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to; for that they must walk upwards of a mile to any house of entertainment, and that not very good neither. Adams, who liked his seat, his ale, his tobacco, and his company, persuaded Fanny to accept this kind proposal, in which solicitation he was seconded by Joseph. Nor was she very difficultly prevailed on; for she had slept little the last night, and not at all the preceding; so that love itself was scarce able to keep her eyes open any longer. The offer therefore being kindly accepted, the good woman produced every thing eatable in her house on the table, and the guests, being heartily invited, as heartily regaled themselves, especially parson Adams. As to the other two, they were examples of the truth of that physical observation, that love, like other sweet things, is no whetter of the stomach. Supper was no sooner ended, than Fanny, at her own request, retired, and the good woman bore her company. The man of the house, Adams, and Joseph, who would modestly have withdrawn, had not the gentleman insisted on the contrary, drew round the fire-side, where Adams (to use his own words) replenished his pipe, and the gentleman produced a bottle of excellent beer, being the best liquor in his house. The modest behaviour of Joseph, with the gracefulness of his person, the character which Adams gave of him, and the friendship he seemed to entertain for him, began to work on the gentleman's affections, and raised in him a curiosity to know the singularity which Adams had mentioned in his history. This curiosity Adams was no sooner informed of, than, with Joseph's consent, he agreed to gratify it; and accordingly related all he knew, with as much tenderness as was possible for the character of Lady Booby; and concluded with the long, faithful, and mutual passion between him and Fanny, not concealing the meanness of her birth and education. These latter circumstances entirely cured a jealousy, which had lately risen in the gentleman's mind, that Fanny was the daughter of some person of fashion, and that Joseph had run away with her, and Adams was concerned in the plot. He was now enamoured of his guests, drank their healths with great cheerfulness, and returned many thanks to Adams, who had spent much breath, for he was a circumstantial teller of a story.
Adams told him it was now in his power to return that favour; for his extraordinary goodness, as well as that fund of literature he was master of," which he did not expect to find under such a roof, had raised in him more curiosity than he had ever known. "Therefore,' said he, “if it be not too troublesome, Sir, your history if you please.
The gentleman answered, he could not refuse him what he had so much right to insist on; and after some of the common apologies, which are the usual preface to a story he thus began.
CHAPTER III. In which the gentleman relates the history of his life. Sir, I am descended of a good family, and was born a gentleman. My education was liberal, and at a public
* The Author hath by some been represented to have made a blunder here : for Adams had indeed shown some learning (say they), perhaps all the Author had; but the gentleman hath shown none, unless his approbation of Mr. Adams be such ; but surely it would be preposterous in him to call it so. I have, however, notwithstanding this criticism, which I am told came from the mouth of a great orator in a public coffee-house, left this blunder as it stood in the first edition. I will not have the vanity to apply to any thing in this work the observation which M. Dacier makes in her preface to her Aristophanes : Je tiens pour une maxime constante, school, in which I proceeded so far as to become master of the Latin, and to be tolerably versed in the Greek language. My father died when I was sixteen, and left me master of myself. He bequeathed me a moderate fortune, which he intended I should not receive till I attained the age of twenty-five: for he constantly asserted that was full early enough to give up any man entirely to the guidance of his own discretion. However, as this intention was so obscurely worded in his will that the lawyers advised me to contest the point with my trustees, I own I paid so little regard to the inclinations of my dead father, which were sufficiently certain to me, that I followed their advice, and soon succeeded, for the trustees did not contest the matter very obstinately on their side. Sir,' said Adams, 'may I crave the favour of your name?' The gentleman answered his name was Wilson, and then proceeded.
I staid a very little while at school after his death ; for, being a forward youth, I was extremely impatient to be in the world : for which I thought my parts, knowledge, and manhood, thoroughly qualified me. And to this early introduction into life, without a guide, I impute all my future misfortunes; for, besides the obvious mischiefs which attend this, there is one which hath not been so generally observed : the first impression which mankind receives of you will be very difficult to eradicate. How unhappy, therefore, must it be to fix your character in life, before you can possibly know its value, or weigh the consequences of those actions which are to establish your future reputation ?
A little under seventeen I left my school, and went to qu'une beauté mediocre plait plus generalement qu'une beauté sans defaut. Mr. Congreve hath made such another blunder in his Love for Love, where Tattle tells Miss Prue, 'She should admire him as much for the 'beauty he commends in her, as if he himself was possessed of it.'
London, with no more than six pounds in my pocket: a great sum, as I then conceived; and which I was afterwards surprised to find so soon consumed.
The character I was ambitious of attaining was that of a fine gentleman ; the first requisites to which, I apprehended, were to be supplied by a tailor, a perriwig-maker, and some few more tradesmen, who deal in furnishing out the human body. Notwithstanding the lowness of my purse I found credit with them more easily than I expected, and was soon equipped to my wish. This I own then agreeably surprised me; but I have since learned, that it is a maxim among many tradesmen at the polite end of the town to deal as largely as they can, reckon as high as they can, and arrest as soon as they can.
The next qualifications, namely, dancing, fencing, riding the great horse, and music, came into my head: but, as they required expense and time, I comforted myself, with regard to dancing, that I had learned a little in my youth, and could walk a minuet genteelly enough; as to fencing, I thought my good-humour would preserve me from the danger of a quarrel; as to the horse, I hoped it would not be thought of; and for music, I imagined I could easily acquire the reputation of it; for I had heard some of my school-fellows pretend to knowledge in operas, without being able to sing or play on the fiddle.
Knowledge of the town seemed another ingredient; this I thought I should arrive at by frequenting public places. Accordingly I paid constant attendance to them all; by which means I was soon master of the fashionable phrases, learned to cry up the fashionable diversions, and knew the names and faces of the most fashionable men and women.
Nothing now seemed to remain but an intrigue, which I was resolved to have immediately; I mean the repu
Nothinle men and the name
tation of it; and indeed, I was so successful, that in a very short time I had half a dozen with the finest women in the town.
At these words Adams fetched a deep groan, and then, blessing himself, cried out, Good Lord! what wicked times these are!'
Not so wicked as you imagine, continued the gentleman; for I assure you, they were all Vestal virgins for any thing which I knew to the contrary. The reputation of intriguing with them was all I sought, and was what I arrived at: and perhaps I only flattered myself even in that; for very probably the persons to whom I showed their billets knew as well as I that they were counterfeits, and that I had written them to myself.
Write letters to yourself!' said Adams, staring. O Sir, answered the gentleman, it is the very error of the times. Half our modern plays have one of these characters in them. It is incredible the pains I have taken, and the absurd methods I employed, to traduce the character of women of distinction. When another had spoken in raptures of any one, I have answered, “D—n
her, she! We shall have her at H- d's very soon.' When he hath replied, He thought her virtuous. I have answered, “Ay, thou wilt always think a woman virtuous, till she is in the streets; but you and I, Jack or Tom (turning to another in company), know better.' At which I have drawn a paper out of my pocket, perhaps a tailor's bill, and kissed it, crying at the same time,By Gad I was once fond of her.'
"Proceed, if you please, but do not swear any more, said Adams.
Sir, said the gentleman, I ask your pardon. Well, Sir, in this course of life I continued full three years.• What course of life?' answered Adams; "I do not
remember you have mentioned any. Your remark is