“But you talked,” added he, “of some occasion of your journey which you deferred relating to me.” “The occasion,” answered sir William, determined to preserve inviolate the secret of Delia, “is already fulfilled. I heard from young Eustace of the appearance and addresses of Osborne, and suspecting the rest, I determined to deliver you from the clutches of a girl whom I always thought unworthy of you. And now” added he cheerfully, “free as the winds, we can pursue uncontrolled the devices of our own hearts.”
The next morning the two friends proceeded to the house of lord Thomas Villiers, the father of Damon. He had already learned something of the visits of lord Osborne at Beaufort Place. He was not therefore much surprised to hear of the scene, which had passed between his son and the lady of that mansion. But there was something more to be done, in order to gain the approbation of the father to the new project, in the prosecution of which both these friends were equally sanguine.
Lord Thomas Villiers was, as we have already said, avaricious. He was not therefore much pleased with the proposal of a match with a lady, whose fortune was not the half of that of Miss Frampton. He was tinctured with the pride of family, and he could not patiently think for a moment, of marrying his only son to the daughter of a tradesman. Sir William employed all his eloquence, and accommodated himself with infinite dexterity to the humours of the person with whom he had to deal. Damon indeed said but little, but his looks expressed more, than the baronet, with all his abilities, and all his friendship, was able to suggest. In spite of both, the father continued inexorable.
The mind of Damon was impressed with the most exalted ideas upon the subject of filial duty. Had his heart been pre-engaged, before the affair of Miss Frampton was proposed to him, he might not perhaps have carried his complaisance so far, as to have married the indifferent person, in spite of all his views and all his prepossessions. But in his estimate, the actual entering into a connection for life in opposition to the will of a parent, was a mode of conduct very different from, and far more exceptionable than the refusing to unite oneself with a person in whose society one had not the smallest reason to look for happiness.
There was another inducement that had much weight with Damon, and even with his more sanguine friend, sir William Twyford. The fortune neither of Damon nor Delia was independent. Lord Thomas Villiers was filled with too many prepossessions and too much pride, easily to retract an opinion he had once adopted, or to forgive an opposition to his judgment. The narrow education of a tradesman it was natural to suppose had rendered the mind of Mr. Hartley still more tenacious, and unmanageable. And neither would sir William have been willing to see his friend, nor would the lover readily have involved his mistress in circumstances of pecuniary distress.