HE stays very long — if Clarinda comes first, I shan't have time for my purpose — but what am I going to do? —to bring my Gallant to one that admires him— a pretty undertaking — but I have engag'd, and can't withdraw. Yet stay, by this I shall lay the Fame of the Intriegue upon her, and like a wise Monarch, make others fight for what I only enjoy— 'tis rare— but if he should like her I am lost.
Madam, there's a Gentleman below, Mrs. Friendlove calls Captain.
Oh 'tis well — Hark ye, Fidelia, you must respect this Gen∣tleman.
Certainly my Lady is the happiest Woman in the World, and the greatest Politician: she does every thing with such an Air, that ev'n I that am privy to her Intriegues, dare not seem to know 'em; and the Fame of her Virtue protects her against all discoveries— She's grown a Proverb, the Citizens preach her to their Wives, and the Courtiers to their Daugh∣ters, and now 'tis granted, that there is a pitch of Virtue secure against re∣proach—but I must go to divert the Woman of the House; for Lovers are best Company with one another; and she'll tell 'em a story of her Fa∣mily, till they wish her at the Devil. Well! there is one happiness in be∣ing a Ladies Woman, it instructs us in the Fashionable Mysteries of Lying, Hypocrisy, and Intriegue: so that half a Years Service, I'll maintain, shall teach a Woman to Cuckold her Husband, with more dexterity, than ten Years practice.
I'm in a Wood.
To bring you out I must tell you — that 'tis with a great deal of difficulty I stir abroad, and that I have contriv'd your acquaintance with her, who is my Relation, and Neighbour, in order to gain more opportunities for my self, and under that colour make our affair as lasting as secure.
I begin to understand you — I must publickly declare my self, Madam Clarinda's Lover, while—an excellent Plot—which if you thought of it?
You are Mad — I tell you she's in earnest; she saw you, lik'd you, and would not rest till I had told her a possibility of seeing you again, which I promis'd for the reasons I have given— now d'ye think I han't made a great venture?
Is she very handsome?
If she were, I find I should be in danger.
No, but I should then convince you, nothing could shake your inter∣est in my heart.
Well, some People do think her handsome, I wish you mayn't: but have a care how you move, I shall be very Jealous!
I'm afraid I shall do it so awkardly — she'll find me out.
Trust nature: but I have one scruple just comes into my head that will spoil all.
Nay then we are lost, what is it?
I'm afraid we shall lose the pleasure of the adventure, to think that it will not be in our own power to discover it.
That indeed is a scruple I should not have thought of, but we must bear our misfortune as well as we can; and let us not be the first instance of Lovers that could not brook adversity.
Madam, Mrs Clarinda is at the Door.
Stay here while I prepare her, and in the mean time I'll send Mrs. Friendlove the Woman of the House, to entertain you with her Pedigree and Imper∣tinence.
This is an Excellent Wench, and I Love her Heartily, but 500 l. a Year I don't know what to do, let me consider, if I Marry there's a Pretty Wo∣man, and 500 l. a Year, which are not often together—Hum! If I don't, here's the most agreeable Creature in the World, and — Hum—A Poor Lover is the Devil—No Bankrupt ever found a fair one Kind. Now for this Well-wisher to the Mathematicks:
A lack-a-Day! Here's the Poor Gentleman alone.
This is kindly done, Madam:
You and I Captain must be acquainted it seems.
You make me proud:
I knew one of your Name in Nottingham, I believe we are a little related—For you must know Captian, as I told you within, I am some way a Kin to most of the great Families in England, and I never was two Minutes with any Body of Pedigree, but I found out that I was their Cousin.
Very likely, Madam—(This is an Original)
For which reason, Captain, out of pure respect to my Relations, I make all my Servants call me at every Word, My Lady, and your Ladyship.
Your Ladiship is extremely in the right.
Ha! ha! ha! I'll tell you a very pretty Accident, where I was visiting t'other Day, came in three Welch Ladies, who pretend (forsooth) to be above other Folks for Family, and to be related to none but themselves—But in a quarter of an hour's time, Captain, nothing was so great, as I and my Cousins, for upon a Comparison of our Pedigree, it appear'd, that we all came from a Marriage of the Ap Shinkins, and the Ap Shones, but you don't mind Me, you are thinking of Miss.
Ay, my Cousin Caelia, I call her Miss, because, I knew her from a Child, It was the neatest best humour'd thing — But pray, Captain how long have you been in Flanders.
Three Years, Madam—
She always delighted in her Chamber, and plac'd every thing in such order! I warrant you have a Mistress in every Town!
