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own accord; but he was mistaken. The regard of the charming Sophia armed young Belfield with courage ; and he still continued in the house of his late father, in spite of his brother's ill usage, hoping a marriage with his beloved would soon put a period lo his present anxieties,
Andrew Belfield, finding all attempts to drive his brother from his paternal home were vain, and that he every day seemed to be making more effectua. progress in Sophia's affections, resolved to take another, and a surer mode of driving him away. There lived in the village a respectable family named Waters, who had once known more prosperity than they now enjoyed. A branch of this family, Lucy Waters, a young person of some personal attractions, was beloved by Philip Goodwin, the son of one of Mr. Belfield's most opulent tenants, and they were at a convenieqt season to be married. Andrew Belfield fixed upon this girl as the agent of his villanies; for which purpose he secretly made her offers of marriage ; and poor Lucy, attracted by the charms of wealth and splendour, discarded her more humble lover, and looked forward with impatience to the time when she should become mistress of Belfield Hall. When the elder Belfield had thus gained an entire influence over her mind, he prevailed upon her to fill the ears of Miss Dove with tales injurious to the honour of his brother, and formed the most specious reasons for this proceeding; but advanced no one reason which could militate against his intended marriage with herself'; and the poor deluded Lucy, without one illnatured quality in her whole composition, without the slightest cause of dislike either towards Robert Belfield, or Sophia, was so far infatuated as to undertake the hateful task of separating them for ever!
Her father's former opulence, and a respectability of cbaracter which he had nover forfeited, gave
Lucy free access to her superiors. She had been the early friend and playmate of Sophia; and when grown up, was still considered as an acquaintance. At the suggestion of Belfield, she insinuated a variety of remarks prejudicial to the integrity of Robert Belfield ; and, when closely pressed to disclose her meaning, imparted, under strict seal of secrecy, that he was pledged in a promise of marriage to herself, and was in fact her seducer !!
Sophia, incensed both at his duplicity to her and cruelty in having betrayed an innocent girl to ruin, resolved at once to discard him. She therefore wrote, and forbade his future visits ; when he, surprised at a change so unexpected, requested an explanation, which she refusing, his pride took alarm ; he imagined his want of fortune was the cause of his dismission, and felt completely disgusted at the meanness of Sophia's conduct. He was confirmed in this belief, by the favour with which his brother was now received, and the reserve shown by the whole family towards himself. Yet it was strange ; for Sir Benjamin himself had made a match with the indigent widow of a king's messenger, who at an electioneering dinner had caught a surfeit and died. Sir Benjamin took a fancy to his buxom dame, and married her before the year was expired, though she had neither fortune nor family to recommend her; and it was singular, that the knight should be at once negligent of his own fortune, yet fastidious respecting that of his daughter. But so it was and he must submit. He felt himself indeed worthy of Sophia, though he had lost her ; nay he felt assured of her love, and supposed she acted by the command of her father, and especially of her step-mother, who ruled the roast in Dove Villa, and with whom he knew he was not any favourite ; but there were some whispered reports that his brother's addresses were to be admitted,
and these reports of course made him very wretched !
About this period, old Captain Ironsides, going on a cruise, prevailed upon his nephew to accompany him; and thus the vindictive Belfield at length was relieved from the presence of his persecuted brother who had not been long gone, before news arrived that he was lost at sea-and nothing now appeared likely to interrupt Andrew's advances towards Sophia.
Lucy Waters soon found, to her sorrow, that she had sacrificed her own integrity, disturbed the peace of the innocent Sophia, and driven young Belfield from his native home, to gratify the revenge of a deep designing villain. She demanded the performance of his promise of marriage, which he evaded for a time, on various specious pretences ; till at length, he made dishonourable advances, assuring her, that though he sought the hand of Miss Love, it was only for the sake of her fortune ; that his love was for her alone, and that she should enjoy every luxury and happiness; while Sophia would but possess the shadow of his affections !
Lucy was struck dumb at this instance of Belfield's depravity. She bitterly reproached herself however for her own injustice and falsehood to the worthy Philip Goodwin ; but it was now too late to redeem what was past : her peace of mind was ruined for ever ; and she feared her reputation would suffer also, for her frequent interviews with Belfield
had subjected her to illnatured remarks. While her i mind was thus agitated, chance threw her in the way
of Philip. She could not restrain her tears at the • sight of him ; and he, affected by her distress, in
quired the cause. She dared not tell him the extent of the wickedness in which Mr. Belfield had involved her, but informed him how she had been deceived by his artful promises: and Philip find
ing her innocent of crime, a reconciliation took place ; through which Lucy hoped to retrieve past folly, by future fidelity.
But these hopes were soon frustrated. Belfield, indignant at her rejection of his infamous proposals, resolved she should not marry Philip. He forbade her to think of him, and threatened to blast her reputation, by publicly asserting what she had in se cret imparted to Miss Dove, viz. that she had been seduced by his brother. Lucy was now almost driven to distraction. Should Belfield really put this threat into execution, what would become of her ? for she stood convicted out of her own mouth; the only one who could prove her innocence was Robert Belfield; and he was gone! This distraco tion of mind preyed upon her health; for a long time her life was despaired of: and during her illness thé cruel Belfield had plunged her lover and his whole family into poverty and sorrow.
Belfield did not love Miss Waters, but yet'unfeelingly entered upon a career of villany. He felt a pleasure in proceeding: and indignant that she should dare reject his dishonourable offers; and probably afraid lest she should betray him, and interfere with his projected marriage, he meditated the most severe revenge. For the furtherance of this laudable motive, he formed a prétence of dispute with old Goodwin, entered upon a course of law, : and carried his proceedings with such rigour, that the worthy man was turned out of house and home, and obliged with his son and daughter to seek a shelter where they could, and obtain a subsistence how they might.
They built a cabin in the fissure of a rock by the sea side ; and out of the little wreck of their property purchased a boat, procuring their precarious living by fishing : while poor Lucy Waters, knowing herself to be the cause of their misfortunes, was a.
prey to remorse and anguish. One only hope cheered her, which was that young Belfield would return, when she resolved to impart to him the cause of his dismissal from the house of Sir Benjamin Dove ; to bring about a reconciliation between him and Sophia, and to implore his protection for Philip and his family! But these long cherished hopes vanished, on the news of young Belfield's death ; and she saw no prospect before her eyes, but misery to herself, and poverty to the Goodwins. Philip would have married her, and braved the vengeance of Belfield ; but Lucy would not hear of it. “No, Philip, (said the unhappy girl), I have drawn enough upon you already- I will not confirm your ruin; we must wait for happier times ; this villain's reign will not surely last for ever ; and a time may come, when I can atone for some of the evils which I have occasioned !"
Mr. Belfield persevered in his addresses to Sophia, encouraged by Sir Benjamin ; who, having lost two out of three elections to the deceased Mr. Belfield, thought that by a marriage between the families, the interests would be consolidated, and all future contentions cease. These arguments however did not carry any weight with Sophia. She had discarded young Belfield from a conviction of his unworthiness but she did not feel herself called upon to marry his brother against her inclination ; and though the match was talked of by every body, it was little likely to come to any conclusion.
From the time when Lucy heard of the death of Robert Belfield, her spirits had become depressed, and she used to wander for hours together on the summit of the rock, where the cabin of the Goodwins was situated : she was rambling as usual on the morning of the storm, which had driven the unhappy wanderer unexpectedly on his own coast, when looking down upon the beach, she bebeld the