Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

would restrict it: true good-breeding is the sis- substitution of this phantom too often destroys ter of philanthropy, with feelings perhaps not —it is Conscience--whose voice, were it not so serious or tender, but equally inspired by a stifled, (sometimes by this very false and spufineness of soul, and open to the impressions of rious Honour,) would lead directly to that lisocial affection.

beral construction of the rules of morality which “As politeness is the rule of the world's man- is here contended for. Let my children never ners, so has it erected Honour the standard of suffer this monitor to speak unheeded, nor drown its morality ; but its dictates too frequently de- its whispers, amidst the din of pleasure, or the part from wisdom with respect to ourselves, bustle of life. Consider it as the representative from justice and humanity with respect to others. of that Power who spake the soul into being, Genuine honour is undoubtedly the offspring of and in whose disposal existence is! To listen, both ; but there has arisen a counterfeit, who, therefore, to his unwritten law, which he proas he is more boastful and showy, has more at- mulgates by its voice, has every sanction which tracted the notice of gaiety and grandeur. Ge- his authority can give. It were enough to say nerosity and courage are the virtues he boasts that we are mortal :—but the argument is irreof possessing ; but his generosity is a ool, and sistible, when we remember our immortality." his courage a murderer.

“ The punctilios, indeed, on which he depends, for his own peace, and the peace of so

CHAP. VII. ciety, are so ridiculous in the eye of reason, that it is not a little surprising, how so many mil- Introducing a new and capital Character. lions of reasonable beings should have sanctified them with their mutual consent and acquies- It was thus the good man instructed his cence ; that they should have agreed to surround children. the seats of friendship, and the table of festivi- But, behold! the enemy came in the night, ty, with so many thorns of inquietude, and and sowed tares ! snares of destruction.

Such an enemy had the harmless family of “ You will probably hear, my son, very fre- which Annesly was the head. It is ever to be quent applause bestowed on men of nice and regretted, that mischief is seldom so weak but jealous honour, who suffer not the smallest af- that worth may be stung by it; in the present front to pass unquestioned, or unrevenged; but instance, however, it was supported by talents do not imagine that the character which is most misapplied, and ingenuity perverted. sacredly guarded is always the most unsullied Sir Thomas Sindall enjoyed an estate of in reality, nor allow yourself to envy a repu- 50001. a-year in Annesly's parish. His father tation for that sort of valour which supports left him, when but a child, possessed of an it. Think how uneasily that man must pass estate to the amount we have just mentioned, his time, who sits like a spider in the midst and of a very large sum of money besides, which of his feeling web, ready to catch the minutest his economy had saved him from its produce. occasion for quarrel and resentment. There is His mother, though a very good woman, was a often more real pusillanimity in the mind that very bad parent; she loved her son, as too many starts into opposition where none is necessary, mothers do, with that instinctive affection which than in him who overlooks the wanderings of nature has bestowed on the lowest rank of creasome unguarded act or expression, as not of tures. She loved him as her son, though he inconsequence enough to challenge indignation or herited none of her virtues ; and, because she revenge. I am aware, that the young and high- happened to have no other child, she reared this spirited will say, that men can only judge of in such a manner, as was most likely to prevent actions, and that they will hold as cowardice, the comfort he might have afforded herself, and the blindness I would recommend to affront or the usefulness of which he might have been to provocation ; but there is a steady coolness and society. In short, he did what he liked, at first, possession of one's self, which this principle will because his spirit should not be confined too commonly bestow, equally remote from the early; and afterwards he did what he liked, weakness of fear, and the discomposure of an- because it was past being confined at all. ger, which gives to its possessor a station that But his temper was not altogether of that seldom fails of commanding respect, even from fiery kind, which some young men, so circumthe ferocious votaries of sanguinary Honour. stanced, and so educated, are possessed of.

“But some principle is required to draw a There was a degree of prudence, which grew line of action, above the mere precepts of moral up with him from a boy, that tempered the salequity,

lies of passion, to make its object more sure in

the acquisition. When at school, he was al• Beyond the fixt and settled rules ;'

ways the conductor of mischief, though he did

not often participate in its execution; and his and for this purpose is instituted the motive of carriage to his master was such, that he was a Honour :-there is another at hand, which the favourite without any abilities as a scholar, and acquired a character for regularity, while his friends plumed themselves upon this intelliassociates were daily flogged for transgressions, gence; and, according to their use of the phrase, which he had guided in their progress, and en- began to hope, that, after sowing his wild oats, joyed the fruits of in their completion. There Sir Thomas would turn out A Man of the World. sometimes arose suspicions of the reality; but even those who discovered them mingled a certain degree of praise with their censure, and

CHAP. VIII. prophesied, that he would be A Mun of the World.

