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entreating her, in the most earnest manner, to ac quaint him where he might find Sophia: and, when he could obtain no direct answer, he began to upbraid her gently for having disappointed him the day before; and concluded, saying, 'Indeed, my good fairy queen, I know your majesty very well, notwithstanding the affected disguise of your voice. Indeed, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, it is a little cruel to divert yourself at the expense of my torments.'
The mask answered, Though you have so ingeniously discovered me, I must still speak in the same voice, lest I should be known by others. And do you think, good sir, that I have no greater regard for my cousin, than to assist in carrying on an affair between you two, which must end in her ruin, as well as your own? Besides, I promise you, my cousin is not mad enough to consent to her own de struction, if you are so much her enemy as to tempt her to it.'
Alas, madam!' said Jones, you little know my heart, when you call me an enemy of Sophia.'
And yet to ruin any one,' cries the other, you will allow is the act of an enemy: and when by the same act you must knowingly and certainly bring ruin on yourself, is it not folly or madness, as well as guilt? Now, sir, my cousin hath very little more than her father will please to give her; very little for one of her fashion-You know him, and you know your own situation."'
Jones vowed he had no such design on Sophia, "That he would rather suffer the most violent of deaths than sacrifice her interest to his desires." He said, 'He knew how unworthy he was of her, every way; that he had long ago resolved to quit all such aspiring thoughts, but that some strange acci dents had made him desirous to see her once more, when he promised he would take leave of her for ever. No, madam,' continued he, my love is not of that base kind, which seeks its own satisfaction,
at the expense of what is most dear to its object. I would sacrifice every thing to the possession of my Sophia, but Sophia herself.'
Though the reader may have already conceived no very sublime idea of the virtue of the lady in the mask: and though possibly she may hereafter appear not to deserve one of the first characters of her sex; yet, it is certain, these generous sentiments made a strong impression upon her, and greatly added to the affection she had before conceived for our young hero.
The lady now, after a silence of a few moments, said, She did not see his pretensions to Sophia so much in the light of presumption, as of imprudence. Young fellows,' says she, 'can never have too aspiring thoughts. I love ambition in a young man, and I would have you cultivate it as much as possible. Perhaps you may succeed with those who are infinitely superior in fortune; nay, I am convinced there are women--but don't you think me a strange creature, Mr. Jones, to be thus giving advice to a man, with whom I am so little acquainted, and one with whose behaviour to me I have so little reason to be pleased?'
Here Jones began to apologize, and to hope he had not offended in any thing he had said of her cousin. To which the mask answered, 'And are you so little versed in the sex, as to imagine you can well affront a lady more, than by entertaining her with your passion for another woman? If the fairy queen had conceived no better opinion of your gallantry, she would scarce have appointed you to meet her at a masquerade.'
Jones had never less inclination to an amour than at present; but gallantry to the ladies was among his principles of honour; and he held it as much incumbent on him to accept a challenge to love, as if it had been a challenge to fight. Nay, his very love to Sophia made it necessary for him to keep well with the lady, as he made no doubt but she
was capable of bringing him into the presence of the other.
He began therefore to make a very warm answer to her last speech, when a mask, in the character of an old woman, joined them. This mask was one of those ladies who go to a masquerade only to vent ill-nature, by telling people rude truths, and by endeavouring, as the phrase is, to spoil as much sport as they are able. This good lady, therefore, having observed Jones and his friend, whom she well knew, in close consultation together in a corner of the room, concluded she could no where satisfy her spleen better than by interrupting them. She at tacked them, therefore, and soon drove them from their retirement; nor was she contented with this, but pursued them to every place to which they shifted to avoid her; till Mr. Nightingale, seeing the distress of his friend, at last relieved him, and engaged the old woman in another pursuit.
While Jones and his mask were walking together about the room, to rid themselves of the teazer, he observed his lady speak to several masks, with the same freedom of acquaintance as if they had been bare-faced. He could not help expressing his surprise at this; saying, 'Sure, madam, you must have infinite discernment, to know people in all disguises.' To which the lady answered, 'You cannot conceive any thing more insipid and childish than a masque rade to the people of fashion, who in general know one another as well here, as when they meet in an assembly or a drawing-room; nor will any woman of condition converse with a person with whom she is not acquainted. In short, the generality of persons whom you see here, may more properly be said to kill time in this place, than in any other; and generally retire from hence more tired than from the longest sermon. To say the truth, I begin to be in that situation my self; and if I have any faculty at guessing, you are not much better pleased. I protest it would be almost charity in me to go home
for your sake. I know but one charity equal to it,' cries Jones, and that is to suffer me to wait on you home... Sure,' answered the lady, you have a strange opinion of me, to imagine; that, upon such an acquaintance, I would let you into my doors at this time o'night. I fancy you impute the friendship I have shown my cousin to some other motive. Confess, honestly; don't you consider this contrived interview as little better than a downright assigna. tion? Are you used, Mr. Jones, to make these sudden conquests? I am not used, madam,' said Jones, to submit to such sudden conquests; but as you have taken my heart by surprise, the rest of my body hath a right to follow: so you must pardon me, if I resolve to attend you wherever you go.' He accompanied these words with some proper actions; upon which the lady, after a gentle re. buke, and saying their familiarity would be observed, told him, She was going to sup with an acquaintance, whither she hoped he would not follow. her; for if you should,' said she, I shall be thought an unaccountable creature, though my friend, indeed, is not censorious; yet I hope you won't follow me: I protest I shall not know what to say if you do."
The lady presently after quitted the masquerade; and Jones, notwithstanding the severe prohibition he had received, presumed to attend her. He was now reduced to the same dilemma we have mentioned before, namely, the want of a shilling; and could not relieve it by borrowing as before. He therefore walked boldly on after the chair in which his lady rode, pursued by a grand huzza from all the chairmen present, who wisely take the best care they can to discountenance all walking afoot by their betters. Luckily, however, the gentry who attend at the opera-house were too busy to quit their sta tions and, as the lateness of the hour prevented him from meeting many of their brethren in the street, he proceeded, without molestation, in a dress which, at VOL. II. L
another season, would have certainly raised a mob at his heels.
The lady was set down in a street not far from Hanover-square; where the door being presently opened, she was carried in; and the gentleman, without any ceremony, walked in after her.
Jones and his companion were now together in a very well-furnished and well-warmed room; when the female, still speaking in her masquerade voice, said, she was surprised at her friend, who must absolutely have forgot her appointment: at which, after venting much resentment, she suddenly expressed some apprehension from Jones, and asked him, what the world would think of their having been alone together in a house at that time of night? But, instead of a direct answer to so important a question, Jones began to be very importu nate with the lady to unmask; and at length having prevailed, there appeared not Mrs. Fitzpatrick, but the Lady Bellaston herself.
It would be tedious to give the particular conversation, which consisted of very common and ordinary occurrences, and which lasted from two till six o'clock in the morning. It is sufficient to mention all of it that is anywise material to this history. And this was a promise, that the lady would endea vour to find out Sophia, and in a few days bring him to an interview with her, on condition that he would then take his leave of her. When this was thoroughly settled, and a second meeting in the evening appointed at the same place, they separatect; the lady returning to her house, and Jones to his lodgings.
JONES, having refreshed himself with a few hours
sleep, summoned Partridge to his presence; and, delivering him a bank-note of fifty pounds, ordered him to go and change it. Partridge received this