« PreviousContinue »
here I cannot omit expressing my gratitude to 'the kindness intended me by Mr. Nash; who • took me one day aside, and gave me advice, ' which if I had followed, I had been a happy
“Child,” says he, “I am sorry to see “ the familiarity which subsists between you and a fellow who is altogether unworthy of you,
and “I am afraid will prove your ruin. As for your old “ stinking aunt, it it was to be no injury to you, “and my pretty Sophy Western (I assure you I “repeat his words), I should be heartily glad that “ the fellow was in possession of all that belongs “to her. I never advise old women: for if they
I take it into their heads to go to the devil, it is “no more possible, than worth while, to keep them “ from him. Innocence and youth and beauty are
worthy a better fate, and I would save them “ from his clutches. Let me advise you therefore, “ dear child, never suffer this fellow to be particu“lar with you again.”—Many more things he ' said to me, which I have now forgotten, and in
deed I attended very little to them at that time; ' for inclination contradicted all he said ; and be
sides, I could not be persuaded, that women of ' quality would condescend to familiarity with ' such a person as he described.
But I am afraid, my dear, I shall tire you with ' a detail of so many minute circumstances. To be
concise therefore, imagine me married; imagine 'me with my husband, at the feet of my aunt; ' and then imagine the maddest woman in Bedlam 'in a raving fit, and your imagination will suggest ' to you no more than what really happened.
' The very next day my aunt left the place, partly to avoid seeing Mr. Fitzpatrick or myself, and as much perhaps to avoid seeing any one else; for, though I am told she hath since denied every thing stoutly, I believe she was then a little con' founded at her disappointment. Since that time
* I have written to her many letters ; but never 'could obtain an answer, which I must own sits 'somewhat the heavier, as she herself was, though ' undesignedly, the occasion of all my sufferings : ' for had it not been under the colour of paying ' his addresses to her, Mr. Fitzpatrick would never ' have found sufficient opportunities to have en'gaged my heart, which, in other circumstances, I still flaiter myself would not have been an easy conquest to such a person. Indeed, I believe, I 'should not have erred so grossly in my choice, 'if I had relied on my own judgement; but I trusted totally to the opinion of others, and very foolishly took the merit of a man for granted, 'whom I saw so universally well received by the women. What is the reason, my dear, that we, who have understandings equal to the wisest and greatest of the other sex, so often make choice of the silliest fellows for companions and favourites?. It raises my indignation to the highest pitch, to reflect on the numbers of women of sense who have been undone by fools. Here she paused a moment; but Sophia making no answer, she proceeded as in the next chapter.
CHAP. V. In which the History of Mrs. Fitzpatrick is
continued. 'WE remained at Bath no longer than a fort
night after our wedding: for as to any reconcili'ation with my aunt, there were no hopes; and of my fortune, not one farthing could be touched till I was of age, of which I now wanted more 'than two years. My husband therefore was re'solved to set out for Ireland; against which I re'monstrated very earnestly, and insisted on a pro'mise which he had made me before our marriage,
« that I should never take this journey against my consent; and indeed I never intended to consent to it; nor will any body, I believe, blame me for • that resolution; but this, however, I never men'tioned to my husband, and petitioned only for 'the reprieve of a month; but he had fixed the ' day, and to that day he obstinately adhered.
“The evening before our departure, as we were disputing this point with great eagerness on both sides, he started suddenly from his chair, and left me abruptly, saying, he was going to the rooms. • He was hardly out of the house, when I saw a
paper lying on the floor, which, I suppose, he • had carelesly pulled from his pocket, together * with his handkerchief. This paper I took up,
and finding it to be a letter, I made no scruple 'to open and read it; and indeed I read it so often, 'that I can repeat it to you almost word for word. This then was the letter:
'Yours received, and am surprised you should use me in this manner, as have never seen any of your cash, unless for one linsey-Woolsey coat, and your bill now is upwards of 1501. Consider, Sir, how often you have fobbed me off with your being 'shortly to be married to this lady, and tother • lady; but I can neither live on hopes or promises,
nor will my woollen-draper take any such in payment. You tell me you are secure of having either • the aunt or the niece, and that you might have ó married the aunt before this, whose jointure you
say is immense, but that you prefer the niece on ' account of her ready money. Pray, Sir, take a · fool's advice for once, and marry the first you can get. You will pardon my offering my advice, as you know I sincerely wish you well.
'Shall draw on you per next post, in favour of
• This was the letter, word for word. Guess,
dear girl, guess how this letter affected me. • You prefer the niece on account of her ready
money! If every one of these words had been a ' dagger, I could with pleasure have stabbed them
into his heart; but I will not recount my frantic • behaviour on the occasion. I had pretty well spent 'my tears before his return home; but sufficient ' remains of them appeared in my swollen eyes. • He threw himself sullenly into his chair, and for
a long time we were both silent. At length, in a ' haughty tone, he said, “ I hope, Madam, your “ servants have packed up all your things; for “ the coach will be ready by six in the morning.” My patience was totally subdued by this provocation, and I answered, no, Sir, there is a • letter still remains unpacked; and then throwing 'it on the table, I fell to upbraiding him with the ' most bitter language I could invent.
Whether guilt, or shame, or prudence, restrained him, I cannot say; but though he is the most passionate of men, he exerted no rage on this occasion. He endeavoured, on the contrary, to pacify me by the most gentle means. He swore 'the phrase in the letter, to which I principally objected, was not his, nor had he ever written any such. He owned, indeed, the having men' tioned his marriage, and that preference which ' he had given to myself, but denied with many ' oaths the having assigned any such reason. And 'he excused the having mentioned any such mat
"ter at all, on account of the straits he was in for
money, arising, he said, from his having too long ' neglected his estate in Ireland. And this, he said, which he could not bear to discover to me, was the only reason of his having so strenuously 'insisted on our journey. He then used several very endearing expressions, and concluded by a very fond caress, and many violent protestations • of love.
• There was one circumstance, which, though he ' did not appeal to it, had much weight with me in * his favour, and that was the word jointure in the
tailor's letter, whereas my aunt never had been 'married, and this Mr. Fitzpatrick well knew.As I imagined, therefore, that the fellow must have inserted this of his own head, or from hear
I persuaded myself he might have ventured • likewise on that odious line on no better autho‘rity. What reasoning was this, my dear? was I ' not an advocate rather than a judge:-- But why 'do I mention such a circumstance as this, or
appeal to it for the justification of my forgive*ness ?-In short, had he been guilty of twenty
times as much, half the tenderness and fondness ' which he used, would have prevailed on me to · have forgiven him. I now made no farther objections to our setting out, which we did the
next morning, and in a little more than a week • arrived at the seat of Mr. Fitzpatrick.
* Your curiosity will excuse me trom relating any occurrences which past during our journey: ' for it would indeed be highly disagreeable to * travel it over again, and no less so to you to travel it over with me.
• This seat then, is an ancient mansion-house: if 'I was in one of those merry humours, in which ' you have so often seen me, I could describe it to
you ridiculously enough. It looked as if it had • been formerly inhabited by a gentleman. Here was room enough, and not the less room on ac