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The Children of the Abbey

CHAPTER LVII.

No, never from this hour to part,

We’ll live and love so true;

The sigh that rends thy constant heart

Shall break thy lover’s too.

But, my love,” cried Lord Cherbury, as he wiped away the tears which pity and horror at the fate of Lady Euphrasia had caused Amanda to shed, “will your brother, think you, sanction our happiness? will he, who might aspire so high for a sister, thus at once possessed of beauty and fortune, bestow her on one whose title may now almost be consi­dered as an empty one?”

“Oh, do not wrong his noble nature by such a doubt,” exclaimed Amanda: “Yes, with pride, with pleasure, with delight, will he bestow his sister upon the esteemed, the beloved of her heart; upon him who, unwarped by narrow prejudice or selfish interest, sought her in the low shade of obscurity, to lay, all friendless and forlorn as she was, his fortune at her feet.

“Could he indeed be ungrateful to such kindness: could he attempt to influence me to another choice, my heart would at once repulse the effort, and avow its fixed determination: but he is incapable of such conduct; my Oscar is all that is generous and feeling; need I say more, than that a spirit congenial to yours animates his breast.”

Lord Cherbury clasped her to his breast: “dearest, loveliest of human beings,” he exclaimed, “shall I at length call you mine? After all my sorrows my difficulties, shall I indeed receive so 603 precious a reward? Oh! wonder not, my Amanda, if I doubt the reality of so sudden a reverse of situation; I feel as if under the influence of a happy dream; but good Heaven! a dream from which I should never wish to be awakened.”

Amanda now recollected, that if she stayed much longer from the cottage she should have some one coming in quest of her; she informed Lord Cherbury of this, and arose to depart, but he would not suffer her to depart alone, neither did she desire it.

The nurse and her daughter Betsey were in the cottage at her return to it: to describe the surprise of the former at the appearance of Lord Cherbury is impossible—a surprise mingled with indignation, at the idea of his falsehood to her darling child; but when undeceived in that respect, her transports were of the most extravagant nature.

“Well, she thanked Heaven,” she said, “she should now see her tear chilt hold up her head again, and look as handsome as ever. Ay, she had always doubted,” she said, “that his lordship was not one of the false-hearted men she had so often heard her old grandmother talk of.”

“My good nurse,” said Lord Cherbury, smiling, “you will then give me your dear child with all your heart?”

“Ay, that I will, my lort,” she replied, “and this very moment too, if I could.”

“Well,” cried Amanda, “his lordship will be satisfied at present with getting his dinner from you.”

She then desired the things to be brought to the little arbour, already described in the beginning of this book, and proceeded to it with Lord Cherbury.

The mention of dinner threw the nurse and her daughter into universal commotion.

“Goodlack! how unfortunate it was she had nothing hot or nice to lay pefore his lordship; how could she think he could dine upon cold lamb and salad. Well, this was all Miss Amanda’s fault, who would never let her do as she wished.”

With the utmost difficulty she was persuaded he could dine upon these things. The cloth was laid upon the flowery turf, beneath the spreading branches of the arbour. The delicacies of the dairy were added to their repast, and Betsey provided a dessert of new filberts.

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Never had Lord Cherbury partaken of so delicate a meal, never had he and Amanda experienced such happiness—a happiness derived from what might be termed the sober certainty of waking bliss. The pleasure, the tenderness of their souls, beamed in expressive glances from their eyes, and they were now more convinced than ever, that the humble scenes of life were best calculated for the promotion of felicity.

Lord Cherbury felt more reconciled than he had done before to the diminution of his fortune; he yet retained sufficient for the comforts, and many of the elegancies of life; the splendour he lost was insigni­ficant in his eyes, his present situation proved happiness could be enjoyed without it, and he knew it was equally disregarded by his Amanda. He asked himself,

What was the world to them,

Its pomps its pleasures and its nonsense all,

Who in each other clasp whatever fair

High fancy forms, or lavish hearts can wish?

