Page:Adventures of Rachel Cunningham.djvu/6

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thing was too much to gratify her wishes; no indulgence was withheld from her desires, and all she hoped and asked was granted almost before the request found breath of utterance; nor was any thing denied that could by any possibility of means within his reach, be obtained to please this daughter of his heart's fondest affections, this child of his fairest prospect and delight, while the approving admiration her youthful, but brilliant wit and blooming beauty gave birth to amongst his friends and visiting connections, most highly flattered his parental feelings.

The sun of promise shone with seemingly increasing splendour on her future fortunes, as if with each succeeding day the prospect brightened still: she was at this lime just fourteen; five years had her mother slumbered in the silent grave, when, lo! as if to complete that fatality, which like a blighting cloud, (though yet unperceived) hung over her, her father under an attack of apoplexy, also paid the debt of nature. This fatal stroke of adverse fortune happened while she was at school, and the too sad intelligence was communicated to her with the greatest care and precaution, lest an abrupt disclosure thereof might operate a shock more violent upon her sensibility than her delicate frame might be able lo sustain[1] under a sudden excess of grief, and her health be thereby endangered; for she had the heart-respect and interest of all who knew her in her favour.

However available, on such an awful occurrence, such laudable precaution might have been with some, with Rachel Cunningham it was decidedly unnecessary, and, I may add was in every respect positively useless; for with all her seeming perfections, nature appears not to have endued her with those little, tender, flexible cords of sensitive feeling, which, trembling under the most trifling touch, vibrate in

  1. It is said, that it was with the utmost astonishment observed, when she was made acquainted with the melancholy event, she did not betray even the slightest emotion or trifling symptom indicative of filial affection having existence in her bosom; but turned from the tale of grief to her usual common amusement, as destitute of every natural feeling and wholly regardless of what had happened.