Page images
[ocr errors]

father's lodging, and the coffee-house where he would most probably find him, he hesitated a moment, and then said, My dear Tom, you are go

ing to undertake an impossibility. If you knew my father, you would never think of obtaining • his consent. Stay, there is one way-suppose you told him I was already married, it might be easier to reconcile him to the fact after it was 'done; and, upon my bonour, I am so affected * with what you have said, and I love my Nancy

so passionately, I almost wish it was done, what. ' ever might be the consequence.'

Jones greatly approved the hint, and promised to pursue it. They then separated, Nightingale to visit his Nancy, and Jones in quest of the old gentleman.

CHAP. VIII. What passed between Jones and old Mr. Nightin

gule; with the Arrival of a Person not yet men

tioned in this History. Notwithstanding the sentiment of the Roman satirist, which denies the divinity of fortune, and the opinion of Seneca to the same purpose; Cicero, who was, I believe, a wiser man than either of them, expressly holds the contrary; and certain it is, there are some incidents in life so very strange and unaccountable, that it seems to require more than human skill and foresight in producing them.

Of this kind was what now happened to Jones, who found Mr. Nightingale the elder in so critical a minute, that Fortune, if she was really worthy all the worship she received at Rome, could not have contrived such another. In short, the old gentleman, and the father of the young lady whom he intended for his son, had been hard at it for many hours; and the latter was just now gone, and had left the former delighted with the thoughts that

[ocr errors]

he had succeeded in a long contention, which had been between the two fathers of the future bride and bridegroom; in which both endeavoured to overreach the other, and, as it not rarely happens in such cases, both had retreated fully satisfied of having obtained the victory.

This gentleman, whom Mr. Jones now visited, was what they call a man of the worid; that is to say, a man who directs his conduct in this world, as one who, being fully persuaded there is no other, is resolved to make thie most of this. In his early years he had been bred to trade; but having acquired a very good fortune, he had lately declined his business ; or, to speak more properly, had changed it from dealing in goods, to dealing only in money, of which he had always a plentiful fund at command, and of which he knew very well how to make a very plentiful advantage, sometimes of the necessities of private men, and sometimes of those of the public. lle had indeed conversed so entirely with money, that it may be almost doubted, whether he imagined there was any other thir:g really existing in the world; this at least may be certainly averred, that he firmly believed nothing else to have any real value,

The reader will, I fancy, allow, that fortune could not have culled out a more improper person for Mr. Jones to attack with any probability of success; nor could the whinsical lady have directed this attack at a more unseasonable time.

As money then was always uppermost in this gentleman's thoughts; so the moment he saw a stranger within his doors, it immediately occurred to his imagination, that such stranger was either come to bring him money, or to fetch it from him, And according as one or other of these thoughts prevailed, he conceived a favourable or unfavourable idea of the person who approached him.

Unluckily for Jones, the latter of these was the ascendant at present; for as a young gentleman


had visited him the day before, with a bill from his son for a play debt, he apprehended, at the first sight of Jones, that he was come on such another errand. Jones therefore had no sooner told him, that he was come on his son's account, than the old gentleman, being confirmed in his suspicion, burst forth into an exclamation, “That he would • lose his labour.' 'Is it then possible, Sir,' answered Jones, that you can guess my business?' * If I do guess it,' replied the other, “I repeat * again to you, you will lose your labour. What,

suppose, you are one of those sparks who lead 'my son into all those scenes of riot and de* bauchery, which will be his destruction; but I shall

pay no more of his bills, I promise you. I expect he will quit all such company for the fu'ture. If I had imagined otherwise, I should not ' have provided a wife for him; for I would be in' strumental in the ruin of nobody.' How, Sir,' said Jones, “and was this lady of your providing?? Pray, Sir,' answered the old gentleman, 'how

comes it to be any concern of yours !'--'Nay, * dear Sir,' replied Šones, ‘be not offended that I 'interest myself in what regards your son's happi

ness, for whom I have so great an honour and ' value. It was upon that very account I came to . wait upon you. upon you. I can't

I can't express the satisfaction you have given me by what you say ; for I do

assure you your son is a person for whom I have * the highest honour.–Nay, Sir, it is not easy to

express the esteem I have for you, who could be 'so generous, so good, so kind, so indulgent to ‘ provide such a match for your son; a woman,

who, I dare swear, will make him one of the happiest men upon earth.'

