The Children of the Abbey
“Thy presence only ’tis can make me bless’d
Heal my unquiet mind, and tune my soul.”
The fatigue, distress, and agitation of Amanda could no longer be struggled with; she sunk beneath their violence, and for a week was confined to her bed by the fever, which seized her in England, and had ever since lurked in her veins. The whole sisterhood, who took it in turn to attend her, vied with each other in kindness and care to the poor invalid. Their efforts for her recovery were aided by a skilful physician from the next town, who called without being sent for at the convent. He said he had known Captain Fitzalan, and that, hearing that Miss Fitzalan was indisposed, he had come in hopes he might be of service to the daughter of a man he so much esteemed. He would accept of no fee, and the prioress, who was a woman of sagacity, suspected, as well as Amanda, that he came by the direction of Lord Mortimer: nor were they mistaken, for, distracted with apprehensions about her, he had taken this method of lightening his fears, flattering himself, by the excellent advice he had procured, her recovery would be much expedited, and of course his suspense at least terminated. The doctor did not withdraw his visits when Amanda was able to rise: he attended her punctually, and often paid her long visits, which were of infinite service to her spirits, as he was a man of much information and cheerfulness. In a few days she was removed from her chamber into a pleasant room below stairs, which opened into the garden, where, leaning on the friendly doctor’s arm, or one of the nuns, she walked at different times a few minutes each day. Lord Mortimer, on hearing this, thought he might now solicit an interview, and accordingly wrote for that purpose.
“TO MISS FITZALAN.
“Lord Mortimer presents his compliments to Miss Fitzalan, flatters himself she will allow him personally to express the sincere happiness her restoration to health has afforded him. Hs cannot think she will refuse him so reasonable a request; he is almost convinced she would not hesitate a moment in granting it, could she form an idea of the misery he 358 has experienced on her account, and the anxiety he feels, and must continue to feel, till some expressions in the last interview are explained.
“Castle Carberry, 10th May”
This letter greatly distressed Amanda. She had hoped the pain of again rejecting his visits and requests would have been spared her. She guessed at the expression he alluded to in his letter; they were those she had dropped relative to the promise to her father, and, from the impetuous and tender feelings of Lord Mortimer, she easily conceived the agony he would experience when he found this promise inviolable.—She felt more for his distress than her own; her heart, seasoned in the school of adversity, could bear its sorrows with calmness; but this was not his case, and she paid the tribute of tears to a love so fervent, so faithful, and so hopeless.
She then requested sister Mary, to acquaint his messenger that she received no visits; that, as she was tolerably recovered, she entreated his lordship would not take the trouble of continuing his inquiries about her health, or to send her any more written messages, as she was unable to answer them. The prioress who was present when she received the letter, commended her exceedingly for the fortitude and discretion she had manifested. Amanda had deemed it necessary to inform her, after the conversation she heard between her and Lord Mortimer, of the terms on which they stood with each other, and the prioress, who doubted whether his lordship was in reality as honourable as he professed himself, thought Amanda on the sure side in declining his visits.
The next morning the doctor called as usual. He told Amanda he had brought her an entertaining book, for no such thing could be procured at St. Catharine’s; and, as she had expressed her regret at this, from the time she had been able to read, he had supplied her from his library, which was extensive and well chosen.
He did not present it to her till he was retiring, and then said, with a significant smile, she would find it contained something worthy of her particular attention. Amanda was alone, and immediately opened it. Great was her astonishment when a letter dropped from it into her lap! She snatched it up, and perceiving the direction in Lord Mortimer’s hand she hesitated whether she should open a letter conveyed in this manner; but to return it unopened was surely a 359 slight Lord Mortimer merited not, and she broke the seal with a trembling hand and a palpitating heart.
“To compel me to use stratagems in writing to you, and to destroy the delightful hopes which had sprung in my soul at the prospect of being about to receive a reward for my sufferings. Am I ever to be involved in doubts and perplexity on your account? Am I ever to see difficulty succeeded by difficulty, and hope by disappointment?
