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tion, that, in a sudden fit of indisposition, her father the rector had suddenly taken her to a distant watering place. Lord Weybridge proceeded without delay to Mrs. Harbottle, and there, having told her his circumstances and the necessity he was under of departing forthwith for London, he commissioned her, in the most solemn manner, to communicate his resolution to Emma. Mrs. Harbottle literally forgot her own misfortunes in the anticipation of her dear Emma's bliss, and she assured her friend, in whose temper and affability his elevation made no change, that the announcement of the news which she had in store for Emma, would be the means of saving her from an untimely grave. The following moral reflections of the author, on a survey of the conduct of Mrs. Harbottle, under her very trying circumstances, are well worthy of attention :
Nothing can more strongly point out to women situated as Fanny was, the absolute necessity of maintaining the straight course, deviating neither to the left nor to the right, than her own particular case. The moment her delicacy had been alarmed—the instant her mind was awakened to the state of her feelings, she acted morally, virtuously, and heroically—but this was in the second stage of the proceedings; and disguise it or palliate it as we may, Harvey must have become an object of much greater interest to her than he ought to have been, at the period when she felt it necessary to her character and comfort that they should part. Once admitted, the passion so closely resembling friendship at his birth, goes on gradually gaining an influence, till at last—as was the case with poor Harvey-its victims awaken too late to a certainty of the delusion.—vol. i. p. 297.
Following the new lord to London, the author presents us with a great variety of scenes through which his lordship passed. They are marked by that extraordinary aspect of truth which Mr. Hook is so weil able to pourtray when the business and proceedings of ordinary life, in any of its stages, are the subject of his powers. We must pass over some very humorous adventures of our hero, and yield to the superior claims of the heroine, now placed in a very critical situation. Emma heard with delight the tidings communicated to her by Mrs. Harbottle ; she came up to Binford from the watering place, and remained in the most interesting state of expectation for the next visit of Lord Weybridge. But her evil genius had not done with Emma as yet. One morning, at an unusually early hour, she was roused from her innocent slumber by a loud knocking at the door. She rose, and found that it was Mrs. Harbottle. This lady appeared like a wild demon, threw herself on Emma's bed, and demanded, with solemn emphasis, that she would call her father. The Reverend Mr. Lovell, an early riser, soon appeared ; Mrs. Harbottle wished to speak to him in secret, and, Emma having left the room, a horrible secret was communicated to the clergyman, of which Miss Lovell was kept in ignorance. All that was told her on the occasion was, that Mrs. Harbottle had abandoned for ever her husband's
worth once the ked-for chi
house, and that within one hour she (Emma) must accompany the distracted woman to the residence of her aunt, in the West of England. Emma, who waited impatiently for the visit of her George, was thunderstruck at the proposal —a compliance with which might have the most serious consequences on her destiny; she hesitated, but when she heard the voice of command from her father, she knew no other influence, and gently entered the vehicle with her wretched companion. Upon the night previous to this eventful morning, Mr. Harbottle, being out hunting, by the most unlooked for chance, got into company with Charles Harvey, once the friend, but now the foe, who was thought by him worthy of the fiercest vengeance. It must be sufficient, at this stage of the denouement, to state, that, the same night, Harvey, with his horse, was found dead in a sand-pit. The whole of these events were diligently and promptly related to her son by Lady Frances, who dwelt with peculiar zeal upon the unaccountable conduct of Emma, in accompanying Mrs. Harbottle in an elopement from her lawful husband. Shortly afterwards Lady Frances proceeded to London, for the purpose of clenching, in person, the arguments which she previously only put down in a letter. All the circumstances which subsequently occurred tended to increase the suspicions entertained by Lord Weybridge of Emma's character, and the arts which his mother, assisted by a powerful reinforcement of relations, put in practice at a country seat in Worcestershire, whither he was induced to retire, went a great way in preparing the young lord for surrendering Emma for ever, and substituting for her image in his breast that of another, named Lady Katherine. Indeed, so far was his indignation against poor Emma carried, that he allowed himself to be pledged to the new candidate for the honour of being his wife. Whilst still in Worcestershire, and whilst the intrigues of his mother were in active progress in that quarter, Lord Weybridge received a hasty summons to Binford, to receive an important communication from the wretched Harbottle, then in his last awful moments. The young lord arrived in sufficient time to find his old acquaintance alive: but what must have been his astonishment to hear from the dying man, the terrible confession, that he had instigated, by money, the murder of Charles Harvey. This was the grand secret, which was disclosed first to Mr. Lovell, and which justified him in giving the assistance, already spoken of, to Mrs. Harbottle, in her escape.
