Eliza Fowler Haywood.

Life's Progress Through The Passions Or, The Adventures of Natura online

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his death, and that he was now in a fair way of recovery; so that he,
Natura, might return as soon as he pleased, there being no danger on
account of the rencounter; but that the occasion of that quarrel being
a party-affair, and represented in its worst colours by some private
enemies, it had reached the ears of the ministry, who, looking on him
as a disaffected person, had already disposed of his employment; he
also informed him, that he must not flatter himself with being able
ever hereafter to be thought qualified to hold any place or office
under the government: - he also added, that the friends of his intended
bride were so incensed against him, that they protested, they would
sooner see her in her coffin, than in the arms of a man who had
incurred the odious appellation of a _Jacobite_; and that she herself
expressed her detestation of the principles he was now accused of,
with no less virulence and contempt; - had torn the letter he had sent
to her in a thousand pieces; and to shew how much she was in earnest,
had accepted the addresses of a gentleman, who had been long his
rival, and to whom it was expected she would soon be married.

If Natura rejoiced to find himself cleared of having been the death of
a fellow-creature, he was equally mortified at having rendered himself
obnoxious to those who alone were capable of gratifying his ambition:
as for the change in the lady's sentiments concerning him, he was
under much less concern; he thought the affection she professed for
him must have been very small, when a difference of opinion in
state-affairs, and that too but supposed, could all at once erace it,
and rather despised, than lamented, the bigotry of party-zeal, which
had occasioned it: - his good sense made him know, that to deny all the
good qualities of a person, meerly because those good qualities were
not ornamented with the favours of fortune, was both unjust and mean;
and the proof she gave of her weakness and ungenerosity in this point,
intirely destroyed all the passion he once had for her, and
consequently all regret for the loss of her.

He could not, however, think of returning to England yet a while; his
father's letter had given some hints, as if there was a design on
foot, and he was confirmed soon after of the truth of it, for
expelling him the house; and he thought it was best to spare his
enemies that labour, and quit it of his own accord: and in this he
found himself intirely right, when on writing to some persons of
condition, with whom he had been most intimate, he found by their
answers, that it was now known he had been in the French service,
which both himself and his father had kept a secret, even from their
nearest kindred; not there was any thing in it which could be
construed into a crime, as the nations were then in alliance, but
because as he could not possibly enjoy a commission there, without
conforming to the ceremonies of the Romish church, it must infallibly
be a hindrance to his advancement in a Protestant country. It is
certain, Natura was of a temper to make good the proverb, _That when
one is at Rome, one must do as they do at Rome_: - and though he had
gone to hear _mass_, because it was his interest, and the necessity of
his affairs obliging him in a manner to seek his bread at that time,
yet was he far from approving the superstitions of that church; all
that he could write, however, or his friends urge for him on this
head, was ineffectual; he passed for a _papist_ and _jacobite_ with
every body: pursuant therefore to his resolution of continuing abroad,
till these discourses should be a little worn out, he wrote again to
his father, and settled his affairs so as to receive remittances of
money, at the several places to which he intended to go.




CHAP. IV.

The power of fear over a mind, weak either by nature, or infirmities
of body: The danger of its leading to despair, is shewn by the
condition Natura was reduced to by the importunities of priests of
different perswasions. This chapter also demonstrates, the little
power people have of judging what is really best for them, and that
what has the appearance of the severest disappointment, is
frequently the greatest good.


As to lose the memory of his disgrace, or at least all those gloomy
reflections it had occasioned, was the chief motive which had made
Natura resolve to travel a second time, it was a matter of
indifference to him which way he went. He first took care to make
himself master of all that was worth observation in Holland, where he
found little to admire, except the Stadthouse, and the magnificence
with which king William, after his accession to the crown of these
kingdoms, had ornamented his palace at Loo; but the rough, unpolite
behaviour of the people, disgusted him so much, that he stayed no
longer among them than was necessary to see what the place afforded,
and then passed on to Brussels, Antwerp, and, in fine, left no great
city, either in Dutch or French Flanders unvisited; thence went into
Germany, where his first route was to Hanover, having, it seems, a
curiosity of seeing a prince, whose brows were one day to be incircled
with the crown of England; but this country was, at that time, in so
low and wretched a condition, that whether he looked on the buildings,
the lands, or the appearance of the inhabitants, all equally presented
a scene of poverty to his eyes; he therefore made what haste he could
out of it, having found nothing, except the Elector himself, that gave
him the least satisfaction. He was also at several other petty courts,
all which served to inspire in him not the most favourable idea of
Germany.

