Mrs. Bellamy in Continuation
[p. 9] Madam,
I shall now return to the concerns of my own family. -- In a short time after the foregoing incident happened, my grandmother found, to her inexpressible concern, [p. 10] that she had united herself to a person who had greatly deceived her with respect to his circumstances. Instead of Mr. Busby's being possessed of the property the world supposed he had, he was so greatly involved in debt, that all my grandmother's effects were seized by his creditors. So that not having taken the necessary precautions to secure a maintenance for herself and daughter, before her marriage, she was now left destitute of every means of support.
This reverse of fortune induced her to accept with thankfulness of the generous offer Mrs. Godfrey had lately made her; and she esteemed herself happy in finding so respectable an asylum for her chld. But however flattering the prospect at that time appeared, from this period have I too much reason to date the commencement of my mother's misfortunes, and consequently of my own; for being now removed from under the parental eye of my grandmother, she became liable to all the arts and temptations youth and beauty are continually exposed to.
As soon as Mrs. Godfrey received my grandmother's permssion, she placed my mother at a boarding-school in Queen's-Square, where her own daughter was educated; and here she remained till she arrived at the age of fourteen, where she unfortunately attracted the notice of Lord Tyrawley. This nobleman, who was in the boom of life, and as celebrated for his gallantry as for his wit, [p. 11] courage, and other accomplishments, meeting accidentally with my mother, whilst she was upon a visit, was struck with her beauty, and was determined if possible to gain possession of it. And as my mother on her part was equally captivated with his assiduous aaddresses, and found her vanity gratified by receiving the devoirs of a person of his consequence; it is no wonder that, young and inexperienced a she was, his lordship at length succeeded in his designs. Her heart soon yielding to the soft impulse, there needed not many entreaties to induce her to elope from school. She accordingly seized the first favourable opportunity, and leaving the protection of her kind patroness, sought for happiness in the arms of her lover.
Lord Tyrawley having been so far successful, he carried his fair prize to his own apartments in Somerset-House, where she was treated with the same respect as if she had really been Lady Tyrawley. This honor he had frequently promised before her elopement to confer upon her, and he still continued to assure her that he would fulfil his engagements. Lulled therefore into security bh these promises, by her own affection, and by his increasing fondness, she assumed his lordship's name, and vainly inagined herself to be as truly his wife as if the nuptial knot had been indissolubly tied.
[p. 12] And in this pleasing delirium, enhanced by all the splendour of nobility, my mother lived for several months. But as the wheel of fortune is seldom at a stand, she was now to experience a disagreeable change in her affairs. Lord Tyrawley was ordered to join his regiment in Ireland. And it became the more necessary that he should obey the order, as his own private concerns in that kingdom required his inspection. I will not pretend to describe the pangs the lovers felt upon this occasion. I shall observe that his lordship tore himself away with the utmost reluctance, and left my mother in a state little short of distraction.
On his arrival in Ireland, Lord Tyrawley found his affairs in a very different situation from what he expected. The steward, who had the management of his estates, had taken advantage of his lordship's absence and inattention, and enriched himself at his master's expence. So that instead of finding a very considerable balance in his steward's hand, as he had always concluded there was, he had the mortification to learn that he was greatly involved in debt; and as he had lived in an expensive style, the whole of his debts amounted to an enormous sum. How to extraicate himself form these difficulties was the question. The only resource which presented itself to his lordshop, was that of marrying a lady with a fortune sufficient to disentangle him.But to this his attachment to my mother [p. 13] appeared an irremoveable bar. He was convinced that she loved him too well to object to a step which could only preserve him from ruin; yet as he knew at the same time the violence of her temper, he dreaded to make the proposal to her; and it was a long while before he could resolve upon doing what would be attended with a probability of losing her for ever.
The urgency of his affairs, however, at length requiring a speedy remedy he looked round among the single ladies of fortune within the circle of his acquaintance, and fixed on Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Blessington, as a proper object for his addresses; her fortune being according to public report, thirty thousand pounds; and that lady having been heard to declare a partiality for him. She could not, indeeed, boast of her charms. Her person, however, was genteel, and what was infinitely more to be prized, she was endowed with as engaging a disposition as ever woman was blest with. Alas! how hard must be her lot, to be united to a man, whose attachment to another would render him insensible of her merit!
Whilst the courtship was carring on, the father of the lady, naturally anxious for his daughter's happiness, examined minutely into whatever concerned his intended son-in-law; and having heard much of his connection with my mother, his lordship wrote her a [p. 14] polite letter, requesting to know from her the nature of it; giving her at the same time his reasons for such an enquiry.
When my mother, or Lady Tyrawley, as she was then called, received Lord Blessington's letter, she was not quite recovered from the weakness attendant on a lying-in; so that she was the less able to cope with the heart-rending information it conveyed; and she resigned herself totally to the impulse of her rage. The violence of her passion got the better of her affection, and without listening to the dictates of prudence, she enclosed Lord Blessington every letter she had received from her lover. Among these was one she had just received by the same post, and which, as she had not broken it open, she sent unopened. In this letter Lord Tyrawley had informed her of the distressed situation of his affairs, and consequently of the sad necessity there was for his marrying some lady of fortune, to extricate him from his difficulties. He added, that he should stay no longer with his intended wife than was necessary to receive her fortune, when he would immediately fly on the wings of love to share it with her. That, though another had his hand, she alone possessed his heart, and was his real wife in the sight of Heaven. That, in order to testify the truth of what he advanced he had made choice of Lady Mary Stewart, who was both ugly and foolish, in preference to one with an equal fortune, who [p. 15] was both beautiful and sensible, lest an union with a more agreeable person might be the means of decreasing his affection for her.
With what indignation must the Earl of Blessington receive such incontrovertible proofs of Lord Tyrawlye's perfidy! He was so exasperated against him, that he immediately forbade his daughter, on pain of his severest displeasure, ever to see or write to her peridious love again. But his injuctions came too late; for they had been already united in connubial bonds, without the earl's knowledge or consent.
Lord Tyrawley now found himself the victim of his own unwarrantable duplicity. Disappointed of receiving the fortune which had been the sole inducement for his marrying, and united to a woman he hated he was truly miserable. Being, however, determined to get rid of his lady at all events, he insisted on a separation; and immediately solicited the Minster to be sent to the court of Lisbon in a public character. This was readily grantrd him; as no one was better qualified for such an important employment than his lordship, not only on account of his being a perfect master of the Portuguese language, but from the brilliancy of his arts, and poliical knowledge, which were scarcely equalled by any of his competitors.
At the time of his separation from his lady Lord Tyrawley settled eight hundred [p. 16] pounds a year upon her, and she went to reside in the very apartments in Somerset-House my mother had lately occupied. That poor dear woman no sonner heard of the marriage of her beloved lord, than distracted at the thought, she immediately hastened from a place which must continually remind her of her lost happiness, and disapponted expectations; leaving behind her all the plate, and other presents, the fondess of the most generous of men had bestowed upon her: as she was determined to take nothing with her that should bring to her memory her faithless perjured paramour. Having brought my mother to this reversed period of her fortune, lest I tire you with too long an epistle, I will here put an end to it. Believe me to be,