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Not for a kingdom (fluttering my fan)-I knew not what I did.—But I could have killed him.
We are so much observed—Else on my knees, my dear Miss Howe, would I beg your interest with your charming friend.
My mediation, vilest of men !—My mediation !-I abhor you !—From my soul, I abhor you, vilest of men !—Three or four times I repeated these words, stammering too.—I was excessively fluttered.
You can call me nothing, madam, so bad as I will call myself. I have been, indeed, the vilest of men : but now I am not so.—Permit me—everybody's eyes are upon us ! —but one moment's audience—to exchange but ten words with you, dearest Miss Howe-in whose presence you please—for your dear friend's sake—but ten words with you in the next apartment.
It is an insult upon me, to presume, that I would exchange one with you, if I could help it Out of my way! -out of my sight-fellow !
And away I would have flung: but he took my hand. I was excessively disordered.—Everybody's eyes more and more intent upon us.
Mr. Hickman, whom my mother had drawn on one side, to enjoin him a patience, which perhaps needed not to have been enforced, came' up just then, with my mother, who had him by his leading-strings—by his sleeve I should say.
Mr. Hickman, said the bold wretch, be my advocate but for ten words in the next apartment with Miss Howe, in your presence; and in yours, madam, (to my mother).
Hear, Nancy, what he has to say to you. To get rid of him, hear his ten words.
Excuse me, madam, his very breath—unhand me, sir !
He sighed and looked—0 how the practised villain sighed and looked! He then let go my hand, with such a reverence in his manner, as brought blame upon me
from some, that I would not hear him. —And this incensed me the more. O my dear, this man is a devil! This man is indeed a devil !-So much patience, when he pleases ! So much gentleness —Yet so l'esolute, so persisting, so audacious !
I was going out of the assembly in great disorder. He was at the door as soon as I.
How kind this is ! said the wretch ; and, ready to follow me, opened the door for me.
I turned back, upon this; and, not knowing what I did, snapped my fan just in his face, as he turned short upon me; and the powder flew from his wig.
Everybody seemed as much pleased, as I was vexed.
He turned to Mr. Hickman, nettled at the powder flying, and at the smiles of the company upon him ; Mr. Hickman, you will be one of the happiest men in the world, because you are a good man, and will do nothing to provoke this passionate lady; and because she has too much good sense to be provoked without reason : but else, the Lord have mercy upon you !
This man, this Mr. Hickman, my dear, is too meek for a man. Indeed he is.—But patient mother twits me, that her passionate daughter ought to like him the better for that. But meek men abroad are not always meek men at home. I have observed that in more instances than one : and if they were, I should not, I verily think, like them the better for being so.
He then turned to my mother, resolved to be even with her too: where, good madam, could miss get all this spirit ?
The company round smiled ; for I need not tell you, that my mother's high-spiritedness is pretty well known ; and she, sadly vexed, said, sir, you treat me, as you do the rest of the world-but
I beg pardon, madam, interrupted he: I might have spared my question—and instantly (I retiring to the other end of the hall) he turned to Miss Playford : what would I give, miss, to hear you sing that song you obliged us with at Lord M.'s ?
He then, as if nothing had happened, fell into a conversation with her, and Miss D'Ollyffe, upon music; and whisperingly sung to Miss Playford, holding her two hands, with such airs of genteel unconcern, that it vexed me not a little, to look round, and see how pleased half the giddy fools of our sex were with him notwithstanding his notorious wicked character. To this it is, that such vile fellows owe much of their vileness ; whereas, if they found themselves shunned, and despised, and treated as beasts of prey, as they are, they would run to their caverns; there howl by themselves; and none but such as sad accident, or unpitiable presumption, threw in their way, would suffer by them.
He afterwards talked very seriously, at times, to Mr. Hickman : at times, I say; for it was with such breaks and starts of gaiety, turning to this lady, and to that, and then to Mr. Hickman again, resuming a serious or a gay air at pleasure, that he took everybody's eye, the women's especially; who were full of their whispering admirations of him, qualified with if's, and but's, and what pity's, and such sort of stuff, that showed in their very dispraises too much liking
His discourse to Mr. Hickman turned upon you, and his acknowledged injuries of you ; though he could so lightly start from the subject, and return to it.
I have no patience with such a devil—man he cannot be called. To be sure he would behave in the same manner anywhere, or in any presence, even at the altar itself, if a woman were with him there.
It shall ever be a rule with me, that he who does not regard a woman with some degree of reverence, will look upon her and occasionally treat her with contempt.
He had the confidence to offer to take me out; but I absolutely refused him, and shunned him all I could, putting on the most contemptuous airs : but nothing could mortify him.
I wished twenty times I had not been there.
The gentlemen were as ready as I to wish he had broken his neck, rather than been present, I believe : for nobody was regarded but he. So little of the fop; yet so elegant and rich in his dress : his person so specious : his air so intrepid : so inuch meaning and penetration in his face : so much gaiety, yet so little of the monkey : though a travelled gentleman, yet no affectation ; no mere toupetman; but all manly ; and his courage and wit, the one so known, the other so dreaded, you must think the petitsmaîtres (of which there were four or five present) were most deplorably off in his company: and one grave gentleman observed to me (pleased to see me shun him as I did) that the poet's observation was too true, that the generality of ladies were rakes in their hearts, or they could not be so much taken with a man who had so notorious a character.
I told him, the reflection both of the poet and applier was much too general, and made with more ill-nature than good manners.
When the wretch saw how industriously I avoided him (shifting from one part of the hall to another) he at last boldly stepped up to me, as my mother and Mr. Hickman were talking to me; and thus before them accosted me:
I beg your pardon, madam ; but, by your mother's leave, I must have a few moments' conversation with you, either here, or at your own house; and I beg you will give me the opportunity
Nancy, said my mother, hear what he has to say to you. In my presence you may : and better in the adjoining apartment, if it must be, than to come to you at our own house.
I retired to one corner of the hall, my mother following me, and he, taking Mr. Hickman under the arm, following her-well, sir, said I, what have you to say ?—tell me here.
I have been telling Mr. Hickman, said he, how much I am concerned for the injuries I have done to the most excellent woman in the world : and yet, that she obtained such a glorious triumph over me the last time I had the honour to see her, as, with my penitence, ought to have abated her former resentments : but that I will, with all my soul, enter into any measures to obtain her forgiveness of me. My cousins Montague have told you this. Lady Betty, and Lady Sarah, and my Lord M. are engaged for my honour. I know your power with the dear creature. My cousins told me, you gave them hopes you would use it in my behalf. My Lord M. and his two sisters are impatiently expecting the fruits of it. You must have heard from her before now : I hope you have. And will you be so good, as to tell me, if I may have any hopes ?
If I must speak on this subject, let me tell you, that you have broken her heart. You know not the value of the lady you have injured. You deserve her not. And she despises you, as she ought.
Dear Miss Howe, mingle not passion with denunciations so severe. I must know my fate. I will go abroad once more, if I find her absolutely irreconcileable. But I hope she will give me leave to attend upon her, to know my doom from her own mouth.
It would be death immediate for her to see you. And what must you be, to be able to look her in the face ?
I then reproached him (with vehemence enough you may believe) on his baseness, and the evils he had made you suffer : the distress he had reduced you to: all your friends made your enemies : the vile house he had carried you to: hinted at his villanous arts ; the dreadful arrest :