Imatges de pÓgina

thousand years old, one such instance of frailty, even in a young and beautiful widow, may possibly have happened. But to go on with my story.

The effects of this intimacy were soon visible on the lady's shape—a circumstance that greatly added to the happiness of Wilson. He determined to remove her to town; and ac-, cordingly took the house near St. James's, where Mrs Wil. son had seen him enter, and where his mistress, who passed in the neighbourhood for his wife, at that time lay in

I return now to Mrs Wilson, whom we left in a hackneycoach, going to her own house, in all the misery of despair and jealousy. It was happy for her that her constitution was good, and her resolution equal to it; for she has often told me, that she passed the night of that day in a condition little better than madness.

In the morning her husband returned ; and as his heart was happy, and without suspicions of a discovery, he was more than usually complaisant to her. "She received his civilities with her accustomed cheerfulness; and, finding that business would detain him in the city for some hours, she determined, whatever distress it might occasion her, to pay an immediate visit to his mistress, and to wait there till she saw him. For this purpose she ordered a coach to be called, and in her handsomest undress, and with the most composed countenance, she drove directly to the house. She inquired at the door if Mr Roberts was within ; and being answered no, but that he dined at home, she asked after his lady, and if she was well enough to see company ; adding, that as she came a great way, and had business with Mr Roberts, she should be glad to wait for him in his lady's apartment. The servant ran immediately up stairs, and as quickly returned with a message from her mistress, that she would be glad to see her.

Mrs Wilson confesses that at this moment, notwithstanding the resolution she had taken, her spirits totally forsook her, and that she followed the servant with her knees knocking together, and a face paler than death. She entered the room where the lady was sitting, without remembering on what errand she came; but the sight of so much beauty, and the elegance that adorned it, brought every thing to her thoughts, and left her with no other power than to fling herself into a chair, from which she instantly fell to the ground in a fainting fit. The whole house was alarmed upon this occasion, and


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every one busied in assisting the stranger; but most of all the mistress, who was indeed of a humane disposition, and who, perhaps, had no other thoughts to disturb her than the mere feelings of humanity. In a few minutes, however, and with the proper applications, Mrs Wilson began to re

She looked round her with amazement at first, not recollecting where she was; but seeing herself supported by her rival, to whose care she was so much obliged, and who in the tenderest distress was inquiring how she did, she felt herself relapsing into a second fit. It was now that she exerted all the courage she was mistress of, which, together, with a flood of tears that came to her relief, enabled her (when the servants were withdrawn) to begin as follows.

I am indeed, Madam, an unfortunate woman, and subject to these fits; but will never again be the occasion of trouble in this house. You are a lovely woman, and deserve to be happy in the best of husbands. I have a husband too; but his affections are gone from me. He is not unknown to Mr Roberts, though unfortunately I am. It was for his advice and assistance that I made this visit ; and not finding him at home, I begged admittance to his lady, whom I longed to see and to converse withi' Me, Madam!: answered Mrs Roberts, with some emotion, had you heard any thing of me?' * That you were such as

I have found you, Madam,' replied the stranger, "and had made Mr Roberts happy in a fine boy. May I see him, Madam? I shall love him for his father's sake.' * His father, Madam !' returned the mistress of the house, his father, did you say? I am mistaken then; I thought you had been a stranger to him.' • To his person, I own,' said Mrs Wilson, but not to his character; and therefore I shall be fond of the little creature. If it is not too much trouble, Madam, I beg to be obliged.'

The importunity of this request, the fainting at first, and the settled concern of this unknown visitor, gave Mrs Roberts the most alarming fears. She had, however, the presence of mind to go herself for the child, and to watch, without witnesses, the behaviour of the stranger. Mrs Wilson took it in her arms, and bursting into tears, said, “Tis a sweet boy, Madam ; would I had such a boy!

Had he been mine, I had been happy !. With these words, and in an agony of grief and tenderness, which she endeavoured to restrain, she kissed the child, and returned it to its mother.

It was happy for that lady that she had an excuse to leave

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it of the room. She had seen and heard what made her shudder lon, el for herself; and it was not till some minutes, after having thanz delivered the infant to its nurse,' that she had resolution 2012 enough to return. They both seated themselves again, and

a melancholy silence followed for some time. At last Mrs irst

, a Roberts began thus : orted

You are unhappy, Madam, that you have no child : I pray

Heaven that mine be not a grief to me. But I conjure you, shef by the goodness that appears in you, to acquaint me with

your story. : Perhaps it concerns me; I have a prophetic together heart that tells me it does. But whatever I may suffer, or oled le whether I live or die, I will be just to you.'

