As we were accommodated with the best apartments in the ship, and perfectly at ease, my mother, who loved company, permitted the gentlemen to visit us frequently. Their visits, however, I had at first no share in; for being extremely sea-sick, I was confined to my bed; and should have had a very melancholy time of it, but for the company of an agreeable lady, the wife of one of my pappa's lieutenants.
Mrs. Villars, for that was her name, was very young; and, being deeply read in romances, had her head filled with adventures of gallantry, tender confidences and delicate friendships. She had conceived a very strange affection for me; and though I was then but just entered into my thirteenth year, conversed with me upon equal terms. I was fond of being considered as a woman: she hit my foible; and the conformity between our thoughts and inclinations, produced a very tender friendship between us. This lady, one day, expressing her concern at my not being able to partake of their amusements, told me, with a smile, she had been endeavoring to deprive my sister of an admirer. "He is, continued she, (with a certain eagerness that was natural to her) one of the most lovely youths I ever beheld; and so worthy to be a lover of yours, that, to disengage him from his assiduities to your sister, I gave him a description of you: and, finding he was passionately fond of wit, allowed him to read all the little poetical pieces you gave me in London. You cannot imagine, my dear, (pursued she) what an effect your writings had upon him! He has read them over a thousand times; and longs, with the utmost impatience, to see you." My sister came in at these words, and guessing by them the subject of our conversation, "Upon my word, (said she to Mrs. Villars) you'll spoil Harriot, and make her mind run so much upon gallantry, that she'll think of nothing else." She spoke this with such apparent chagrin, that I was convinced she was piqued at what Mrs. Villars had done; and I was therefore resolved to finish my conquest next day, by showing myself to my new admirer.
My mother, at my request, had permitted me to come into the stateroom to drink tea. I had dressed myself with more than ordinary care, and was preparing to go, when Mrs. Villars came running to me, "Oh, my dear, said she, (quite out of breath) we have fallen upon a new diversion today: Dumont, the gentleman I mentioned to you, has promised to entertain us, by reading one of Otway's tragedies; and I have engaged my word, that you shall read the women's parts." I would fain have excused myself from this task; but my friend assuring me she had positive orders from my mother to bring me for that purpose, I was obliged to comply. I came into the room covered over with blushes, which though imputed to a bashfulness common to girls of my age, yet was, in reality, the effect of Mrs. Villars's information. My mother, perceiving my embarrassment, introduced me, with her usual politeness, to the company; which consisted of the captain of the ship, and several other gentlemen, among whom I soon distinguished the lovely Dumont.
I needed not the circumstance of his earnestly gazing on me, to point him out: his whole person was one continued charm. There was such a mixture of sweetness and sensibility in his countenance, such enchanting loveliness in his eyes, so many nameless graces in his mien, that it was impossible to look on him, and not feel something more than bare admiration. My eyes, by an involuntary motion, were often turned upon his face; but, being always met by an earnest and sparkling glance of his, I drew them away with a confusion, which, no doubt, convinced him I observed the pleasure he took in gazing on me. After the task which the company had imposed upon Dumont and me, of reading the Orphan, was over, I received the general thanks of our hearers, for having so exquisitely touched the tender distress of Monimia. Dumont, without regarding the compliments that were paid to him, was wholly employed in lavishing praises on me. "Never, said he, (in a kind of transport) have I heard a voice so harmonious as Miss Harriot's; yet the graces of her utterance, inimitable as they are, merits our admiration less than her judgment, by which she gave so exactly the true sense and spirit of the poet." "It must be confessed also, interrupted Mrs. Villars, (who was willing to spare me the confusion of replying to this compliment) that Dumont has succeeded very happily in expressing the passion of Castalio." "'Tis certain, madam, (said a young gentleman who stood near her) that Dumont has had great advantages under the character of Castalio; since he has been authorized, for a few moments, to think himself beloved by a more lovely Monimia than Otway's. Had I been in his place, (continued he, with a freedom peculiar to his profession, for he was a lieutenant of a man of war) I should have forgot the personated lover, and told the fair Monimia, in my own character, how much I was charmed with her." "That, replied I, (with a look that expressed some little resentment) might have turned the tragedy into a farce, and given the company an opportunity to laugh at your expense." My mother, who thought my tongue run too fast upon a subject she was not willing I should be so soon acquainted with, interrupted us here, by desiring Dumont to sing, and dispel the gloomy ideas the tragedy had raised in her. He immediately complied, with a grace which was inseparable from him; and though the sweetness and harmony of his voice was sufficient to engross all my attention, yet I could not help observing, that he had chose some very passionate lines; and his eyes, while he was singing, were often fixed with a soft languishment on me. When he ended, the whole company was employed in lavishing their praises upon him, which gave me an opportunity to write with a pencil the following lines:
The poets say, when Orpheus wak'd his lyre The savage beasts wou'd round him list'ning stand, The tuneful beauties of his voice admire, And the soft touch of his harmonious hand. But had they heard a voice so sweet as thine, Did such soft strains their ravish'd senses bless, The heavenly music of the sacred Nine, And the fam'd Orpheus, wou'd have charm'd them less.
