Poems & Short Stories: 4,435
Forum Members: 67,986
Forum Posts: 1,216,101
And over 2 million unique readers monthly!
"Samvenson has returned, and I certainly must hear from Harriet,"
exclaimed the sister of Pendennyss, as she stood at a window watching the
return of a servant from the neighboring post-office.
"I am afraid," rejoined the Earl, who was seated by the breakfast table,
waiting the leisure of the lady to give him his cup of tea--"You find
Wales very dull, sister. I sincerely hope both Derwent and Harriet will
not forget their promise of visiting us this month."
The lady slowly took her seat at the table, engrossed in her own
reflections, when the man entered with his budget of news; and having
deposited sundry papers and letters he respectfully withdrew. The Earl
glanced his eyes over the directions of the epistles, and turning to his
servants said, "Answer the bell when called." Three or four liveried
footmen deposited their silver salvers and different implements of
servitude, and the peer and his sister were left to themselves.
"Here is one from the Duke to me, and one for you from his sister," said
the brother; "I propose they be read aloud for our mutual advantage." To
this proposal the lady, whose curiosity to hear the contents of Derwent's
letter greatly exceeded her interest in that of his sister, cheerfully
acquiesced, and her brother first broke the seal of his own epistle, and
read its contents as follow:
"Notwithstanding my promise of seeing you this month in Caernarvonshire,
I remain here yet, my dear Pendennyss, unable to tear myself from the
attractions I have found in this city, although the pleasure of their
contemplation has been purchased at the expense of mortified feelings and
unrequited affections. It is a truth (though possibly difficult to be
believed), that this mercenary age has produced a female disengaged,
young, and by no means very rich, who has refused a jointure of six
thousand a year, with the privilege of walking at a coronation within a
dozen of royalty itself."
Here the accidental falling of a cup from the hands of the fair listener
caused some little interruption to the reading of the brother; but as the
lady, with a good deal of trepidation and many blushes, apologized hastily
for the confusion her awkwardness had made, the Earl continued to read.
"I could almost worship her independence: for I know the wishes of both
her parents were for my success. I confess to you freely, that my vanity
has been a good deal hurt, as I really thought myself agreeable to her.
She certainly listened to my conversation, and admitted my approaches,
with more satisfaction than those of any other of the men around her; and
when I ventured to hint to her this circumstance, as some justification
for my presumption, she frankly acknowledged the truth of my impression,
and, without explaining the reasons for her conduct, deeply regretted the
construction I had been led to place upon the circumstance. Yes, my lord,
I felt it necessary to apologize to Emily Moseley for presuming to aspire
to the honor of possessing so much loveliness and virtue. The accidental
advantages of rank and wealth lose all their importance, when opposed to
her delicacy, ingenuousness, and unaffected principles.
"I have heard it intimated lately, that George Denbigh was in some way or
other instrumental in saving her life once; and that to her gratitude, and
to my resemblance to the colonel, am I indebted to a consideration with
Miss Moseley, which, although it has been the means of buoying me up with
false hopes, I can never regret, from the pleasure her society has
afforded me. I have remarked, on my mentioning his name to her, that she
showed unusual emotion; and as Denbigh is already a husband, and myself
rejected, the field is now fairly open to you. You will enter on your
enterprise with great advantage, as you have the same flattering
resemblance, and, if anything, the voice, which, I am told, is our
greatest recommendation with the ladies, in higher perfection than either
George or your humble servant."
Here the reader stopped of his own accord, and was so intently absorbed in
his meditations, that the almost breathless curiosity of his sister was
obliged to find relief by desiring him to proceed. Roused by the sound of
her voice, the earl changed color sensibly, and continued:
"But to be serious on a subject of great importance to my future life (for
I sometimes think her negative will make Denbigh a duke), the lovely girl
did not appear happy at the time of our interview, nor do I think she
enjoys at any time the spirits nature has evidently given her. Harriet is
nearly as great an admirer of Miss Moseley, and takes her refusal to heart
as much as myself; she even attempted to intercede with her in my behalf.
