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of your absence will be the greatest anguish which can be felt by, Madam, “...ovec toute le respecte in the world, “Your most obedient, most absolute devoté, “BELLARMINE.” As soon as Leonora perceived such hopes
of Bellarmine's recovery, and that the gos
sip Fame had, according to custom, so enlarged his danger, she presently abandoned all further thoughts of Horatio, and was soon reconciled to her aunt, who received her again into favour, with a more christian forgiveness than we generally meet with. Indeed, it is possible she might be a little alarmed at the hints which her niece had given her concerning the presents. She might apprehend such rumours, should they get abroad, might injure a reputation, which, by frequenting church twice a day, and reserving the utmost rigour and strictness in her countenance and behaviour for many years, she had established. Leonora's passion returned now for Bellarmine with greater force, after its small relaxation, than ever. She proposed to her aunt, to make him a visit in his confinement, which the old lady, with great and commendable prudence, advised her to decline: “For,’ says she, “should any accident intervene to prevent your intended match, too forward a behaviour with this lover may injure you in the eyes of others. Every woman till she is married, ought to consider of and provide against, the possibility of the affair's breaking off.” Leonora said, “she should be indifferent to whatever might happen in such a case; for she had now so absolutely placed her affections on this dear man,” (so she called him,) ‘ that, if it was her misfortune to lose him, she should for ever abandon all thoughts of mankind.” She therefore resolved to visit him, notwithstanding all the prudent advice of her aunt to the contrary, and that very afternoon executed her resolution. The lady was proceeding in her story, when the coach drove into the inn where the company were to dine, solely to the dissatisfaction of Mr. Adams, whose ears were the most hungry part about him; he being, as the reader may perhaps guess, of an insatiable curiosity, and heartily desirous of hearing the end of this amour, though he professed he could scarce wish success to a lady of so inconstant a disposition.
custom, made directly to the kitchen, where he found Joseph sitting by the fire, and the hostess anointing his leg; for the horse which Mr. Adams had borrowed of his clerk, had so violent a propensity to kneeling, that one would have thought it had been his trade, as well as his master's: nor would he always give any notice of such his intention; he was often found on his knees, when the rider least expected it. This foible, however, was of no great inconvenience to the parson, who was accustomed to it; and, as his legs almost touched the ground when he bestrode the beast, had but a little way to fall, and threw himself forward on such occasions with so much dexterity, that he never received any mischief; the horse and he frequently rolling many paces distance, and afterwards both getting up, and meeting as good friends as ever. Poor Joseph, who had not been used to such kind of cattle, though an excellent horseman, did not so happily disengage himself; but falling with his leg under the beast, received a violent contusion, to which the good woman was, as we have said, applying a warm hand, with some camphorated spirits, just at the time when the parson entered the kitchen. He had scarce expressed his concern for Joseph's misfortune, before the host likewise entered. He was by no means of Mr. Tow-wouse's gentle disposition; and was, indeed, perfect master of his house, and every thing in it, but his guests. This surly fellow, who always proportioned his respect to the appearance of a traveller, from “God bless your honour,” down to plain ‘Coming presently, observing his wife on her knees to a footman, cried out, without considering his circumstances, ‘What a pox is the woman about? why don't you mind the company in the coach Go and ask them what they will have for dinner?”—“My dear,’ says she, “you know they can have nothing but what is at the fire, which will be ready presently; and really the poor young man's leg is very much bruised.’ At which words she fell to chasing more violently than before: the bell then happening to ring, he damn'd his wife, and bid her go in to the company, and not stand rubbing there all day; for he did not believe the young fellow's leg was so bad as he pretended; and if it was, within twenty miles he would find a surgeon to cut it off. Upon these words, Adams fetching two strides across the room, and snapping his fingers over his head, muttered aloud, He would excommunicate such a wretch for a farthing; for he believed the devil had more humanity. These words occasioned a dialogue between Adams and the host, in which there were two or three sharp replies, till Joseph bade the latter know how ":behave himself to his betters. At which the host, §o. ed Adams,) scornully repeating the word betters, flew into a rage, and telling Joseph, he was as able to walk out of his house, as he had been to walk into it, offered to