The HISTORY of POMPEY the LITTLE
|Contents||Chapters I-III||Chapters VII-IX|
|Chapter IV||Chapter V||Chapter VI|
|Sir Thomas Browne|
Another long chapter of characters.
THE fair princess of lace and ribbands, who now took possession of our hero, carried him home in her arms, extremely well-pleased with her present. She quickly grew exceeding fond of him, as all his owners had been before her, and to express her love, ornamented his neck with a cambrick ruff. The sight of this happening to please some ladies of quality, who came by accident to the shop, they resolved to imitate it ; and from hence arose the modern fashion of ladies wearing ruffs about their necks.
Three or four days after he was settled in these apartments, as he was striking and sporting one morning about the shop, a young lady, who lodged in the house, came down stairs, and accosted her mistress in the following terms : ' I want to see some ribbands if you please, madam, to match my blue gown, for lady Bab Frightful is to call upon mamma this evening, to carry us to the play, to see Othellor whore of Venus, which they say is one of the finest plays that ever was acted.' ' Yes really, mem, 'tis a very engaging play to be sure,' replied the milliner ; ' indeed I think it one of the master-pieces of the English stage --- but you mistake a little, I fancy miss, in the naming of it, for Shakespear I believe wrote it Othello moor of Venice. Venice, mem, is a famous town or city somewhere or other, where Othello runs away with a rich heiress in the night-time, and marries her privately at the fleet. By very odd luck he was created lord high-admiral that very night, and goes out to fight the Turks, and takes his wife along with him to the wars ; and there, mem, he grows jealous of her, only because she happens to have lost a handkerchief, which he gave her when he came a courting to her. It was a muslin handkerchief, mem, spotted with strawberries ; and because she can't find it, he beats her in the most unmerciful manner, and at last smothers her between two feather-beds.' ' Does he indeed ?' cries the young lady ; ' well, I hate a jealous man of all things in nature ; a jealous man is my particular aversion --- but however, no matter what the play is, you know, ma'am, so we do but see it; for the pleasure of a play is to shew one's self in the boxes, and see the company and all that --- Yes, ma'am this here is the sort of ribbands I want, only if you please to let me see some of a paler blue.'
While the milliner was taking down some fresh ban-boxes, the young lady turning round, happened to spy Pompey in a corner of the shop. ' O heavens !' cries she, as soon as she cast her eyes upon him, ' what a delightful little dog is there ? Pray, dear Mrs. Pincushion, do tell me how long you have been in possession of that charming little beauty ?' Mrs. Pincushion replied that he had been in her possession about a week, and was given her by a lady of celebrated beauty, whom she had the honour of serving. ' Well, if I am not amazed to think how she could part with him !' cries the young lady --- ' Sure, ma'am, she must be a woman of no taste in the world, for I never saw any thing so charmingly handsome since the hour I was born. Pray, dear Mrs. Pincushion, what is his name ?'
Being informed that he was called Pompey, she snatched him up in her arms, kissed him with great transport, and poured forth the following torrent of nonsense upon him : ' O you sweet little Pompey ! you most delightful little Pompey ! you dear heavenly jewel ! you most charming little perroquet ! I will kiss you, you little beauty ! I will --- I will --- I'll kiss you, and hug you, and kiss you to death.' Then turning again to the milliner, ' dear Mrs. Pincushion, ' added she, ' you must give me leave to carry him up stairs, to shew him to papa and mamma, for in all my days I never beheld so divine a creature.' Being now served with her blue ribbands, and having received the milliner's consent to her request, she flew up stairs in all imaginable haste, with the dog in her arms ; but before we relate the reception she met with, let us prepare the reader with a short description of her parents.
Sir Thomas Frippery, the father of this young lady, had formerly enjoyed a little post in queen Anne's court, which entituled him to a knighthood in consequence of his office, tho' the salary of it was very inconsiderable, and by no means equal to the grandeur he affected. On the death of the queen he lost this employment, and was obliged to retire into the country ; where he gave himself the airs of a minister of state, set up for an oracle of politics, and endeavoured to persuade his country-neighbours that he had been very intimate with lord Oxford, and very deep in the transactions of those times.