The footing on which he stood with Annesly and As he advanced in life, he fashioned his be

his Family haviour to the different humours of the gentlemen in the neighbourhood : he hunted with Though such a man as we have described the fox-hunters through the day, and drank might be reckoned a valuable acquaintance by with them in the evening. With these he di- many, he was otherwise reckoned by Annesly : verted himself at the expence of the sober prigs, he had heard enough (though he had heard but as he termed them, who looked after the im- part) of his character, to consider him as a danprovement of their estates when it was fair, and gerous neighbour; but it was impossible to avoid read a book within doors when it rained, and sometimes seeing him, from whose father he had to-morrow he talked on farming with this lat- got the living which he now occupied. There ter class, and ridiculed the hunting phrases, is no tax so heavy on a little man, as an acquaintand boisterous mirth of his yesterday's com- ance with a great one. Annesly had found this panions. They were well pleased to laugh at in the lifetime of Sir William Sindall. He was one another, while he laughed in his sleeve at one of those whom the general voice pronounces both. This was sometimes discovered, and to be a good sort of man, under wbich denomipeople were going to be angry—but somebody nation I never look for much sense, or much desaid in excuse, that Sindall was A Man of the licacy. In fact, the Baronet possessed but little World.

of either; he lived hospitably for his own sake, While the Oxford terms lasted, (to which as well as that of his guests, because he liked a place he had gone in the course of modern edu- good dinner and a bottle of wine after it; and cation,) there were frequent reports in the in one part of hospitality he excelled, wbich was, country of the dissipated life he led : it was the faculty of making every body drunk, that even said, that he had disappeared from college had not uncommon fortitude to withstand his for six weeks together, during which time he attacks. Annesly's cloth protected him from was suspected of having taken a trip to Lon- this last inconvenience; but it often drew from don with another man's wife: this was only Sir William a set of jests, which his memory mentioned in a whisper; it was loudly denied; had enabled him to retain, and had passed people doubted at first, and shortly forgot it. through the heirs of his family, like their estate, Some little extravagancies they said he might down from the days of that monarch of facehave been guilty of. It was impossible for a tious memory, Charles the Second. man of two-and-twenty to seclude himself al- Though to a man of Annesly's delicacy all together from company; and you could not this could not but be highly disagreeable, yet look for the temperance of a hermit in a young gratitude made him Sir William's guest often baronet of 50001. a-year. It is indispensable enough to shew that he had not forgot that atfor such a man to come forth into life a little; tention which his past favours demanded; and with 5000l. a-year, one must be A Man of the Sir William recollected them from another moWorld.

tive; to wit, that they gave a sanction to those His first tutor, whose learning was as exten- liberties he sometimes used with him who had sive as his manners were pure, left him in dis- received them. This might have been held sufgust: sober people wondered at this ; but he ficient to have cancelled the obligation ; but was soon provided with another, with whom he Annesly was not wont to be directed by the had got acquainted at Oxford; one whom every easiest rules of virtue ; the impression still rebody declared to be much fitter for the tuition mained, and it even descended to the son after of young Sindall; being, like his pupil, A Man the death of the father. of the World.

Sindall, therefore, was a frequent guest at his But though his extravagance in squandering house ; and though it might have been imagimoney, under the tuition of this gentleman, ned, that the dissipated mind of a young man of was frequently complained of, yet it was found his fortune would have found but little delight that he was not altogether thoughtless of its ac- in Annesly's humble shed, yet he seemed to enquisition. Upon the sale of an estate in his joy its simplicity with the highest relish. He neighbourhood, it was discovered that a very possessed indeed that pliancy of disposition, that advantageous mortgage, which had stood in the could wonderfully accommodate himself to the name of another, had been really transacted for humour of every one around him; and he so the benefit of young Sindall. His prudent managed matters in his visits to Annesly, that

this last began to imagine the reports he had he did not fail to set forth, in the strongest manheard concerning him, to be either entirely false, ner, the obligations he had to Sir Thomas. His or at least aggravated much beyond truth. father, whom years had taught wisdom, but

