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for them on the knight's estate; and the mother enjoyed a happy retreat in the character of housekeeper at Greavesbury-hall.
he saw and owned the rationality of these remarks. He readily undertook to employ all his influence with Crowe to dissuade him from his extravagant design; and seized the first opportunity of being alone with the captain, to signify his sentiments on this subject." Captain Crowe," said he, "you
In which our knight is tantalized with a are then determined to proceed in the course transient glimpse of felicity.
THE success of our adventurer, which we have particularized in the last chapter, could not fail of enhancing his character, not only among those who knew him, but also among the people of the town, to whom he was not an utter stranger. The populace surrounded the house, and testified their approbation in loud huzzas. Captain Crowe was more than ever inspired with veneration for his admired patron, and more than ever determined to pursue his footsteps in the road of chivalry. Fillet and his friend the lawyer could not help conceiving an affection, and even a profound esteem, for the exalted virtue, the person, and accomplishments of the knight, dashed as they were with a mixture of extravagance and insanity. Even Sir Launcelot himself was elevated to an extraordinary degree of self complacency on the fortunate issue of his adventure, and became more and more persuaded that a knight-errant's profession might be exercised, even in England, to the advantage of the community. The only person of the company who seemed unanimated with the general satisfaction was Mr Thomas Clarke. He had, not without good reason, laid it down as a maxim, that knight-errantry and madness were synonymous terms; and that madness, though exhibited in the most advantageous and agreeable light, could not change its nature, but must continue a perversion of sense to the end of the chapter. He perceived the additional impression which the brain of his uncle had sustained, from the happy manner in which the benevolence of Sir Launcelot had so lately operated; and began to fear it would be in a little time quite necessary to have recourse to a commission of lunacy, which might not only disgrace the family of the Crowes, but also tend to invalidate the settlement which the captain had already made in favour of our young lawyer.
Perplexed with these cogitations, Mr Clarke appealed to our adventurer's own reflection. He expatiated upon the bad consequences that would attend his uncle's perseverance in the execution of a scheme so foreign to his faculties; and entreated him, for the love of God, to divert him from his purpose, either by arguments or authority; as, of all mankind, the knight alone had gained such an ascendency over his spirits, that he would listen to his exhortations with respect and submission.
Our adventurer was not so mad, but that
of knight-errantry?" "I am," replied the seaman, "with God's help, d'ye see, and the assistance of wind and weather-" "What dost thou talk of wind and weather?" cried the knight, in an elevated tone of affected transport, "without the help of heaven, indeed, we are all vanity, imbecility, weakness, and wretchedness; but if thou art resolved to embrace the life of an errant, let me not hear thee so much as whisper a doubt, a wish, a hope, or sentiment, with respect to any other obstacle, which wind or weather, fire or water, sword or famine, danger or disappointment, may throw in the way of thy career. When the duty of thy profession calls, thou must singly rush upon innumerable hosts of armed men: thou must storm the breach in the mouth of batteries loaded with death and destruction, while every step thou movest, thou art exposed to the horrible explosion of subterranean mines, which, being sprung, will whirl thee aloft in the air, a mangled corse, to feed the fowls of heaven; thou must leap into the abyss of dismal caves and caverns, replete with poisonous toads and hissing serpents: thou must plunge into seas of burning sulphur : thou must launch upon the ocean in a crazy bark, when the foaming billows roll mountains high, when the lightning flashes, the thunder roars, and the howling tempest blows, as if it would commix the jarring elements of air and water, earth and fire, and reduce all nature to the original anarchy of chaos. Thus involved, thou must turn thy prow full against the fury of the storm, and stem the boisterous surge to thy destined port, though at the distance of a thousand leagues-thou must—”
"Avast, avast, brother," exclaimed the impatient Crowe, "you 've got into the high latitudes, d'ye see :-if so be as you spank it away at that rate, adad, I can't continue in tow-we must cast off the rope, or 'ware timbers. As for your 'osts and breeches, and hurling aloft, d'ye see, your caves and caverns, whistling tuoads and serpents, burning brimstone and foaming billows, we must take our hap; I value 'em not a rotten ratline: but as for sailing in the wind's eye, brother, you must give me leave-no offence I hope I pretend to be a thorough-bred seaman, d'ye see-and I'll be damn'd if you, or e'er an arrant that broke biscuit, ever sailed in a three-mast vessel within five points of the wind, allowing for variation and lee-way. No, no, brother, none of your tricks upon travellers-I a'n't now to learn
my compass." "Tricks!" cried the knight, starting up, and laying his hand on the pummel of his sword, "what! suspect my honour ?"