lay violent hands on him: which perceiving, Adams dealt him so sound a compliment over his face with his fist, that the blood immediately gushed out of his nose in a stream. The host being unwilling to be outdone in courtesy, especially by a person of Adams's figure, returned the favour with so much gratitude, that the parson's nostrils began to look a little redder than usual. Upon which he again assailed his antagonist, and with another stroke laid him sprawling on the floor. The hostess, who was a better wife than so surly a husband deserved, seeing her husband all bloody and stretched along, hastened presently to his assistance, or rather to revenge §e blow, which, to all appearance, was the last he would ever receive; when, lo! a pan full of hog's blood, which unluckily stood on the dresser, presented itself first to her hands. She seized it in her fury, and, without any reflection, discharged it into the parson's face; and with so good an aim, that much the greater |." first saluted his countenance, and trick
ed thence in so large a current down to his'
beard, and all over his garments, that a more horrible spectacle was hardly to be seen, or even imagined. All which was rceived by Mrs. Slipslop, who entered the itchen at that instant. This good gentlewoman, not being of a temper so extremely cool and patient, as perhaps was required to ask many questions on this occasion, flew with great impetuosity at the hostess's cap, which, together with some of her hair, she so from her head in a moment, giving ter, at the same time, several hearty cuffs in the face; which, by frequent practice on the inferior servants, she had learned an excellent knack of delivering with a good grace. . Poor Joseph could hardly rise from his chair; the parson was employed in wiping the blood from his eyes, which had entirely blinded him; and the landlord was but just beginning to stir; whilst Mrs. Slipslop, holding down the landlady's face with her left hand, made so dexterous a use of her right, that the poor woman began to roar, in a key which alarmed all the company in the inn. There happened to be in the inn, at this time, besides the ladies who arrived in the stage-coach, the two gentlemen who were present at Mr. Tow-wouse's, when Joseph was detained for his horse's meat, and whom we have before mentioned to have stopped at the alehouse with Adams. There was likewise a gentleman just returned from his travels to Italy; all whom the horrid outcry
of murder presently brought into the kitchen, where the several combatants were found in the postures already described. It was now no difficulty to put an end to the fray, the conquerors being satisfied with the vengeance they had taken, and the conquered having no appetite to renew the fight. The principal figure, and which engaged the eyes of all, was Adams, who was all over covered with blood, which the whole company concluded to be his own; and consequently imagined him no longer for this world. But the host, who had now recovered from his blow, and was risen from the ground, soon delivered them from this apprehension, by damning his wife for wasting the hog's puddings, and telling her, all would have been very well, if she had not intermeddled, like a b–as she was; adding, he was very glad the gentlewoman had paid her, though not half what she deserved. The poor woman had indeed fared much the worst; having, besides the unmerciful cuffs received, lost a §.".; hair, which Mrs. Slipslop in triumph in her left hand. The traveller, addressing himself to Mrs. Graveairs, desired her not to be frightened; for here had been only a little boxing, which he said to their disgracia the English were accustomata to : adding, it must be, however, a sight somewhat strange to him, who was just come from Italy; the Italians not being addicted to the cuffardo, but bastonza, says he. He then went up to Adams, and telling him he looked like the Ghost ol Othello, bid him not shake his gory locks at him, for he could not say he o Adams very innocently answered, ‘Sir, I am far from accusing you.’ He then returned to the lady and cried, ‘I find the bloody gentleman is uno insipido del nullo senso. Dammata dime, if I have seen such a spectaculo in my way from Viterbo.’ One of the gentlemen having learned from the host the occasion of this bustle; and being assured by him, that Adams had struck the first blow, whispered in his ear, ‘He’d warrant he would recover.”—“Recover! master,’ said the host, smiling; ‘yes, yes, I am not afraid of dying with a blow or two neither; I am not such a chicken as that.”—“Pugh!" said the gentleman, ‘I mean you will recover damages in that action, which, undoubtedly, you intend to bring, as soon as a writ can be returned from London; for you look like a man of too much spirit and courage to suffer any one to beat you without bringing your action against him: he must be a scandalous sellow indeed, who would put up with a drubbing whilst the law is open to revenge it; besides, he hath drawn blood from you, and spoiled your coat; and the jury will give damages for that too. An excellent new coat, upon my word; and now not worth al . I don't care,” continued he, “to intermeddle in these cases; but you have a right to my evidence; and if I am sworn I must speak the truth. I saw you sprawling on the floor, and the blood gushing from your nostrils. You may take your own opinion; but was I in your circumstances, every drop of my blood should convey an ounce of gold into my pocket: remember I don't advise you to go to law; but if your jury were christians, they must give swingeing damages. That's all.’— Master, cried the host, o his head, ‘I have no stomach to law, I thank you. I have seen enough of that in the parish, where two of my neighbours have been at law about a house, till they have both lawed themselves into a jail.” At which word he turned about, and began to inquire again after his hogs' puddings; nor would it probably have been a sufficient excuse for his wife, that she spilt them in his defence, had not some awe of the company, especially of the Italian traveller, who was a person of great dignity, withheld his Whilst one of the above-mentioned gentlemen was employed, as we have seen him, on the behalf of the landlord, the other was no less hearty on the side of Mr. Adams, whom he advised to bring his action immediately. He said, the assault of the wife was in law the assault of the husband, for they were but one person; and he was liable to pay damages, which he said must be considerable, where so bloody a disposition appeared. Adams answered, if it was true that they were but one person, he had assaulted the wife; for he was sorry to own he had struck the husband the first blow. ‘I am sorry you own it too, cries the gentleman: ‘for it could not possibly appear to the court; for here was no evidence present, but the lame man in the chair, whom I suppose to be your friend; and would consequently say nothing but what made for you.”—“How, sir,’ says Adams, “do you take me for a villain, who would prosecute revenge in cold blood, and use unjustifiable means to obtain it? If you knew me, and my order, I should think you affronted both.’ At the word order, the gentleman stared, (for he was too bloody to be of any modern order of knights;) and turninghastily about, said, “Every man knew his own business.” Matters being now composed, the company retired to their several apartments; the twogentlemen congratulating each other on the success of their good offices, in procuring a perfect reconciliation between the contending parties; and the traveller went to his repast, crying, “As the Italian poet says, "Je voi very well, que tuta e pace, So send up dinner, good Boniface.'
The coachman began now to grow importunate with his passengers, whose entrance into the coach was retarded by Miss Graveairsinsisting, against theremonstrance of all the rest, that she would not admit a footman into the coach; for poor, Joseph was too lame to mount a horse. A young lady, who was, as it seems, an earl's granddaughter, begged it, with almost tears in her eyes. Mr. Adams prayed, and Mrs. Slipslop scolded; but all to no purpose. She said, “She would not demean herself to ride with a footman: that there were wagons on the road: that if the master of the coach desired it, she would pay for two places; but would suffer no such fellow to come in.”—“Madam,” says Slipslop, “I am sure no one can refuse another coming into a stage-coach.”—“I don’t know, am,” says the lady: “I am not much used to sta coaches; I seldom travel in them.”—“That may be, madam, replied Slipslop; ‘very ; people do; and some people's betters, or aught I know.” Miss Graveairs said, “Some folks might sometimes give their tongues a liberty, to some people that were their betters, which did not become them; for her part, she was not used to converse with servants.' Slipslop returned, “Some ople kept no servants to converse with ; or her part, she thanked Heaven she lived in a family where there were a great many; and had more under her own command, than any paltry little gentlewoman in the kingdom.” Miss Graveairs cried, “She believed her mistress would not encourage such sauciness to her betters.”—“My betters,’ says Slipslop, ‘who is my betters, pray?'— I am your betters,' answered Miss Graveairs, ‘and I'll acquaint your mistress.” —At which Mrs. Slipslop laughed aloud, and told her, “Her lady was one of the great gentry; and such little paltry gentlewomen, as some folks, who travelled in stage-coaches, would not easily come ather, This smart dialogue between some people and some folks, was going on at the coach door, when a solemn person riding into the inn, and seeing Miss Graveairs, immediately accosted her with ‘Dear child, how do you do?” She presently answered, ‘O' papa, I am glad you have overtaken me.”—“So am I,’ answered he “for one of our coaches is just at hand: and there being room for you in it, you shall go no farther in the stage, unless you desire it.'-‘How can you imagine I should desire it?” says she; so bidding Slipslop ride with her fellow, if she pleased, she took her father by the hand, who was just alighted, and walked with him into a room. Adams instantly asked the coachman, in a whisper, “If he knew who the gentleman was o' The coachman answered, “He was now a gentleman, and kept his horse and man; buttimes are altered, master,’ said he; “I remember when he was no better born than myself.’