At length he arrived at Vienna, a city pompous enough to those who had
never seen Rome and Paris; but however it may yield to them in
elegance of buildings, gardening, and other delicacies of life, it was
yet more inferior in the manners of the people; - he perceived among
the persons of quality, an affectation of grandeur, a state without
greatness, and in the lower rank of gentry, a certain stiffness, even
to the meanest, and an insufferable pride, which came pretty near
ferocity: - the costly, but ill-contrived parades frequently made,
discovered less their riches than their bad taste, and appeared the
more ridiculous to Natura, as they were extolled for their
magnificence and elegance; but, even here, as indeed all over Germany,
the courts of Berlin and Dresden excepted, you see rather an _aim_ of
attracting admiration and respect, than the _power_ of it. These,
however, were the sentiments of Natura, others perhaps may judge
differently.

But whatever may be the deficiencies of Germany in matters of genius,
wit, judgment, and manners, there is none in good eating, and good
wine; and though their fashion of cookery is not altogether so polite,
nor so agreeable to the palates of others as their own, yet it must be
confessed, that in their way, they are very great epicures; but though
they generally eat voraciously, they drink yet more; and so nimbly do
they send the glass about, that a stranger finds it no small
difficulty to maintain his sobriety among them.

Natura's too great compliance with their intreaties in this point, had
like to have proved fatal to him: - the strength of the wines, and
drinking them in a much larger quantity than he had been accustomed
to, so inflamed his blood, that he soon fell into a violent fever,
which for some days gave those that attended him, little hopes of his
recovery; but by the skill of his physician, joined to his youth, and
the goodness of his constitution, the force of the distemper at last
abated, yet could not be so intirely eradicated, as not to leave a
certain pressure and debility upon the nerves, by some called a fever
on the spirits, which seemed to threaten either an atrophy or
consumption; his complexion grew pale and livid, and his strength and
flesh visibly wasted; and what was yet worse, the vigour of his mind
decayed, in proportion with that of his external frame, insomuch that,
falling into a deep melancholy, he considered himself as on the brink
of the grave, and expected nothing but dissolution every hour.

While he continued in this languishing condition, he was frequently
visited by the priests, who in some parts of Germany, particularly at
Vienna, are infinitely more inveterate against Protestantism than at
Paris, or even at Rome, though the _papal_ seat; as indeed any one may
judge, who has heard of the many and cruel persecutions practised upon
the poor Protestants by the emperors, in spite of the repeated
obligations they have had to those powers who profess the doctrines of
Calvin and Luther; but gratitude is no part of the characteristic of a
German.

These venerable distracters of the human mind, were perpetually
ringing hell and damnation in his ears, in case he abjured not, before
his death, the errors in which he had been educated, and continued in
so many years, and by acts of penance and devotion, reconcile himself
to the mother church; they pleaded the antiquity of their faith,
brought all the fathers they could muster up, to prove that alone was
truly orthodox, and that all dissenting from it was a sin not to be
forgiven.

On the other hand, the English ambassador's chaplain, who knew well
enough what they were about, omitted nothing that might confirm him in
the principles of the reformation, and convince him that the church of
England, as by law established, had departed only from the errors
which had crept into the primitive church, not from the church itself,
and that all the superstitious doctrines now preached up by the Romish
priests, were only so many impositions of their own, calculated to
inrich themselves, and keep weak minds in awe.

