Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 74

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The bad success of his enquiry had such an effect upon his spirits, that immediately at his return he was seized with a dangerous fever, which overwhelmed his parents with terror and affliction; but he was now happily recovered, though still weak and disconsolate. My nephew joining us in our walk, I informed him of these circumstances, with which he was wonderfully pleased. He declared he would promote the match to the utmost of his power, and that he longed to embrace young Mr Dennison as his friend and brother. — Mean while, the father went to desire his wife to communicate this discovery gradually to Liddy, that her delicate nerves might not suffer too sudden a shock; and I imparted the particulars to my sister Tabby, who expressed some surprize, not altogether unmixed, I believe, with an emotion of envy; for, though she could have no objection to an alliance at once so honourable and advantageous, she hesitated in giving her consent on pretence of the youth and inexperience of the parties: at length, however, she acquiesced, in consequence of having consulted with captain Lismahago.

Mr Dennison took care to be in the way when his son arrived at the gate, and, without giving him time or opportunity to make any enquiry about the strangers, brought him up stairs to be presented to Mr Loyd and his family — The first person he saw when he entered the room, was Liddy, who, notwithstanding all her preparation, stood trembling in the utmost confusion — At sight of this object he was fixed motionless to the floor, and, gazing at her with the utmost eagerness of astonishment, exclaimed, 'Sacred heaven! what is this! — ha! wherefore —' Here his speech failing, he stood straining his eyes, in the most emphatic silence 'George (said his father), this is my friend Mr Loyd.' Roused at this intimation, he turned and received my salute, when I said, 'Young gentleman, if you had trusted me with your secret at our last meeting, we should have parted upon better terms.' Before he could make any answer, Jery came round and stood before him with open arms. — At first, he started and changed colour; but after a short pause, he rushed into his embrace, and they hugged one another as if they had been intimate friends from their infancy: then he payed his respects to Mrs Tabitha, and advancing to Liddy, 'Is it possible, (cried he), that my senses do not play me false! that I see Miss Melford under my father's roof — that I am permitted to speak to her without giving offence — and that her relations have honoured me with their countenance and protection.' Liddy blushed, and trembled, and faltered — 'To be sure, sir (said she), it is a very surprising circumstance — a great — a providential - -I really know not what I say — but I beg you will think I have said what's agreeable.'

Mrs Dennison interposing said, 'Compose yourselves, my dear children. — Your mutual happiness shall be our peculiar care.' The son going up to his mother, kissed one hand; my niece bathed the other with her tears; and the good old lady pressed them both in their turns to her breast. — The lovers were too much affected to get rid of their embarrassment for one day; but the scene was much enlivened by the arrival of Jack Wilson, who brought, as usual, some game of his own killing — His honest countenance was a good letter of recommendation. I received him like a dear friend after a long separation; and I could not help wondering to see him shake Jery by the hand as an old acquaintance — They had, indeed, been acquainted some days, in consequence of a diverting incident, which I shall explain at meeting. That same night a consultation was held upon the concerns of the lovers, when the match was formally agreed to, and all the marriage articles were settled without the least dispute. — My nephew and I promised to make Liddy's fortune five thousand pounds. Mr Dennison declared, he would make over one half of his estate immediately to his son, and that his daughter-in-law should be secured in a jointure of four hundred — Tabby proposed, that, considering their youth, they should undergo one year at least, of probation before the indissoluble knot should be tied; but the young gentleman being very impatient and importunate, and the scheme implying that the young couple should live in the house, under the wings of his parents, we resolved to make them happy without further delay.

As the law requires that the parties should be some weeks resident in the parish, we shall stay here till the ceremony is performed. — Mr Lismahago requests that he may take the benefit of the same occasion; so that next Sunday the banns will be published for all four together. — I doubt I shall not be able to pass my Christmas with you at Brambleton-hall. — Indeed, I am so agreeably situated in this place, that I have no desire to shift my quarters; and I foresee, that when the day of separation comes, there will be abundance of sorrow on all sides. — In the mean time, we must make the most of those blessings which Heaven bestows. — Considering how you are tethered by your profession, I cannot hope to see you so far from home; yet the distance does not exceed a summer-day's journey, and Charles Dennison, who desires to be remembered to you, would be rejoiced to see his old compotator; but as I am now stationary, I expect regular answers to the epistles of

Yours invariably,
Oct. 11.