Some attempts at a reconciliation were now made by Lord Weybridge with Emma; but he found her exceedingly disinclined to encourage his overtures, and the real motive of her conduct was subsequently explained by herself. She told him, in a beautifully written letter, all her reasons for despairing that they could ever come together; she saw that Lord Weybridge's mother was hostile to her, and that no consideration would induce her to become a cause of contention between them. “I tell you”—continued the spirited girl," because I have been taught to speak plainly and truly, and because truth is, in me, habit, that when I first became acquainted with you, I admired those qualities which you appeared to possess, and sympathized in those sentiments which you were in the habit of expressing ; your mind, your manners, your accomplishments, all combined to increase the prepossession I felt; and I saw in you candour, and honour, and rectitude. Your conduct and conversation evidently inferred that the feeling I entertained was reciprocal, and I would have sacrificed every hope in the world to have ensured your welfare and comfort; you suddenly became ennobled, did I seek you then? did I value your rank ? did I gaze with delight on your coronet ? No. The very first act of your life in your new station, was to seek me out-and in a manner to me the most flattering—why should I not say, the most delightful; you, for the first time, solemnly and seriously declared your affection, and vowed eternal constancy to me; why-why did you do this? Believe me, I do not reproach you for attending to the advice of Lady Frances, nor do I blame you for connecting yourself with the house of Hargrave : it is right, it is prudent, it is wise, it is dutiful to do so. But why break a heart, which you knew was your own, by singling out a being, who never would have aspired to think of you as a husband in your new position in life, merely to delude, and then deride her. Oh! how-how can this be reconciled with your previous conduct? How, when we met after that, how, only three days since, could you again allude to the declaration you had made, while your beautiful bride was waiting your return from the house of mourning, to be led to the altar.”
Such was the language in which this virtuous lady made a sacrifice of strong inclination to virtue. When young Weybridge, in astonishment at her firmness, proceeded to the rectory to consult with her father, he found Mr. Lovell not only echoing his daughter's sentiments, but adding to the force of her expressions in such a manner, as to make the suitor quite ashamed that he had ever allowed himself to doubt, for a moment, the pure morality of such innocent beings.
On his return to Worcestershire, George had to endure the annoyance of a resumption, on the part of his mother and her parti. zans, of the old warfare, the object of which was to place the lady Katherine on the throne of his affections. But his discovery of the complete freedom from guilt of Emma, his admiration for her and her father, under circumstances the most trying, more than ever placed it out of the power of Lady Frances to succeed in her scheme. In these straits, George took it into his head that his best course on the occasion would be to fly from the danger which he found himself unable to keep off. For this purpose he made an application at the Admiralty for a ship, and his request being
politely complied with, George announced to his almost petrified mother, that he was posted to his Majesty's frigate Destructive, of forty-four guns, and that he should join the ship in a few days.
A great deal of space is devoted to the history of the further proceedings of Lady Frances, of the contrivances of various sorts which she put in practice for the purpose of securing that one measure upon which she appeared to have set her life, the marriage of her son with Lady Katherine. It is impossible to say how successfully she would have conducted her operations, had not an event tnrned up, so extraordinary and unexpected in its nature, as to effect a complete revolution in the feelings and fortunes of the family. A communication was made to George by Mr. Snell, a lawyer, who came down on purpose to impart the momentous intelligence, which was neither more nor less than to declare the cashiering of George from the peerage :
Sit down, my dear mother, said George, and prepare yourself to hear something, which, I am quite sure, even with your felicity of imagination, you are not prepared to guess at.