“You must be sensible of the anxiety I shall feel until your ambiguous expressions are fully explained, and yet you refuse this explanation! But you have no pity for my feelings. Would it not be more generous in you to permit an interview than to keep me in suspense? To know the worst is some degree of ease: besides, I should then have an opportunity of perhaps convincing you that virtue, unlike vice, has its bounds, and that we may sometimes carry our notions of honour and generosity too far, and sacrifice our real happiness to chimerical ideas of them. Surely I shall not be too presumptuous in saying, that, if the regard Amanda once flattered me with, is undiminished, she will, by rejecting a union with me, leave me not the only sufferer.
“Oh! do not, my dear and too scrupulous girl, think a moment longer of persevering in a resolution so prejudicial to your welfare. Your situation requires particular protection; young, innocent, and beautiful, already the object of licentious pursuit, your nearest relations your greatest enemies, your brother, from his unsettled line of life, unable to be near you. Oh! my Amanda, from such a situation what evils may accrue! Avoid them by taking refuge in his arms, who will be to you a tender friend, and a faithful guardian; before such evils, the obligations for keeping a promise to reject me, fade away, particularly when she motives which led to such a promise are considered. Captain Fitzalan, hurt by the unfortunate letter he received from my father, extended his resentment to his son, and called upon you, without reflecting on the consequences of such a measure, to give me up. This is the only reason I can conceive for his desiring such a promise, and had I but arrived while he could have listened to my arguments, I am firmly convinced, instead of opposing, he would have sanctioned our union, and given his beloved girl to a man, who, in every instance, would study to evince his gratitude for such a gift, and to supply his loss.
“Happiness, my dear Amanda, is in long arrears with us. She is now ready to make up for past deficiencies, if it is not our own faults: let us not frighten her from performing her good intentions, but hand in hand receive the lovely and long absent guest to our bosoms.
“You will not, cannot, must not, be inflexible. I shall expect, as soon as you read this, a summons to St. Catharine’s, to receive the ratification of my hopes; in every thing respecting our union I will be guided by you, except delaying it. What we both have suffered already from deceit, makes me doubly anxious to secure you mine, lest another vile scheme should be formed to effect our separation.
“Oh! Amanda, the faintest prospects of calling you mine, gives to my heart a felicity no language can express. Refuse not being mine except you bring me an addition of fortune. Already rich in every virtue, I shall, in obtaining you, obtain a treasure, which the wealthiest, the proudest, and the vainest of the sons of men may envy me the possession of, and which the good, the sensible, and the elegant, must esteem the kindest gift indulgent Heaven could bestow on me. Banish all uneasy doubts and scruples, my Amanda, from your mind, nor think a promise which was demanded without reflecting on 360 the consequences that must attend it, can be binding. The ingenuous soul of your father would have cancelled it in a moment, had those consequences been represented to him, and now, when our own reason convinces us of them, I make no doubt, if departed souls are permitted to view the transactions of this world, his spirit would behold our union with approbation. Yes, my Amanda, I repeat your father’s approving spirit will smile upon an act which gives to his lovely and beloved orphan a faithful friend, and steady protector, in her adoring
“Castle Carberry, 11th May.”
This letter deeply affected the sensibility, but could not shake the resolution of Amanda. She would not have answered it, as she considered any correspondence an infringement on the promises she had given her father to decline any further intimacy with him: but, from the warmth and agitation displayed in his letter, it was evident to her that if he did not receive an immediate answer to it, he would come to St. Catharine’s, and insist on seeing her: and she felt assured, that she would much better deliver her sentiments upon paper than to him. She accordingly wrote as follows:
“TO LORD MORTIMER.