All nature looked gay and smiling around him: he inhaled the balmy breath of opening flowers, and through the verdant canopy he sat beneath, he saw the bright azure of the heavens, and felt the benignant influence of the sun, whose potent beams heightened to glowing luxuriance the beauties of the surrounding landscape. He expressed his feelings to Amanda; he heard her declare the similarity of hers; heard her, with all the sweet enthusiasm of a refined and animated mind, expatiate on the lovely scene around them. Oh! what tender remembrances did it awaken, and what delightful plans of felicity did they sketch. Lord Cherbury would hear from Amanda all she had suffered since their separation; and could his love and esteem have been increased, her patient endurance of the sorrows she repeated, would have increased them.

They did not leave the garden till a dusky hue had overspread the landscape. Oh! with what emotions did Amanda watch the setting sun, whose rising beams she had beheld with eyes obscured by tears of sorrow.

As they sat at tea in the room, she could not avoid noticing the alteration in her nurse’s dress, who attended; she had put on all her holiday finery, and, to evince her wish of amusing her guests, had sent for the blind harper, whom she stationed outside the cottage. 605 His music drew a number of the neighbouring cottagers about him, and they would soon have led up a dance in the vale, had not the nurse prevented them, lest they should disturb her guest. Lord Cherbury, however, insisted on their being gratified, and, sending for his servant, ordered him to provide refreshment for them, and to reward the harper.

He would not leave Amanda till he had her permission to come the next morning, as soon as he could hope to see her; accordingly the first voice she heard on rising, was his chatting with the nurse. We may believe she did not spend many minutes at her toilet; the neat simplicity of her dress, indeed, never required she should do so, and in a very short time she joined him. They walked out till breakfast was ready.

Together trod the morning dews, and gather’d

In their prime, fresh blooming sweets.

Amanda, in hourly expectation of her brother’s arrival, wished, ere he came, to inform the inhabitants of the cottage of the alteration in his fortune. This, with the assistance of Lord Cherbury, she took an opportunity of doing in the course of the day to the nurse. Had she been sole relator, she feared she would be overwhelmed with questions. Joy and wonder were excited in an extreme degree by this relation, and nothing but the nurse’s hurry and impatience to communicate it to the family, could have prevented her from asking again and again a repetition of it.

Lord Cherbury now, as on the foregoing day, dined with Amanda; her expectations relative to the speedy arrival of her brother were not disap­pointed. While sitting after dinner with Lord Cherbury in the garden, the nurse, half breathless, came running to tell them, that a superb coach and four, which to be sure must be Lord Dunreath’s was coming down the road.

Lord Cherbury coloured with emotion. Amanda did not wish he and her brother should meet till she had explained everything relative to him. By her desire he retired to the valley to which a winding path from the garden descended, whilst she hurried to the cottage to receive and welcome her beloved brother: their meeting was at once tender and affecting; the faithful Edwins surrounded Oscar with delight and rapture, pouring forth, in their simple style, 606 congratu­lations on his happy fortune, and their wishes for his long enjoying it. He thanked them with a starting tear of sensi­bility: he assured them that their attentions to his dear sister, his lamented parents, his infant years, entitled them to his lasting gratitude. As soon as he and Amanda could disengage themselves from the good creatures, without wounding their feelings, they retired to her room, where Oscar related, as we have already done, all that passed between him and the Marquis of Rosline.

As soon as the funeral of Lady Euphrasia was over, the marquis, according to his promise, settled every thing with him, and put him into formal possession of Dunreath Abbey. By the marquis’s desire he then waited upon Lady Dunreath to inform her she was at liberty, and to request she would not contradict the assertion of having been abroad: Mrs. Bruce had previously informed her of the revolution of affairs. “I own,” continued Oscar, “from her cruelty to my mother, and the depravity of her conduct, I was strongly prejudiced against her, attributing, I acknow­ledge, her doing justice to us, in some degree, to her resentment against the marquis; but the moment I entered her apartment this prejudice vanished, giving place to the softer emotions of pity and tenderness, while a thorough conviction of her sincere repentance broke upon my soul; though prepared to see a form reduced by affliction and confinement, I was not by any means prepared to see a form so emaciated, so death-like: a faint motion of her head, as I entered, alone proved her existence; had the world been given me to do so, I think I could not have broken a silence so awful. At length she spoke, and in language that pierced my heart, implored my forgiveness for the sufferings she had caused me to endure. Repeatedly I assured her of it; but this rather heightened than diminished her agitation, and tears and sobs spoke the anguish of her soul. ‘I have lived,’ she cried, ‘to justify the ways of Providence to men, and prove that, however calamity may oppress the virtuous, they or their descendants shall at last flourish. I have lived to see my contrite wish accomplished, and the last summons will now be a welcome release.’ She expressed an ardent desire to see her daughter. ‘The pitying tears of a mother,’ she exclaimed, ‘may be a balm to her wounded heart. Oh! my prophetic words, how often have I prayed that the punishment I then denounced against her, might be averted.’

