ePub 版
[ocr errors]

my part acknowledge their justice. Go, Constant; obey the calls of honour, and the summons of your sovereign.'

"I will not trouble you with a detailed statement of a conversation which was now merely a farewel between lovers; suffice it to say, that Constant was all tenderness, and honourable constancy, and that from a just sentiment which arose in my own mind, that I was unworthy of him, I made an effort, and assumed an appearance of feeling which did not correspond with the actual state of my heart.'

of duty. I know how heavy is the debt which I owe your father, and I know that it becomes me to endeavour to pay it. He very early marked me out for the enviable happiness of becoming his son, by an union with you; I have hitherto lived only in that hope, and life would lose all value to me if I were deprived of it. Your mother has very properly suggested to me, that, in return for this kindness, I could do|| no less than endeavour for that advancement in my profession which should render me a more equal match for the daughter of my beloved patron. She has advised me, therefore, to give a strict and imme-ed after his horses till they had passed be diate obedience to the letters of the Lords || yond my sight, and then returned with my Commissioners, and likewise to accept the father to dinner,' command, to which his Majesty has been pleased to appoint me. She has informed me, moreover, that though the kindness of your father would willingly detain me with him, that his better sénse leads him to wish that I should accept the service. These are the reasons which have induced me to consent to a separation, which I cannot, dearest Alicia, but most acutely feel.'

"And you have put these reasons so forcibly,' replied I, that I cannot but on

"Constant accordingly departed; I look

"The Count was already in the diningroom, I could not but think that I saw an evident air of triumph in his countenance and manner. My father was dull and silent; my mother had all the conversation to herself aud the Count; I felt enough to say nothing. In this manner I passed as dull an hour as had ever fallen to my lot; very ill satisfied with myself, and therefore not in the best humour with those around me."

[To be continued.]



adopted the celebrated social maxim, to admire nothing, to feel no wonder at any thing. The moon, according to astrono

As your Magazine by its name should be particularly conversant in the fashion-mers, has more phases than any other able world, I have to put some questions, which I flatter myself you will have the goodness to answer.

I need not be told, Sir, that nations and ladies have their passions as well as dress, and that in a very moderate time a more complete revolution will take place in the system of fashion. Philosophers say, that the earth is whirled round at the rate of many hundred miles a minute; one would think that men's minds partook of this rapid motion, and that sometimes in particular they were turned topsy-turvy.

I am now an old man, and in the course of my time have seen so many changes, and so many new appearances, as to have

planet. I have no doubt, Sir, that if we could learn how our earth appears to the inhabitants of the moon, we should find that we present as many phases to the moon as the moon presents to us.

But what I am now writing to you upon is what I understand to be a new fashion, lately sprung up in town, and, like all other follies and mischiefs, has passed from you to us. When I was a boy, Sir, I remember it used to be a vulgar joke, that such a one, a boy for example, notoriously known for his mischief, was born to swing. Our old schoolmaster, when correcting a boy for any very mischievous or depraved act, would frequently add, by

fashion of its own, so it had now become the fashion to swing.

way of solemn prediction," Unless you alter your, course you may have a chance to swing for thy propensities." By this acceptance of the word swing, Sir, I had formed an idea of it which I find it very difficult to reconcile with some circum-licacy? I really do not know what may stances which have lately occurred.

In the immediate neighbourhood of my house lives the Lady Bellair, a widow of a very large fortune, and with three elegant and beautiful daughters. The young ladies and their mother invariably spend their winter in London, but still occasionally visit their country seat for a week or a fortnight, when they are in the habit of inviting all their country neighbours; and to do the family justice, entertain us with a plentiful and elegant hospitality; being one of their neighbours I am always of these parties, and my nieces, who are under my guardianship, usually accompany me. The Miss Bellairs, as I have said, are very elegant and fashionable girls, and as I have known them from their childhood are great favourites with me. I could wish, indeed, that in the course of their residence in the metropolis, and in their intercourse with the fashionable world, they would not pick up so many of its follies; I would not wish a young lady to be without the polished manners which are given by fashionable society; but to say all in a word, I would wish her to borrow nothing from the fashionable world but its


But to come to my point at once; my nieces and myself were passing the day at my Lady's, and we were all walking together on the lawn, when one of the Miss Bellairs, taking the hand of my eldest nieces:-"I am sure," said she, " you would swing well; don't you think, mama, that Miss Amelia is made for swinging?" The young lady, seeing me surprised at this observation, looked earnestly at me."And you too, Sir," said she, "I hope you will accompany us; for you and your whole family seem born to swing."