“You cannot change my resolution. Surely, when I solemnly declare to you it is unalterable, you will spare me any further importunity on so painful a subject. In vain, my Lord, would you, by sophistry, cloaked with tenderness for that purpose, try to influence me. The arguments you have made use of, I am convinced, you never would have adopted, had you not been mistaken in regard to those motives which prompted my father to ask a promise from me of declining any farther connexion with you. It was not from resentment, my lord: no, his death was then fast approaching, and he, in charity for all mankind, forgave those who had wounded him by unjust reproach and accusation. It was a proper respect for his own character, and not resentment, which influenced his conduct; as he was convinced, if I consented to an alliance with you, Lord Cherbury would be confirmed in all the suspicions he entertained of his having entangled you with me, and consequently load his memory with contempt. Tenderness, also, for me actuated him. He was acquainted with the proud heart of Lord Cherbury, and knew that, poor and reduced as I was, I entered his family, I should be considered and treated as a mean intruder. So thoroughly am I convinced that he did not err in this idea, that whenever reason is predominant in my mind, I think even if a promise did not exist for such a purpose, I should decline your addresses; for, though I could submit with cheerfulness to many inconveniences for your sake, I never could support indignities. We must part, my lord. Providence has appointed different paths for us to pursue in life: yours smooth and flowery, if by such regrets you do not frustrate the intention of the benevolent donor; mine rough and thorny. But both, though so different, will lead to the same goal, where we shall again meet to be no more separated.
“Let not your lordship deem me either unkind or ungrateful; my heart disavows the justice of such accusations, and is but too sensible of your tenderness and generosity. Yes, my lord, I will confess, that no pangs can be more pungent than the ones which now 361 rend it, at being obliged to act against its feelings, but the greater the sacrifice, the greater the merit of submitting to it, and a ray of self-approbation is, perhaps, the only sunshine of the soul which will brighten my future days.
“Never, my lord, should I enjoy this, if my promise to my father was violated. There is but one circumstance which could set it aside, that is, having a fortune that even Lord Cherbury might deem equivalent to your own to bring you: for then my father has often said he would approve our union. But this is amongst the improbabilities of this life, and we must endeavour to reconcile ourselves to the destiny which separates us.
“I hope your lordship will not attempt to see me again. You must be sensible that your visits would be highly injurious to me. Even the holy and solitary asylum which I have found, would not protect me from the malice which has already been so busy with my peace and fame. Alas! I now need the utmost vigilance; deprived as I am of those on whom I had claims of protection, it behoves me to exert the utmost circumspection in my conduct. He in whom I expected to have found a guardian, Oscar, my dear unfortunate brother, is gone I know not whither, persecuted and afflicted by the monster who has been such a source of misery to me. Oh! my lord when I think what his sufferings may now be, my heart sinks within me.—Oh! had I been the only sufferer, I should not have felt so great a degree of agony as I now endure. But I will not despair about my dear Oscar; the Providence which has been so kind to his sister, which so unexpectedly raised her friends, at the moment she deemed herself deprived of all earthly comfort, may to him have been equally merciful. I have trespassed a long time upon your lordship’s attention, but I wished to be explicit, to avoid the necessity of any further correspondence between us. You now know my resolves; you also know my feelings; in pity to them spare me any further conflicts. May the tranquil happiness you so truly deserve soon be yours! Do not, my lord, because disappointed in one wish, lose your sense of the many valuable blessings with which you are surrounded; in fulfilling the claims which your friends, your country have upon you, you will show how truly you merit those blessings, and banish all useless regrets from your heart. Adieu, my lord; suffer no uneasiness on my account: if Heaven prolong my life, I have no doubt but I shall find a little comfortable shelter from the world; where, conscious I have acted according to the principles of right, I shall enjoy the serenity which ever attends self-approbation; a serenity which no changes or chances in this life will, I trust, ever wrest from
“May 12th. St. Catharine’s.”
