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* tween me and my lord, on you be ail the
<. blame.*

* Ma}' it refl upon me for ever !' He uttered
this terrible imprecation as lie led his viclim lo
the cliariot. lie Hopped a moment, under pre-
tence of giving his valet inliruclions for thc.r
rente, while Geraldine, clafping her trembling
liands exclaimed, * Adieu, Monteith ! perhaps
eternally adieu !' The fervants crowded into the
corridor with looks of conllernation and dif-
trefs. Fitzofborne called aloud, that the other
carriage fhould follow as foon as pofTible, and
join them at the next poit-tOvvn. Then throw-
ing himifelf into the chariot, the horfes fet oiT
full fpeed on the Edinburgh road.

CHAP,



Il6 A TALE OF. THE TIMES.



iy



CHAP. XIV.



A::y]u!5j hofpnable, ric>), and p'oof^.
In fair Arlfba's walls (his native place)
He held his feat ; the friend of human race.
Fad by the road, his ever-open door
Oblig'd the wealthy, and reliev'd the poor.
Breathlefs the good man all.

IVlARIA flood in the great hall ready to attend
her lady, her eyes fwelled with tears, and her
l^eart throbbing with forrow at the idea of her
beloved mlftrefs's diftrefs, when (he was joined
by the old houfekeeper.

* Pray, Mrs. Maria,* faid the good woman^

< can you tell me what is the matter with her

< ladylhip ? It is fo odd to fet out for London

< at eight o'clock at night, and fo late in Sep-

< tember too. Thank God ! there is a very
f good moon to be fure, and the roads are very

< fafe, and I wifh you all well there with all my
i heart. But poor foul muft be faint, for fhe

< has not ate one mouthful of dinner, though I

< fent up two courfes as nicely difiied as ever I

< did in my life. She has had nothing within.

< her lips, the footmen fay, but one glafs of

< fome fort of cordial which Mr. Fitzofborne
* mixed up and gave her.*

< My mafter did not touch one morfel neither,'
obferved Fitzofbornc's feivant, who now joined

them.

^ Youi-



A TALE OF THE TIMES. I77

« Your mafter, Mr. Pomade, does not do
many things which other people think they
ought to do. He never goes to church, nor
fays his prayers ; and yet he pretends to be
very good. So, if he can be good without
going to church, or faying his prayers, he
may live without eating for what I know.*

< You are rather fevere, Mrs. Annifeed.
My mafter, madam, I muft inform you, is
one of the raoft generous, free, good-tem-
pered gentlemen in the world.'

' Very likely, I only know that my lord
and lady were as happy as kings and queens
before he came.'

< I wifh,' faid the weepieg Maria,.* that our
chaife was ready.'

< Go, Sandy,' f^id Pomade to one of the
rooms, < do juft have the goodnefs for once

to be expeditious J and if you vvill do me the
honour of a call in town, a bottle of burgun-
dy is at your fervice : but, a-prcpos^ my dear
Mifs Maria, fuppofe I have the happinefs of
juft drinking one^glafs of wine with you be-
fore we fet out oa our inumnfe long. expedi-
tion,'

The houfekeeper now beckoned Maria into
le fpicC'room. < Do as you pleafe, child,'
faid the fagacious matrcn -, « but if I was you,
I would not go to Loiidoii with that randoni
fop. You and I vvill get into the chaife, 'i\\\^\.
fay nothinir to him, but go by ourfeives after
our dear miltrefs.'

* But he has received direcflions what inns
we are to ftop at ovi. the road.'

< Never mind. With God's bielTing, we
(liall find her as we^ without him as with hinr,
I dare fay. Ah Maria I Maria ! there is no

H 3 * good



178 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

* good abroad, I fear. Heaven preferve her
' ladyfliip is all I fay.*

One of the (table-boys now entered to fay,
that, as my lord's groom was putting the horfes
into the travelling pcftchaife, one of them had
turned reflive, and had kicked the fliafts all to
pieces.

* Then harnefs out my lord's,' exclaimed
Maria.'

* That's impofTible ; for the coachman is
' gone with it to Stirling to be mended.*

* Then I will have the coach.'

