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you of. I cannot suppose you have remained in ignorance up to the present moment of the interest you have excited in the breast of our young friend, Frank Mason : he is not a stranger to you, Emily, and he hopes his endeavours to gain your favour will not be declared useless. He is a young man of fortune, and many estimable qualities. One, I think, calculated to make you happy; and I should advise you seriously to make up your mind to accede to the demand he makes through me of your hand and affection.” Emily, during this declaration, remained motionless, surprise and distress strongly painted on her countenance. When Mr. Yorke paused, with an effort she replied,
“How, my dear sir, can I reply to your communication ? which undoubtedly is most flattering; but I am really grieved that you think it advisable I should turn a willing ear to Mr. Mason's intended honour; for, desirous as I am to obey your wishes, I must say this is quite impossible. My affections are no longer my own to confer, and I beg you will inform Mr. Mason that such is the case.”
“ Emily,” replied Mr. Yorke, mildly, “ I did not expect this answer; I hoped time had
It is now
restored your mind to its usual tone. . nearly two years since the event occurred, which should have satisfied you that your early affection must be dissolved, and prove how useless it is to look to that quarter for the realisation of your forbidden joys. Yet, my dear, it is not desirable you should continue callous to the affections of your friends.”
66 Nor am I, dear sir. Gratitude, I hope, will never be wanting from one who is indebted to you and yours for every thing she possesses. But Mr. Mason is not among the number of those who have this claim upon me; and, much as I may esteem him as an acquaintance, he can be nothing more to me. A hand, without it be accompanied by the heart, is a valueless gift ; and the former, sir, is all I have to bestow, for my love lies deep in the grave of your nephew.” She spoke in a firm, clear voice; but the colour forsook her cheek, and she fixed her swimming eyes on her companion in deep and searching
“ Again I repeat, Emily, such prolonged grief is useless, nay, even wrong; and I wish you, as the parent whose place I have endeavoured to supply doubtless would do, to listen
favourably to a proposal, which you must be convinced I would not urge unless it afforded every prospect of felicity. I doubt not you loved Ernest, but you must be sensible of the folly of refusing an advantageous establishment, because you have been,-shall I say unfortunate in your first attachment. That alliance, you recollect, I refused to sanction, and therefore it is, perhaps, best for your happiness, that things have turned out thus; for now I can give my full and willing acquiescence to your marriage, and resign my adopted daughter to a husband's care. You will find happiness
“ Never !” ejaculated the horror-struck girl, never as the wife of Mr. Mason ! Much as I know you have a right to expect from me, dear sir, do not require this cruel sacrifice, since I cannot comply. No, indeed I cannot: my hopes are for ever blighted already; do not condemn me to twofold misery.'
Her tears stopped her farther utterance, and Mr. Yorke replied, “I have endeavoured by persuasion, Emily, to bring you to reason, and as I find my affection has failed in its effect, my authority must be exercised. As you are not able to judge suitably for your own advantage, you must permit me to do so for you, and to desire you to receive Frank Mason as your future husband. Recollect, my word is pledged, and that, once given, is irrevocable.” - He rose as he concluded, and Emily said earnestly, –
“ Stay one moment, sir, I entreat you. If it be your desire, your intention, to send me from beneath the protecting influence of your roof, permit me to avail myself of the education you have generously given me, and allow me, by imparting knowledge to others, to support myself, and avoid a marriage I cannot think of without abhorrence.” Mr. Yorke stood still an instant, and then replied, — " Such a request,
, Emily, I cannot accede to, for several reasons, and I am surprised you should even ask it; but I will not press your union with Frank Mason. I will allow
time to think it over; but, at the same time, I expect you will obey me, in this first and probably last sacrifice I ask. Come, my dear girl, do not give way to tears; I am sure you will not disappoint my expectations, will you ?”
6 Alas ! sir, how can I determine ? Bound as I am by every tie of gratitude to you, and of love to the memory of Ernest, I must, indeed, have time for considering the subject, and even then, I will not promise that I can accord with your wishes.” Mr. Yorke kissed his adopted daughter kindly, as he left her, and his mildness affected her more deeply than the most peremptory manner could have done.
Reflection showed Emily the inutility of opposing the measure of her foster parent, and of indulging an idea that by refusing to enter a second engagement, she was acting as became a bereaved lover. Mr. Camden, to whom she applied for counsel in this trying situation, recommended her by all means to conform to circumstances, and pointed out her obligations to Mr. Yorke; the probable fate of her lover, and the brilliant prospects opened to her by this connection. Finding thus, that wherever she turned for consolation she only found condemnation, she endeavoured to make up her mind to the worst. Agnes alone, of all her friends, still coincided with her, until her father desired her not to induce Emily to persevere in her opposition. With his daughter Mr. Camden's slightest wish was a law, and Emily was accordingly deprived of her friend's sympathy.
Several weeks had now elapsed since the time