She despatched this by an old man, who was employed in the garden at St. Catharine’s; but her spirits were so much affected by writing it, she was obliged to go up and lie on the bed. She considered herself as having taken a final adieu of Lord Mortimer, and the idea was too painful to be supported with fortitude; tender and fervent as his attachment was now to her, she believed the hurry and bustle of the world in which he must be engaged would soon eradicate it; a transfer of his affections to one equal to himself in rank and fortune was a probable event, and of course a total expulsion of her from his memory would follow; a deadly coldness stole upon her heart at the idea of being forgotten by him, and produced a flood of 362 tears. She then began to accuse herself of inconsistency. She had often thought, if Lord Mortimer was restored to happiness, she should feel more tranquillity; and now, when the means of effecting this restoration occurred, she trembled and lamented as if it would increase her misery. “I am selfish,” said she to herself, “in desiring the prolongation of an affection which must ever be hopeless: I am weak, in regretting the probability of its transfer, as I can never return
To conquer those feelings, she found she must banish Lord Mortimer from her thoughts. Except she succeeded in some degree in this, she felt she never should be able to exert the fortitude her present situation demanded. She now saw a probability of her existence being prolonged, and the bread of idleness or dependence could never be sweet to Amanda Fitzalan.
She had lain about an hour on the bed, and was about rising, and returning to the parlour, when sister Mary entered the chamber, and delivered her a letter. Ere Amanda looked at the superscription, her agitated heart foretold her whom it came from. She was not mistaken in her conjecture; but as she held it in her hand, she hesitated whether she should open it or not. “Yet,” said she to herself, “it can be no great harm; he cannot, after what I have declared, suppose my resolution to be shaken. He writes to assure me of his perfect acquiescence to Sister Mary left her at the instant her deliberations ended, by opening the letter.
“TO MISS FITZALAN.
“Inexorable Amanda! But I will spare both you and myself the pain of further importunity. All I now request is, that for three months longer at least you will continue at St. Catharine’s, or, that if you find a much longer residence there unpleasant, you will, on quitting it, leave directions where to be found. Ere half the above-mentioned period be elapsed, I trust, I shall be able satisfactory to account for such a request. I am quitting Castle Carberry immediately. I shall leave it with a degree of tranquillity that would perhaps surprise you, after what has so lately passed, if in this one instance you will oblige your
This laconic letter astonished Amanda. By its style it was evident Lord Mortimer had recovered his cheerfulness; recovered it not from a determination of giving her up, but from a hope of their again 363 meeting, as they could both wish. A sudden transport rushed upon her heart at such an idea, but quickly died away when she reflected it was almost beyond the possibility of things to bring about a pleasing interview between them.—She knew Lord Mortimer had a sanguine temper, and though it might mislead him, she resolved it should not mislead her. She could not form the most distant surmise of what he had now in agitation; but whatever it was, she firmly believed it would end in disappointment.—To refuse every request of his was painful; but propriety demanded she should not accede to the last; for one step, she wisely considered, from the line of prudence she had marked out for herself to take, might plunge her in difficulties from which she would find it impossible to extricate herself. With an unsteady hand she returned the following answer.
“I cannot comply with your request: you may, if you please, repeat inexorable Amanda: I had rather honour the imputation of obstinacy than imprudence, and think it much better to meet your accusation than deserve my own. How long I may reside at St. Catharine’s is to myself unknown; when I quit it, I certainly will not promise to leave any directions where you may find me.
“The obstacles which have rendered our separation necessary, are, I am convinced, beyond your lordship’s power to conquer; except they were removed, any farther interviews between us would be foolish and imprudent in the extreme. I also rejoice to hear you are leaving the castle, but am not surprised to hear of your tranquillity. From your good sense, I expected you would make exertions against useless regrets, and those exertions I knew would be attended with success; but, as some return for the sincere pleasure I feel for your restoration to tranquillity, seek not to disturb again that of
“May 12th. St. Catharine’s.”
