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The young lady whom Mr. Nightingale had intended for his son, was a near neigh bour of his brother, and an acquaintance of his niece; and, in reality, it was upon the account of his projected match, that he was now come to town; not indeed to forward, but to dissuade his brother from a purpose which he conceived would inevitably ruin his nephew; for he foresaw no other event from a union with Miss Harris, notwithstanding the largeness of her fortune, as neither her person nor mind seemed to him to promise any kind of matrimonial felicity; for she was very tall, very thin, very ugly, very affected, very silly, and very illnatured.

'for she is one of the best of women.'-cated with the utmost tenderness and fond'Ay, ay, but in point of fortune, I mean,' ness, which she returned to such a degree, answered the other: 'and yet, as to that that she had actually refused a very extranow, how much do you imagine your friend ordinary match with a gentleman a little is to have? How much,' cries Jones, turned of forty, because she could not bring 'how much! Why, at the utmost, perhaps, herself to part with her parents. 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' answered 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, Iscorn 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.'

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While the father stood like one struck suddenly dumb at this news, a gentleman came into the room, and saluted him by the name of brother.

His brother, therefore, no sooner mentioned the marriage of his nephew with Miss Miller, than he expressed the utmost satisfaction; and when the father had very bitterly reviled his son, and pronounced the sentence of beggary upon him, the uncle began in the following manner:

If you was a little cooler, brother, I would ask you, whether you love your son for his sake or for your own? You would answer, I suppose, and so I suppose you think, for his sake; and doubtless it is his happiness which you intended in the marriage you proposed for him.

ly so in the affair of marriage, the happiness of which depends entirely on the affection which subsists between the parties.

Now, brother, to prescribe rules of happiness to others, hath always appeared to me very absurd; and to insist on doing this, very tyrannical. It is a vulgar error, I know; but it is nevertheless an error. And But though these two were in consan-if this be absurd in other things, it is mostguinity 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 herself to his choice, entirely by her good humour, of which she possessed a very large

share.

'I have, therefore, always thought it unreasonable in parents to desire to choose for their children on this occasion, since to force affection is an impossible attempt; nay, so much doth love abhor force, that I know not whether, through an unfortunate but incurable perverseness in our natures, it may not be even impatient of persuasion.

'It is, however, true, that though a parent will not, I think, wisely prescribe, he ought to be consulted on this occasion; and With this woman he had, during twenty-in strictness, perhaps, should at least have five years, lived a life more resembling the model which certain poets ascribe to the golden age, than any of those patterns which are furnished by the present times. By her he had four children, but none of them arrived at maturity, except only one daughter, whom in vulgar language, he and his wife had spoiled; that is, had edu

a negative voice. My nephew, therefore, I own, in marrying without asking your advice, hath been guilty of a fault. But, honestly speaking, brother, have you not a little promoted this fault? Have not your frequent declarations on this subject given him a moral certainty of your refusal, where there was any deficiency in point of for

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tune? Nay, doth not your present anger arise solely from that deficiency? And if he hath failed in his duty here, did you not as much exceed that authority, when you absolutely bargained with him for a woman without his knowledge, whom you yourself never saw, and whom, if you had seen and known as well as I, it must have been madness in you to have ever thought of bringing her into your family.

Still I own my nephew in a fault; but surely it is not an unpardonable fault. He hath acted indeed without your consent, in a matter in which he ought to have asked it; but it is in a matter in which his interest is principally concerned. You yourself must and will acknowledge, that you consulted his interest only; and if he unfortunately differed from you, and hath been mistaken in his notion of happiness, will you, brother, if you love your brother, if you love your son, carry him still wider from the point? Will you increase the ill consequences of his simple choice? Will you endeavour to make an event certain misery to him, which may accidentally prove so? In a word, brother, because he hath put it out of your power to make his circumstances as affluent as you would, will you distress them as much as you can?' By the force of the true Catholic faith St. Anthony won upon the fishes. Orpheus and Amphion went a little farther, and, by the charms of music, enchanted things merely inanimate. Wonderful, both! But neither history nor fable have ever yet ventured to record an instance of any one, who, by force of argument and reason, had triumphed over habitual avarice.

CHAPTER IX.

Containing strange matters.

Ar his return to his lodgings, Jones found the situation of affairs greatly altered from what they had been in at his departure. The mother, the two daughters, and young Mr. Nightingale, were now sat down to supper together, when the uncle was, at his own desire, introduced without any ceremony into the company, to all of whom, he was well known; for he had several times visited his nephew at that house.

