THE historian of human life finds less of difficulty and of intricacy to develop, in its accidents and adventures, than the investigator of the human heart in its feelings and its changes. In vain may Fortune wave her many-coloured banner, alternately regaling and dismaying, with hues that seem glowing with all the creation’s felicities, or with tints that appear stained with ingredients of unmixt horrors; her most rapid vicissitudes, her most unassimilating eccentricities, are mocked, laughed at, and distanced by the wilder wonders of the Heart of man; that amazing assemblage of all possible contrarieties, in which one thing alone is steady-the perverseness of spirit which grafts desire on what is denied. Its qualities are indefinable, its resources unfathomable, its weaknesses indefensible. In our neighbours we cannot judge, in ourselves we dare not trust it. We lose ere we learn to appreciate, and ere we can comprehend it we must be born again. Its capacity o’er-leaps all limit, while its futility includes every absurdity. It lives its own surprise-it ceases to beat-and the void is inscrutable! In one grand and general view, who can display such a portrait? Fairly, however faintly, to delineate some of its features, is the sole and discriminate province of the pen which would trace nature, yet blot out personality.
REPOSE is not more welcome to the worn and to the aged, to the sick and to the unhappy, than danger, difficulty, and toil to the young and adventurous. Danger they encounter but as the forerunner of success; difficulty, as the spur of ingenuity; and toil, as the herald of honour. The experience which teaches the lesson of truth, and the blessings of tranquillity, comes not in the shape of warning nor of wisdom; from such they turn aside, defying or disbelieving. ’Tis in the bitterness of personal proof alone, in suffering and in feeling, in erring and in repenting, that experience comes home with conviction, or impresses to any use.
In the bosom of her respectable family resided Camilla. Nature, with a bounty the most profuse, had been lavish to her of attractions; Fortune, with a moderation yet kinder, had placed her between luxury and indigence. Her abode was in the parsonage-house of Etherington, beautifully situated in the unequal county of Hampshire, and in the vicinity of the varied landscapes of the New Forest. Her father, the rector, was the younger son of the house of Tyrold. The living, though not considerable, enabled its incumbent to attain every rational object of his modest and circumscribed wishes; to bestow upon a deserving wife whatever her own forbearance declined not; and to educate a lovely race of one son and three daughters, with that expansive propriety, which unites improvement for the future with present enjoyment.
In goodness of heart, and in principles of piety, this exemplary couple was bound to each other by the most perfect unison of character, though in their tempers there was a contrast which had scarce the gradation of a single shade to smooth off its abrupt dissimilitude. Mr. Tyrold, gentle with wisdom, and benign in virtue, saw with compassion all imperfections but his own, and there doubled the severity which to others he spared. Yet the mildness that urged him to pity blinded him not to approve; his equity was unerring, though his judgment was indulgent. His partner had a firmness of mind which nothing could shake: calamity found her resolute; even prosperity was powerless to lull her duties asleep. The exalted character of her husband was the pride of her existence, and the source of her happiness. He was not merely her standard of excellence, but of endurance, since her sense of his worth was the criterion for her opinion of all others. This instigated a spirit of comparison, which is almost always uncandid, and which here could rarely escape proving injurious. Such, at its very best, is the unskilfulness of our fallible nature, that even the noble principle which impels our love of right, misleads us but into new deviations, when its ambition presumes to point at perfection. In this instance, however, distinctness of disposition stifled not reciprocity of affection-that magnetic concentration of all marriage felicity;–Mr. Tyrold revered while he softened the rigid virtues of his wife, who adored while she fortified the melting humanity of her husband.
Thus, in an interchange of happiness the most deserved, and of parental occupations the most promising, passed the first married years of this blest and blessing pair. An event then came to pass extremely interesting at the moment, and yet more important in its consequences. This was the receipt of a letter from the elder brother of Mr. Tyrold, containing information that he meant to remove into Hampshire.
Sir Hugh Tyrold was a baronet, who resided upon the hereditary estate of the family in Yorkshire. He was many years older than Mr. Tyrold, who had never seen him since his marriage; religious duties, prudence, and domestic affairs having from that period detained him at his benefice; while a passion for field sports had, with equal constancy, kept his brother stationary.
The baronet began his letter with kind enquiries after the welfare of Mr. Tyrold and his family, and then entered upon the state of his own affairs, briefly narrating, that he had lost his health, and, not knowing what to do with himself, had resolved to change his habitation, and settle near his relations. The Cleves’ estate, which he heard was just by Etherington, being then upon sale, he desired his brother to make the purchase for him out of hand; and then to prepare Mrs. Tyrold, with whom he was yet unacquainted, though he took it for granted she was a woman of great learning, to receive a mere poor country squire, who knew no more of hic, haec, hoc, than the baby unborn. He begged him to provide a proper apartment for their niece Indiana Lynmere, whom he should bring with him, and another for their nephew Clermont, who was to follow at the next holidays; and not to forget Mrs. Margland, Indiana’s governess, she being rather the most particular in point of pleasing amongst them.
Mr. Tyrold, extremely gratified by this unexpected renewal of fraternal intercourse, wrote the warmest thanks to his brother, and executed the commission with the utmost alacrity. A noble mansion, with an extensive pleasure-ground, scarce four miles distant from the parsonage-house of Etherington, was bought, fitted up, and made ready for his reception in the course of a few months. The baronet, impatient to take possession of his new territory, arrived speedily after, with his niece Indiana, and was welcomed at the gate of the park by Mr. Tyrold and his whole family.
Sir Hugh Tyrold inherited from his ancestors an unincumbered estate of 5000 pounds per annum; which he enjoyed with ease and affluence to himself, and disseminated with a good will so generous, that he appeared to think his personal prosperity, and that of all who surrounded him, bestowed but to be shared in common, rather from general right, than through his own dispensing bounty. His temper was unalterably sweet, and every thought of his breast was laid open to the world with an almost infantine artlessness. But his talents bore no proportion to the goodness of his heart, an insuperable want of quickness, and of application in his early days, having left him, at a later period, wholly uncultivated, and singularly self-formed.
A dearth of all sedentary resources became, when his youth passed away, his own constant reproach. Health failed him in the meridian of his life, from the consequences of a wound in his side, occasioned by a fall from his horse; exercise, therefore, and active diversions, were of necessity relinquished, and as these had hitherto occupied all his time, except that portion which he delighted to devote to hospitality and neighbourly offices, now equally beyond his strength, he found himself at once deprived of all employment, and destitute of all comfort. Nor did any plan occur to him to solace his misfortunes, till he accidentally read in the newspapers that the Cleves’ estate was upon sale.
Indiana, the niece who accompanied him, a beautiful little girl, was the orphan daughter of a deceased sister, who, at the death of her parents, had, with Clermont, an only brother, been left to the guardianship of Sir Hugh; with the charge of a small estate for the son of scarce 200 pounds a-year, and the sum of 1000 pounds for the fortune of the daughter.
The meeting was a source of tender pleasure to Mr. Tyrold; and gave birth in his young family to that eager joy which is so naturally attached, by our happiest early prejudices, to the first sight of near relations. Mrs. Tyrold received Sir Hugh with the complacency due to the brother of her husband; who now rose higher than ever in her estimation, from a fraternal comparison to the unavoidable disadvantage of the baronet; though she was not insensible to the fair future prospects of her children, which seemed the probable result of his change of abode.
Sir Hugh himself, notwithstanding his best affections were all opened by the sight of so many claimants to their kindness, was the only dejected person of the group.
Though too good in his nature for envy, a severe self-upbraiding followed his view of the happiness of his brother; he regretted he had not married at the same age, that he might have owned as fine a family, and repined against the unfortunate privileges of his birth-right, which, by indulging him in his first youth with whatever he could covet, drove from his attention that modest foresight which prepares for later years the consolation they are sure to require.
By degrees, however, the satisfaction spread around him found some place in his own breast, and he acknowledged himself sensibly revived by so endearing a reception; though he candidly avowed, that if he had not been at a loss what to do, he should never have had a thought of taking so long a journey. ‘But the not having made,’ cried he, ‘the proper proficiency in my youth for the filling up my time, has put me quite behind-hand.’
He caressed all the children with great fondness, and was much struck with the beauty of his three nieces, particularly with that of Camilla, Mr. Tyrold’s second daughter; ‘yet she is not,’ he cried, ‘so pretty as her little sister Eugenia, nor much better than t’other sister Lavinia; and not one of the three is half so great a beauty as my little Indiana; so I can’t well make out what it is that’s so catching in her; but there’s something in her little mouth that quite wins me; though she looks as if she was half laughing at me too: which can’t very well be, neither; for I suppose, as yet, at least, she knows no more of books and studying than her uncle. And that’s little enough, God knows, for I never took to them in proper season; which I have been sorry enough for, upon coming to discretion.’
Then addressing himself to the boy, he exhorted him to work hard while yet in his youth, and related sundry anecdotes of the industry and merit of his father when at the same age, though left quite to himself, as, to his great misfortune, he had been also, ‘which brought about,’ he continued, ‘my being this present ignoramus that you see me; which would not have happened, if my good forefathers had been pleased to keep a sharper look out upon my education.’
Lionel, the little boy, casting a comic glance at Camilla, begged to know what his uncle meant by a sharper look out?
‘Mean, my dear? why correction, to be sure; for all that, they tell me, is to be done by the rod; so there, at least, I might have stood as good a chance as my neighbours.’
‘And pray, uncle,’ cried Lionel, pursing up his mouth to hide his laughter, ‘did you always like the thoughts of it so well?’
‘Why no, my dear, I can’t pretend to that; at your age I had no more taste for it than you have: but there’s a proper season for every thing. However, though I tell you this for a warning, perhaps you may do without it; for, by what I hear, the rising generation’s got to a much greater pitch since my time.’
He then added, he must advise him, as a friend, to be upon his guard, as his Cousin, Clermont Lynmere, who was coming home from Eton school next Christmas for the holidays, would turn out the very mirror of scholarship; for he had given directions to have him study both night and day, except what might be taken off for eating and sleeping: ‘Because,’ he continued, ‘having proved the bad of knowing nothing in my own case, I have the more right to intermeddle with others. And he will thank me enough when once he has got over his classics. And I hope, my dear little boy, you see it in the same light too; which, however, is what I can’t expect.’
The house was now examined; the fair little Indiana took possession of her apartment; Miss Margland was satisfied with the attention that had been paid her; and Sir Hugh was rejoiced to find a room for Clermont that had no window but a skylight, by which means his studies, he observed, would receive no interruption from gaping and staring about him. And, when the night advanced, Mr. Tyrold had the happiness of leaving him with some prospect of recovering his spirits.
The revival, however, lasted but during the novelty of the scene; depression returned with the feelings of ill health; and the happier lot of his brother, though born to almost nothing, filled him with incessent repentance of his own mismanagement.