Answer me, George, said Lady Frances, is it connected with Binfordwith your marriage.
It is connected, said her son, and intimately connected, not only with Binford, but with Severnstoke, and with my marriage most certainly-it is, moreover, connected with my personal character, and with the place and station which I hold in society.
What can you mean?
I mean, my dear mother, said George, that a blow is about to fall upon us-or rather has fallen, in which we ought to rejoice as Christians, but which at once dissipates all the splendour with which we are surrounded-sends the Duchess from our doors--and bears away the blooming Lady Katharine-melts all our plate-dissolves our diamonds-crops all our tress--and strips us of a home!
Why, neither more nor less than this: we are here only on sufferance, and must go hence at the call of mine excellent lawyer, Mr. Snell.
How should he or any body else drive Lord Weybridge from his titles to estates.
Prepare yourself for it, said George, I tell you 'tis a blow—I am not Lord Weybridge.-vol i. pp. 240—242.
Here Mr. Snell stood forth, and informed the lady that the claims of the lastlord's eldest son were established, for that that individual was saved in a miraculous manner from the shipwreck. The poor Lady Frances was nearly paralysed by the shock, when informed that her son had no longer a claim to the estates ; that she must leave the mansion in which she was then residing, as it belonged to another person; and that all the rents and payments received on the part of George Sheringham, falsely styled Lord Weybridge, should be refunded by him. George now took the opportunity of disclosing, by letter, the whole of these strange transactions to Mr. Lovell, the father of Emma : he told him how completely all his grandeur, his dignities, and with them his parasites, had abandoned him. He informed Lovell of his determination to go to sea—a circumstance which, in all probability, would separate him for ever from Binford; he confessed all his faults and unworthy suspicions of Emma; and assured her father that he was conscious of suffering the great punishment which, as a measure of retributive justice, he had so richly deserved: he utterly despaired of ever overcoming the repugnance which Miss Lovell must feel towards him. George then proceeded to take possession of his ship. The Admiralty having heard the strange history just related, made an effort to recall the commission, seeing to what an humble situation the officer was reduced; but the bargain was made, and George showed his resolution to maintain it inviolably, and the Admiralty were forced to leave the commission as it was. They, however, determined on annoying him ; his destination was accordingly changed, and he was ordered to convey a live cargo to a distant part of the world, consisting of the following articles :-One governor, his lady, two daughters, one son (an aid de camp), another son (his secretary), three horses, two cows, four housemaids, a butler, and two footmen ; one hundred and thirty-eight packages of all sorts, three pointers, and one Newfoundland dog!
Before his departure for India, which was the destination of the cargo above enumerated, George received a letter from Lovell, which justified him in concluding that both father and daughter began to relent, and that a day would come when something which he scarcely dared to name, might by possibility take place. He proceeded on the voyage, and suffered, when he landed at Calcutta, from a severe fever, brought on by his low nervous state, and the climate. The physicians agreed that nothing was left for George but to return to England; he complied with these directions; and, on reaching his native land, found that all his afflictions were now to end, and even the memory of them to merge in the abundance of that happiness which he so long desired. He was cheered, in the first place, with the return of the friendship of Mr. Lovell, and the removal of all obstacles to his union with Emma; he heard, with feelings of delight, that Mrs. Harbottle had recently died, leaving to Emma the extensive property which her husband had, in a moment of deep compunction, bequeathed to her; whilst, on the other hand, the agreeable news was conveyed to him, that the sum in which he was indebted to the existing Lord Weybridge, had been wholly paid off by the generosity of the wretched Harbottle, in token of the friendship which she entertained for George. In short, George and Emma buried all their sufferings in oblivion; and, as if Providence intended to mark their virtuous union by a proof of its favour, the