The old gentleman immediately walked up to Miss Nancy, saluted and wished her joy, as he did afterwards the nephew and the other sister; and, lastly, he paid the proper compliments to his nephew, with the same good humour and courtesy, as if his nephew had married his equal or superior in fortune, with all the previous requisites first performed.

Miss Nancy and her supposed husband both turned pale, and looked rather foolish than otherwise upon the occasion; but Mrs. Miller took the first opportunity of withdrawing; and, having sent for Jones into the dining-room, she threw herself at his feet, and, in a most passionate flood of tears, called him her good angel, the preserver of her poor little family, with many other respectful and endearing appellations, and made him every acknowledgment which the highest benefit can extract from the most grateful heart.

After the first gust of her passion was a little over, which she declared, if she had not vented, would have burst her, she proMr. Nightingale, the father, instead of ceeded to inform Mr. Jones, that all matattempting to answer his brother, contented ters were settled between Mr. Nightingale himself with only observing, that they had and her daughter, and that they were to always differed in their sentiments concern- be married the next morning; at which ing the education of their children. Mr. Jones having expressed much pleawish,' said he, 'brother, you would have confined your care to your own daughter, and never have troubled yourself with my son, who hath, I believe, as little profited by your precepts, as by your example.' For young Nightingale was his uncle's godson, and had lived more with him than with his father. So that the uncle had often declared, he loved his nephew almost equally with his own child.

Jones fell into raptures with this good gentleman; and when, after much persuasion, they found the father grew still more and more irritated, instead of appeased, Jones conducted the uncle to his nephew, at the house of Mrs. Miller.

sure, the poor woman fell again into a fit of joy and thanksgiving, which he at length with difficulty silenced, and prevailed on her to return with him back to the company, whom they found in the same good humour in which they had left them.

This little society now passed two or three very agreeable hours together; in which the uncle, who was a very great lover of his bottle, had so well plied his nephew, that this latter, though not drunk, began to be somewhat flustered; and now Mr. Nightingale, taking the old gentleman with him up stairs into the apartment he had lately occupied, unbosomed himself as follows:

'As you have been always the best and kindest of uncles to me, and as you have shown such unparalleled goodness in forgiving this match, which, to be sure, may be thought a little improvident; I should

never forgive myself if I attempted to deceive you in any thing.' He then confessed the truth, and opened the whole affair.

rant preserves over his subjects; but I, who have lived with you upon an equal footing, might surely expect better usage; but I know how to account for it all! It is all owing to your preposterous education, in which I have had too little share. There is my daughter, now, whom I have brought up as my friend, never doth any thing without my advice, nor ever refuses to take it when I give it her.'-You have never yet given her advice in an affair of this kind,' said Nightingale; for I am greatly mista

me, sir,' said Nightingale; 'I have not the least design to reflect on my cousin, for whom I have the greatest esteem; and indeed I am convinced you will never put her to so severe a trial, or lay such hard commands on her as you would do on me. But, dear sir, let us return to the company; for they will begin to be uneasy at our long absence. I must beg one favour of my dear uncle, which is, that he would not say any thing to shock the poor girl or her mother.'

'How, Jack!' said the old gentleman, 'and are you really then not married to this young woman? No, upon my honour,' answered Nightingale, 'I have told you the simple truth.'-'My dear boy,' cries the uncle, kissing him, 'I am heartily glad to hear it. I was never better pleased in my life. If you had been married I should have assisted you as much as was in my power to have made the best of a bad mat-ken in my cousin, if she would be very ter; but there is a great difference between ready to obey even your most positive comconsidering a thing which is already done, mands in abandoning her inclinations.'and irrecoverable, and that which is yet to Don't abuse my girl,' answered the old do. Let your reason have fair-play, Jack, gentleman, with some emotion; don't and you will see this match in so foolish and abuse my Harriet. I have brought her up preposterous a light, that there will be no to have no inclinations contrary to my own. need of any dissuasive arguments.'-'How, By suffering her to do whatever she pleases, sir!' replies young Nightingale, is there I have inured her to a habit of being this difference between having already pleased to do whatever I like.'-' Pardon done an act, and being in honour engaged to do it?'-Pugh,' said the uncle, 'honour is a creature of the world's making, and the world hath the power of a creator over it, and may govern and direct it as they please. Now, you well know how trivial these breaches of contract are thought; even the grossest make but the wonder and conversation of a day. Is there a man, who afterwards will be more backward in giving you his sister or daughter? Or is there any sister or daughter would be more backward to receive you? Honour is not concerned in these engagements.'- Pardon me, dear sir,' cries Nightingale," I can never think so; and not only honour, but conscience and humanity are concerned. I am well satisfied, that, was I now to disappoint the young creature, her death would be the consequence, and I should look upon myself as her murderer; nay, as her murderer by the cruelest of all methods, by breaking her heart. Break her heart, indeed! no, no, Jack,' cries the uncle, the hearts of women are not so soon broke: they are tough, boy; they are tough.'-'But, sir,' answered Nightingale, 'my own affections are engaged; and I never could be happy with any other woman. How often have I heard you say, that children should be always suffered to choose for themselves, and that you would let my cousin Harriet do so! Why, ay,' replied the old gentleman, 'so I would have them; but then I would have them choose wisely. Indeed, Jack, you must and shall leave this girl.''Indeed, uncle,' cries the other, 'I must and will have her.'-You will, young gentleman?' said the uncle; I did not expect such a word from you. I should not wonder if you had used such language to your father, who hath always treated you like a dog, and kept you at a distance which a ty