In some measure to atone for this, he resolved to collect himself a family in his own house: and the young Camilla, whose dawning archness of expression had instinctively caught him, he now demanded of her parents, to come and reside with him and Indiana at Cleves; ‘for certainly,’ he said, ‘for such a young little thing, she looks full of amusement.’
Mrs. Tyrold objected against reposing a trust so precious where its value could so ill be appreciated. Camilla was, in secret, the fondest hope of her mother, though the rigour of her justice scarce permitted the partiality to beat even in her own breast. Nor did the happy little person need the avowed distinction. The tide of youthful glee flowed jocund from her heart, and the transparency of her fine blue veins almost shewed the velocity of its current. Every look was a smile, every step was a spring, every thought was a hope, every feeling was joy! and the early felicity of her mind was without allay. O blissful state of innocence, purity, and delight, why must it fleet so fast? why scarcely but by retrospection is its happiness known?
Mr. Tyrold, while his tenderest hopes encircled the same object, saw the proposal in a fairer light, from the love he bore to his brother. It seemed certain such a residence would secure her an ample fortune; the governess to whom Indiana was entrusted would take care of his little girl; though removed from the hourly instructions, she would still be within reach of the general superintendance of her mother, into whose power he cast the uncontrolled liberty to reclaim her, if there started any occasion. His children had no provision ascertained, should his life be too short to fulfil his own personal schemes of economy in their favour: and while to an argument so incontrovertible Mrs. Tyrold was silent, he begged her also to reflect, that, persuasive as were the attractions of elegance and refinement, no just parental expectations could be essentially disappointed, where the great moral lessons were practically inculcated, by a uniform view of goodness of heart, and firmness of principle. These his brother possessed in an eminent degree; and if his character had nothing more from which their daughter could derive benefit, it undoubtedly had not a point from which she could receive injury.
Mrs. Tyrold now yielded; she never resisted a remonstrance of her husband; and as her sense of duty impelled her also never to murmur, she retired to her own room, to conceal with how ill a grace she complied.
Had this lady been united to a man whom she despised, she would yet have obeyed him, and as scrupulously, though not as happily, as she obeyed her honoured partner. She considered the vow taken at the altar to her husband, as a voluntary vestal would have held one taken to her Maker; and no dissent in opinion exculpated, in her mind, the least deviation from his will.
But here, where an admiration almost adoring was fixt of the character to which she submitted, she was sure to applaud the motives which swayed him, however little their consequences met her sentiments: and even where the contrariety was wholly repugnant to her judgment, the genuine warmth of her just affection made every compliance, and every forbearance, not merely exempt from pain, but if to him any satisfaction, a sacrifice soothing to her heart.
Mr. Tyrold, whose whole soul was deeply affected by her excellencies, gratefully felt his power, and religiously studied not to abuse it: he respected what he owed to her conscience, he tenderly returned what he was indebted to her affection. To render her virtues conducive to her happiness, to soften her duties by the highest sense of their merit, were the first and most sacred objects of his solicitude in life.
When the lively and lovely little girl, mingling the tears of separation with all the childish rapture which novelty, to a much later period inspires, was preparing to change her home, ‘Remember,’ cried Mr. Tyrold, to her anxious mother, ‘that on you, my Georgiana, devolves the sole charge, the unlimited judgment, to again bring her under this roof, the first moment she appears to you in any danger from having quitted it.’
The prompt and thankful acceptance of Mrs. Tyrold did justice to the sincerity of this offer: and the cheerful acquiescence of lessened reluctance, raised her higher in that esteem to which her constant mind invariably looked up, as the summit of her chosen ambition.
DELIGHTED with this acquisition to his household, Sir Hugh again revived. ‘My dear brother and sister,’ he cried, when next the family visited Cleves, ‘this proves the most fortunate step I have ever taken since I was born. Camilla’s a little jewel; she jumps and skips about till she makes my eyes ache with looking after her, for fear of her breaking her neck. I must keep a sharp watch, or she’ll put poor Indiana’s nose quite out of joint, which God forbid. However, she’s the life of us all, for I’m sorry to say it, but I think, my dear brother, poor Indiana promises to turn out rather dull.’
The sprightly little girl, thus possessed of the heart, soon guided the will of her uncle. He could refuse nothing to her endearing entreaty, and felt every indulgence repaid by the enchantment of her gaiety. Indiana, his first idol, lost her power to please him, though no essential kindness was abated in his conduct. He still acknowledged that her beauty was the most complete; but he found in Camilla a variety that was captivation. Her form and her mind were of equal elasticity. Her playful countenance rekindled his spirits, the cheerfulness of her animated voice awakened him to its own joy. He doated upon detaining her by his side, or delighted to gratify her if she wished to be absent. She exhilarated him with pleasure, she supplied him with ideas, and from the morning’s first dawn to the evening’s latest close, his eye followed her lightspringing figure, or his ear vibrated with her sportive sounds; catching, as it listened, in successive rotation, the spontaneous laugh, the unconscious bound, the genuine glee of childhood’s fearless happiness, uncurbed by severity, untamed by misfortune.
This ascendance was soon pointed out by the servants to Indiana, who sometimes shewed her resentment in unexplained and pouting sullenness, and at others, let all pass unnoticed, with unreflecting forgetfulness. But her mind was soon empoisoned with a jealousy of more permanent seriousness; in less than a month after the residence of Camilla at Cleves, Sir Hugh took the resolution of making her his heiress.
Even Mr. Tyrold, notwithstanding his fondness for Camilla, remonstrated against a partiality so injurious to his nephew and niece, as well as to the rest of his family. And Mrs. Tyrold, though her secret heart subscribed, without wonder, to a predilection in favour of Camilla, was maternally disturbed for her other children, and felt her justice sensibly shocked at a blight so unmerited to the hopes cherished by Indiana and Clermont Lynmere: for though the fruits of this change of plan would be reaped by her little darling, they were robbed of all their sweetness to a mind so correct, by their undeserved bitterness towards the first expectants.
Sir Hugh, however, was immoveable; he would provide handsomely, he said, for Indiana and Clermont, by settling a thousand pounds a year between them; and he would bequeath capital legacies amongst the rest of his nephews and nieces: but as to the bulk of his fortune, it should all go to Camilla; for how else could he make her amends for having amused him? or how, when he was gone, should he prove to her he loved her the best?
Sir Hugh could keep nothing secret; Camilla was soon informed of the riches she was destined to inherit; and servants, who now with added respect attended her, took frequent opportunities of impressing her with the expectation, by the favours they begged from her in reversion.
The happy young heiress heard them with little concern: interest and ambition could find no room in a mind, which to dance, sing, and play could enliven to rapture. Yet the continued repetition of requests soon made the idea of patronage familiar to her, and though wholly uninfected with one thought of power or consequence, she sometimes regaled her fancy with the presents she should make amongst her friends; designing a coach for her mamma, that she might oftener go abroad; an horse for her brother Lionel, which she knew to be his most passionate wish; a new bureau, with a lock and key, for her eldest sister Lavinia; innumerable trinkets for her cousin Indiana; dolls and toys without end for her little sister Eugenia; and a new library of new books, finely bound and gilt, for her papa. But these munificent donations looked forward to no other date than the anticipation of womanhood. If an hint were surmised of her surviving her uncle, an impetuous shower of tears dampt all her gay schemes, deluged every airy castle, and shewed the instinctive gratitude which kindness can awaken, even in the unthinking period of earliest youth, in those bosoms it has ever the power to animate.
Her ensuing birth-day, upon which she would enter her tenth year, was to announce to the adjoining country her uncle’s splendid plan in her favour. Her brother and sisters were invited to keep it with her at Cleves; but Sir Hugh declined asking either her father or mother, that his own time, without restraint, might be dedicated to the promotion of her festivity; he even requested of Miss Margland, that she would not appear that day, lest her presence should curb the children’s spirits.
The gay little party, consisting of Lavinia, who was two years older, and Eugenia, who was two years younger than Camilla, with her beautiful cousin, who was exactly of her own age, her brother Lionel, who counted three years more, and Edgar Mandlebert, a ward of Mr. Tyrold’s, all assembled at Cleves upon this important occasion, at eight o’clock in the morning, to breakfast.
Edgar Mandlebert, an uncommonly spirited and manly boy, now thirteen years of age, was heir to one of the finest estates in the county. He was the only son of a bosom friend of Mr. Tyrold, to whose guardianship he had been consigned almost from his infancy, and who superintended the care of his education with as much zeal, though not as much oeconomy, as that of his own son. He placed him under the tuition of Dr. Marchmont, a man of consummate learning, and he sent for him to Etherington twice in every year, where he assiduously kept up his studies by his own personal instructions. ‘I leave him rich, my dear friend,’ said his father, when on his death-bed he recommended him to Mr. Tyrold, ‘and you, I trust, will make him good, and see him happy; and should hereafter a daughter of your own, from frequent intercourse, become mistress of his affections, do not oppose such a union from a disparity of fortune, which a daughter of yours, and of your incomparable partner’s, can hardly fail to counterbalance in merit.’ Mr. Tyrold, though too noble to avail himself of a declaration so generous, by forming any plan to bring such a connection to bear, felt conscientiously absolved from using any measures of frustration, and determined, as the young people grew up, neither to promote nor impede any rising regard.
The estate of Beech Park was not all that young Mandlebert inherited; the friendship of its late owner for Mr. Tyrold, seemed instinctively transfused into his breast, and he paid back the parental tenderness with which he was watched and cherished, by a fondness and veneration truly filial.
Whatever could indulge or delight the little set was brought forth upon this joyous meeting; fruits, sweetmeats, and cakes; cards, trinkets, and blind fidlers, were all at the unlimited command of the fairy mistress of the ceremonies. But unbounded as were the transports of the jovial little group, they could scarcely keep pace with the enjoyment of Sir Hugh; he entered into all their plays, he forgot all his pains, he laughed because they laughed, and suffered his darling little girl to govern and direct him at her pleasure. She made him whiskers of cork, powdered his brown bob, and covered a thread paper with black ribbon to hang to it for a queue. She metamorphosed him into a female, accoutring him with her fine new cap, while she enveloped her own small head in his wig; and then, tying the maid’s apron round his waist, put a rattle into his hand, and Eugenia’s doll upon his lap, which she told him was a baby that he must nurse and amuse.
The excess of merriment thus excited spread through the whole house. Lionel called in the servants to see this comical sight, and the servants indulged their numerous guests with a peep at it from the windows. Sir Hugh, meanwhile, resolved to object to nothing, performed every part assigned him, joined in their hearty laughs at the grotesque figure they made of him, and cordially encouraged all their proceedings, assuring them he had not been so much diverted himself since his fall from his horse, and advising them, with great zeal, to be merry while they could: ‘For you will never, my dears,’ said he, ‘be younger, never while you live; no more, for that matter, shall I, neither, for all I am so much older, which, in that point, makes no difference.’
