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an intrigue with the chaplain. Virtue, my dear Lady Blarney, virtue is worth any price; but where is that to be found ?” -“ Fudge!"
My wife had been, for a long time, all attention to this discourse, but was particularly struck with the latter part of it. Thirty pounds and twenty-five guineas a-year, made fifty-six pounds five shillings English money, all which was
a manner going a-begging, and might easily be secured in the family. She for a moment studied my looks for approbation; and, to own a truth, I was of opinion, that two such places would fit our two daughters exactly. Besides, if the Squire had any real affection for my eldest daughter, this would be the way to make her every way qualified for her fortune. My wife, therefore, was resolved that we should not be deprived of such advantages for want of assurance, and undertook to harangue for the family. I hope,” cried she, “ your ladyships will pardon my present presumption. It is true, we have no right to pretend to such favours; but yet it is natural for me to wish putting my children forward in the world. And, I will be bold to say, my two girls have had a pretty good education and capacity; at least the country can't shew better. They can read, write, and cast accounts; they understand their needle, broadstitch, cross and change, and all manner of plain work; they can pink, point, and frill, and know something of music; they can do up small clothes, and work upon catgut; my eldest can cut paper, and my youngest has a very pretty manner of telling fortunes upon the cards." —" Fudge!"
When she had delivered this pretty piece of eloquence, the two ladies looked at each other a few minutes in silence, with an air of doubt and importance. At last Miss Carolina Wilelmina Amelia Skeggs condescended to observe, that the young ladies, from the opinion she could form of them from so slight an acquaintance, seemed very fit for such employments. “ But a thing of this kind, madam,” cried she, addressing my spouse, requires a thorough examination into characters, and a more perfect knowledge of each other. Not, madam,” continued she, “ that I in the least suspect the young ladies' virtue, prudence, and discretion; but there is a form in these things, madam there is a form.”
My wife approved her suspicions very much, observing that she was very apt to be suspicious herself, but referred her to all the neighbours for a character; but this our Peeress declined as unnecessary, alleging that her cousin Thornhill's recommendation would be sufficient; and upon this we rested our petition.
FORTUNE SEEMS RESOLVED TO HUMBLE THE FAMILY OF WAKE
FIELD. MORTIFICATIONS ARE OFTEN MORE PAINFUL THAN KEAL CALAMITIES.
WHEN we were returned home, the night was dedicated to schemes of future conquest. Deborah exerted much sagacity in conjecturing which of the two girls was likely to have the best
place, and most opportunities of seeing good company. The only obstacle to our preferment was in obtaining the Squire's recommendation ; but he had already shewn us too many instances of his friendship to doubt of it
Even in bed, my wife kept up the usual theme: Well, faith, my dear Charles, between ourselves, I think we have made an excellent day's work of it.”—“ Pretty well,” cried I, not knowing what to say. « What, only pretty well !” returned she : “ I think it is very well. Suppose the girls should come to make acquaintances of taste in town! This I am assured of, that London is the only place in the world for all manner of husbands. Besides, my dear, stranger things happen every day : and as ladies of quality are so taken with my daughters, what will not men of quality be? Entre nous, I protest I like my Lady Blarney vastly--so very obliging. However, Miss Carolina Wilelmina Amelia Skeggs has my warm heart. But yet, when they came to talk of places in town, you saw at once how I nailed them. Tell me, my dear, don't you think I did for my children there ?" Ay,” returned I, not knowing well what to think of the matter ;
« Heaven grant they may be both the better for it this day three months !” This was one of those observations I usually made to impress my wife with an opinion of my sagacity : for if the girls succeeded, then it was a pious wish fulfilled ; but if any thing unfortunate ensued, then it might be looked upon as a prophecy. All this conversation, however, was only
6 No, my
preparatory to another scheme ; and, indeed, I dreaded as much. This was nothing less than that, as we were now to hold up our heads a little higher in the world, it would be proper to sell the colt, which was grown old, at a neighbouring fair, and buy us a horse that would carry single or double upon an occasion, and make a pretty appearance at church, or upon a visit. This at first I opposed stoutly ; but it was as stoutly defended. However, as I weakened, my antagonist gained strength, till at last it was resolved to part with him.
As the fair happened on the following day, I had intentions of going myself; but my wife persuaded me that I had got a cold, and nothing could prevail upon her to permit me from home.
dear,” said she, “our son Moses is a discreet boy, and can buy and sell to a very good advantage : you know all our great bargains are of his purchasing. He always stands out and higgles, and actually tires them till he gets a bargain.”
