one after you. She knows me very well, and will not dare to contradict me. Come, continued she, if you cannot resolve to do this, I shall not scruple to think you have a greater inclination to stay here than accept your liberty." "No, madam, replied I, (vexed at her insinuation) you shall find I am ready to run any hazard, to escape from the count; and, considering I am an absolute stranger both to this place and Paris also, it will be no mean enterprise to venture abroad in man's clothes, at so early an hour, without knowing where to go." "Sure, mademoiselle, said the count's mistress, (in a softer accent) you do not imagine I would provide so ill for your safety! La Valere will conduct you to a house at a small distance, where my woman attends me with other apparel; for I dressed myself for this adventure there, the mistress of the house being a person with whom I have a strict friendship. As soon as you are entered, deliver this ring, which I will give you for that purpose, either to her or my woman, and tell them the artifice we have used. I ordered the coach to come for me very early in the morning; and, when you have changed your dress, you may be at Paris before madam Diserre will be risen: so that you need not fear any pursuit, or that the count should be soon informed of your flight. You may, if you please, conceal yourself at my house, till you have resolved what to do; and my woman may attend you there. It will be the last place in the world, where the count will expect to find you; and there is no probability that he will come to pay me a visit, as he informed me, that he was going to Versailles for three weeks: a presence he invented to conceal his new affections, which engrossed all his moments." "Ah, madam, interrupted I, let us haste to change clothes! I am convinced there will be no difficulty in this affair; and I only tremble now, lest this Valere should come too soon." Madam Danville, smiling at my impatience, began to undress; and, as soon as she had slipped on my gown, took a great deal of pains in dressing me in her man's clothes. As we were almost of an equal height, and not much different in shape, they fitted me near as well as her: but I thought myself so extremely awkward in this habit, that I was apprehensive the valet would never mistake me for his lady. As soon as I was thus metamorphosed, madam Danville pulled off a rich diamond from her finger, and gave it me for a passport: "Valere, said she, will just conduct you to the door; and, if you can avoid speaking much to him, by holding a handkerchief up to your face you'll effectually conceal yourself from his knowledge."
She had just finished her instructions, when we heard the key turn in the door; upon which madam Danville hastily put out the candle, and I went into the closet with a trembling heart. "Come, madam, said the valet, (hearing me enter) 'tis almost light." I gave him my hand and he led me down a little pair of stairs, and a-cross two or three rooms, till we came to the hall. "What a villain am I, said he, (in a muttering voice) to betray my master in this manner, who confides so greatly in me! But your ladyship is so good, and so generous, 'tis impossible to deny you any thing. Well, madam, what do you think of this young girl my master has stolen? Is she handsome?" "Yes, answered I, (in a whisper)." "Not half so handsome as your ladyship though, said the valet. Well, your curiosity was certainly wound up to a high pitch, that you could patiently suffer so long a confinement for a sight of your rival. This jealousy is a terrible passion: thank heaven, 'tis only you great folks that are plagued with it. Such as we, love after another fashion." It was happy for me, that this fellow loved to hear himself talk. I found myself under no necessity of speaking to him; for he continued his harangue, without interruption, till we got to the house.
