Puslapio vaizdai

upon despair; and to hear him in grateful, refpectful, but decifive terms, reject the radiant, the alluring prize. Sir William ftood motionless with astonishment to see the "cloud-capt tower" he had been fo many years erecting prove in one moment to be only "the baselefs fabric of a vifion;" and, as I conceive my readers must be equally planetftruck, I cannot help afking them, in a tone of exultation, whether I have not attained the grand climax of improbability? whether the legends of modern romance, modern poetry, or the modern drama, can produce a fituation fo novel and striking?

That a prudent, diffident young man, who, without having abfolutely laid a plan to make his fortune, was anxiously folicitous to be relieved from a dependance which he feverely felt; that fuch a one, I fay, without any preconcerted

defign upon Lady Bridget Autumn's eftate, or the jointure of the duchefs dowager of Witherington, should refuse the young, lovely, fafcinating Geraldine, when offered to him by her father, with the immediate poffeffion of three thoufand a year, and a certain affurance of an additional five thousand per annum on his death.-I think I have been too diffident in only challenging my contemporaries in the circle of the Belles Lettres to rival me in the non-natural. I might also call upon the philofophers of the new school, and ask the illustrious fophifts if they can form a paradox more perfectly incomprehenfible.

But, notwithstanding my paffionate love of fame compels me to adopt the most fashionable, that is, the certain method of obtaining it, I cannot quite conquer the common foible of old people, that of looking back to the

times I have seen, and thinking them fomewhat better than the prefent days. Indeed, now and then I am rude enough to conjecture that the modern Parnaffus is feated very near that "windy fea of land," which Milton names the Limbo of Vanity, the refidence of

"All th' unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand "Abortive, montrous, or unkindly mix'd."

Regretting that fimple elegance and rational amusement fhould be facrificed to high founding phrafes and inconceivable wonders, fignifying nothing, I fometimes invoke the fhades of Addifon, Goldfmith, and Fielding; and, after having contemplated the forms of nature or morality which their antiquated pages prefent, I in vain endeavour to be amufed with ghofts and dungeons, incident without character, or character without effect. These last fentences


recal my wandering pen, by suggesting to me that criticifm may be as jejune and irrelative as the novel or poem which it condemns; and that the fatirift of the tafte and morals of others must from prudence avoid exhibiting any thing reprehenûble in her own.

Taught by that "warning voice" fhun the rock of digreffion, I muft inform my readers, that the abfurdity of my plan may be rather apparent than real. Henry Powerscourt might have fome private reasons for his extraordinary conduct. He might have a pre-engagement; and no lover under twenty would hefitate to offer a few annual thousands on the shrine of Cupid. He might be enamoured of academic fhades, and think, like Shakespeare's Henry VI.

"Marriage! alas, my years are yet too young,
"And fitter is my study and my books :"


Or the vivacity of Geraldine might intimidate him às much as Beatrice's did Benedict, and induce him to offer "to

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go on an embaffy to Prefter John, or

"the Antipodes, rather than encounter "that lady's tongue."-What his real reasons were muft not now be developed; but, knowing the pain of curiofity, I cannot help owning, notwithstanding my usual reserve, that I know them, and that they shall be explained in their proper place.

The reader must remember that I have left fir William in rather an awkward fituation. Some little hope that there might be a mutual misunderstanding induced him to repeat the offer; and, in a tone that indicated not only furprize but difpleasure, he afked Henry if this was what he meant to refufe? The embarraffed youth gave a hefitating "Yes,"


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