Crowe, supposing him to be really incensed, interrupted him with great earnestness, saying, "Nay, don't-what apize! adds-buntlines!-I didn't go to give you the lie, brother, smite my limbs: I only said as how to sail in the wind's eye was impossible." "And I say unto thee," resumed the knight, "nothing is impossible to a true knighterrant, inspired and animated by love." "And I say unto thee," holla'd Crowe, "if so be as how love pretends to turn his hawseholes to the wind, he's no seaman, d'ye see, but a snotty-nosed lubberly boy, that knows not a cat from a capstan-a don't."
"He that does not believe that love is an infallible pilot must not embark upon the voyage of chivalry; for, next to the protection of heaven, it is from love that the knight derives all his prowess and glory. The bare name of his mistress invigorates his arm: the remembrance of her beauty infuses into his breast the most heroic sentiments of courage; while the idea of her chastity hedges him round like a charm, and renders him invulnerable to the sword of his antagonist. A knight without a mistress is a mere non-entity, or at least a monster in nature, a pilot without compass, a ship without rudder, and must be driven to and fro upon the waves of discomfiture and disgrace."
"An that be all," replied the sailor, "I told you before as how I've got a sweetheart, as true a hearted girl as ever swung in canvass.-What tho'f she may have started a hoop in rolling-that signifies nothing-I'll warrant her tight as a nut-shell.”
"She must, in your opinion, be a paragon either of beauty or virtue. Now, as you have given up the last, you must uphold her charms unequalled, and her person without a parallel." "I do, I do uphold she will sail upon a parallel as well as e'er a frigate that was rigged to the northward of fifty."
"At that rate, she must rival the attractions of her whom I adore; but that, I say, is impossible: the perfections of my Aurelia are altogether supernatural; and as two suns cannot shine together in the same sphere with equal splendour, so I affirm, and will prove with my body, that your mistress, in comparison with mine, is as a glow-worm to the meridian sun, a rush-light to the full moon, or a stale mackarel's eye to a pearl of orient." 66 Harkye, brother, you might give good words, however: an we once fall a jawing, d'ye see, I can heave out as much bilgewater as another; and since you besmear my sweetheart Besselia, I can as well bedaub your mistress Aurelia, whom I value no more than old junk, pork-slush, or stinking stockfish."
Enough, enough-such blasphemy shall not pass unchastised. In consideration of our having fed from the same table, and maintained together a friendly, though short intercourse, I will not demand the combat before you are duly prepared. Proceed to the first great town where you can be furnished with horse and harnessing, with arms offensive and defensive; provide a trusty squire, assume a motto and device, declare yourself a son of chivalry, and proclaim the excellence of her who rules your heart. I shall fetch a compass; and wheresoever we may chance to meet, let us engage with equal arms in mortal combat, that shall decide and determine this dispute."
So saying, our adventurer stalked with great solemnity into another apartment; while Crowe, being sufficiently irritated, snapped his fingers in token of defiance. Honest Crowe thought himself scurvily used by a man whom he had cultivated with such humility and veneration; and, after an incoherent ejaculation of sea oaths, went in quest of his nephew, in order to make him acquainted with this unlucky transaction.
In the mean time, Sir Launcelot having ordered supper, retired into his own chamber, and gave a loose to the most tender emotions of his heart. He recollected all the fond ideas which had been excited in the course of his correspondence with the charming Aurelia. He remembered with horror the cruel letter he had received from that young lady, containing a formal renunciation of his attachment; so unsuitable to the whole tenor of her character and conduct. He revolved the late adventure of the coach, and the declaration of Mr Clarke, with equal eagerness and astonishment; and was seized with the most ardent desire of unravelling a mystery so interesting to the predominant passion of his heart. All these mingled considerations produced a kind of ferment in the economy of his mind, which subsided into a profound reverie, compounded of hope and perplexity.