Poor Gentleman! You can't think how Miss would work, she made me the Prettiest Purse, and I lost it, going with some Ladies to a For∣tune-Tellers.
This is design'd Murder.
But now you talk of Fortune-Tellers, Captain, I know some Peo∣ple laugh at 'em, but as sure as you are there, he told me every thing so ex∣actly, that I was forc'd to give him t'other, Shilling to hold his Tongue.
You did very prudently, Madam.
Are the Women in Flanders very handsome.
No, but to make amends they are very Kind.
Huh! Are they so—Well I Love sincerity.
No Body dies there of any thing but Bullets.
Here's a Man!
Ha! Here will be fine Work!
Come Ladies don't be frighten'd, here's enough of us to deal with one Man—'Tis Capt. Freeman, a Cousin of Mine, who has been giving me an account of his Travels, which is so diverting.
He looks alarm'd, I'll watch Him.
He says the Women in Flanders, Miss, are not half so handsome, as they are here.
These Ladies will Justify it.
I find there are Courtiers in Flanders, if there are no Beauties.
You're the first Traveller, Sir, that did not highten the Rarities of of the Place—I'll warrant there are handsome Women.
There may, Madam, but they don't do so much mischief as in England — They know the danger of letting 'em be seen, and kindly keeping 'em up in Nunneries, and Convents.
I Love 'em for that truly — I am glad I was not born there, a Woman must spend her Youth and Beauty, over a String of Beads, or a Page 22 piece of Needle-Work, a pretty diversion, we know better things in England.
It may be a cunning, Sir, to encrease that danger you speak of, for what is always before us, does not affect us so much; and where Beauty is so common, I fansie it does little harm.
Against that, Madam, you are an instance.
Mrs. Friendlove, your Relation has Travel'd farther than Flanders.
Pardon me, Madam, my Cousin knows a pretty Lady, and if he had turn'd his Eyes off you, might have seen more instances.
(O dear Madam)
Oh good, Sir—
I must have confess'd—that thou art a Monster.
So much Youth and Beauty.
Oh dear, Sir—
The most agreeable Air—
The civilest, best bred Gentleman—
And Wit, that would have Kill'd, without the Assistance of your Eyes.
Well I Love, Truth and Honour!
Ha! ha! ha! He manages it rarely.
The genteelest Woman in the World—
And do you really think so?—Well, Cousin Clarinda, you'll be reconcil'd to the Captain, one would not think he had Travel'd at all by his sincerity—Sweet Captain.
O the Beast!
And were you half so cruel as you are fair, I were lost.
'Twould be pity so worthy a Gentleman.
She'll consent before I have half done — From the first minute I saw you, you have been present to my Thoughts.
Poor Gentleman, one does not know one's Power.
And I should think of you, though I were speaking to a Monster.
Well, he is a charming Man! —
I behold that beauteous Face and blooming Youth, though a nauseous Hag, and wither'd Age were before me—
I do look killing to day —
Is it possible, my lovely Unbeliever, you should see me, and suspect your interest in my heart.
I can't bear it tho' in jest—
'Twould be cruel in her to do so, let me perswade.
One must not believe all that Men say, Cousin, they are very de∣ceitful—tho' I must needs own, the Captain is a worthy Gentleman, and very Judicious.
Oh! Madam, let me Kneel to thank you—continue, most distin∣guishing Lady, to pity me, and move that stubborn Fair One in my Favour. You never pleaded in so just a Cause, nor is any so fit to argue it as you—O Page 23 that I could but manifest my Breast, you would see the Pains I feel, that I Sigh, that I Burn, that I could Die, to Merit the Heart of the Lovely Clarinda.
A Pleasant mistake.
A strange mistake!
'Tis so usual with Lovers, Madam, that I have known some make Love in Jest, till they forget the Occasion.
A touch for me, I must take care—And where it was in the Heart before, Madam, 'tis an easier mistake.
I own it—
I think of you.
You was affraid you shou'd be so awkard.
You can't be jealous—
I don't know what I am, but I'm in pain—
The violence of his Love to you made him forget himself—
Very likely, nay, it must be so.
You are generous, Madam, to excuse an unhappy Lover.
Madam, the Chocolate is ready.
Come, come, Cousins all! We'll talk more within—Well, I shan't find in my Heart to let him live in Pain—Poor Man!