There is scarce any thing which so happily introduces men to our good-liking, as having conceived some alarm at their first appearance; when once those apprehensions begin to vanish, we soon forget the fears which they occasioned, and look

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on ourselves as indebted for our present ease, to those very persons who at first raised our fears.

Thus it happened to Nightingale, who no sooner found that Jones had no demand on him, as he suspected, than he began to be pleased with his presence. “Pray, good Sir,' said he, “be pleased

to sit down. I do not remember to have ever ' had the pleasure of seeing you before; but if you ' are a friend of my son, and have any thing to 'say concerning this young lady, I shall be glad 'to hear you. As to her making him happy, it

. will be his own fault if she doth not. I have dis' charged my duty, in taking care of the main ar'ticle. She will bring him a fortune capable of 'making any reasonable, prudent, sober man,

happy. "Undoubtedly,' cries Jones, ‘for she 'is in herself a fortune ; so beautiful, so genteel,

so sweet-tempered, and so well educated; she is • indeed a most accomplished young lady; sings adinirably well, and hath a most delicate hand at the harpsichord.' 'I did not know any of 'these matters,' answered the old gentleman, 'for ' I never saw the lady: but I do not like her the worse for what you tell me ; and I am the better

; pleased with her father for not laying any stress on these qualifications in our bargain. I shall always think it a proof of his understanding. A А silly fellow would have brought in these articles as an addition to her fortune ; but to give him his due, he never mentioned any such matter ; though to be sure they are no disparagements to a woman.' 'I do assure you, Sir,' cries Jones, she hath them all in the most eminent degree: 'for my part, I own I was afraid you might have

been a little backward, a little less inclined to the match : for your son told me, you had never seen the lady; therefore I came, Sir, in that case, 'to entreat you, to conjure you, as you value the

happiness of your son, not to be averse to his ' match with a woman who hath not only all the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


or else

'good qualities I have mentioned, but many more.

- If that was your business, Sir,' said the old gentleman, 'we are both obliged to you;


you may be perfectly easy; for I give you my word * I was very well satisfied with her fortune. " 'Sir," answered Jones, “I honour you every moment * more and more. To be so easily satisfied, so very 'moderate on that account, is a proof of the

soundness of your understanding, as well as the 'nobleness of your mind.'—Not so very mode

rate, young gentleman, not so very moderate,' answered the father. --Still more and more noble,' replied Jones; ‘and give me leave to add, sensible: • for sure it is little less than madness to consider 'money as the sole foundation of happiness. Such 'a woman as this with her little, her nothing of a • fortune.'-—'I find, cries the old gentleman, “you • have a pretty just opinion of money, my friend, * you are better acquainted with the person of the lady, than with her circumstances. Why,

pray, what fortune do you imagine this lady to · have?'— What fortune,' cries Jones, 'why too * contemptible a one to be named for your son.'-• Well, well

, well,' said the other, perhaps he ' might have done better.'--'That I deny,' said Jones, 'for she is one of the best of women.' 'Ay, • ay, but in point of fortune I mean,'-answered the other. - And yet as to that now, how much 'do you imagine your friend is to have?'~'llow ' much,' cries Jones, “how much !-- Why, at the 'utmost, perhaps 2001. Do you mean to banter

me, young gentleman?' said the father, a little angry:-. No, upon my soul,' answered Jones, I 'am in earnest : nay, I believe I have gone to the 'utmost farthing. If I do the lady an injury, I ' ask her parslon.' 'Indeed, you do,' cries the tather. I am certain she hath fifty times that sum, ' and she shall produce fifty to that, before I con'sent that she shail marry my son. 'Nay,' said

' Jones, “it is too late to talk of consent luw -- Af

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »