It was now high time to acquaint my
spouse, that Captain Tomlinson was come. And
the rather, as the maid told us, that the lady had
asked her if such a gentleman [describing him] was
not in the parlour?
Mrs. Moore went up, and requested,
in my name, that she would give us audience.
But she returned, reporting my beloved’s
desire, that Captain Tomlinson would excuse her for
the present. She was very ill. Her spirits
were too weak to enter into conversation with him;
and she must lie down.
I was vexed, and at first extremely
disconcerted. The Captain was vexed too.
And my concern, thou mayest believe, was the greater
on his account.
She had been very much fatigued, I
own. Her fits in the morning must have disordered
her: and she had carried her resentment so high,
that it was the less wonder she should find herself
low, when her raised spirits had subsided. Very
low, I may say; if sinkings are proportioned to risings;
for she had been lifted up above the standard of a
The Captain, however, sent up his
own name, that if he could be admitted to drink one
dish of tea with her, he should take it for a favour:
and would go to town, and dispatch some necessary
business, in order, if possible, to leave his morning
free to attend her.
But she pleaded a violent head-ache;
and Mrs. Moore confirmed the plea to be just.
I would have had the Captain lodge
there that night, as well in compliment to him, as
introductory to my intention of entering myself upon
my new-taken apartment: but his hours were of
too much importance to him to stay the evening.
It was indeed very inconvenient for
him, he said, to return in the morning; but he is
willing to do all in his power to heal this breach,
and that as well for the sakes of me and my lady, as
for that of his dear friend Mr. John Harlowe; who
must not know how far this misunderstanding had gone.
He would therefore only drink one dish of tea with
the ladies and me.
And accordingly, after he had done
so, and I had had a little private conversation with
him, he hurried away.
His fellow had given him, in the interim,
a high character to Mrs. Moore’s servants:
and this reported by the widow Bevis (who being no
proud woman, is hail fellow well met, as the saying
is, with all her aunt’s servants) he was a fine
gentleman, a discreet gentleman, a man of sense and
breeding, with them all: and it was pity, that,
with such great business upon his hands, he should
be obliged to come again.
My life for your’s, audibly
whispered the widow Bevis, there is humour as well
as head-ache in somebody’s declining to see this
worthy gentleman. Ah, Lord! how happy
might some people be if they would!
No perfect happiness in this world,
said I, very gravely, and with a sigh; for the widow
must know that I heard her. If we have not real
unhappiness, we can make it, even from the overflowings
of our good fortune.
Very true, and very true, the two
widows. A charming observation! Mrs. Bevis.
Miss Rawlins smiled her assent to it; and I thought
she called me in her heart charming man! for she professes
to be a great admirer of moral observations.
I had hardly taken leave of the Captain,
and sat down again with the women, when Will. came;
and calling me out, ‘Sir, Sir,’ said he,
grinning with a familiarity in his looks as if what
he had to say entitled him to take liberties; ’I
have got the fellow down! I have got old
Grimes hah, hah, hah, hah! He
is at the Lower Flask almost in the condition
of David’s sow, and please your honour [the
dog himself not much better] here is his letter from from
Miss Howe ha, ha, ha, ha,’ laughed
the varlet; holding it fast, as if to make conditions
with me, and to excite my praises, as well as my impatience.
I could have knocked him down; but
he would have his say out ’old Grimes
knows not that I have the letter I must
get back to him before he misses it I only
make a pretence to go out for a few minutes but but’ and
then the dog laughed again ’he must
stay old Grimes must stay till
I go back to pay the reckoning.’
D n the prater; grinning
rascal! The letter! The letter!
He gathered in his wide mothe, as
he calls it, and gave me the letter; but with a strut,
rather than a bow; and then sidled off like one of
widow Sorlings’s dunghill cocks, exulting after
a great feat performed. And all the time that
I was holding up the billet to the light, to try to
get at its contents without breaking the seal, [for,
dispatched in a hurry, it had no cover,] there stood
he, laughing, shrugging, playing off his legs; now
stroking his shining chin, now turning his hat upon
his thumb! then leering in my face, flourishing with
his head O Christ! now-and-then cried the
What joy has this dog in mischief! More
than I can have in the completion of my most favourite
purposes! These fellows are ever happier
than their masters.
I was once thinking to rumple up this
billet till I had broken the seal. Young families
[Miss Howe’s is not an ancient one] love ostentatious
sealings: and it might have been supposed to have
been squeezed in pieces in old Grimes’s breeches-pocket.
But I was glad to be saved the guilt as well as suspicion
of having a hand in so dirty a trick; for thus much
of the contents (enough for my purpose) I was enabled
to scratch out in character without it; the folds
depriving me only of a few connecting words, which
I have supplied between hooks.
My Miss Harlowe, thou knowest, had
before changed her name to Miss Laetitia Beaumont.
Another alias now, Jack, to it; for this billet was
directed to her by the name of Mrs. Harriot Lucas.
I have learned her to be half a rogue, thou seest.
’I congratulate you, my dear,
with all my heart and soul, upon [your escape] from
the villain. [I long] for the particulars of all.
[My mother] is out; but, expecting her return every
minute, I dispatched [your] messenger instantly.
[I will endeavour to come at] Mrs. Townsend without
loss of time; and will write at large in a day or two,
if in that time I can see her. [Mean time I] am excessively
uneasy for a letter I sent you yesterday by Collins,
[who must have left it at] Wilson’s after you
got away. [It is of very] great importance. [I hope
the] villain has it not. I would not for the
world [that he should.] Immediately send for it,
if, by doing so, the place you are at [will not be]
discovered. If he has it, let me know it by some
way [out of] hand. If not, you need not send.
’Ever, ever your’s,
O Jack! what heart’s-ease does
this interception give me! I sent the rascal
back with the letter to old Grimes, and charged him
to drink no deeper. He owned, that he was half-seas
over, as he phrased it.
Dog! said I, are you not to court
one of Mrs. Moore’s maids to-night?
Cry your mercy, Sir! I
will be sober. I had forgot that but
old Grimes is plaguy tough, I thought I should never
have got him down.
Away, villain! Let old Grimes
come, and on horseback too, to the door
He shall, and please your honour,
if I can get him on the saddle, and if he can sit
And charge him not to have alighted,
nor to have seen any body
Enough, Sir, familiarly nodding his
head, to show he took me. And away went the
villain into the parlour, to the women,
In a quarter of an hour came old Grimes
on horseback, waving to his saddle-bow, now on this
side, now on that; his head, at others, joining to
that of his more sober beast.
It looked very well to the women that
I made no effort to speak to old Grimes, (though I
wished, before them, that I knew the contents of what
he brought;) but, on the contrary, desired that they
would instantly let my spouse know that her messenger
Down she flew, violently as she had the head-ache!
O how I prayed for an opportunity
to be revenged of her for the ungrateful trouble she
had given to her uncle’s friend!
She took the letter from old Grimes
with her own hands, and retired to an inner parlour
to read it.
She presently came out again to the
fellow, who had much ado to sit his horse Here
is your money, friend. I thought you long:
but what shall I do to get somebody to go to town
immediately for me? I see you cannot.
Old Grimes took his money, let fall
his hand in doffing it; had it given him, and rode
away; his eyes isinglass, and set in his head, as I
saw through the window, and in a manner speechless all
his language hiccup. My dog needed not to have
gone so deep with this tough old Grimes. But
the rascal was in his kingdom with him.
The lady applied to Mrs. Moore; she
mattered not the price. Could a man and horse
be engaged for her? Only to go for a letter
left for her, at one Mr. Wilson’s, in Pall-mall.
A poor neighbour was hired a
horse procured for him he had his directions.
In vain did I endeavour to engaged
my beloved, when she was below. Her head-ache,
I suppose, returned. She, like the rest
of her sex, can be ill or well when she pleases.
I see her drift, thought I; it is
to have all her lights from Miss Howe before she resolves,
and to take her measures accordingly.
Up she went expressing great impatience
about the letter she had sent for; and desired Mrs.
Moore to let her know if I offered to send any one
of my servants to town to get at the letter,
I suppose, was her fear; but she might have been quite
easy on that head; and yet, perhaps, would not, had
she known that the worthy Captain Tomlinson, (who will
be in town before her messenger,) will leave there
the important letter, which I hope will help to pacify
her, and reconcile her to me.
O Jack, Jack! thinkest thou that I
will take all this roguish pains, and be so often
called villain for nothing?
But yet, is it not taking pains to
come at the finest creature in the world, not for
a transitory moment only, but for one of our lives!
The struggle only, Whether I am to have her in my
own way, or in her’s?
But now I know thou wilt be frightened
out of thy wits for me What, Lovelace!
wouldest thou let her have a letter that will inevitably
blow thee up; and blow up the mother, and all her
nymphs! yet not intend to reform, nor intend
Patience, puppy! Canst thou not trust thy