I had just finished these verses, when Mrs. Villars, snatching them out of my hand, communicated them to the company. Dumont blushed at hearing them read, and bowing profoundly low to me, "Though I am very far, miss, said he, from thinking I merit your praises in the least degree, yet I am extremely glad I have given you this opportunity of exerting your genius." Without answering him, I wrote again as follows:
Unconscious of your merit, you refuse The early tribute of an infant muse; Or think, perhaps, unequal to your praise, My verse but lessens what it meant to raise. So charming was your voice, that while you sung My list'ning soul on ev'ry accent hung! To kindred harmony my thoughts aspire But what I must not praise, I'll silently admire.
I gave him the paper with a smile; and after reading it two or three times, he tore off the last words, and presented them to me, with a look which I thought very mysterious. Every person present applauded the gallantry of this return to my compliment) but I was apt enough to imagine there was something more than mere gallantry in it.
Mrs. Villars, as soon as she could speak to me apart, congratulated me upon the conquest I had made. "I knew, said she smiling, that Dumont would forsake your sister, when he saw you; for, without flattery, my dear, you are more than equal to her in the charms of your person; and then, the superiority of your understanding gives you such prodigious advantage over her, that, in all probability, she'll make but few conquests when you are by." "But, said I, interrupting this flow of compliments, can you inform me who Mr. Dumont is, and what affairs carry him to America?" "Oh! returned she, I am perfectly well acquainted with his whole history. Mr. Maynard, whom you answered so pertly, just now told me some very extraordinary particulars about him. He is the only son of one of the richest merchants in N----. His father, who is a rigid papist, contracted him, while yet an infant, to the daughter of a near relation. This young lady will have an immense fortune; and it is not to be doubted but that Mr. Dumont's father did all that was possible, to inspire his son with an affection for her. Her picture was sent from England to N---- but her charms made little impression on his heart. If one may believe Mr. Maynard, the ladies of N---- are extremely susceptible of love; and the graceful form of Dumont had captivated a great number of hearts. Yet still he found means to preserve his liberty, against the united attacks of so many languishing beauties; and was never capable of a serious engagement till he saw Mrs. B----, the eldest daughter of the governor. This lady was married when Dumont was a boy of about fifteen years of age. Her husband, being master of a very large estate, carried his young bride to England, where her beauty soon gained her such a number of admirers, that Mr. B----, growing uneasy, insisted upon returning to America. The lady, however, not at all disgusted with the homage that was paid to her charms, and having an extreme fondness for the expensive pleasures of London, absolutely refused to go. Mr. B----, enraged almost to madness at her behavior, left her immediately, and went in the first ship that sailed to America. Mrs. B---- remained near three years after him in London, so intoxicated with gallantry, and the admiration paid to her charms, that she quite forgot what she owed to her husband and her fame; and it is probable would not have thought of returning in a long time, had not the arrival of one of her brothers in England obliged her to come to a resolution. This young gentleman, having obtained what he came to solicit for, which was the command of one of the independent companies in N----, used every argument with his sister, to prevail upon her to return home. The lady, understanding that her husband was retired to his estate in Jamaica, protested that her health would not permit her to live in that country; but offered to return to her father, which her brother consented to with joy. Mrs. B---- accordingly went to N----, so altered in her person, manners, and dress, that she was hardly to be known. As she had conversed much with people of the first rank, she had contracted all the easy assurance of a woman of quality. The ladies of N---- began to copy her manner as well as dress, and listened with an eager attention to her accounts of plays, masquerades, operas, the drawing-room, ridottos, and all the round of polite amusements Mrs. B----, willing to make them comprehend that her intimacies were only with people of the first rank, would frequently speak of the dear duke of ----, and the charming marquis of ----. Nay, she carried this kind of affectation so far, as to call her favorite black footman by the stile of one of the first peers in England. This excess of folly did not hinder her from appearing lovely in the eyes of Dumont; yet his respect prevented him from disclosing a passion, which, as she was married, might be an offense to her virtue. But the lady, not quite so scrupulous, having conceived a violent passion for the beautiful youth (as she