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person; he possessed a fine intelligent countenance and an agreeable manner, which, it may be convenient to the reader to know at this early stage of the piece, proved-as many a man's good qualities have done before--proved, we say, a source of the most serious calamities to the possessor. The assemblage together of the limited number of personages which we have just enumerated, gave rise to many curious and interesting results. Young George Sheringham fell in love with Miss Lovell, the parson's daughter, and the history of the origin and progress of his passion, together with the manner in which it was met by the lady, constilutes a portion of the narrative which, by deeply engaging our sympathies for both, on account of the favourable light in which each is presented, is calculated to make a strong impression on the heart. In conformity with the eternal rule which novel writers are bound, under all circumstances, to respect, namely, that the course of true love should never be allowed to run smooth, Mr. Hooke has been at the pains to raise up a considerable host of obstacles to the current which had thus unexpectedly burst forth. Lady Frances, the mother of the Hon. George, was some time before she perceived any symptoms of the partiality of her son for Miss Lovell; and as soon as she came to comprehend what was to her a sad truth, she devoted her best energies to the task of disappointing the young parties, not that she held in a low estimate the happiness of her son, but because her very nature was wrapped up in the extravagancies of aristocratic assumption. The daughter of a poor clergyman, with no greater dowry than her petticoat, forsooth, to be the wife of the descendant of the Marquis of Pevensey, was a thought that infused its bitterness into every moment of her existence.
Another of the rocks constructed by the author for the purpose of swelling the billows into which the smooth waters of mutual affection had been now converted, was the work, under his direction, of several unconscious agents, of whom it is necessary in this place to speak. We have mentioned that Charles Harvey, an intelligent and fascinating young gentleman, was reputed as being the chosen attendant of his friend Mrs. Harbottle, and (we may as well let it out at once) there is every reason to believe that he extorted from the lady that heart which certainly her lawful husband had never pre-occupied. But Mrs. Harbottle was deeply imbued with the heroism of virtue; and as soon as she found reason to think that her fidelity to her husband, even in thought, was placed in jeopardy, that moment she resolved upon cutting the tie by which she had been so fatally bound. Emma Lovell being, as we have already stated, her confidant in all things, Mrs. Harbottle, opened to her all the hidden treasure of her soul, made to her a full confession of her thoughts, and besought her to be the agent of a message to Har- vey, which would inform him of her desire, that he should as speedily as possible depart from their house. It is necessary to inform the reader that the new visitors, the Sheringhams, were taught, by the
general impression of those around them, to believe that the object of Harvey's affection really was Miss Lovell, and, by a clever arrangement of scenery and characters, the author succeeds admirably in contriving that the earnestness of Miss Lovell, in her interview with Harvey relative to the very delicate affair between him and Mrs. Harbottle, should appear to several witnesses, particularly to young Sheringham, as an expression of that personal regard with which she viewed her intended husband in Mr. Harvey. The effect was soon manifested on the mortified löver ; for, in his interview with Emma Lovell, she afforded him all the encouragement which her circumstances and sense of delicacy would permit, and he had reason, from her own declarations, to be convinced, before the occurrence of this strange interview, that there was no feeling whatever of a particular kind between her and Mr. Harvey. George Sheringham could not now avoid the inference to which this state of facts, so far as he could reason upon them, gave rise, and he did not hesitate to set down the mistress whom he had so devotedly loved, as a heartless coquette, who had proved herself capable of such wanton and criminal hypocrisy. But Sheringham little knew the vast error into which he had fallen. He never conjectured that poor Harvey dragged the heavy chains which Mrs. Harbottle unwillingly had wreathed for his wear. The remonstrance addressed by Miss Lovell to Harvey, was necessarily conducted in such a way as exactly to conform with the tenor of those apprehensions that haunted the mind of Sheringham; the energy with which the young lady urged Harvey to comply with Mrs. Harbottle's request, appeared to Sheringham the devotion of an adoring lover; and, no doubt, the perfect innocence of Emma could never have allowed her to suppose that there was any necessity for her to impose restraint on her enthusiasm whilst engaged in the interview with Harvey.