From this trance he was waked by the arrival of his squire, who entered the room with the blood trickling over his nose, and stood before him without speaking. When the knight asked whose livery was that he wore, he replied," "Tis your honour's own livery:-I received it on your account, and hope as you will quit the score." Then he proceeded to inform his master, that two officers of the army having come into the kitchen, insisted upon having for their supper the victuals which Sir Launcelot had bespoke; and that he, the squire, objecting to the proposal, one of them had seized the poker, and basted him with his own blood; that, when he told them he belonged to a knight-errant, and threatened them with the vengeance of his master, they cursed and abused him, calling him Sancho Panza, and such dog's
names; and bade him tell his master Don | of helpless young women, was not only unQuicksot, that, if he made any noise, they becoming gentlemen, but expressly contrary would confine him to his cage, and lie with to the law, inasmuch as they might be sued his mistress Dulcinea.-"To be sure, sir," for an assault on an action of damages. said he, "they thought you as great a nincompoop as your squire-trim-tram, like master like man;-but I hope as how you will give them a Rowland for their Oliver."
To this remonstrance the two heroes in red replied by a volley of dreadful oaths, intermingled with threats, which put the lawyer in some pain for his ears.
While one thus endeavoured to intimidate "Miscreant!" cried the knight, "you have honest Tom Clarke, the other thundered at provoked the gentlemen with your imperti- the door of the apartment to which the ladies nence, and they have chastised you as you had retired, demanding admittance, but redeserve. I tell thee, Crabshaw, they have ceived no other answer than a loud shriek. saved me the trouble of punishing thee with Our adventurer advancing to this uncivil my own hands; and well it is for thee, sinner champion, accosted him thus, in a grave and as thou art, that they themselves have per- solemn tone." Assuredly I could not have formed the office; for, had they complained believed, except upon the evidence of my to me of thy insolence and rusticity, by own senses, that persons who have the apHeaven! I would have made thee an exam-pearance of gentlemen, and bear his majesty's ple to all the impudent squires upon the face | honourable commission in the army, could of the earth. Hence, then, avaunt, caitiff! behave so wide of the decoruin due to soLet his majesty's officers, who perhaps are fatigued with hard duty in the service of their country, comfort themselves with the supper which was intended for me, and leave me undisturbed to my own meditations."
Timothy did not require a repetition of this command, which he forthwith obeyed, growling within himself, that thenceforward he should let every cuckold wear his own horns; but he could not help entertaining some doubts with respect to the courage of his master, who, he supposed, was one of those Hectors who have their fighting days, but are not at all times equally prepared for
The knight, having taken a slight repast, retired to his repose, and had for some time enjoyed a very agreeable slumber, when he was startled by a knocking at his chamberdoor. "I beg your honour's pardon," said the landlady, "but there are two uncivil persons in the kitchen, who have well nigh turned my whole house topsy-turvy. Not content with laying violent hands on your honour's supper, they want to be rude to two young ladies who are just arrived, and have called for a post-chaise to go on. They are afraid to open their chamber-door to get out; and the young lawyer is like to be murdered for taking the ladies' part."
Sir Launcelot, though he refused to take notice of the insult which had been offered to himself, no sooner heard of the distress of the ladies, than he started up, huddled on his clothes, and, girding his sword to his loins, advanced with a deliberate pace to the kitchen, where he perceived Thomas Clarke warmly engaged in altercation with a couple of young men dressed in regimentals, who, with a peculiar air of arrogance and ferocity, treated him with great insolence and contempt. Tom was endeavouring to persuade them, that, in the constitution of England, the military was always subservient to the civil power; and that their behaviour to a couple
ciety, of a proper respect to the laws, of that humanity which we owe to our fellow-creatures, and that delicate regard for the fair sex, which ought to prevail in the breast of every gentleman, and which, in particular, dignifies the character of a soldier. To whom shall that weaker, though more amiable, part of the creation fly for protection, if they are insulted and outraged by those whose more immediate duty it is to afford them security and defence from injury and violence! What right have you, or any man upon earth, to excite riot in a public inn, which may be deemed a temple sacred to hospitality; to disturb the quiet of your fellow guests, some of them perhaps exhausted by fatigue; some of them invaded by distemper; to interrupt the king's lieges in their course of journeying upon their lawful occasions? Above all, what motive but wanton barbarity could prompt you to violate the apartment, and terrify the tender hearts of two helpless young ladies, travelling, no doubt, upon some cruel emergency, which compels them, unattended, to encounter in the night the dangers of the highway?"