called him,) let him know his happiness by a very gallant billet and thus secured to herself a heart, which the handsomest ladies in N---- were in vain disputing the possession of. This intrigue was managed with so little caution on both sides, that Dumont was often seen to come out of Mrs. B----'s apartments at break of day. The sentinels were feed when they opened the gates to let him out, yet they communicated their discovery to their companions; by which means the whole city was acquainted with their interviews: the governor alone was ignorant of an affair, that furnished so much scandal and diversion to the town. Mrs. B---- had several sisters, each of whom had felt a tender inclination for Dumont: they had long discovered his nightly visits, but had not courage enough to inform their father of them, as he was extremely fond of Mrs. B---- At last, the youngest of these ladies, having watched Dumont as he went one night into her apartments, flew immediately to her father, and, in few words, related all she knew of the affair. The governor, in a violent rage, demanded to know what proof she had for so scandalous an aspersion; and being answered, that Dumont was now in his daughter's apartment, he ran down stairs with so much precipitation, that he was at the door of her chamber before her maid, who was in waiting in an outer room, could get in to inform her. Mrs. B----, ready to die with fear, knew not how to dispose of her lover. There was no closet in the room. The governor knocked hastily at the door, and they had not time to consult what excuse to make for Dumont's being found at that late hour in her bedchamber; when Dumont, taking notice of a carpet that lay carelessly rolled up in one corner of the room, immediately laid himself down upon it; and his mistress, covering him up in a moment, made no scruple to open the door to her father, and, in a submissive tone, asked him, what had procured her a visit from him at that time of night. The governor, without answering her, threw his eyes eagerly round the room; and, not seeing the person he looked for, cast a look full of reproach upon his youngest daughter, who had followed him in. The girl, whose wit was animated by the extreme envy she bore her sister, and this disappointment of its gratification, cast her eyes upon the carpet; and imagining, by its being more bulky than usual, that the lover might be concealed there, pushed it gently with her foot, and was immediately convinced her suspicions were but too just. The governor, having observed this action, and no longer in doubt of his daughter's indiscretion, went out of her apartment, without explaining the cause of his coming; and, charging the young incendiary to keep the unhappy secret safe, by the most refined policy imaginable, he lavished so many favors upon Dumont and his family, that people were at a loss what to think of the reports they had heard, not being able to imagine the governor could be so fond of a man who had dishonored his daughter. However, he took his measures so effectually with the father of Dumont, that he was sent to England, upon no very agreeable errand; since he was ordered to make his addresses to his cousin. How he has obeyed these commands, I am yet to learn," said Mrs. Villars, concluding her long tale; "but, if I am not mistaken, he is at liberty still to devote himself to you." "And I shall take care, returned I, (laughing) to fix this inconstant heart, if I can; for it would give me a very sensible pleasure to have a lover like Dumont, for whom I should be so greatly envied." "But envy is a very dangerous passion, replied Mrs. Villars; and if it could produce such terrible effects in the heart of a sister, as to make her relate the shocking particulars I have told you, it might have very dangerous consequences for you." I was beginning to rally Mrs. Villars upon this grave reflection, when Mr. Maynard came up to us; and, notwithstanding my aversion to this gentleman, which commenced from the moment I saw him, I was obliged to suffer a great deal of gallantry from him, which ended, at last, in a very frank declaration of love. If I had consulted my vanity alone, I might possibly have found something to soothe it, in this new proof of the power of my charms. But, prepossessed as I was against his person and manner, which afforded an unpleasing contrast to the too lovely Dumont, I treated him with so much contempt and disdain, that he appeared quite astonished at my behavior. Alas! my dear Amanda, I was then ignorant of the miseries this man was to cause me; but the unreasonable aversion I felt for him, was too sure a presage of them. While Maynard thus seized every opportunity of persecuting me with his addresses, all my attention was fixed upon Dumont, whose behavior threw me into the greatest perplexity imaginable. Though he industriously avoided all occasions of speaking to me alone, yet his eyes were almost constantly fixed upon my face, with looks so tender and passionate, as often embarrassed me extremely. He would eagerly embrace every occasion of serving me; and never pronounced my name without a