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more than human skill and foresight in producing them.
Of this kind was what now happened to Jones, who found Mr. Nightingale the elder in so critical a minute, that Fortune, if she was really worthy all the worship she received at Rome, could not have contrived such another. In short, the old gentle. man, and the father of the young lady whom he intended for his son, had been hard at it for many hours; and the latter was just now gone, and had left the former delighted with the thoughts that he had succeeded in a long contention, which had been between the two fathers of the future bride and bridegroom; in which both endeavoured to overreach the other; and, as it not rarely happens in such cases, both had retreated fully satisfied of having obtained the victory.
This gentleman, whom Mr. Jones now visited, was what they call a man of the world; that is to say, a man who directs his conduct in this world, as one who, being fully persuaded there is no other, is resolved to make the most of this. In his early years, he had been bred to trade; but having ac quired a very good fortune, he had lately declined his business; or, to speak more properly, had chang ed it from dealing in goods to dealing only in money, of which he had always a plentiful fund at command, and of which he knew very well how to make a very plentiful advantage, sometimes of the necessities of private men, and sometimes of those of the public. He had, indeed, conversed so entirely with money, that it may be almost doubted, whether he imagined there was any other thing really existing in the world: this at least may be certainly averred, that he firmly believed nothing else to have any real value.
The reader will, I fancy, allow, that Fortune could not have culled out a more improper person for Mr. Jones to attack with any probability of suc
cess; nor could the whimsical lady have directed this attack at a more unseasonable time.
As money then was always uppermost in this gentleman's thoughts; so the moment he saw a stranger within his doors, it immediately occurred to his imagination, that such stranger was either come to bring him money, or to fetch it from him. And according as one or other of these thoughts prevailed, he conceived a favourable or unfavourable idea of the person who approached him.
Unluckily for Jones, the latter of these was the ascendant at present; for as a young gentleman had visited him the day before, with a bill from his son for a play-debt, he apprehended, at the first sight of Jones, that he was come on such another errand. Jones, therefore, had no sooner told him, that he was come on his son's account, than the old gentleman, being confirmed in his suspicion, burst forth into an exclamation, That he would lose his la bour. Is it then possible, sir,' answered Jones, 'that you can guess my business? If I do guess it,' replied the other, I repeat again to you, you will lose your labour. What, I suppose you are one of those sparks who lead my son into all those scenes of riot and debauchery, which will be his destruction; but I shall pay no more of his bills, I promise you. I expect he will quit all such company for the future. If I had imagined otherwise, I should not have provided a wife for him; for I would be instrumental in the ruin of nobody.'.... 'How, sir,' said Jones, and was this lady of your providing? Pray, sir,' answered the old gentleman, how comes it to be any concern of yours?'... Nay, dear sir,' replied Jones, be not offended that I interest myself in what regards your son's happiness, for whom I have so great an honour and value. It was upon that very account I came to wait upon you. I can't express the satisfaction you have given me, by what you say; for I do assure
you your son is a person for whom I have the highest honour. Nay, sir, it is not easy to express the esteem I have for you, who could be so generous, so good, so kind, so indulgent, to provide such a match for your son; a woman, who, I dare swear, will make him one of the happiest men upon earth.'
There is scarce any thing which so happily introduces men to our good-liking, as having conceived some alarm at their first appearance: when once those apprehensions begin to vanish, we soon forget the fears which they occasioned, and look on our selves as indebted for our present ease to those very persons who at first raised our fears.
Thus it happened to Nightingale, who no sooner found that Jones had no demand on. him, as he suspected, than he began to be pleased with his pre'Pray, good sir,' said he, be pleased to sit down. I do not remember to have ever had the pleasure of seeing you before; but if you are a friend of my son, and have any thing to say concerning this young lady, I shall be glad to hear you. As to her making him happy, it will be his own fault if she doth not. I have discharged my duty, in taking care of the main article. She will bring him a fortune capable of making any reasonable, prudent, sober man, happy. Undoubtedly,' cries Jones; for she is in herself a fortune; so beautiful, so genteel, so sweet-tempered, and so well educated: she is indeed a most accomplished young lady; sings admirably well, and hath a most delicate hand at the harpsichord.' I did not know any of these matters,' answered the old gentleman, for I never saw the lady: but I do not like her the worse for what you tell me; and I am the better pleased with her for not laying any stress on these qualifications in our bargain. I shall always think it a proof of his understanding. A silly fellow would have brought in these articles as an addition to her fortune; but, to give him his due, he
never mentioned any such matter: though to be sure they are no disparagements to a woman.'' I do assure you, sir,' cries Jones, she hath them all in the most eminent degree: for my part, I own, I was afraid you might have been a little backward, a little less inclined to the match: for your son told me, you had never seen the lady; therefore I came, sir, in that case, to entreat you, to conjure you, as you value the happiness of your son, not to be averse to his match with a woman who hath not only all the good qualities I have mentioned, but many more. If that was your business, sir,' said the old gentleman, we are both obliged to you; and you may be perfectly easy; for I give you my word I was very well satisfied with her fortune.'-
Sir,' answered Jones, I honour you every mo. ment more and more. To be so easily satisfied, so very moderate on that account, is a proof of the soundness of your understanding, as well as the nobleness of your mind. Not so very moderate, young gentleman, not so very moderate,' answered the father. Still more and more noble,' replied Jones; and give me leave to add, sensible: for sure it is little less than madness to consider money as the sole foundation of happiness. Such a woman as this with her little, her nothing of a fortuneI find,' cries the old gentleman, you have a pret ty just opinion of money, my friend; or else you are better acquainted with the person of the lady, than with her circumstances. Why, pray, what fortune do you imagine this lady to have ? What fortune!' cries Jones; why too contemptible a one to be named for your son. Well, well, well!' said the other, perhaps he might have done better." That I deny,' said Jones; for she is one of the best of women. Ay, ay, but in point of fortune, I mean,' answered the other: and yet, as to that now, how much do you imagine your friend is to have?
How much,' cries Jones, how much! Why, at the utmost, perhaps, two hundred pounds.' Do
you mean to banter me, young gentleman ? said the father, a little angry. No, upon my soul,' answered Jones, I am in earnest: nay, I believe I have gone to the utmost farthing. If I do the lady an injury, I ask her pardon.'-. Indeed, you do,' cries the father. I am certain she hath fifty times that sum; and she shall produce fifty to that, before I consent that she shall marry my son.'' Nay,' Said Jones, it is too late to talk of consent now. If she had not fifty farthings, your son is married.' My son married? answered the old gentleman, with surprise. Nay,' said Jones, I thought you was unacquainted with it. My son married to Miss Harris! auswered he again. To Miss Harris said Jones: no, sir, to Miss Nancy Miller, the daughter of Mrs. Miller, at whose house he lodged; a young lady who, though her mother is reduced to let lodgings Are you bantering, or are you in earnest cries the father, with a most solemn voice. Indeed, sir,' answered Jones, I scorn the character of a banterer. I came to you in most serious earnest, imagining, as I find true, that your son had never dared to acquaint you with a match so much inferior to him in point of fortune, though the reputation of the lady will suffer it no longer to remain a secret.'
While the father stood like one struck suddenly dumb at the news, a gentleman came into the room, and saluted him by the name of brother.
But though these two were in consanguinity so nearly related, they were in their dispositions almost the opposites to each other. The brother who now arrived had likewise been bred to trade, in which he no sooner saw himself worth six thousand pounds, than he purchased a small estate with the greatest part of it, and retired into the country; where he married the daughter of an unbeneficed clergyman; a young lady, who, though she had neither beauty nor fortune, had recommended her.