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“I signified her desire,” continued Oscar, “to the marquis; he found the marchioness at first reluctant to it, from a secret dread, I suppose, of seeing an object so injured; but she at last consented, and I was requested to bring Lady Dunreath from the Abbey, and conduct her to the marchioness’s room. I will not attempt to describe the scene which passed between, affection on one hand, and penitence on the other: the marchioness indeed seemed truly penitent—remorse and horror were visible in her countenance, as she gazed upon her injured parent. I begged Lady Dunreath, if agreeable to her, still to consider the Abbey as her residence; this, however, she declined, and it was determined she should continue with her daughter. Her last moments may, perhaps, be soothed by closing in the presence of her child; but till then, I think her wretchedness must be aggravated by beholding that of the marquis and his wife; theirs is that situation, where comfort can neither be offered nor suggested, hopeless and incurable is their sorrow: for to use the beautiful and emphatic words of a late celebrated writer, ‘The gates of death are shut upon their prospects.’”

Amanda now, after a little hesitation, proceeded to inform Oscar of her real situation, and entreated him to believe, that she never would have had a concealment from him, but for the fear of giving him uneasiness. He folded her to his bosom, as she ceased speaking, declaring he rejoiced and congra­tulated her on having found an object so well qualified to make her happy.

“But where is this dear creature?” cried Oscar with some gaiety, “Am I to search for him like a favourite Sylph in your bouquet, or with more proba­bility of success, seek him amongst the shades of the garden?”

“Come,” said he, “your looks confess our search will not be troublesome.” He led her to the garden. Lord Mortimer, who had lingered near it, saw them approaching. Amanda motioned to him to meet them. He sprang forward, and was instantly introduced by her to Lord Dunreath. The reception he met from him was perhaps one of the most flattering proofs he could receive of his Amanda’s affections; for what but the most animated expressions in his favour could have made Lord Dunreath, at the first introduction, address him with all the fervency of friendship? Extremes of joy and sorrow are difficult to describe! I shall, therefore, as perfectly conscious 608 of my inability to do justice to the scene which followed this introduction, pass it over in silence. Lord Dunreath had ordered his equipage and attendants to the village inn, where he himself intended to lodge: but this was prevented by Lord Cherbury, who informed him he could be accommodated at his steward’s: it was here, when they had retired for the night, that Lord Cherbury, having intimated his wishes for an immediate union with Amanda, all the necessary preliminaries were talked over and adjusted, and it was agreed the marriage should take place at the cottage, from whence they should immediately proceed to Lady Martha’s, and that to procure a licence they should both depart the next morning; at breakfast, therefore, Amanda was apprised of their plan, and though the glow of modesty overspread her face, she did not with affectation object to it.

With greater expedition than Amanda expected, the travellers returned from the journey they had been obliged to take, and at their earnest and united request, without any affectation of modesty, though with its real feelings, Amanda consented that the marriage should take place the day but one after their return.

Howell was sent for, and informed of the hour his services would be required. His mild eyes evinced to Amanda his sincere joy at the termination of her sorrows.

On the destined morning, Lord Dunreath and his friend went over to the cottage, and in a few minutes were joined by their Amanda, the perfect model of innocence and beauty; she looked indeed the child of sweet simplicity, arrayed with the unstudied elegance of a village maid; she had no ornaments but those which could never decay, namely, modesty and meekness.