visible emotion, visible, at least, to an observation so interested as mine. Yet while he still continued to observe a silence, which might as well be imputed to indifference as respect, I remained in an uncertainty that gave me a great deal of pain. It is possible, my dear Amanda, by thus laying open my heart, with all its weaknesses and foibles, I may hazard the loss of your esteem. You have often rallied me upon my extreme fondness for applause; yet, perhaps, you have never observed this inclination in me in its full extent: and when, in the course of my history, you find it introducing me into many inconveniences, I shall not be surprised, if you are more inclined to blame than pity me. Thus then, though I had no other sentiments for Dumont, than what his uncommon merit must necessarily inspire in every one who conversed with him, yet his mysterious behavior gave me a thousand inquietudes; and my anxiety to know if he really loved me, was as great as if the happiness of my life depended upon it. Mr. Maynard, whose apprehension, though naturally slow, was at this time quickened by jealousy, began to take notice of the soft language of Dumont's eyes; and guessing by what he had discovered, that a great deal more remained to be known, set himself to observe, with the utmost vigilance, all our looks and actions. I don't doubt but you have found, my dear, that my eyes have a natural faculty of discovering all that passes in my heart; which would have been a bad quality for a coquette, if I had not used them to such a perfect obedience as to make them express whatever I had a mind. It was not difficult for Maynard to find out by these tattlers, that I interested myself very much in every look and word of Dumont's: but his judgment, infallible as he thought it, deceived him, when it persuaded him I was deeply in love with him. However, he discovered enough to make him rally me very impertinently, and to give continual increase to my aversion for him. "How happy, said he to me one day, (when he observed me looking on Dumont, who was at some distance) will the ladies in N---- think themselves, when their admired Dumont returns to them! If they formerly disputed with so much animosity for his heart, they will have much severer contests now, so improved as he is with the additional graces he has acquired in London." "I am not ignorant, returned I, of your talent in scandal; and, notwithstanding your malicious representations, I can't believe the ladies in N---- are very indiscreet." "I see you are very incredulous, said he; and it would be a difficult matter to persuade you to believe, that Mr. Dumont is not only the most insensible person in the world, but capable of strewing a great deal of contempt for ladies, who load him with undesired favors." "I shall never, interrupted I, take the trouble to examine into the truth of what you say; but if you mean this as an aspersion on the character of Mr. Dumont, I shall be the less inclined to believe it, as I know you are extremely fond of defamation." Saying these words, I rose from my seat; and mixing in conversation with Mrs. Villars and Dumont, with as much gaiety as I could possibly assume, had the satisfaction of seeing Maynard ready to die with vexation. Alas, how much reason had I to repent this short triumph! Mr. Maynard, despairing to gain upon my inclinations, without the interposition of parental authority, disclosed his passion to my mother, and met with a very favorable reception. He was, in reality, a very advantageous offer for me; for though my father had held a considerable post in the army, yet his income was much too small to support his family in a manner suitable to their birth and my mother's little fortune was entirely spent, when he was preferred to this post in America; which, as it was a very lucrative one, gave him hopes of leaving his children tolerably provided for. Mr. Maynard had not only a very genteel fortune, but was lieutenant of a man of war; and, as he had great interest, was in daily expectation of being preferred to the command of a ship. My mother saw too many advantages in such a match to be capable of rejecting it; and assured Mr. Maynard, she would mention his proposal to my father, and endeavor to gain his consent. In the mean time, she permitted him to see me frequently; and I soon found the effects of that fatal permission, for I was perpetually exposed to his detested addresses. My mother had hired a decayed gentlewoman, in the quality of governess to Fanny and me. She was a woman of good sense, and a very amiable temper; and, as she very much regretted the partiality my mother discovered to my prejudice, she endeavored to soften my uneasiness by the most tender and obliging behavior. Mrs. Blandon (for that was her name) appearing one evening more thoughtful than usual, I eagerly inquired the cause. "I must confess, my dear, said she, (with an affectionate look) that I am under some inquietude about you; and I foresee a great many troubles that you must necessarily suffer from the present disposition of your mother's mind. She just now acquainted me, that Mr. Maynard