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in the concluding parts of these remarks, that I could only advise him to wait the event of time, and recommend himself in the mean while as well as he could to Mr. Somerville, the grandfather of Constantia. Art and education, it is true, had not contributed much to Ned's accomplishments, but nature bad done great things in his favour; to a person admirably, though not finically formed, she had given a most interesting set of features, with such a striking character of benevolence and open honesty, that he might be said to carry his heart in his countenance : though there was a kind of lassitude in his deportment, the effect of habits long indulged, yet his sensibility was ever ready to start forth upon the first call, and on those occasions no one would have regretted that he had not been trained in the school of the Graces; there was something then displayed which they cannot teach, and only nature in her happiest moments can bestow.
The next morning produced a letter from honest Abrahams, full of joy for the happy reconciliation now established, and inviting us to celebrate the day with Mr. Somerville and the ladies at his house. This was an anxious crisis for my friend Ned; and I perceived his mind in such a state of agitation, that I thought fit to stay with him for the rest of the forenoon: he began to form a variety of conjectures as to the reception he was likely to meet from the old gentleman, with no less a variety of plans for his own behaviour, and even of speeches with which he was to usher in his first addresses; some times he sunk into melancholy and despair, at other times he would snatch a gleam of hope, and tak himself into transports; he was now, for the fist time in his life, studiously contriving how to set of his person to the best advantage; his hair was to
shionably dressed, and a handsome suit was tried on, during which he surveyed himself in the glass with some attention, and, as I thought, not entirely without a secret satisfaction, which, indeed, I have seen other gentlemen bestow upon
persons in a much greater degree, with much less reason for their excuse.
When he was completely equipt, and the time approached for our going, Alas!' he cried, . what does all this signify? I am but a clown in better cloaths. Why was my father so neglectful of my education, or rather why was I so negligent to avail myself of the little he allowed me? What would I not give to redeem the time I have thrown away. But 'tis in vain : I have neither wit to recommend myself, nor address to disguise my want of it; I have nothing to plead in my favour, but common honour and honesty; and what cares that old hard-hearted fellow for qualities, which could not reconcile him to his own son-in-law ? he will certainly look upon me with contempt. As for Constantia, gratitude, perhaps, might in time have disposed her heart towards me, and my zealous services might have induced her mother to overlook my deficiencies, but there is an end of that only chance I had for happiness, and I am a fool to thrust myself into a society, where I am sure to heap fresh fuel on my passion, and fresh misfortunes on my
head.' With these impressions, which I could only sooth but not dispel, Ned proceeded to the place of meeting with an aching heart and dejected countenance. We found the whole party assembled to receive us; and though my friend's embarrassment disabled him from uttering any one of the ready made speeches he had digested for the purpose, yet I saw nothing in Mr. Somerville's countenance or address, that could augur otherwise than well for honest Ned ; Mrs. Goodison was as gracious as possible, and Constantia's sinile was benignity itself. Honest Abrahams, who has all the hospitality as well as virtues of his forefathers the patriarchs, received us with open arms, and a face in which wide-mouthed joy grinned most delectably. It was with pleasure I observed Mr. Somerville's grateful attentions towards him and his good dame; they had nothing of ostentation or artifice in them, but seemed the genuine effusions of his heart; they convinced me he was not a man innately morose, and that the resentment, so long fostered in his bosom, was effectually extirpated. Mrs. Abrahams, in her province, had exerted herself to very good purpose, and spread her board, if not elegantly, yet abundantly ; Abrahams, on his part kept his wine and his tongue going with incessant gaiety and good-humour, and whilst he took every opportunity of drawing forth Ned's honest heart and natural manners to the best advantage, I was happy in discovering that they did not escape the intuition of Somerville, and that he made faster progress towards his good opinion, than if he had exhibited better breeding and less sincerity of character.
In the course of the evening the old gentleman told us he had determined upon taking his daughter and Constantia into the country with him, where he fattered himself Mrs. Goodison would recover her health and spirits sooner than in town, and at the same time gave us all in turn a pressing invitation to his house. Abrahams and his wife excused themselves on the score of business ; but Ned, who had no such plea to make, or any disposition to invent one, thankfully accepted the proposal.
The day succeeding and some few others, were passed by Mrs. Goodison and Constantia at Mr. Somerville's in the necessary preparations and are rangements previous to their leaving London ; during this time Ned's diffidence and their occupations did not admit of any interview, and their departure was only announced to him by a note from the old gentleman, reminding him of his engagement ; his spirits were by this time so much lowered from their late elevation, that he even doubted if he should accept the invitation ; love however took care to settle this point in his own favour, and Ned arrived at the place of his destination rather as a victim under the power of a hopeless passion, than as a modern fine gentleman with the assuming airs of a conqueror. The charms of the beautiful Constantia, which bad drawn her indolent admirer so much out of his character and so far from his home, now heightened by the happy reverse of the situation, and set off with all the aids of dress, dazzled him with their lustre ; and though her change of fortune and appearance was not calculated to diminish his passion, it seemed to forbid his hopes : in sorrow, poverty and dependance, she had inspired him with the
generous ambition of rescuing her from a situation so ill proportioned to her merits, and, though he had not actually made, he had very seriously meditated a proposal of marriage: He saw her now in a far different point of view, and comparing her with himself, her beauty, fortune and accomplishments with his own conscious deficiencies, he sunk into despair, This was not unobserved by Constantia ; neither did she want the penetration to discern the cause of it. When he had dragged on his wretched existence for some days, he found the pain of it no longer supportable, and, ashamed of wearing a face of woe in the house of happiness, he took the hardy resolution of bidding farewel to Constantia and his hopes for
Whilst he was meditating upon this painful subject one evening during a solitary walk, he was surprized to hear himself accosted by the very person, from whose chains he had determined to break loose ; Constantia was unattended, the place was retired, the hour was solemn, and her looks were soft and full of compassion. What cannot love effect? it inspired him with resolution to speak; it did more, it supplied him with eloquence to express his feelings.
Constantia in few words gave him to understand that she rightly guessed the situation of his mind; this at once drew from hiin a confession of his love and his despair of the former he spoke little and with no display; he neither sought to recommend his passion, or excite her pity; of his own defects he spoke more at large, and dwelt much upon of education; he reproached himself for the habitual indolence of his disposition, and then, for the first time raising his eyes from the ground, he turned them on Constantia, and after a pause exclaimed, • Thank heaven! you are restored to a condition, which no longer subjects you to the possible sacrifice I had once the audacity to hint at. Conscious as I am of my own unworthiness at all times to aspire to such a proposal, let me do myself the justice to declare that
mny heart was open to you in the purest sense ; that to have tendered an asylum to your beloved mother, without ensnaring your heart by the obligation, would still have been the pride of my life, and I as truly abhorred to exact, as you could disdain to grant an interested surrender of
hand : and now, lovely Constantia, when I am about to leave you in the bosom of prosperity, if I do not seem to part from you with all that unmixt felicity, which your good fortune ought to inspire, do not reproach me for my unhappy weakness; but recollect for once in your life, that your charms are irre