Two Persons of Fashion.
In pursuance of the determination he had formed, sir William immediately set out for Oxford, where his friend still resided. As he had lived with him upon terms of the most unreserved familiarity, he made use of the liberty of an intimate, and, without being announced, abruptly entered his chamber. Damon was sitting in a melancholy posture, his countenance dejected, and his eye languid. Upon the entrance of the baronet he looked up, and struck with the sudden appearance of one to whom he was so ardently attached, his visage for a moment assumed an air of gaiety and pleasure.
“Ha,” cried sir William, with his wonted spriteliness of accent, “methinks the countenance of my Damon does not bespeak the sentiments that become a bridegroom.” “I am afraid not,” answered Damon. “But tell me to what am I indebted for this agreeable and unexpected visit?” “We will talk of that another time. But when did you see my play-fellow, Miss Frampton?” “I have not seen her,” replied our hero with a sigh half uttered, and half suppressed, “these ten days.” “What” cried the baronet, “no misunderstanding, eh?” “Not absolutely that. I saw her, I fear, without all the rapture that becomes a lover, and she resented it with a coldness that did not introduce an immediate explanation. Since that time I have been somewhat indisposed, or probably affairs would now have been settled.” “And what,” said sir William, “must we apply the old maxim, that the falling out of lovers is the consolidating of love?”
Damon from the entrance of his friend had appeared a good deal agitated. He was no longer able to contain himself. He eagerly seized the hand of sir William and clasped it between both of his. “My dear baronet, I have never concealed from you a thought of my heart. But my present situation is so peculiarly delicate and distressing, that I can scarcely form any sentiment of it, or even dare trust myself to recollect it. I have seen,” continued he, “ah, that I could forget it! a woman, beauteous as the day, before whom the charms of Miss Frampton disappear, as, before the rising sun, each little star hides its diminish’d head. Her features, full of sensibility, her voice such as to thrill the soul and all she says, pervaded with wit and good sense.” “And where,” cried the baronet, in a lively tone, “resides this peerless she?”
“Alas,” answered the disconsolate Damon, “it matters not. I shall see her no more. Virtue, honour, every thing forbids it. I may be unhappy, but I will never deserve to be so. Miss Frampton has my vows. Filial duty calls on me to fulfil them. Obstacles without number, Alps on Alps arise, to impede my prosecution of a fond and unlicensed inclination. The struggle has cost me something, but it is over. I have recovered my health, I have formed my resolution. This very day, (you, my good friend, will accept the apology) I had determined to repair to Beaufort Place. Doubt and uncertainty nourish the lingering distemper that would undo me. I will come to a decision.”