Amelia HTML version

The History Of Miss Matthews Continued
"This young lady had not been three days with us before Hebbers grew so
particular with her, that it was generally observed; and my poor father, who, I
believe, loved the cornet as if he had been his son, began to jest on the
occasion, as one who would not be displeased at throwing a good jointure into
the arms of his friend.
"You will easily guess, sir, the disposition of my mind on this occasion; but I was
not permitted to suffer long under it; for one day, when Hebbers was alone with
me, he took an opportunity of expressing his abhorrence at the thoughts of
marrying for interest, contrary to his inclinations. I was warm on the subject, and,
I believe, went so far as to say that none but fools and villains did so. He replied,
with a sigh, Yes, madam, but what would you think of a man whose heart is all
the while bleeding for another woman, to whom he would willingly sacrifice the
world; but, because he must sacrifice her interest as well as his own, never durst
even give her a hint of that passion which was preying on his very vitals? 'Do you
believe, Miss Fanny, there is such a wretch on earth?' I answered, with an
assumed coldness, I did not believe there was. He then took me gently by the
hand, and, with a look so tender that I cannot describe it, vowed he was himself
that wretch. Then starting, as if conscious of an error committed, he cried with a
faltering voice, 'What am I saying? Pardon me, Miss Fanny; since I beg only your
pity, I never will ask for more.--' At these words, hearing my father coming up, I
betrayed myself entirely, if, indeed, I had not done it before. I hastily withdrew my
hand, crying, Hush! for heaven's sake, my father is just coming in; my blushes,
my look, and my accent, telling him, I suppose, all which he wished to know.
"A few days now brought matters to an eclaircissement between us; the being
undeceived in what had given me so much uneasiness gave me a pleasure too
sweet to be resisted. To triumph over the widow, for whom I had in a very short
time contracted a most inveterate hatred, was a pride not to be described.
Hebbers appeared to me to be the cause of all this happiness. I doubted not but
that he had the most disinterested passion for me, and thought him every way
worthy of its return. I did return it, and accepted him as my lover.
"He declared the greatest apprehensions of my father's suspicion, though I am
convinced these were causeless had his designs been honourable. To blind
these, I consented that he should carry on sham addresses to the widow, who
was now a constant jest between us; and he pretended from time to time to
acquaint me faithfully with everything that past at his interviews with her; nor was
this faithless woman wanting in her part of the deceit. She carried herself to me