You may conceive, Sir, that this kind of conversation threw me into the greatest possible embarrassment, and that I did not recover from it till my Lady had the goodness to explain,-that as every age had a

[merged small][ocr errors]

Now, Sir, I would wish to be allowed to ask of you on what principle this amusement is founded; is it on its superior de

be the fashionable modesty of the age, what may be its bounds, and what its licence, but to speak for myself, it is somewhat repugnant to my feelings to see my nieces tossed up in the air like so many pancakes, and coming down in every possible shape, like Vulcan thrown from heaven. I know, indeed, that for some years personal exposure has been in fashion; and, perhaps, having long enough exposed the neck, the fashion is to commence exposing some other parts.

If the exercise be the thing sought, I would recommend what to my mind is both a more decent and a more salutary substitute. Suppose, instead of swinging, they were to toss each other in a blanket; a little exercise would soon render them proficient, and they might mount from the earth to the stars without more personal discomposure than they at present exhibit. I know not, my dear Sir, whether these ideas may correspond with your own, but this I will most absolutely say, that as long as I live, no niece or daughter of mine shall take the polite exercise of swinging.

If there must no longer be any distinction between male and female amusements, let the ladies, with the amusements of the men, assume their habits; let them wear the breeches; let us not have male exercises in female habits. I have no objection, since the tide seems to run that way, that the ladies of the day should descend on the score of modesty to the level of the men, but let them be consistent. If there be any of them who will spar with each other, let them wear the appropriate Belcher handkerchief; if there be any of them who will swim, let them assume the cork jacket; and, finally, if there are any of them who are resolved upon their swinging, let them pay off their milliner's bill, and open an account with a leather breeches maker.—I am, Sir,

Your most obedient servant, J. MOODY.


to change your resolution, I should have no doubt of your speedy union."

A few days afterwards Leontine and Belinda met at an assembly. Each knew the other only from the report of their respective humours; this previous information rendered them almost familiar at their first interview. He found her person charming in the extreme, and her wit beyond what was required in so much beauty. Ile expressed his regret to her in not having known her sooner; but added, that it would be perhaps to his happiness not to know her longer, being

A GENTLEMAN, whom we shall distinguish by the name of Leontine, that we may escape the formality of his actual designation, possessed of an ample fortune, and which was farther amended by the death of his father, was unhappily of such a peculiar temper, such an anxious jealousy, that he could not bear a rival in love with the most common patience. If any lady, to whom he was even cursorily addressing himself, shewed any apparent condescension for the attentions of another, his jealousy immediately took the alarm, and, without any allowance for the levity of a particular woman, immediately launch-sensible how difficult it was to please her, ed out into the most passionate reproaches against the whole sex. He at length carried bis fanciful humour so far as to resolve to have no engagement with any woman whatever; a resolution which gave his father much pain, as Leontine was his only son."My dearest father," said Leontine, "I will overcome my objections so far as to marry, but from my knowledge of women I am resolved never to marry what is called a beautiful woman; having suffered so much by jealousy I cannot consent to hazard the torture of having to feel that of the lover and husband together."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and how impossible it was not to desire it. If you were not so divinely handsome,” continued he, "I should certainly have a design against your heart, hopeless as such a design might be; but whilst you are possessed of so much beauty, the world should not induce me to become your lover."

There was something in the very extravagance of this address, and in its conformity with French manners, which infinitely pleased Belinda. Leontine, on his part, was sufficiently charmed with the interview to be induced to make certain inquiries who were and had been her former admirers.

He was informed that during her education in Flanders she had been addressed by the Chevalier de Volant, a French gentleman of great merit and for tune; that his addresses, however, had

He was in this disposition of mind when his father, then on the verge of life, informed him, that a young lady (whom, for the reasons mentioned above, we shall designate as Belinda,) who had received her education in France, and had been upwards of a year in Loudon, had return-been so unfortunate, that in despair he had ed to her father's house in their immediate entered the army of the Prince of Conde, neighbourhood; that her fortune and birth and precipitated himself on a voluntary were, moreover, unexceptionable, and that death. He was informed, moreover, that he was anxious to have her for his daugh- she bad subsequently been addressed by ter. Leontine replied, that he feared his several others, and that all had been equally wish was vain; that he had heard of Be- unfortunate, so that the conquest of her linda by report, and that report said that affections was now given over as a thing of no one could please her; that he knew impossible attainment. This impossibility also that she was handsome, which was of made him apprehend that there would be itself enough to prevent him from having a great pleasure in the attempt; he resolv any thoughts of her." You shall see her ed, however, to abide by his resolutions, at least," replied his father; "and if I were though, in conformity to the desire of as certain that you would be as able to his father, he saw the young lady almost please her as I am that she will induce you daily.

For some time there was nothing serious between them. He often rallied with her on their mutual humours which preserved each from the other; he thought he perceived that his conversation did not displease her; and in one of their more lively moments he intreated her to favour him with the reasons which had induced her to reject all the offers which had been made her.

of him than of any other, and certainly more than he deserved, she did not give, credit to his words. Her deportment towards him, however, was entirely different from that of other women; and there was something so noble in her, and so sincere, that it surprised him. It was not long before she confessed the inclination she had for him, and even acquainted him with the advances he had gained in her heart; and, "I will answer you with sincerity," said as she concealed nothing which was to his she. "I feel in myself a most decided aver-advantage, she also told him that which sion to marriage; the bonds of it, the necessary restraint and submission seem to me too severe. In my humble opinion it can be nothing but a most precipitate pas sion, which can so far blind people as to induce them to submit to the servitude of a married state. You, on your part, are resolved not to marry for love; and I, on my part, cannot imagine how you or any one can marry without it. I have never as yet had an attachment of this kind for any one; if I have not married, it is because I have never loved."

“How, madam,” said Leontine, "did no one ever please you? Did your heart never receive an impression from those who so tenderly loved you?"

"Never," replied Belinda; "I know nothing of love but its name."

This conversation sank very deeply into the mind of Leontine. "How gratifying to one's vanity," said he, "would be the conquest of a heart like this, a heart untouched by any previous passion, in which I should reign wholly, and be the first who had ever reigned at all." These thoughts became insensibly to weaken his previous resolution; in plain words, he soon found that Belinda had become the object of his love, and he flattered himself that when she spoke of her general indifference to all mankind, and that her heart had uever yet been touched, she had excepted him.

It is unnecessary to say in what manner he first declared his passion; as he had always conversed with her in a vein of raillery, it was not easy to change his manner and to convince her that he was in earnest; this, however, gave him room to say things which he could not otherwise have presumed to mention till after a long preparation.

Belinda had a natural dislike to men, and though she had a higher opinion

was otherwise. She did not believe, she said, that he loved her truly; and till she was better convinced of it she would never consent to marry him.

Scarce could he express his joy. at this wonderful success, and to see the embarasment and trouble she was involved in by a passion hitherto unknown. How transporting was it to know the confusion Belinda was under, to find she was no longer mistress of herself, and that she had sentiments in her breast which she could not controul? He felt a rapture in this beginning beyond imagination; and he who had never tasted the pleasure of kindling an extravagant passion in a heart which had not experienced the gentlest impression before, might justly say he was a stranger to the true pleasures of love. If he had an exquisite delight in discovering Belinda's tenderne-s for him, her doubting his love, and the impossibility he thought there was of satisfy ing her of it, gave him extreme disturbance. This inquietude brought fresh into his mind the opinion he had always entertained concerning marriage; he was plunging, be saw, into the misfortunes he had so much deaded, and that he should not be able to convince Belinda that he loved her; or, if he did, and she had a real affection for him, he should yet be exposed to the unhappiness of having her love decline. “Marriage," said he, "will lessen her passion, and she will love me only out of duty; and perhaps she may fancy another." In short, he represented to himself the misery of jealousy in such a manner, that, as much as he admired Belinda, he resolved to press the thing no farther, and preferred the trouble of living without her to that of living with her and not being loved.