As soon as he had knocked at the door, I bid him leave me, in a muttering voice; which, had I not accompanied with a wave of my hand, 'tis probable he would not have understood. He had just turned from me, when the door was opened by a woman, who, having a candle in her hand, by which she plainly saw my face, "Oh heavens! cried she, this is not my lady!" "Shut the door, said I, and compose yourself. Do you know what your lady's errand was at the count de R----'s?" "Yes, I do," replied she. "Well, resumed I, I am the person of whom she entertained a jealousy; but, having discovered that I had no inclination to stay at the count's, she changed dresses with me, to facilitate my escape, and remains there in my stead. To convince you this is truth, here is a ring she bid me give you." "Ah, mademoiselle, said the waiting woman, (receiving the ring) pardon me, if I entertained some doubts, at first seeing you in my lady's habit. Well, sure this is the strangest adventure! So, my lady will stay till the count comes! There will be a sad quarrel between them, I fear. But, really, mademoiselle, 'twas a generous action of yours, to resign the count to your rival. I think my lady is greatly obliged to you." "I have no interest in the count, I assure you, answered I; and I am more obliged to your lady, for assisting me to get out of that house, than she is to me for quitting it. But, if you'll help me to change my dress, you do me a favor; for I must not stay here long." Madam de Danville's woman, asking my pardon for keeping me so long in the entry, immediately showed me into a chamber; and, having helped to disrobe me, dressed me anew in her lady's clothes, which were extremely elegant, and fitted me exactly. The woman, who understood the duties of her place perfectly well, loaded me with compliments all the while she was assisting me to dress. "I protest, mademoiselle, said she, I never saw a more lovely face and shape in my life. How graceful is your air! What eyes! What a complexion is there! But, permit me to tell you, you want a little red. There is a certain languid sweetness in the pale color of the English ladies, which is very becoming perhaps in that country, but here it is too remarkable."
She was going on in this manner, when the mistress of the house entered the room: "What, madam, said she, (with a familiar air) you are out of your masculine habit, I see: but I long to know the particulars of this whimsical expedition." Upon this, I turned towards her; for, as I was still at the toilet, she had only seen my back. "Bless me, resumed she, (starting back) who is this? Toinet, where is your lady? How has this metamorphosis happened?" Toinet, as she called her, having ended a violent fit of laughter, satisfied her curiosity by repeating all I had told her; to which I added something, which let her into the whole affair. "It highly concerns me, madam, pursued I, to leave this place as soon as possible; and, if madam de Danville's coach is come, I would set out for Paris immediately." "It will be here in half an hour, replied the lady, (looking on her watch); and in the mean time, mademoiselle, you may drink some chocolate, which I'll order in an instant." I accepted this invitation, and followed her to a parlor: and the coach being come, soon after we had breakfasted, I told Toinet she might go to Paris with me; for her lady did not desire her attendance there any longer, as she was uncertain when she should want her.
As soon as we began our little journey, I debated with myself, whether it would be proper to go to madam de Danville's house, or endeavor to find out the marchioness, and implore her protection; for I was determined never to go near that fatal convent, though I passionately longed to see mademoiselle Belville. As I was extremely apprehensive of seeing the count, or the earl of L----, I thought it the safest way to let the coach set me down at madam de Danville's, where I might stay till I had wrote to the marchioness, and sent to the convent to know if Mrs. Dormer had been there. Accordingly I resolved upon this last expedient; and, being now come into Paris, I drew up the windows, lest I should be seen. The inquisitive woman, observing this action, asked me, if I had any particular reasons for keeping myself concealed, beside the fear of being seen by the count. I replied, that, indeed, was my principal motive for desiring not to be seen; but that I had also some other reasons, which made it necessary: and asked her, if she thought I could pass unobserved into the house. "Depend upon it, mademoiselle, said she, no one, that sees you just step out of the coach, will take you for any other than my lady; and none of our servants dare to mention any thing that passes here. Besides, you are a stranger to them: they don't know your name, and it is impossible they should make any discovery.', "Well", answered I, I'll venture to stay there a couple of hours, till I have taken some necessary precautions to secure myself." "You may depend upon my fidelity, said the officious Toinet: I shall be glad of an opportunity to serve you. "