Language was inadequate to express the feelings of Lord Cherbury; his fine eyes alone could do them justice, alone reveal what might be termed the sacred triumph of his soul, at gaining such a woman. A soft shade of melancholy stole over the fine features of Lord Dunreath, as he witnessed the happiness of Lord Cherbury: for as his happiness, so might his own have been, but for the blackest perfidy.

As Lord Cherbury took the trembling hand of Amanda to lead her from the cottage, she gave a farewell sigh to a place where it might be said her happiness had commenced and was completed.

They walked to the church, followed by the nurse and her family. Some kind hand had strewed Lady Malvina’s grave with the gayest 609 flowers, and when Amanda reached it, she paused involuntarily for a moment, to invoke the spirits of her parents to bless her union.

Howell was already in the church waiting to receive them, and the ceremony was begun without delay. With the truest pleasure did Lord Dunreath give his lovely sister to Lord Cherbury; and with the liveliest transport did he receive her as the choicest gift Heaven could bestow.

Tears of sweet sensibility fell from Amanda as Lord Cherbury folded her to his bosom as his own Amanda. Nor was he less affected; joy of the most rapturous kind agitated his whole soul at the completion of an event so earnestly desired, but so long despaired of. He wiped away her tears, and when she had received the congratu­lations of her brother, presented her to the rest of the little group. Their delight, parti­cularly the nurse’s, was almost too great for expression.

“Well,” she said, sobbing, “thank Cot her wish was fulfilled: it had peen her prayer, night, noon and morn, to see the daughter of her tear, tear Captain Fitzalan greatly married.”

Poor Ellen wept as well: “Now she should be happy,” she said, “since she knew her tear young lady was so.”

Amanda, affected by the artless testimonies of affection she received, could only smile upon the faithful creatures.

Lord Cherbury, seeing her inability to speak, took her hand and said, “Lady Cherbury never will forget the obligations conferred upon Miss Fitzalan.”

Bridal favours and presents had already been distributed among the Edwins. Howell was handsomely complimented on the occasion, and received some valuable presents from Lord Cherbury, as proofs of his sincere friendship, also money to distribute among the indigent villagers.

His lordship then handed Amanda into his coach, already prepared for its journey to Thornbury, and the little bridal party were followed with the most ardent blessings.

After proceeding a quarter of a mile they reached Tudor Hall.

“I wish my lord,” cried Oscar, as they were driving round the wood, “you would permit me to stop and view the Hall, and also accompany me to it.”

Lord Cherbury looked a little embarrassed: he felt a strong 610 reluctance to visit it, when no longer his, yet he could not think of refusing the earl.

Amanda knew his feelings, and wished her brother had not made the request. No opposition, however, being shown to it, they stopped at the great gate, which opened into the avenue, and alighted. This was a long beautiful walk cut through the wood, and in a direct line with the house. On either side were little grassy banks, now covered with a profusion of gay flowers, and a thick row of trees which waving their old fantastic branches on high, formed a most delightful shade. Honey-suckles twined around many of the trunks, forming in some places luxuriant canopies, and with a variety of aromatic shrubs quite perfumed the air.

It was yet an early hour; the dew, therefore, still sparkled upon the grass, and everything looked in the highest verdure. Through vistas in the wood, a fine, clear river was seen, along whose sides beautiful green slopes were stretched, scattered over with flocks, that spread their swelling treasures to the sun. The birds sung sweetly in the embowering recesses of the wood, and so calm, so lovely did the place appear, that Lord Cherbury could not refrain a sigh for its loss.

“How delighted,” cried he, casting his fine eyes around, “should I have been still to have cherished those old trees, beneath whose shades some of my happiest hours were passed.”

They entered the hall, whose folding-door they found open; it was large and gothic; a row of arched windows was on either side, whose recesses were filled with myrtles, roses, and geraniums, which emitted a delicious perfume, and contrasted with the white walls, gave an appearance of the greatest gaiety to the place.

Oscar led the way to a spacious parlour at the end of the hall; but how impossible to describe the surprise and pleasure of Lord and Lady Cherbury, on entering it, at beholding Lady Martha and Lady Araminta Dormer.

Lord Cherbury stood transfixed like a statue; the caresses of his aunt and his sister, which were shared between him and his bride, restored him to animation; but while they returned them, he cast his eye upon Oscar, and demanded an explanation of the scene.