The same ridiculous vanity pursued him thro' every article of his life, and tho' his estate was known hardly to amount to three hundred pounds a year, he laboured to make people believe that it exceeded as many thousands. For this purpose, whatever he was obliged to do out of frugality, he was sure to put off with a pretence of taste, and always disguised his oeconomy under the masque of fashion and the mode. For instance, when he laid down his coach, he boasted every where, how much better it was to hire job-horses as occasion required, than to run the hazard of accidents by keeping them --- that coachmen were such villainous rascals, it was impossible to put any confidence in them --- that going into dirty stables to overlook their management, and treading up to one's knees in horse-dung, was extremely disagreeable to people of fashion --- and therefore for his part, he had laid down his coach to avoid the trouble and anxiety of keeping horses.
When his country-neighbours dined with him, whose ignorance he thought he could impose on, he would give them alder-wine and swear it was hermitage, call a gammon of bacon a Bayonne ham, and put off the commonest home-made cheese for the best Parmasan that ever came into England ; which he said had been sent him as a present by a young nobleman of his acquaintance then on his travels.
About once in three years he brought his wife and family to town, which served for matter of conversation to them during the two intermediate years, that were spent in the country ; and they looked forward to the winter of pleasure with as much rapture and expectation, as the Revd. Mr. Wh---n, and some other christians do to their millennium.
During the time of his residence in London, Sir Thomas every morning attended the levees of ministers, to beg the restitution of his old place, or an appointment to a new one ; which he said he would receive with the most grateful acknowledgments, and discharge in any manner they should please to prescribe. Yet whether it was that his majesty's ministers were insensible of his merits, or could find no place suited to his abilities, the unhappy knight profited little by his court-attendance, and might as well have saved himself the expence of a triennial journey to London.
But tho' these expeditions did not encrease his fortune, they added much to his vanity, and he returned into the country new-laden with stories to amuse his ignorant neighbours. He talked of his old friend my good lord --- with the greatest familiarity, and related conversations that had passed at the duke of ---'s table, with as much circumstance and particularity as if he had been present at them.
The last article of vanity we shall mention, were his cloaths ; which gives the finishing stroke to his character : for he chose rather to wear the rags of old finery, which had been made up in the reign of queen Anne, than to submit to plain cloaths of a modern make and fashion. He fancied the poor people in his neighbourhood were to be awed with the sight of tarnished lace, and wherever he went, the gold-fringe fell from his person so plentifully, that you might at any time trace his footsteps by the relicks of finery, which he left behind him.
Lady Frippery his accomplish'd spouse, did not fall short of her husband in any of these perfections, but rather improved them with new graces of her own. For having been something of a beauty in her youth, she still retained all the scornful airs and languishing disdain, which she had formerly practised to her dying lovers.
They had one only daughter, who having been educated all her life at home under her parents, was now become a master-piece of folly, vanity and impertinence. She had not one gesture or motion that was natural ; her mouth never opened without some ridiculous grimace ; her voice had learnt a tone and accent foreign to itself ; her eyes squinted with endeavouring to look alluring, and all her limbs were distorted with affectation. Yet she fancied herself so well-bred, genteel and engaging, that it was impossible for any man to look on her without admiration, and was always talking about taste and the mode.
It happened now to be the London winter with this amiable family, and they were crowded into scanty lodgings on a milliner's first floor, consisting only of a dining-room, a bed-chamber and a closet. The dining-room was set apart for the reception of company, Sir Thomas and his lady took possession of the chamber, and miss slept in a little tent-bed occasionally stuffed into the closet. Such was the family, to whom our hero was now to be introduced.