In the meantime a visible alteration of character was observed in the society of Binford. Every member of that, which was lately so gay a community, had some misfortune peculiar to him or herself, which withdrew them from the crowd; and Harbottle, ever noisy and riotous, began to suspect that all was not right when he found his gay table deserted. Some hints from his upper and confidential servants gave a particular direction to his fears; these vigilant inquisitors into other people's affairs took notice of some stolen interviews which Mrs. Harbottle gave accidentally to Harvey, with the view of imploring him to absent himself; and one of the dames of the chamber mentioned the damning fact that she carried a billet from Mr. Harvey to Mrs. Harbottle. The reader will be now in a fair way to comprehend the following graphic scene, if he will remember these few preliminary facts-that, in the first place, young Sheringham had, in a fit of disappointment, abandoned the village, for some place with which even his mother was not acquainted; and next, that Mr. Harvey, in compliance with the message delivered by Emma Lovell from Mrs. Harbottle, also withdrew from the village, leaving a letter for the husband of the lady, to the effect that he was under the necessity of making a journey to London on material business :
So, Fanny, said the Squire, with a scowling look, which generally portended a storm, Mr. Harvey is gone-suddenly-without stopping to say good-bye, or shake hands, or any thing else. He leaves a note to say he must go to London on particular business, and now I hear that he is not gone to London at all; that he is for the present gone over to Ullsford, and that he is expected to spend a week or ten days at the Mordaunts. Upon my word, said Fanny, I am not at all aware of his engagementa. You saw him, I think, before he went, Fan, said the Squire.—I did. Alone in the library ?-Yes, alone in the library.
I thought, perhaps, continued her husband, you had some particular wish that he should go.—I had a particular wish that he should go, replied Fanny, he had promised to go before.
Who did his staying annoy, asked Harbottle.—The reports which had been circulated about his attachment to Emma, rendered his remaining here injurious to her.
Why more to-day than a week ago.—After that long interview in the conservatory, said Fanny, not quite so collectedly as she usually said things.
Ah! that was it. Oh! and that frightened away the Captain, and now you are making up a match between the Captain and the Parson's daughter. - I do not consider myself making up a match, said Fanny.
Helping it on, though, said Harbottle; my motto is, never meddle or make in matters like these ; however, I suppose you would rather she should marry him, than Harvey.—To me, said Fanny, it is, of course, a matter of perfect indifference.
It may be, said Harbottle, but a lady sometimes grows so used to a favourite, that she does not like to lose him.-Favourite! exclaimed Fanny, what on earth do you mean?
Why, I mean, said the Squire, in a tone of the bitterest severity, I mean that everybody in the house is talking of your conduct with my “ young friend,” as they call him. Your own maid-your pet maid-Mrs. Devon -Devil I believe would be a better wordtalks of his notes to you, and your conversations with him. I have heard it all, Fanny; but I have affected, for your sake, to treat the tale with contempt, and threatened those who spoke of it, if they ever breathed it to me again, to send them all packing. -If you had so treated their intelligence because you disbelieved it, rather than in consideration of me, said Fanny, you would have better deserved my affection. Am I to defend myself against these imputations-am I to explain-am I to humiliate myself?
No, no! Fanny, said Harbottle. The principal part of the history, and which does you the most credit, you have carefully concealed from me. Harvey's going had nothing to do with Emma Lovell. Come, come, no disguise; more people than two may be in a conservatory or in a library at the same time. I give you credit for all you have done; I should have liked it better if I had been consulted. Kiss me, Fanny; all is forgiven and forgotten, as far as you are concerned. But as for my “ young friend,” as my servants call him, who, under the mask of friendship, has made me absurd and contemptible: for him
- Dearest William ! said Fanny, who knew how terrible his revenge would be, if permitted to have full play, listen to me: you say you have treated your informants—spies upon my words and actions-as such persons should be treated, and declared your utter disbelief in all their histories for my sake, is it not clear-consult your own judgment, let reason master passion is it not clear that any steps taken against Mr. Harvey, in a case where, if you consider him faulty, I cannot be blameless
Yes, yes, interrupted Harbottle, you are blameless.- But will the world think so, if my name becomes publicly coupled with an object of your avowed hatred and vengeance. If, as you say you do, and as I deserve you should, believe me innocent, and should it be your intention to break off your acquaintance with Mr. Harvey, would it not be better to let the intercourse and intimacy cease, without any open declaration of hostility?
