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to be thus giving advice to a man, with whom I am so little acquainted, and one with whose • behaviour to me I have so little reason to be ' pleased ?'
Here Jones began to apologize, and to hope he had not offended in any thing he had said of her cousin.—To which the Mask answered, “ And are you so little versed in the sex, to imagine you can well affront a lady more, than by entertaining her with your passion for another woman ? • If the Fairy Queen had conceived no better opi
nion of your gallantry, she would scarce bave appointed you to meet her at a masquerade.'
a Jones had never less inclination to an amour than at present; but gallantry to the ladies was among his principles of honour; and he held it as much incumbent on him to accept a challenge to love, as if it had been a challenge to fight. Nay, his very love to Sophia made it necessary for him to keep well with the lady, as he made no doubt but she was capable of bringing him into the pre- . sence of the other.
He began therefore to make a very warm answer to her last speech, when a Mask, in the cha. racter of an old woman, joined them. This mask was one of those ladies who go to a masquerade only to vent ill-nature, by telling people rude truths, and by endeavouring, as the phrase is, to spoil as inuch sport as they are able. This good lady therefore, having observed Jones, and his friend, whom she well knew, in close consultation together in a corner of the room, concluded she could no where satisfy her spleen better than by interrupting them. She attacked them, therefore, and soon drove them from their retirement; nor was she contented with this, but pursued them to every place which they shifted to avoid her; till Mr. Nightingale, seeing the distress of his friend, at last relieved him, and engaged the old woman in another pursuit,
While Jones and his Mask were walking together about the room, to rid themselves of the teazer, he observed his lady speak to several Masks, with the same freedom of acquaintance as if they had been barefaced. He could not help expressing his surprise at this; saying, “Sure, Maciam, you must have infinite discernment, to know people in all disguises.' To which the lady answered, “ You cannot conceive any thing more in-ipid and * childish than a masquerade to the people of ' fashion, who in general know one another as well
here, as when they meet in an assembly or a draw‘ing room; nor will any woman of condition con'verse with a person with whom she is not ac,
quainted. In short, the generality of persons ' whom you see here, may more properly be said to kill time in this place, than in any other; and generally retire from hence more tired than from • the longest sermon. To say the truth, I begin to • be in that situation myself; and it I have any
faculty at guessing, you are not much better * pleased. I protest it would be almost charity in me to go home for your sake. I know but one
' charity equal to it,' cries Jones, and that is to
, suffer me to wait on you home.' 'Sure,' answered the lady, you have a strange opinion of me, to 'imagine, that upon such an acquaintance, I would let you into my doors at this time o'night. I fancy you impute the friendship I have shewn 'my cousin to some other motive. Confess ho
nestly ; don't you consider this contrived inter* view as little better than a downright assignation? Are you used, Mr. Jones, to make these sudden conquests ?' 'I am not used, Madam,' said Jones, to submit to such sudden conquests; but as you ' have taken iny heart by surprise, the rest of my
body hath a right to follow; so you must pardon ! me if I resolve to attend you wherever you go.' He accompanied these words with some proper actions ; upon which the lady, after a gentle re
buke, and saying their familiarity would be observed, told him, “She was going to sup with an
acquainưance, whither she hoped he would not • follow her; for if you should,' said she, “I shall 'be thought an unaccountable creature, though my
friend indeed is not censorious : yet I hope you won't follow me; I protest I shall not know what to say, if you do.
The lady presently after quitted the masqueradle, and Jones, notwithstanding the severe prohibition he had received, presumed to attend her. He was now reduced to the same dilemma we have mentioned before, namely, the want of a shilling, and could not relieve it by borrowing as before. He therefore walked boldly on after the chair in which his lady rode, pursued by a grand liuzza, from all the chairmen present, who wisely take the best care they can to discountenance all walking afoot by their betters. Luckily, however, the gentry who attend at the Opera-house were too busy to quit their stations, and as the lateness of the hour
prevented him from meeting many of their brethren in the street, he proceeded without molestation, in a dress, which, at another season, would have certainly raised a mob at his heels.
The lady was set down in a street not far from Hanover-square, where the door being presently opened, she was carried in, and the gentleman, without any ceremony, walked in after her.
Jones and his companion were now together in a very well furnished and well warmed room; when the female, still speaking in her masquerade voice, said, she was surprised at her friend, who must absolutely have forgot her appointment; at which, after venting much resentment, she suddenly expressed some apprehension from Jones, and asked him what the world would think of their having been alone together in a house at that time of night? But instead of a direct answer to so important a question, Jones began to be very importu
nate with the lady to unmask; and at length having prevailed, there appeared not Mrs. Fitzpatrick, but ihe lady Bellaston herself.
It would be tedious to give the particular conversation, which consisted of very common and ordinary occurrences, and which lasted from two till six o'clock in the morning. It is sufficient to mention all of it that is anywise material to this history. And this was a promise that the lady would endeavour to find out Sophia, and in a few days bring him to an interview with her, on condition that he would then take his leave of her. When this was thoroughly settled, and a second meeting in the evening appointed at the same place, they separated ; the lady returning to her house, and Jones to his lodgings.
Containing a Scene of Distress, which will appear
very extraordinary to most of our Readers. JONES having refreshed himself with a few hours sleep, summoned Partridge to his presence; and delivering him a Bank-note of fifty pounds, ordered him to go and change it. Partridge received this with sparkling eyes, though, when he came to reflect farther, it raised in him some suspicions not very advantageous to the honour of his master; to these the dreadful idea he had of the masquerade, the disguise in which his master had gone out and returned, and his having been abroad all night, contributed. In plain language, the only way he could possibly find to account for the possession of this note, was by robbery: and, to confess the truth, the reader, unless he should suspect it was owing to the generosity of lady Bellaston, can hardly imagine any other.
To clear, therefore, the honour of Mr. Jones, and to do justice to the liberality of the lady, he had really received this present from her, who, though she did not give much into the hackney charities of the age, such as building hospitals, &c. was not, however, entirely void of that christian virtue; and conceived (very rightly I think) that a young fellow of merit, without a shilling in the world, was no improper object of this virtue.
Mr. Jones and Mr. Nightingale had been invited to dine this day with Mrs. Miller. At the appointed hour, therefore, the two young gentlemen, with the two girls, attended in the parlour, where they waited from three till almost live before the good woman appeared. She had been out of town to visit a relation, of whom, at her return, she gave the following account.
'I hope, gentlemen, you will pardon my making you wait; I am sure if you knew the occasion'I have been to see a cousin of mine, about six 'miles off; who now lies in.-It should be a warning to all persons (says she, looking at her daughters) how they marry indiscreetly. There is no happiness in this world without a competency. O • Nancy ! how shall I describe the wretched con* dition in which I found your poor cousin; she
hath scarce lain in a week, and there was she, this 'dreadful weather, in a cold room, without any 'curtains to her bed, and not a bushel of coals in ' her house to supply her with fire: her second son,
that sweet little fellow, lies ill of a quinsey in the same bed with his mother; for there is no other • bed in the house. Poor little Tommy! I believe,
Nancy, you will never see your favourite any * more; for he is really very ill. The rest of the
children are in pretty good health; but Molly, I am afraid, will do herself an injury: she is but • thiiteen years old, Mr. Nightingale, and yet, in
my life, I never saw a better nurse : she tends • büth her mother and her brother; and, what is wonderful in a creature so young, she shews all