We had now reached the house; and the door being opened, I went in as quick as possible. Toinet followed me, and showed me into her lady's room. I had just seated myself, when somebody rapping loud at the door, threw me into a terrible consternation; and I earnestly conjured Toinet to see who it was, before any of the other servants could answer them. Accordingly she ran down stairs, and left me in the most cruel anxiety till her return. "Who would have thought, said she, (when she entered the room) that you could be so soon discovered! There is a gentleman below, who asks to see the young lady that just now came in a coach to this house." "What sort of man?" cried I, (quite alarmed). "He is young, and appears to be some Englishman of distinction," replied she. I had at first imagined it might be Mr. Darcy; but this description made me immediately conclude, that it was no other than the earl of L----. "For heaven's sake, said I, persist that it was your lady whom he saw; and, if you can bring me off at this dangerous juncture, you may depend upon my gratitude." Toinet, who perfectly understood my meaning, assured me she would do her best. "He asked me, pursued she, if you did not live here; and I told him that you did: upon which he desired to see you. Now, mademoiselle, if you please, you may, for a little while, assume the character of mistress of this house, and send him word that you are engaged, and can't possibly see him." "Say what you will, said I, so you can get him away." Toinet immediately hurried down stairs; but staid so long this time, that I began to fear he was resolved not to stir till he saw me. My perplexity increased every moment. Toinet relieved me, at last, from part of my fears: "I have sent him away, madam, said she; but I have been forced to tell a hundred falsehoods." "Why, what have you said?" answered I, (smiling). "Why, mademoiselle, said she, I told him, that you could not possibly be the lady he took you for; that you was not acquainted with any foreigner, and was at present engaged. He replied, that he could not be mistaken) he knew your face perfectly well. Do me the favor only, said he, to tell me whether your lady receives the visits of the count of R----. Yes, yes, sir, answered I; and what then: I find you know something of her then. How came you to imagine she is the person you asked for. He seemed at this to be in a great disturbance; and, after asking me when the count de R--- was expected here, which I did not think proper to tell him, he went away." "Alas, Toinet, said I, (putting a guinea into her hand) I fear we have fallen upon a bad stratagem! If that gentleman insisted that he saw my face plainly, he'll carry away the notion that I am really the count de R----'s mistress. I would have passed for madam Danville, if I could; but, since he was convinced he knew me, I have, by this means, only assumed her character, without her name. However, if I can contrive to get safe out of the house, he may soon be convinced of his mistake; for he'll certainly call again. In the mean time, favor me with some paper and pens, that I may write a letter or two, and procure me a messenger to dispatch away with them." Toinet immediately furnished me with what I wanted; and, while she went to seek for a proper messenger, I wrote a short billet to the marchioness and mademoiselle Belville. In each, I gave some little account of my being carried away; and entreated the marchioness to afford me her protection, till I could leave Paris with safety. I had just finished these two letters, when Toinet introduced a person to me, who, she said, would deliver them faithfully. As he was perfectly well acquainted with the town, he immediately knew in what quarter of it the marchioness de ---- lived, and where the convent ---- of the stood. I gave him my letters, charging him to wait for answers, and to return as soon as possible.
He came back, indeed, soon enough; but brought me most afflicting news: the marchioness was not in town, and mademoiselle Belville had left the convent five days before. I ordered him to go back again to the convent, and get information from the prioress, whether an English lady, called Mrs. Dormer, had been there; directing him, at the same time, not to own from what place he was sent; and, to bribe his fidelity, promised to reward him handsomely. This message was as unsuccessful as the former: the prioress would not give any answer to the question, till she was told who and where the person was, who had sent him. In this distracting dilemma, I knew not what to resolve on. It was absolutely unsafe for me to remain any longer in madam Danville's house; and I deferred all reflections upon what course I should pursue, till I was in a less dangerous place.
Toinet, who saw my perplexity, offered to go to a milliner's, who lived a few streets from that, and hire an apartment for me; and, to prevent my being known, advised me to change my name. I consented to this Proposal immediately; for I was in the utmost uneasiness while I staid in this house. And as soon as every thing was agreed on between us, I went in a chair to my new lodgings.
As I observed the house was very large, I asked the mistress of it, if she had any more lodgers in it beside myself, and what they were: upon which she informed me, that her best apartments were let to an English gentleman and his lady, who were to set out shortly for Calais, upon their return to England. "I should be glad to know their name,', replied I. "'Tis Belville, mademoiselle, said the milliner. Perhaps you know them!" "Yes, cried I, (in a transport) I am very intimately acquainted with the lady you speak of! This is the most fortunate accident! I'll make her a visit immediately, if she is at home." The milliner, upon this, called a servant of madam Belville's, whom I ordered to tell his lady, that an English lady of her acquaintance desired to see her. Madam Belville followed the messenger out, eager to see who it was; but the moment she cast her eyes on me, they lost some part of the pleasing surprise they expressed before; yet she saluted me with an engaging air, thoughmore reserved than I expected, and led me into her apartment. During some moments, madam Belville maintained a distant behavior, which so surprised me, that I sat silent, looking on her with a perplexed air, at a loss in what manner to begin a conversation, which I foresaw would have nothing of that openness and friendship in it which all our others had. At length, no longer able to continue in a restraint, which seemed so extremely painful to her, the tender madam Belville took my hand, and pressing it with much affection, "Oh, Miss Stuart! said she, how difficult is it to behold you, and entertain suspicions to your prejudice! But why do I say suspicions! Is it not certain, that you left the convent with the count de R----? Could I ever have thought that my dear friend would have acted so inconsistent with that virtue, of which her story gave me so high an idea?"
Had any one but madam Belville talked to me in this manner, I should have been excessively disobliged; but there was so much sweet sincerity in her looks, such engaging softness in her accent, that I thought of nothing but drawing her out of the mistake she was in, without conceiving any resentment at the injury it did me. As I had had no opportunity of seeing her, after the alarming message I received, as I imagined, from the marchioness, I related it to her now, together with the count de R----'s continued artifice, and my escape, by the interposition of his mistress. Madam Belville would hardly allow me to finish my story, her eagerness to atone for the injury her suspicion had done me, made her interrupt me with a tender embrace; asking me pardon, at the same time, with tears, for the harsh language she had used to me. "Ought I to expect, said she, (with inexpressible tenderness) that my dearest Miss Harriot will restore me to that friendship and esteem I have forfeited, by the unworthy suspicions I have suffered myself to entertain of her?" "Ah, say no more, dear madam! cried I, (embracing her): appearances were against me, and, till I had an opportunity of justifying my conduct, your censure was not only pardonable, but just. But before I ask you by what happy means Mr. Belville is restored to you sooner than you expected, inform me if Mrs. Dormer was at the convent to inquire for me before you left it?" "I never heard of that lady's calling, replied my friend; but there was a young English gentleman, who, they say, appeared to be of distinction, that inquired for you; to whom the prioress related the manner of your going away with the count de R----." "Did you see this gentleman?" interrupted I. "No, answered madam Belville; but, by the grief and rage that he expressed at what the prioress told him concerning you, 'tis believed in the convent, that it was some lover of yours: and I am inclined to think it was the same person, who, you say, saw you enter madam Danville's house." "Ah, undoubtedly it was the same, answered I, it can be no other than the earl of L----. How unhappy am I, in being so often the object of libertine pursuits!" Either he or the count de R---- will certainly discover me, notwithstanding all my precautions; and in a country like this, where orders, signed by the king, are so easily procured, and prostituted to the basest designs, how can I think myself secure from the attempts of two men, who seem absolutely determined to accomplish my ruin." "I am of opinion, said madam Belville, that you ought to quit France immediately. Let Mr. Belville and I have the pleasure of conducting you safe to England. We shall leave Paris to-morrow. Don't let me have the mortification of going without you: your society is all I want to make my happiness complete. My dear Mr. Belville received, while he was abroad, news of the death of an uncle; to whose estate, which is very considerable, he succeeds. This brought him immediately from the place of his banishment: he came with a lover's haste to take me from the monastery; and our affairs requiring us to be in England as soon as possible, we have determined to set out for Calais to morrow. It will be dangerous for you to stay here, expecting Mrs. Dormer: we may chance to meet her in our journey, if she is not yet come; and, that you may be satisfied as to that point, I'll go myself this evening to the convent, and inquire if she has been there since I left it. If she has not, you can have no occasion to expose yourself to any further stratagems, by staying here; and, I believe, you will not find it difficult to be ready for going to-morrow." As I had reason to be perfectly satisfied with my friend's proposal, I did not hesitate a moment to comply with it, provided I could be assured Mrs. Dormer had not yet been at the convent.
