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