“I shall give no explanation, my lord,” cried Oscar, “till you welcome your friends to your house.”

“My house?” repeated Lord Cherbury, staring at him.

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Lord Dunreath approached; never had he appeared so engaging; the benignant expression his countenance assumed was such as we may suppose an angel sent from Heaven, on benevolent purposes to man, would wear.

“Excuse me, my dear Cherbury,” said he, “for suffering you to feel any uneasiness which I could remove, I only did so from an idea of increasing your pleasure hereafter. In Scotland, I was informed of your predilection for my sister, by Lady Greystock, who, I fancy, you have both some reason to remember, in consequence of which, on seeing Tudor Hall advertised, I begged Sir Charles Bingley to purchase it for me in his own name, from a presentiment I had that the event I now rejoice at, would take place, and from my wish of having a nuptial present for my sister, worthy her acceptance: let me,” continued he, taking a hand of each, and joining them together, “let me, in this respected mansion, and in the dear presence of those you love, again wish you a continuance of every blessing. May this seat, as heretofore, be the scene of domestic happiness; may it ever be a pleasing abode to the prosperous, and an asylum of comfort to the afflicted.”

Lord Cherbury’s heart was too full for words; he turned aside to wipe away his starting tears. At last, though in a broken voice, he said, “I cannot speak my feelings.”

“Pain me not,” cried Oscar, “by attempting to do so. From this moment forget that Tudor Hall was ever out of your possession, or if you must remember it, think it restored to you with an incumbrance which half the fashionable men in England would give an estate to get rid of, and this will conquer your too refined feelings.”

Lord Cherbury smiled as he looked at the lovely incumbrance which Oscar alluded to.

“And what shall I say to my brother?” cried Amanda, throwing herself into his arms.

“Why, that you will compose your spirits, and endeavour to give a proper welcome to your friends.”—He presented her to Lady Martha and Lady Araminta, who again embraced and congra­tulated her. He then led her to the head of the breakfast table, which was elegantly laid out. The timid bride was assisted in doing the honours by her brother and Lord Cherbury. Lady Martha beheld the youthful pair with the truest delight; never before had she seen two, from equal merit and loveliness, so justly formed to make each other happy; never had 612 she seen either to such advantage; the beautiful coloring of health and modesty tinged the soft cheeks of Amanda, and her eyes, through their long lashes, emitted mild beams of pleasure; its brightest glow mantled the cheeks of Lord Cherbury, and his eyes were again illuminated with all their wonted radiancy.

Oscar was requested to tell particularly how he had arranged his plan, which he accordingly did. He had written to the ladies at Thornbury, informing them of his scheme, and requesting their presence, and on the preceding night they had arrived at the hall. Lord Dunreath also added, that from a certainty of its being agreeable to Lord Cherbury, he had directed the steward to reinstate the old servants in their former stations, and also to invite the tenants to a nuptial feast.