Madam Belville was just preparing to go, in order to deliver me from my uncertainty, when Mr. Belville came in; to whom she introduced me, with a thousand expressions of the tenderest friendship. And this young gentleman, who, to praise him sufficiently, I need only say was worthy to possess my lovely friend, assured me, in the politest manner of his esteem and respect. Madam Belville, having informed him of her intended visit to the convent, entreated him to bear me company till she returned; but my impatience was so great, to hear news of my dearest Mrs. Dormer, that I begged leave to retire to my own chamber, in order to conceal my anxiety. Here I revolved a thousand painful tender ideas; and the expectation of seeing this amiable friend, renewed my affliction for the infidelity of Dumont, and brought back every soft remembrance of his once tender passion for me, heightening the cruel contrast which his perfidious change had made, and doubling my grief by reflections I was not able to suppress.
Madam Belville, when she came back, found me in tears: "Alas, my dear, said she, I wish I had any news to tell you, that would banish your uneasiness. Mrs. Dormer has not been at the convent; and you have no reason to think she is in Paris." "Well then, madam, replied I, I am determined to set out with you to morrow. Mrs. Dormer, no doubt, has been prevented by some misfortune from performing her promise; or, perhaps, I am no longer happy in her affection. Whatever is the cause of her disappointing me, I shall languish with impatience till I know it. But I am too much inured to misery, to be surprised at any new misfortune that can befall me." Madam Belville endeavored, by the most obliging tenderness, to dispel the melancholy reflections which en grossed me.
We spent the rest of the day in making preparations for our journey. As I had a riding-dress, and other necessaries, to provide, my friend entreated me to make use of her purse for that purpose, if I was straitened for money: but this not being the case, as I had a considerable sum in my purse when Mr. Darcy took me away, I declined this generous offer, with the grateful acknowledgments it merited.
We left Paris early the next morning in a coach and four, and reached Calais in three days; and, after resting there one night, went on board a packet-boat next morning: but, having contrary winds, we had a very tedious passage. My heart was oppressed with inconceivable disquiet the moment I was landed in England. 'Tis here, thought I, where I shall be continually exposed to the torturing remembrance of Dumont! or, perhaps, have the mortification of seeing him enjoying his triumph over my peace and happiness! I accompanied Mrs. Belville, at her earnest entreaty, to the lodgings her husband had provided for her in Hanover square ; and, having just waited on her to her apartment, I took leave of her, to visit Mrs. Dormer, who lived very near. Mrs. Belville and her husband would not let me go, till I had promised them, in case Mrs. Dormer was not in town, to return and stay with them, they having a spare chamber to accommodate me with. I made no scruple to promise them I would comply with this obliging proposal, if I should be so unfortunate as not to meet with my friend. I then steps into a chair, and was carried to the house where Mrs. Dormer lodged; but was in- she had left those lodgings, and now lived in the very square. I was so impatient to see her, that I could not prevail upon myself to stay a moment with my old landlady, who was transported to see me again; but hurried immediately to the house, to which she had directed me.
