Captain Clifford and his daughter passed the months, previous to their intended journey, in a retirement which was cheared by books, by music, and, above all, by the pleasures of benevolence. Julia rejoiced in the possession of fortune, because she could now indulge the feelings of compassion. She was no longer subject to the pain of flying from distress, which she was unable to relieve: she remembered how often her eyes, wet with tears, had been lifted up to heaven, and implored that she might one day have the power of comforting the afflicted! Her prayer had been accepted, the days of affluence were arrived, and they were devoted to the purposes of benevolence.
Julia spread a little circle of happiness around her. She had too that soothing charm in her manner, which proceeds from the most delicate attention to the feelings of others: she bestowed her alms with that gentleness and sympathy, by which the value of her donations was increased, and her pity was almost as dear to the poor as her charity.
Meantime, Mr. Clifford, though not very quick in penetration, at length discerned his daughter's partiality for Mr. Frederick Seymour, whose talents he admired, and whose character he esteemed. This indulgent father, contrary to every established rule in such cases, determined to make his daughter happy her own way. He suffered her to listen to Seymour's addresses, and consented to her marrying the object of her choice, on her return to England the following summer.
They now only waited for the arrival of Captain Clifford and Julia, in order to set out for Rome; when Mr. Clifford received the following letter from Julia.
To William Clifford, Esq. Avignon.
My dearest Uncle,
I write to you with a degree of anguish, which renders me almost incapable of holding my pen. Last week I was all joy and exultation, at the thoughts of our journey to Avignon – Alas, those dreams of happiness have vanished for ever! My father was, three days ago, prevailed on by Mr. B— to join a hunting party.