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Mrs. Western's maid claimed great superiority over Mrs. Honour on several accounts. First, her birth was higher; for her great grandmother by the mother's side was a cousin, not far removed, to an Irish peer. Secondly, her wages were greater. And lastly, she had been at London, and had of consequence seen more of the world. She had always behaved, therefore, to Mrs. Honour with that reserve, and had always exacted of her those marks of distinction, which every order of females preserves and requires in conversation with those of an inferior order. Now as Honour did not at all times agree with this doctrine, but would frequently break in upon the respect which the other demanded, Mrs. Western's maid was not at all pleased with her company; indeed, she earnestly longed to return home to the house of her mistress, where she domineered at will over all the other servants. She had been greatly, therefore, disappointed in the morning, when Mrs. Western had changed her mind on the very point of departure; and had been in what is vulgarly called a glouting humour ever S111Ce. In this humour, which was none of the sweetest, she came into the room where Honour was debating with herself in the manner we have above related. Honour no sooner saw her, than she addressed her in the following obliging phrase: ‘Soh, madam, I * find we are to have the pleasure of your company “longer, which I was afraid the quarrel between my * master and your lady would have robbed us of.” — ‘ I don’t know, madan,’ answered the other, ‘what you mean by we and us. I assure you I “do not look on any of the servants in this house ‘to be proper company for me. I am company, I ‘hope, for their betters every day in the week. I “do not speak on your account, Mrs. Honour; for “you are a civilised young woman; and when you * have seen a little more of the world, I should WOL. VI. 2 B
* not be ashamed to walk with you in St. James's * Park.”—“Hoity toity' cries Honour; ‘madam * is in her airs, I protest. Mrs. Honour, forsooth ! ‘sure, madam, you might call me by my sirname; * for though my lady calls me Honour, I have a sir* name as well as other folks. Ashamed to walk ‘with me, quothal marry, as good as yourself, I * hope.’ — ‘Since you make such a return to my * civility,” said the other, ‘ I must acquaint you, * Mrs. Honour, that you are not so good as me. In “ the country, indeed, one is obliged to take up with ‘ all kind of trumpery; but in town I visit none but ‘the women of women of quality. Indeed, Mrs. * Honour, there is some difference, I hope, between “ you and me.”—“I hope so too,” answered Honour: “ there is some difference in our ages, and—I think * in our persons.” Upon speaking which last words, she strutted by Mrs. Western's maid with the most provoking air of contempt; turning up her nose, tossing her head, and violently brushing the hoop of her competitor with her own. The other lady put on one of her most malicious sneers, and said, * Creature | you are below my anger; and it is be* neath me to give ill words to such an audacious ‘ saucy trollop; but, hussy, I must tell you, your ‘breeding shows the meanness of your birth as well “ as of your education; and both very properly qua‘lify you to be the mean serving woman of a coun‘ try girl.’—‘Don’t abuse my lady, cries Honour: * I won't take that of you ; she's as much better than ‘ yours as she is younger, and ten thousand times ‘ more handsomer.’ - Here ill luck, or rather good luck, sent Mrs. Western to see her maid in tears, which began to flow plentifully at her approach; and of which being asked the reason by her mistress, she presently acquainted her that her tears were occasioned by the rude treatment of that creature there—meaning Honour. * Aud, madam,' continued slic, “I could ‘ have despised all she said to me; but she hath had “ the audacity to affront your ladyship, and to call “you ugly—Yes, madam, she called you ugly old ‘ cat, to my face. I could not bear to hear your “ladyship called ugly.”—“Why do you repeat her “impudence so often ?” said Mrs. Western. And then turning to Mrs. Honour, she asked her “How ‘ she had the assurance to mention her name with ‘ disrespect?”—“Disrespect, madam ' answered Homour; ‘I never mentioned your name at all: I said “somebody was not as handsome as my mistress, ‘ and to be sure you know that as well as I.’— ‘Hussy, replied the lady, ‘I will make such a saucy ‘trollop as yourself know that I am not a proper ‘subject of your discourse. And if my brother doth ‘ not discharge you this moment, I will never sleep ‘ in his house again. I will find him out, and have “you discharged this moment.’ — ‘Discharged 1’ cries Honour; ‘ and suppose I am : there are more “ places in the world than one. Thank heaven, ‘good servants need not want places; and if you ‘turn away all who do not think you handsome, ‘ you will want servants very soon; let me tell you * that.” Mrs. Western spoke, or rather thundered, in answer; but as she was hardly articulate, we cannot be very certain of the identical words; we shall therefore omit inserting a speech which at best would not greatly redound to her honour. She then departed in search of her brother, with a countenance so full of rage, that she resembled one of the furies rather than a human creature. The two chambermaids being again left alone, be, gan a second bout at altercation, which soon produced a combat of a more active kind. In this the victory belonged to the lady of inferior rank, but not without some loss of blood, of hair, and of lawn and muslin.