He grew weary, however, first; and stretching himself his full length, with a prodigious yawn, ‘Heigh ho!’ he cried, ‘Camilla, my dear, do take away poor Doll, for fear I should let it slip.’
The little gigglers, almost in convulsions of laughter, entreated him to nurse it some time longer; but he frankly answered, ‘No, my dears, no; I can play no more now, if I’d ever so fain, for I’m tired to death, which is really a pity; so you must either go out with me my airing, for a rest to your merry little sides, or stay and play by yourselves till I come back, which I think will put you all into fevers; but, however, nobody shall trouble your little souls with advice to-day; there are days enough in the year for teazing, without this one.’
Camilla instantly decided for the airing, and without a dissentient voice: so entirely had the extreme good humour of Sir Hugh won the hearts of the little party, that they felt as if the whole of their entertainment depended upon his presence. The carriage, therefore, was ordered for the baronet and his four nieces, and Lionel and Edgar Mandlebert, at the request of Camilla, were gratified with horses.
Camilla was desired to fix their route, and while she hesitated from the variety in her choice, Lionel proposed to Edgar that they should take a view of his house, park, and gardens, which were only three miles from Cleves. Edgar referred the matter to Indiana, to whose already exquisite beauty his juvenile admiration paid its most early obeisance. Indiana approved; the little heroine of the day assented with pleasure and they immediately set out upon the happy expedition.
The two boys the whole way came with offerings of wild honeysuckle and sweetbriar, the grateful nosegays of all-diffusing nature, to the coach windows, each carefully presenting the most fragrant to Indiana; for Lionel, even more than sympathising with Edgar, declared his sisters to be mere frights in comparison with his fair cousin. Their partiality, however, struggled vainly against that of Sir Hugh, who still, in every the most trivial particular, gave the preference to Camilla.
The baronet had ordered that his own garden chair should follow him to young Mandlebert’s park, that he might take Camilla by his side, and go about the grounds without fatigue; the rest were to walk. Here Indiana received again the homage of her two young beaus; they pointed out to her the most beautiful prospects, they gathered her the fairest flowers, they loaded her with the best and ripest fruits.
This was no sooner observed by Sir Hugh, than hastily stopping his chair, he called after them aloud, ‘Holloa! come hither, my boys! here, you Mr. young Mandlebert, what are you all about; Why don’t you bring that best bunch of grapes to Camilla?’
‘I have already promised it to Miss Lynmere, Sir.’
‘O ho have you so? well, give it her then if you have. I have no right to rob you of your choice. Indiana, my dear, how do you like this place?’
‘Very much, indeed, uncle; I never saw any place I liked so much in my life.’
‘I am sure else,’ said Edgar, ‘I should never care for it again myself.’
‘I could look at it for ever,’ cried Indiana, ‘and not be tired!’
Sir Hugh gravely paused at these speeches, and regarded them in turn with much steadiness, as if settling their future destinies; but ever unable to keep a single thought to himself, he presently burst forth aloud with his new mental arrangement, saying: ‘Well, my dears, well; this is not quite the thing I had taken a fancy to in my own private brain, but it’s all for the best, there’s no doubt; though the estate being just in my neighbourhood, would have made it more suitable for Camilla; I mean provided we could have bought, among us, the odd three miles between the Parks; which how many acres they make, I can’t pretend to say, without the proper calculation; but if it was all joined, it would be the finest domain in the county, as far as I know to the contrary: nevertheless, my dear young Mr. Mandlebert, you have a right to choose for yourself; for as to beauty, ’tis mere fancy; not but what Indiana has one or other the prettiest face I ever saw, though I think Camilla’s so much prettier; I mean in point of winningness. However, there’s no fear as to my consent, for nothing can be a greater pleasure to me than having two such good girls, both being cousins, live so near that they may overlook one another from park to park, all day long, by the mode of a telescope.’
Edgar, perfectly understanding him, blushed deeply, and, forgetting what he had just declared, offered his grapes to Lavinia. Indiana, conceiving herself already mistress of so fine a place, smiled with approving complacency; and the rest were too much occupied with the objects around them, to listen to so long a speech.
They then all moved on; but, soon after, Lionel, flying up to his uncle’s chair, informed Camilla he had just heard from the gardener, that only half a mile off, at Northwick, there was a fair, to which he begged she would ask to go. She found no difficulty in obliging him; and Sir Hugh was incapable of hesitating at whatever she could desire. The carriage and the horses for the boys were again ordered, and to the regret of only Edgar and Indiana, the beautiful plantations of Beech Park were relinquished for the fair.
They had hardly proceeded twenty yards, when the smiles that had brightened the face of Lavinia, the eldest daughter of Mr. Tyrold, were suddenly overcast, giving place to a look of dismay, which seemed the effect of some abruptly painful recollection; and the moment Sir Hugh perceived it, and enquired the cause, the tears rolled fast down her checks, and she said she had been guilty of a great sin, and could never forgive herself.
They all eagerly endeavoured to console her, Camilla fondly taking her hand, little Eugenia sympathetically crying over and kissing her, Indiana begging to know what was the matter, and Sir Hugh, holding out to her the finest peach from his stores for Camilla, and saying, ‘Don’t cry so, my dear, don’t cry: take a little bit of peach; I dare say you are not so bad as you think for.’
The weeping young penitent besought leave to get out of the coach with Camilla, to whom alone she could explain herself. Camilla almost opened the door herself, to hasten the discovery; and the moment they had run up a bank by the road side, ‘Tell me what it is, my dear Lavinia,’ she cried, ‘and I am sure my uncle will do anything in the world to help you.’
‘O Camilla,’ she answered, ‘I have disobeyed mamma! and I did not mean it in the least-but I have forgot all her commands!–She charged me not to let Eugenia stir out from Cleves, because of the small pox-and she has been already at Beech Park-and now, how can I tell the poor little thing she must not go to the fair?’
‘Don’t vex yourself about that,’ cried Camilla, kindly kissing the tears off her cheeks, ‘for I will stay behind, and play with Eugenia myself, if my uncle will drive us back to Beech Park; and then all the rest may go to the fair, and take us up again in the way home.’
With this expedient she flew to the coach, charging the two boys who with great curiosity had ridden to the bank side, and listened to all that had passed, to comfort Lavinia.
‘Lionel,’ cried Edgar, ‘do you know, while Camilla was speaking so kindly to Lavinia, I thought she looked almost as pretty as your cousin?’ Lionel would by no means subscribe to this opinion, but Edgar would not retract.
Camilla, jumping into the carriage, threw her arms around the neck of her uncle, and whispered to him all that had passed. ‘Poor innocent little dear!’ cried he, ‘is that all? it’s just nothing, considering her young age.’
Then, looking out of the window, ‘Lavinia,’ he said, ‘you have done no more harm than what’s quite natural; and so I shall tell your mamma; who is a woman of sense, and won’t expect such a young head as yours to be of the same age as hers and mine. But come into the coach, my dear; we’ll just drive as far as Northwick, for an airing, and then back again.’
The extreme delicacy of the constitution of Eugenia had hitherto deterred Mrs. Tyrold from innoculating her; she had therefore scrupulously kept her from all miscellaneous intercourse in the neighbourhood: but as the weakness of her infancy was now promising to change into health and strength, she meant to give to that terrible disease its best chance, and the only security it allows from perpetual alarm, immediately after the heats of the present autumn should be over.
Lavinia, unused to disobedience, could not be happy in practising it: she entreated, therefore, to return immediately to Cleves. Sir Hugh complied; premising only that they must none of them expect him to be of their play-party again till after dinner.
The coachman then received fresh orders: but, the moment they were communicated to the two boys, Lionel, protesting he would not lose the fair, said he should soon overtake them, and, regardless of all remonstrances, put spurs to his horse, and galloped off.
Sir Hugh, looking after him with great alarm, exclaimed, ‘Now he is going to break all his bones! which is always the case with those young boys, when first they get a horseback.’
Camilla, terrified that she had begged this boon, requested that the servant might directly ride after him.
‘Yes, my dear, if you wish it,’ answered Sir Hugh; ‘only we have but this one man for us all, because of the rest staying to get the ball and supper ready; so that if we should be overturned ourselves, here’s never a soul to pick us up.’
Edgar offered to ride on alone, and persuade the truant to return.
‘Thank you, my dear, thank you,’ answered Sir Hugh, ‘you are as good a boy as any I know, but, in point of horsemanship, one’s as ignorant as t’other, as far as I can tell; so we may only see both your sculls fractured instead of one, in the midst of your galloping; which God forbid for either.’
‘Then let us all go together,’ cried Indiana, ‘and bring him back.’
‘But do not let us get out of the coach, uncle,’ said Lavinia; ‘pray do not let us get out!’
Sir Hugh agreed; though he added, that as to the small pox he could by no means see it in the same light, for he had no notion of people’s taking diseases upon themselves. ‘Besides,’ continued he, ‘she will be sure to have it when her time comes, whether she is moped up or no; and how did people do before these new modes of making themselves sick of their own accord?’
Pitying, however, the uneasiness of Lavinia, when they came near the town, he called to the footman, and said, ‘Hark’ee, Jacob, do you ride on first, and keep a sharp look out that nobody has the small pox.’
The fair being held in the suburbs, they soon arrived at some straggling booths, and the coach, at the instance of Lavinia, was stopt.
Indiana now earnestly solicited leave to alight and see the fair; and Edgar offered to be her esquire. Sir Hugh consented, but desired that Lavinia and Camilla might be also of the party. Lavinia tried vainly to excuse herself; he assured her it would raise her spirits, and bid her be under no apprehension, for he would stay and amuse the little Eugenia himself, and take care that she came to no harm.
They were no sooner gone, however, than the little girl cried to follow; Sir Hugh, compassionately kissing her, owned she had as good a right as any of them, and declared it was a hard thing to have her punished for other people’s particularities. This concession served only to make her tears flow the faster; till, unable to bear the sight, he said he could not answer to his conscience the vexing such a young thing, and, promising she should have whatever she liked, if she would cry no more, he ordered the coachman to drive to the first booth where there were any toys to be sold.
Here, having no footman to bring the trinkets to the coach, he alighted, and, suffering the little girl, for whom he had not a fear himself, to accompany him, he entered the booth, and told her to take whatever hit her fancy, for she should have as many playthings as she could carry.
Her grief now gave way to ecstasy, and her little hands could soon scarcely sustain the loaded skirt of her white frock. Sir Hugh, determining to make the rest of the children equally happy, was selecting presents for them all, when the little group, ignorant whom they should encounter, advanced towards the same booth: but he had hardly time to exclaim, ‘Oho! have you caught us?’ when the innocent voice of Eugenia, calling out, ‘Little boy; what’s the matter with your face, little boy?’ drew his attention another way, and he perceived a child apparently just recovering from the small pox.