'Oh! you need not fear me,' answered he; 'I understand myself too well to affront women; so I will readily grant you that favour; and in return I must expect another of you.'-There are but few of your commands, sir,' said Nightingale, which I shall not very cheerfully obey.'-Nay, sir, I ask nothing,' said the uncle, but the honour of your company home to my lodging, that I may reason the case a little more fully with you; for I would, if possible, have the satisfaction of preserving my family, notwithstanding the headstrong folly of my brother, who, in his own opinion, is the wisest man in the world.'

Nightingale, who well knew his uncle to be as headstrong as his father, submitted to attend him home; and then they both returned back into the room, where the old gentleman promised to carry himself with the same decorum which he had before maintained.

CHAPTER XX.

A short chapter, which concludes the book.

THE long absence of the uncle and nephew had occasioned some disquiet in the minds of all whom they had left behind them; and the more as, during the pre

ceding dialogue, the uncle had more than once elevated his voice, so as to be heard down stairs; which, though they could not distinguish what he said, had caused some evil foreboding in Nancy and her mother, and indeed even in Jones himself.

When the good company, therefore, again assembled, there was a visible alteration in all their faces; and the good humour which, at their last meeting, universally shone forth in every countenance, was now changed into a much less agreeable aspect. It was a change, indeed, common enough to the weather in this climate, from sunshine to clouds, from June to December.

This alteration was not, however, greatly remarked by any present; for as they were all now endeavouring to conceal their own thoughts, and to act a part, they became all too busily engaged in the scene to be spectators of it. Thus neither the uncle nor nephew saw any symptoms of suspicions in the mother or daughter; nor did the mother or daughter remark the overacted complaisance of the old man, nor the counterfeit satisfaction which grinned in the features of the young one.

Something like this, I believe, frequently happens, where the whole attention of two friends being engaged in the part which each is to act, in order to impose on the other, neither sees nor suspects the art practised against himself: and thus the thrust of both, (to borrow no improper metaphor on the occasion,) alike takes place. From the same reason, it is no unusual thing for both parties to be overreached in a bargain, though the one must be always the greater loser; as was he who sold a blind horse, and received a bad note in payment.

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Our company in about half an hour broke up, and the uncle carried off his nephew; but not before the latter had assured Miss Nancy, in a whisper, that he would attend her early in the morning, and fulfil all his engagements.

Jones, who was the least concerned in this scene, saw the most. He did indeed suspect the very fact; for, besides observing the great alteration in the behaviour of the uncle, the distance he assumed, and his overstrained civility to Miss Nancy, the carrying off a bridegroom from his bride at that time of night, was so extraordinary a proceeding, that it could be accounted for, only by imagining that young Nightingale had revealed the whole truth, which the apparent openness of his temper, and his being flustered with liquor, made too probable.

While he was reasoning with himself, whether he should acquaint these poor people with his suspicion, the maid of the house informed him, that a gentlewoman desired to speak with him. He went immediately out, and, taking the candle from the maid, ushered his visitant up stairs, who, in the person of Mrs. Honour, acquainted him with such dreadful news concerning his Sophia, that he immediately lost all consideration for every other person; and his whole stock of compassion was entirely swallowed up in reflections on his own misery, and on that of his unfortunate angel.

What this dreadful matter was, the reader will be informed, after we have first related the many preceding steps which produced it, and those will be the subject of the following book.

BOOK XV.

IN WHICH THE HISTORY ADVANCES ABOUT TWO DAYS.

CHAPTER I.