As I had some opinion of my son's prudence, I was willing enough to intrust him with this commission : and the next morning I perceived his sisters mighty busy in fitting out Moses for the fair ; trimming his hair, brushing his buckles, and cocking his hat with pins. The business of the toilet being over, we had at last the satisfaction of seeing him mounted upon the colt, with a deal box before him to bring home groceries in. He had on a coat made of that cloth they call thunder-and-lightning, which, though grown too short, was much too good to be thrown away. His waistcoat was of gosling green, and his sisters had tied his hair with a broad black riband. We all followed him several paces from the door, bawling after him, “ Good luck! good luck!” till we could see him no longer.
He was scarcely gone, when Mr Thornhill's butler came to congratulate us upon our good fortune, saying, that he overheard his young master mention our names with great commendation.
Good fortune seemed resolved not to come alone. Another footman from the same family followed, with a card for my daughters, importing, that the two ladies had received such pleasing accounts from Mr Thornhill of us all, that, after a few previous inquiries, they hoped to be perfectly satisfied.
Ay,” cried my wife, “ I now see it is no easy matter to get into the families of the great ; but when one once gets in, then, as Moses says, one may go to sleep.” To this piece of humour, for she intended it for wit, my daughters assented with a loud laugh of pleasure. In short, such was her satisfaction at this message, that she actually put her hand in her pocket, and gave the messenger sevenpence halfpenny.
This was to be our visiting day. The next that came was Mr Burchell, who had been at the fair. He brought my little ones a pennyworth of gingerbread each, which my wife undertook to keep for them, and give them by letters at a time. He brought my daughters also a couple of boxes, in which they might keep wafers, snuff, patches, or even money, when they got it. My wife was usually fond of a weasel-skin
purse, as being the most lucky ; but this by the by: We had still a regard for Mr Burchell, though his late rude behaviour was in some measure displeasing ; nor could we now avoid communicating our happiness to him, and asking his advice : although we seldom followed advice, we were all ready enough to ask it. When he read the note from the two ladies, he shook his head, and bserved, that an affair of this sort demanded the utmost circumspection. This air of diffidence highly displeased my wife. “I never doubted, sir,” cried she, “ your readiness to be against my daughters and me. You have more circumspection than is wanted. However, I fancy when we come to ask advice, we will apply to persons who seem to have made use of it themselves." “ Whatever my own conduct may have been, madam,” replied he, “ is not the present question : though as I have made no use of advice myself, I should in conscience give it to those that will.” As I was apprehensive this answer might draw on a repartee, making up by abuse what it wanted in wit, I changed the subject, by seeming to wonder what could keep our son so long at the fair, as it was now almost nightfall. Never mind our son,” cried my wife ; “ depend upon it he knows what he is about. I'll warrant we'll never see him sell his hen of a rainy day. I have seen him buy such bargains as would amaze one. I'll tell you a good story about that, that will make you split your sides with laughing - But, as I live, yonder comes Moses, without a horse, and the box at his back.”
As she spoke, Moses came slowly on foot, and sweating under the deal box, which he had strapt round his shoulders Jike a pedlar. “Welcome, welcome, Moses ! well, my boy,
what have you brought us from the fair?""I have brought you myself," cried Moses, with a sly look, and resting the box on the dresser. Ay, Moses," cried my wife," that we know; but where is the horse ?"-"I have sold him," cried Moses, "for three pounds five shillings and twopence.". "Well done, my good boy," returned she; "I knew you would touch them off. Between ourselves, three pounds five shillings and twopence is no bad day's work. Come let us have it then.”. "I have brought back no money," cried Moses again. "I have laid it all out in a bargain, and here it is," pulling out a bundle from his breast: " here they are; a gross of green spectacles, with silver rims and shagreen cases." "A gross of green spectacles!" repeated my wife, in a faint voice. "And you have parted with the colt, and brought us back nothing but a gross of green paltry spectacles!" Dear mother," cried the boy, "why won't you listen to reason? I had them a dead bargain, or I should not have bought them. The silver rims alone will sell for double the money."-" A fig for the silver rims," cried my wife, in a passion: "I dare swear they won't sell for above half the money at the rate of broken silver, five shillings an ounce.". You need be under no uneasiness," cried I, "about selling the rims, for they are not worth sixpence; for I perceive they are only copper varnished over."-" What!" cried my wife, "not silver! the rims not silver?"-"No," cried I, "no more silver than your saucepan.' "And so," returned she, "we have parted with the colt, and have only got a gross of green spectacles, with copper rims and shagreen cases? A murrain take such trumpery! The blockhead has been imposed upon, and should have known his company better." There, my dear," cried I, "you are wrong; he should not have known them at all.". Marry, hang the idiot! returned she, "to bring me such stuff: if I had them I would throw them in the fire."-" There again you are wrong, my dear,” cried I; "for though they be copper, we will keep them by us, as copper spectacles, you know, are better than nothing.'
By this time the unfortunate Moses was undeceived. He now saw that he had been imposed upon by a prowling sharper, who, observing his figure, had marked him for an easy prey. I therefore asked the circumstances of his deception. He sold the horse, it seems, and walked the