Edgar, who at the same instant saw the same dreaded sight, darted forward, seized Eugenia in his arms, and, in defiance of her playthings and her struggles, carried her back to the coach; while Lavinia, in an agony of terror, ran up to the little boy, and, crying out, ‘O go away! go away!’ dragged him out of the booth, and, perfectly unconscious what she did, covered his head with her frock, and held him fast with both her hands.
Sir Hugh, all aghast, hurried out of the booth, but could scarce support himself from emotion; and, while he leaned upon his stick, ejaculating, ‘Lord help us! what poor creatures we are, we poor mortals!’ Edgar had the presence of mind to make Indiana and Camilla go directly to the carriage. He then prevailed with Sir Hugh to enter it also, and ran back for Lavinia. But when he perceived the situation into which distress and affright had driven her, and saw her sobbing over the child, whom she still held confined, with an idea of hiding him from Eugenia, he was instantly sensible of the danger of her joining her little sister. Extremely perplexed for them all, and afraid, by going from the sick child, he might himself carry the infection to the coach, he sent a man to Sir Hugh to know what was to be done.
Sir Hugh, totally overset by the unexpected accident, and conscience-struck at his own wilful share in risking it, was utterly helpless, and could only answer, that he wished young Mr. Edgar would give him his advice.
Edgar, thus called upon, now first felt the abilities which his short life had not hitherto brought into use: he begged Sir Hugh would return immediately to Cleves, and keep Eugenia there for a few days with Camilla and her cousin; while he undertook to go himself in search of Lionel, with whose assistance he would convey Lavinia back to Etherington, without seeing her little sister; since she must now be as full of contagion as the poor object who had just had the disease.
Sir Hugh, much relieved, sent him word he had no doubt he would become the first scholar of the age; and desired he would get a chaise for himself and Lavinia, and let the footman take charge of his horse.
He then ordered the coach to Cleves.
Edgar fulfilled the injunctions of Sir Hugh with alacrity; but had a very difficult task to find Lionel, and one far more painful to appease Lavinia, whose apprehensions were so great as they advanced towards Etherington, that, to sooth and comfort her, he ordered the postilion to drive first to a farm-house near Cleves, whence he forwarded a boy to Sir Hugh, with entreaties that he would write a few lines to Mrs. Tyrold, in exculpation of her sorrowing daughter.
Sir Hugh complied, but was so little in the habit of writing, that he sent over a messenger to desire they would dine at the farmhouse, in order to give him time to compose his epistle.
Early in the afternoon, he conveyed to them the following letter:
To Mrs. Tyrold at the Parsonage House, belonging to the Reverend Rector, Mr. Tyrold, for the Time being, at Etherington in Hampshire.
I AM no remarkable good writer, in comparison with my brother, which you will excuse from my deficiencies, as it is my only apology. I beg you will not be angry with little Lavinia, as she did nothing in the whole business, except wanting to do right, only not mentioning it in the beginning, which is very excusable in the light of a fault; the wisest of us having been youths ourselves once, and the most learned being subject to do wrong, but how much so the ignorant? of which I may speak more properly. However, as she would certainly have caught the small pox herself, except from the lucky circumstance of having had it before, I think it best to keep Eugenia a few days at Cleves, for the sake of her infection. Not but what if she should have it, I trust your sense won’t fret about it, as it is only in the course of Nature; which, if she had been innoculated, is more than any man could say; even a physician. So the whole being my own fault, without the least meaning to offend, if any thing comes of it, I hope, my dear sister, you won’t take it ill, especially of poor little Lavinia, for ’tis hard if such young things may not be happy at their time of life, before having done harm to a human soul. Poor dears! ’tis soon enough to be unhappy after being wicked; which, God knows, we are all liable to be in the proper season. I beg my love to my brother; and remain,
Your affectionate brother,
P.S. It is but justice to my brother to mention that young Master Mandlebert’s behaviour has done the greatest honour to the classics; which must be a great satisfaction to a person having the care of his education.
The rest of the day lost all its delights to the young heiress from this unfortunate adventure. The deprivation of three of the party, with the well-grounded fear of Mrs. Tyrold’s just blame, were greater mortifications to those that remained, than even the ball and supper could remove. And Sir Hugh, to whom their lowered spirits were sufficiently depressing, had an additional, though hardly to himself acknowledged, weight upon his mind, relative to Eugenia and the small pox.
The contrition of the trembling Lavinia could not but obtain from Mrs. Tyrold the pardon it deserved: but she could make no allowance for the extreme want of consideration in Sir Hugh; and anxiously waited the time when she might call back Eugenia from the management of a person whom she considered as more childish than her children themselves.
EVERY precaution being taken with regard to Lavinia and her clothes, for warding off infection to Eugenia, if as yet she had escaped it; Mrs. Tyrold fixed a day for fetching her little daughter from Cleves. Sir Hugh, at the earnest entreaty of Camilla, invited the young party to come again early that morning, that some amends might be made them for their recent disappointment of the ball and supper, by a holiday, and a little sport, previous to the arrival of Mrs. Tyrold; to whom he voluntarily pledged his word, that Eugenia should not again be taken abroad, nor suffered to appear before any strangers.
Various gambols were now again enacted by the once more happy group; but all was conducted with as much security as gaiety, till Lionel proposed the amusement of riding upon a plank in the park.
A plank was immediately procured by the gardener, and placed upon the trunk of an old oak, where it parted into two thick branches.
The boys and the three eldest girls balanced one another in turn, with great delight and dexterity; but Sir Hugh feared committing the little Eugenia, for whom he was grown very anxious, amongst them, till the repinings of the child demolished his prudence. The difficulty how to indulge her with safety was, nevertheless, considerable: and, after various experiments, he resolved to trust her to nobody but himself; and, placing her upon his lap, occupied one end of the plank, and desired that as many of the rest as were necessary to make the weight equal, would seat themselves upon the other.
This diversion was short, but its consequences were long. Edgar Mandlebert, who superintended the balance, poised it with great exactness; yet no sooner was Sir Hugh elevated, than, becoming exceedingly giddy, he involuntarily loosened his hold of Eugenia, who fell from his arms to the ground.
In the agitation of his fright, he stooped forward to save her, but lost his equilibrium; and, instead of rescuing, followed her.
The greatest confusion ensued; Edgar, with admirable adroitness, preserved the elder girls from suffering by the accident; and Lionel took care of himself by leaping instantly from the plank: Sir Hugh, extremely bruised, could not get up without pain; but all concern and attention soon centred in the little Eugenia, whose incessant cries raised apprehensions of some more than common mischief.
She was carried to the house in the arms of Edgar, and delivered to the governess. She screamed the whole time she was undressing; and Edgar, convinced she had received some injury, galloped off, unbid, for a surgeon: but what was the horror of Sir Hugh, upon hearing him pronounce, that her left shoulder was put out, and that one of her knees was dislocated!
In an agony of remorse, he shut himself up in his room, without power to issue a command, or listen to a question: nor could he be prevailed upon to open his door, till the arrival of Mrs. Tyrold.
Hastily then rushing out, he hurried to meet her; and, snatching both her hands, and pressing them between his own, he burst into a passionate flood of tears, and sobbed out: ‘Hate me, my dear sister, for you can’t help it! for I am sorry to tell it you, but I believe I have been the death of poor Eugenia, that never hurt a fly in her life!’
Pale, and struck with dread, yet always possessing her presence of mind, Mrs. Tyrold disengaged herself, and demanded where she might find her? Sir Hugh could make no rational answer; but Edgar, who had run down stairs, purposing to communicate the tidings more gently, briefly stated the misfortune, and conducted her to the poor little sufferer.
Mrs. Tyrold, though nearly overpowered by a sight so affecting, still preserved her faculties for better uses than lamentation. She held the child in her arms while the necessary operations were performing by the surgeon; she put her to bed, and watched by her side the whole night; during which, in defiance of all precautions, a high fever came on, and she grew worse every moment.
The next morning, while still in this alarming state, the unfortunate little innocent exhibited undoubted symptoms of the small pox.
Mr. Tyrold now also established himself at Cleves, to share the parental task of nursing the afflicted child, whose room he never left, except to give consolation to his unhappy brother, who lived wholly in his own apartment, refusing the sight even of Camilla, and calling himself a monster too wicked to look at any thing that was good; though the affectionate little girl, pining at the exclusion, continually presented herself at his door.
The disease bore every prognostic of fatal consequences, and the fond parents soon lost all hope, though they redoubled every attention.
Sir Hugh then gave himself up wholly to despair: he darkened his room, refused all food but bread and water, permitted no one to approach him, and reviled himself invariably with the contrition of a wilful murderer.
In this state of self-punishment he persevered, till the distemper unexpectedly took a sudden and happy turn, and the surgeon made known, that his patient might possibly recover.
The joy of Sir Hugh was now as frantic as his grief had been the moment before: he hastened to his drawing-room, commanded that the whole house should be illuminated; promised a year’s wages to all his servants; bid his house-keeper distribute beef and broth throughout the village; and sent directions that the bells of the three nearest parish churches should be rung for a day and a night. But when Mr. Tyrold, to avert the horror of any wholly unprepared disappointment, represented the still precarious state of Eugenia, and the many changes yet to be feared; he desperately reversed all his orders, returned sadly to his dark room, and protested he would never more rejoice, till Mrs. Tyrold herself should come to him with good news.
This anxiously waited Ã¦ra at length arrived; Eugenia, though seamed and even scarred by the horrible disorder, was declared out of danger; and Mrs. Tyrold, burying her anguish at the alteration, in her joy for the safety of her child, with an heart overflowing from pious gratitude, became the messenger of peace; and, holding out her hand to Sir Hugh, assured him the little Eugenia would soon be well.
Sir Hugh, in an ecstasy which no power could check, forgot every pain and infirmity to hurry up to the apartment of the little girl, that he might kneel, he said, at her feet, and there give thanks for her recovery: but the moment he entered the room, and saw the dreadful havoc grim disease had made on her face; not a trace of her beauty left, no resemblance by which he could have known her; he shrunk back, wrung his hands, called himself the most sinful of all created beings, and in the deepest despondence, sunk into a chair and wept aloud.
Eugenia soon began to cry also, though unconscious for what cause; and Mrs. Tyrold remonstrated to Sir Hugh upon the uselessness of such transports, calmly beseeching him to retire and compose himself.