* What ? fend the new coach twelve miles

* in the night ? No ! INIafter Sandy dare not

* do tliar, 1 know Why, the coachman would

* have us both turned oii' directly.'

* Then prav, William, let me have the

* curricle.'

* No,' faid- the houfekeeper ; * I won't have
' mv bones broke in the curricle; but I can
' ride double very well. Have the two faddle
' horfes got ready dirccftiy.'

A fnout af ridicule was now raifed aijainft

the houfekeeper by Mr. Pomade, who came

to condole with Maria upon his misfortune in

jot having the pleafure of travelling with her

hat evenino^. * We mult defer our expedition,

my dear,' fald he, * till morr.ing's early ray ;

and I proteft, but for the lofs of your charm-

ino; companv, 1 fhould be glad ; for I hud the

thick mountain fog very pernicious to my

lungs, which fuffered extremely in eroding

the Alps when I came out of Italy. Mr.

Fitzolborne has too much friendfhip for me to

be difpleafed at mv not expofing myfelf to

the night air.*

« I will



A TALE OF THE TIMES. i 7p

* I will follow my lady/ fald INIaria, « If I go
on foot.'

« You will be very likely to be fure to over-
take her, who has fet out an hour before you
in a chariot and four. No ' come, as it is
utterly impoflible for us to proceed, let us^
embrace my good friend the butler's propofal,
and have a little fefi:ival. He has promlfed
us plenty of excellent champagne ; and I rc-
quert Mifs Maria's hand for the ball. Nay !
my dear creature, why do you cry fo ? Lady
Monteith will be vaiViy well takeji care of, I.
dare fay. 'Pon my foul ! i fliall begin to bs
fcandalous, if you take on fo, and fay, that
though her lady (hip looks like an angel, (lie
is a devil of a termagant.'

* 1 don't know what your mailer looks like;
but I could tell you what he is, it I chofe it,'
faid the houfe-keeper : * but it Is not my
way to be uncivil to any body." Her mode-
ration, however, continued no longer than till
flie heard that the ridiiig-horfcs were all loofe:
in the Park, and that the ^rooni had fati<j!K(i
himfeif to no purpoie In endeavourlnf]; to catch-
them. She now poured u}K)n FitzoilDorne a
thoufand execrations ; and, without paying, the-
kall attention to the excules, which drove to ■
perfuade her that thefe misfortunes were merely.
rhe efic-cft of cliaiice, her painan and Maria's
tears became io tvoublefome, tliat the butler,
to pacify them, pvomifed to v.-alk to the next
poft-town, and to order a hired ch^ife imiu-
diately.

He did walk, but it was only to the watr;^-
tower, where he, Mr. Pomade, and tne perfi-
dious groom, fpent a riotous evening, exuum^. ■
in.ths triumph of wickediiefs, and a.iticipathi-,^,.

their



l8o A T^LE OF THE TIMES.

their promlfed reward, while the reft of th'e-
family exhibited a fcene of diftradlion.

The morning rofe, but not to bring confola-
tion. The obflacles to Maria's following her
lady multiplied every hotir. Indeed, that faith-
ful girl was now incapable of taking the jour-
ney. She had been in ftrong hyllerics mod
part of the night ; and the venerable houfe-
keeper, though Oie alternately blamed, pitied^
'.md commended her aifeclionate fellow-fervant,
had now fo exhaufted her own feeble (Irength,
that file was unequal to any further exertion.

About two o'clock a carriage drove into the
eaftle-yard, and was welcomed by the univerfal
ihout of, * Thank God ! it is either my lord or

* my lady.' It was neither. Henry Powerf-'
court arrived, but unhappily one day too late
to fave the honour, and ultimately the life of
G-eraldins.

• Where is lady Monteith ?' was his firft
inquiry. ' Gone.' — * Whither ?' No one
knew. — * With whom .?" — Mr. ritzofborne.*

Henry reeled againft the portal, clapped his
hand to his forehead, and was fpeechiefs.

The fcrvants crowdedv round him. A burft
of tears relieved his manly forrow. He then
inquired, ♦ Where is my lord ^ — * Gone too.''
— < What, in purfuit of the countefs ?' — No !
they believed her ladyfliip was gone after
him.

< This is villany of a deeper cafl,' refumed
Henrv. * She is the vi(l\im of fraud, not of

* perfuafion.'

The houfekeeper was by this time got into
the hall, eaoer to aik his opinion, or to receive
his inilru6\ions. And the pale trembling
Maria, hearing that Mr. Powerfcourt knew

what



A TALE OF THE TIMES. l^t

what was become of her Lidy, had dragged her
feeble frame to hear the defired tidings.

« Heaven blefs you ! my good fir/ faid the
houfekeeper. * If you had but come a little
« fooner, it would not have been fo/ Henry
now inquired the particulars, which were re-
counted as intelligibly as twenty different voices
could detail them. In one point they all agreed,
that their lady feemed in the greateft diftrefs.

« Ah, betrayed innocent !" exclaimed Henry.

< And is my lord's journey a fecret too?'

< A mod profound one, fir,' faid the butler,

< He went, you fay, in a ,hired chaife and

• four, at fix o'clock yefterday morning, the

< road toward the Moors ?^

< I do, fir.' replied the groom.

« Nav now, Sandy,' faid one of the footmen,

♦ that is little better than a lie ; I faid fo, and

< you told my lady, when ("he feem-ed fo fright-

< ened about him, that you faw the chaife turn
« by the lodges in the park, and then ftop, and

< go back again toward Edinburgh.'

« Did not you think fo too, Mr. Thomas ?'
faid the groom, addrefling the butler.

* Whv, my eyes might deceive me, but Mr,
« Pomade thought the fame.'

< Who is Mr. Pomade i'

< Mr. Fitzoiborne's fervant.'

< Call him. He may poflibly throw fome
« light on this inexplicable bufmefs.'

* He went off to London at four o'clock this

< morning,' anfwered the groom.

«* How ?' — * On horfeback.'

« Another lie,' exclaimed the houfekeeper.

< O, there are fome wicked doings, and it will

< all come out. The very Hones in the Itreet

< will fpeak when there has been a murder^

« His



1^2 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

^ His mafter lias got no horfes, and you told'
' us that you could not catch any of my lord's,

* if we would give you a thoufand pounds.'

* Do 1/ faid Powerfcourt, * fee around me

* fo many (tout healthy men, fed by lord Mon-

* teith's bounty i and would none of them walk

* to to order a chaife, that this young

^ woman might have accompanied her mif-

< trefs ?'

A general murmur announced that they
would all have wiiiin<!;ly walked to Johnny
Groat's houfe to ferve their lord or their lady,
but the butler had undertaken that office.

< And why did he not perform it then ?' faid:
Powerfcourt. * I flopped at that town my-

* felf two hours ago, and lam confident, not

* only that there are chaifes to be procured,

* but alfo that no meilenger from Monteith had'

< been to order one.'

The butler attempted an excufe ; but the
groom, falling upon his knees, faid, he would'
confefs all. JMr. Fitzofborne had long defigned
to run away with his lady when he liad an op-
portunity. His lordfljip received a note on the
evening before her departure, after his lady
was gone to bed, giving him an invitation lo-
go to ihoot fome moor-game on the neighbour-
ing mountains with fome gentlemen of his
acquaintance; arid, propofmg to fet off foon in
the morning, he left a note for his lady, telling-
her where he was gone. He confeffed too,
that }]e had told Mr. Fitzofborne this, and alfo
that he was gone in a hired chaife on account
of the bad roads, and without any attendants,
for gentlemen did not like to have any more
\vith tliem on the mountains than were abfo-
luteiv nccefTiirv. Thi;t Fitzciboriie tlien tockr

tiiS



A TALC OF THE TIMES. iS'j

tht note from Kim, and bade him fay, if he was
cjueltioned, that he went round by Farmer
Thompfon's, and then turned toward Edin-
burgh.

