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Ives and myself both wished to be married at the altar, and to proceed to
Bolton Rectory immediately after the ceremony. To this her mother warmly
objected; and argument and respectful remonstrance had followed each other for
some time, before Clara submitted in silence, but with difficulty restrained
her tears. This appeal to the best feelings of the mother triumphed; and she
yielded her love of splendour, to her love for her offspring. Clara, with a
lightened heart, kissed and thanked her, and accompanied by Emily, left the
room. Jane had risen to follow them, but catching a glimpse of the tilbury of
Colonel Egerton, re-seated herself, calmly awaiting his entrance:  he had
merely driven over at the earnest entreaties of the ladies, to beg Miss Jane
would accept a seat back with him; they had some little project on foot, and
could not proceed without her assistance. Mrs. Wilson looked gravely at her
sister, as she smiled acquiescence to his wishes; and the daughter, who but
the minute before had forgotten there was any other person in the world but
Clara, flew for her hat and shawl, in order, as she said to herself, the
politeness of Colonel Egerton might not keep him in waiting for her. Lady
Moseley resumed her seat by the side of her sister with an air of great
complacency, as having seen her daughter happily off, she returned from the
window. For some time, each was occupied quietly with her needle, for neither
neglected their more useful employments in that way, in compliance with the
fashions of the day, when Mrs. Wilson suddenly broke the silence with saying,
 Who is Colonel Egerton?
Lady Moseley looked up for a moment in amazement, but recollecting herself,
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answered,  nephew and heir of Sir Edgar Egerton, sister. This was spoken in a
rather positive way, as if it were to be unanswerable; yet as there was
nothing harsh in the reply, Mrs. Wilson continued,
 Do you not think him attentive to Jane? Pleasure sparkled in the yet
brilliant eyes of Lady Moseley, as she exclaimed--
 Do you think so?
 I do; and you will pardon me if I say, improperly so. I think you were wrong
in suffering Jane to go with him this afternoon.
 Why improperly so, Charlotte; and if Colonel Egerton is polite enough to
show Jane such attentions, should I not be wrong in rudely rejecting them?
 The rudeness of refusing a request improper to be granted, is a very venial
offence, I believe, replied Mrs. Wilson, with a smile;  and I confess I think
it improper to allow any attentions to be forced on us, that may subject us to
disagreeable consequences in any way; but the attentions of Colonel Egerton
are becoming marked, Anne.
 Do you for a moment doubt their being honourable, or that he dares to trifle
with a daughter of Sir Edward Moseley? said the mother with a shade of
indignation.
 I should hope not, certainly, replied her aunt,  although it may be well to
guard against such misfortunes too; but I am of opinion it is quite as
important, to know whether he is worthy to be her husband, as it is that he be
serious in his intentions of becoming so.
 On what points, Charlotte, would you wish to be more assured? You know his
birth and probable fortune--you see his manners and disposition; but these
latter, are things for Jane to decide upon;she is to live with him, and it is
proper she should be suited in these respects.
 I do not deny his fortune or his disposition, but I complain that we give
him credit for the last and more important requisites, without evidence of his
possessing them. His principles, his habits, his very character, what do we
know of it? I say we, for you know, Anne, that your children are as dear to me
as my own would have been.
 I believe you sincerely, said Lady Mosley;  but these things you mention
are points for Jane to decide on; if she be pleased, I have no right to
complain. I am determined never to controul the affections of my children.
 Had you said, never to force the affections of your children, you would have
said enough, Anne; but, to controul, or rather guide the affections of a
child, especially a daughter, is a duty in some cases, as imperious as it
would be to avert any other impending calamity. Surely the time to do this, is
before the affections of the child are likely to endanger her peace of mind.
 I have seldom seen much good result from this interference of the parents,
said Lady Moseley, adhering to her opinions.
 True; for to be of use, it should not be seen, unless in extraordinary
cases. You will pardon me, Anne, but I have often thought parents are
generally in extremes; either determined to make the election for their
children, or leaving them entirely to their own flattered vanity and
inexperience, to govern not only their own lives, but I may say, leave an
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impression on future generations. And after all, what is this love? nineteen
cases in twenty of what we call affairs of the heart would be better termed
affairs of the imagination.
 And, is there not a great deal of imagination in all love? inquired Lady
Moseley, with a smile.
 Undoubtedly there is some; but there is one difference, which I take to be
this: in affairs of the imagination, the admired object is gifted with all
those qualities we esteem, as a matter of course, and there is a certain set
of females who are ever ready to bestow this admiration on any applicant for
their favours, who may not be strikingly objectionable; the necessity of being
courted, makes our sex rather too much disposed to admire improper suitors.
 But how do you distinguish affairs of the heart, Charlotte?
 Those in which the heart takes the lead-- these generally follow from long
intercourse, or the opportunity of judging the real character--and are the
only ones that are likely to stand the test of worldly trials.
 Suppose Emily to be the object of Colonel Egerton s pursuit, then, sister,
in what manner would you proceed to destroy the influence I acknowledge he is
gaining over Jane?
 I cannot suppose such a case, said Mrs. Wilson, gravely, and then observing
her sister to look, as if requiring an explanation, she continued--
 My attention has been directed to the forming of such principles, and such a
taste, if I may use the expression, under these principles, that I feel no
apprehension that Emily will ever allow her affections to be ensnared by a man
of the evident opinions and views of Colonel Egerton. I am impressed with a
two fold duty in watching the feelings of my charge; she has so much
singleness of heart, such real strength of pure native feeling, that should an
improper man gain possession of her affections, the struggle between her duty
and her love would be weighty indeed, but should it have proceeded so far as
to make it her duty to love an unworthy object, I am sure she would sink under
it; but Jane would only awake from a dream, and, for a while, be wretched.
 I thought you entertained a better opinion of Jane, sister, said Lady
Moseley, reproachfully.
 I think her admirably calculated by nature to make an invaluable wife and
mother; but she is so much under the influence of her fancy, that it is seldom
she gives her heart an opportunity of displaying its excellencies; and again,
she dwells so much upon imaginary perfections, that adulation has become
necessary to her. The man who flatters her delicately, will be sure to win her
esteem; and every woman might then love the being possessed of the qualities
she will not fail to endow him with.
 I do not know, that I rightly understand how you would avert all these sad
consequences of improvident affections? said Lady Moseley. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]