—‘Ay! ay!' says Adams. “My father drove the squire's coach, answered he, “when that very man rode postillion; but he is now his steward; and a reat gentleman.’, Adams then snapped his #. and cried, “He thought she was some such trollop.” Adams made haste to acquaint Mrs. Slipslop with this so news, as he imagined it; but it found a reception different from what he expected. The prudent gentlewoman, who despised the anger of Miss Graveairs, whilst she conceived her the daughter of a gentleman of small fortune; now she heard her alliance with the upper servants of a great family in her neighbourhood, began to fear her interest with the mistress. She wished she had not carried the dispute so far, and began to think of
endeavouring to reconcile herself to the |. lady before she left the inn; when, uckily, the scene at London, which the
reader can scarce have forgotten, presented itself to her mind; and comforted her with such assurance, that she no longer apprehended any enemy with her mistress. Every thing being now adjusted, the company entered the coach ; which was just on its departure, when one lady recolected she had left her fan, a second her gloves, a third a snuff-box, and a fourth a smelling-bottle behind her; to find all which occasioned some delay, and much swearing to the coaghman. As soon as the coach had left the inn, the women, all together, sell to the character of Miss Graveairs; whom one of them declared she had suspected to be some low creature, from the beginning of their journey; and another affirmed, had not even the looks of a gentlewoman: a third warranted she was no better than she should be ; and turning to the lady who had related the story in the coach, said, ‘Did you ever hear, madam, any thing so prudish as her remarks? Well, deliver me from the censoriousness of such a prude.” The fourth added, “O madam' all these creatures are censorious; but for my part, I wonder where the wretch was bred ; indeed, I must own I have seldom conversed with these mean kind of people; so that it may appear stranger to me; but to refuse the general desire of a whole company had something in it so astonishing, that, for my part, own I should hardly believe it, if my own ears had not been witness to it.”—“Yes, and so handsome a young fellow, cries Slipslop; ‘the woman must have no compulsion in her: I believe she is more of a Turk than a Christian; I am certain if she had any christian women's blood in her veins, the sight of such a young fellow must
have warmed it. Indeed, there are some wretched, miserable old objects, that turn one's stomach; I should not wonder if she had refused such a one ; I am as nice as herself; and should have cared no more than herself for the company of stinking old fellows; but, hold up thy head, Joseph, thou art none of those ; o she who hath not compulsion for thee, is a Myhummetman, and I will maintain it.’ This conversation made Joseph uneasy, as well as the ladies; who, perceiving the spirits which Mrs. Slipslop was in, (for indeed she was not a cup too low,) began to fear the consequence; one of them therefore desired the lady to conclude the story. ‘Ay, madam,' said Slipslop, “I beg your ladyship to give us that story you commensated in the morning;' which request that well-bred woman immediately complied with.
Conclusion of the unfortunate jilt. Leonor A having once broke through the bounds which custom and modesty impose on her sex, soon gave an unbridled indulgence to her passion. Her visits to Bellarmine were more constant, as well as longer, than his surgeon's : in a word, she became absolutely his nurse; made his water-gruel, administered him his medicines, and, notwithstanding the prudent advice of her aunt to the contrary, almost entirely resided in her wounded lover's apartment. The ladies of the town began to take her conduct under consideration: it was the chief topic of discourse at their tea-tables, and was very severely censured by the most part; especially by Lindamira, a lady whose discreet and starch carriage, ther with a constant attendance at church three times a-day, had utterly defeated many malicious attacks on her own reputation; for such was the envy that Lindamira's virtue had attracted, that, notwithstanding her own strict behaviour and strict inquiry into the lives of others, she had not been able to escape being the mark of some arrows herself, which, however, did her no injury; a blessing, perhaps, owed by her to the clergy, who were her chief male companions, and with two or three of whom she had been barbarously and unjustly calumniated. “Not so unjustly neither, perhaps,’ says Slipslop; for the clergy are men, as well as other fölks.’ The extreme delicacy of Lindamira's virtue was cruelly hurt by those freedoms which Leonora allowed herself: she said, “It was art affront to her sex; that she did not imagine it consistent with any woman's honour to speak to the creature, or to be seen in her company; and that, for her part, she should always refuse to dance at an assembly with her, for fear of contamination by taking her by the hand.”