‘Yes, sister,’ he answered, ‘yes, I’ll go away, for I am sure, I do not want to look at her again; but to think of its being all my doing!–O brother! O sister! why don’t you both kill me in return? And what amends can I make her? what amends, except a poor little trifle of money?–And as to that, she shall have it, God knows, every penny I am worth, the moment I am gone; ay, that she shall, to a single shilling, if I die tomorrow!’
Starting up with revived courage from this idea, he ventured again to turn his head towards Eugenia, exclaiming: ‘O, if she does but get well! does but ease my poor conscience by making me out not to be a murderer, a guinea for every pit in that poor face will I settle on her out of hand; yes, before I so much as breathe again, for fear of dying in the mean time!’
Mrs. Tyrold scarce noticed this declaration; but his brother endeavoured to dissuade him from so sudden and partial a measure: he would not, however, listen; he made what speed he could down stairs, called hastily for his hat and stick, commanded all his servants to attend him, and muttering frequent ejaculations to himself, that he would not trust to changing his mind, he proceeded to the family chapel, and approaching with eager steps to the altar, knelt down, and bidding every one hear and witness what he said, made a solemn vow, ‘That if he might be cleared of the crime of murder, by the recovery of Eugenia, he would atone what he could for the ill he had done her, by bequeathing to her every thing he possessed in the world, in estate, cash, and property, without the deduction of a sixpence.’
He told all present to remember and witness this, in case of an apoplexy before his new will could be written down.
Returning then to the house, lightened, he said, from a load of self-reproach, which had rendered the last fortnight insupportable to him, he sent for the attorney of a neighbouring town, and went upstairs, with a firmer mind, to wait his arrival in the sick room.
‘O my dear uncle,’ cried his long banished Camilla, who hearing him upon the stairs, skipt lightly after him, ‘how glad I am to see you again! I almost thought I should see you no more!’
Here ended at once the just acquired tranquility of Sir Hugh; all his satisfaction forsook him at the appearance of his little darling; he considered her as an innocent creature whom he was preparing to injure; he could not bear to look at her; his heart smote him in her favour; his eyes filled with tears; he was unable to go on, and with slow and trembling steps, he moved again towards his own room.
‘My dearest uncle!’ cried Camilla, holding by his coat, and hanging upon his arm, ‘won’t you speak to me?’
‘Yes, my dear, to be sure I will,’ he answered, endeavouring to hide his emotion, ‘only not now; so don’t follow me Camilla, for I’m going to be remarkably busy!’
‘O uncle!’ she cried, plaintively, ‘and I have not seen you so long! And I have wished so to see you! and I have been so unhappy about Eugenia! and you have always locked your door; and I would not rap hard at it, for fear you should be asleep: But why, would you not see me, uncle? and why will you send me away?’
‘My dear Camilla,’ he replied, with increased agitation, ‘I have used you very ill; I have been your worst enemy, which is the very reason I don’t care to see you; so go away, I beg, for I am bad enough without all this. But I give you my thanks for all your little playful gambols, having nothing better now to offer you; which is but a poor return from an uncle to a niece!’
He then shut himself into his room, leaving Camilla drowned in tears at the outside of the door.
Wretched in reflecting upon the shock and disappointment which the new disposition of his affairs must occasion her, he had not fortitude to inform her of his intention. He desired to speak with Edgar Mandlebert, who, with all the Tyrold family, resided, for the present, at Cleves, and abruptly related to him the new destination he had just vowed of his wealth; beseeching that he would break it in the softest manner to his poor little favourite, assuring her she would be always the first in his love, though a point of mere conscience had forced him to make choice of another heiress.
Edgar, whose zeal to serve and oblige had never been put to so severe a test, hesitated how to obey this injunction; yet he would not refuse it, as he found that all the servants of the house were enabled, if they pleased, to anticipate more incautiously the ill news. He followed her, therefore, into the garden, whither she had wandered to weep unobserved; but he stopt short at sight of her distress, conceiving his errand to be already known to her, and determined to consult with Indiana, to whom he communicated his terrible embassy, entreating her to devise some consolation for her poor cousin.
Indiana felt too much chagrined at her own part in this transaction, to give her attention to Camilla; she murmured without scruple at the deprivation of what she had once expected for herself, and at another time for her brother; and expressed much resentment at the behaviour of her uncle, mingled with something very near repining, not merely at his late preference of Camilla, but even at the recovery of the little Eugenia. Edgar heard her with surprise, and wondered to find how much less her beauty attracted him from the failure of her good nature.
He now pursued the weeping Camilla, who, dispersing her tears at his approach, pretended to be picking some lavender, and keeping her eyes steadfastly upon the bush, asked him if he would have any? He took a sprig, but spoke to her in a voice of such involuntary compassion, that she soon lost her self-command, and the big drops again rolled fast down her cheeks. Extremely concerned, he strove gently to sooth her; but the expressions of regret at her uncle’s avoidance, which then escaped her, soon convinced him his own task was still to be performed. With anxious fear of the consequences of a blow so unlooked for, he executed it with all the speed, yet all the consideration in his power. Camilla, the moment she understood him, passionately clasped her hands, and exclaimed: ‘O if that is all! If my uncle indeed loves me as well as before all this; I am sure I can never, never be so wicked, as to envy poor little Eugenia, who has suffered so much, and almost been dying, because she will be richer than I shall be!’
Edgar, delighted and relieved, thought she was grown a thousand times more beautiful than Indiana; and eagerly taking her hand, ran with her to the apartment of the poor disconsolate Sir Hugh; where his own eyes soon overflowed from tenderness and admiration, at the uncommon scene he witnessed, of the generous affection with which Camilla consoled the fond distress of her uncle, though springing from her own disappointment and loss.
They stayed till the arrival of the attorney, who took the directions of Sir Hugh, and drew up, for his immediate satisfaction, a short deed, making over, according to his vow, all he should die possessed of, without any let or qualification whatsoever, to his niece Eugenia. This was properly signed and sealed, and Sir Hugh hastened up stairs with a copy of it to Mr. Tyrold.
All remonstrance was ineffectual; his conscience, he protested, could no other way be appeased; his noble little Camilla had forgiven him her ill usage, and he could now bear to look at the change for the worse in Eugenia, without finding his heart-strings ready to burst at the sight. ‘You,’ he cried, ‘brother, who do not know what, it is I have suffered through my conscience, can’t tell what it is to get a little ease; for if she had died, you might all have had the comfort to say ’twas I murdered her, which would have given you the satisfaction of having had no hand in it. But then, what would have become of poor me, having it all upon my own head? However, now thank Heaven, I have no need to care about the matter; for as to the mere loss of beauty, pretty as it is to look at, I hope it is no such great injury, as she’ll have a splendid fortune, which is certainly a better thing, in point of lasting. For as to beauty, Lord help us! what is it? except just to the eye.’
He then walked up to the child, intending to kiss her, but stopt and sighed involuntarily as he looked at her, saying: ‘After all, she’s not like the same thing! no more than I am myself. I shall never think I know her again, never as long as I live! I can’t so much as believe her to be the same, though I am sure of its being true. However, it shall make no change in my love for her, poor little dear, for it’s all my own doing; though innocently enough, as to any meaning, God knows!’
It was still some time before the little girl recovered, and then a new misfortune became daily more palpable, from some latent and incurable mischief, owing to her fall, which made her grow up with one leg shorter than the other, and her whole figure diminutive and deformed: These additional evils reconciled her parents to the partial will of her uncle, which they now, indeed, thought less wanting in equity, since no other reparation could be offered to the innocent sufferer for ills so insurmountable.
WHEN the tumult of this affair subsided, Mr. Tyrold and his family prepared to re-establish themselves at Etherington; and Mrs. Tyrold, the great inducement for the separation being over, was earnest to take home again the disinherited Camilla. Sir Hugh, whose pleasure in her sight was now embittered by regret and remorse, had not courage to make the smallest opposition; yet he spent the day of her departure in groans and penitence. He thought it right, however, to detain Eugenia, who, as his decided heiress, was left to be brought up at Cleves.
The loss of the amusing society of his favourite; the disappointment he had inflicted upon her, and the sweetness with which she had borne it, preyed incessantly upon his spirits; and he knew not how to employ himself, which way to direct his thoughts, nor in what manner to beguile one moment of his time, after the children were gone to rest.
The view of the constant resources which his brother found in literature, augmented his melancholy at his own imperfections; and the steady industry with which Mr. Tyrold, in early youth, had attained them, and which, while devoted to field sports, he had often observed with wonder and pity, he now looked back to with self-reproach, and recognised in its effect with a reverence almost awful.
His imagination, neither regulated by wisdom, nor disciplined by experience, having once taken this turn, he soon fancied that every earthly misfortune originated in a carelessness of learning, and that all he wished, and all he wanted, upbraided him with his ignorance. If disease and pain afflicted him, he lamented the juvenile inattention that had robbed him of acquirements which might have taught him not to regard them; if the word scholar was named in his presence, he heaved the deepest sigh; if an article in a newspaper, with which he was unacquainted, was discussed, he reviled his early heedlessness of study; and the mention of a common pamphlet, which was unknown to him, gave him a sensation of disgrace: even inevitable calamities he attributed to the negligence of his education, and construed every error, and every evil of his life, to his youthful disrespect of Greek and Latin.
Such was the state of his mind, when his ordinary maladies had the serious aggravation of a violent fit of the gout.
In the midst of the acute anguish, and useless repentance, which now alternately ravaged his happiness, it suddenly occurred to him, that, perhaps, with proper instruction, he might even yet obtain a sufficient portion of this enviable knowledge, to enable him to pass his evenings with some similarity to his brother.
Revived by this suggestion, he sent for Mr. Tyrold, to communicate to him his idea, and to beg he would put him into a way to recover his lost time, by recommending to him a tutor, with whom he might set about a course of studies:–‘Not that I want,’ cried he, ‘to make any particular great figure as a scholar: but if I could only learn just enough to amuse me at odd hours, and make me forget the gout, it’s as much as I desire.’
The total impossibility that such a project should answer its given purpose, deterred not Mr. Tyrold from listening to his request. The mild philosophy of his character saw whatever was lenient to human sufferings as eligible, and looked no further for any obstacles to the wishes of another, than to investigate if their gratification would be compatible with innocence. He wrote, therefore, to a college associate of his younger years, whom he knew to be severely embarrassed in his affairs, and made proposals for settling him in the house of his brother. These were not merely gratefully accepted by his old friend, but drew forth a confession that he was daily menaced with a public arrest for debts, which he had incurred without luxury or extravagance, from mere ignorance of the value of money, and of economy.
In the award of cool reason, to attend to what is impracticable, appears a folly which no inducement can excuse. Mrs. Tyrold treated this scheme with calm, but complete contempt. She allowed no palliation for a measure of which the abortive end was glaring; to hearken to it displeased her, as a false indulgence of childish vanity; and her understanding felt shocked that Mr. Tyrold would deign to humour his brother in an enterprise which must inevitably terminate in a fruitless consumption of time.
