« PreviousContinue »
and Swift were justly punished for 6 Attribute my success," said Lady the restless ambition of their early Leith, with an impatient tone, and a lives, by the neglect and misfortunes movement of the head which indicated which fell upon the latter part. Such hauteur, " to its proper cause, my abilmen have done no good to human so- ities. You remember the many offers ciety. They neither made themselves 1 rejected before I could be moved to nor others happy. More moderate marry. Sir James Leith was not the views would have secured them from youngest, nor, the handsomest, nor the vexation and disappointment. They most beloved of my admirers, but he might have lived happy and unknown; was the richest, and the most inclined the admired and beloved friends of a to obedience and indulgence. I marsmall domestic circle, who might have tied him because a thought that such a felt the benevolence of their hearts, marriage would be productive of the and lived unconscious of the extent of greatest share of happiness that matritheir abilities."
mony is capable of. My plans have "I perceive, brother,” rejoined La. been crowned with success; and nody Leith, “ that your prejudices are thing has been wanting to my felicity inveterate. Your moderation and phi- but children. I am anxious that your losophy may be well suited to your daughters should have the benefit of age, and if they merely concerned my instruction and experience, I see yourself, might pass without reprehen- clearly that your moderation and consion. But you have two daughters, fined circumstances will prevent them whom it behoves you to place in the from enjoying those opportunities of world to the best possible advantage. forming acquaintance with people of This cannot be done without exertion rank, or of being brought forward unon your part to inspire their minds der such circumstances, and at such with ambitious views. They have al- times as may enable them to marry adready the germ of future beauty, and vantageously. I therefore wish you to the promise of minds capable of great confide the care of their education to accomplishment and refinement. This me. The ample fortune of Sir James beauty, however, must be polished can well provide them with those exand fashioned according to certain ternal accomplishments and attracprinciples adopted in elegant society, tions, which are all in all in the preand their minds must be taught to des sent state of society; and a few thourive the greatest advantages from their sands spared from his immense fornatural endowments. Nature must be tune will not be felt as a loss by his controlled, subdued, if possible, extin- nephew, whom he has constituted his guished; and art superir all persons in the world, brother, you “I cannot,” said Mr. Rusby,“ part appear to me to be the least fitted to with both my children. That were too instruct a young girl in what manner great a sacrifice to make. You shall she should lay out her capital of beauty have one—the other shall remain with and accomplishment to the best ad- me." vantage.”
“ Well! well !” said Lady Leith, "I am convinced of the truth of “I will not endeavonr to prevail on your observation,” said Mr. Rusby, you to yield up both your children " and shall be happy to receive in- notwithstanding I am conscious that struction from one who has given it would be greatly to the advantage of such practical illustration of the prin- both. I have felt too severely the ciples she professes. No person has want of children myself, to be insensibeen more successful in marriage than ble to that affection which dreads the yourself a husbaud obedient to your entire loss of them.” wishes, bis splendid fortune at your This conversation between Lady command, and the possession of every Leith and her brother, Mr. Rusby, comfort and luxury, prove you to have took place during a short visit which been extremely fortunate, or extremely she made at Harlton Parsonage, the skilful in forming your marriage." residence of the worthy vicar. The
aced. Of heir."
result of this conversation was an un- directing those ambitious and selfish derstanding that Lady Leith should propensities which are inherent in huadopt the eldest daughter of Mr. Rus- man nature. She taught her to set a by, consider ber as her own, and have high value on her personal appearance the entire management of her educa- and mental acquirements; to consider tion. It happened fortunately that the an advantageous marriage as the great favourite daughter of Mr. Rusby was end of ber exertions, and to endeavour the least acceptable to Lady Leith. to surmount all those feelings of natuShe beheld something in the charac- ral and food affection, which lead ter of Monimia, the eldest, which flat- astray so many young ladies to the tered her hopes of seeing her one great detriment of their interest.