Belinda was soon in the same perplexities of mind. They opened their thoughts.

freely to each other, and talked about the reasons they had never to become united. Several times they resolved to break off their acquaintance, and took leave with a design to execute their resolution; but their resolution was so weak, and their inclinations so strong, that the moment they separated they thought of nothing but how to meet again. After a long wavering on either side, he removed Belinda's scruples, and she quieted his. She promised to consent to their marriage as soon as those upon whom they depended had settled the neBefore it could be cessary measures. finished, her father was obliged to go into Wales to settle some matters concerning an estate he had there, which required his immediate presence. In the mean time Leontine was the happiest man in the world. He loved Belinda passionately, admired her beyond all women, and thought he was at the point of possessing her for


He visited her with all the freedom of a man who was shortly to be her husband; when one day his evil genius put him upon desiring of her the history of the steps her former lovers had taken to gain her favour; because it would be a pleasure to him to see the difference between her behaviour towards them and himself. She repeated their names, and told him all the methods they had pursued; adding, that those who persevered the longest were those she most disliked; that Lord S―, who had made his addresses to her in London, was a selfadmirer, yet had something in him engaging; and as to the French Marquis, who had loved her to death, he was never in any shape pleasing to her. The extraordinary constancy of the latter struck his mind, and the "something engaging" in the Lord deeply affected him: he begged her to relate every particular which had passed between them. She did, and though she said nothing which could give offence, the fiend of jealousy sprung up in his heart. He left her, and passed the night without sleep. Belinda appeared to himno longer the same person. "What was the charm," said he to himself, “that kindled my passion? Was it not the notion that she never loved any one before? And yet, by all she herself has told me, she could certainly have no aversion against the French Marquis, and she

has expressed too great an esteem for the Lord, and treated him too civilly; and unless she had loved him in the main, she would surely have hated him for a coxcomb, as admiring himself more than her. No, Belinda! you have deceived me; you are not the woman I believed you to be; I adored you as one who had never loved; it was this that gave birth to my affection; but you are such no more; and it is just I I should recal all my former fondness."

Upon this he resolved to talk with her once more, imagining he could explain to her what it was which made him uneasy, and clear up the whole affair with her in so happy a manner as to leave no suspicion. He did as he resolved; but this time of speaking was not the last; for the next day he resumed the discourse with more warmth than before; and Belinda, who had shewn an unparalleled patience and goodness till now, and had borne all his surmises, and laboured to remove them, began to be wearied with the continuance of a jealousy so violent and ill supported." Leontine," said she to him, "I see plainly these fancies you have entertained are going to extin guish your love; but, you must also remember, they will iufallibly destroy mine. Consider, I conjure you, about what it is you torture me, and about what you torture yourself. The first concerns a dead man, whom you cannot believe I loved, since I did not marry him. The next, Lord S―, for inadvertently saying he had something engaging in him, though indeed this was never my opinion, but that of other ladies, who are sometimes more taken with external shew than real and intrinsic merit; besides, if I had loved him, my relations would have willingly consented to the match, and there was nothing to oppose it. So that, Sir, you may rest secure, if you are so disposed, that I never knew any person who had it in his power to give you the least uneasiness."-" Convince me of this, ma dam," cried Leontine; "repeat it a thou sand times; give it me in writing, and restore to me the exquisite pleasure of loving you as I wish to do; and above all pardon me the torture I have presumed to create in you." These last words made an impression upon Belinda; she saw he was not master of his own sentiments, and promised to do as he had requested.

« 上一頁繼續 »