Sir Hugh soon, but without anger, saw her disapprobation of his plan; her opinions, from a high superiority to all deceit, were as unreserved as those of the baronet, from a nature incapable of caution. He told her he was sorry to perceive that she thought he should make no proficiency, but entreated her to take notice there was at least no great presumption in his attempt, as he meant to begin with the very beginning, and to go no farther at the first than any young little school-boy; for he should give himself fair play, by trying his hand with the rudiments, which would no sooner be run over, than the rest would become plain sailing: ‘And if once,’ he added, ‘I should conquer the mastery of the classics, I shall make but very short work of all the rest.’
Mr. Tyrold saw, as forcibly as his wife, the utter impossibility that Sir Hugh could now repair the omissions of his youth; but he was willing to console his want of knowledge, and sooth his mortifications; and while he grieved for his bodily infirmities, and pitied his mental repinings, he considered his idea as not illaudable, though injudicious, and in favour of its blamelessness, forgave its absurdity.
He was gratified, also, in offering an honourable provision to a man of learning in distress, whose time and attention could not fail to deserve it, if dedicated to his brother, in whatever way they might be bestowed.
He took care to be at Cleves on the day Dr. Orkborne, this gentleman, was expected, and he presented him to Sir Hugh with every mark of regard, as a companion in whose conversation, he flattered himself, pain might be lightened, and seclusion from mixt company cheerfully supported.
Dr. Orkborne expressed his gratitude for the kindness of Mr. Tyrold, and promised to make it his first study to merit the high consideration with which he had been called from his retirement.
A scholastic education was all that had been given to Dr. Orkborne by his friends; and though in that their hopes were answered, no prosperity followed. His labours had been seconded by industry, but not enforced by talents; and they soon found how wide the difference between acquiring stores, and bringing them into use. Application, operating upon a retentive memory, had enabled him to lay by the most ample hoards of erudition; but these, though they rendered him respectable amongst the learned, proved nearly nugatory in his progress through the world, from a total want of skill and penetration to know how or where they might turn to any account. Nevertheless, his character was unexceptionable, his manners were quiet, and his fortune was ruined. These were the motives which induced rather the benevolence than the selection of Mr. Tyrold to name him to his brother, in the hope that, while an asylum at Cleves would exonerate him from all pecuniary hardships, his very deficiency in brilliancy of parts, and knowledge of mankind, which though differently modified, was equal to that of Sir Hugh himself, would obviate regret of more cultivated society, and facilitate their reciprocal satisfaction.
The introduction over, Mr. Tyrold sought by general topics to forward their acquaintance, before any allusion should be made to the professed plan of Sir Hugh; but Sir Hugh was too well pleased with its ingenuity to be ashamed of its avowal; he began, therefore, immediately to descant upon the indolence of his early years, and to impeach the want of timely severity in his instructors: ‘For there is an old saying,’ he cried, ‘but remarkably true, That learning is better than house or land; which I am an instance of myself, for I have house and land plenty, yet don’t know what to do with them properly, nor with myself neither, for want of a little notion of things to guide me by.’ His brother, he added, had been too partial in thinking him already fitted for such a master as Dr. Orkborne; though he promised, notwithstanding his time of life, to become the most docile of pupils, and he hoped before long to do no discredit to the Doctor as his tutor.
Mr. Tyrold, whose own benign countenance could scarce refrain from a smile at this unqualified opening, endeavoured to divert to some other subject the grave astonishment of Dr. Orkborne, who, previously aware of the age and ill health of the baronet, naturally concluded himself called upon to solace the privacy of his life by reading or discourse, but suggested not the most distant surmise he could be summoned as a preceptor.
Sir Hugh, however, far from palliating any design, disguised not even a feeling; he plunged deeper and deeper in the acknowledgment of his ignorance, and soon set wholly apart the delicate circumspection of his brother, by demanding of Dr. Orkborne what book he thought he had best buy for a beginning?
Receiving from the wondering Doctor no answer, he good humouredly added, ‘Come, don’t be ashamed to name the easiest, for this reason; you must know my plan is one of my own, which it is right to tell you. As fast as I get on, I intend, for the sake of remembering my lesson, to send for one of my nephews, and teach it all over again to him myself; which will be doing service to us all at once.’
Mr. Tyrold now, though for a few moments he looked down, thought it best to leave the matter to its own course, and Dr. Orkborne to his own observations; fully persuaded, that the smiles Sir Hugh might excite would be transient, and that no serious or lasting ridicule could be attached to his character, in the mind of a worthy man, to whom time and opportunity would be allowed for an acquaintance with its habitual beneficence. He excused himself, therefore, from staying any longer, somewhat to the distress of Dr. Orkborne, but hardly with the notice of the baronet, whose eagerness in his new pursuit completely engrossed him.
His late adventure, and his new heiress, now tormented him no more; Indiana was forgotten, Camilla but little thought of, and his whole mind became exclusively occupied by this fruitful expedient for retrieving his lost time.
Dr. Orkborne, whose life had been spent in any study rather than that of human nature, was so little able to enter into the character of Sir Hugh, that nothing less than the respect he knew to be due to Mr. Tyrold, could have saved him, upon his first reception, from a suspicion that he had been summoned in mere mockery. The situation, however, was peculiarly desirable to him and the experiment, in the beginning, corresponded with the hopes of Mr. Tyrold. Placed suddenly in ease and affluence, Dr. Orkborne, with the most profound desire to please, sought to sustain so convenient a post, by obliging the patron, whom he soon saw it would be vain to attempt improving; while Sir Hugh in return, professed himself the most fortunate of men, that he had now met with a scholar who had the good nature not to despise him.
Relief from care thus combining with opportunity, Dr. Orkborne was scarce settled, ere he determined upon the execution of a long, critical, and difficult work in philology, which he had often had in contemplation, but never found leisure to undertake. By this means he had a constant resource for himself; and the baronet, observing that time never hung heavy upon his hands, conceived a yet higher admiration of learning, and felt his spirits proportionably re-animated by the fair prospect of participating in such advantages.
From this dream, however, he was soon awakened; a parcel, by the direction of Dr. Orkborne, arrived from his bookseller, with materials for going to work.
Sir Hugh then sent off a message to the parsonage-house, informing his brother and his family, that they must not be surprised if they did not see or hear of him for some time, as he had got his hands quite full, and should be particularly engaged for a week or two to come.
Dr. Orkborne, still but imperfectly conceiving the extent, either of the plan, or of the simplicity of his new pupil, proposed, as soon as the packet was opened, that they should read together; but Sir Hugh replied, that he would do the whole in order, and by no means skip the rudiments.
The disappointment which followed, may be easily imagined; with neither quickness to learn, nor memory to retain, he aimed at being initiated in the elements of a dead language, for which youth only can find time and application, and even youth but by compulsion. His head soon became confused, his ideas were all perplexed, his attention was vainly strained, and his faculties were totally disordered.
Astonished at his own disturbance, which he attributed solely to not getting yet into the right mode, he laughed off his chagrin, but was steady in his perseverance; and continued wholly shut up from his family and friends, with a zeal worthy better success.
Lesson after lesson, however, only aggravated his difficulties, till his intellects grew so embarrassed he scarce knew if he slept or waked. His nights became infected by the perturbation of the day; his health visibly suffered from the restlessness of both, and all his flattering hopes of new and unknown happiness were ere long exchanged for despair.
He now sent for his brother, and desired to speak with him alone; when, catching him fast by the hand, and looking piteously in his face, ‘Do you know, my dear brother,’ he cried, ‘I find myself turning out as sheer a blockhead as ever, for all I have got so many more years over my head than when I began all this hard jingle jangle before?’
Mr. Tyrold, with greater concern than surprise, endeavoured to re-assure and console him, by pointing out a road more attainable for reaping benefit from the presence of Dr. Orkborne, than the impracticable path into which he had erroneously entered.
‘Ah! no, my dear brother,’ he answered; ‘if I don’t succeed this way, I am sure I shall succeed no other; for as to pains, I could not have taken more if I had been afraid to be flogged once a-day: and that gentleman has done all he can, too, as far as I know to the contrary. But I really think whatever’s the meaning of it, there’s some people can’t learn.’
Then shaking his head, he added, in a low voice: ‘To say the truth, I might as well have given it up from the very first, for any great comfort I found in it, if it had not been for fear of hurting that gentleman; however, don’t let the poor gentleman know that; for I’ve no right to turn him off upon nothing, merely for the fault of my having no head, which how can he help?’
Mr. Tyrold agreed in the justice of this reflection, and undertook to deliberate upon some conciliatory expedient.
Sir Hugh heartily thanked him; ‘But only in the mean time that you are thinking,’ cried he, ‘how shall I bring it about to stop him from coming to me with all those books for my study? For, do you know, my dear brother, because I asked him to buy me one for my beginning, he sent for a full score? And when he comes to me about my lesson, he brings them all upon me together: which is one thing, for ought I know, that helps to confuse me; for I am wondering all the while when I shall get through with them. However, say nothing of all this before the poor gentleman, for fear he should take it as a hint; which might put him out of heart: for which reason I’d rather take another lesson, Lord help me!-than vex him.’
Mr. Tyrold promised his best consideration, and to see him again the next morning. But he had hardly left Cleves ten minutes, when a man and horse came galloping after him, with a petition that he would return without delay.
The baronet received him with a countenance renovated with self-complacency. ‘I won’t trouble you,’ he cried, ‘to think any more; for now I have got a plan of my own, which I will tell you. Not to throw this good gentleman entirely away, I intend having a sort of a kind of school set up here in my sick room, and so to let all my nephews come, and say their tasks to him in my hearing; and then, who knows but I may pick up a little amongst them myself, without all this hard study?’
Mr. Tyrold stated the obvious objections to so wild a scheme; but he besought him not to oppose it, as there was no other way for him to get rid of his tutoring, without sending off Dr. Orkborne. He desired, therefore, that Lionel might come instantly to Cleves; saying, ‘I shall write myself to Eton, by the means of the Doctor, to tell the Master I shall take Clermont entirely home after the next holidays, for the sake of having him study under my own eye.’
He then entreated him to prepare Dr. Orkborne for his new avocation.
Mr. Tyrold, who saw that in this plan the inventor alone could be disappointed, made no further remonstrance, and communicated the design to Dr. Orkborne; who, growing now deeply engaged in his own undertaking, was perfectly indifferent to whom or to what his occasional attendance might be given.
MRS. TYROLD expressed much astonishment that her husband could afford any countenance to this new plan. ‘Your expectations from it,’ she cried, ‘can be no higher than my own; you have certainly some influence with your brother; why, then, will you suffer him thus egregiously to expose himself?’