But the charming girl though mild, grateful, and delicate, was firm and
unequivocal, and left no grounds for the remotest expectation of success
from perseverance on my part.
"As Harriet had received an intimation that both Miss Moseley and her aunt
entertained extremely rigid notions on the score of religion, she took
occasion to introduce the subject in her conference with the former, and
was told in reply, 'that other considerations would have determined her to
decline the honor I intended her; but that, under any circumstances, a
more intimate knowledge of my principles would be necessary before she
could entertain a thought of accepting my hand, or, indeed, that of any
other man.' Think of that, Pendennyss! The principles of a duke!--now, a
dukedom and forty thousand a year would furnish a character, with most
people, for a Nero.
"I trust the important object I have had in view here is a sufficient
excuse for my breach of promise to you; and I am serious when I wish you
(unless the pretty Spaniard has, as I sometimes suspect, made you a
captive) to see, and endeavor to bring me in some degree connected with,
the charming family of Sir Edward Moseley.
"The aunt, Mrs. Wilson, often speaks of you with the greatest interest,
and, from some cause or other, is strongly enlisted in your favor, and
Miss Moseley hears your name mentioned with evident pleasure. _Your_
religion or principles cannot be doubted. You can offer larger
settlements, as honorable if not as elevated a title, a far more
illustrious name, purchased by your own services, and personal merit
greatly exceeding the pretensions of your assured friend and relative,
Both brother and sister were occupied with their own reflections for
several minutes after the letter was ended, and the silence was broken
first, by the latter saying with a low tone to her brother,--
"You must endeavor to become acquainted with Mrs. Wilson; she is, I know,
very anxious to see you, and your friendship for the general requires it
"I owe General Wilson much," replied the brother, in a melancholy voice;
"and when we go to Annerdale House, I wish you to make the acquaintance of
the ladies of the Moseley family, should they be in town this winter;--but
you have yet the letter of Harriet to read."
After first hastily running over its contents, the lady commenced the
fulfilment of her part of the engagement.
"Frederick has been so much engrossed of late with his own affairs, that
he has forgotten there is such a creature in existence as his sister, or,
indeed, any one else but a Miss Emily Moseley, and consequently I have
been unable to fulfil my promise of making you a visit, for want of a
proper escort, and--and--perhaps some other considerations, not worth
mentioning in a letter I know you will read to the earl.
"Yes, my dear cousin, Frederick Denbigh has supplicated the daughter of a
country baronet to become a duchess; and, hear it, ye marriage-seeking
nymphs and marriage-making dames! has supplicated in vain!
"I confess to you, when the thing was first in agitation, my aristocratic
blood roused itself a little at the anticipated connexion; but finding on
examination that Sir Edward was of no doubtful lineage, and that the blood
of the Chattertons runs in his veins, and finding the young lady
everything I could wish in a sister, my scruples soon disappeared, with
the folly that engendered them.
"There was no necessity for any alarm, for the lady very decidedly refused
the honor offered her by Derwent, and what makes the matter worse, refused
the solicitations of his sister also.
"I have fifty times been surprised at my own condescension, and to this
moment am at a loss to know whether it was to the lady's worth, my
brother's happiness, or the Chatterton blood, that I finally yielded.
Heigho! this Chatterton is certainly much too handsome for a man; but I
forget you have never seen him." (Here an arch smile stole over the
features of the listener, as his sister continued)--"To return to my
narration, I had half a mind to send for a Miss Harris there is here, to
learn the most approved fashion of a lady preferring a suit, but as fame
said she was just now practising on a certain hero ycleped Captain Jarvis,
heir to Sir Timo of that name, it struck me her system might be rather too
abrupt, so I was fain to adopt the best plan--that of trusting to nature
and my own feelings for words.
"Nobility is certainly a very pretty thing (for those who have it), but I
would defy the old Margravine of ---- to keep up the semblance of
superiority with Emily Moseley. She is so very natural, so very beautiful,
and withal at times a little arch, that one is afraid to set up any other
distinctions than such as can be fairly supported.