Influenced by a fudden ftart of indignation.
Henrv ordered both the groom and the butler
into cullody, without confidering that the
blacked crimes will fometim.es evade the punifti-
ment of human laws. He now paufed a mo-
ment to confider how he fliould a£^, when the
head nurfe thus interrupted his mufings :

* Won't you fee the pretty little dears, fir ?
Alas-a-dav ! what is to become of them ?
They have been aiking for their mamma all
the morning. Lady Bell and lady Luey have
fat a'nd learned the lefibns 'iw^ gave them
yefterday, like two anj^els 5 and they fay that
they know fiie will call them good girls, and
kifs them, when Ihe comes ; and that dear-
beautiful little creatu-re Geraluine has made
up a nofegay for n^.am-mam. She can hardly
talk, YOU know. Dear fweet fouls ! to have
their mother taken fromi them. So young-
too ! Do, good fir, jull go and fee them.
Mv little lord is vaftly grow^n, even Jince you
went avv'ay, and crows, and is fo merry !'
Henry faffered himfelf to be led to the nur-

fery. 'J he fcene overpowered his fortitude.
O, coufm Harry I' echoed the two elder,
we are fo glad you are come again.' — « Do,'

continued Arabella, ' tell mamma we arereadv
v^'ith our books. Is not fhe well, that fhe
has not been to fee us this morning } nurfe
does cry fo, and (lie won't tell us why.'

* Were all thy drops of blood lives, Kitz-

* ofborne i' exclaimed Henry, < thy crimes de-

* mand the forfeiture of all. Villain ' mon-

* ftrous



184 A TALE OF THE TIJvlES.

* ftrous infernal villain ! to facrlfice to fenfual
« paffion the peace, the welfare, the reputation

* of innocents like thefe !'

< My dear little ladies,' cried the nurfe to
the terrified children, ' naughty Mr. Fitzof-

* borne has took your mamma away ; but if

* you will be very good, and not cry, this good
' gentleman will fetch her back again/

* Yes, indeed, I will be very good,' faid the
fobbing lady Arabella, < and not cry, if I can

* help it. Pray, Lucy, don't hold coufm
Harry's coat ; confider you will hinder him ;
and when you find mamma, coufin, tell her
{he fnall not fee us cry when (he comes home

* again.'

Henry caught the children alternately in his
arms, and while his heart yearned at their mif-
fortune, he commended their deferted inno-
cence to the common Parent of the orphan and.
tpje diftrefled. He at length tore himfelf from-
the aiFecting fcene.

He now debated which way to (hape his-
courfe : whether to fet off in purfuit of the
countefs, or to communicate the intelligence of
her abfence to lord Monteith, and to confult
with him what meafures Ihould be adopted.
Every circumftance proved that fhe had been
rather entrapped than feduced. A hope (truck
him, that his refcue raiglit come in time to fave^
her from difhonour, and he fet out rapidly in^
fearch of her*

He flopped at all the pod inns on the route
to Edinburgh ; but his ininute inquiries obtain-
ed no fatijfadtioa. Ja that city he renewed his
fcrutiny; and when his failing hopes had almoQ:
deferted him, he obtained what he thought a
guiding clue. It proved evafive. Still, how-
ever,



(



(



A TALE OF THE TIMES* 185

ever, ccnvinced in his own mind, that London
would be the place of Fitzofborne's deftination^
as behig beft fuited for the purpofes of conceal-
ment, he continued to travel towards the fouth,
till he accidently faw a tenant of fir Willam
Powerfcourt's at an inn door, where he was
changing horfes. Anxiety for his Lucy indu-
ced him to inquire after her welfare. The
honed ruftic mournfully fhook his head. < Ah!

* fir,' faid he, * all is well at the pai fonage *, but
very bad news at the manor-houfe. Our

' good old mafter has heard that the lady coun-
tefs his daughter ran away with a fine London
^ 'fquire ; and it has thrown the gout into his

* ftomach, and they doubt he won't get over

* it. There's not a dry eye within ten miles of

* him bv this time. I told all the folks I met

* as I came along, and they all began to pray^

* for him, and to drink to his getting well.

* And they do fo curfe my lady countefs. For

* my part, fir, I can't curfe her ; for I don't.

* think it true ; do you ? She was the prettied,.

* decenteft young lady I ever faw in my life,

* when fhe was with us ; but they do fay this

* London 'fquire was an eternal great rogue.'

Henry lifted up his eyes to heaven, as if re-
quiring the tardy lightning to blaft Fitzoibome's-
complicated guilt. He now turned his courfe
weftward, and arrived at Powerfcourt late die
enfuing day, worn down by fatigue and anxie-
ty. He had, however, the fatisfad^ion to hear,
that fir William was ftill alive, and he learnt
the following particulars from Mr. Evens.