Too short to need a preface.

like good housewives, stay at home, and mind only the business of their own family, I shall very readily concede the point; for THERE are a set of religious, or rather so surely do all these contribute and lead to moral, writers, who teach that virtue is the happiness, that I could almost wish, in viocertain road to happiness, and vice to mise-lation of all the ancient and modern usages, ry, in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not

to call them rather by the name of wisdom, than by that of virtue; for with regard to this life, no system, I conceive, was ever wiser than that of the ancient Epicureans, who Indeed, if by virtue these writers mean held this wisdom to constitute the chief the exercise of those cardinal virtues, which, | good; nor foolisher than that of their op

true.

posites, those modern epicures, who place | and, as she plainly saw that this young all felicity in the abundant gratification of lady stood between her and the full indulevery sensual appetite.

gence of her desires, she resolved to get rid of her by some means or other; nor was it long before a very favourable opportunity of accomplishing this presented itself to her.

But if by virtue is meant, (as I almost think it ought,) a certain relative quality, which is always busying itself without doors, and seems as much interested in pursuing the good of others as its own, I can- The reader may be pleased to remember, not so easily agree that this is the surest that when Sophia was thrown into that way to human happiness; because I am consternation at the playhouse, by the wit afraid we must then include poverty and contempt; with all the mischiefs which backbiting, envy, and ingratitude, can bring on mankind, in our idea of happiness; nay, sometimes, perhaps, we shall be obliged to wait upon the said happiness to a jail; since many, by the above virtue, have brought themselves thither.

I have not now leisure to enter upon so large a field of speculation, as here seems opening upon me: my design was, to wipe off a doctrine that lay in my way: since, while Mr. Jones was acting the most virtuous part imaginable, in labouring to preserve his fellow-creatures from destruction, the devil, or some other evil spirit, one perhaps clothed in human flesh, was hard at work to make him completely miserable, in the ruin of his Sophia.

This, therefore, would seem an exception to the above rule, if indeed it was a rule; but as we have, in our voyage through life, seen so many other exceptions to it, we choose to dispute the doctrine on which it is founded, which we do not apprehend to be christian, which we are convinced is not true, and which is indeed destructive of one of the noblest arguments that reason alone can furnish for the belief of immortality.

But as the reader's curiosity, (if he hath any,) must be now awake and hungry, we shall proceed to feed it as fast as we can.

CHAPTER II.

In which is opened a very black design against
Sophia

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and humour of a set of young gentlemen, who call themselves the town, we informed him, that she had put herself under the protection of a young nobleman, who had very safely conducted her to her chair.

This nobleman, who frequently visited Lady Bellaston, had more than once seen Sophia there, since her arrival in town, and had conceived a very great liking to her; which liking, as beauty never looks more amiable than in distress, Sophia had in this fright so increased, that he might now, without any great impropriety, be said to be actually in love with her.

It may easily be believed, that he would not suffer so handsome an occasion of improving his acquaintance with the beloved object, as now offered itself, to elapse, when even good-breeding alone might have prompted him to pay her a visit.

The next morning, therefore, after this accident, he waited on Sophia, with the usual compliments, and hopes that she had received no harm from her last night's adventure.

As love, like fire, when once thoroughly kindled, is soon blown into a flame, Sophia in a very short time completed her conquest. Time now flew away unperceived; and the noble lord had been two hours in company with the lady, before it entered into his head that he had made too long a visit. Though this circumstance alone would have alarmed Sophia, who was somewhat more a mistress of computation at present; she had indeed much more pregnant evidence from the eyes of her lover of what passed within his bosom ; nay, though he did not make any open declaration of his passion, yet many of his expressions were rather too warm, and too tender, to have been imputed to complaisance, even in the age when such complaisance was in fashion; the very reverse of which is well known to be the reigning mode at present.

I REMEMBER a wise old gentleman, who used to say, When children are doing nothing, they are doing mischief.' I will not enlarge this quaint saying to the most beautiful part of the creation in general; but so far I may be allowed, that when the effects of female jealousy do not appear openly in their proper colours of rage and Lady Bellaston had been apprised of his fury, we may suspect that mischievous lordship's visit at his first arrival; and the passion to be at work privately, and at-length of it very well satisfied her, that tempting to undermine what it doth not attack above ground.

This was exemplified in the conduct of Lady Bellaston, who, under all the smiles which she wore in her countenance, concealed much indignation against Sophia;

things went as she wished, and as indeed she had suspected the second time she saw this young couple together. This business she rightly, I think, concluded, that she should by no means forward by mixing in the company while they were together; she

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