Perhaps it might, said Harbottle, but then, continued he, clenching his fist, he escapes scot-free.--Escapes ! said Fanny, what has he to escape from ? what has he done? what act
Come, come, Fan, interrupted her husband, I cry peace, but I must not hear him or his conduct defended. For your sake, For my sake! exclaimed Fanny; believe me, if I did not think you were thoroughly and entirely convinced of my innocence, your tenderness or compassion would break my heart-a heart, which, God knows ! has never entertained a thought derogatory to your honour, or harboured a wish injurious to your happiness. I cannot live under your suspicions ; indeed—indeed, it would be greater kindness to kill me at once.
Come, come, my poor girl ! said Harbottle, no crying-no crying. I do believe you innocent of any thing wrong. I myself thought Mr. Harvey was getting rather too free and easy, but I was confident in you, and trou. bled my head little about it; but when other people begin to talk, and wink, and nod, and laugh-that I cannot bear.–The opportunity of checking any such impertinences, if indeed you can imagine they exist, said Fanny, presents itself. Mr. Harvey is gone-let him never return. You parted not in anger, and if you meet,
Meet-God forbid that I should meet him, exclaimed Harbottle, with an expression of countenance worthy the hand of Fuseli, except face to face, at twelve paces distant, a- Oh! William, William, said Fanny, banish such thoughts—he has never deserved your hate.
You think not, said Harbottle ; was his conduct in the library, when you parted, that of a dear friend? was- Oh pray! pray William ! sobbed Fanny, end this painful, dreadful conversation ; acquit me entirely, or discard me totally - I am conscious of my own rectitude.
Do I deny it?- Then, for mercy's sake-for the sake of justice, spare me all these allegations, raked together by persons whose duty would be better pursued to their master by attention to their own services, than by poisoning his mind with details of circumstances of which they can neither comprehend the causes nor effects, and which- Come, come, interrupted Harbottle, no preaching, and no running down my servants, who have for years and years been faithful to me, and to whom I have been before indebted for acts of kindness and affection, which I am very proud of and thankful for. Dry your eyes—I hate to see your eyes look red-and dress for dinner. Let's have no more of this ; it is all over, forgiven and forgotten, as far as you are concerned : but- vol. i. pp. 211-218.
Quitting the unhappy scene of this dialogue, and proceeding in quest of George Sheringham, we at last find him at an inn on the London road, where he is in the depth of a profound meditation on the caprice of women, and the little dependance that is to be placed on their sincerity. From this trance he was roused by the presence of no other than Harvey himself, who had just quitted Binford under the unhappy circumstances just alluded to. Here the whole of the true condition of the relations which existed between Miss Lovell and George Sheringham were unfolded ; and, to his un. bounded delight, the latter saw that the facts which made so powerfully in his mind against his beloved Emma, were, by the talismanic key afforded by Mr. Harvey, turned into so many proofs of her moral perfection. Thus finding that all his fears and doubts were dissipated, he came to the resolution, which was sanctioned by Harvey, of returning at once to Binford ; there, throwing himself at Emma's feet, to implore her to become his bride. Having settled this important point, the friends agreed to remain together till the following afternoon.
In the meantime, we shall precede the happy George to the seat of all his dearest expectations; and here we find in Miss Lovell's boudoir, that lady herself in close conversation with the melancholy Mrs. Harbottle, who unveiled to her friend the commencement of a system of cruel persecution at home, on the part of her husband, as annoying in its details as it was unjust in its principle. Emma, upon her side, complained of the conduct of Sheringham, and thus, by striving to make out their cases of misery respectively, each lady afforded some consolation to the other.
But an extraordinary accident which happened at the inn where Harvey and Sheringham were together, now recalls us to their company, and we find the latter in a sort of renewed ecstacy, by. the intelligence contained in a morning paper just received, of the shipwreck of a vessel off the coast of Malta, in which, strange to say, all the members of the remote kindred of Sheringham, who stood between him and the peerage of Weybridge, happened to be asembled, and consequently to be consigned to a watery grave. George knew but little of any of the defunct parties, though they were his relations; and the little acquaintance which he did chance to contract with one of them, had a very different tendency from that which would make him sympathize in their misfortunes. Whilst still doubting the genuineness of the report of the shipwreck, a post-haste messenger arrived at the door, despatched by Lady Frances, to whom the intelligence was officially transmitted. George Sheringham, thus, with the suddenness of the shock of a thunderbolt, was elevated to the dignity of, and saluted by all around as, Lord Weybridge. He parted with his friend Harvey, proceeded in post-haste to Binford, was welcomed by his mother, who, in a subsequent conversation, railed against bis notions about Miss Lovell, and told him, with evident satisfac