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Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793 von Brown, Charles Brockden (eBook)

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Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793

Arthur Mervyn is a novel written by Charles Brockden Brown and published in 1799. It was one of Brown's more popular novels, and is in many ways representative of Brown's dark, gothic style and subject matter. (Wikipedia)

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: none
    Seitenzahl: 224
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783962722517
    Verlag: OTB eBook publishing
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Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793

CHAPTER II.

My natal soil is Chester county. My father had a small farm, on which he has been able, by industry, to maintain himself and a numerous family. He has had many children, but some defect in the constitution of our mother has been fatal to all of them but me. They died successively as they attained the age of nineteen or twenty, and, since I have not yet reached that age, I may reasonably look for the same premature fate. In the spring of last year my mother followed her fifth child to the grave, and three months afterwards died herself.

My constitution has always been frail, and, till the death of my mother, I enjoyed unlimited indulgence. I cheerfully sustained my portion of labour, for that necessity prescribed; but the intervals were always at my own disposal, and, in whatever manner I thought proper to employ them, my plans were encouraged and assisted. Fond appellations, tones of mildness, solicitous attendance when I was sick, deference to my opinions, and veneration for my talents, compose the image which I still retain of my mother. I had the thoughtlessness and presumption of youth, and, now that she is gone, my compunction is awakened by a thousand recollections of my treatment of her. I was indeed guilty of no flagrant acts of contempt or rebellion. Perhaps her deportment was inevitably calculated to instil into me a froward and refractory spirit. My faults, however, were speedily followed by repentance, and, in the midst of impatience and passion, a look of tender upbraiding from her was always sufficient to melt me into tears and make me ductile to her will. If sorrow for her loss be an atonement for the offences which I committed during her life, ample atonement has been made.

My father is a man of slender capacity, but of a temper easy and flexible. He was sober and industrious by habit. He was content to be guided by the superior intelligence of his wife. Under this guidance he prospered; but, when that was withdrawn, his affairs soon began to betray marks of unskilfulness and negligence. My understanding, perhaps, qualified me to counsel and assist my father, but I was wholly unaccustomed to the task of superintendence. Besides, gentleness and fortitude did not descend to me from my mother, and these were indispensable attributes in a boy who desires to dictate to his gray-headed parent. Time, perhaps, might have conferred dexterity on me, or prudence on him, had not a most unexpected event given a different direction to my views.

Betty Lawrence was a wild girl from the pine-forests of New Jersey. At the age of ten years she became a bound servant in this city, and, after the expiration of her time, came into my father's neighbourhood in search of employment. She was hired in our family as milkmaid and market-woman. Her features were coarse, her frame robust, her mind totally unlettered, and her morals defective in that point in which female excellence is supposed chiefly to consist. She possessed super-abundant health and good-humour, and was quite a supportable companion in the hay-field or the barnyard.

On the death of my mother, she was exalted to a somewhat higher station. The same tasks fell to her lot; but the time and manner of performing them were, in some degree, submitted to her own choice. The cows and the dairy were still her province; but in this no one interfered with her or pretended to prescribe her measures. For this province she seemed not unqualified, and, as long as my father was pleased with her management, I had nothing to object.

This state of things continued, without material variation, for several months. There were appearances in my father's deportment to Betty, which excited my reflections, but not my fears. The deference which was occasionally paid to the advice or the claims of this girl was accounted for by that feebleness of mind which degraded my father, in whatever scene he should be placed, to be the tool of

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