Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

6

CHAP. IV.

Which consists of Visiting. MR. Jones bad walked within sight of a certain door during the whole day, which, though one of the shortest, appeared to him to be one of the longest in the whole year. At length the clock having struck five, he returned to Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who, though it was a full hour earlier than the decent time of visiting, received him very civilly; but still persisted in her ignorance concerning Sophia.

Jones, in asking for his angel, had dropped the word cousin ; upon which Mrs. Fitzpatrick said, ' Then, Sir, you know we are related; and as we

are, you will permit me the right of inquiring ‘ ' into the particulars of your business with my

cousin.' Here Jones hesitated a good while, and at last answered, lle had a considerable sum of money of hers in his hands, which he desired to deliver to her. He then produced the pocketbook, and acquainted Mrs. Fitzpatrick with the contents, and with the method in which they came into his hands. He had scarce finished his story when a most violent noise shook the whole house. To attempt to describe this noise to those who have heard it, would be in vain ; and to aim at giving any idea of it to those who have never lieard the like, would be still more vain : for it may be truly said,

Non acuta Sic geminant Corybantes ara. The priests of Cybele do not so rattle their sounding brass.

In short, a footman kuocked, or rather thundered at the door. Jones was a little surprised at the sound, liaving never heard it before; but Mrs. Fitzpatrick very calmly said, that as some company were coming, she could not make him any answer

now; but if he pleased to stay till they were gone, she intimated she had something to say to him.

The door of the room now flew open, and, after pushing in her hoop sideways before her, entered lady Bellaston, who having first made a very low curtesy to Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and as low a one to Mr. Jones, was ushered to the upper end of the room,

We mention these minute matters for the sake of some country ladies of our acquaintance, who think it contrary to the rules of modesty to bend their knees to a man.

The company were hardly weil settled, before the arrival of the peer lately mentioned caused a fresh dist pance, and a repetition of ceremonials.

These being over, the conversation began to be (as the phrase is) extreinely brilliant. However, as nothing past in it which can be thought material to this history, or, indeed, very material in itself, I shall omit the relation; the rather as I have known some very fine polite conversation grow extremely dull, when transcribed into books, or repeated on the stage. Indeed, this mental repast is a dainty, of which those who are excluded from polite assemblies, must be contented to remain ?s ignorant as they must of the several dainties of French cookery, which are served only at the tables of the great. To say the truth, as neither of these are adapted to every taste, they might both be often thrown away on the vulgar.

Poor Jones was rather a spectator of this elegant scene, than an actor in it; for though, in the short interval before the peer's arrival, lady Bellaston first, and afterwards Mrs. Fitzpatrick, had addressed some of their discourse to him; vet no sooner was the noble lord entered, than he engrossed the whole attention of the two ladies to himself; and as he took no more notice of Jones than if no such person had been present, unless by now and then staring at him, the ladies followerd his example.

6

[ocr errors]

The company had now staid so long, that Mrs. Fitzpatrick plainly perceived they all designed to stay out each other. She therefore resolved to rid herself of Jones, he being the visitant to whom she thought the least ceremony was due. Taking therefore an opportunity of a cessation of chat, she addressed herself gravely to him, and said, Sir, • I shall not possibly be able to give you an an'swer to-night, as to that business; but if you

please to leave word where I may send to you 'to-morrow

Jones had natural, but not artificial good-breeding. Instead therefore of communicating the secret of his lodgings to a servant, he acquainted the lady herself with it particularly, and soon after very ceremoniously withdrew.

He was no sooner gone than the great personages, who had taken no notice of him present, began to take much notice of him in his absence; but if the reader hath already excused us from relating the more brilliant part of this conversation, he will surely be very ready to excuse the repetition of what may be called vulgar abuse; though, perhaps, it may be material to our history to mention an observation of lady Bellaston, who took her leave in a few minutes after him, and then said

a to Mrs. Fitzpatrick, at her departure, 'I am satis'fied on the account of my cousin ; she can be in ‘no danger from this fellow.'

Our history shall follow the example of lady Bellaston, and take leave of the present company, which was now reduced to two persous; between whom, as nothing passed, which in the least concerns us or our reader, we shall not suffer ourselves to be diverted by it from matters which must seem of more consequenee to all those who are at all interested in the affairs of our hero.

CHIAP. V.

An Adventure which happened to Mr. Jones at his

Lodgings, with some Account of a Young Gentleman who lodged there, and of the Mistress of

the House, and her Two Daughters. The next morning, as early as it was decent, Jones attended at Mrs. Fitzpatrick's door, where he was answered, that the lady was not at home; an answer which surprised him the more, as he had walked backwards and forwards in the street from break of day; and if she had gone out, he mus have seen her. This answer, however, he was obliged to receive, and not only now, but to five several visits which he made her that day. To be plain with the reader, the noble peer

had from some reason or other, perhaps from a regard for the lady's honour, insisted that she should not see Mr. Jones, whom he looked on as a scrub, any more; and the lady had complied in making that promise to which we now see her so strictly adhere.

But as our gentle reader may possibly have a better opinion of the young gentleman than her ladyship, and may even have some concern, should it be apprehended, that during this unhappy separation from Sophia, he took up his residence either at an inn, or in the street; we shall now give an account of his lodging, which was indeed in a very reputable house, and in a very good part of the town,

Mr. Jones, then, had often heard Mr. Allworthy mention the gentlewoman at whose house he used to lodge when he was in town. This person, who, as Jones likewise knew, lived in Bond-street, was the widow of a clergyman, and was left by him, at his decease, in possession of two daughters, and of a complete set of manuscript sermons.

Of these two daughters, Nancy, the elder, was

[ocr errors]

now arrived at the age of seventeen, and Betty, the younger, at that of ten.

Hither Jones had dispatched Partridge, and in this house he was provided with a room for himself in the second floor, and with one for Partridge in the fourth.

The first floor was inhabited by one of those young gentlemen, who, in the last age, were called

, men of wit and pleasure about town, and properly enough; for as men are usually denominated from their business or professio:), so pleasure may be said to have been the only business or profession of those gentlemen to whom fortune had made all useful occupations unnecessary. Playhouses, coffeehouses, and taverns, were the scenes of their rendezvous. Wit and humour wore the entertainment of their looser hours, and love was the business of their more serious moments. Wine and the muses conspire to kindle the brightest flames in their breasts; por did they only admire, but some were able to celebrate, the beauty they admired, and all to judge of the merit of such compositions.

Such, therefore, were properly called the men of wit and pleasure; but I question whether the same appellation may, with the same propriety, be given to those young gentlemen of our times, who have the same ambition to be distinguished for parts. Wit certainly they have nothing to do with. To give them their due, they soar a step higher than their predecessors, and may be called men of wisdom and vertù (take heed you do not read virtue). Thus at an age when the gentlemen above-mentioned einploy their time in toasting the charms of a woman, or in making sonnets in her praise; in giving their opinion of a play at the theatre, or of a poem at Will's or Button's; these gentlemen are considering of methods to bribe a corporation, or meditating speeches for the house of commons, or rather for the magazines. But the science of gaming is that which above all others employs

« PreviousContinue »