There is nothing more droll and diverting than the morning dresses of people, who being exceedingly poor, and yet exceedingly proud, affect to make a great figure with a very little fortune. The expence they are at abroad obliges them to double their frugality at home ; and as their chief happiness consists in displaying themselves to the eye of the world, consequently when they are out of its eye, nothing is too dirty or too ragged for them to wear. Now as no-body ever had the vanity of appearance more than the family we have been describing, it will be easily believed, that in their own apartments, behind the scenes of the world, they did not appear to the greatest advantage. And indeed there was something so singularly odd in their dress and employments, at the moment our hero was presented to them, that we cannot help endeavouring to set their image before the reader.
Sir Thomas was shaving himself before a looking-glass in his bed-chamber, habited in the rags of an old night-gown, which about thirty years before had been red damask. All his face, and more than half his head were covered with soap-suds ; only on his crown hung a flimzy green silk night-cap, made in the shape of a sugar-loaf. He had on a very dirty night-shirt, richly tinctured with perspiration, for he had slept in it a fortnight ; and over this a much dirtier ribb'd dimitty waste-coat, which had not visited the wash-tub for a whole twelve-month past. To finish his picture, he wore on his feet a pair of darned blue satten slippers, made out of the remnants of one of his wife's petticoats.
So much for Sir Thomas. Close by him sat his lady, combing her hoary locks before the same looking-glass, and drest in a short bed-gown, which hardly reached down to her middle. A night-shift, which likewise had almost forgot the washing-tub, shrouded the hidden beauties of her person. She was without stays, without a hoop, without ruffles, and without any linen about her neck, to hide those redundant charms, which age had a little embrowned.
This was their dress and attitude, when their daughter burst into the room, and earnestly called upon them to admire the beauties of a lap-dog. Her sudden entrance alarming them with the expectation of some mighty matter, Sir Thomas in turning hastily round, had the misfortune to cut himself with his razor : which putting him in a passion, when he came to know the ridiculous occasion of all this hurry. ' Pox take the girl,' cries he, ' get away child, and don't interrupt me with your lap-dogs. I am in a hurry here to go to court this morning, and you take up my time with silly tittle-tattle about a lap-dog. Do you see here, foolish girl ? you have made me cut myself with your ridiculous nonsense --- Get away I tell you --- what a figure do you think I shall make at the levees with such a scar upon my face ?'
' Bless me, papa !' cries the young lady, ' I protest I am vastly sorry for your misfortune, but I'm sure you'll forgive, if you will but look on this delightful heavenly little jewel of a dog.'
' D--MN your little jewel of a dog,' replies the knight, ' prythee stand out of my way --- I tell you I am in a hurry to go to court, and therefore prythee don't trouble me with your whelps and your puppy-dogs.'
' O monstrous ! how can you call him such cruel names ?' cries the daughter. ' I am amazed at you, papa, for your want of taste. How can any living creature be so utterly void of taste, as not to admire such a beautiful little monkey ? do, dear mamma ! look at him --- I am sure you must admire him, tho' papa is so shamefully blind, and so utterly void of all manner of taste.'
' Why sure, my dear, you are mad to-day,' replied the mother, ' one would think you was absolutely fuddled this morning. Taste, indeed ! I declare you are void of all manner of understanding, whatever your taste may be, to interrupt us thus, when you see we are both in a hurry to be drest. Prythee girl ! learn a little decency and good manners, before you pretend to talk of taste.'
The young lady being reprimanded thus on both sides, began to look extremely foolish, when a servant entered to inform them that Mr. Chace was in the dining-room. ' Ay, ay, go,' cries Sir Thomas, ' go and entertain him with your taste, till I am able to wait on him ; tell Mr. Chace I happen unfortunately to be dressing, but I'll be with him in a moment of time.'
Miss Frippery then, muttering some little scorn, hurried into the next room with the dog in her arms, to see if she could not persuade her lover, (for so he was) to discover more taste than her parents. And here indeed she had better success ; for this gentleman, who was a great sportsman and fox-hunter, was consequently a great connoisseur in dogs ; he was likewise what is called a very pretty young fellow about town, and had a taste so exactly correspondent with that of the lady, that it is no wonder they agreed in the same objects of admiration. Here follows his character.
MR. Chace, usually called Jack Chace among his intimates, possessed an estate of fifteen hundred pounds a year ; which was just sufficient to furnish him with a variety of riding-frocks, jockey-boots, Khevenhullar hats, and coach-whips. His great ambition was to be deemed a jemmy fellow ; for which purpose, he appeared always in the morning in a New-Market frock, decorated with a great number of green, red or blue capes ; he wore a short bob wig, neat buck's-skin breeches, white-silk stockings, and carried a cane switch in his hand. He kept a phaeton-chaise, and four bay cattle ; a stable of hunters, and a pack of hounds in the country. The reputation of being a coachman, and driving a set of horses with skill, or in his own phrase, doing his business clean, he esteemed the greatest character in human life, and thought himself seated on the very pinnacle of glory, when he was mounted up in a high-chaise at a horse-race. New-Market had not a more active spirit, where he was frequently his own jockey, and boasted always, as a singular accomplishment, that he did not ride above eight stone and a half. Tho' he was a little man, and not very healthy in his constitution, he desired to be thought capable of the greatest fatigue, and was always laying wagers of the vast journeys he could perform in a day. He had likewise an ambition to be esteemed a man of consummate debauch, and endeavoured to persuade you, that he never went to bed without first drinking three or four bottles of claret, lying with as many wh-res, and knocking down as many watchmen. In the mornings he attended Mr. Broughton's amphitheatres, and in the evenings, (if he was drunk in time, which indeed he seldom failed to be) he came behind the scenes of the play-house, in the middle of the third act, and there heroically exposed himself to the hisses of the galleries. Whenever he met you, he began constantly with describing his last night's debauch, or related the arrival of a new wh-re upon the town, or entertained you with the exploits of his bay cattle : and if you declined conversing with him on these three illustrious subjects, he swore you was a fellow of no soul or genius, and ever afterwards shunned your company. Having a hunting seat in the neighbourhood of Sir Thomas Frippery, he often visited in the family of that worthy knight, and at last made proposals of marriage to the young lady ; which were favourable enough received, as well by her, as her parents, who, it must be confessed, had a very laudable regard for Mr. Chace's estate.
To this jemmy young gentleman, who was now seated in Sir Thomas's dining-room, Miss Frippery came running with the dog in her arms, and much sparkling conversation passed between them, which perhaps might not be unentertaining, if we were able to relate it ; but as it turned wholly upon polite taste in dress, and the mode, we confess ourselves unequal to so difficult and delicate a task.
A description of a drum.
WE shall then pass over this conversation in the morning, and another of equal brilliancy in the evening, at the play of Othellor whore of Venus, being in haste to describe an event, which engrossed the attention of this accomplished family for a fortnight, and was matter of conversation to them for a year afterwards.
Lady Frippery, in imitation of other ladies of rank and quality, was ambitious of having a drum ; tho' the smallness of her lodgings might well have excused her from attempting that modish piece of vanity.
A drum is at present the highest object of female vain-glory ; the end whereof is to assemble as large a mob of quality as can possibly be contained in one house ; and great are the honours paid to that lady, who can boast of the largest crowd. For this purpose, a woman of superior rank calculates how many people all the rooms in her house laid open can possibly hold, and then sends about two months beforehand among the people one knows, to bespeak such a number as she thinks will fill them. Hence great emulations arise among them, and the candidates for this honour sue as eagerly for visiters, as candidates for parliament do for votes at an election : For as it sometimes happens that two ladies pitch upon the same evening for raising a riot, 'tis necessary they should beat up in time for voluntiers ; otherwise they may chance to be defrauded of their numbers, and one of them lie under the ignominy of collecting a mob of a hundred only, while the other has the honour of assembling a well-drest rabble of three or four hundred ; which of course breaks the heart of that unfortunate lady, who comes off with this immortal disgrace.
Now as the actions of people of quality are sure of being copied, hence it comes to pass that ladies of inferior rank, resolving to be in fashion, take upon them likewise to have drums in imitation of their superiors : Only there is this difference between the two orders, that the higher call nothing but a crowd a drum, whereas the lower often give that name to the commonest parties, and for the sake of honour call an ordinary visit as assembly.
This was the case with lady Frippery ; her acquaintance in town was very small, and it seemed improbable that she could assemble above a dozen people at most, without making any allowance for colds, head-achs, vapours, hysteric fits, fevers upon the spirits, and other female indispositions ; yet still she resolved to have a drum, and the young lady seconded her mamma's inclinations so vehemently, that Sir Thomas was obliged to comply.
From the moment this great event was resolved on, all their conversations turned upon it, and it was pleasant to hear the schemes and contrivances they had about it. Their first and principal care was to secure lady Bab Frightful, the chief of lady Frippery's acquaintance, whose name was to give a lustre to the assembly. Now lady Bab being one of the quality, it was possible she might have a previous engagement, unless she was taken in time ; and therefore a card was dispatched to her in the first place, to bespeak her for such an evening ; and it was resolved, that if any cross accident prevented her coming, new measures should be taken, and the drum be deferred till another night. Lady Bab returned for answer, that she would wait on lady Frippery, if her health permitted. This dubious kind of message puzzled them in the strangest manner, and was worse than a denial ; for without lady Bab it was impossible to proceed, without lady Bab the assembly would make no figure, and yet they were obliged to run the hazard of her not coming, in consequence of her answer. Every day therefore, they sent to enquire after her health, and their hopes rose or fell according to the word that was brought them ; till on the day before the drum was to be held, a most calamitous piece of news arrived, that lady Bab was disabled by her Surgeon, who in cutting her toe-nail, had made an incision in her flesh ; yet still she promised to be with them, if it was possible for her to hobble abroad. No language can describe the damp, which this fatal message struck into the whole family ; but they were obliged to submit with patience, and as a glimpse of hope still remained, they had nothing left but to put up their prayers for lady Bab's recovery.
At length the important evening arrived, that was to decide all their expectations and fears. Many consultations had been held every day, that things might be perfect and in order, when the time came : yet notwithstanding all their precautions, a dispute arose almost at the last moment, whether lady Frippery was to receive her company at the top or bottom of the stairs ? This momentous question begat a warm debate. Her ladyship and miss contended resolutely for the top of the stairs, Sir Thomas for the bottom, and Mr. Chace, who was present, observed a neutrality. At length, after a long altercation, the knight was obliged to submit to a majority of voices ; tho' not without condemning his wife and daughter for want of politeness. ' My dear,' said he, (taking a pinch of snuff with great vehemence,) ' I am amazed that you can be guilty of such a solecism in breeding : it surprizes me, that you are not sensible of the impropriety of it --- Will it not shew much greater respect and complaisance to meet your company at the bottom of the stairs, than to stand like an Indian queen receiving homage at the top of them ?' ' Yes, my dear !' answered her ladyship ; ' but you know my territories do not commence till the top of the stairs ; our territories do not begin below stairs ; and it would be very improper for me to go out of my own dominions --- Don't you see that, my dear ? I am surprized at your want of comprehension to-day, Sir Thomas !' ' Well, well, I have given it up,' answered he, ' have your own way, child ; have your own way, my lady, and then you'll be pleased, I hope. --- But I am sure, in my days, people would have met their company at the bottom of the stairs. When I and lord Oxford were in the ministry together, affairs would have been very different --- but the age has lost all its civility, and people are not half so well-bred as they were formerly.'
This reflexion on modern times, piqued the daughter's vanity, who now began to play her part in the debate. ' Yes, papa,' said she, ' but what signifies what people did formerly ? that is nothing at all to us at present, you know ; for to be sure all people were fools formerly : I always think people were fools in former days. They never did any thing as we do now-a-days, and therefore it stands to reason they were all fools and idiots. 'Tis very manifest they had no breeding, and all the world must allow, that the world never was so wise, and polite, and sensible, and clever, as it is at this moment ; and for my part, I would not have lived in former days for all the world.' ' Pugh !' said the knight, interrupting her, ' you are a little illiterate monkey ; you talk without book, child ! the world is nothing to what it was in my days. Every thing is altered for the worse. The women are not near so handsome. None of you are comparable to your mothers.' ' Nay, there,' --- said lady Frippery, interposing, ' there, Sir Thomas, I entirely agree with you --- there you have my consent, with all my heart. To be sure, all the celebrated girls about town, are mere dowdies, in comparison of their mothers ; and if there could be a resurrection of beauties, they would shine only like Bristol stones in the company of diamonds.' ' Bless me, mamma !' cried the young lady, with the tears standing in her eyes, ' how can you talk so ? There never were so many fine women in the whole world, as there are now in London ; and 'tis enough to make one burst out a crying, to hear you talk --- Come, Mr. Chace, why don't you stand up for us modern beauties ?'
In the midst of this conversation, there was a violent rap at the street-door ; whereupon they all flew to the window, crying out eagerly, ' There --- there is lady Bab --- I am sure 'tis lady Bab ; for I know her footman's rap.' Yet in spite of this knowledge, lady Bab did not arrive according to their hopes ; and it seemed as if her ladyship had laid a scheme to keep them in suspence ; for of all the people, who composed this illustrious assembly, lady Bab came the last. They took care, however, to inform the company from time to time, that she was expected, by making the same observation on the arrival of every fresh coach, and still persisting, that they knew her footman's rap, tho' they had given so many proofs to the contrary. At length, however, lady Bab Frightful came ; and it is impossible to express the joy they felt on her appearance ; which revived them on a sudden from the depth of despair to the highest exaltation of happiness.
Her ladyship's great toe engrossed the conversation for the first hour, whose misfortune was lamented in very pathetic terms by all the company, and many wise reflexions were made upon the accident which had happened ; some condemning the ignorance, and others the carelessness of the surgeon, who had been guilty of such a trespass on her ladyship's flesh. Some advised her to be very careful how she walked upon it ; others recommended a larger shoe to her ladyship, and lady Frippery, in particular, continued the whole evening to protest the vast obligations she had to her, for favouring her with her company under such an affliction. But had I an hundred hands, and as many pens, it would be impossible to describe the folly of that night : wherefore, begging the reader to supply it by the help of his own imagination, I proceed to other parts of this history.
In which several things are touched upon.
WHEN this great affair was over, the marriage came next upon the carpet ; the celebration of which was fixed for Easter week ; but Mr. Chace recollecting in time that it would interfere with Newmarket races, procured a reprieve till the week following. At his return from those Olympic games, the nuptials were celebrated before a general assembly of their relations, and the happy couple were conducted to bed in publick with great demonstrations of joy. The bridegroom took possession of the bride, and Sir Thomas took possession of Mr. Chace's estate.
When they had shewn their new cloaths a little in London, they set out in a body for the country ; and in a few days afterwards, the lodgings on the first floor were taken by a lady, who passed under the fictitious name of Mrs. Caryl. The hasty manner, in which she made her agreement, infused a suspicion into our milliner from the very beginning ; and many circumstances soon concurred to persuade her, that her new lodger was a wife eloped from her husband. For besides that she came into her lodgings late in the evening, she seemed to affect a privacy in all her actions, which plainly evidenced, that she was afraid of some discovery ; and this increased our milliner's curiosity in proportion as the other seemed less inclined to gratify it. But an event soon happened to confirm her conjectures ; for three days after the lady's arrival, a chair stopped at the door one evening near ten o'clock, from whence alighted a well-drest man about forty years old, who wrapping himself up in a red cloak, proceeded hastily up stairs, as if desirous to conceal himself from observation. This adventure savoured so strongly of intrigue, that it was no wonder our milliner contrived to meet him in the passage, to satisfy her curiosity with a survey of his features ; for people, in whom that passion predominates, often find the greatest consolation from knowing the smallest trifles. Pompey was still more inquisitive than his mistress, and took courage to follow the gentleman into the dining-room, with a desire, I suppose, of hearing what passed in so fashionable an interview.