"I commenced with hoping her determination to reject the hand of Frederick
was not an unalterable one. (Yes, I called him Frederick, what I never did
out of my own family before in my life.) There was a considerable tremor
in the voice of Miss Moseley, as she replied, 'I now perceive, when too
late, that my indiscretion has given reason to my friends to think that I
have entertained intentions towards his grace, of which I entreat you to
believe me, Lady Harriet, I am innocent. Indeed--indeed, as anything more
than an agreeable acquaintance I have never allowed myself to think of
your brother:' and from my soul I believe her. We continued our
conversation for half an hour longer, and such was the ingenuousness,
delicacy, and high religious feeling displayed by the charming girl, that
if I entered the room with a spark of regret that I was compelled to
solicit another to favor my brother's love, I left it with a feeling that
my efforts had been unsuccessful. Yes! thou peerless sister of the more
peerless Pendennyss! I once thought of your ladyship as a wife for
A glass of water was necessary to enable the reader to clear her voice,
which grew husky from speaking so long.
"But I now openly avow, neither your birth, your hundred thousand pounds,
nor your merit, would put you on a footing, in my estimation, with my
Emily. You may form some idea of her power to captivate, and of her
indifference to her conquests, when I mention that she once refused--but I
forget, you don't know him, and therefore cannot be a judge. The thing is
finally decided, and we shortly go into Westmoreland, and next week, the
Moseleys return to Northamptonshire. I don't know when I shall be able to
visit you, and think I may _now_ safely invite you to Denbigh Castle,
although a month ago I might have hesitated. Love to the earl, and kind
assurance to yourself of unalterable regard.
"P.S. I believe I forgot to mention that Mrs. Moseley, a sister of Lord
Chatterton, has gone to Portugal, and that the peer himself is to go into
the country with us: there is, I suppose, a fellow-feeling between _them_
just now, though I do not think Chatterton looks so very miserable as he
On ending this second epistle the same silence which had succeeded the
reading of the first prevailed, until the lady with an arch expression,
interrupted it by saying,
"Harriet will, I think, soon grace the peerage."
"And happily, I trust," replied the brother.
"Do you know Lord Chatterton?"
"I do; he is very amiable, and admirably calculated to contrast with the
lively gaiety of Harriet Denbigh."
"You believe in loving our opposites, I see," rejoined the lady; and then
affectionately stretching out her hand to him, she added, "but,
Pendennyss, you must give me for a sister one as nearly like yourself as
"That might please your affections," answered the earl with a smile, "but
how would it comport with my tastes? Will you suffer me to describe the
kind of man _you_ are to select for your future lord, unless, indeed, you
have decided the point already?"
The lady colored violently, and appearing anxious to change the subject,
she tumbled over two or three unopened letters, as she cried eagerly--
"Here is one from the Donna Julia." The earl instantly broke the seal and
read aloud; no secrets existing between them in relation to their mutual
"I hasten to write you what I know it will give you pleasure to hear,
concerning my future prospects in life. My uncle, General M'Carthy, has
written me the cheerful tidings, that my father has consented to receive
his only child, without any other sacrifice than a condition of attending
the service of the Catholic Church without any professions on my side, or
even an understanding that I am conforming to its peculiar tenets. This
may be, in some measure, irksome at times, and possibly distressing; but
the worship of God with a proper humiliation of spirit, I have learnt to
consider as a privilege to us here, and I owe a duty to my earthly father
of penitence and care in his later years that will justify the measure in
the eyes of my heavenly One. I have, therefore, acquainted my uncle in
reply, that I am willing to attend the Conde's summons at any moment he
will choose to make them; and I thought it a debt due your care and
friendship to apprise your lordship of my approaching departure from this
country; indeed, I have great reasons for believing that your kind and
unremitted efforts to attain this object have already prepared you to
expect this result.
