The uncertainty which afflicted her was however of a very short duration. Miss Fletcher, by an inexhaustible train of interrogatories, led sir William to relate by degrees every thing he knew of the affair. The young gentleman his friend was the nephew and heir of Mr. Moreland. The present match had been long upon the carpet, and was a very considerable one in point of fortune. “Did the nephew ever visit Mr. Moreland?” “Very frequently,” said sir William. “And he is visited” interposed Delia, “by other young gentlemen from the university?” “No,” answered sir William. “Mr. Moreland, who is an old batchelor, full of oddities and sensibility, has a general dislike of young collegians. He thinks them pert, dissolute, arrogant, and pedantic. He therefore never receives any but his nephew, for whom he has the most ardent affection, and sometimes by particular grace myself who am his intimate friend.” “And how long is it since the young gentleman paid a visit to his uncle?” Sir William looked a little surprized at so particular a question, but answered: “He was here not above a fortnight ago to invite his uncle to the wedding. But he is rather serious and thoughtful in his temper, so that he is seldom seen in public.”
It was now but too certain that the friend of sir William, and the amiable unknown, who had made a conquest of the heart of Delia, were the same person. The surprise at which she was taken, and the unwelcome manner in which her doubts were now at once resolved, were too much for the delicate frame of our heroine. She sat for a moment gazing with an eager and unmeaning stare upon the face of sir William. But she presently recollected herself, and, bursting out of the room, flew to her chamber in the same instant, and was relieved by a flood of tears.
Sir William was inexpressibly surprised at this incident. Delia, he was sure, did not even know the name of his friend, and he could scarcely imagine that she had ever seen him. Miss Fletcher, though considerably astonished herself, gave sir William an account of so many particulars of what had passed between his friend and our heroine, as were perfectly sufficient to solve the difficulty. In return the baronet explained to her the exact situation of the affair of Damon, told her that he did not believe the day was yet fixed, and assured her that Mr. Moreland and himself waited for a farther summons, though it must be confessed that it was expected every hour.
These particulars, when communicated to Delia by the indefatigable assiduity of Miss Fletcher, afforded her but a very slender consolation. “What avails it me,” said she, “that the day is not fixed? Every considerable circumstance, there is reason to believe, is determined. He marries, with the approbation of all his friends, a lady, my superior in rank and fortune, and who is probably every way worthy of him. Ah, why am I thus selfish and envious? No, let me pine away in obscurity, let me be forgotten. But may he