The lady rose from her chair to receive this man of fashion, who saluted her with great complaisance, and hoped she was pleased with her new apartments. ' Yes, my lord,' answered she, ' the people are civilized people enough, and I believe have no suspicion about me --- but did they see your lordship come up stairs? ' ' 'Pon my honour, madam,' said the peer, ' I can't tell ; there was a female figure glided by me in the passage, but whether the creature made remarks or not, I did not stay to observe --- Well, madam, I hope now I may give you joy of your escape, and I dare say you will find yourself much happier than you was under the ill-usage of a tyrant you despised.' The lady then related, with great pleasantry, the manner of her escape, and the difficulties that attended the execution of it ; after which she concluded with saying, ' I wonder, my lord, what my husband is now thinking on ?' ' Thinking on !' answered the peer --- ' that he's a fool and a blockhead, I hope, madam, and deserve to be hanged for abusing the charms of so divine a creature --- Good God ! was it possible for him to harbour an ill-natured thought, while he had the pleasure of looking in that angelic face ? ' My lord,' said the lady, ' I know I have taken a very ill step in the eye of the world ; but I have too much spirit to bear ill-usage with patience, and let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to submit to them, rather than be a slave to the ill-humours of a man I despised, hated, and detested.' ' Forbear madam,' said his lordship, ' to think of him ; my fortune, my interest, my sword, are all devoted to your service, and I am ready to execute any command you please to impose upon me --- but let us call a more agreeable topic of conversation.'
Soon after this a light, but elegant supper, was placed upon the table, and the servants were ordered to retire ; for there are certain seasons, when even the Great desire to banish ostentation. The absent husband furnished them with much raillery, and they pictured to themselves continually the surprize he would be in, when first he discovered his wife's elopement ; nor did this man of gallantry and fashion finish his amorous visit till past two o'clock in the morning. As he was going down stairs, he found himself again encountered by the barking of little Pompey, whom he snatched up in his arms, and getting hastily into the chair, that waited for him at the door, carried him off with him to his own house.
This accomplished person was lord Marmazet, husband to that lady, who was so familiar and intimate with the sharper at Bath. He was a man of consummate intrigue, a most fortunate adventurer with the fair sex, and had the reputation of uncommon success in his amours. What made this success the more extraordinary was, that in personal charms he had nothing to boast of : nature had given him neither a face or figure to strike the eyes of women ; but these deficiencies were abundantly recompensed by a most happy turn of wit, a very brilliant imagination, and extensive knowledge of the world. He had the most insinuating manner of address, the readiest flow of language, and a certain art of laughing women out of their virtue, which few could imitate. It was indeed scarce possible to withstand the allurements of his conversation ; and what is odd enough, the number of affairs he had been concerned in, were so far from frightening ladies from his acquaintance, that on the contrary it was fashionable and modish to cultivate an intimacy with him. They knew the danger of putting themselves in his way, and yet were ambitious of giving him opportunities.
The lady we have just now seen with him, had been his neighbour in the country, a very handsome woman under the tyranny of an ill-natured husband. This his lordship knew, and concluding that her aversion to her husband would make her an easy prey to a lover, watched every opportunity of being alone with her. In these stolen interviews he employed all his eloquence to seduce her, and won her so much by his flattering representation of things, that at length she courageously eloped from her tyrant, and put herself into private lodgings under the protection of his lordship. The reader need not be told that this ended in the utter ruin of the lady, who finding her reputation lost, and her passionate lover soon growing indifferent, took refuge in citron waters, and by the help of those cordial lenitives of sorrow, soon bade adieu to the world and all its cares.
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This page is by James Eason.