Page images

stop as much in his wages, if I pleased." I now gave him a severer reprimand than before, when the rascal had the insolence to--In short, he imput. ed my early coming home to-In short, he cast a reflection--He mentioned the name of a young lady, in a manner-in such a manner that incensed me beyond all patience, and, in my passion, I struck


Jones answered, That he believed no person living would blame him; for my part,' said he, I confess I should, on the last-mentioned provocation, have done the same thing.'

Our company had not sat long, before they were joined by the mother and daughter, at their return from the play. And now they all spent a very cheerful evening together; for all but Jones were heartily merry, and even he put on as much constrained mirth as possible. Indeed, half his natural flow of animal spirits, jomed to the sweetness of his temper, was sufficient to make a most amiable companion; and, notwithstanding the heaviness of his heart, so agreeable did he make himself on the present occasion, that at their breaking up, the young gentleman earnestly desired his further acquaintance. Miss Nancy was well pleased with him; and the widow, quite charmed with her new lodger, invited him, with the other, next morning to breakfast.

Jones, on his part, was no less satisfied. As for Miss Nancy, though a very little creature, she was extremely pretty, and the widow had all the charms which can adorn a woman near fifty. As she was one of the most innocent creatures in the world, so she was one of the most cheerful. She never

thought, nor spoke, nor wished, any ill; and had constantly that desire of pleasing, which may be called the happiest of all desires, in this, that it scarce ever fails of attaining its ends, when not disgraced by affectation. In short, though her power was very small, she was in her heart one of the

warmest friends. She had been a most affectionate wife, and was a most fond and tender mother.

As our history doth not, like a newspaper, give great characters of people who never were heard of before, nor will ever be heard of again, the reader may hence conclude, that this excellent woman will hereafter appear to be of some importance in our history.

Nor was Jones a little pleased with the young gentleman himself, whose wine he had been drinking. He thought he discerned in him much good sense, though a little too much tainted with townfoppery: but what recommended him most to Jones, were some sentiments of great generosity and humanity, which occasionally dropped from him; and particularly many expressions of the highest disin terestedness in the affair of love. On which sub. ject the young gentleman delivered himself in a language which might have very well become an Arcadian shepherd of old, and which appeared very extraordinary when proceeding from the lips of a modern fine gentleman; but he was only one by. imitation, and meant by nature for a much better character.


UR company brought together in the morning the same good inclinations towards each other, with which they had separated the evening before; but poor Jones was extremely disconsolate; for he had just received information from Partridge, that Mrs. Fitzpatrick had left her lodging, and that he could not learn whither she was gone. This news highly afflicted him, and his countenance, as well as his behaviour, in defiance of all his endea vours to the contrary, betrayed manifest indications of a disordered mind.

The discourse turned at present, as before, ou

love; and Mr. Nightingale again expressed many of those warm, generous, and disinterested sentiments upon this subject, which wise and sober men call romantic, but which wise and sober women generally regard in a better light. Mrs. Miller (for so the mistress of the house was called) greatly approved these sentiments; but when the young gentleman appealed to Miss Nancy, she answered only, 'That she believed the gentleman who had spoke the least was capable of feeling the most.'

This compliment was so apparently directed to Jones, that we should have been sorry had he passed by it unregarded. He made her, indeed, a very polite answer; and concluded with an oblique hint, that her own silence subjected her to a suspicion of the same kind; for, indeed, she had scarce opened her lips either now or the last evening.

I am glad, Nancy,' says Mrs. Miller, the gentleman hath made the observation: I protest I am almost of his opinion. What can be the matter with you, child? I never saw such an alteration. What is become of all your gaiety? Would you think, sir, I used to call her my little prattler. She hath not spoken twenty words this week.'

Here their conversation was interrupted by the entrance of a maid-servant, who brought a bundle in her hands, which, she said, was delivered by a porter for Mr. Jones.' She added, That the man immediately went away, saying, it required no


Jones expressed some surprise on this occasion, and declared it must be some mistake; but the maid persisting that she was certain of the name, all the women were desirous of having the bundle immediately opened; which operation was at length performed by little Betsy, with the consent of Mr. Jones; and the contents were found to be a domino, a mask, and a masquerade ticket.

Jones was now more positive than ever in assert. ing, that these things must have been delivered by

mistake; and Mrs. Miller herself expressed some doubt, and said, She knew not what to think." But when Mr. Nightingale was asked, he delivered a very different opinion. All I can conclude from it, sir,' said he, is, that you are a very happy man; for 1 can make no doubt but these were sent you by some lady, whom you will have the happiness of meeting at the masquerade.'

Jones had not a sufficient degree of vanity to entertain any such flattering imagination; nor did Mrs. Miller herself give much assent to what Mr. Nightingale had said, till Miss Nancy having lifted up the domino, a card dropped from the sleeve, in which was written as follows:


The queen of the fairies sends you this;
Use her favours not amiss.

Mrs. Miller and Miss Nancy now both agreed with Mr. Nightingale; nay, Jones himself was almost persuaded to be of the same opinion. And as no other lady but Mrs. Fitzpatrick, he thought, knew his lodgings, he began to flatter himself with some hopes that it came from her, and that he might possibly see his Sophia. These hopes had surely very little foundation; but as the conduct of Mrs. Fitzpatrick, in not seeing him according to her promise, and in quitting her lodgings, had been very odd and unaccountable, he conceived some faint hopes, that she (of whom he had formerly heard a very whimsical character) might possibly intend to do him that service in a strange manner, which she declined doing by more ordinary methods. To say the truth, às nothing certain could be concluded from so odd and uncommon an incident, he had the greater latitude to draw what imaginary conclusions from it he pleased. As his temper, therefore, was naturally sanguine, he indulged it on this oc

casion; and his imagination worked up a thousand conceits, to favour and support his expectations of meeting his dear Sophia in the evening.

Reader, if thou hast any good wishes towards me, I will fully repay them, by wishing thee to be possessed of this sanguine disposition of mind; since after having read much, and considered long on, that subject of happiness which hath employed so many great pens, I am almost inclined to fix it in the possession of this temper; which puts us, in a man. ner, out of the reach of Fortune, and makes us happy without her assistance. Indeed, the sensations of pleasure it gives are much more constant, as well as much keener, than those which that blind lady bestows; nature having wisely contrived, that some satiety and languor should be annexed to all our real enjoyments, lest we should be so taken up by them, as to be stopped from further pursuits. I make no manner of doubt, but that in this light, we may see the imaginary future chancellor just called to the bar, the archbishop in crape, and the prime minister at the tail of an opposition, more truly happy than those who are invested with all the power and profit of these respective offices.

Mr. Jones having now determined to go to the masquerade that evening, Mr. Nightingale offered to conduct him thither. The young gentleman, at the same time, offered tickets to Miss Nancy and her mother; but the good woman would not accept them. She said, 'She did not conceive the harm which some people imagined in a masquerade; but that such extravagant diversions were proper only for persons of quality and fortune, and not for young women who were to get their living, and could, at best, hope to be married to a good tradesman. A tradesman!' cries Nightingale; shan't undervalue my Nancy. There is not a noble. man upon earth above her merit.'- O fie! Mr. Nightingale,' answered Mrs. Miller, you must not fill the girl's head with such fancies: but if it was her


« PreviousContinue »