Mrs Wilson was so affected with this generosity, that she nd possibly had discovered herself, if a loud knocking at the


, and immediately after it the entrance of her husband nd d into the room, had not prevented her. He was moving toa berwards his mistress with the utmost cheerfulness, when the is sight of her visitor fixed him to a spot, and struck him with

an astonishment not to be described. The eyes of both ladies

were at once rivetted to his, which so increased his confulaision, that Mrs Wilson, in pity to what he felt, and to reMlieve her companion, spoke to him as follows: " I do not bewonder

, Sir, that you are surprised at seeing a perfect stranas!

your house ; but my business is with the master of hed

it; and if you will oblige me with a hearing in another

room, it will add to the civilities which your lady has enterHis

tained me with

Wilson, who expected another kind of greeting from his wife, was so revived at her prudence, that his powers of motion began to return; and quitting the room, he conducted her to a parlour below stairs. They were no sooner entered into this parlour, than the husband threw himself into a chair, fixing his eyes upon the ground, while the wife addressed him in these words:

How I have discovered your secret, or how the discovery has tormented me, I need not tell you. It is enough for

you to know that I am miserable for ever. My business with

you is short; I have only a question to ask, and to take a final leave of you in this world. Tell me truly then, as you shall answer it hereafter, if you have seduced this lady under false appearances, or have fallen into guilt by the temptations of a wanton ? •I shall answer you presently,' said Wilson; but first I have a question for you. Am I discovered to her? And does she know it is my wife I am

ger in

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now speaking to?? No, upon my honour,' she replied ;

her looks were so amiable, and her behaviour to me so gentle, that I had no heart to distress her. If she has guessed at what I am, it was only from the concern she saw me in, which I could not hide from her. You have acted nobly then,' returned Wilson, and have opened my eyes at last to see and to admire you. And now, if you have

patience to hear me, you shall know all.'

He then told her of his first meeting with this lady, and of every circumstance that had happened since ; concluding with his determination to leave her, and with a thousand promises of fidelity to his wife, if she generously consented, after what had happened, to receive him as a husband:

She must consent,' cried Mrs Roberts, who at that moment opened the door, and burst into the room ; she must consent. You are her husband, and may command it. For me, Madam,' continued she, turning to Mrs Wilson, he shall never see me more. I have injured you through ignorance, but will atone for it to the utmost. He is your husband, Madam, and you must receive him. I have listened to what has passed, and am now here to join my entreaties with his, that you may be happy for ever.

To relate all that was said upon this occasion would extend my story too much. Wilson was all submission, and acknowledgment; the wife cried and doubted; and the widow vowed an eternal separation. To be as short as possible, the harmony of the married couple was fixed from that day. The widow was handsomely provided for, and her child, at the request. of Mrs Wilson, taken home to her own house; where at the end of a year she was so happy, after all her distresses, as to present him with a sister, with whom he is to divide his father's fortune.- His mother retired into the country, and, two years after, was married to a gentleman of great worth ; to whom, on his first proposals to her, she related every circumstance of her story. The boy pays her a visit every year, and is now with his sister upon one of these visits. Mr Wilson is perfectly happy in his wife, and has sent me, in his own hand, this moral to his story.

• That though prudence and generosity may not always be sufficient to hold the heart of a husband, -yet a constant perseverance in them, will, one time or other, most certainly

regain it.

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. The first extract which follows is from the · Trials of Mar

garet Lyndsay,' by the author of Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life,' attributed, without a dissentient voice, to John Wilson, Esq. author of the Isle of Palms, City of the Plague, and other Poems. Few need be reminded of the rancorous opposition which endeavoured to decry the talents of Mr Wilson, when about to succeed Dr Thomas Brown, as Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh : and we had not alluded to it here, did not this circumstance account for a prejudice whose operation may still be traced in criticisms and allusions unavailingly intended to diminish the confidence reposed in: him as a teacher, and the popularity he has acquired as an author. Well, however, may his admirers look upon these with indifference. Censure, originating in such a feeling, falls harmless on its object; or, if not an “honourable sentence,' is more than-balanced by the good opinion of unbiassed judges. The voice of detraction already begins to be disregarded : Professor Wilson has secured from the candid that approbation which will increase with the lapse of years; and never was respect more sincere, or gratitude more warm, entertained by pupils towards a master, than that with which he is regarded by all who have been thrilled by his eloquence, or roused into exertion by his praise. In unsphering the spirit of more ancient systems, and in reconciling the discrepancies of later theories, he employs that felicity of style and of argument which carries conviction to the serious, while it commands attention from the volatile. In tracing the mysterious connections of human thought, and in re

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