What an heavenly morning!—surely'tis in Eng|land that Summer keeps her court—for she's no where else so lovely.—And what a sweet garden this is!—But tell me, my heart—is it the brightness of the morning, the verdure of the garden, the melody of the birds, that gives thee these enchanting sensations?—Ah, no!—it is that thou hast found thy Lord—it is, that I have again seen the Man, who, since I first beheld him, has been the only image in my mind.—How different from the empty, the presuming Baldwin!—yet, I owe him this obligation—if his hateful perseverance had not forced me from London, I might never have seen, but once, the Man who, that once, possess'd himself of my tenderest wishes.—Ha!
Abroad so early, Madam!—the fine Ladies in London are yet in their first sleep.
It would have been impossible to have resisted the chearful call of the Hunters, if the morning had been less enticing.
Oh, do not imagine yourself obliged to the Hunt|ers, Madam, it was my good Genius—I thank her—that inspired them, and did me the favour to lead me here.
If she usually influences you to no better purpose, her claims to your gratitude are but weak.
'Till lately I thought so, and supposed my|self influenced by the worst Genius that ever fell to the lot of a poor mortal—but she has entirely retrieved her|self in my opinion, and by two or three capital strokes has made me forget her unlucky pranks, and believe her one of the best disposed Sylphs in all the regions of Fancy.
You recommend this aërial attend|ant very strongly—Have you any intention to part from her?
I would willingly exchange her—if your Genius would be so obliging to take a fancy to me—I'll accept her with all my heart—and give you mine.
You wou'd lose by the exchange.
Impossible!—for my quondam friend would say a thousand things for me, that I could not for myself—so I should gain your good opinion—and that would be well gained, whatever I might lose to attain it.
Your Genius is, at least, a gallant one, I per|ceive—but
I was on the point of leaving the garden, Sir.—The Ladies, I imagine, are risen by this time.
Indeed they are not, but if they should—these are precious moments, which I must not lose—may I pre|sume to use them in telling you how happy I am, in the event which placed you in my Father's house?—but you have, perhaps, forgot the presumptuous Tancred, who gave such disturbance to the Gentleman honour'd by pro|tecting you, at the Masquerade?
No, Sir, I remember—and, if I don't mistake, you were nearly engaged in a fracas with that Gentleman—I was happy, when I observ'd you stopt by a mask, and seized that moment to leave the room.
A moment, Madam, that I have never ceas'd to regret 'till now—but that which I at present possess, is a felicity so unexpected, and unhop'd for—
You forget, Sir, these gallantries are out of place here—under a mask, a Shepherd may sigh, or an Eastern Prince amuse himself in saying the most extravagant things—but they know there are delicacies to be observed in real life, quite incompatible with the freedoms of a Masquerade.
Whilst you are thus severe on mere gallantries, I will venture to hope that a most tender and respectful passion will be treated more favourably.
I comprehend, Madam, what your delicacy must feel, and will therefore only add, that from the first moment I be|held you, my heart has known no other object. You have been the Mistress of its Wishes—and you are the Mistress of its Fate.
Indeed, Sir, this declaration, at a time when I must appear in so strange a light to your family, hurts me greatly—I can scarcely believe you mean it a compliment—but, surely, my situation here ought—
I acknowledge, Madam, the confession I have dared to make, is premature—it is ill timed—nothing can excuse it, but the peculiarity of our situation.—When I reflect, that in a few moments your Uncle may arrive, that he may snatch you from us, and that such an opportunity never may be mine again—
So, so, my young ones, have I found you? 'tis a most delicious morning—but is it usual with you, Madam, to taste the air so early?
Yes, Sir—in the Country, at least—I seldom mur|der such hours in sleep.
Aye, 'tis to that practice you are indebted for the roses in your cheeks—What, I suppose, you brought the Lady into the garden, George, to read her a iecture on Ve|getation—to explain the nature and cause of Heat—or, perhaps, more abstracted subjects have engaged—
Stop, dear Sir—I assure you I am not abstracted enough to enter on these subjects with such an object before me—I found the Lady here, and had scarcely paid her my morning compliments when you appeared.
For which you do not thank me, I presume—but come, Madam, you are my ward, 'till I have the pleasure of presenting you to your Uncle; and I come to conduct you to breakfast. George, you may follow; but take care you keep your distance.
Distance!—as well might you persuade the shadow to forsake its Sun, or erring mortals give up hopes of mercy. Page 18 —With what sweet confidence she gives her hand to Mr Drummond!—if these are the privileges of Age, I'll be young no longer.