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LI B RAFLY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY

OF ILLINOIS

SI. 132 **
v.3



THE

MAID, WIFE, AND WIDOW,

A TALE.

IN THREE VOLUMES.
BY HENRY SIDDONS,

AUTHOR OF VIRTUOUS POVERTY.
VOL. III.



te donne antiche hannomirabil cose
Patto ne l'arme, e ne le sacre Muse ;
F di lor opre belle, e gloriose
Gran lume in tutto il mondo si difruse.
Arpalice, e Camilla son famose,
Perchein bittaglia erano esperte, ed use.
Safo, e C-;rinna, perche furon dotte,
Splendono illustri, e mai noa veggon notte.

le donne sen venute in eccellenza*
Di ciascun'arre, ove hanno posto curaj
E qualunque a 1'istorie abbia awertenza
Ne sente ancor la fama non obscura.
S-'l mondo n'e gran tempo stato senza,
Von pero sempre il mal'infiusso dura.
£ forse ascosi han lor debiti onori
L'invidia, o il non saper degli scrittori.

ARIOSTC



LONDON :

PRINTED FOR R. PHILLIPS, BRIDGE*
STREET, ELACK-FRIARS.

1806\



Cox, Son, and Baylis, Printers^
Great Queen Street.



8£3
V.3

THE

MAID, WIFE, AND WIDOW.



PART r.



CHAPTER I.

xliMMA, one morning, appeared be-
fore me, beaming with all those smiles,
which had, for a long time, quitted her
radiant countenance. Delighted with
a change as charming as it was unex-
pected, I solicited earnestly to be in-
formed of the lucky occurrence to which
I was to attribute so pleasing a meta-
morphosis. She delayed not a moment
to acquaint me, that her cares were
over, as her parents were, at length, at-
Vol. III. s tentive



% the maid, Wife,

tentive to her supplications, and had
released her from all apprehensions of
being united to a man she detested*
" I could never endure him/' added
she, " and if matters had been carried
fic to the last extremity,- would have
" flown to the utmost verge of the
<c earth to have avoided him* But come,
cc do not let us talk of him any more.
<c He will soon be gone, and then I
<c will trv to be a better scholar than I
*' have been. I shall improve every
" day in my French and Italian. I
" intend to study very hard, and, by
** doubling my lessons, I may keep my
€i thoughts from dwelling on ...... ."

I fixed my eye upon her, and she
blushed scarlet deep. I gave her time
to check herself, and to prevent me
from hearing that, to which I could
not have listened with honour. I had
ouce before suffered so severely from a

slight



AND WIDOW. 5

slight violation of my integrity, that I
formed the most steady resolution, not
to expose myself again to such painful
perceptions on any account. Emma
herself appeared pleased that I had thus
recalled her wandering imagination.
She was one of the most artless young
'Women I have ever known in the whole
course of my life, though, at the same
time, she was, assuredly, one of the
most sensible. Beauty and idiotism are
two very distinct qualities in the female
composition, although such infinite
pains are frequently taken to blend and
'confound them.

The serenity of the present scene was
not long permitted to continue ; the
calm only foretold a storm. The be-
haviour of Mr. and Mrs. Mainfort eve*
ry day grew more and more cool to-
wards me: that of the good lady soon
reached the very freezing point, and it
b % literally



4 THE MAID, WIFE,

literally chilled me to look upon her.
There is seldom a better criterion for
the affairs of this world, than the man-
ners of one of your prudential elderly
ladies : in your prosperity they are sun-
ny ; as you decline, they grow cloudy;
as you sink they are rainy ; and when
you are fallen they are shady. There
was a liberal delicacv inherent in the
character of Mainfort himself, which
would have made him ashamed of
changing his conduct towards any one>
who had not merited an alteration by
some ill-behaviour on their own part.
I was now, however, too thorough a
proficient in the theory of worldly
knowledge, not to be convinced, that
some material change was about to
take place in the circumstances of this
family, I began, after a very comfort-
able residence in it, to make up my
mind to being once more rudely tost

orf



AND WIDOVT. 5

on the rough ocean of life, and com-
pelled to make future provisions for
" the day which was to pass over my
" head."

My own past life, added to the his-
tory my poor friend, Middieton, had
related to me, reconciled me to all the
events of Providence. I was, like him,
under the sole care of that protecting
power, which regards with an equal
eye, the concussion of an Empire, or
the spoliation of a bird's nest. I had
conquered all the prejudices of pride,
and considered that to live and die like
an honest man was the ultimatum of
existence ; and that if this essential end
was but fulfilled, it little imported how,
when, or where, in what part of the
globe, or in what capacity.

With these consolatory reflections I

calmed the perplexity of my ideas,

whenever they anticipated scenes of

b 3 future



& THE MAID, WIPE,

future evil. Indeed all the grand cala-
mities of life already seemed to have
been exhausted on my head : I had,
apparently, as little to fear as I had to
hope. I was a friendless young man, who
had seen a father reduced from the very
height of birth, pride, and fortune, to
become a wanderer on the face of the
earth ! I had been robbed, at an early
age, of the endearing consolations,
\vhich result from fraternal friendship
and affection. My first, my only love,
had been violently torn from my heart,
and to rend its fibres with more excru-
ciating agonies, I had beheld her wed-
ded to another I ! ! It is not to be ima-
gined, that a man, who had encoun-
tered so many sad realities, could have
either leisure or inclination to brood
long over the fancied ills of life. How-
ever, the sentiments which inspired me
may be laughed at as Utopian, they w r er^

nevertheless



AND WIDOW, 7

nevertheless very sincere, and I am,
even now, more than half inclined to
abide by my former opinions.

Lawrence Wilmot daily found him
self held in less respect by the Main-
fort family. He was one of those who
walk through life upon the stilts of
other people's opinions : deprived of
that assistance, he invariably dropped
to the ground. His taste was now no
longer consulted, his opinions were
never asked, and his second-hand jests
and repartees seldom occasioned a smile.
Mrs. Mainfort attacked him with hint
and inuendo : she would frequently in-
sinuate, that mere money might fall to
the lot of any one; but that no man
had a right to feel at all proud simply
on that account : that the Athenians*
when Lycurgus made his celebrated
Pandects, banished all money but lea-
ther from his monarchy : that virtue was
B 4 all






8 THE MAID, WIFE,

all in all with these polite Laconics ;
that she was quite of the opinion of
Homer 5 when he says " effbdiuntur ope?
" irritanenta malorum." Birth and
titles, she added, gave a man a much
more solid claim to the veneration of
his fellow beings, as they could only
he obtained by meritorious services, and
would live in tables of brass, when,
as Milton observes, fifi The cloud cap-
" ped towers, the gorgeous palaces, So-
" lomon's temple, and all which inh'a-
<c bits it, shall dissolve, and like the
" basest fabric of a vision, leave not a
" wreck behind it."

When Lawrence told her she had
quoted from Shakespear not Milton, and
was likewise very incorrect as to the
words, she caught fire in a moment,
telling him, if she had no other merit,
she had been always allowed to be a
correct scholar, and that many learned,

as



AND WIDOW. 9

as well as noble friends, could bear
testimony to the truth of her assertions :
that he was not to think, because he
had passed a few months among players,
that he understood more about Shake-
spear than his neighbours , for all critics
who had commented on that author,
however they disagreed on every
other point, were unanimous in opi-
nion, that the actors never knew the
author's meaning half so well as they
did themselves : that for her part, she
was certain that the " cloud cap-
" ped towers,'* was in Milton's Para-
dise Lost, and advised Mr. Wilmot to
think before he spoke, or else return to
his former friends, with whom his ab-
surdities might go down, which could
never be the case with persons of a true
classical judgement.

To this attack Lawrence rejoined so

very tartly, that a long altercation took

3 5 place'



10 THE MAID, WIFE,

place, and I made a pretence of quit-
ting the room, for fear that I should
have been chosen umpire between
them; a circumstance wmich would
have proved extremely awkward and
distressing to me.

These disputes daily ran so high, that
they at length terminated in an open
rupture, and the young gentleman, to
the satisfaction of all parties concerned,
quitted the house in a complete rage ;
swearing the whole world should not
tempt him to be at all related to any
woman who could not tell Milton from
Shakespear. She, on her part, vowed
that no man should ever have the honour
of calling her mother-in-law, who had
the ignorance and ill manners to call
her literary abilities in question ; offer-
ing, at the same time, to submit the
case to a dozen Dukes, four Earls, seven
Countesses, and ten Right Honorables.

Mr.



AND WIDOW. II

Mr. Mainfort was very glad to see
his house thus cleared of a person whom
he had never liked, and his daughter,
Emma, was in perfect raptures on the
occasion. I must confess, that I was
very far from being so sanguine. Allure-
ments of interest, and those of a very
strong nature too, had introduced young
Wilmot to this connection. The con-
version of Mrs. Mainfort had been so
sudden, that I could not help strongly
suspecting her of some concealed mo-
tives for the conduct she had thus preci-
pitately adopted.



b 6 CHAP-



12 THE MAID, WIFE,






CHAPTER II.

A very short space of time fully
proved, that the suspicions I had enter-
tained were not without foundation.
A minister who is about to resign, ought
to take his first hint from the atmosphere
of the court, and not wait till a biting
frost tells forcibly that his time is come.
Lawrence Wilmot had more prudence
than the generality of great men 5 he
resolved to save his credit, and have, at
least, the satisfaction of going off in
a bounce; a vast comfort to many
gentlemen who are, what is vulgarly
termed, turned out. But not to dwell
on an illusion which may not be pleas-
ing



AND WIDOW. 13

ing to the feelings of various celebrated
personages, I shall simply state, that
Wilmot, perceiving it was Mrs. Main-
fort's intention to get rid of him, re-
solved, at least, to have the start of her,
and therefore earnestly requested, that
every thing which had formerly passed
between himself and that family might
now be considered as at an end.

Though this was the precise point
which the lady had been labouring to
bring him to, she was extremely piqued
at his having thus forestalled her. This
mortification she could by no means
keep to herself. She broke out into
reflections, which convinced her oppo-
nent that she had lost her temper; and,
as this was what he most earnestly de-
sired to effect, he enjoyed a share of sa-
tisfaction, even in his defeat. Indeed
there were very few circumstances
which could long mortify this young

gentleman;



14? THE MAID, WIFE,

gentleman ; Nature had done all in her
power to prevent him from falling into
the error of Narcissus; yet w r as he
upon such admirable terms with him-
self, that he found a friend in his own
heart which gave the lie to his looking-
glass. He left the father and mother of
his ci-devant mistress, therefore, with
the most consummate sangfroid, fully
convinced that, as soon as it should be
known he was disengaged, the whole
sex would be in a state of zvarfare, to
decide who was to be the happy female
destined to fill up that space in his bo-
som which Emma Mainfort had left
vacant.

When he was gone, the lady of the
house declared that she was glad to be
rid of such a Diogenes j that she firmly
believed him to be as ignorant as an
Aristippus, and with no more philosophy
than a mere Pythagorean. Emma was

all-



AND WIDOW. 15

all life and spirits at the secession of this
disagreeable young man ; and, as she
knew how very sincerely I was a well-
wisher to David Middleton, was much
surprised to find me no sharer in her
extasies. I, however, had been taught,
by a very good tutor, not to be over
sanguine in giving credit to the pro-
mises of fortune. The conduct of Main-
fort himself gave me some reason for ap-
plauding my own caution. I cannot
exactly say he ever treated me with
coldness ; but he had of late appeared
peculiarly reserved. He no longer told
his long stories with his accustomed
glee : in short, he appeared to be la-
bouring under those painful vibrations
of thoughtful anxiety, which agitate the
feelings of a man who wishes to get rid
of an old acquaintance, and yet knows
not how to set about it with consis-
tency. Some men and women are as

summary



16 THE 1VTAID, WIFE,

summary as the First Consul of France
in these circumstances, and cut off an
old friend with as much cool fortitude,
as he would decapitate any one who
dared have an opinion of their own.
Others, in whose bosoms the worm of
conscience is not quite extinct, seek for
some plausible occasion for a quarrel,
and get rid of the business with as
much decency as possible.

Mainfort had some portion of that
rare commodity called delicacy in his
composition, a commodity which ren-
dered the present state of his ideas far
from agreeable. Had my purse kept
pace with my pride, I should, most as-
suredly, have freed Mr. Mainfort from
every anxiety on my account ; but, from
the very trifling pittance I had been lately
in the habit of receiving, it could not
be supposed that money was a plentiful
article with me. I had involved my-
self,



AND WIDOW. \J

self, likewise, by my friendship for
Middleton. I determined, therefore, to
await my destiny, whatever it might
prove, with patient resignation.

As ill news travels with expedition,
I was not long kept in suspense upon
this head. Emma, her mother, and her
father, were frequently closeted toge-
ther, and I could hear them loud and
vehement in their expostulations. Her
eyes were generally suffused in tears
after these consultations. As I made it
a maxim not to pry into the secrets of
the family, I never once inquired into
the cause of this fresh affliction. I held
myself ready to act the part of a sincere
friend, whenever she might think fit to
unburthen herself to me : the character
of a busy-body I was rigidly determined
to avoid. From Mrs. Mainfort I at
length obtained an explanation. She
informed me, in her own elegant stile,

that



IS THE MAID, MUFBj

that she had intirely changed her idea*
with regard to her daughter Emma,
That on reconsidering the pretensions
of young Wilmot, she was quite shocked
at her own former want of taste ; that,
in point of taste, he was a perfect Car-
tesian; but that the man she had notv
selected was a real demagogue , and
could prove a lineal descent from some
of the most noble families in England,
She begged me to give her my candid
opinion of the idiom she had just ex-
pounded, and begged me to deliver it
with a Carthaginian sincerity.

I replied, that the promise she ex°
acted from me must be a vague one,
unless she condescended previously to
inform me of the name and character
of the fortunate personage who was to
be the happy successor to Mr. Wilmot .
After some pause, she complied with
he broad hint I had thrown out, and,

bridling



AND WIDOW. 19

bridling herself up two or three times,
informed me, with a simper on her
countenance, that I must not be at all
surprised, if I, one day or other, saw
my pupil riding in a coach with a coro-
net upon it : a circumstance which, she
owned, she contemplated with great
pleasure, as several ladies had lately
claimed precedence of her daughter,
though she flattered herself, that the
child of Tarquinia Mainfort had a right
to look quite as high as an epithalamiiim
with an Earl of Rothvale.

The title of Rothvale had been so
often dinned in my ear in former times,
that I could not easily forget it. I re-
peated the title almost involuntarily.
" Nay," added she, " I do not mean
" to tell you, that he is now, at this very
" mofnenty the Earl of Rothvale ; but
fl he soon must be. His brother is a

" childless,.



20 THE MAID, WIFE,

*f childless, infirm old man, and Mr.
" Blazon is bis next heir."

" Mr. Blazon ! good Heavens ! !"
* c Aye ! aye ! I guess the cause of
" your surprise : you have heard of his
€C having been engaged in business at
" Tobago ; but, justum et tenacem pro~
" positi viram, as Virgil says, will con-
<f sider what a man 2V, not what he
" was ; he will take him in the future,
" not in the preterpluperfect tense :
(i for Maecenas tetavis tdite regibus.
" Mecenas was born of noble ances-
<( tors, and nobody cared about his em-
<c ployment in the court of Marc An-

<c THOtfY."

I was too much absorbed in my own
meditations, to be capable of paying any
attention to this learned harangue, and
could only reply by a respectful nod of
assent ; a mode of answering more

agreeable



AND WIDOW. 21

agreeable to her feelings, than if I had
made her the most laboured response :
like her husband, she would have pre-
ferred a dumb auditor to the most elo-
quent person in the world. It may
easily be supposed, that the name of
Blazon awakened sensations in my
heart not of the most tranquil nature.
The recollection of what had passed ;
my knowledge of his character; our
distantly relative situation 5 all tended
to create ideas of a peculiar kind. I
was convinced, by experience, that he
was a man who never allowed the tie
of honour, or the call of conscience, to
restrain him in any one pursuit where
he imagined his interests or his plea-
sures were concerned. He was one of
those who considered not good faith to-
wards teamen as included in the code of
honesty.

Such was the character of the man,

to



£2 THE MAID, WIFE,



to whom the generous, the candid Em-
ma Mainfort, was now about to be
sacrificed. I saw that many circum-
stances concurred in impressing the
mother in favour of this man : his for-
tune, his connections 3 and above al!>
his expectation of a title. Mainfort,
himself, committed the whole manage-
ment of his girl to his wife. In fact,
while he was but allowed to tell long
stories, and talk for five hours together
on the state of the army, the navy, &c*
&c. it was a matter of indifference to
him how his domestic concerns were
arranged. J thought it a point of con-
science, however, to inform them all
I knew of the general character of
Blazon.

I took the earliest opportunity, there*
fore, of being candid and explicit with
Mr. Mainfort. The honour of a soldier
Was instantaneously awakened in his

bosonij



AND WlSoW". 23

bosom, and after expressing his abhor-
rence at the libertine character I had
delineated, declared his intention of
informing his wife of every circum-
stance. I had, very shortly afterwards,
good reason to know that he had kept
his word. She changed her Conduct
towards me on a sudden, and began to
be almost rude in her insinuations. I
could not, at first, clearly understand
her drift, as she was so very classical m
her allusions. A most devouring me-
lancholy instantly seized the heart of
Emma, when she discovered that the
removal of Wilmot had no effect in her
favour, and that she was merely reduced
to the sad necessity of changing her
persecutor, and was still destined to be
the victim of the avarice and ambition
of other people. Books, poetry, and
the study of the languages, soon lost
their power of diverting her.

The



24 THE MAID, WIFE,

The master and mistress of the house
daily grew more cold to me, and I
could plainly perceive, that my sinceri-
ty in giving my opinion of Mr. Blazon's
character, had met with the common
reward of daring honesty. I had re-
lieved my own mind, however, by the
performance of what I considered a
very serious duty, and though misery
and poverty stared me in the face, I ne-
ver, for one half moment, repented of
the conduct I had adopted. Of the
consolations of an approving conscience
I now stood in the greatest need ; for
misfortunes were pouring fast upon me.
My money ran very low, and the man
to whom I had bound myself for Mid.
dleton's debt began to be extremely
importunate. I was both hurt and sur-
prised at hearing nothing from David.
I wrote him a very angry letter, which
I dispatched to the place of his retire-
ment;



AND WIDOW. 25

meat -> but not one word did I receive
in answer to my epistle*

Emma, with tearful eyes and the
most extreme agitation, informed me,
that Mr. Blazon was expected at her
father's house in a fortnight : a circum-
stance which gave me much uneasiness,
as I was convinced, that after what had
passed between os, our meeting must
inevitably be a very awkward one #
Mr. and Mrs. Mainfort, about this
time, were invited to pass a week at
the house of a relation at Glasgow :
they accepted the offer, and carried
Emma away with them in a post-chaise.
She kissed her hand to me in a most ex-
pressive manner as it drove from the
door: her father and mother coldly
bowed their heads. The carriage rolled
away, and the moment it disappeared,
one of the servants, who had been or-
dered to remain behind, put the follow-

Vol. III. c ing



26 THE MAID, WIFE,

ing note into my hand. " Mr. Main-
€t fort's compliments wait on Mr.
iC Mowbray, returns him many thanks
" for the services he has rendered his
" family. Understanding that some
" disagreeable occurrences have for-
ee merly taken place between Mr.
<( Mowbray and Mr. Blazon, Mr. M.
u presumes, that a meeting at his house
H would be painful to both parties.
* The enclosed, it is hoped, will settle
" all accounts. As Mr. M. does not
u expect to have the honour of seeing
** Mr. Mowbray on his return, added
•* to his own, he begs to present the
" good wishes of his wife and daugh-

" ter.

H Edinlurgh, Saturday."

The above note was quite sufficient
to inform me, that the arts of Blazon
had succeeded in driving me from my
peaceful sanctuary. It was evident that

he



AND WIDOW. 27

be had requested my removal from my
present situation, and that Mr. and Mrs.
Mainfort had taken their journey, be-
cause they were really ashamed to open
the matter to me in person. I was con-
vinced, that Emma was entirely igno-
rant of the whole affair. I was a little
confounded for the first few moments -,
but, no sooner collected my scattered
thoughts, than I determined to make a
virtue of necessity. I sat down to w T rite
an answer to Mr. Mainfort, in which
I thanked him for all his former favours,
and assured him, that before my letter
could reach him I should have vacated
his house. A promise I faithfully kept ;
for I immediately packed up the few
things I had, took a single room in the
neighbourhood, to which I conveyed
them, and laid my head upon my pil-
low, once more, a wanderer and an
outcast 1 ! !

c 2 CHAP-



t% THE MAID, WIFE,



CHAPTER III.

In the midst of all my distresses there
was no one circumstance which so
keenly harrowed up my feelings as the
treatment I received from David Mid-
dleton. After having assisted him to
the utmost of my ability, and far ex-
ceeding the bounds of prudence in his
behalf, his ingratitude was a most
severe shock to me, and aggravated my
sense of my misfortunes by disgusting
me with the world in general. Life
seemed now a mere blank* The serenity
of the sky appeared clouded, and though
spring was just then beginning to un-
fold



AN* WIDOW. t9

fold her verdant treasures, I saw the
luxurious blossoms (for the first time
in my life) burst without pleasure,, and
heard the singing of the birds r unac-


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