Sbe day aspire to distinction, by means of would occasionally say to her, “ Be an illustrious marriage and Mr. prudent in forming attachments. EveRusby thought he discovered in Clara, ry happiness in life depends upon a the youngest, & sweetness of disposi- successful marriage. Resist the aption and a nobleness of heart which proach of sentiment, and direct your promised happiness to his declining mind solely to the attainment of an years. These expectations probably advantageous settlement.” These preoriginated in the predilection they cepts she enforced by examples drawn preferred. We often imagine in those from life and held up to the observawe love, the qualities, which we wish tion of her niece, such matches among
her acquaintances as presented to her Lady Leith was a being who thought eyes instances of happiness attained that the happiness and misery of indi- through a prudent and careful attention viduals, their success and misfortunes, to interest; or of misfortune, resulting resulted entirely from their education. from thoughtless and precipitate affecBy this term we do not mean that tion. The young lady being of a school-instruction, which generally goes character wary and prudent, received under the denomination of education, the admonitions of her aunt with atbut that more enlarged and useful in- tention. Her personal charms and acformation by which persons are in- complishments soon attracted the assistructed to make the best use of their duities of some young suitors, but as natural and acquired advantages, so as their rank and fortune in life were into advance in life towards wealth or ferior to her expectations, she had the rank. She was berself an illustration prudence to resist their offers, and reof the principles and doctrines she serve herself for a more exalted destiny, professed; while her brother, Mr. In proportion as she advanced in age, Rusby, was an example, in her opin- she grew inore obsținate in her adherion, of an ill-directed and erroneous ence to her aspiring intentions, and her education. This gentleman and her- beauty was already on the decline, self were the only children of a respec- and the admiration of her sụitors wax. table tradesman, wbo thought the best ing cold and negligent, when she hapmethod of promoting their interest in pened to meet at Bath, the wealthy life, was to bestow on them a good Sir James Leith. He was education. To this end, he sent them bachelor whose youth had been passed both to eminent schools, were they in industrious exertion; an exact and
1 went through the usual routine of scho- regular attention to business, combined lastic instruction, with credit and ap- with good fortune, had made him rich: probation. bout the age of eighteen, riches procured bim rank and honours, Miss Rusby was committed to the care and he had attained the dignity of Baand superintendence of an aunt, from ronet, and was a member of the House whom she received much of that useful of Commons. Miss Rusby was reknowledge which had conducted her presented to him, as a lady whose man80 favourably to prosperity. The ners and accomplishments would do aunt observing in Miss Rusby, a cer- honour to a splendid establishment. tain portion of beauty and address, be- Sir James Leith had felt a twinge of stowed great pains in cultivating and the gout: Miss Rusby had seen the
Foses of her cheeks give way to an in- the most important consideration, and cipient sallowness of complexion, he brought the full powers of a clear which she felt to be hostile to love. understanding to bear on that subject. Sir James foresaw that he should soon The young creatures were already conwant a nurse: Miss Rusby foresaw siderably advanced in knowledge, and that she should soon want lovers. He had attained, the one to twelve, the proposed, and she instantly accepted. other to eleven years of age, when La
The conduct of Mr. Rusby had dy Leith iu her visit to Harlton Parbeen of a different description. He sonage, proposed to relieve her brother had no
left college and was from all farther solicitude about the possessed of a small living purchased the welfare of his daughters, by taking for him by his father, than he followed upon herself the expense and care of the propensities of his heart, and fell their education. If Mr. Rusby had in love with a beautiful girl, whose been rich he would have refused all inwhole fortune consisted in the elegance terference on the part of Lady Leith and simplicity of her character, great in the education of his daughters, for sweetness of disposition, and a heart he thought the principles of that lady which was rich beyond estimation in might be injurious to the simplicity of every mild and affectionate feeling. character which he so much admired, Their attachment was soon followed and which he was anxious to preserve. by marriage; and as their means He did not suppose her capable of were limited, they were constrained instilling into their minds 'opinions or not less by necessity than by choice, feelings which might be detrimental to to cultivate all their sweet and simple their virtue, but he feared that her pleasures in a domestic country life; instruction might inspire them with too which persons'of' wealth are apt to dis- exalted ideas of their own importance, regard. Content with the society of an inordinate love of wealth, and ameach other, and those recreations which bitious intentions, which through disare derived from books and rational appointment might end in misery. amusements, they lived unmindful of In a short time after the arrangethe world, its bustle and its passions. ment had been made for Monimia to