‘I cannot protect his pride,’ answered Mr. Tyrold, ‘at the expence of his comfort. His faculties want some object, his thoughts some employment. Inaction bodily and intellectual pervading the same character, cannot but fix disgust upon every stage and every state of life. Vice alone is worse than such double inertion. Where mental vigour can be kept alive without offence to religion and virtue, innocence as well as happiness is promoted; and the starter of difficulties with regard to the means which point to such an end, inadvertently risks both. To save the mind from preying inwardly upon itself, it must be encouraged to some outward pursuit. There is no other way to elude apathy, or escape discontent; none other to guard the temper from that quarrel with itself, which ultimately ends in quarrelling with all mankind.’
‘But may you not, by refusing to send him your son, induce him to seek recreation in some more rational way?’
‘Recreation, my dear Georgiana, must be spontaneous. Bidden pleasures fly the perversity of our tastes. Let us take care, then, scrupulously, of our duties, but suffer our amusements to take care of themselves. A project, a pastime, such as this, is, at least, as harmless as it is hopeless, since the utmost sport of wit, or acrimony of malice, can only fasten a laugh upon it: and how few are the diversions of the rich and indolent that can so lightly be acquitted!’
Lionel, the new young student, speedily, though but little to her satisfaction, abetted the judgment of his mother. He was no sooner summoned to Cleves, than, enchanted to find himself a fellow-pupil with his uncle, he conceived the highest ideas of his own premature genius: and when this vanity, from the avowed ignorance of the artless baronet, subsided, it was only replaced by a sovereign contempt of his new associate. He made the most pompous display of his own little acquirements; he took every opportunity to ask questions of Sir Hugh which he knew he could not answer; and he would sometimes, with an arch mock solemnity, carry his exercise to him, and beg his assistance.
Sir Hugh bore this juvenile impertinence with unshaken good humour. But the spirits of Lionel were too mutinous for such lenity; he grew bolder in his attacks, and more fearless of consequences; and in a very short time, his uncle seemed to him little more than the butt at which he might level the shafts of his rising triumph; till tired, at length, though not angry, the baronet applied to Dr. Orkborne, and begged he would teach him, out of hand, some small little smattering of Latin sentences, by which he might make the young pedant think better of him.
Dr. Orkborne complied, and wrote him a few brief exercises; but these, after toiling day and night to learn, he pronounced so ill, and so constantly mis-applied, that, far from impressing his fellow-labourer with more respect, the moment he uttered a single word of his new lesson, the boy almost rolled upon the floor with convulsive merriment.
Sir Hugh, with whom these phrases neither lost nor gained by mistaking one word for another, appealed to Dr. Orkborne to remedy what he conceived to be an unaccountable failure. Dr. Orkborne, absorbed in his new personal pursuit, to which he daily grew more devoted, was earnest to be as little as possible interrupted, and therefore only advised him to study his last lesson, before he pressed for any thing new.
Study, however, was unavailing, and he heard this injunction with despair; but finding it constantly repeated upon every application for help, he was seized with a horror of the whole attempt, and begged to consult with Mr. Tyrold.
‘This gentleman you have recommended to me for my tutor,’ he cried, ‘is certainly a great scholar; I don’t mean to doubt that the least in the world, being no judge: and he is complaisant enough too, considering all that; but yet I have rather a suspicion he is afraid I shall make no hand of it; which is a thing so disheartening to a person in the line of improvement, that, to tell you the honest truth, I am thinking of giving the whole up at a blow; for, Lord help me! What shall I be the better for knowing Latin and Greek? It’s not worth a man’s while to think of it, after being a boy. And so, if you please, I’d rather you’d take Lionel home again.’
Mr. Tyrold agreed; but asked what he meant to do further concerning the Doctor?
‘Why that, brother, is the very thing my poor ignorant head wants your advice for: because, as to that plan about our learning all together, I see it won’t do; for either the boys will grow up to be no better scholars than their uncle, which is to say, none at all; or else they’ll hold everybody cheap, when they meet with a person knowing nothing; so I’ll have no more hand in it. And I shall really be glad enough to get such a thing off my mind; for it’s been weight enough upon it from the beginning.’
He then desired the opinion of Mr. Tyrold what step he should take to prevent the arrival of Clermont Lynmere, whom, he said, he dreaded to see, being determined to have no more little boys about him for some time to come.
Mr. Tyrold recommended re-settling him at Eton: but Sir Hugh declared he could not possibly do that, because the poor little fellow had written him word he was glad to leave school. ‘And I don’t doubt,’ he added, ‘but he’ll make the best figure of us all; because I had him put in the right mode from the first; though, I must needs own, I had as lieve see him a mere dunce all his life, supposing I should live so long, which God forbid in regard to his dying, as have him turn out a mere coxcomb of a pedant, laughing and grinning at everybody that can’t spell a Greek noun.’
Mr. Tyrold promised to take the matter into consideration; but early the next morning, the baronet again summoned him, and joyfully made known, that a scheme had come into his own head, which answered all purposes. In the first place, he said, he had really taken so prodigious a dislike to learning, that he was determined to send Clermont over the seas, to finish his Greek and Latin; not because he was fond of foreign parts, but for fear, if he should let him come to Cleves, the great distaste he had now conceived against those sort of languages, might disgust the poor boy from his book. And he had most luckily recollected, in the middle of the night, that he had a dear friend, one Mr. Westwyn, who was going the very next month to carry his own son to Leipsic; which was just what had put the thought into his head; because, by that means, Clermont might be removed from one studying place to t’other, without loss of time.
‘But for all that,’ he continued, ‘as this good gentleman here has been doing no harm, I won’t have him become a sufferer for my changing my mind: and so, not to affront him by giving him nothing to do, which would be like saying, “You may go your ways,” I intend he should try Indiana.’
Observing Mr. Tyrold now look with the extremest surpise, he added; ‘To be sure, being a girl, it is rather out of the way; but as there is never another boy, what can I do? Besides I shan’t so much mind her getting a little learning, because she’s not likely to make much hand of it. And this one thing, I can tell you, which I have learnt of my own accord; I’ll never press a person to set about studying at my time of life as long as I live, knowing what a plague it is.’
Lionel returned to Etherington with his father, and the rest of the scheme was put into execution without delay. Mr. Westwyn conveyed Clermont from Eton to Leipsic, where he settled him with the preceptor and masters appointed for his own son; and Dr. Orkborne was desired to become the tutor of Indiana.
At first, quitting his learned residence, the Doctor might indignantly have blushed at the proposition of an employment so much beneath his abilities: but he now heard it without the smallest emotion; sedately revolving in his mind, that his literary work would not be affected by the ignorance or absurdity of his several pupils.
THE fair Indiana participated not in the philosophy of her preceptor. The first mention of taking lessons produced an aversion unconquerable to their teacher; and the first question he asked her at the appointed hour for study, was answered by a burst of tears.
To Dr. Orkborne this sorrow would have proved no impediment to their proceeding, as he hardly noticed it; but Sir Hugh, extremely affected, kindly kissed her, and said he would beg her off for this time. The next day, however, gave rise but to a similar scene; and the next which followed would precisely have resembled it, had not the promise of some new finery of attire dispersed the pearly drops that were preparing to fall.
The uncommon beauty of Indiana had made her infancy adored, and her childhood indulged by almost all who had seen her. The brilliant picture she presented to the eye by her smiles and her spirits, rendered the devastation caused by crying, pouting, or fretfulness so striking, and so painful to behold, that not alone her uncle, but every servant in the house, and every stranger who visited it, granted to her lamentations whatever they demanded, to relieve their own impatience at the loss of so pleasing an image. Accustomed, therefore, never to weep without advantage, she was in the constant habit of giving unbridled vent to her tears upon the smallest contradiction, well knowing that not to spoil her pretty eyes by crying, was the current maxim of the whole house.
Unused, by this means, to any trouble or application, the purposed tuition of Dr. Orkborne appeared a burden to her intolerable; yet weeping, her standing resource, was with him utterly vain; her tears were unimportant to one who had taken no notice of her smiles; and intent upon his own learned ruminations, he never even looked at her.
Bribery, day after day, could procure but a few instants’ attention, given so unwillingly, and so speedily withdrawn, that trinkets, dress, and excursions were soon exhausted, without the smallest advancement. The general indulgence of the baronet made partial favours of small efficacy; and Indiana was sooner tired of receiving, than he of presenting his offerings.
She applied, therefore, at length, to the governess, whose expostulations, she knew by experience, were precisely what Sir Hugh most sedulously aimed to avoid.
Miss Margland was a woman of family and fashion, but reduced, through the gaming and extravagance of her father, to such indigence, that, after sundry failures in higher attempts, she was compelled to acquiesce in the good offices of her friends, which placed her as a governess in the house of Sir Hugh.
To Indiana, however, she was but nominally a tutress; neglected in her own education, there was nothing she could teach, though, born and bred in the circle of fashion, she imagined she had nothing to learn. And, while a mind proudly shallow kept her unacquainted with her own deficiencies, her former rank in society imposed an equal ignorance of them upon Sir Hugh. But, notwithstanding he implicitly gave her credit for possessing whatever she assumed, he found her of a temper so unpleasant, and so irritable to offence, that he made it a rule never to differ from her. The irksomeness of this restraint induced him to keep as much as possible out of her way; though respect and pity for her birth and her misfortunes, led him to resolve never to part with her till Indiana was married.
The spirit of Miss Margland was as haughty as her intellects were weak; and her disposition was so querulous, that, in her constant suspicion of humiliation, she seemed always looking for an affront, and ready primed for a contest.
She seized with pleasure the opportunity offered her by Indiana, of remonstrating against this new system of education; readily allowing, that any accomplishment beyond what she had herself acquired, would be completely a work of supererogation. She represented dictatorily her objections to the baronet. Miss Lynmere, she said, though both beautiful and well brought up, could never cope with so great a disadvantage as the knowledge of Latin: ‘Consider, Sir,’ she cried, ‘what an obstacle it will prove to her making her way in the great world, when she comes to be of a proper age for thinking of an establishment. What gentleman will you ever find that will bear with a learned wife? except some mere downright fogrum, that no young lady of fashion could endure.’
She then spoke of the danger of injuring her beauty by study; and ran over all the qualifications really necessary for a young lady to attain, which consisted simply of an enumeration of all she had herself attempted; a little music, a little drawing, and a little dancing; which should all, she added, be but slightly pursued, to distinguish a lady of fashion from an artist.
Sir Hugh, a good deal disturbed, because unable to answer her, thought it would be best to interest Dr. Orkborne in his plan, and to beg him to reconcile her to its execution. He sent, therefore, a message to the Doctor, to beg to speak with him immediately.
Dr. Orkborne promised to wait upon him without delay: but he was at that moment hunting for a passage in a Greek author, and presently forgot both the promise and the request.