Scarcely had she sealed this letter when she was called to dinner; but though she obeyed the summons, she could not eat. The exertions her writing to Lord Mortimer required, and the agitation his letter had thrown her into, quite exhausted her strength and spirits. The nuns withdrew soon after dinner, and left her alone with the prioress. In a few minutes after their departure, the old gardener returned from Castle Carberry, where he had been delivering her letter. After informing her he had put it safely into his lordship’s hands, he added, with a look which seemed to indicate a fear lest she should be distressed, that he had received neither letter nor message from him, though he waited a long time in expectation of receiving either one or the other; but he supposed, he said, his lordship was in 364 too great a hurry just then to give any answer, as a chaise and four was waiting to carry him to Dublin.
Amanda burst into tears as the man retired from the room. She saw she had written to Lord Mortimer for the last time, and she could not suppress this tribute of regret. She was firmly convinced, indeed, she should behold him no more. The idea of visiting her, she was sure, nay, she hoped he would relinquish, when he found (which she supposed would soon be the case) the schemes or hopes which now buoyed up his spirits impossible to be realized.
The prioress sympathized in her sorrow; though not from her own experience, yet from the experience of others, she knew how dangerous and bewitching a creature man is, and how difficult it is to remove the chains which he twines around the female heart: to remove those which lay so heavy upon the delicate and susceptible heart of her young friend, without leaving a corrosive wound, was her sincere wish, and by strengthening her resolution, she hoped success would crown their endeavours.
Two hours were elapsed since her messenger’s return from the castle, when sister Mary entered the room with a large packet, which she put into Amanda’s hands, saying, it was given her by Lord Mortimer’s servant, who rode off the moment he delivered it.
Sister Mary made no scruple of saying, she should like to know what such a weighty packet contained.
The prioress chid her in a laughing manner for her curiosity, and drew her into the garden, to give Amanda an opportunity of examining the contents.
She was surprised, on breaking the seal, to perceive a very handsome pocket-book, in a blank cover, and found, unsealed, a letter to this effect:
“TO MISS FITZALAN.
“I have put it out of your power to return this, by departing long ere you receive it. Surely, if you have the laudable pride you profess, you will not hesitate to use the contents of the pocket-book, as the only means of avoiding a weight of obligation from strangers: though discarded as a lover, surely I may be esteemed as a friend; and with such a title I will be contented till I can lay claim to a tenderer one. You start at this last expression, and I have no doubt you will call me a romantic visionary, for entertaining hopes which you have so positively assured me can never be realized; but ere I resign them I must have something more powerful than this assurance, my sweet Amanda, to convince me of their fallacy. I was inexpressibly shocked this morning to learn, by your 365 letter, that your brother had met with misfortune. My blood boils with indignation against the monster who has, to use your emphatical expression, been such a source of misery to you both. I shall make it my particular care to try and discover the place to which Mr. Fitzalan is gone, and in what situation. By means of the agents, or some of the officers belonging to the regiment, I flatter myself with being able to gain some intelligence of him: I need not add, that, to the utmost extent of my power, I will serve him. My success in this affair, as well as in that which concerns a much dearer being, you may be convinced you shall soon hear. Adieu, my Amanda. I cannot say, like Hamlet, “Go, get ye to a nunnery;” but I can say, “Stay there, I charge you.” Seriously, I could wish, except you find your present situation very unpleasant and inconvenient, not to change it for a short time. I think, for a temporary abode, you could not find a more eligible one, and, as I shall be all impatience when I return to Ireland to see you, a search after you would be truly insupportable. You have already refused to inform me of your determination relative to this matter; surely I may venture to request it may be as I wish, when I assure you, that except I can see you in a manner pleasing to both, I will never force into your presence him, who, let things turn out as they may, must ever continue
“Gracious heaven!” said Amanda to herself, “what can he mean? what scheme can he have in agitation which will remove the obstacles to our union? He here seems to speak of a certainty of success. Oh! grant merciful power!” she continued, raiding her meek eyes to heaven, while a rosy blush stole upon her cheeks, “grant that indeed he may be successful. He talks of returning to Ireland. Still,” proceeded she, reading over the letter, “requiring something more powerful than my assurance to convince him of the fallacy of his hopes; surely Lord Mortimer would not be so cruel as to raise expectations in my bosom, without those in his own were well founded. No, dear Mortimer, I will not call you a romantic visionary, but the most amiable, the most generous of men, who, for poor Amanda encounters difficulties, and sacrifices every splendid expectation.” She rejoiced at the intention he had declared of seeking out Oscar. She looked forward either to a speedy interview, or speedy intelligence of this beloved brother, as she knew Lord Mortimer would seek him with the persevering spirit of benevolence, and leave no means untried to restore him to her.