Natura, who had till now contented himself with understanding moral
duties, and had never examined into matters of controversy between the
two religions, now found both had so much to say in defence of their
different modes of worship, that he became very much divided in his
sentiments; and each remonstrating to him by turns, the danger of
dying in a wrong belief, wrought so far upon the present weakness of
his intellects, as to bring him into a fluctation of ideas, which
might, in time, either have driven him into despair, or made him
question the very fundamentals of a religion, the merits of which its
professors seemed to place so much in things of meer form and
ceremony.

By this may be seen how greatly _christianity_ suffers by the unhappy
divisions among the professors of it: - much it is to be wished, though
little to be hoped, that both sides would be prevailed upon to recede
a little from their present stiffness in opinion, or be at least less
virulent in maintaining it; since each, by endeavouring to expose and
confute what they look upon as an absurdity in the other, join in
contributing to render the truth of the whole suspected, and not only
give a handle to the avowed enemies, of depreciating and ridiculing
all the sacred mysteries of religion, but also stagger the faith of a
great many well-meaning people, and afford but a too plausible
pretence for that sceptism which goes by the name of _free-thinking_,
and is of late so much the fashion.

In another situation, perhaps, Natura would have been little affected
with any thing could have been said on this score; but health and
sickness make a wide difference in our way of thinking: - when
surrounded by the gay pleasures of life, and in the full vigour and
capacity of enjoying them, we either do not reflect at all, or but
cursorily on the evil day; but when cold imbecility steals upon us,
either through age or accidents, and death and eternity stare us in
the face, we have quite other sentiments, other wishes: - whoever
firmly believes, that in leaving this life, we but step into another,
either of happiness or misery, and that which ever it proves, will be
without end, or possibility of change, and that the whole of future
welfare depends on the road we take in going out of this world, will
be very fearful lest he should chuse the wrong; and it is not
therefore strange, that while, with equal force, the _papist_ pulled
one way, and the _protestant_ another, the poor penitent should be
involved in the most terrible uncertainty.

Happy, therefore, was it, both for the recovery of his mind and body,
that his physicians finding all their recipes had little effect,
advised him to seek relief from the waters of the Spa, and as it was
their opinion, they would be of more efficacy, when drank upon the
spot, he accordingly took his journey thither, but by reason of his
weakness, was obliged to be carried the whole way in a litter.

It is very probable, that being eased of the perplexities the
incessant admonitions of the priests of different opinions had given
him, contributed as much as the waters to his amendment; but to which
ever of these causes it may be imputed, it is certain that he every
day became better, and as his strength of body returned, so did that
of his mind, in proportion; with his apprehensions of death, his
disquiets about matters of religion subsided also, and whenever any
thing of that kind came cross his thoughts, it was but by starts, and
was soon dissipated with other ideas, which many objects at this place
presented him with.

But that to which he was chiefly indebted for the recovery of his
former gaiety of temper, was meeting with an English family, with whom
he had been extremely intimate; the lady had come thither for the same
purpose he had done, her husband being very tender of her, would needs
accompany her, and they brought with them their only daughter, a young
lady of great beauty, and not above eighteen, in hopes, as they said,
of alleviating a certain melancholly, to which she was addicted,
without any cause, at least any that was visible, for it.

Natura had often seen the amiable Maria (for so she was called) but
had never felt for her any of those pleasing, and equally painful,
emotions, which a nearer conversation with her now inspired him
with: - he had always thought her very handsome, but she now appeared
perfectly adorable in his eyes: - the manner of her behaviour, that
modest sweetness which appeared through her whole deportment, and
seemed, as it were, a part of her soul, had for him irresistible
charms; and as he very well knew the circumstances of her family, such
as his friends could make no reasonable objections against, nor his
own such as could be thought contemptible by those of her kindred, he
attempted not to repel the satisfaction which he felt, in the hopes of
being one day able to make an equal impression on her heart.

