Lord Martin was in the mean time most grievously disappointed. “The devil damn the fellow!” said he, “he crosses me like my evil genius. I have a month’s mind to send him a challenge. He is a tall, big looking fellow to be sure. But then if I could contrive to kill him. Ah, me! but fortune does not always favour the brave. My reputation is established. I do not want a duel for that. And for any other purpose, it is all a lottery. Fire and furies, death and destruction! something must be done. Let me think—About my brain.”
But lord Martin was not the only one whose hopes were disappointed, by the expected marriage of Delia. He loved her not, he felt not one flutter of complacency about his heart. It was vanity that first prompted him to address her. It was disappointed pride that now stung him. Even Mr. Prattle viewed her with a more generous affection. His genius was not indeed a daring one, but it was active and indefatigable. Squire Savage did not feel the less, though he did not spend many words about it. He was a blustering hector. He had the reputation of fearing nothing, and caring for nothing, that stood in his way. There were also other lovers beside these, whom the muse knows not, nor desires to know.
In this manner gins and snares seemed, on every side, to surround our happy and heedless lovers. They sported on the brink. They sighed, and smiled, and sang, and talked again. At length the eve of the day, from which their future happiness was to be dated, arrived. They had but one drawback, the continued averseness of lord Thomas Villiers. Damon was however now obliged, together with Mr. Hartley, to attend the lawyers at Mr. Moreland’s, in order to complete the previous formalities.
Containing what will terrify the reader.
At such a moment as this, a mind of delicacy and sensibility is fond of solitude. Delia told Mrs. Bridget, that she would take her usual walk, and be home time enough to superintend the oeconomy of supper, at which the company of Damon and sir William Twyford was expected.
They accordingly arrived before nine o’clock. Mrs. Bridget expected her mistress every moment. Damon and his friend would have gone out to meet her, but they were not willing to leave Mr. Hartley alone. The clock however struck ten, and no Delia appeared. Every one now began to be seriously uneasy. Damon and sir William went in both her most favourite walks to find her, but in vain. Messengers were dispatched twenty different ways. The lover repaired to the mansion of Lord Martin. The baronet immediately set out for the house of Mr. Savage.
Mr. Hartley, who, with the external of a bear, and the heart of a miser, was not destitute of the feelings of a parent, was now exceedingly agitated. He strided up and down the room with incredible velocity. He bit his fingers with anxiety, and threw his wig into the fire. “As I am a good man,” said he, “Mr. Prattle lives but almost next door, and I will go to him.” Mr. Prattle was at home, and having heard his story, condoled with him upon it with much apparent sincerity.