had desired her permission to make his addresses to you, and commanded me to dispose you to receive him favorably." "Alas, dear Mrs. Blandon, returned I, what is it you tell me! Has that odious man made my mother approve of his importunities? He has persecuted me incessantly these two days, and I was thinking to complain to her; but I now perceive it will be in vain. What shall I do, cried I? (bursting into tears:) I hate him mortally; and, though my mother was to punish me ever so severely, I shall never be able to use him with common civility." "I am not ignorant of your aversion to Mr. Maynard, interrupted she; and though I cannot help thinking it a little unreasonable, yet, upon that account, I could wish your mother was less inclined to favor him than she is. However, miss, pursued she, (in a severer tone) I have often condemned that inordinate desire of admiration which I have discovered in you. You see the consequence of indulging that folly. Mr. Maynard has mistaken, perhaps, that complaisance in your behavior, when you aim at inspiring love; and what was the effect of a general thirst of praise, he has attributed to a particular desire of pleasing him: hence he indulged a growing passion for you, out of a belief that you would not reject it." "But, madam, replied I, (blushing extremely at her reproof) I never gave Mr. Maynard leave to imagine his addresses would please me: on the contrary, I have always expressed the utmost dislike both to his person and behavior." My mother coming in at this moment, prevented Mrs. Blandon from replying; who rose from her seat, and was going out: "Sit still, Mrs. Blandon, said my mother; I would have you be present at my discourse with Harriot: I suppose you have prepared her for the proposal I am going to make her." "I have, indeed, madam, answered my governess, mentioned Mr. Maynard to miss, as a person whose addresses you approve of; but I find the poor child so extremely averse to all thoughts of that gentleman, that I despair of making her receive your commands with the obedience you require." At any other time Mrs. Blandon giving me the epithet of child, would have mortified me extremely; but now I was certain she had a particular reason for doing so; and, therefore, improving the hint, "Sure, mamma, said I, you did but jest when you spoke of Mr. Maynard paying his addresses to me. I am persuaded he can have no serious thoughts of a girl of my age; and if I thought otherwise, 'tis probable you would chide me severely for being so forward." "Come, come, miss, interrupted my mother, (with a satirical smile) though you are, in reality, much younger than you would be thought, yet you are old enough to give me pain for your behavior. You are certainly extremely vain, Harriot, continued she, (looking steadfastly on me) and take so much pleasure in the ridiculous compliments that are paid you, that, in order to stop your career of coquetry, I am determined to make choice of a husband for you myself. Mr. Maynard is a more advantageous offer than you could possibly expect, and you ought to think yourself extremely happy in the prospect of so genteel an establishment." "But I hate him, madam, replied I: how, then, can I think myself happy? Alas, I shall be absolutely miserable, if you don't change your intentions." "These horrid romances, interrupted my mother, has turned the girl's brain. The heroines of these books are always disobedient: and I suppose she intends to copy their example. However, Harriot, continued she, (rising and taking my hand) I expect you'll treat Mr. Maynard with more civility; and look upon him as a man, who, one day, may be your husband." I made no reply, but suffered my mother to lead me into the room where we were to sup; and, to my infinite mortification, I saw Maynard among the company. There remained some traces of my sorrow upon my countenance, which every person present took notice of with concern; for it was no secret, that my mother would often use me very harshly. When supper was over, I retired to one corner of the room with Mrs. Villars, who was impatient to know the cause of my uneasiness. I could not inform her of my mother's cruel commands without tears. Dumont, that moment, came up to us; and, observing the disorder I was in, asked me the occasion of it, with so much emotion in his looks and accent, that I was disconcerted; and, not knowing what to answer, Mrs. Villars, who was very indiscreet, told him all; adding a great many invectives against the person and manners of Maynard. I now expected some very soothing compliment from Dumont; but was greatly disappointed to find he made no reply. A silence of three or four minutes ensued: at last, I ventured to lift up my eyes, and, at that instant, encountered a glance of Dumont's, which expressed so many nameless tender things, that, quite confused, I hastily turned away my face, lest he should imagine I took any notice of the alteration that appeared in his. "You see, miss, said he, (with a sigh he was not able to suppress) that it is sometimes a misfortune to be too lovely; and since Maynard is so unhappy as to be