Much ado about nothing.
Damon was inexpressibly afflicted at the success of his uncle’s embassy. When Mr. Moreland related to him the particulars of his visit, Damon recollected the opposite tempers of the two gentlemen, and blamed himself for not having foreseen the event. Mr. Hartley was infinitely exasperated at the cavalierness with which he had been treated. He now discovered the true cause of his daughter’s pertinacity, and proceeded with more vigour than ever.
“And so,” cried he, “you have dared to engage your affections without my privity, have you? A pretty story truly. And you would disgrace me for ever, by marrying into the family of a lord, that despises us, and an old fellow, that for half a word would knock your father’s brains out.” “Indeed sir,” replied Delia, “I never thought of marrying without your consent. I only gave the young gentleman leave to ask it of you.” “You gave him leave! And pray who are you? And so you was in league with him to send this fellow to abuse me?” “Upon my word, I was not. And I am very sorry if Mr. Moreland has behaved improperly.” “If Mr. Moreland! and so you pretend to doubt of it! But, let me tell you, I have provided you a husband, worth fifty of this young prig, and I will make you think so.” “Indeed sir, I can never think so.” “You cannot. And pray who told you to object, before I have named the man. Why, child, lord Martin has ten thousand pounds a year, and is a peer, and is not ashamed of us one bit in all the world.” “Alas, sir, I can never have lord Martin. Do not mention him. I am in no hurry. I will live single as long as you please.” “Yes, and when you have persuaded me to that, you will jump out at window the next day to this ungracious rascal.” “Oh pray sir do not speak so. He is good and gentle.” “Why, hussey, am I not master in my own house? I shall have a fine time of it indeed, if I must give you an account of my words.” “Sir,” said Delia, “I will never marry without your consent.” “That is a good girl, no more you shall. And I will lock you up upon bread and water, if you do not consent to marry who I please.”
The despotic temper of Mr. Hartley led him to treat his daughter with considerable severity. He suffered her to go very little abroad, and employed every precaution in his power, to prevent any interview between her and her lover. He tried every instrument in turn, threats, promises, intreaties, blustering, to bend her to his will. And when he found that by all these means he made no progress; as his last resource, he fixed a day at no great distance, when he assured her he would be disappointed no longer, and she should either voluntarily or by force yield her hand to lord Martin.
During these transactions, the communication between Delia and her lover was, with no great difficulty, kept open by the instrumentality of their two friends. They scarcely dared indeed to think of seeing each other, as in case this were discovered, Delia would be subject to still greater restraint, and the intercourse, between her and Miss Fletcher, be rendered more difficult. In one instance however, this lady ventured to procure the interview so ardently desired by both parties.