The very first use he made of his intire recovery from his late
indisposition, was an endeavour to convince her how much her presence
had contributed to it, and that the supremest wish his soul could
form, was to enjoy it with her in the nearest, and most tender union,
as long as life continued. - She received the declarations he made her
of his passion with great reserve, and yet more coldness; and affected
to take them only for the effects of a gallantry, which she told him
was far from being agreeable to a person of her humour: but he
imputing her behaviour only to an excess of that extreme modesty which
accompanied all her words and actions, was so far from being rebuffed
at it, that he acquainted her parents with his inclination, and, at
the same time, intreated their permission for prosecuting his
addresses to her.

Both of them heard his proposals with a joy which it was impossible
for either, especially the mother of that lady, to conceal: - each
cried out, almost at the same time, that the sentiments he expressed
for their daughter, was an honour they hoped she had too much good
sense not to accept with the utmost satisfaction, and added, that they
would immediately lay their commands upon her, to receive him in the
manner she ought to do.

As their families and fortunes were pretty equivalent, and Maria,
besides her being an heiress, had beauty enough to expect to marry,
even above her rank, Natura could not keep himself from being a little
astonished at the extravagance of pleasure they testified at the offer
he had made: parents generally take some time to consider, before they
give their assent to a proposal of this sort; and as he knew they were
very well acquainted with the occasion of his leaving England this
second time, and were of a party the most opposite that could be to
that he was suspected to have favoured, their extreme readiness to
dispose of their only daughter, and with her their whole estate, to
him seemed the more strange, as he had been, ever since he conceived a
passion for Maria, in the most terrible apprehension of meeting with a
different reception from them, meerly on the account of his supposed
principles.

The transport, however, that so unexpected a condescension gave him,
prevented him from examining too deeply what might be the motives that
induced them to it, and he gave himself wholly up to love, gratitude,
and the delightful thoughts of being in a short time possessed of all
he at present wished, or imagined he ever should ask of Heaven.

But how were all these rapturous expectations dashed, when soon after
going to visit Maria, he found her lovely eyes half drowned in tears,
and her whole frame in the utmost disorder: - 'What, madam,' cried he,
with a voice which denoted both grief and surprize, 'can have
happened, to give you any cause of the disquiet I see in you!' - 'You,'
replied she, snatching away her hand, which he had taken, 'you alone
are the cause; - what encouragement did I ever give you,' continued
she, 'that should make you imagine the offers you have made my parents
would be agreeable to me? - Did I ever authorize you to ask a consent
from them, which I was determined never to grant myself, and which, I
will suffer a thousand deaths rather than ratify.'

The confusion Natura was in at these words was so great, that it
prevented him from making any answer; but he looked on her in such a
manner as made her ashamed of what she had said, and perhaps too of
the passion that had so far transported her; and perceiving he still
continued silent, 'I own myself obliged for the affection you express
for me,' resumed she, with more mildness, 'though it is at present the
greatest misfortune could have happened to me. Could I have thought
you would have declared yourself in the manner you have done to my
father and mother, I would have convinced you how impossible it would
be for you to reap any advantage from it, and that by so doing you
would only make me the most wretched creature in the world; but all is
now too late, and I foresee the cruel consequence.' - Here her tears
interrupted the passage of her words, and Natura having recollected
himself, began to complain of the severity of his destiny, which
compelled him to _love_ with the most violent passion a person who
could only return it with an equal degree of hate. - 'Love,' replied
she, with a deep sigh, 'is not in our power; - let me therefore conjure
you, by all that which you pretend to have for me, to proceed no
farther in this business, nor endeavour to prevail on my parents to
force an inclination, which no obligations to them, services from you,
or length of time can ever influence in your favour; for be assured,
that if you do, you will only see the hand should be given you at the
altar, employed in cutting my own throat, or plunging a dagger in my
breast.'

With these words, and an air that had somewhat of wildness in it, she
flung out of the room, leaving him in a consternation impossible to
describe, almost to conceive; her mother came in immediately after,
and judging by his countenance how her daughter had behaved, told him
he must not regard the coyness of a young girl; that she doubted not
but Maria would soon be convinced what was her true happiness; and
that a little perseverance and assiduity on his side, and authority on
theirs, would remove all the scruples, bashfulness alone had created
in her: 'No, madam,' answered he, with some impatience, 'there is
somewhat more than all this you have mentioned, against me; - there is
a rooted detestation to me in the very soul of Maria, which as I
cannot but despair of being ever able to remove, common reason bids me
attempt no farther.'

The mother of Maria appeared very much perplexed, and said a great
deal to perswade him that his apprehensions were without foundation;
but the young lady had expressed herself in terms too strong for him
not to be perfectly assured she was in earnest; and being willing to
ruminate a little on the affair, he took leave, though not without the
other extorting a promise from him, of coming again the next day.

Natura had not given himself much time to reflect, before he conceived
great part of the truth: - he could not think either his person or
qualifications so contemptible, as to inspire a heart unprepossessed
by some other object, with an aversion such as Maria had expressed: he
therefore concluded, she had disposed of her affections before she
knew of his: it also seemed plain to him that her parents were not
ignorant of her attachment, and being such as they could not approve
of, it was that which had rendered them both so ready to snatch at his
proposal, without any mention of those considerations they would
otherwise naturally have had of jointure, settlements, and all those
things, previous to marriage, between persons of condition.

He was the more confirmed in this belief, when the father came to his
lodgings the next morning; and without seeming to know any thing of
what had passed between him, either with his wife, or Maria, asked, in
a gay manner, how the latter had received his addresses? To which
Natura answered in the same manner as he had done to her mother;
adding only, that he could not avoid believing her heart was already
engaged to some more worthy man, and was sorry his own unhappy passion
had occasioned any interruption. The father left nothing unsaid that
might dissipate such a conjecture, and affected to railly him on a
jealousy which, he said, was common to lovers; and then told him a
long story how himself had formerly suffered much by the same vain
imagination. But all this was so far from making Natura doubt the
truth of his conjectures, that, seeing through the artifice, he was
the more convinced they were intirely right.

He went, notwithstanding, in the afternoon, either because he had
promised to do so, or because he could not all at once resolve to
banish himself from a person he took so much pleasure in beholding,
though now without hopes of ever being able to obtain: - being left
alone with Maria, both of them remained in a kind of sullen silence
for some minutes, till at last the force of his passion in spite of
himself made him utter some complaints on the cruelty of fortune, and
his own insensibility, which had denied him the opportunity of
discovering the thousand charms he now found in her, till too late to
have his adoration of them acceptable to her. 'I have not less
reason,' said she, 'to accuse the chance which at this time brought us
together, than you can possibly have; since the love you profess for
me, and which I once more assure you I can never return, has laid me
under the severest displeasure of my parents'; - 'but I had hopes,'
continued she, 'after the declaration I made you yesterday, that you
would have renounced all pretensions to me, and had generosity enough
in your nature, not to have taken the advantage of my father and
mother's power over me, to force me into a compliance, which must be
fatal to one or both of us.'

'No, madam,' answered he, much surprized, 'I am far from even a wish
of becoming guilty of what you accuse me with; - dear as I prize your
person, I would not attempt to purchase it at the expence of your
peace of mind; nor could I be truly blessed in the enjoyment of the
_one_, without the _other_; - it is only to Maria herself I would have
been obliged, not to the authority of her parents.'

'Will you then quit me,' cried she hastily, 'and let the act appear
wholly your own?' - 'I will,' replied he, after a pause, 'difficult as
it is to do so, and irresolute and inconstant as it will make me
seem.' 'That,' said she, 'will be an action truly deserving my esteem;
and in return, know I am much more your friend in refusing your
addresses, than either my parents in encouraging, or your own mistaken
wishes in offering them': - 'but,' pursued she, 'I beg you will enquire
no farther, but leave me, and break off with my parents in the best


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Online LibraryEliza Fowler HaywoodLife's Progress Through The Passions Or, The Adventures of Natura → online text (page 10 of 16)