disagreeable to you, I could pity him, if he had not made use of very ungenerous methods to obtain you. A man who seeks the possession of you by the arbitrary commands of a parent, is unworthy so great a blessing; and I find in myself so strong a disposition to hate him upon this account, that I shall with difficulty restrain myself from expressing my indignation." "I should be sorry, sir, replied I, that your concern for my interests should engage you to show any resentment to a person for whom you seemed to have a friendship; but, if you have any influence over Mr. Maynard, you would extremely oblige me, by persuading him to cease his persecutions, and leave me at liberty." "Depend upon it, miss, said he, I'll execute this commission with the utmost fidelity; and you could not have laid a greater obligation on me " These words were accompanied with a most expressive look, and he immediately took his leave. "Poor Dumont! said Mrs. Villars, (laughing) I dare engage he'll obey you; but from a motive very different from what he was pleased to own." "Whatever is his motive, replied I, I shall be glad if he succeeds; but I fear there is no great likelihood his argument should effect, what all the coldness of my behavior has failed to do." My mother, who by no means approved my long conversation with Mrs. Villars, called me; and, for the remainder of the evening, obliged me to sit near her; with a view, no doubt, of pleasing my lover, for he was then engaged in a conversation with her. For some days I lived thus, in a perpetual restraint; but not all the respect I owed my mother, could hinder me from treating Mr. Maynard with contempt: he grew every moment more odious to me, and indeed his behavior was more calculated to raise aversion than love.
Proud of his success in obtaining my mother's consent, he took but little care to gain my inclinations; possibly he thought it was in vain to attempt it, and continued to pursue me rather through spite than affection. Dumont, who had been indisposed, and had discontinued his visits for some days, came in one afternoon, just as my ill humor had discharged itself in some very injurious expression to Maynard: the paleness of his looks, and the profound melancholy that appeared in his eyes, immediately drew every one's attention. My sister, who, as I have observed, was extremely vain, and very often mistook a little unmeaning gallantry for love, while Dumont was receiving the condolence of the company upon the alteration in his looks, observed a profound silence, hardly daring to lift up her eyes, unless it was sometimes to exchange a transient glance with him. Immediately, as if conscious of the mutual intelligence of their looks, she hastily turned away her eyes, blushing at the same time, with such an appearance of confusion, as must have given great surprise to Dumont, if his attention had not been otherways engaged. Maynard, who was talking to me, was the only person in the room who seemed to attract his notice: He kept his eyes constantly fixed upon him, not without betraying in his looks a very extraordinary emotion. That instant the ship giving a violent turn, almost threw me off my chair: I pushed away Maynard with great scorn, who endeavored to support me, and a second shock made me fall into the arms of Dumont, who extended them to hold me up: this action however was not observed by any one in the cabin, who were busy in saving themselves: but as soon as we were resettled, Maynard, casting a look full of rage upon Dumont, went to my mother, with whom he soon entered into a private conversation. This interval Dumont made use of to tell me, that he thought himself very unfortunate, in not being able to serve me better the first time I had favored him with my commands. "Your chains, miss, continued he sighing, are not so easily broken; and I am not surprised that Maynard seems resolved to continue your slave, in spite of all your rigors: however, I have not failed to represent to him the cruelty and baseness of endeavoring, by your mother's authority, to force your inclinations; and though my arguments did not produce the effect I desired, yet they have made us irreconcilable enemies." My sister coming up to us, hindered me from replying: by this time she had pretty well recovered the confusion that Dumont's apparent melancholy had caused in her, and we were beginning to converse pretty freely, when my mother called to me in an angry tone, and bid me get into her cabin, for she wanted to speak with me there. I obeyed her immediately, and had scarce waited three minutes when my sister came in. I expressed some surprise at her leaving Dumont, who had reason to be offended with my mother's rude manner of calling me away. "The dull creature, said she, with an air of triumph, can't speak without sighing, I think he seemed to be shocked at my mother's behavior, and went away immediately. But I came to ask you what he was saying to you, when I interrupted you, I thought I heard him mention my name;" "No, no, replied I, you are quite mistaken: but hush, here's my mother; how angry she looks! what can be the matter