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them. For my own part, I confess, I made no doubt but that his designs were strictly honourable, as the phrase is; that is, to rob a lady of her for. tune by way of marriage. My aunt was, I conceiv ed, neither young enough, nor handsome enough, to attract much wicked inclination; but she had matrimonial charms in great abundance.
'I was the more confirmed in this opinion from the extraordinary respect which he showed to my self, from the first moment of our acquaintance. This I understood as an attempt to lessen, if pos sible, that disinclination which my interest might be supposed to give me towards the match; and I know not but in some measure it had that effect; for as I was well contented with my own fortune, and of all people the least a slave to interested views, so I could not be violently the enemy of a man with whose behaviour to me I was greatly pleased; and the more so, as I was the only object of such respect; for he behaved at the same time to many women of quality without any respect at all.
'Agreeable as this was to me, he soon changed it into another kind of behaviour, which was perhaps more so. He now put on much softness and tenderness, and languished and sighed abundantly. At times, indeed, whether from art or nature, I will not determine, he gave his usual loose to gaiety and mirth; but this was always in general company, and with other women; for even in a countrydance, when he was not my partner, he became grave; and put on the softest look imaginable, the moment he approached me. Indeed he was in all things so very particular towards me, that I must have been blind not to have discovered it. And, and, andAnd you were more pleased still, my dear Harriet,' cries Sophia: you need not be ashamed,' added she, sighing; for sure there are irresistible charms in tenderness, which too many men are able to affect.'True,' answered her cousin, men, who in all other instances want com
mon sense, are very Machiavels in the art of loving. I wish I did not know an instance. Well, scandal now began to be as busy with me as it had before been with my aunt; and some good ladies did not scruple to affirm, that Mr. Fitzpatrick had an intrigue with us both.
But, what may seem astonishing, my aunt never saw, nor in the least seemed to suspect, that which was visible enough, I believe, from both our behaviours. One would indeed think, that love quite puts out the eyes of an old woman. In fact, they so greedily swallow the addresses which are made to them, that, like an outrageous glutton, they are not at leisure to observe what passes among others at the same table. This I have observed in more cases than my own; and this was so strongly verified by my aunt, that though she often found us together at her return from the pump, the least canting word of his, pretending impatience at her absence, effectually smothered all suspicion. One artifice succeeded with her to admiration. This was his treating me like a little child, and never calling me by any other name in her presence, but that of pretty miss. This indeed did him some disservice with your humble servant; but I soon saw through. it, especially as in her absence he behaved to me, as I have said, in a different manner. However, if I was not greatly disobliged by a conduct of which I had discovered the design, I smarted very severely for it; for my aunt really conceived me to be what her lover (as she thought him) called me, and treated me, in all respects, as a perfect infant. To say the truth, I wonder she had not insisted on my again wearing leading-strings.
At last, my lover (for so he was) thought proper, in a most solemu manner, to disclose a secret which I had known long before. He now placed all the love which he had pretended to my aunt to my account. He lamented, in very pathetic terms, the encouragement she had given him, and made a
high merit of the tedious hours, in which he had undergone her conversation.--What shall I tell you, my dear Sophia ?Then I will confess the truth. I was pleased with my man. I was pleased with my conquest. To rival my aunt delighted me; to rival so many other women charmed me. In short, I am afraid, I did not behave as I should do, even upon the very first declaration-I wish I did not almost give him positive encouragement before we parted.
The Bath now talked loudly, I might almost say roared, against me. Several young women affected to shun my acquaintance, not so much, perhaps, from any real suspicion, as from a desire of banishing me from a company, in which I too much engrossed their favourite man. And here I cannot omit expressing my gratitude to the kindness intended me by Mr. Nash; who took me one day aside, and gave me advice, which, if I had followed, I had been a happy woman. Child, says he, I am sorry to see the familiarity which subsists be tween you and a fellow who is altogether unworthy of you, and I am afraid will prove your ruin. for your old stinking auut, if it was to be no injury to you, and my pretty Sophy Western (I assure you I repeat his words), I should be heartily glad that the fellow was in possession of all that belongs to her. I never advise old women: for if they take it into their heads to go to the devil, it is no more possible, than worth while, to keep them from him. Innocence, and youth, and beauty, are worthy a better fate, and I would save them from his clutches. Let me advise you, therefore, dear child, never suffer this fellow to be particular with you again... Many more things he said to me, which I have now forgotten, and indeed I attended very little to them at that time; for inclination contradicted all he said; and besides, I could not be persuaded, that women of quality would condescend to familiarity with such a person as he described.
'But I am afraid, my dear, I shall tire you with a
'detail of so many minute circumstances. To be concise, therefore, imagine me married; imagine me with my husband, at the feet of my aunt; and then imagine the maddest woman in Bedlam in a raving fit, and your imagination will suggest to you no more than what really happened.
The very next day my aunt left the place, partly to avoid seeing Mr. Fitzpatrick or myself, and as much perhaps to avoid seeing any one else; for, though I am told she hath since denied every thing stoutly, I believe she was then a little confounded at her disappointment. Since that time I have written to her many letters, but never could obtain an answer, which I must own sits somewhat the heavier, as she herself was, though undesignedly, the occasion of all my sufferings: for had it not been under the colour of paying his addresses to her, Mr. Fitzpatrick would never have found suf ficient opportunities to have engaged my heart, which, in other circumstances, I still flatter myself would not have been an easy conquest to such a person. Indeed, I believe, I should not have erred so grossly in my choice, if I had relied on my own judgement; but I trusted totally to the opinion of others, and very foolishly took the merit of a man for granted, whom I saw so universally well received by the women. What is the reason, my dear, that we, who have understandings equal to the wisest and greatest of the other sex, so often make choice of the silliest fellows for companions and favourites? It raises my indignation to the highest pitch, to reflect on the numbers of women of sense who have been undone by fools.' Here she paused a moment; but Sophia making no answer, she proceeded as in the next chapter.
WE remained at Bath no longer than a fortnight after our wedding: for as to any reconciliation with my aunt, there were no hopes; and of my fortune, not one farthing could be touched till I was of age, of which I now wanted more than two years. My husband, therefore, was resolved to set out for Ireland; against which I remonstrated very earnestly, and insisted on a promise which he had made me before our marriage, that I should never take this journey against my consent; and indeed I never intended to consent to it, nor will any body, I believe, blame me for that resolution; but this, however, I never mentioned to my husband, and petitioned only for the reprieve of a month; but he had fixed the day, and to that day he obstinately
The evening before our departure, as we were disputing this point with great eagerness on both sides, he started suddenly from his chair, and left me abruptly, saying, he was going to the rooms. He was hardly out of the house, when I saw a paper lying on the floor, which, I suppose, he had carelessly pulled from his pocket, together with his handkerchief. This paper I took up, and finding it to be a letter, I made no scruple to open and read it; and indeed I read it so often, that I can repeat it to you almost word for word. This then was the letter:
To Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick.
'Yours received, and am surprised you should use me in this manner, as have never seen any of your cash, unless for one linsey-woolsey coat, and your VOL. II.