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Chapter 79

Peregrine sends a Message to Mrs. Gauntlet, who rejects his Proposal — He repairs to the Garrison.

At length, however, his constitution overcame his disease, though not before it had in a great measure tamed the fury of his disposition, and brought him to a serious consideration of his conduct. In this humiliation of his spirits, he reflected with shame and remorse upon his treachery to the fair, the innocent Emilia; he remembered his former sentiments in her favour, as well as the injunctions of his dying uncle; he recollected his intimacy with her brother, against which he had so basely sinned; and, revolving all the circumstances of her conduct, found it so commendable, spirited, and noble, that he deemed her an object of sufficient dignity to merit his honourable addresses, even though his duty had not been concerned in this decision. But, obligated as he was to make reparation to a worthy family, which he had so grossly injured, he thought he could not manifest his reformation too soon; and, whenever he found himself able to hold a pen, wrote a letter to Mrs. Gauntlet, wherein he acknowledged, with many expressions of sorrow and contrition, that he had acted a part altogether unbecoming a man of honour, and should never enjoy the least tranquility of mind, until he should have merited her forgiveness. He protested, that, although his happiness entirely depended upon the determination of Emilia, he would even renounce all hope of being blessed with her favour, if she could point out any other method of making reparation to that amiable young lady, but by laying his heart and fortune at her feet, and submitting himself to her pleasure during the remaining part of his life. He conjured her, therefore, in the most pathetic manner, to pardon him, in consideration of his sincere repentance, and to use her maternal influence with her daughter, so as that he might be permitted to wait upon her with a wedding ring, as soon as his health would allow him to undertake the journey.

This explanation being despatched by Pipes, who had, by this time, found his master, the young gentleman inquired about the couple whom he had so unfortunately pursued, and understood from his valet-de-chambre, who learned the story from their own mouths, that the lady was the only daughter of a rich Jew, and her attendant no other than his apprentice, who had converted her to Christianity, and married her at the same time; that this secret having taken air, the old Israelite had contrived a scheme to separate them for ever; and they being apprised of his intention, had found means to elope from his house, with a view of sheltering themselves in France, until the affair could be made up; that, seeing three men ride after them with such eagerness, they never doubted that the pursuers were her father, and some friends, or domestics, and on that supposition had fled with the utmost despatch and trepidation, until they had found themselves happily undeceived, at that very instant when they expected nothing but mischief and misfortune. Lastly, the Swiss gave him to understand, that, after having professed some concern for his deplorable situation, and enjoyed a slight refreshment, they had taken their departure for Dover, and, in all likelihood, were safely arrived at Paris.

In four-and-twenty hours after Pipes was charged with his commission, he brought back an answer from the mother of Emilia, couched in these words:—

Sir,— I received the favour of yours, and am glad, for your own sake, that you have attained a due sense and conviction of your unkind and unchristian behaviour to poor Emy. I thank God, none of my children were ever so insulted before. Give me leave to tell you, sir, my daughter was no upstart, without friends or education, but a young lady, as well br............

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