The twise demeanour of Mr. Western in the character of a magistrate. A hint to justices of peace, concerning the necessary qualifications of a clerk ; with ertraordinary instances of paternal madness and filial affection.
LOGICANS sometimes prove too much by an argument, and politicians often overreach themselves in a scheme. Thus had it like to have happened to Mrs. Honour, who, instead of recovering the rest of her clothes, had like to have stopped even those she had on her back from escaping; for the squire no sooner heard of her having abused his sister, than he swore twenty oaths he would send her to Bridewell. Mrs. Western was a very good-natured woman, and ordinarily of a forgiving temper. She had lately remitted the trespass of a stage-coachman, who had overturned her postchaise into a ditch; nay, she had even broken the law, in refusing to prosecute a highwayman who had robbed her, not only of a sum of money, but of her ear-rings; at the same time d—ning her, and saying, “Such handsome b–s as “you don't want jewels to set them off, and be “d-ned to you.’ But now, so uncertain are our tempers, and so much do we at different times differ from ourselves, she would hear of no mitigation; nor could all the affected penitence of Honour, nor all the entreaties of Sophia for her own servant, prevail with her to desist from earnestly desiring her brother to execute justiceship (for it was indeed a syllable more than justice) on the wench. But luckily the clerk had a qualification, which no clerk to a justice of peace ought ever to be without, namely, some understanding in the law of this realm. He therefore whispered in the ear of the Justice, that he would exceed his authority by committing the girl to Bridewell, as there had been no attempt to break the peace ; “for I am afraid, sir,’ says he, “ you cannot legally commit any one to * Bridewell only for ill-breeding.’ In matters of high importance, particularly in cases relating to the game, the justice was not always attentive to these admonitions of his clerk ; for, indeed, in executing the laws under that head, many justiccs of peace suppose they have a large discretionary power, by virtue of which, under the notion of searching for and taking away engines for the destruction of the game, they often commit trespasses, and sometimes felony, at their pleasure. But this offence was not of quite so high a nature, nor so dangerous to the society. Here, therefore, the justice behaved with some attention to the advice of his clerk; for, in fact, he had already had two informations exhibited against him in the king'sbench, and had no curiosity to try a third. The squire, therefore, putting on a most wise and significant countenance, after a preface of several hums and hahs, told his sister, that, upon more mature deliberation, he was of opinion, that “as there “ was no breaking up of the peace, such as the ‘law,’ says he, ‘ calls breaking open a door, or * breaking a hedge, or breaking a head, or any such ‘sort of breaking; the matter did not amount to a “felonious kind of a thing, nor trespasses, nor da‘mages, and, therefore, there was no punishment in * the law for it.’ Mrs. Western said, “she knew the law much bet“ter; that she had known servants very severely pu‘nished for affronting their masters;' and then named a certain justice of the peace in London, * who,' she said, ‘would commit a servant to Bride‘well at any time when a master or mistress de“sired it.” “Like enough, cries the squire; “it may be so “in London; but the law is different in the country.'