Bring the Wine into this Room, it is more private: soh! leave us—
Now Doctor, you fully know my grief—There's nought without the Compass of your Art—That subtle Art, that pierces deeper than the Skin, and views a Ladies Mind as well as Body; sees all the secret Motions of her Heart, and every Passion there: Can direct their violence, or, if it pleases, make new Impressions—But first your Health—
Sir, I'll do you reason—Sir.
If one Deity can inspire another, speak my Oracle, shall I live, or die?—
I have told you, Sir, I cannot help you—There's not a Lady at Court wou'd trust me after, Betray the Counsels of my Patients!—Sir, 'Tis from their Opinion of our secrecy we live—
And 'tis from a no less confidence of that virtue in you, Doctor, that I open my self thus, Do ye think a secret of this nature — but, Sir, my service to you —
You would doubt it very much if I did this,
Come, Doctor, you are too Scrupulous—
Alas, Sir, I would do any thing to serve you—But you cann't blame my fears, when my Honour, Fame, and future Fortune depend on the success.
Nay, I must needs commend your caution, and blame my self for not considering that you would use it—But your secret will be safe—It is my interest, and in that Doctor, all Men are sincere.
Worthy, Sir, I am intirely yours, but now, Sir, the first difficulty will be the greatest—How to break it.
Oh! there are a thousand ways—You must think of some Distemper, and prescribe me to her as Physick: She'll take me as a Potion at least, tho' she won't as a Lover—Come, Doctor, here's to her new disease—
You are pleasant, Sir,
If you could but make her Sick in half the time that you have made me well—
I'll pawn my Art for the success.
Why now, my Doctor speaks like the Off-Spring of Aesculaepius—This indeed is Physick—There's balm in every Word, that new creates my Soul—But, Dear Doctor, let me not delay your Art with praising it—go and be immortal.
I fly; and if I don't effect her way, all my Patients die when I come near 'em—
Or which is as bad—may they all grow well with the first Dose—Few People know the true use of a Physician, were they well apply'd—But how stubborn this Rascal was, before he felt the Gold—well there's no Cor∣dial like this grand Elixir! This is the true Panacaea! The Food of your Physician, which the unknowing Patint parts with for Drugs and Death—But I must follow him—
Ha! ha! ha! Was there ever such a Monster!
Not to perceive so plain a Cheat—
It was pleasant enough to see how fast she melted, and how much he labour'd to prevent it—
But the Beast, in half an hour to consent to Marry him.
Old Women are always tender-hearted, and their Experience makes 'em know how to value Opportunities.
Well, sure I shall never be such a Creature.
You can't tell, Clarinda; for the Opinion of our Beauty is the last thing that leaves us.
I believe indeed a Woman sees her Decays sooner in the Mens Faces than her own.
But no Body minds a true Mirrour.
Yet sure it must be very unhappy to keep up the Opinion of our Beauty, after every body else has laid it down: And the Humour of the Town is very quick in these Cases, for when a Woman is Thirty—
She grows a very discreet sort of a Body!—Well, it must needs grate a fine Creature, that is just declining, and still perhaps with all her Loevrs glowing in her Thoughts, to see the Tide pass by her, and hear the Mortifying Sound—She was!
Madam, my Lady Dainty is inquiring for your Ladiship.
I hope she will do me the Honour to come up.
My Lady Dainty?
I believe you don't know her Person, but you must her Character.
I warrant this is she that thinks it the truest Mark of Quality to be Nice and Sickly; and is as much afraid of looking well, as other Folks are fond of it.
Many People are Fops in their Mien and Habit, but her Ladiship is so in her Understanding, and takes as much Pains to punish her Inside, as to adorn her Out.
Well, I am the happiest Woman in finding your Ladiship at home!
You do me an Honour—Madam, a Relation of mine.
I shall strive to be of her Acquaintance —
Your Ladiship makes me proud.
I have made at least twenty Visits to day, and not above Ten were at home, which I take to be a great good Fortune, in having my Day's Journey so happily shortned to your Ladiship, for in you I terminate my Evening: And 'tis so bless'd a thing to arrive where one loves, after the tedious Endearments of so many one hates in a Day's visiting. Huh! Huh! —
Your Ladiship is certainly the most obliging thing!
Meeting with a Reasonable Creature at last, is like unlacing after being squeez'd up in a strait Pair of Boddice. Huh! Huh!
You must needs be very much fatigu'd.
O quite spent! Not but my Coach is very easie, yet repeating so many How d'ye's in a Day is enough to kill a Horse.
Pray where was your Ladiship last?