Lord Cherbury assured him he had done what was truly grateful to his feelings; a ramble about the garden and shrubberies was proposed, and agreed to after breakfast. In the hall and avenue the servants and tenants were already assembled. Lord Cherbury went among them all, and the grateful joy they expressed at having him again for a master and landlord, deeply affected his feelings. He thanked them for their regard, and received their congratu­lations on his present happiness with that sweetness and affability which always distin­guished his manner? The ramble was delightful. When the sun had attained its meridian, they sought the cool shade, and retired to little romantic arbours, o’er canopied with woodbines, where, as if by the hand of enchantment, they found refresh­ments laid out: they did not return to the house till they received a summons to dinner, and had then the pleasure of seeing the tenants seated at long tables in the wood, enjoying with unbounded mirth the profusion with which they were covered; and Lord Cherbury begged Amanda to observe her nurse seated at the head of one of these tables, with an air of the greatest self-importance. The pride and vanity of this good woman (and she always possessed a large share of both) had been consi­derably increased from the time her cottage was honoured with such noble guests. When she received an invitation from the steward to accompany the rest of the tenants to the hall, to celebrate its restoration to Lord Cherbury, her joy and exultation knew no bounds; she took care to walk with the wives of some of the most respectable tenants, describing to them all that had passed at the ceremony, and how the earl had first fallen in love with his bride at her cottage, and what trials they had undergone, no doubt to prove their constancy. “Cot pless 613 their hearts,” she said to her eager auditors, “she could tell them of such tangers and tifficulties, and tribu­lations, as would surprise the very souls in their podies. Well, well, it was now her tear chilt’s turn to hold up her head with the highest in the laud; and, to be sure, she might now say, without telling a lie, that her tear latyship would now make some poty of herself, and please Cot, she hoped and pelieved, she should not tisgrace or tisparage a petter situation.” When she came near the countess, she took care to press forward for a gracious look; but this was not all, she had always envied the consequence of Mrs. Abergwilly, in having so great a house as the hall entirely under her management; and she now determined, upon the strength of her favour with Lady Cherbury, to have something to say to it, and of course increase her consequence among her neighbours. There was nothing on earth she so much delighted in as a bustle, and the present scene was quite adapted to her taste, for all within and without the house was joyous confusion. The first specimen she gave of her intention was, in helping to distribute the refresh­ments amongst the tenants; she then proceeded to the dinner parlour, to give her opinion and assistance, and directions about laying out the table. Mrs. Abergwilly, like the generality of those accustomed to absolute power, could not tamely submit to any innovation on it. She curbed her resentment, however, and civilly told Mrs. Edwin she wanted no assistance; “thank Cot,” she said, “she was not come to this time of tay without being able to give proper tirections about laying out a table.”

Mrs. Edwin said, “To be sure Mrs. Abergwilly might have a very pretty taste, but then another person might have as good a one.”

The day was intensely hot; she pinned back her gown, which was a rich silk, that had belonged to Lady Malvina, and without farther ceremony began altering the dishes, and saying, “she knew the taste of her tear laty, the countess, petter than any one else, and that she would take an early opportunity of going through the apart­ments, and telling Mrs. Abergwilly how to arrange the furniture.”

The Welch blood of the housekeeper could bear no more, and she began abusing Mrs. Edwin, though in terms scarcely articulate; to which she replied with interest.

In the midst of this fracas old Edwin entered. “For the love of Got,” he asked, “and the mercy of heaven, could they choose no other time or day than the present to pegin and fight and scold, and abuse 614 each other like a couple of Welch witches! What would the noble earl and the countess say—Oh Lort! oh Lort! he felt himself blushing all over for the misdemeanor.”

His remonstrance had an immediate effect; they were both ashamed of their conduct; their rage abated, they became friends, and Mrs. Edwin resigned the direction of the dinner table to Mrs. Abergwilly, satisfied with being allowed to preside among the tenants.

The bridal party found Howell in the dining parlour, and his company increased their pleasure. After dinner the rustics commenced their dancing in the avenue to the strains of the harp, and afforded a delightful scene of innocent gaiety to their benevolent entertainers, who smiled to see

The dancing pair that simply sought renown,

By holding out to tire each other down:

The bashful virgin’s side-long looks of love,

The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove.

After tea the party went out amongst them, and the gentlemen for a short time mingled in the dance. Long it could not detain Lord Cherbury from his Amanda. Oh! with what ecstasy did he listen to the soft accents of her voice whilst his fond heart assured him she was now his; the remembrance of his past difficulties but increased his felicity.