Sir Hugh, concluding nothing but sickness could detain him, went to his apartment; where, finding him perfectly well, he stared at him a moment; and then, sitting down, begged him to make no apology, for he could tell his business there as well as any where else.
He gave a long and copious relation of the objections of Miss Margland, earnestly begging Dr. Orkborne would save him from such another harangue, it being bad for his health, by undertaking to give her the proper notion of things himself.
The Doctor, who had just found the passage for which he had been seeking, heard not one word that he said.
Sir Hugh, receiving no answer, imagined him to be weighing the substance of his narration; and, therefore, bidding him not worry his brain too much, offered him half an hour to fix upon what should be done; and returned quietly to his own room.
Here he sat, counting the minutes, with his watch in his hand, till the time stipulated arrived: but finding Dr. Orkborne let it pass without any notice, he again took the trouble of going back to his apartment.
He then eagerly asked what plan he had formed?
Dr. Orkborne, much incommoded by this second interruption, coldly begged to know his pleasure.
Sir Hugh, with great patience, though much surprise, repeated the whole, word for word, over again: but the history was far too long for Dr. Orkborne, whose attention, after the first sentence or two, was completely restored to his Greek quotation, which he was in the act of transcribing when Sir Hugh re-entered the room.
The baronet, at length, more categorically said, ‘Don’t be so shy of speaking out, Doctor; though I am afraid, by your silence, you’ve rather a notion poor Indiana will never get on; which, perhaps, makes you think it not worth while contradicting Mrs. Margland? Come, speak out!–Is that the case with the poor girl?’
‘Yes, sir,’ answered Dr. Orkborne, with great composure; though perfectly unconscious of the proposition to which he assented.
‘Lack a-day! if I was not always afraid she had rather a turn to being a dunce! So it’s your opinion it won’t do, then?’
‘Yes, sir,’ again replied the Doctor; his eye the whole time fastened upon the passage which occupied his thoughts.
‘Why then we are all at a stand again! This is worse than I thought for! So the poor dear girl has really no head?–Hay, Doctor?–Do speak, pray?–Don’t mind vexing me. Say so at once, if you can’t help thinking it.’
Another extorted, ‘Yes, sir,’ completely overset Sir Hugh; who, imputing the absent and perplexed air with which it was pronounced to an unwillingness to give pain, shook him by the hand, and, quitting the room, ordered his carriage, and set off for Etherington.
‘Oh, brother,’ he cried; ‘Indiana’s the best girl in the world, as well as the prettiest; but, do you know, Dr. Orkborne says she has got no brains! So there’s an end of that scheme! However, I have now thought of another that will settle all differences.’
Mr. Tyrold hoped it was an entire discontinuance of all pupilage and tutorship; and that Dr. Orkborne might henceforth be considered as a mere family friend.
‘No, no, my dear brother, no! ’tis a better thing than that, as you shall hear. You must know I have often been concerned to think how glum poor Clermont will look when he hears of my will in favour of Eugenia; which was my chief reason in my own private mind, for not caring to see him before he went abroad; but I have made myself quite easy about him now, by resolving to set little Eugenia upon learning the classics.’
‘Eugenia! and of what benefit will that prove to Clermont?’
‘Why, as soon as she grows a little old, that is to say, a young woman, I intend, with your good will and my sister’s, to marry her to Clermont.’
Mr. Tyrold smiled, but declared his entire concurrence, if the young people, when they grew up, wished for the alliance.
‘As to that,’ said he, ‘I mean to make sure work, by having them educated exactly to fit one another. I shall order Clermont to think of nothing but his studies till the proper time; and as to Eugenia, I shall make her a wife after his own heart, by the help of this gentleman; for I intend to bid him teach her just like a man, which, as she’s so young, may be done from the beginning, the same as if she was a boy.’
He then enumerated the advantages of this project, which would save Clermont from all disappointment, by still making over to him his whole fortune, with a wife ready formed into a complete scholar for him into the bargain. It would also hinder Eugenia from being a prey to some sop for her money, who, being no relation, could not have so good a right to it; and it would prevent any affront to Dr. Orkborne, by keeping him a constant tight task in hand.
Mr. Tyrold forbore to chagrin him with any strong expostulation, and he returned, therefore, to Cleves in full glee. He repaired immediately to the apartment of the Doctor, who, only by what was now said, was apprized of what had passed before. Somewhat, therefore, alarmed, to understand that the studies of Indiana were to be relinquished, he exerted all the alacrity in his power for accepting his new little pupil: not from any idea of preference; for he concluded that incapacity of Indiana to be rather that of her sex than of an individual; but from conceiving that his commodious abode at Cleves depended upon his retaining one scholar in the family. Eugenia therefore was called, and the lessons were begun.
The little girl, who was naturally of a thoughtful turn, and whose state of health deprived her of most childish amusements, was well contented with the arrangement, and soon made a progress so satisfactory to Dr. Orkborne, that Sir Hugh, letting his mind now rest from all other schemes, became fully and happily occupied by the prosecution of his last suggestion.
FROM this period, the families of Etherington and Cleves lived in the enjoyment of uninterrupted harmony and repose, till Eugenia, the most juvenile of the set, had attained her fifteenth year.
Sir Hugh then wrote to Leipsic, desiring his nephew Lynmere to return home without delay. ‘Not that I intend,’ he said to Mr. Tyrold, ‘marrying them together at this young age, Eugenia being but a child, except in point of Latin; though I assure you, my dear brother, she’s the most sensible of the whole, poor Indiana being nothing to her, for all her prettiness; but the thing is, the sooner Clermont comes over, the sooner they may begin forming the proper regard.’
The knowledge of this projected alliance was by no means confined to Sir Hugh and Mr. and Mrs. Tyrold; it was known throughout the family, though never publicly announced, and understood from her childhood by Eugenia herself, though Mrs. Tyrold had exerted her utmost authority to prevent Sir Hugh from apprizing her of it in form. It was nevertheless, the joy of his heart to prepare the young people for each other: and his scheme received every encouragement he could desire, from the zeal and uncommon progress in her studies made by Eugenia; which most happily corresponded with all his injunctions to Leipsic, for the application and acquirements of Clermont.
Thus circumstanced, it was a blow to him the most unexpected, to receive from the young bridegroom elect, in answer to his summons home, a petition to make the tour of Europe, while yet on the continent.
‘What!’ cried Sir Hugh, ‘and is this all his care for us? after so many years separation from his kin and kind, has he no natural longings to see his native land? no yearnings to know his own relations from strangers?’
Eugenia, notwithstanding her extreme youth, secretly applauded and admired a search of knowledge she would gladly have participated; though she was not incurious to see the youth she considered as her destined partner for life, and to whom all her literary labours had been directed: for the never-failing method of Sir Hugh to stimulate her if she was idle, had been to assure her that, unless she worked harder, her cousin Clermont would eclipse her.
She had now acquired a decided taste for study, which, however unusual for her age, most fortunately rescued from weariness or sadness the sedentary life, which a weak state of health compelled her to lead. This induced her to look with pleasure upon Clermont as the object of her emulation, and to prosecute every plan for her improvement, with that vigour which accompanies a pursuit of our own choice; the only labour that asks no relaxation.
Steady occupations, such as these, kept off all attention to her personal misfortunes, which Sir Hugh had strictly ordered should never be alluded to; first, he said, for fear they should vex her; and next, lest they should make her hate him, for being their cause. Those incidents, therefore, from never being named, glided imperceptibly from her thoughts; and she grew up as unconscious as she was innocent, that, though born with a beauty which surpassed that of her lovely sisters, disease and accident had robbed her of that charm ere she knew she possessed it. But neither disease nor accident had power over her mind; there, in its purest proportions, moral beauty preserved its first energy. The equanimity of her temper made her seem, though a female, born to be a practical philosopher; her abilities and her sentiments were each of the highest class, uniting the best adorned intellects with the best principled virtues.
The dissatisfaction of Sir Hugh with his nephew reached not to prohibition: his consent was painful, but his remittances were generous and Clermont had three years allowed him for his travels through Europe.
Yet this permission was no sooner granted than the baronet again became dejected. Three years appeared to him to be endless: he could hardly persuade himself to look forward to them with expectation of life; and all the learned labours he had promoted seemed vain and unpromising, ill requiting his toils, and still less answering his hopes. Even the studious turn of Eugenia, hitherto his first delight, he now thought served but to render her unsociable and the time she devoted to study, he began to regret as lost to himself; nor could he suggest any possible consolation for his drooping spirits, till it occurred to him that Camilla might again enliven him.
This idea, and the order for his carriage, were the birth of the same moment; and, upon entering the study of Mr. Tyrold, he abruptly exclaimed, ‘My dear brother, I must have Camilla back! Indiana says nothing to amuse me; and Eugenia is so bookish, I might as well live with an old woman; which God forbid I should object to, only I like Camilla better.’
This request was by no means welcome to Mr. Tyrold, and utterly distasteful to his lady. Camilla was now just seventeen years of age, and attractively lovely; but of a character that called for more attention to its developement than to its formation; though of a disposition so engaging, that affection kept pace with watchfulness, and her fond parents knew as little for their own sakes as for her’s how to part with her.
Her qualities had a power which, without consciousness how, or consideration why, governed her whole family. The airy thoughtlessness of her nature was a source of perpetual amusement; and, if sometimes her vivacity raised a fear for her discretion, the innocence of her mind reassured them after every alarm. The interest which she excited served to render her the first object of the house; it was just short of solicitude, yet kept it constantly alive. Her spirits were volatile, but her heart was tender; her gaiety had a fascination; her persuasion was irresistible.
To give her now up to Sir Hugh, seemed to Mrs. Tyrold rather impossible than disagreeable; but he was too urgent with his brother to be wholly refused. She was granted him, therefore, as a guest, for the three ensuing months, to aid him to dissipate his immediate disappointment, from the procrastinated absence of Clermont.
Sir Hugh received back his first favourite with all the fond glee of a ductile imagination, which in every new good sees a refuge from every past or present evil. But, as the extremest distaste of all literature now succeeded those sanguine views which had lately made it his exclusive object, the first words he spoke upon her arrival were, to inform her she must learn no Latin; and the first step which followed her welcome, was a solemn charge to Dr. Orkborne, that he must give her no lessons.
The gaiety, the spirit, the playful good humour of Camilla, had lost nothing of their charm by added years, though her understanding had been sedulously cultivated, and her principles modelled by the pure and practical tenets of her exemplary parents. The delight of Sir Hugh in regaining her, consisted not merely of the renovation of his first prejudice in her favour; it was strengthened by the restoration it afforded his own mind to its natural state, and the relief of being disburthened of a task he was so ill calculated to undertake, as superintending, in any sort, intellectual pursuits.
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