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disqualify his nephew from the immediate execution of his purpose, he ordered wine to be set, on the ta ble; with which he so briskly plied the young gentleman, that this latter, who, though not much used to drinking, did not detest it so as to be guilty of disobedience, or want of complaisance, by refushog, was soon completely finished.
Just as the uncle had obtained this victory, and was preparing a bed for his nephew, a messenger arrived with a piece of news, which so entirely disconcerted and shocked him, that he in a moment lost all consideration for his nephew, and his whole mind became entirely taken up with his own
This sudden and afflicting news was no less than that his daughter had taken the opportunity of almost the first moment of his absence, and had gone off with a neighbouring young clergyman; against whom, though her father could have had but one. objection, namely, that he was worth nothing; yet she had never thought proper to communicate her amour even to her father; and so artfully had she managed, that it had never been once suspected by any, till now that it was consummated.
Old Mr. Nightingale no sooner received this ac count, than in the utmost confusion he ordered a post-chaise to be immediately got ready; and having recommended his nephew to the care of a servant, he directly left the house, scarce knowing what he did, nor whither he went.
The uncle being thus departed, when the servant came to attend the nephew to bed, had waked him for that purpose, and had at last made him sensible that his uncle was gone, he, instead of accepting the kind offices tendered him, insisted on a chair being called with this the servant, who had received no strict orders to the contrary, readily complied; and thus, being conducted back to the house of Mrs. Miller, he had staggered up to Mr. Jones's chamber, as hath been before recounted.
This bar of the uncle being now removed (though young Nightingale knew not as yet in what manner), and all parties being quickly ready, the mo ther, Mr. Jones, Mr. Nightingale, and his love, stepped into a hackney-coach, which conveyed them to Doctors Commons; where Miss Nancy was, in vulgar language, soon made an honest woman; and the poor mother became, in the purest sense of the word, one of the happiest of all bu man beings.
And now Mr. Jones, having seen his good offices to that poor woman and her family brought to a happy conclusion, began to apply himself to his own concerns; but here, lest many of my readers should censure his folly, for thus troubling himself with the affairs of others, and lest some few should think he acted more disinterestedly than indeed he did, we think proper to assure our reader, that he was so far from being unconcerned in this matter, that he had indeed a very considerable interest in bringing it to that final consummation.
To explain this seeming paradox at once, he was one who could truly say with him in Terence, Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto. He was never an indifferent spectator of the misery or happiness of any one; and he felt either the one or the other in great proportion as he himself contributed to either. He could not therefore be the instrument of raising a whole family, from the lowest state of wretchedness to the highest pitch of joy, without conveying great felicity to himself; more, perhaps, than worldly men often purchase to themselves by undergoing the most severe labour, and often by wading through the deepest iniquity.
Those readers who are of the same complexion with him, will, perhaps, think this short chapter contains abundance of matter; while others may probably wish, short as it is, that it had been totally spared, as impertinent to the main design; which I suppose they concludo, is to bring Mr.
Jones to the gallows; or, if possible, to a more deplorable catastrophe..
R. JONES, at his return home, found the fol. lowing letters lying on his table, which he luck. ily opened in the order they were sent.
Surely I am under some strange infatuation; I cannot keep my resolutions a moment, however strongly made, or justly founded. Last night 1 re solved never to see you more; this morning I am willing to hear if you can, as you say, clear up this affair; and yet I know that to be impossible. I have said every thing to myself which you can invent.... Perhaps, not. Perhaps your invention is stronger. Come to me, therefore, the moment you receive this. If you can forge an excuse, I almost promise you to believe it. Betrayed too--I will think no more. Come to me directly. This is the third let. ter I have written; the two former are burntI am almost inclined to burn this too---I wish I may preserve my senses.Come to me presently.'
If you ever expect to be forgiven, or even suf fered within my doors, come to me this instant.'
I now find you was not at home when my notes came to your lodgings. The moment you receive this, let me see you: I shall not stir out; nor shall any body be let in but yourself. Sure nothing cau detain you long.'
Jones had just read over these three billets, when Mr. Nightingale came into the room. Well, Tom,' said he, any news from Lady Bellaston, after last night's adventure?" (for it was now no secret to any one in that house who the lady was). The Lady Bellaston answered Jones very gravely. Nay, dear Tom,' cries Nightingale, don't be so reserved to your friends. Though I was too drunk to see her last night, I saw her at the masquerade. Do you think I am ignorant who the queen of the fairies is? And did you really then know the lady at the masquerade?" said Jones. Yes, upon my soul, did I,' said Nightingale; and have given you twenty hints of it since; though you seemed always so ten. der on that point, that I would not speak plainly. I fancy, my friend, by your extreme nicety in this matter, you are not so well acquainted with the character of the lady, as with her person. Don't be angry, Tom; but, upon my honour, you are not the first young fellow she hath debauched. Her reputation is in no danger, believe me.'
Though Jones had no reason to imagine the lady to have been of the vestal kind when his amour be gan; yet, as he was thoroughly ignorant of the town, and had very little acquaintauce in it, he had no knowledge of that character which is vulgarly called a demirep; that is to say, a woman who intrigues with every man she likes, under the name and appearance of virtue; and who, though some over-nice ladies will not be seen with her, is visited (as they term it) by the whole town; in short, whom every body knows to be what nobody calls her.
When he found, therefore, that Nightingale was perfectly acquainted with his intrigue, and began to suspect that so scrupulous a delicacy as he had. hitherto observed was not quite necessary on the occasion, he gave a latitude to his friend's tongue, and desired him to speak plainly what he knew, or had ever heard of the lady.
Nightingale, who in many other instances was rather too effeminate in his disposition, had a pret ty strong inclination to tittle-tattle. He had no sooner, therefore, received a full liberty of speaking from Jones, than he entered upon a long narrative concerning the lady; which, as it contained many particulars highly to her dishonour, we have too great a tenderness for all women of condition to repeat. We would cautiously avoid giving an oppor tunity to the future commentators on our works, of making any malicious application; or of forcing us to be, against our will, the author of scandal, which never entered into our head.
Jones, having very attentively heard all that Nightingale had to say, fetched a deep sigh; which the other observing, cried, Heyday! why thou art not in love, I hope! Had I imagined my stories. would have affected you, I promise you should never have heard them. O my dear friend!' cries Jones, I am so entangled with this woman, that I know not how to extricate myself. In love, indeed! no, my friend; but I am under obligations to her, and very great ones. Since you know so much, I will be very explicit with you. It is owing, per. haps, solely to her, that I have not, before this, wanted a bit of bread. How can I possibly desert such a woman? and yet I must desert her, or be guilty of the blackest treachery to one, who deserves infinitely better of me than she can; a wo man, my Nightingale, for whom I have a passion which few can have an idea of. I am half distract. ed with doubts how to act. pray, an honourable mistress?" cries Nightingale. Honourable!' answered Jones; no breath ever yet durst sully her reputation. The sweetest air is not purer, the limpid stream not clearer, than her honour: she is all over, both in mind and body, consummate perfection. She is the most beautiful creature in the universe; and yet she is mistress of such noble, elevated qualities, that though she is
And is this other,