Mrs. Dormer having only remained in this woman's lodgings till her house was fitted up, I was not surprised to hear she- was moved; but was quite elated with the hopes of seeing her, when a servant, having opened the door, informed me his lady had set out for Paris three days before. This cruel disappointment determined me to return to Mrs. Belville, to whom I related my misfortune in missing my friend. She was beginning to comfort me for this accident, when a servant, coming in, told me, that a young lady was below, who inquired for me, as he supposed, by the name of Miss Stuart. I immediately ran down stairs into a parlor, where I was told she was, and was received with an eager embrace by my dear sister Fanny; for it was she herself, who had sent for me: "Oh, heavens! cried I, (with a mixture of surprise and joy) can it be you, my dearest Fanny, that I see so unexpectedly! How long have you been in town, and how came you to know I was here?" "I have not been in town a week, said my lovely sister; and I was visiting a relation of my husband's, who lives in this square, when I saw you, from the window where I sat, pass by in a chair. I knew you immediately; and was so surprised, that I had like to have fainted away: for I was informed, by the person where you lodged, of the strange manner in which you were taken away but yesterday, the direction you gave me being mislaid; so that I knew not, for some time, where to find you, and was just distracted at the accident which kept me so long from seeing you. Guess my affliction then, my dear Harriot, at the news I heard of your disappearing by such strange means, as convinced me you was in the power of some villain! And my surprise, at such a sudden sight of you, was pretty near as fatal; for I could not, for some moments, utter a word: at last, I hastily threw up the window, and had another glimpse of you, just as you came out of the chair into this house. Upon which I told the company the occasion of my surprise, and came directly to you myself; for I could not be persuaded to stay, as they would have had me, till I sent a servant to inquire if you was really here." I embraced the tender Fanny a second time; and acknowledging the goodness of providence, for sending me such unexpected comforts, at a time when I so greatly needed them, I beeped my sister to finish her visit immediately, that I might be no longer kept from paying my duty to my mother. She then left me, to go and excuse herself to her company, promising to call and take me up in her way home.
This interval I employed in relating to Mrs. Belville our happy meeting, and in taking leave of this obliging friend, who would wait on me to the door of my sister's coach, in order to pay her compliments to one so dear to me.
As soon as we drove away, my sister eagerly inquired after my affairs. I gave her a short sketch of my history, which filled her with the most tender concern. She wept almost all the time I was relating it. "Alas, my dear, said she, what dangerous trials have you had! How nobly have you maintained the honor of your family! Doubt not, my dearest sister, but your uncommon virtue and fortitude will one day meet with a large reward. In the mean time, I conjure you to banish the base Dumont from your remembrance; and let not such an unworthy wretch have the power of disturbing your tranquillity." I could only answer by a sigh to this affecting advice. My soul, thoughfilled with resentment, was not yet capable of hating Dumont; but my pride hid part of my weakness even from myself: and I often attributed the emotions which agitated my heart, when he rose to my remembrance, to scorn and rage, which, in reality, were the effects of a too tender and lasting passion for this lovely deceiver.
As my sister lived in St. James's-street, we had opportunity for a long conversation before I saw my mother; and being told by Fanny, that she was entirely ignorant of any engagement between Dumont and myself, there being no talk of it at N---- when they came away, I was freed from some part of my uneasiness; for I did not doubt but the news had reached the father of Dumont, who would not fail to spread it about. And as I expected many reproaches from my mother, my sister thought it prudent to prepare her for seeing me, lest the too great surprise might affect her; and though I thought this caution needless, as my mother never discovered any extraordinary sensations of tenderness for me; yet I did not oppose her, and waited in a parlor she conducted me into; till it was proper I should appear.
I was greatly surprised, a little time afterwards, to find my mother come hastily into the room. It seems, her impatience to see me would not suffer her to wait till I was sent for to her apartment. This condescension transported me with an excess of filial joy: I cast myself at her knees, and, while she stooped to embrace me, bathed her loved face with my tears, unable to utter a word. At last, my mother obliged me to rise; and, after having satisfied her curiosity with telling her the most important things which had happened to me since I left her, my sister Fanny desired leave to introduce a brother-in-law to me, who was impatient to see me. "Come, child, said my mother, (taking my hand) Mr. S---- is in my apartment: I will have the pleasure of presenting you to this worthy son, who, in some measure, repairs the loss of your dear brother." I followed my mother, with my eyes flowing at the mention Of my dearest brother; and could scarce compose myself well enough to be able to receive, as I ought, the affectionate compliments Mr. S---- paid me. When our first congratulations were over, my mother made me repeat my adventures in some order; and, when I had ended my little history, she embraced me several times, assuring me, my conduct had given her the highest satisfaction.