From what motive soever Sindall began these whose warmth of gratitude they had not dimi. visits, he soon discovered a very strong induce- nished, felt the favour as acutely as his son; ment to continue them. Harriet Annesly was nor did the foresight of meaner souls arise in now arrived at the size, if not the age, of wo- his breast to abate its acknowledgment. manhood; and possessed an uncommon degree The hopes which he had formed of his Billy of beauty and elegance of form. In her face, were not disappointed. He very soon distinjoined to the most perfect symmetry of features, guished himself in the university for learning was a melting expression, suited to that sensi- and genius; and in the correspondence of his bility of soul with which we have mentioned kinsman were recited daily instances of the noher to be endowed. In her person, rather above tice which his parts attracted. But his praise the common size, she exhibited a degree of ease was cold in comparison with Sindall's; he wrote and gracefulness which nature alone had given, to Annesly of his young friend's acquirement and art was not allowed to diminish. Upon such and abilities, in a strain of enthusiastic encoa woman Sindall could not look with indiffer- mium ; and seerred to speak the language of his ence; and, according to his principles of liber- own enjoyment, at the applause of others, which tinism, he had marked her as a prey, which his he repeated. It was on this side that Annesly's situation gave him opportunities of pursuing, soul was accessible ; for on this side lay that and which one day he could not fail to possess. pride which is the weakness of all. On this side

In the course of his acquaintance, he began did Sindall overcome it. to discover, that the softness of her soul was From those very qualities also which he apdistant from simplicity, and that much art would plauded in the son, he derived the temptation be necessary to overcome a virtue, which the with which he meant to seduce him ; for such hand of a parent had carefully fortified. He as- was the plan of exquisite mischief he had formsumed, therefore, the semblance of those tender ed; besides the common desire of depravity to feelings, which were most likely to gain the make proselytes from innocence, he considered esteem of the daughter, while he talked with the virtue of the brother as that structure, on that appearance of candour and principle, which the ruin of which he was to accomplish the conhe thought necessary to procure him the confi- quest of the sister's. He introduced him theredence of the father. He would frequently con- fure into the company of some of the most artful fess, with a sigh, that his youth had been some of his own associates, who loudly echoed the times unwarily drawn into error; then grasp praises he lavished on his friend, and shewed, Annesly's hand, and, looking earnestly in his or pretended to shew, that value for his acface, beg him to strengthen, by his counsel, the quaintance, which was the strongest recomgood resolutions which, he thanked heaven, he mendation of their own. The diffidence which had been enabled to make. Upon the whole, he Annesly's youth and inexperience had at first continued to gain such a degree of estimation laid upon his mind, they removed by the enwith the family, that the young folks spoke of couragement which their approbation of his opihis seeming good qualities with pleasure, and nions bestowed ; and he found himself indebttheir father mentioned his supposed foibles with ed to them both for an ease of delivering his regret.

sentiments, and the reputation which their suffrages conferred upon him.

For all this, however, they expected a return; CHAP. IX.

and Annesly had not fortitude to deny it-an

indulgence for some trivial irregularities, which Young Annesly goes to Oxford— The Friendship they now and then permitted to appear in their of Sindall-Its Consequences.

conversation. At first their new acquaintance took

no notice of them at all ; he found that he could Uron its being determined that young An- not approve, and it would have hurt him to nesly should go to Oxford, Sir Thomas shewed condemn. By degrees he began to allow them him remarkable kindness and attention. He his laugh, though his soul was little at ease unconducted him thither in his own carriage; and der the gaiety which his features assumed-once as his kinsman, to whose charge he was com- or twice when the majority against him appearmitted, happened accidentally to be for some ed to be small, he ventured to argue, though time unable to assign him an apartment in his with a caution of giving offence, against some of house, Sindall quitted his own lodging to ac- the sentiments he heard. Upon these occasions commodate him. To a young man newly launch- Sindall artfully joined him in the argument; ed into life, removed from the only society he but they were always overcome. He had to deal. had ever known, to another composed of stran- with men who were skilled, by a mere act of the gers, such assiduity of notice could not but be memory, in all the sophisms which voluptuaries highly pleasing ; and in his letters to his father, have framed to justify the unbounded pursuit of pleasure; and those who had not learning to discover to him the passion he had conceived for argue, had assurance to laugh. Yet Annesly's his sister. The occasion, however, on which he conviction was not changed; but the edge of his discovered it, was such a one as he imagined abhorrence to vice was blunted; and though his gave him some title to be listened to. virtue kept her post, she found herself galled in Annesly had an allowance settled on him by maintaining it.