I wonder!" "So Miss, said she entering, I have discovered, at last, the reason of your aversion to Mr. Maynard. What, you are in love with Dumont, are you? My dear, upon my word, if you go on at this rate you'll make a shining figure in the records of gallantry: you have two or three intrigues upon your hands already: but pray, continued she, throwing herself into a chair and fixing her eyes steadfastly upon me, be pleased to inform me how long you have dared to encourage this papist-?" "Dear mamma, replied I in the utmost surprise, how unjustly do you accuse me! Who has been so cruel to persuade you I am in love with Dumont?" "That such a little forward creature, interrupted my mother, should speak so confidently of love, I have no patience with her." "Since you have been pleased, madam, answered I, to speak to me of marriage, it is not at all surprising if I should accustom myself to think of love and, in obedience to your commands, I would have loved Mr. Maynard if I could." "So then you really confess you love Dumont, said my mother?" "No madam, I absolutely deny it, said I." "Indeed, madam, said my sister, smiling, it would be very ridiculous if Harriot was in love with Dumont, for I am persuaded she has no reason to think he is in love with her." "You are mistaken, replied my mother; they have, no doubt, a very good intelligence with one another, or else Dumont would not have behaved in the manner he did to Mr. Maynard." "How, dear mother, interrupted my sister eagerly, how has he behaved to him?" "He has had the insolence, returned she, to forbid Mr. Maynard to continue his addresses to her, and threatens to call him to an account for it when they come on shore, if ever he persecutes her again." 'Tis impossible to express the effect these words had on my sister; she continued immovable as a statue, with her eyes fixed on the ground; and when she ventured to look up, spite, shame, and disappointment, were so visible in her face, that I could not choose but pity her. But in order to divert my mother's attention, I confessed that Dumont had heard me complain of Maynard's importunities; and that I believed he had friendship enough for me to endeavor to persuade him from persisting in a behavior so disgustful to me: but I protested, with the utmost sincerity, that Dumont had never made me any declaration of love. "Well, said my mother, as a proof of the truth of what you say, from this moment, resolve to use Mr. Maynard better; and when your father and I think proper to dispose of you, take care to obey us without murmuring." "Suffer me, madam, replied I, (bursting into tears) to expostulate with you upon your cruelty, in precipitating me so early into the married state: I cannot resolve to make myself miserable by marrying Maynard: I hate him with the utmost inveteracy, and I can never look upon him as any other than a base incendiary, who endeavors to deprive me of the small part I possess of your affection." "After this insolent declaration, said my mother, Can you ever hope I should afford you the smallest esteem? nothing shall persuade me, that you have not a correspondence with Dumont; but I'll take care to prevent your seeing him any more. You must look upon this cabin as your prison, continued she, and never stir out of it without first asking me leave: when I have acquainted your father with my reasons for treating you in this manner, I am persuaded he will approve of it." My sister offered a word in my favor, but my mother absolutely commanding her to be silent, obliged her to go out of the room with her, repeating her orders to me to stay there till she sent for me. This confinement but ill agreed with one of my sprightly disposition: my mother's back was scarce turned, when I threw myself on the bed, and with a shower of tears, deplored my unhappy situation. In these moments of reflection, I accused myself for having ever allowed Dumont to speak to me in private, and thought, with infinite regret, upon the commission I had given him, with regard to Maynard. I blushed, when I considered the motive of this imprudence, a silly desire of seeing what effect the certainty of a rival would produce in him: and when I had traced the full extent of my power in his heart, did I find in myself the least inclination to answer his passion? 'Twas impossible to resolve this behavior into any thing but a fantastic desire of giving pain. Sure, thought I, I am justly punished by my mother's suspicions! These reflections were followed by a resolution of correcting a folly, productive of so many misfortunes. Alas! my repentance was far from being sincere, and I relapsed into all my former indiscretions, the moment I had it in my power to indulge them. I remained alone, 'till the evening was pretty far advanced: Mrs. Blandon, at last, appeared with my supper, followed by my dear Fanny, who would not allow me to eat alone. My governess informed me that my mother allowed me to take a walk upon the deck, if I desired it, for the benefit of the air; but she had orders not to leave me. I immediately made use of the privilege, and perceiving my father alone, leaning