"Hearkye, Don Bethlem," said the captain, strutting up, and cocking his hat in the face of our adventurer, “you may be as mad as e'er a straw-crowned monarch in Moorfields, for aught I care; but, damme! don't you be saucy, otherwise I shall dub your worship with a good stick across your shoulders." "How! petulant boy!" cried the knight, "since you are so ignorant of urbanity, I will give you a lesson that you shall not easily forget." So saying, he unsheathed his sword, and called upon the soldier to draw in his defence.
The reader may have seen the physiognomy of a stockholder at Jonathan's when the rebels were at Derby, or the features of a bard when accosted by a bailiff, or the countenance of an alderman when his banker stops payment; if he has seen either of these
phenomena, he may conceive the appearance | sir, didn't you see who it was?"
"By such frolics," cried the knight, "you become nuisances to society, bring yourselves into contempt, and disgrace the corps to which you belong. I now perceive the truth of the observation, that cruelty always resides with cowardice. My contempt is changed into compassion; and as you are probably of good families, I must insist upon this young man's drawing his sword, and acquitting himself in such a manner as may screen him from the most infamous censure which an officer can undergo." Lack-a-day, sir," said the other, "we are no officers, but 'prentices to two London haberdashers, travellers for orders. Captain is a good travelling name, and we have dressed ourselves like officers to procure more respect upon the road."
The knight said he was very glad, for the honour of the service, to find they were impostors, though they deserved to be chastised for arrogating to themselves an honourable character, which they had not spirit to sustain.
These words were scarce pronounced, when Mr Clarke approaching one of the bravadoes, who had threatened to crop his ears, bestowed such a benediction on his jaw as he could not receive without immediate humiliation; while Timothy Crabshaw, smarting from his broken head and his want of supper, saluted the other with a Yorkshire hug, that laid him across the body of his companion. In a word, the two pseudo-officers were very roughly handled for their presumption in pretending to act characters for which they were so ill qualified.
While Clarke and Crabshaw were thus laudably employed, the two young ladies passed through the kitchen so suddenly, that the knight had only a transient glimpse of their backs, and they disappeared before he could possibly make a tender of his services. The truth is, they dreaded nothing so much as their being discovered, and took the first opportunity of gliding into the chaise, which had been for some time waiting in the passage.
Mr Clarke was much more disconcerted than our adventurer by their sudden escape. He ran with great eagerness to the door, and, perceiving they were flown, returned to Sir Launcelot, saying," Lord bless my soul,
how!" exclaimed the knight, reddening with alarm, "who was it?" "One of them," replied the lawyer, "was Dolly, our old landlady's daughter at the Black Lion. I knew her when first she alighted, notwithstanding her being neatly dressed in a green joseph, which, I'll assure you, sir, becomes her remarkably well. I'd never desire to see a prettier creature. As for the other, she's a very genteel woman; but whether old or young, ugly or handsome, I can't pretend to say, for she was masked. I had just time to salute Dolly. and ask a few questions; but all she could tell me was, that the masked lady's name was Miss Meadows; and that she, Dolly, was hired as her waiting-woman."
When the name of Meadows was mentioned, Sir Launcelot, whose spirits had been in violent commotion, became suddenly calm and serene, and he began to communicate to Clarke the dialogue which had passed between him and Captain Crowe, when the hostess, addressing herself to our errant,"Well," ," said she, "I have had the honour to accommodate many ladies of the first fashion at the White Hart, both young and old, proud and lowly, ordinary and handsome; but such a miracle as Miss Meadows I never yet did see. Lord, let me never thrive but I think she is of something more than a human creature!-O! had your honour but set eyes on her, you would have said it was a vision from heaven, a cherubim of beauty!— For my part, I can hardly think it was any thing but a dream-then so meek, so mild, so good-natured, and generous! I say, blessed is the young woman who tends upon such a heavenly creature:-and, poor dear young lady! she seems to be under grief and affliction, for the tears stole down her lovely cheeks, and looked for all the world like orient pearl."
Sir Launcelot listened attentively to the description, which reminded him of his dear Aurelia, and, sighing bitterly, withdrew to his own apartment.
