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in the family, and a suiter to Miss Annabella Flighty, for such was her naine. Her character was soon known to me. She was neither more nor less than a Heroine. She was the eldest daughter of a gentleman of moderate fortune. Having been sent to a boarding school far from the tutelary care of her father, and left almost without controul to the gratification of her desires, she had neglected to perfect herself in those useful branches of education so essential to form the accomplished female ; and the time that should have been so spent, was employed in perusing morbid, and lachrymal novels and romances, surreptitiously procured. But while she rejected the really moral and good novels (I am not fastidious enough to believe that there are none such,) she chose the most immoral and pernicious ones of the German School. Hence, to dwell upon the sorrows of Werter, the guilt of Agatha, the adultery of Amelia, and such like characters, was her delight. The consequence of her devoting her time reading such loose, lascivious, rhapsodical, blasphemous and wicked works, where every crime is pictured merely as a slight aberrance, is obvious. They sapped the foundations of her reason:-her opinion of the world, men and manners was distorted and unnatural; and her conversation ever in the style of the sickly sentimentalist. I need not speak of the feelings of her father, when he saw the child that had left him a sweet and blithsome girl, return home a pensive and puling woman. I have said I became an admirer of Miss Flighty. Yes, I really did admire her more than the two others, to whom I had paid my addresses. Perhaps it was owing to the romantic incident which occasioned our acquaintance. Be that as it may, I believed that were she once mine, that in the fond duties of a wife she would forget the insipiency of her conduct and become one of the best of women. Though her mind was eroded by the canker of mawkish sentiments, I could occasionally perceive gleams of quick natural parts, which only needed care and attention to make her preeminent for them among her sex. What a pleasurable employment, thought I, will it be to mould her to my will, to say that this is a wife of my own making, and to hear her say, at some future period of our lives, as we sit, perhaps, on either side of the fire-place, in our respective arm chairs: Oh, my husband, you have been my preserver. When pining away under the influence of sickly sentiment. you, married me; and becoming my husband, became my tutor; and by teaching me the duties of a wife, made me lay aside my weakness and folly.” The idea was so delightful that I determined to commence operations as soon as possible. I perceived, though Miss Flighty treated me with grateful respect. it was by no means in the enthusiastic warmth of a maiden to her lover. I clearly saw I was not romantic-sentimental enough for one of her heated imagination. I knew nothing of the Waldorfs, Dassleders, Elviras, Ellas, Hypolites, Albinas, Rosas, Madelines, Ambrosias, Alphonzos, Rhodofines, etcetera, etcetera, of whom she told me. At length to prosecute my suit with more effect, I formed a project no less singular then romantic, but one which I believed would ultimately end in success. I collected up all the novels, that I had heard Miss Flighty quote, and recommend, and commenced reading them. Though the perusal of these fulsome books, was as nauseous to me as the swallowing of boluses, I prosecuted my studies with undivided attention ; and at the end of six weeks, I was a proficient, at least sufficiently so, to answer my purpose. None will say this was not a novel way of courting. I mentioned my project to Mr. Flighty, and he replied as tears trickled down his face. 6. Mr. Soberlove you are the only one that can cure my daughter ; when she once knows herself to be the butt of your ridicule she will soon show herself as I once knew her.” I tried the effect of my scheme. I addressed her in the rhapsody of a hot brained lover. She started at my addressing her in a style so different to that I had formerly used ; but I answered her I was not then so entangled in the net of the wily god. Her eyes brightened at the confession, and she listened to mo with delight, and answered me in the impassioned tones of love. For some weeks (a long period for lovers by the by) did I kneel and sue. At length I dared to propose that awful quere. Never shall I forget the time. It was twilight and my « flame” was seated by an open window, supporting her head on her arm. “ My love, we meet again,” softly said I. “My Henry, (my name is Simon, but it would have been death to my hopes to have told her so, and I substituted for it the one which she called me) is it you ;" Yes your adoring slave. Would we met never to part again ; but the fates were cruel to true love. (in a very dolorous tone) Is it true, my Annabella, (in a winning tone) that you-love me. (heroes are very fond of fits and starts). “ Mr. Soberlove!” exclaimed she, not in actual amazement at my boldness, for I perceived she was “ tickled," but because it was neccessary. “ Mister, why not Henry.
"Have I forfeited a portion of that esteem, which I dared-presumptuously dared, to hope you entertained towards me, by uttering words I was unconscious of in the warmth of my passion: Oh speak !-speak! speak!" (reiteration is the life and soul of effect -heroes always make use of it) She averted her face (falling on my knee--not knees, because it looks very ungraceful to fall on both). “In pity turn not away those love beaming eyes oh do not-do not. What! still turned from me-false, false tongue, thus to ruin me. But since I have lost the love of her, for whom I would
have braved every danger, farewell happiness—hail! wretchedness and misery. By Heavens, Madam, had you bade me plunge into the briny ocean, and search for that bottom to which never line hath fathom'd, I should have thought it a pleasure—a pastime
-a recreation. But since I have sealed my doom, I will fly me, to some arid desert (heroes are very fond of deserts) where on the earth I will record my woes, and distresses ; and at length lay me down and die ; and say, as life's pulses cease to vibrate, welcome death, for what is life to him whose love is scornfully rejected, oh! oh!” Here I contrived to draw from my pocket a vial of sal volatile, and unnoticed by her, as her head was in a different direction, I inhaled a large portion of its exhalations through my nose, and caused a profusion of tears to start from my eyes.
• Let, oh let me! ere I part from thee, press to my lips, that land of thine; and let these tears, these scalding tears, that flow down my cheeks, speak for me, and tell how much I feel thy cruelty-oh Annabella! Annabella oh!" Who could stand tears, and such melting tones as mine? not Annabella. Gently she let her hand drop from her lap to her side. I understood what was meant. Kneeling I seized her hand, and with rapture pressed it to my lips, exclaiming: “My peace is made, the loveliest of her sex, has forgiven me; and I am from the brink of despair, exhalted to the pinnacle of earthly happiness. Let this day ever be kept by me as a jubilee.” I knew my cụe and I proceeded.
“ Be mine, dear maid consent to become the bride of him, who will only live to serve_worship, and- -(I like dashes) love you (very softly) my sweetest-sweetest Annabella.” “Oh, my too susceptible heart!” mellifluously murmured she, and fell upon my neck. “You consent then to make me happy-to make me blest” “Oh Henry!” softly returned she. “My love" in the same tone, said I, “we will be one;" blushingly said she. “Oh Annabella! (with rhapsody) when Jove hung on the neck of Leda and drank ambrosial nectar from her lips, bis delights were not near so great as mine—tis certainly a foretaste of Elysium." At this moment, upon a preconcerted signal, Mr. Flighty entered the room, his countenance betokening rage and indignation. “ What's this I behold!” cried he, “My daughter in the arms of another!” tearing her from me, “Degenerate girl, is it thus I see you! and you sir, (to myself) how dare you behave in such a manner to my daughter? Would you wish to despoil her of her honour, and bring ruin
and disgrace on my name? Instantly depart, or my servants will show you the door in rather a rough way, nor dare presume again to enter this house, for if you do, by the honour of a gentleman, your temerity shall meet with the reward it deserves." * Oh sir,” exclaimed my, Dulcinea, dropping on her knee and
VOL. I.-No. v. 53
wringing her hands most affectingly, while the tears rolled profusely down her face, and in accents if not actually heart rending, as empassioned as possible, hear oh hear, me—tear us not assunder-divide not two hearts so closely knit as ours-pitypity me.” “ Cease, girl, and instantly leave the room.” “But one moment longer, cruel parent, here in the face of Heaven, I swear”-“ No oaths, daughter, no oaths.” “ Here then I pronounce an insuperable determination never to wed any other person then my Henry. Now sir, you have heard me; do with me as you will ; your bolts and bars may confine my body, but my soul will be free as ever." Falling on my knee beside Anna. bella, “Sir, you have heard your daughter; do not then divide us unless you would break our hearts." 6. Leave the room, or 1-" " Annabella, farewell.” “ Henry I am unalterably yours. Neither a father's wrath, nor curses shall effect me.” Embracing her, and interchanging a look with Mr. Flighty, I departed. I was delighted with the success of my scheme. But the denouement how was that to be managed. I was puzzled for a time. At length I hit upon a plan for its accomplishment. I habited myself like a vagabond, and through the assistance of Mr. Flighty, I obtained a private interview with Miss Flighty. She exhibited great joy at seeing me, believing it was by stealth. "My love,” said, I. I have but time to utter a few words. I come to urge our flight. Your father is still relentless; hasten then to fly with your adorer. Say but the word, and to night I will hasten hither on the wings of love, to bear you to some humble cottage
, where, with unsophisticated peasants we will live out our life of love." She consented. “ But," said she - how shall I escape from my chamber?” Down the stairs, I might have said, but I replied. “I have procured a ladder of ropes." ** But the garden gate, Henry?" The garden gate, the garden gate, reiterated I internally endeavouring to recollect such a gate. At length I remembered there was an alley gate." And what of the garden gate, my love?” “ It is locked every night
, and the key given to my father.” “ Be under no apprehension; a Cyclop shall forge me another. I must hasten away, lest I be detected. Fear not, adored one; every thing shall be sur, mounted. At the midnight hour I will be here."
• Love and Hymen assist us in our attempt,” cried she, and I made my exit
. At the appointed hour, I was beneath her window with a ladder of ropes, and a back waiting to carry us off in the street. The key of the alley or garden gate, as Miss Flighty pleased to call it, furnished me by her father, was in my pocket. . A light was burning in her chamber. I fung a small pebble against the window, and she appeared. “ Are you prepared, Annabella, my love-my life?" "Yes,” whispered she. * Here are my jewels
and my clothes ;" at the same time letting fall a diminutive bundle. A small quantity thought I to commence house keeping with -but heroines never stand in need of much clothing. " Quick, Henry, and attach the ladder; delay may ruin us." I did so. At this period the coal blackness of the firmament which had been betokening a storm, became suddenly illuminated by sheets of lightening; and the thunder rolled awfully above our heads, and floods descended. I would have given up my project, but I had gone too far to retreat. “ The night is propitious” said my inamorata as I received her in my arms, - if we are pursued, by the darkness of the night we may allude the vigilance of our pursuers. It was just such a night as this, that the charming Constantia eloped with the interesting Belville. But come, the key of the garden gate?” “ It is here,” said I producing it and opening the gate. After wading ankle deep through a long alley filled with offals and slops, we reached the street. “ By Heavens,” exclaimed I," the post chaise is gone,” (I called it post chaise because heroes and heroines never elope in any other vehicle ; and it would have indeed been vile to have said-a hack.)
“O Heavens! what is to be done?” cried Annabella, “if we are discovered, we will both fall victims to the indignation of my vindictive father-perhaps, it is in the next street." So on we went, as disconsolate a pair of lovers as ever eloped, bearing the "peltings of the pitiless storm,” which continued with unabated fury. No hack was to be seen, and we turned down one street, and up another; at each turn exposed to the enquiries of the watchmen, and “men of the night;" and not unfrequently very nigh being sent to the watch-house. At length cold, fatigued, and drenched to the skin, we sought for refuge from the storm in the Market-house. The fainting Annabella, as she sat on one of the stalls, begged me to conduct her home, as she was almost unable to stand. I led her to her father's house, and she regained her chamber by the same means she had left it; and I sought my own. Determining not to give over my design, I called the next day in my disguise, to see her, and urge our elopement. I was just going on with my preparatory nonsense, when she motioned me to be silent, and thus addressed me. 6 Mr. Soberlove, the occurrences of the last evening have been productive of the most beneficial effect. The scales have fallen from my eyes, and with horror I perceive how near I have been to the brink of shame, perhaps dishonour. With anguish of heart, I now see how weak, how guilty I have been ; what source of sorrow to my father, and what an object of ridicule I must have been to yourself, and my relatives and friends. To protract, sir, an intimacy like ours, would only be to approve of my former mode of behaviour. I shall ever think kindly of you, sir. As for mya