on the rails, I resolved to take that opportunity of clearing myself to him; for I did not doubt but he was greatly prejudiced against me. My father, observing the fear and confusion I was in as I approached him, took hold of my hand, and, with a smile full of sweetness, asked me for what fault my mother had confined me to my room that day? This question convinced me he was yet unacquainted with her view; and I therefore ingenuously related all that had past, protesting my innocence, and imploring his protection against Maynard's persecutions, for whom I candidly owned, I had an unalterable aversion. My father heard me with the utmost complaisance and attention; and, after a little pause, asked me several questions, with regard to Dumont's behavior to me. I answered them all very sincerely. "Well, said he, (seeming pleased with my frankness) I am satisfied it was through a childish imprudence, you contributed to Dumont's indiscretion, and I am willing to pardon it, provided you promise me never to give that young gentle man any encouragement: for know, Harriot, (continued he in a tone that made me tremble) I would rather follow you to a grave than see you married to one of the religion he professes: nothing but misery can attend the union of two persons, whose principles are so different; and the fatal consequence of such a marriage already in my family, has confirmed me in my abhorrence of it. As for Maynard, though I really think him an advantageous offer, yet I shall take care you suffer no more restraint upon his account; for as I expect my children will consult me in the disposal of their affections, I am also determined never to force their inclinations." Finishing these words, he called Mrs. Blandon, and desired her to let my mother know he wanted to speak with her. "Alas Sir! said I, my mother will imagine I have been complaining of her severity to you." "Fear not, said he, I'll make your peace, I warrant you." Notwithstanding this assurance, I could not help trembling when I saw my mother approach. "Madam, said my dear father, (advancing, and holding me by the hand) you must not refuse to receive Harriot into favor again, at my request; I am persuaded she has no design to offend you, by entertaining any thoughts of Dumont: and I have engaged my word, she shall suffer no violence in favor of Mr. Maynard, to whom I find she has an invincible dislike." My mother, who seemed to be greatly disconcerted, only replied, that she wished I might not give him occasion to repent his indulgence; and then ordering me to go down stairs, I obeyed, making a very low obeisance, and highly delighted to find myself at liberty; for four hours confinement had sat very uneasily upon me. I still flattered myself, that I should be able to maintain the resolution I had taken, during my short disgrace, of conquering my coquettish inclinations: but an accidental sight of Dumont, (who bowed to me as I passed, giving me, at the same time, a passionate look) immediately roused my sleeping vanity; and, by the lively sensation I felt, convinced me that the desire of pleasing was my predominant passion. However, the exact deference I paid to my father's commands, made me avoid, with care, all occasions of conversing with Dumont, and preserved my heart from being too sensible of the tender and respectful passion he felt for me, which, notwithstanding his endeavors to conceal it, was but too visible in every look and action. I past my time agreeably enough, during the remainder of our voyage; my mother contenting herself with giving Maynard frequent opportunities of conversing with me, and, by gentle methods, endeavoring to persuade me to entertain some esteem for him.
At last, after a tedious voyage of nine weeks, we came in sight of N----. That city making a delightful appearance from the water, I stood some moments contemplating it with great pleasure. When Dumont, observing no one near us, approached me, and beholding me with a languishing air, "how differently, Miss, (said he sighing) are we two affected with the sight of that place! you seem to feel nothing but pleasure at your nearer approach to it, while I suffer the most racking uneasiness." "That is very surprising indeed, interrupted I, and I think you are much to be blamed, for having so little affection for the place that gave you birth." "This dear vessel, replied he, contains what I most value in the world; and when I leave it, it is probable, I shall never more have the pleasure of beholding what I shall ever love with the most lasting passion. But may I presume, miss, continued he, to ask if your mother still persecutes you in favor of Maynard? I shall never entertain a moment's ease, till I am assured you are freed from his solicitations." "I am much obliged to you, sir, said I, for so generously interesting yourself in my happiness: I believe I have nothing to fear from Maynard's importunities, as my father seems resolved never to force my inclinations." I gave him no leisure to reply to these words; for I got away as fast as possible, not without some apprehensions of having been seen talking to him.