The news of lady Monteith's elopement had'
travelled to Powerfcourt with inconceivable
celerity. A dependent of the earl's, more
grateful than judicious in his iutentions, had

perfuaded



l8l6 A TALE OF THE TIMESi- ,

perfuadcd himfelf, that a mighty nolfe "W-as^
made about nothing at all ; for that the lady-
was only gone to (lay a Httle with her father,.
as his wife would fometimes do, when he had
a word or two with her. He determined there-
fore to ride port to Caernarvonfliire, not doubting
tiiat he fhould bring news back of her being
fafe and well. His uncouth manner, and con-
fufed extravagant account rather amufed than
alarmed the fervants, and it was accidentally
communicated to fir William. Nothing refpetffc-
ing his darlin*; child was unintercfting to him.
He ordered the " bonnie Scot" into his pre-
fience ; and though he gave little credence to
the. improbable narrative, he heard with concern,
that lord Monteith's affairs were in a bad (late,
and that^he and his lady were thought not ta
be quite fo happy as they were-

Sir William paffed a reftlefs miferabie night,
and the next morning appeared ferioufly ill. He
rofe, however, with the determination of going
himfelf into Scotland, when an exprefs arrived
from lord Monteith, which proclaimed his own
difgrace in terms of the mofl: rafh feverity ; and
haftened the crifis of fir William's diforder.
He was immediately felzed with fpafms in his
Itomach, and, though fomewhat relieved by*
medical aid, he ftiiil remained fpeechlefs, and in
a very alarming ilate.

< He is perteclly fenfible,' continued Mr.
Evans, < and his countenance is inconceivably

* interefting. I never faw fo much meek for-

< row filently exprefled. I am confident, that

* his frame of mind is fuch as his life would

< warrant us to expedV, and that he blcfies the
« Power that corre(Sls him. I have juft been at
« prayers by his bed-fide. He prefTed my hand.

when.



A TALE ©F THE TIMES. I 87

« when I had finlfiied ; looked at the portrait
of his daughter, which hung at his bed's feet,
then on me ; and hiftly raifed his eyes to
Heaven. I underflood that he commended
her to me. The hgature, as Sterne obferves,
-fine as it is, Ihall never be broken. When
the world forfakes her, I will receive and
cherifli the mourner. She may be frail and
criminal ; flie cannot be wholly abandoned."
Lucy now, having heard of Henry's return,
rufhed into the room with inquiries refpe£ling
her friend. She liHened with breathlefs eager-
nefs to the narrative which he related. * 'Tis

* as I faid,' exclaimed fhe, clafping her hands :

< I knew that her pure elevated mind could

< never yield confent to an adulterous elope-
« ment. O Henry ! do follow her to London

* — the traitor has certainly concealed her

* there ; — rcfcue her from him; — fear not his

* oppofition — guilt like his mufh be cowardly :

* — perhaps even yet ycu may fave our Geral-

< dine.'

' Let us ftudy moderation in every thing,^
replied Mr. Evans in his ufual dignified man-
ner ; < v/hether we grieve for the refpedl:able
friend who feems leaving us for a happier
world, or feek to afiift: the dear lady who ap-
' peared to be worthy of a better fate. Let us
ever remember, that excefs offends. Do not
you fee, my dear child, that Mr. Powerfcourt
is exhaufted by diflrefs, and the fatigue of
feven days' inceffant travelling. V/e have no
clue to dire(fl us where to Bud the loft coun-
tefs. Liftead, therefore, of wearing out his
ftrength in impatient romantic wandering, let
him referve it, till feme certain intelligence
calls us forth to action j and if / can ferve

« die



l88 A TALE OF THE TIMES,-

' the child of my benefa6^or, neitherrny ige nor

* my fiuKfbion fhall be pleaded inmy excufe. In "
' the mean time we will confole ourfelves with

' the convi6lion, that Fitzofborne cannot fecrete
' her from the fuperinrendanec of Omnipotence ;
' and we will confide her to the care of that Pro-
' videncc' which never deferts thofe who, fenfible

* of their own weaknefs and the perils by which

* they are furrounded, fandtify the meafures
' which human prudence fuggefts by a depend-
' upon him who is able to fave." The weeping
Lucy acquiefced in the piety and the wifdom of
this^ refiedion.'

