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CHAP. IV. The History of Mrs. Fitzpatrick. MRS. Fitzpatrick, after a silence of a few mo
a ments, fetching a deep sigh, thus began :
' It is natural to the unhappy to feel a secret concern in recollecting those periods of their lives which have been most delightful to them. The ' remembrance of past pleasures affects us with a ' kind of tender grief, like what we suffer for de'parted friends, and the ideas of both may be said to haunt our imaginations.
For this reason, I never reflect without sorrow on those days (the happiest far of my life) which we spent together, when both were under the 'care of my aunt Western. Alas! why are Miss 'Graveairs, and Miss Giddy no more? You re'member, I am sure, when we knew each other by 'no other names. Indeed you gave the latter appellation with too much cause. I have since experienced how much I deserved it. You, my So'phia, was always my superior in every thing, and • I heartily hope you will be so in your fortune. 'I shall never forget the wise and matronly ad'vice you once gave me, when I lamented being
disappointed of a ball, though you could not be then fourteen years old.
O my Sophy, how blest must have been my situation, when I could think such a disappointment a misfortune; and when indeed it was the greatest I had ever 'known!'
* And yet, my dear Harriet,' answered Sophia, ' ' it was then a serious matter with you. Comfort
. yourself therefore with thinking, that whatever
you now lament, may hereafter appear as trifling * and contemptible as a ball would at this time.'
* Alas, my Sophia,' replied the other lady, you yourself will think otherwise of iny present situ
*ation; for greatly must that tender heart be altered, if my misfortunes do not draw many a sigh, nay, many a tear, from you. The knowledge * of this should perhaps deter me from relating · what I am convinced will so much affect you. Here Mrs. Fitzpatrick stopt, till, at the repeated entreaties of Sophia, she thus proceeded.
* Though you must have heard much of my marriage; yet as matters may probably have been ' misrepresented, I will set out from the very com* mencement of my unfortunate acquaintance with
my present husband; which was at Bath, soon ' after you left my aunt, and returned home to your father.
* Among the gay young fellows, who were at 'this season at Bath, Mr. Fitzpatrick was one. He
was handsome, degagé, extremely gallant, and in • his dress exceeded most others. In short, my * dear, if you was unluckily to see him now, I 'could describe him no better than by telling you “ he was the very reverse of every thing which he
is: for he hath rusticated himself so long, that he ' is become an absolute wild Irishman. But to pro'ceed in my story; the qualifications which he then ' possessed, so well recommended him, that though 'the people of quality at that time lived separate ' from the rest of the company, and excluded them ' from all their parties, Mr. Fitzpatrick found ' means to gain admittance. It was perlaps no easy ' matter to avoid him ; for he required very little
or no invitation; and as being handsome and gen' teel, he found it no very difficult matter to ingra• tiate himself with the ladies; so, he having frequently drawn his sword, the men did not care publicly to affront him. Had it not been for some such reason, I believe he would have been soon expelled by his own sex; for surely he had no strict title to be preferred to the English gentry; nor did they seem inclined to shew him any extraordinary favour. They all abused him be
you are there.
• hind his back, which might probably proceed ' from envy; for by the women he was well re'ceived, and very particularly distinguished by them.
My aunt, though no person of quality herself, as she had always lived about the court, was en' rolled in that party : for by whatever means you get into the polite circle, when you are once there, it is sufficient merit for
that "This observation, young as you was, you could
scarce avoid making from my aunt, who was 'free, or reserved, with all people, just as they had ? more or less of this merit.
* And this merit, I believe, it was, which princi'pally recommended Mr. Fitzpatrick to her favour. • In which he so well succeeded, that he was always
one of her private parties. Nor was he backward 'in returning such distinction; for he soon grew
so very particular in his behaviour to her, that 'the scandal club first began to take notice of it, ' and the better disposed persons made a match
between them. For my own part, I confess, I * made no doubt but that his designs were strictly honourable, as the phrase is; that is, to rob a lady of her fortune by way of marriage. My aunt was, ' I conceived, neither young enough nor handsome enough, to attract much wicked inclination; but she had matrimonial charms in great abundance.
'I was the more confirmed in this opinion from 'the extraordinary respect which he shewed to 'myself, from the first moment of our acquaint‘ance. This I understood as an attempt to lessen,
if possible, that disinclination which my interest might be supposed to give me towards the match; and I know not but in some measure it had that effect: for as I was well contented with my own ' fortune, and of all people the least a slave to interested views; so I could not be violently the enemy of a man with whose behaviour to me I was greatly pleased; and the more so, as I was
'the only object of such respect; for he behaved
at the same time to many women of quality with'out any respect at all.
Agreeable as this was to me, he soon changed it into another kind of behaviour, which was perhaps more so. He now put on much softness and ' tenderness, and languished and sighed abundantly. At times, indeed, whether from art or nature, I will not determine, he gave his usual " loose to gaiety and mirth; but this was always in general company, and with other women; for 'even in a country-dance, when he was not my
partner, he became grave; and put on the softest • look imaginable, the moment he approached me. ' Indeed he was in all thing's so very particular to'wards me, that I must have been blind not to · have discovered it. And, and, and --' 'And you ' was more pleased still, my dear Harriet,' cries Sophia; 'you need not be ashamed,' added she, sighing; for sure there are irresistible charms in 'tenderness, which too many men are able to af• fect.' "True,' answered her cousin, ‘men, who in all other instances want common sense, are very Machiavels in the art of loving. I wish I did not 'know an instance. — Well, scandal now began to 'be as busy with me as it had before been with
my aunt; and some good ladies did not scruple to affirm, that Mr. Fitzpatrick had an intrigue with us both.
* But what may seem astonishing; my aunt never saw, nor in the least seemed to suspect that which ' was visible enough, I believe, from both our be'haviours. One would indeed think, that love quite puts out the eyes of an old woman. In fact, they so greedily swallow the addresses which are * made to them, that, like an outrageous glutton, they are not at leisure to observe what passes amongst others at the same table. This I have 'observed in more cases than my own; and this was so strongly verified by my aunt, that, though
she often found us together at her return from “the pump, the least canting word of his, pretend
ing impatience at her absence, eftectually smo'thered all suspicion. One artifice succeeded with
her to admiration. This was his treating me like a ' little child, and never calling me by any other ' name in her presence, but that of pretty miss. • This indeed did him some disservice with your • Jumble servant; but I soon saw through it, espe
cially as in her absence he behaved to me, as I · have said, in a different manner. However, if I ' was not greatly disobliged by a conduct of which • I had discovered the design, I smarted very se'verely for it; for my aunt really conceived me to 'be what her lover (as she thought him) called
me, and treated me, in all respects, as a perfect 'infant. To say the truth, I wonder she had not ‘insisted on my again wearing leading-strings.
* At last, my lover (for so he was) thought proper, in a most solemn manner, to disclose a secret ' which I had known long before. He now placed * all the love which he had pretended to my aunt to my account. He lamented, in very pathetic terms, the encouragement she had given him, and 'made a high merit of the tedious hours, in which
he had undergone her conversation. - What shall 'I tell you, my dear Sophia ? — Then I will con'fess the truth. I was pleased with my man. I was pleased with my conquest. To rival my aunt delighted me; to rival so many other women 'charmed me. In short, I am afraid, I did not ' behave as I should do, even upon the very first ' declaration--I wish I did not almost give him 'positive encouragement before we parted.
• The Bath now talked loudly, I might almost say, roared against me. Several young women atfected to shun my acquaintance, not so much, ' perhaps, from any real suspicion, as from a de
sire of banishing me from a company, in which I ' : too much engrossed their favourite man. And