Which shows, that a man cannot always sip when the cup is at his lip
THOSE who have felt the doubts, the jealousies, the resentments, the humiliations, the hopes, the despair, the impatience, and, in a word, the infinite disquiets of love, will be able to conceive the sea of agitation on which our adventurer was tossed all night long, without repose or intermission. Sometimes he resolved to employ all his industry and address in discovering the place in which Aurelia was sequestered, that he might rescue her from the supposed restraint to which she had been subjected. But when his heart
beat high with the anticipation of this ex- to two hundred and thirty pounds. Perceivploit, he was suddenly invaded, and all hising at once that the loss of this treasure ardour checked, by the remembrance of that fatal letter, written and signed by her own hand, which had divorced him from all hope, and first unsettled his understanding. The emotions waked by this remembrance were so strong, that he leaped from the bed, and, the fire being still burning in the chimney, lighted a candle, that he might once more banquet his spleen by reading the original billet, which, together with the ring he had received from Miss Darnel's mother, he kept in a small box, carefully deposited within his portmanteau. This being instantly unlocked, he unfolded the paper, and recited the contents in these words:
Obliged as I am by the passion you profess, and the eagerness with which you endeavour to give me the most convincing proof of your regard, I feel some reluctance in making you acquainted with a circumstance, which, in all probability, you will not learn without some disquiet. But the affair is become so interesting, I am compelled to tell you, that however agreeable your proposals may have been to those whom I thought it my duty to please by every reasonable concession, and howsoever you may have been flattered by the seeming complacency with which I have heard your addresses, I now find it absolutely necessary to speak in a decisive strain, to assure you, that, without sacrificing my own peace, I cannot admit a continuation of your correspondence; and that your regard for me will be best shown by your desisting from a pursuit which is altogether inconsistent with the happiness of "AURELIA DARNEL."
Having pronounced aloud the words that composed this dismission, he hastily replaced the cruel scroll, and, being too well acquainted with the hand to harbour the least doubt of its being genuine, threw himself into his bed in a transport of despair, mingled with resentment; during the predominancy of which he determined to proceed in the career of adventure, and endeavour to forget the unkindness of his mistress amidst the avocations of knight-errantry.
Such was the resolution that governed his thoughts, when he rose in the morning, ordered Crabshaw to saddle Bronzomarte, and demanded a bill of his expense. Before these orders could be executed, the good woman of the house, entering his apartment, told him, with marks of concern, that the poor young lady, Miss Meadows, had dropped her pocket-book in the next chamber, where it was found by the hostess, who now presented it unopened.
Our knight having called in Mrs Oakley and her son as witnesses, unfolded the book without reading one syllable of the contents, and found in it five bank-notes, amounting
might be attended with the most embarrassing consequences to the owner, and reflecting that this was a case which demanded the immediate interposition and assistance of chivalry, he declared that he himself would convey it safely into the hands of Miss Meadows; and desired to know the road she had pursued, that he might set out in quest of her without a moment's delay. It was not without some difficulty that this information was obtained from the post-boy, who had been enjoined to secrecy by the lady, and even gratified with a handsome reward for his promised discretion. The same method was used to make him disgorge his trust; he undertook to conduct Sir Launcelot, who hired a post-chaise for dispatch, and immediately departed, after having directed his squire to follow his track with the horses.
Yet, whatever haste he made, it is absolutely necessary, for the reader's satisfaction, that we should outstrip the chaise, and visit the ladies before his arrival. We shall, therefore, without circumlocution, premise, that Miss Meadows was no other than that paragon of beauty and goodness, the allaccomplished Miss Aurelia Darnel. She had, with that meekness of resignation peculiar to herself, for some years submitted to every species of oppression which her uncle's tyranny of disposition could plan, and his unlimited power of guardianship execute, till at length it rose to such a pitch of despotism as she could not endure. He had projected a match between his niece and one Philip Sycamore, Esq. a young man who possessed a pretty considerable estate in the north country, who liked Aurelia's person, but was enamoured of her fortune, and had offered to purchase Anthony's interest and alliance with certain concessions, which could not but be agreeable to a man of loose principles, who would have found it a difficult task to settle the accounts of his wardship.
According to the present estimate of matrimonial felicity, Sycamore might have found admittance as a future son-in-law to any private family of the kingdom. He was by birth a gentleman, tall, straight, and muscular, with a fair, sleek, unmeaning face, that promised more simplicity than ill-nature. His education had not been neglected, and he inherited an estate of five thousand a-year. Miss Darnel, however, had penetration enough to discover and despise him, as a strange composition of rapacity and profusion, absurdity and good sense, bashfulness and impudence, self-conceit and diffidence, awkwardness and ostentation, insolence and good-nature, rashness and timidity. He was continually surrounded and preyed upon by certain vermin, called led captains and buffoons, who showed him in leading-strings, like a sucking giant,