The native curiosity of Miss Fletcher was not upon this occasion a match for the sympathetic spirit of Delia. She pressed forward with an eager and uncertain step, and looking through an interstice formed by two venerable oaks, she perceived the figure of a young man sitting in her favourite alcove. His back was turned towards the side upon which she was. Having finished the air, he threw his flute carelesly from him, and folded his arms in a posture the most disconsolate that can be imagined. He rose and advanced a little with an irregular step. “Ah lovely mistress of my soul,” cried he, “thou little regardest the anguish that must for ever be an inmate of this breast! While I am a prey to a thousand tormenting imaginations, thou riotest in the empire of beauty, heedless of the wounds thou inflicted, and the slaves thou chainest to thy chariot. Wretch that I am, what is to be done? But I must think no more.” Saying this he snatched up his flute, and thrusting it into his bosom, hurried out of the grove.
While he spoke, Delia imagined that the voice was one that she had heard before though she knew not where. Her heart whispered her something more than her understanding could disentangle. But as he stooped to take his flute from the ground his profile was necessarily turned towards the inner part of the grove. Delia started and trembled. Damon stood confessed. But she scarcely recollected his features before he rushed away swifter than the winged hawk, and was immediately out of sight.
Delia was too full of a thousand reflections upon this unexpected rencounter to be able to utter a word. But Miss Fletcher immediately began. “God bless us,” cried she, “did you ever see the like? Why it is my belief it is a ghost or a wizard. I never heard any thing so pretty—I vow, I am terribly frightened.”
Delia now caught hold of her arm. “For heaven’s sake, let us quit the grove. I do not know what is the matter—but I feel myself quite sick.” “Good God! good heavens! Well, I do not wonder you are all in a tremble—But suppose now it should be nothing but Mr. Prattle—He is always somewhere or other—And then he plays God save the king, and Darby and Joan, like any thing.” “Oh,” said the lovely, trembling nymph, “they were the sweetest notes!” “Ah,” said her companion, “he is a fine man. And then he is so modest—He will play at one and thirty, and ride upon a stick with little Tommy all day long. But sure it could not be Mr. Prattle—He always wears his hair in a queue you know—but the ghost had a bag and solitaire.” “Well,” cried Delia, “let us think no more of it. But did we hear anything?”—“Law, child, why he played the nicest glee—and then he made such a speech, for all the world like Mr. Button, that I like so to see in Hamlet.” “True,” said Delia,—“but what he said was more like the soft complainings of my dear Castalio. Did not he complain of a false mistress?” “Why he did say something of that kind.—If it be neither a ghost nor Mr. Prattle. I hope in God he is going to appear upon the Southampton stage. I do so love to see a fine young man come on for the first time with