Why, Madam, at my Lady Thrivewell's in the City, who knows no other Happiness, and thinks there is no other Welcome but Eating and Drinking! At the Sight of her Table I was ready to swoon, coming out of the Air! Huh!
How was it spread, Madam?
At the upper End sat her Ladiship, and at each Elbow a Daughter with Arms like Plough-Men, and Cheeks like Milk-Maids — They were enough to beat one down with their Breath —
Ha, ha! a goodly Appearance!
The Table, (or rather Larder) was fill'd with Westphalia Hams, Pullets, and Turkey-Pies; with a great Cheshire Cheese, that rival'd every one in bulk but her Ladiship; and a large Tankard of Ale, enough to de∣stroy a Dozen Porters. Huh! Huh! —
Ha! ha! ha!
She forc'd me to sit down, and put enough upon my Plate to serve me my whole Life —
She design'd you a Complement —
To see the Titles of Quality join'd with such Mob Dispositions! Well, there's nothing distinguishes the Commons so much as their Eating; and I never knew a true Plebeian but was a hungry — Huh! huh!
Your Ladiship knows the Elegance of Life.
I aim at it a little — But there is one Mark by which you may know such Creatures, tho' you don't see 'em; for it is the most Essential Property of the Vulgar to speak loud; their common Discourse is some Degrees above the Noise of a Drum. For which Reason, when any raises their Voice above a Whisper, I strait conclude, That they are either no Quality, or at most but half Blood; and 'tis likely the Fault might be of the Side of the Mother.
Ha, ha! Your Ladiship is certainly the most entertaining Creature!
But now Ladies, exactly opposite to this, is the Life of the Refin'd and Well-bred part of the Creation. The Vulgar, like other Beasts, are up and Feeding before it is Day; but about a Delicate Creature every thing is slow and solemn.
The Noises of the Streets, Madam, must be great Enemies to that Quiet.
So great, that I have often wonder'd why the Government don't provide against so manifest a Barbarism. They should defend our Ears against offensive Sounds, and banish all that had the little Breeding to rise before Eleven a Clock.
I shou'd vote for that Law; for I'm a mighty Friend to my Pillow—But pray, Madam, go on with your Description.
Here then, Ladies, I must needs lament that we are in some respects not unlike the Crowd; And that it is still a Custom among us to go upon our own Legs. I have often admir'd the Chinese Nobility; who, to prevent the Infamy of so Vulgar an Exercise, contract the Feet of their Infant-Quality, and keep 'em so little, that when they are of Age they may not use 'em; and never cut their Nails that they might not be suspected to work with a Needle — Is it not a Scandal to the Nobles of Eng∣land, to let a Barbarian transcend 'em in so high a point of Elegance?
That, indeed, is one step to take away the Trouble of moving at all, and make 'em live the Life of a Plant.
Which wou'd be truly, bless'd! For methinks People of Quality shou'd be known more by their Passions than their Figure; and that is al∣ways a certain Way: For our Joy never rises above a Smile, nor our Sor∣row above the Decency and Colour of our Clothes.
So that when a dear Friend dies —
To shed Tears is the Grief of a Peasant.
It discovers our Love at least.
As ill as it does our Breeding; For our Love for the Dead is best shown in our Respect to the Living, and there the Fashion is against it; be∣sides Tears are the worst Wash one can possibly use for the Complexion — Page 27 Huh, Huh!--But to make an end of this Subject; There is one thing that more remarkably distinguishes Persons of Rank from the Commons, and that is our Natural Contempt of Business. Now the Vulgar, like a Hackney-Horse, never stir abroad without something to do; and they visit, like a Merchant upon Change, for their Profit more than their Pleasure. But it is a Reproach to the Honour of a Well-bred Woman, to have any thing in her Head but the Fashions, or to know any Fatigue but 〈◊〉 Idleness.
Does your Ladiship never go to the Play?
Often, Madam, but not to mind the Actors, for it is common to love Sights — My great Diversion is to turn my Eyes upon the Middle Gallery;—or when a Citizen crowds her self in among us, 'tis an unspeak∣able Pleasure to contemplate her Airs and her Dres—And they never escape me; for I am as apprehensive of such Creatures coming near me, as some People are when a Cat is in the Room—Huh! huh! But the Play is be∣gun, and, if you please, we'll leave the Discourse, and go to the Things.
We are glad of the Occasion.
For the Audience is much the more Entertaining Sight, and tho' they call the Stage the Image of the World, yet the Box and the Gallerys are certainly the truer Picture; For you may observe, in all Nations, the Mobb, when they pl••se, are uppermost so there.