She now examined the contents of the pocket-book; it contained a number of small bills, to the amount of two hundred pounds—a large present, but one so delicately presented, that even her ideas of propriety could scarcely raise a scruple against her accepting. They did, 366 however, suggest one: uncertain how matters would yet terminate between her and Lord Mortimer, she was unwilling to receive any pecuniary obligations from him; but, when she reflected on his noble and feeling heart, she knew she should severely wound it by returning his present: she therefore resolved on keeping it, making a kind of compromise with her feelings about the matter, by determining that, except entitled to receive them, she would never more accept favours of this nature from his lordship.
The present one indeed was a most seasonable relief, and removed from her heart a load of anxiety which had weighed on it. After paying her father’s funeral expenses, the people with whom he lodged, and the apothecary who had attended him, she found herself mistress of but twenty guineas in the whole world, and more than half of this she considered as already due to the benevolent sisters of St. Catharine’s, who were ill able to afford any additional expense.
She had resolved to force them to accept what indeed she deemed a poor return for their kindness to her, and she then intended to retire to some obscure hovel in the neighbourhood, as better suited to the state of her finances, and continue there till her health was sufficiently restored, to enable her to make exertions for her livelihood; but she shuddered at the idea of leaving St. Catharine’s and residing among a set of boors; she felt sensations something similar to those we may suppose a person would feel, who was about being committed to a tempestuous ocean, without any means of security.
Lord Mortimer had prevented the necessity which had prompted her to think of a removal, and she now resolved to reside at least for the time he had mentioned in the convent, during which she supposed her uncertainties relative to him would be over, and that, if it was not her fate to be his, she should, by the perfect re-establishment of her health, be enabled to use her abilities in the manner her situation required. Tears of heartfelt gratitude and sensibility flowed down her cheeks for him who had lightened her mind of the care which had so oppressed it.
She at length recollected the prioress had retired into the garden from complaisance to her, and yet continued in it, waiting, no doubt, to be summoned back by her. She hastily wiped away her tears, and folding up the precious letter, which was bedewed with them, repaired to the garden, resolving not to communicate its contents, as 367 the divulgement of expectations (considering how liable all human ones are to be disappointed) she ever considered a piece of folly.
She found the prioress and sister Mary seated under a broken and ivy-covered arch. “Jesu! my dear,” said the latter, “I thought you would never come to us. Our good mother has been keeping me here in spite of my teeth, though I told her the sweet cakes I made for tea would be burned by this time, and that, supposing you were reading a letter from Lord Mortimer, there could be no harm in my seeing you.” Amanda relieved the impatient Mary, and she took her seat.—The prioress cast her piercing eyes upon her. She perceived she had been weeping, and that joy, rather than sorrow caused her tears. She was too delicate to inquire into its source, but she took Amanda’s hand, and gave it a pressure, which seemed to say, “I see, my dear child, you have met with something which pleases you, and my heart sympathizes as much in your happiness as in your grief.”