But to return to my story: as soon as Bellarmine was recovered, which was somewhat within a month from his receiving the wound, he set out, according to agreement, for Leonora's father's, in order to propose the match, and settle all matters with him touching settlements, and the like.
A little before his arrival, the old gentleman had received an intimation of the aflair by the following letter, which I can repeat verbatim, and which, they say, was written neither by Leonora nor her aunt, though it was in a woman's hand. The letter was in these words:
“I AM sorry to acquaint you, that your daughter Leonora hath acted one of the basest, as well as most simple parts, with a oung gentleman to whom she had engaged herself, and whom she hath, (pardon the word,) jilted for another of inferior fortune, notwithstanding his superior figure. You may take what measures you please on this occasion: I have performed what I thought my duty; as I have, though unknown to you, a very great respect for your family.”
The old gentleman did not give himself the trouble to answer this kind epistle; nor did he take any notice of it, after he had read it, till he saw Bellarmine. He was, to say the truth, one of those fathers who look on children as an unhappy consequence of their youthful pleasures; which, as he would have been delighted not to have had attended them, so was he no less pleased with an opportunity to rid himself of the incumbrance. e passed, in the world's language, as an exceeding good father; being not only so rapacious as to rob and plunder all mankind to the utmost of his power, but even to deny himself the conveniences, and almost necessaries, of life; which his neighbours attributed to a desire of raising immense fortunes for his children: but in fact it was not so : he heaped up money for its own sake only, and looked on his children as his rivals, who were to enjoy his beloved mistress when he was incapable of possessing her, and which he would have been much more charmed with the power of carrying along with him: nor had his children any other security of being his heirs, than that the law would constitute them such without a will, and that he had not aslection enough for any one living, to take the trouble of writing one.
To this gentleman came Bellarmine, on the errand I have mentioned. His person, his equipage, his family, and his estate, seemed to the father to make him an advanta
geous match for his daughter: he therefore very readily accepted his proposals: but when Bellarmine imagined the principal af. fair concluded, and began to open the incidental matters of fortune, the old gentleman presently changed his countenance, saying, “He resolved never to marry his daughter on a Smithfield match; that whoever had love for her to take her, would, when he died, find her share of his fortune in his coffers; but he had seen such examples of undutifulness happen from the too early generosity of parents, that he had made a vow never to part with a shilling whilst he lived.” He commended the saying of Solomon, “He that spareth the rod, spoileth the child;” but added, “He might have likewise asserted, That he that spareth the purse, saveth the child.” He then ran into a discourse on the extravagance of the youth of the age; whence he launched into a dissertation on horses; and came at length to commend those Bellarmine drove. That fine gentleman, who at another season would have been well enough pleased to dwell a little on that subject, was now very eager to resume the circumstance of fortune. He said, “He had a very high value for the young lady, and would receive her with less than he would any other whatever; but that even his love to her made some regard to worldly matters necessary; for it would be a most distracting sight for him to see her, when he had the honour to be her husband, in less than a coach and six.’ The old arentleman answered, ‘Four will do; four wisdo ;’ and then took a turn from horses to extravagance, and from extravagance to horses, till he came round to the equipage again; whither he was no sooner arrived, than Bellarmine brought him back to the point; but all to no purpose; he made his escape from that subject in a minute; till at last the lover declared, “That, in the present situation of his affairs, it was impossible for him, though he loved Leonora more than tout le monde, to marry her without any fortune.' To which the father answered, “He was sorry then his daughter must lose so valuable a match : that if he had an inclination, at present it was not in his power to advance a shilling: that he had had great losses, and been at great expenses on projects; which, though he had great expectation from them, had yet produced him nothing: that he did not know what might happen hereafter, as on the birth of a son, or such accident; but he would make no promise, nor enter into any article, for he would not break his vow for all the daughters in the world.’ • * In short, ladies, to keep you no longer in suspense, Bellarmine having tried every argument and persuasion which he could invent, and finding them all ineffectual, at length took his leave, but not in order to re