"I feel it will be impossible to quit England without seeing you and your
sister, to thank you for the many, very many favors, of both a temporal
and eternal nature, you have been the agents of conferring on me. The
cruel suggestions which I dreaded, and which it appears had reached the
ears of my friends in Spain, have prevented my troubling your lordship of
late unnecessarily with my concerns. The consideration of a friend to your
character (Mrs. Wilson) has removed the necessity of applying for your
advice; she and her charming niece, Miss Emily Moseley, have been, next to
yourselves, the greatest solace I have had in my exile, and united you
will be remembered in my prayers. I will merely mention here, deferring
the explanation until I see you in London, that I have been visited by the
wretch from whom you delivered me in Portugal, and that the means of
ascertaining his name have fallen into my hands. You will be the best
judge of the proper steps to be taken; but I wish, by all means, something
may be done to prevent his attempting to see me in Spain. Should it be
discovered to my relations there that he has any such intentions, it would
certainly terminate in his death, and possibly in my disgrace. Wishing you
and your kind sister all possible happiness, I remain,
"Your Lordship's obliged friend,
"Oh!" cried the sister as she concluded the letter, "we must certainly see
her before she goes. What a wretch that persecutor of hers must be! how
persevering in his villainy!"
"He does exceed my ideas of effrontery," said the earl, in great
warmth--"but he may offend too far; the laws shall interpose their power
to defeat his schemes, should he ever repeat them."
"He attempted to take your life, brother," said the lady shuddering, "if I
remember the tale aright."
"Why, I have endeavored to free him from that imputation," rejoined the
brother, musing, "he certainly fired pistol, but the latter hit my horse
at such a distance from myself, that I believe his object was to disable
me and not murder. His escape has astonished me; he must have fled by
himself into the woods, as Harmer was but a short distance behind me,
admirably mounted, and the escort was up and in full pursuit within ten
minutes. After all it may be for the best he was not taken; for I am
persuaded the dragoons would have sabred him on the spot, and he may have
parents of respectability, or a wife to kill by the knowledge of his
"This Emily Moseley must be a faultless being," cried the sister, as she
ran over the contents of Julia's letter. "Three different letters, and
each containing her praises!"
The earl made no reply, but opening the duke's letter again, he appeared
to be studying its contents. His color slightly changed as he dwelt on its
passages, and turning to his sister he inquired if she had a mind to try
the air of Westmoreland for a couple of weeks or a month.
"As you say, my Lord," replied the lady, with cheeks of scarlet.
"Then I say we will go. I wish much to see Derwent and I think there will
be a wedding during our visit."
He rang the bell, and the almost untasted breakfast was removed in a few
minutes. A servant announced that his horse was in readiness. The earl
wished his sister a friendly good morning, and proceeded to the door,
where was standing one of the noble black horses before mentioned, held
by a groom, and the military-looking attendant ready mounted on another.
Throwing himself into the saddle, the young peer rode gracefully from the
door, followed by his attendant horseman. During this ride, the master
suffered his steed to take whatever course most pleased himself, and his
follower looked up in surprise more than once, to see the careless manner
in which the Earl of Pendennyss, confessedly one of the best horsemen in
England, managed the noble animal. Having, however, got without the gates
of his own park, and into the vicinity of numberless cottages and
farm-houses, the master recovered his recollection, and the man ceased to
For three hours the equestrians pursued their course through the beautiful
vale which opened gracefully opposite one of the fronts of the castle; and
if faces of smiling welcome, inquiries after his own and his sister's
welfare, which evidently sprang from the heart, or the most familiar but
respectful representations of their own prosperity or misfortunes, gave
any testimony of the feelings entertained by the tenantry of this noble
estate for their landlord, the situation of the young nobleman might be
justly considered envied.
As the hour for dinner approached, they turned the heads of their horses
towards home; and on entering the park, removed from the scene of industry
and activity without, the earl relapsed into his fit of musing. A short
distance from the house he suddenly called, "Harmer." The man drove his
spurs into the loins of his horse, and in an instant was by the side of
his master, which he signified by raising his hand to his cap with the
palm opening outward.
"You must prepare to go to Spain when required, in attendance on Mrs.
The man received his order with the indifference of one used to
adventures and movements, and having laconically dignified his assent, he
drew his horse back again into his station in the rear.
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.