Amanda returned the affectionate pressure with one equally tender, and a starting tear. They were soon called by sister Mary to partake of the hot cakes, which she had made indeed in hopes of tempting Amanda to eat after her bad dinner; the whole community, were assembled at tea, when the doctor entered the parlour. Amanda blushed and looked grave at his first entrance; but he soon rallied her out of her gravity, and when the prioress and the nuns, according to custom, had withdrawn to evening vespers, he said, with a significant smile, “he feared she had not attended as much as he wished she should to the contents of the book he had last brought her.” She saw by his manner he was acquainted with her situation relative to Lord Mortimer, and therefore replied by saying, “that perhaps, if he knew the motives which influenced her conduct, he would not think her wrong in disregarding what he had just mentioned.”—She also said “she detested all kinds of stratagems, and was really displeased with him for practising one upon her.”
“In a good cause,” he said, “he should never hesitate using one. Lord Mortimer was the finest young fellow he had ever seen, and had won his favour and the best wishes of his heart, from the first moment that he beheld him. He made me contrive,” continued the doctor, “a story to gain admission to your ladyship, and when I found him so dreadfully anxious about you, I gave you credit (as I had then no opportunity of judging for myself) for all the virtues and graces he 368 ascribed to you, and which I have since perceived you to possess. You smile, and look as if you called me a flatterer; seriously I assure you I am not one: I really think you worthy of Lord Mortimer, and, I assure you, that is as great a compliment as could be paid to any woman. His mind was troubled with grief; he revealed his troubles and perplexities to me, and, after hearing them, no good christian ever prayed more devoutly for another, than I prayed for your recovery, that all your sorrows, like a novel, might terminate in marriage.”
“You are obliging in your wishes,” said Amanda, smiling.
“Faith, I am sincere in them,” exclaimed he, “and do not know when I have been so disconcerted at things not turning out smoothly between you and his lordship; but I will not despair: in all my own troubles, and Heaven has given me my share, I ever looked to the bright side of things, and shall always do so for my friends. I yet expect to see you settled at Castle Carberry, and to be appointed myself physician-general to your ladyship’s household.” The mention of in event, yet so uncertain, greatly agitated Amanda; she blushed and turned pale alternately, and convinced her good-natured, but loquacious friend, he had touched a chord which could not bear vibration. He hastily changed the discourse, and, as soon as he saw her composed, rose to take his leave. Amanda detained him for a minute, to try and prevail on him to take a ten-guinea note; but he was inflexible, and said with some archness, “till the disorder which preyed upon Lord Mortimer’s heart was in some degree alleviated, he would receive no recompense for his visits, which he assured Amanda, from time to time, he should continue to pay her; adding, a certain person had enjoined him now and then to take a peep within the holy walls of St. Catharine.”
The next morning Amanda set about a temporary arrangement of her affairs. She presented thirty guineas to the sisterhood, which, with much difficulty, she forced them to accept, though, in reality, it was much required by them; but when she came to speak of paying for a continuance, they positively declared they would agree to no such thing; as she had already so liberally rewarded them for any expense they might have incurred on her account. She told them, that if they would not agree to be paid for lodging and board, she would certainly leave them, though such a step was contrary to her 369 inclination; she assured them also, she was at present well able to pay.
At last it was settled she should give them at the rate of forty pounds a year—a salary they thought extremely ample, considering the plain manner in which they lived. She then had all the things which belonged to her father and herself brought to the convent, and had the former, with whatever she did not immediately want, nailed up in a large chest, that on a short notice they might be removed. Her harp and guitar she had in her distress proposed sending back to the person in Dublin from whom they were purchased, to sell for her; but she now determined to keep these presents of her beloved father, except again urged by necessity to part with them. She had a variety of materials for painting and working, and proposed employing herself in executing pieces in each way, not only as a means of amusing her time, but as a resource on an evil day: thus wisely making use of the present sunshine, lest another storm should arise, which she should not be so well able to struggle against.
as I can never return it.”
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He writes to assure me of his perfect acquiescence to it.”
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It will now be necessary to account for the sudden appearance of Lord Mortimer at the convent.
The turbulence of grief, and the agitation of suspense, gradually lessened in the mind of Amanda