In the course of the week all the neighbouring families came to pay their congratu­lations at Tudor Hall; invitations were given and received, and it again became the seat of pleasure and hospitality; but Amanda did not suffer the possession of happiness to obliterate one grateful remembrance from her mind; she was not one of those selfish beings, who, on being what is termed settled for life, immediately contract themselves within the narrow sphere of their own enjoy­ments; still was her heart as sensible as ever of the glow of friendship and compassion; she wrote to all the friends she had ever received kindness from, in terms of the warmest gratitude, and her letters were accompanied by presents sufficiently valuable to prove her sincerity. She sent an invitation to Emily Rushbrook, which was immediately accepted; and now a discovery took place which infinitely surprised and pleased Amanda—namely, that Howell was the young clergyman Emily was attached to. He had gone to London on a visit to the gentleman who had patronized him; her youth, her 615 simplicity, above all her distress affected his heart, and in the hope of mitigating that distress (which he was shocked to see had been aggravated by the ladies she came to) he had followed her; to soothe the wretched, to relieve the distressed, was not consi­dered more a duty than a pleasure by Howell; and the little favours he conferred upon the Rushbrooks afforded, if possible, more pleasure to him than they did to them; so sweet are the feelings of benevolence and virtue.—But compassion was not long the sole motive of his interest in their affairs; the amiable manners, the gentle conversation of Emily completely subdued his unfortunate passion for Amanda, and in stealing her image from his heart, she implanted her own in its place.—He described in a romantic manner the little rural cottage he invited her to share—he anticipated the happy period when it should become an asylum to her parents—when he, like a second father, should assist their children through the devious paths of life; these fond hopes and expectations vanished the moment he received Mrs. Connel’s letter. He could not think of sacrificing the interest of Rushbrook to the consi­deration of his own happiness, and therefore generously, but with the most agonizing conflicts, resigned his Emily to a more prosperous rival; his joy at finding her disengaged, still his own unaltered Emily, can better be conceived than described. He pointed out the little sheltered cottage which again he hoped she would share, and blest with her the hand that had opened her father’s prison gates. Lord and Lady Cherbury were delighted to think they could contribute to the felicity of such amiable beings; and the latter wrote to Captain and Mrs. Rushbrook on the subject, who immediately replied to her letter, declaring that their fondest wish would be gratified in bestowing their daughter on Howell. They were accordingly invited to the Hall; and in the same spot where a month before he ratified the vows of Lord Cherbury and Amanda, did Howell plight his own to Emily, who from the hand of Lady Cherbury received a nuptial present sufficient to procure every enjoyment her humble and unassuming spirit aspired to. Her parents, after passing a few days in her cottage, departed, rejoicing at the happiness of their beloved child, and truly grateful to those who had contributed to it.

And now did the grateful children of Fitzalan amply reward the Edwins for their past kindness to their parents and themselves; an 616 annual stipend was settled on Edwin by Lord Dunreath, and the possessions of Ellen were enlarged by Amanda. Now was realized every scheme of domestic happiness she had ever formed; but even that happiness could not alleviate her feelings on Oscar’s account, whose faded cheek, whose languid eye, whose total abstraction in the midst of company evidently proved the state of his heart; and the tear of regret which had so often fallen for her own sorrows, was now shed for his; he had written to Mrs. Marlowe a parti­cular account of every thing which had befallen him since their separation: she answered his letter immediately, and after congra­tulating him in the warmest terms on the change in his situation, informed him that Adela was then at one of Belgrave’s seats in England, and that he was gone to the continent; her style was melancholy, and she concluded her letter in these words: “no longer, my dear Oscar, is my fire-side enlivened by gaiety or friendship; sad and solitary I sit within my cottage till my heart sickens at the remembrance of past scenes, and if I wander from it, the objects without, if possible, add to the bitterness of that remembrance. The closed windows, the grass-grown paths, the dejected servants of Woodlawn, all recall to my mind those hours when it was the mansion of hospitality and pleasure. I often linger by the grave of the general, my tears fall upon it, and I think of that period when, like him, I shall drop into it; but my last hours will not close like his, no tender child will bend over my pillow to catch my last sigh, to soothe my last pang; in vain my closing eyes will look for the pious drops of nature or friendship. Unfriended I shall die, with the sad consciousness of doing so through my own means; but I shall not be quite unmourned; you and my Adela, the sweet daughter of my care, will regret the being whose affection, whose sympathy for you both, can only be obliterated with life.”

Errata: Chapter LVII

one whose title may now almost be considered as an empty one?”
text has an empty one?’

the last summons will now be a welcome release.’
text has release.”

Lord Cherbury looked a little embarrassed
text has “Lord

would give an estate to get rid of,
text has rid of.

her youth, her simplicity, above all her distress
, missing


Overwhelmed with grief and disappointment at the supposed perfidy of Amanda, Lord Mortimer had returned to England


Adela, on the death of her father, was taken by Belgrave to England

Introduction and Contents

 

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.