Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ful imprecations, which Sophia at last interrupted, and begged to know what he meant by the news. -He was going to answer, when Mrs. Honour came running into the room, all pale and breathless, and cried out, Madam, we are all undone, • all ruined, they are come, they are come !' These words almost froze up the blood of Sophia ; but Mrs. Fitzpatrick asked Honour, who were come?

- Who' answered she, 'why the French; se'veral hundred thousands of them are landed, and we shall be all murdered and ravished.'

As a miser, who hath, in some well-built city, a cottage, value twenty shillings, when at a distance he is alarmed with the news of a fire, turns pale and trembles at his loss; but when he finds the beautiful palaces only are burnt, and his own cot. tage remains safe, he comes instantly to himself, and smiles at his good fortunes: or as (for we dislike something in the former simile) the tender mother, when terrified with the apprehension that her darling boy is drowned, is struck senseless and almost dead with consternation; but when she is told that little master is safe, and the Victory only, with twelve hundred brave men, gone to the bottom, life and sense again return, maternal fondness enjoys the sudden relief from all its fears, and the general benevolence, which at another time would have deeply felt the dreadful catastrophe, lies fast asleep in her mind.

So Sophia, than whom none was more capable of tenderly feeling the general calamity of her country, found such immediate satisfaction from the relief of those terrors she had of being overtaken by her father, that the arrival of the French scarce inade any impression on her. She gently chid her maid for the fright into which she had thrown her; and said, she was glad it was no

worse; for that she had feared somebody else • was come.'

6

[ocr errors]

'Ay, ay,' quoth the landlord, smiling, 'her ladyship knows better things; she knows the French are our very

best friends, and come over ** hither only for our good. They are the people ' who are to make Old England flourish again. I ' warrant her honour thought the duke was com'ing; and that was enough to put her into a fright. 'I was going to tell your ladyihip the news. * His honour's majesty, Heaven bless him, hath given the duke the slip, and is marching as fast as he can to London, and ten thousand French are landed to join him on the road.'

Sophia was not greatly pleased with this news, nor with the gentleman who felated it; but as she still imagined he knew her (for she could not possibly have any suspicion of the real truth) she durst not shew any dislike. And now the landlord, having removed the cloth from the table, withdrew; but at his departure frequently repeated his hopes of being remembered hereafter.

The mind of Sophia was not at all easy under the supposition of being known at this house; for she still applied to herself many things which the landlord had addressed to Jenny Cameron; she therefore ordered her maid to pump out of him by what means he had become acquainted with her person, and who had offered him the reward for betraying her; she likewise ordered the horses to be in readiness by four in the morning, at which hour Mrs. Fitzpatrick promised to bear her company; and then composing herself as well as she could, she desired that lady to continue her story.

CHAP. VII. *In which Mrs. Fitzpatrick concludes her History. WHILE Mrs. Honour, in pursuance of the commands of her mistress, ordered a bowl of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

punch, and invited my landlord and landlady to partake of it, Mrs. Fitzpatrick thus went on with her relation.

Most of the officers who were quartered at a town in our neighbourhood, were of my hus'band's acquaintance. Among these was a lieu'tenant, a very pretty sort of man, and who was • married to a woman so agreeable both in her

temper and conversation, that from our first ' knowing each other, which was soon after my ' lying-in, we were almost inseparable companions ; for I had the good fortune to make myself equally agreeable to her.

* The lieutenant, who was neither a sot nor a sportsman, was frequently of our parties; in' deed he was very little with my husband, and no

, more than good-breeding constrained him to be, as he lived almost constantly at our house. My ' husband often expressed much dissatisfaction at * the lieutenant's preferring my company to his ; he was very angry with me on that account, and gave me many a hearty curse for drawing away ' his companions ; saying, “ I ought to be d-ned “ for having spoiled one of the prettiest fellows in “the world, by making a milksop of him.”

You will be mistaken, my dear Sophia, if you imagine that the anger of my husband arose ' from my depriving him of a companion; for the

lieutenant was not a person with whose society a 'fool could be pleased ; and if I should admit the

possibility of this, so little right had my husband 'to place the loss of his companion to me, that I am convinced it was my conversation alone. which induced him ever to come to the house, • No, child, it was envy, the worst and inost rancorous kind of envy, the envy of superiority of understanding. The wretch could not bear to see my conversation preferred to his, by a man of ' whom he could not entertain the least jealousy. O my dear Sophy, you are a woman of sense;

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

' if you marry a man, as is most probable you will, • of less capacity than yourself, make frequent 'trials of his temper before marriage, and see

whether he can bear to submit to such a supe‘riority.—Promise me, Sophy, you will take this * advice ; for you will hereafter find its importance.' 'It is very likely I shall never inarry at 'all,' answered Sophia ; 'I think, at least, I shall never marry a man in whose understanding I see any defects before marriage ; and I promise you 'I would rather give up my own, than see any

such afterwards.'— 'Give up your understand‘ing !' replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick; 'Oh, fie, child, 'I will not believe so meanly of you. Every 'thing else I might myself be brought to give up;

but never this. Nature would not have allotted 'this superiority to the wife in so many instances,

if she had intended we should all of us have sur"rendered it to the husband. This, indeed, men ' of sense never expect of us; of which the lieu

tenant I have just mentioned was one notable example ; for though he had a very good understanding, he always acknowledged (as was 'really true) that bis wife had a better. And 'this, perhaps, was one reason of the hatred

my 'tyrant hore her.

Before he would be so governed by a wife, he said, especially such an ugly b— (for indeed she was not a regular beauty, but very agreeable and extremely gentecl) he would see all the wo* men upon earth at the devil, which was a very usual phrase with him. He said, he wondered "what I could see in her to be so charmed with • her company; since this woman, says he, hath ' come among us, there is an end of your beloved * reading, which you pretended to like so much, that you could not afford time to return the visits of the ladies in this country; and I must confess I had been guilty of a little rudeness this way; for the ladies there are at least no better

[ocr errors]

6

6

6

[ocr errors]

a

6

than the mere country ladies here; and I think I need make no other excuse to you for declining any intimacy with them.

• This correspondence, however continued a ' whole year, even all the while the lieutenant was

quartered in that town; for which I was conten'ted to pay the tax of being constantly abused in 'the manner above mentioned by my husband; I

mean when he was at home; for he was frequently 'absent a month at a time at Dublin, and once made

a journey of two months to London; in all which journies I thought it a very singular happiness that he never once desired my company; nay, by his frequent censures on men who could not travel

, as he phrased it, without a wife tied up to their ' tail, he sufficiently intimated that, had I been never so desirous of accompanying him, my wishes would have been in vain: but, heaven knows, such wishes were very far from my thoughts.

• At length my friend was removed from me, and ' I was again left to my solitude, to the tormenting conversation with my own reflections, and to apply to books for my only comfort. I now read : almost all day long. --How many books do you • think I read in three months?' indeed, cousin,' answered Sophia.— Perhaps half a score! Half a score! half a thousand, child!' answered the other. “I read a good deal in Daniel's

English History of France; a great deal in Plutarch's Lives, the Atalantas, Pope's Homer, Dryden's Play's, Chillingworth, the Countess D'Anois, ' and Locke's Human Understanding.

· During this interval I wrote three very suppli*cating, and, I thought, moving letters to my aunt; • but as I received no answer to any ot'them, my dis

dain would not suffer me to continue my applica'tion.'-- Here she stopt, and looking earnestly at Sophia, said, 'Methinks, my dear, I read something . in your eyes which reproaches me of a neglect in • another place, where I should have met with a

6

I can't guess,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

« PreviousContinue »