his father, rather, in truth, above what his cirIt was not till some time after, that they ven- cumstances might warrant with propriety; but tured to solicit his participation of their plea- as the feelings of the good man's heart were, in sures; and it was not till after many solicita- every virtuous purpose, somewhat beyond the tions that his innocence was overcome. But the limitations of his fortune, he inclined rather to progress of their victories was rapid after his pinch himself, than to stop any channel through first defeat. And he shortly attained the station which advantage might flow to his son; and of experienced vice, and began to assume a su- meant his education and his manners to be in periority from the undauntedness with which he every respect liberal and accomplished. practised it.

But this allowance ill sufficed to gratify the But it was necessary, the while, to deceive that extravagance which his late connexion had relation under whose inspection his failer had taught him : he began very soon to know : placed him; in truth, it was no very hard matter want which he had never hitherto experienced. to deceive him. He was a man of that abstracce At first, this not only limited his pleasures, but ed disposition, that is seldom conversant with began to check the desire of them, and in some anything around it. Simplicity of manners was, measure served to awaken that sense of contriin him, the effect of an apathy in his constitu- tion, which their rotation had before overcome. tion, (increased by constant study,) that was But Sindall took care that he should not be thus proof against all violence of passion or desire; left to reflection; and as soon as he guessed the and he thought, if he thought of the matter at cause, prevented its continuance by an immediall, that all men were like himself, whose indo- ate supply, offered, and indeed urged, with all lence could never be overcome by the pleasure the open warmth of disinterested friendship of pursuit, or the joys of attainment. Besides From being accustomed to receive, Anuesly at all this, Mr Lumley, that tutor of Sindall's last overcame the shame of asking, and applied whom we have formerly mentioned, was a man repeatedly for sums, under the denomination of the best calculated in the world for lulling his loans, for the payment of which he could only. suspicions asleep, if his nature had ever allowed draw upon contingency. His necessities were them to arise. This man, whose parts were of the more frequent, as, amongst other arts of that pliable kind that easily acquire a superficial pleasure which he had lately acquired, that of knowledge of every thing, possessed the talent gaming had not been omitted. of hypocrisy as deeply as the desire of pleasure ; Having one night lost a sum considerably and while in reality he was the most profligate above what he was able to pay, to a member of of men, he had that command of passion which their society with whom he was in no degree of never suffered it to intrude where he could wish intimacy, he gave him his note payable the next it concealed; he preserved, in the opinion of Mr morning, (for this was the regulated limitation Jephson, the gravity of a studious and contem- of their credit,) though he knew that to-morplative character, which was so congenial to his row would find him as poor as to-night. On own: and he would often rise from a metaphy- these particular occasions, when his hours would sical discussion with the old gentleman, leaving have been so highly irregular, that they could him in admiration of the depth of his reading, not escape the censure of Mr Jephson, or his and the acuteness of his parts, to join the debauch family, he used to pretend, that, for the sake of of Sindall and his dissolute companions. disentangling some point of study with Sindall

By his assistance, therefore, Annesly's dissi- and his tutor, he had passed the night with them pation was effectually screened from the notice at their lodgings ; and what small portion of it of his kinsman; Jephson was even prevailed was allowed for sleep he did actually spend

there. on, by false suggestions, to write to the country After this loss, therefore, he accompanied Sincontinued encomiums on his sobriety and appli- dall home, and could not, it may well be supcation to stuly; and the father, who was happy posed, conceal from him the chagrin it occasion, in believing him, inquired no farther.

ed. His friend, as usual, advanced him money for discharging the debt. Annesly, who never

had had occasion to borrow so much from him beСНАР. Х.

fore, expressed his sorrow at the necessity which

his honour had laid him under, of accepting so A very gross attempt is made on Annesly's

large a sum.