Their life was love, and the history of reside with Lady Leith, they both their days a series of sweet and recip- took leave of Mr. Rusby, and returned rocal instances of a profound and un- forthwith to London. Her father felt interrupted attachment. The union severely the loss of his child. Her which made them happy, was not per- adoption by his sister appeared to him manent, for after a few years of per- little short of an entire separation. On fect felicity, Mrs. Rusby was separat- the other hand, the young girl who had ed from her husband by an untimely never before quitted home, was pleased death, leaving him the two daughters with the prospect of the new scenes whom we have mentioned above. The she was about to see. In quitting her loss of a wife in whom all his felicity father and sister she felt a momentary was centred, annihilated for a time the anguish, which was soon dissipated by happiness and exertion of Mr. Rusby, the variety of novel objects which she and a year elapsed before he recovered beheld on their journey towards Lonthat composure of heart and peace of don. On their arrival in town, the mind which enabled him to devote his carriage proceeded immediately to Sir attention to domestic concerns, the du- James Leith's mansion in Portman ties of his profession, and the welfare of Square. Monimia accustoined from his children. In proportion as his her infancy to the humble dwelling of grief settled into a milder récollection of her father, and never having seen any his lost wife, he began to fix his mind house more splendidly furnished, nor on the characters of his children, and rooms of larger dimension than those to exert himself by administering to which she had been accustomed to see their instruction and happiness. Their at Halton Parsonage, beheld with education became a matter to him of great astonishment the superb mansion
55 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.
of her uncle. A feeling of contempt, prosperity, when compared to the (the first emotion of the kind which inore humble circumstances of the had ever entered her young heart,) greater part of the parishioners of arose from the comparison which she Halton,) became as she advanced in made between the different situations years a source of shame and repugof her poor and humble father, and the nance. She heard at the wealthy table proud and wealthy Sir James Leith. of Sir James so much in praise of the
Lady Leith in a short time began riches of fortunate individuals, and so her course of experimental instruction few comments upon virtue and abilion the heart and mind of the young ties, that she gradually imbibed that Moniinia. She sought out a govern- opinion so prevalent in the mercantile ess whose conduct would be a pattern world, that wealth is the criterion of from whence her niece might learn excellence. Whenever a desire to see to dress herself. After considerable his daughter called Mr. Rusby up to search, she discovered in a young London, Monimia suffered a great deal French woman those artificial man- of uneasiness and shame at the thought ners, and that happy tact of character, of being obliged to appear in public which accommodate themselves with with him: and upon one occasion her facility to the opinions and habits of feelings were wrought up to a high those persons whom it is their interest state of torture, when she was asked to serve. She had sufficient know. by an intimate friend, 6 who those ledge to instruct in the rudiments of queer people were, that sat in Sir languages, geography, and music, but James's box at the Opera.” She dexa perfect mistress in the art of dissimu- terously escaped the shame which this lation. She had a language, a cour- question might have brought upon her, tesy, a smile, for every distinct variety by saying that she understood they of the human species. Her distance were people of immense estates in and courtly pride towards the servants Lancashire, but who had never been were not less remarkable than her ex- in London before.” She was at one treme obsequiousness and bumble def- time exceedingly disconcerted by the erence to Lady Leith, and she gained following question from a young girl. almost immediately after her introduc- “Pray, Miss Rusby, have you any retion into the house, the respect of the lations except Sir James and Lady prudent and circumspect Sir James, Leith, for I never hear you mention the deference and assiduous notice of them ?” This question she parried, that gentleman's nephew, the presump- by turning her head away and covertive heir of his property, and the fonding her face with her hand, as if some attachment of Monimia.
agonizing recollections had been called Under the auspices and tuition of up, and her young friend supposing two such able performers as were Lady that she was agitated by the rememLeith and Mademoiselle Artifice, the brance of the loss of her relatives young Monimia made regular advan- dropt the subject and never again reces towards refinement. By degrees sumed it. It has generally been found they pruned away those exuberant by those who have elevated their pushoots of infantile feeling which are pils to ambitious views, that their plans thought by the cultivators of the hu- bave ran a greater risk of beiog counman mind to weaken the parent stem. teracted by the passion of love than by Step by step she was taught to speak, any other feeling, and Lady Leith, smile, walk, sit, rise, dress, eat, only conscious how difficult it is to disposwith the design of captivating atten- sess that sentiment when it has once tion by those acts, and she became gained an entrance, made it her chief mannered even to the putting on of a endeavour to guard against its apglove, or the position and arrangement proach. Her caution was so particuof her fingers. The poverty of her lar, that having once observed her father, (which in her infancy, and niece blush when the name of a young while she lived at home, showed like man, who was very handsome but very poor, was mentioned, she immediately young people. It would have been so took measures to prevent him from if the manæuvring character of Lady visiting again at the house.
Leith would have allowed the natural Among the numerous suitors which thirst of young affection to imbibe a the beauty of Monimia Rusby sum- full draught of pleasure. She was, moned about her person was a young however, continually watching and man, the only heir of a wealthy stock- checking every inclination to impasjobber, whose riches were estimated at sioned love. 66 Now is the time," she a million.
This was the very union would say to her niece, “ to assume which Lady Leith was courting for her that empire over the mind of your inniece, and she gave every encourage- tended husband, which may render ment to his visits. Monimia had been you happy by attaining the superiority. enjoined, under pain of the endless If you once give way to you affection, displeasure of Lady Leith, never 10 you are lost; you become bis slave, conceal from her, even for a moment, and cease to rule. We soon despise any offers she might receive, and to re- those who love us with thoughtless atfer every suitor to her. As
tachnient. Let him suppose that you therefore, as the youth declared his love him, but never be thoroughly conpassion, she replied, with a coolness vinced of it. Be polite, various, playwhich somewhat astonished him, that ful, engaging, reluctant, but avoid that she must refer him to Lady Leith, by unworthy stain on a woman's character, whose wishes she always regulated her a fond and doating attachment.” By affections. The young man imme- such opinions and repeated enforcediately requested an audience of her ment of them, she wrought the mind of ladyship, by whom he was received her niece to a wary and politic method with great politeness, and listened to of loving. Her attachment was conwith attention. She told him she saw ditional, which like her stays she could no great objection to the match, but put on at pleasure, and tighten and matters of that nature must be cau- loosen about her heart. Every artiously managed ; that young people rangement was now made for the marwere but bad judges of the arrange- riage, the day was fixed, the weddingments necessary to make them happy, suits and à carriage purchased, a and that every proceeding must be house furnished, when one of those unregulated by the discretion of his own expected events, which strike our senfather and Sir James. She then ex- ses like a clap of thunder, put a sudacted a promise from him never to den stop to the business. The great mention his affection again to Mo- stock-jobber failed. Immense specunimia until he received permission lations in foreign bonds, which fell from herself to consider and address fifty per cent. in value in the course of her as his future bride. The old
a month, were the cause of his ruin. ple soon met, and consulted about the Various were the reports upon the Exintended marriage. An union with change about the extent of his speculathe family of Sir James flattered the tions and losses; some authorities deambition of the stock jobber, and his clared him to be ruined entirely, while interest was
not forgotten when he others made a more moderate estimate agreed to settle upon his son one hun- of his misfortunes, and supposed that dred and fifty thousand pounds. Sir something would be left after the payJames was
a potent and a popular ment of all demands. Sir James man, whose great connexions and ex- Leith received no injury from the tensive commercial intercourse might failure of the great stock-jobber. He enable him to point out some lucrative was on the eve of entering, in conjunchits. Monimia was to have a portion tion with him, upon some large specuof ten thousand pounds, with a verballations in hops, which the sudden mispromise of the same sum at the death fortune stopped. of Sir James.
As soon as Lady Leith was made One would suppose that all was joy acquainted with the failure she comapd pleasure within the bosoms of the municated the circumstance to Mo