Affairs continued in this flatc at Powerfcourt
till the following evening. Sir William grew
perceptibly weaker, and Henry in vain endea-
voured to infpire Mifs Evans with the hopes
which he had himfelf abandoned. Every found,
and every footftep feemed to her chargeti with ti-
dings from her friend. About nine in the even-
ing a note arrived, which 1 (hall tranfcribe*.

To Miss Evans.

* Let not Mlfs Evans ftart at the writing of
' her once-beloved Geraldine. The lofl mifer-
' able wretch prefumes not to claim the friend-

* fhip which was the delight of her happier days.

* I only afk companion. Tell me, is my father
' yet alive f If he is, exert that refiftlefs elo-
' quence which convinces every heart, and move
' him to befiow his parental blefling on his un-
' done child. And for this a6l of mercy, the lad

' I will ever folicit, my dying lips but I dare

' not pray 1 did not afk the prote6ling care

* of Heaven. — I did not liflen to your counfels.
' —I was fslf-vvilled, boaflful. — Ah ! what am I

* now ?



.A TALE OF THE TIMES. I69

< now ? — I have no home, no name, no one to
' recognife or to prote6l me. Lord Monteith
c — but I deferve his accuiations. Yet if I am
' the fhanielels being he calls me — I know not

* what 1 fay. — O that eternal mercy would fave

* me from the pangs of murdering my father!"

I (pare all comment upon the feelings of Mifs
Evans at receiving this incoherent epiftle. In-
deed it would be impoffible tofay, whether grief
or joy, rage or pity predominated. The meflen-
.ger ftated, that the -lady who fent hirn was at an
inn a few miles diftant.' The landlady told him
it was a great pity that none of her ftiends came
to her, for that fiie was quite alone, very ill,
.and .fcarcely m her right mind-
Not an inftant was ioft in expediting the defir-
ed confolation. The-carriage was prepared, and
the ferva. Its mounted, each contending^ with all
their national inipetuohty and humanity, who
ihould be the filft to fetch back the refp -ded
fuorjcive. Lucy had deteimiined to go, but Hen-
ry perfuaded her. to change thatrefolution. ^ Spend
' &i€ time of my abfrnce,' faid be, ' with your
' your. father, and .cOi.fult his dijpainonate jud^-
^ ment, whether it will be prudc.it to apprize fir
>« Will lam that we have heard of her. Try too,
'^ my love, to prepare your fortitude for the moft
'' excruciatino; ttial it ^ ver fufc-ined. The dear
^ ursforiunate requires more than ciie tear 01 iym-
•' patiiizing io low.' ^

' Reicoie her quickly to rrie,' cried Mifs E-
vans. ' i will v/atch her night and d-iy. She (liall
' oe all my employment, all my c^ire,'

* The fi^eed of my leturn will entirely depend
' upon her ability to bear the journey,' replied

Henry.

^ Let



190 ^A TALE OF THE TlM£S.

Let the fufceptiblc rer.der, who has attended to
the dehneation of lady Monteith's character-
through the preceding pages, conceive the fitua-
tion of her mind at the time that her coufin join-
ed her at the obfcure inn which rifforded her a
temporary afvlum. I,et them recolltdl: her keen
abhorrence of difgiac^-, her eager purluif of fame,
hei acute fenfibiiiiy as a daughter, a wife, and a
mother. Let them contrait the exquifite refine-
ment of her ideas with her p^efent calamities,
and releafe me from the vain attempt of defcrib-
ing her mental fufFerings.

She lay np('n a couch ; her eyes fixed and ray-
]efs ; her liftJefs arms hanging motionlefs ; her
face deadly pal.?, and half concealed by her re-
dundant negle6ted hair, l^he attendant, ' who
was fitting by her, announced a gentleman who
wifhed to fpeak with her. Inftantly tne ftupe-
fa6i:ion in her countenance changed to extreme


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Online LibraryMrs. (Jane) WestA tale of the times (Volume 2) → online text (page 13 of 18)