« ElőzőTovább »
During my short residence in that city, I had contracted an acquaintance with a Miss Dangerfield, whose father had left London to avoid his creditors. She told me that his failure was owing to numerous losses which he had sustained; and that he would soon return, his creditors having agreed to take a small composition. I thought this would afford me a happy opportunity of returning to England, and of visiting you till some place could be found in which I might acquire a livelihood by my industry. I therefore told Mr. Dangerfield, that I would pay all the expenses, if he and his daughter would immediately accompany me to England. To this he readily agreed.
The afternoon before my escape, he told me that, at the house of a person who lets out carriages, he had moet with a gentleman who wanted a conveyance to Lisle for a lady and her daughter, the next morning as early as the gates should be opened ; and that he and the gentleman had hired a coach with three horses. He added that the coach would hold only four persons, but that he would ride on the outside.
This information gave me pleasure, especially as the lady, he said, was born in London, though she now resided in France : I also thought that by going to Lisle I should elude pursuit.
I slept but little that night. My brother was ignorant of my intention to escape. Rising early in the morning, I packed up my linen and other valuable things in as small a compass as possible, and putting them under my cloak (to avoid the suspicion of the servants) set off for Dangerfield's lodgings; but he and his daughter were waiting for me at a little distance.
We went to the place where we were to take coach. In a short time the lady and her daughter arrived who were to accompany us to Lisle. She was of the middle size, and had glossy black hair, and fine arched eyebrows of the same colour. Her features were regular, but her complexion pale ; and an habitual smile, and a sweetness of disposition visible in her countenance, rendered her, if not
what is termed handsome, yet very pretty and agreeable, which is much preferable. She was something more than thirty years of age ; and her daughter, a very amiable young lady, was upwards of thirteen. As I never could ride backwards in a carriage without being sick, she insisted that. I should ride forwards with her, and that her daughter should sit with Miss Dangerfield. This little act of kindness, together with her being my countrywoman, soon made us acquainted. She told me that both she and her husband were born in London; that they were of the Hebrew nation ; and that he had residled more than twenty years at Amsterdam, where he was extensively engaged in the mercantile profession.
In the course of my conversation 'with this lady, I learned that she and her husband' are Christians"; that their conversion was brought about through the instrumentality of an excellent friend of theirs, a member of an English Congregational church at Amsterdam ;
and that they are now members of the same church. After congratulating Mrs. Levi (for that was the name of the lady) with respect to this happy event, I gave her a particular account of my sufferings, and of my flight from a most tender parent, whose only fault that I knew of was his attachment to a religion, called indeed Christianity, but not to be found in the sacred volume, except in the prophecies concerning the corruptions of our religion which were to take place in the world.
This amiable lady felt for my distress, and was obliged to wipe from her cheeks the tears which were occasioned by the recital of my calamities. My dear young lady, cried she, I cannot but sympathize with you. My friends were as much irritated against me on account of my becoming a Christian, as yours against you on account of your becoming a protestant.
About nine in the morning we arrived at Lilleres, a small town about fifteen miles from St. Omer's, and stopped at the Golden Goose. Our coachman told us that he should stay about an hour, as he wanted something to be
done to one of the wheels. After breakfast Mrs. Levi and I proposed to take a walk round the town, and asked Mr. Dangerfield and his daughter to accompany us. He replied, that he had an acquaintance whom he wished to see ; and the daughter said, that it would be better for her to stay and take care of my bundle and the other parcels, which I thought to be kind and prudent. After we had walked about half an hour we returned. When I inquired for the young woman whom I had left with my parcel, they said that they thought she had gone with me, as they had not seen her since I left the inn : yet no one could remember her going out. It immediately occurred to me that I was robbed of my clothes and money; for Dangerfield having told me that it would be prudent to take nothing in my pocket but a little silver, lest we should be robbed, I had followed his advice. The thought of the situation I was in, without clothes, without money, without friends, and in a foreign country, so overcame me, that
sunk back in my chair, and was insensible, till I opened my eyes, and saw several persons about me, rubbing me, and holding spirits of hartshorn to my nose. ceived that I had swooned away; and I was truly sorry that I was come back to a world so checkered with misery. The good Mrs. Levi, who saw the cause of my distress, encouraged a pursuit of the thieves, by offering five louis d'ors to any person who should overtake and bring them back. Several persons went different ways in pursuit, but returned without success, to whom she made hand. some presents. But her kindness to me is far beyond my ability to describe : my own parent when I was the object of his esteem, could not have behaved with greater tenderness.
We were obliged to get into the coach, having staid an lour extraordinary. During our journey to Lisle, she continually assured me that Mr. Levi would take a pleasure in rendering me every service in his power. At the same time she insisted npon my receiving ten louis d'ors
I then per
as an immediate present.-Oh, my dear friend, how many ways our merciful father has to support his people! He will never leave them nor forsake them; and as their day is so shall their strength be.
About eight o'clock in the evening we arrived at the Hotel de Bourbon at Lisle, where we found Mr. Levi just come from Paris. The appearance of this gentleman pleased me. He had an open countenance, and a habit inclining to corpulency ; he was of the middle size, and about fifty years of age. He was very complaisant to his lady and to me also, though a stranger: and indeed she had observed to me, that their minds were so similar, that time had added the most cordial friendship to the tenderest affection.
Mrs. Levi withdrew with her husband for a few mi. nutes, during which time she appears to have given him an account of my situation, and to have recommended me to his patronage. For on their return he said, My dear Miss Neville, do not in the least regard what has befallen you. Rest assured that in Mrs. Levi and myself you will find protectors and friends.
I was so overcome with the gratitude I felt towards my benefactors, and with a sense of the divine goodness in casting me in their way, that I had not power to make a reply, but burst into a flood of tears which I could not for some time restrain. When they had subsided, I fell on my knees, and cried out, I bless the almighty Author of my being, the kind Parent of the universe : and I thank you, my kind friends, for your goodness and compassion to a stranger. May our heavenly Father grant you an everlasting reward.
There is no pleasure, replied Mr. Levi, superior to that of alleviating the distresses of the servants of God. Nay, there is even a satisfaction in doing good to the wicked, as it is instructing those by our actions who will not attend to the divine precepts.-Mrs. Levi and her daughter, likewise, said many kind things.
. I retired to rest early, and, rising betimes, wrote this long letter before breakfast.
I am, dear Madam, with great esteem,
Your affectionate friend,
DEAR MADAM, As life is a continued series of changes from happiness to misery, and from misery to happiness, much unavailing anxiety might be avoided, were we to do our duty in our present circumstances, and to leave future events to Him who clotheth the lilies of the field, and who does not disregard a falling sparrow.
I have related the joy I felt at my escape from St. Omer's; the trouble I was in at being robbed; and the change of the scene from misery to happiness, in consequence of the uncommon regard shown to me by Mr. Levi and his family. After I was in bed, I was again rendered unhappy by considering the disagreeable situation my dear brother will be in when my father shall have been apprised of his having left the church of Rome. Your niece came next into my mind, together with the brutal treatment of her unfeeling parent. Nor did I forget niy dear father, my sister, and father Albino. I felt no resentment on account of their cruel treatment of nie, but earnestly prayed that God would show them the evil of what they had done, and bring them to true repentance. I then thought with anxious concern about the place I should go to, and the means I should use for my future subsistence. But how much better it would have been to have left these things entirely to Him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will. By taking thought, I could not add one cubit to my stature.
Just as I had finished my former letter, Miss Levi came to my room. She is an affectionate young lady. There is