“ Poh !" answered Sindall, “ 'lis Honour.

but a trifle, and what a man must now and then

lose to be thought genteelly of."-"Yes, if his Sindali. having brought the mind of his pro- fortune can afford it," said the other, gloomily. selyte to that conformity of sentiment to which Ay, there's the rub," returned his friend; he had thus laboured to reduce it, ventured to " that fortune should have constituted an inequality where nature made none. llow just is with an affected smile. “ You smile, sir," said the complaint of Jaffier,

Annesly, whose breath was stifled by the swell

ing of his heart. Sindall laughed aloud. “I "Tell me why, good Heaven !

am a wretched hypocrite," said he, “and could Thou mad'st me what I am, with all the spirit, contain myself no er.' -“So you were but Aspiring thoughts, and elegant desires,

in jest, it seems," replied the other, settling his That fill the happiest man?'

features into a dry composure.-"My dear An

nesly,” returned 'he, “had you but seen the That such should be the lot of iny friend, I can countenance this trial of mine gave you, it would regret—thanks to my better stars, I can inore have made a picture worthy of the gallery of than regret it. What is the value of this dross, Florence. I wanted to have a perfect idea of (holding a handful of gold,) but to make the surprise, indignation, struggling friendship, and situation of merit level with its deservings? Yet, swelling honour, and I think I succeeded.But believe me, there are wants which riches cannot I keep you from your rest—Good-night.”— remove, desires which sometimes they cannot And he walked out of the room. satisfy ; even at this moment, your seeming- Annesly had felt too much to be able to rehappy Sindall, in whose lap fortune has poured sign himself speedily to rest: he could not but her blessings, has his cares, my Annesly, has think this joke of his friend rather a serious his inquietudes, which need the hand of friend- one, yet he had seen him sometimes carry this ship to comfort and to sooth.”

species of wit to a very extraordinary length; Annesly, with all the warmth of his nature, but the indelicacy of the present instance was insisted on partaking his uneasiness, that if he not to be easily accounted for—he doubted, becould not alleviate, he might at least condole with lieved, was angry, and pacified by turns; the his distress.

remembrance of his favours arose ; they arose at Sindall embraced him. “I know your friend- first in a form that added to the malignity of the ship,” said he, “ and I will put it to the proof. offence; then the series in which they had been You have a sister, the lovely, the adorable Har- bestowed, seemed to plead on the other side. riet; she has robbed me of that peace which the At last, when worn by the fighting of contrary smile of fortune cannot restore, as her frown has emotions, he looked forward to the consequenbeen unable to take away! Did you know the ces of a rupture with Sindall; the pleasures of burning of this bosom !—but I speak unthink- that society of which he was the leader, the ha. ingly what, perhaps, my delicacy should not bitual tie which it had got on Annesly's soul have whispered, even in the ear of friendship. prevailed; for he had by this time lost that saPardon me—the ardour of a love like mine may tisfaction which was wont to flow from himself. be forgiven some extravagance.

He shut his mind against the suggestions of any Annesly's eyes sufficiently testified his inward further suspicion, and, with that winking cowsatisfaction at this discovery, but he recollected ardice which many mistake for resolution, was the dignity which his situation required, and resolved to trust him for his friend, whom it replied calmly, “ That he pretended no gui- would have hurt him to consider as an enemy. dance of his sister's inclinations; that his own Sindall, on the other hand, discovered that gratitude for Sir Thomas's favours he had ever the youth was not so entirely at his disposal as loudly declared, and that he knew his sister felt he had imagined him; and that though he was enough on his account to make the introduction proselyte enough to be wicked, he must be led of her brother's friend a more than usually fa- a little farther to be useful. vourable one."

“But my situation," returned Sindall, “ is extremely particular. You have heard my opi

CHAP. XI. nions on the score of love often declared, and, trust me, they are the genuine sentiments of my Annesly gives farther proofs of depravity of Manheart. The trammels of form which the un- nersThe effect it has on his Father, and the feeling custom of the world has thrown upon consequences with regard to his connexion with the freedom of mutual affection, are insupport- Sindall. able to that fineness of soul to which restraint and happiness are terms of opposition. Let my To continue that train of dissipation in which mistress be my mistress still, with all the privi- their pupil had been initiated, was the business leges of a wife, without a wife's indifference, or of Sindall and his associates. Though they cona wife's disquiet_My fortune the property of trived, as we have before mentioned, to escape her and her friends; but that liberty alone re- the immediate notice of Mr Jephson, yet the served, which is the strongest bond of the affec- eyes of others could not be so easily blinded ; tion she should wish to possess from me.” He the behaviour of Annesly began to be talked of looked stedfastly in Annesly's face, which by for its irregularity, and the more so, for the this time began to assume every mark of re- change which it had undergone from that simsentment and indignation. He eyed him askant plicity of manners which he had brought with

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »