Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

all our days, and perhaps with more satisfaction of honour not to lie with a woman that, for ought than we should in the station we were now in, he knew, might come to be his brother's wife. as things might happen; that he durst say I could The bare loss of him as a gallant was not so not apprehend anything from him as to betraying much my affliction as the loss of his person, whom a secrct, which could no: but be the destruction indeed I loved to distraction, and the loss of all of us both, if it came out; that he had but one the expectations I had, and which I always had question to ask of me that could lie in the way built my hopes upon, of having him one day for of it, and if that question was answered in the my husband. Theses things oppressed my mind negative, he could not but think still it was the so niuch that, in short, I fell very ill; the agonies only step I could take.

of my mind, in a word, threw me into a high feI guessed at his question presently, namely, ver, and so long it was that none in the family whether I was sure I was not with child ? As expected my life. to that, I told him he need not be concerned I was reduced very low indeed, and was often about it, for I was not with child. " Why, then, delirious and light-headed; but nothing lay so my dear,” says he, “we have no time to talk far near me as the fear, that when I was light-headed ther now, consider of it and think closely about I should say something or other to his prejudice. it; I cannot but be of the opinion still, that it I was distressed in my mind also to see him, and will be the best course you can take," and with so was he to see me, for he really loved me most this he took his leave, and the more hastily too,

passionately. But it could not be ; there was not his mother and sisters ringing at the gate just at the least room to desire it, on one side or other, the moment that he had risen to go.

or so much as to make it decent. He left me in the utmost confusion of thought,

It was near five weeks that I kept my bed, and and he easily perceived it the next day, and all

though the violence of my fever abated in three the rest of the week, for it was but Tuesday

weeks, yet it several times returned, and the phyevening when we talked ; but he had no oppor

sicians said two or three times they could do no tunity to come to me all that week till the Sun

more for me, but that they must leave nature and day after, when I, being indisposed, did not go to

the distemper to fight it out, only strengthening church, and he making some excuse for the like,

the first with cordials to maintain the struggle. stayed at home.

After the end of five weeks I grew better, but was And now he had me an hour and a half again

so weak, so altered, so melancholy, and recovered by myself, and we fell into the same arguments

so slowly, that the physicians apprehended I should all over again, or at least so near the same,

go into a consumption, and which vexed me most, as it would be to no purpose to repeat them ; at

they gave it as their opinion that my mind was opJast I asked him warmly what opinion he must

pressed, that something troubled me, and in short, have of my modesty, that be could suppose I

that I was in love. Upon this the whole house was should so much as entertain a thought of lying

set upon me to examine me and to press me to with two brothers? And assured him it could

tell whether I was in love or not, and with who? never be. I added, if he was to tell me that he

But, as I well might, I denied my being in love would never see me more, than which nothing

at all. but death could be more terrible, yet I could They had, on this occasion, a squabble one day never entertain a thought so dishonourable Labout me at table that had like to have

e || about me at table, that had like to have put the as this to myself, and so base to him; and

whole family in an uproar, and for some time did therefore I entreated him, if he had one grain of

so. They happened to be all at table but the farespect or affection left for me, that he would

ther; as for me, I was ill, and in my chamber. At speak no more of it to me, or that he would pull

the beginning of the talk, which was just as they his sword out and kill me. He appeared sur.

had finished their dinner, the old gentlewoman who prised at my obstinacy, as he called it ; told me

had sent me somewhat to eat, called her maid to I was unkind to myself and unkind to him in it;

go up and ask me if I would have any more ; but that it was a crisis unlooked for upon us both, and

the maid brought down word I had not eaten half impossible for either of us to foresee ; but that he

what she had sent me already. did not see any other way to save us both from

“ Alas,” says the old lady, “ that poor girl, I am ruin, and therefore he thought it the more un

afraid she will never be well.” kind; but that if he must say no more of it to

“ Well !” says the elder brother, “ how should me, he added with an unusual coldness, that he

Mrs Betty be well, they say she is in love ?" did not know anything else we had to talk of;

“I believe nothing of it," says the old gentle. and so he rose up to take his leave. I rose up

woman. too, as if with the same indifference, but when he

“ I do not know," says the eldest sister, “what came to give me as it were a parting kiss, I burst

to say to it; they have made such a rout about out into such a passion of crying, that though I

her being so handsome, and so charming, and I would have spoke I could not, and only pressing his hand, seemed to give him the adieu, but cried

know not what, and that in her hearing too, that

has turned the creature's head, I believe, and who vehemently. He was sensibly moved with this; so he sat

knows what possessions may follow such doings? down again and said a great many kind things to

For my part, I do not know what to make of it." me, to abate the excess of my passion ; but still

“ Why, sister, you must acknowledge she is very urged the necessity of what he had proposed, all | handsome,” says the elder brother. the while insisting that if I did refuse he would, "Ah, and a great deal handsomer than you notwithstanding, provide for me ; but letting mc sister,” says Robin, "and that is your mortificaplainly see that he would decline me in the main | tion.” point, nay, even as a mistress ; making it a point I “ Well, well, that is not the question,” says his

pain,"

sister, “the girl is well enough, and she knows || testation of sincerity that I was able to make, it well enough; she need not be told of it to and as I might well do, that there was not, nor make her vain."

ever had been. I told her that Mr Robert had “ We are not talking of her being vain," says rattled and jested, as she knew it was his way, the eldest brother, “but of her being in love; it and that I took it always as I suppose he meant may be she is in love with herself, it seems my || it, to be a wild airy way of discourse, that had no sisters think so."

signification in it; and again assured her that "I would she was in love with me," says there was not the least tittle of what she underRobin, “I would quickly put her out of her | stood by it between us; and that those who had

suggested it had done me a great deal of wrong, “What do ye mean, son ?" says the old lady. and Mr Robert no service at all. “ How can you talk so ?”

The old lady was fully satisfied, and kissed “Why, madam," says Robin again, very honest

me, spoke cheerfully to me, and bid me take ly,“ do you think I would let the poor girl die

care of my health, and want for nothing, and so for love, and of one that is near at hand to be

took her leave; but when she came down, she had too."

found the brother and all his sisters together by * Fie, brother," says the second sister, “ How the ears. They were angry even to passion at can you talk so ? Would you take a creature that

his upbraiding them with their being homely, has not a groat in the world ?"

and having never had any sweetheart, never bay. " Priythee, child,” says Robin, “beauty is a

ing been asked the question, and their being so portion, and good-humour with it, is a double

forward as almost to ask first. He rallied them portion; I wish thou hadst half her stock of both

upon the subject of Mrs Betty; how pretty, how for thy portion." So there was her mouth good-humoured, how she sung better than they stopped.

did, and danced better, and how much hand. "I find,” says the eldest sister, “if Betty is

somer she was ; and in doing this he omitted no not in love, my brother is; I wonder he has not

ill-natured thing that could vex them, and, broke his mind to Betty, I warrant she will not indeed, pushed too hard upon them. The old say no."

lady came down in the height of it, and to put a * They that yield when they are asked," says | stop to it, told them all the discourse she had Robin, "are one step before them that were with me, and how I answered that there was no. never asked to yield, sister, and two steps before |thing between Mr Robert and I. them that yield before they are asked ; and that

“ She is wrong there,” says Robin, "for if there is an answer to you, sister."

was not a great deal between us, we should be This fired the sister, and she flew into a pas

closer together than we are; I told her I loved sion, and said, “ Things were come to that pass,

her dearly," says he, “but I could never make that it was time the wench, meaning me, was out ||

the jade believe I was in earnest." of the family, and but that she was not fit to be turned out; she hoped her father and mother

“I do not know how you should,” says his would consider of it, as soon as she could be re

mother, “nobody in their senses could believe moved."

you were in earnest to talk so to a poor girl, Robin replied, “ That was the business of the whose circumstances you know so well. But master and mistress of the family, who were not

pr'ythee, son," adds she, “ since you tell me that to be taught by one that had so little judgment as

you cannot make her believe you were in earnest, his eldest sister."

what must we believe about it; for you ramble It run up a great deal farther; the sister so in your discourse that nobody knows whether scolded, Robin rallied and bantered, but poor

you are in earnest or in jest? But as I find the Betty lost ground by it extremely in the family. girl, by your confession, has answered truly, I I heard of it, and cried heartily, and the old lady wish you would do so too, and tell me seriously, came up to me, somebody having told her that 1 so that I may depend upon it. Is there any was so much concerned about it. I complained thing in it, or no? Are you in earnest, or no? to her, that it was very hard the doctors should Are you distracted indeed, or are you not? It pass such a censure upon me, for which they had is a weighty question, and I wish you would no ground, and that it was still harder, considering make us easy about it." the circumstances I was under in the family; “ By my faith, madam," says Robin, “it is in that I hoped I had done nothing to lessen her | vain to mince the matter, or tell any more lies esteem for me, or given any occasion for the about it, I am in earnest as much as a man is bickering between her sons and daughters, and that is going to be hanged. If Mrs Betty would I had more need think of a coffin than of being in say she loved me, and that she would marry me, love, and begged she would not let me suffer in | I'd have her to-morrow morning fasting ; and say, her opinion for anybody's mistakes but my own. 1. To have and to hold,' instead of eating my

She was sensible of the justice of what I said, i breakfast." but told me, since there had been such a clamour “ Well," says the mother, “ then there is one among them, and that her younger son talked son lost ;" and she said it in a very mournful tone, after such a rattling way as he did ; she desired as one greatly concerned at it. I would be so faithful to her as to answer her “ I hope not, madam,” says Robin, “no man but one question sincerely. I told her I would is lost when a good wife has found him.” with all my heart, and with the utmost plain " Why, but child,” says the old lady, “ she is ness and sincerity. Why then the question was, a beggar." " Whether there was anything between her son “ Why then, madam, she has the more need of Robert and me ?” I told her, with all the pro- ll charity," says Robin; “ I will take her off tho hands of the parish, and she and I will beg, and me, sometimes of one thing, sometimes of together."

another, on purpose to amuse his sister : and It's bad jesting with such things," says the every now and then would turn it upon the old mother.

story, directing it to me. “ Poor Mrs Betty," says “ I do not jest, madam," says Robin, “ we will ne, “it is a sad thing to be in love. Why it has come and beg your pardon, madam, and your || reduced you sadly." At last I spoke a little. blessing, madam, and my father's.”

• I am glad to see you so merry, sir," says I, “but “ This is all out of the way, son," says the | I think the doctor might have found something mother. “ if you are in earnest you are undone." || better to do than to make his game at his patients.

"I am afraid not,” says he," for I am really If I had been ill of no other distemper, I know the afraid she won't have me, after all my sister's proverb too well to have let him come to me."huffing and blustering ; I believe I shall never * What proverb,” says he ? “ Oh! I remember it be able to persuade her to it."

now; what, “ That is a fine tale, indeed, she is not so far

• Wbere love is the case, out of her senses neither; Mrs Betty is no fool,”

The doctor's an ans. says the younger sister, “ do you think she has “ Is not that it, Mrs Betty ?" I smiled, and learnt to say no, any more than other people?" said nothing. “ Nay," says he, “I think the effect

“ No, Mrs Mirth-wit,” says Robin, “ Mrs || has proved it to be love; for it seems the doctor Betty's no fool, but Mrs Betty may be engaged has been able to do you but little service, you some other way, and what then?”

mend very slowly they say, I doubt there is some" Nay," says the eldest sister, “we can say no what in it, Mrs Betty ; I doubt you are sick of thing to that. Who must it be to then? She | the incurables, and that is love." I smiled, and is never out of doors, it must be between you." said, “ No, indeed sir, that is none of my dis

" I have nothing to say to that,” says Robin, temper.” “ I have been examined enough; there is my We had a deal of such discourse, and somebrother, if it must be between us, go to work

times other that signified as little. By and by with him."

he asked me to sing them a song; at which I This stung the elder brother to the quick, and

smiled, and said my singing days were over. At he concluded that Robin had discovered some

last he asked me if he should play upon his flute to thing. However, he kept himself from appear.

me. His sister said, “ She believed it would ing disturbed. “ Pr'ythee,” says he,“ do not go hurt me, and that my head could not bear it." I to sham your stories off upon me, I tell you1|

bowed, and said, “ No, it would not burt me; deal in no such ware; I have nothing to say to

hing to say to and pray, madam,” said I, “ do not hinder it, i Mrs Betty, nor any of the Miss Bettys in the love the music of the flute very much." Then his parish ; and with that he rose up and brushed off.” sister said, “Well, do then, brother.” With that * “ No,” says the eldest sister, “I dare answer he pulled out the key of his closet, “Dear sister," for my brother, he knows the world better.”

says he, “I am very lazy, do step to my closet Thus the discourse ended; but it left the

and fetch my flute, it lies in such a drawer, elder brother confounded. He concluded his

naming a place where he was sure it was not, brother had made a full discovery, and he began

that she might be a little while a looking for it. to doubt whether I had been concerned in it or not; but with all management he could not bring

As soon as she was gone he related the whole it about to get at me. At last, he was so per

story to me of the discourse his brother had plexed that he was quite desperate, and resolved

about me, and of his pushing it at him, and his he would come into my chamber and see me,

concern about it, which was the reason of his whatever came of it. In order to this, he con contriving this visit to me. I assured him I had trived it so, that one day after dinner, watching never opened my mouth either to his brother or his eldest sister till he could see her go up stairs, anybody else. I told him the dreadful exigence he runs after her, “ Hark ye, sister,” says he, I was in ; that my love to him, and his offering “ where is this sick woman? May not a body see

to have me forget that affection and remove it to her?"__" Yes," says the sister, “ I believe you another, had thrown me down ; and that I had may, but let me go first a little, and I will tell a thousand times wished I might die, rather than you." So she ran up to the door and gave me recover, and to have the same circumstances to notice; and presently called to him again.

struggle with as I had before ; and that this “ Brother,” says she, “ you may come if you backwardness to life had been the great reason of please;" so in he came, just in the same kind of the slowness of my recovering. I added, that I rant.

foresaw that as soon as I was well I must quit "Well," says he, at the door as he came in, the family, and that as for marrying his brother, “ where is this sick body that is in love? How

I abhorred the thoughts of it, after what had do ye do, Mrs Betty ?".

been my case with him, and that he might depend "' I would have got out of my chair, but upon it I would never see his brother again upon was so weak I could not for a good while ; | that subject. That if he would break all his and he saw it and his sister too,” and she i vows and oaths and engagements with me, be said, “ Come, do not strive to stand up, my

that between his conscience and his honour and brother desires no ceremony, especially now

himself; but he should never be able to say that you are so weak.”-“ No, no, Mrs Betty, pray | I, who he had persuaded to call myself his wife, sit still," says he, and so sits himself down in all and who had given him the liberty to use me as chair over against me, and appeared as if he was l) a wife, was not as faithful to him as a wife ought mighty merry.

to be, whatever he might be to me. He talked a deal of rambling stuff to his sister He was going to reply, and had said that he

was sorry I could not be persuaded, and was this I have made my argument to him, and have going to say more, but he heard his sister coming, positively told him that I would never entertain and so did I; and yet I forced out these few words a thought of that kind, unless I had your conas a reply, “ That I could never be persuaded to sent and his father's also, to whom I was bound by love one brother and marry another." He shook so many invincible obligations." his head and said, “ Then I am ruined,” meaning “And is this possible, Mrs Betty," says the old himself, and that moment his sister entered the lady? “ Then you have been much juster to us room, and told him she could not find the Aute.than we have been to you; for we have all * Well," says he, merrily, “ this laziness will not looked upon you as a kind of a snare to my son, do; so he gets up and goes himself to look for it, and I had a proposal to make to you for your rebut comes back without it too; not but that moving for fear of it; but I had not yet men. be could have found it, but because his mind was tioned it to you, because I thought ye were not a little disturbed, and he had no mind to play; thoroughly well, and I was afraid of grieving you and besides, the er and he sent his sister on was too much, lest it should throw you down again ; answered another way, for he only wanted an for we have all a respect for you still, though not opportunity to speak to me, which he gained,] so much as to have it be the ruin of my son ; though not much to his satisfaction.

but if it be as you say, we have all wronged you I had, however, a great deal of satisfaction in very muciı.". having spoken my mind to him with freedom, • As to the truth of what I say, madam," said and with such an honest plainness, as I have re- I, “ I refer you to your son himself; if he will do lated; and though it did not at all work the way me any justice, he must tell you the story just I desired, that is to say, to oblige the person to as I have told it." me the more, yet it took from him all possibility Away goes the old lady to her daughters and of quitting me but by a downright breach of tells them the whole story just as I had told it her, honour, and giving up all the faith of a gentle and they were surprised at it you may be sure, man to me, which he had so often engaged, by, as I believed they would be. One said, she could never to abandon me. but to make me his wife never have thought it; another said, Robin was as soon as he came to his estate.

a fool; a third said, she would not believe a word It was not many weeks after this before I was of it, and she would warrant that Robin would about the house again, and began to grow well ; tell the story another way; but the old gentlebut I continued melancholy, silent, dull, and re woman, who was resolved to go to the bottom of tired, which amazed the whole family, except he

it, before I could have the least opportunity of that knew the reason of it; yet it was a great acquainting her son with what had passed, rewhile before he took any notice of it, and I, as solved too that she would talk with her son imbackward to speak as he, carried respectfully to mediately, and to that purpose sent for him, fo him, but never offered to speak a word to him he was gone but to a lawyer's house in the town that was particular of any kind whatsoever; and upon some petty business of his own, and upon this continued for sixteen or seventeen weeks, so her sending he returned immediately. that as I expected every day to be dismissed the Upon his coming up to them, for they were all family on account of what distaste they had taken still together, “ Sit down Robin,” says the old another way, in which I had no guilt, so I ex- || lady, “ I must have some talk with you." pected to hear no more of this gentleman, after « With all my heart, madam, " says Robin, all his solemn vows and protestations, but to be looking very merry ;“ I hope it is about a good ruined and abandoned.

wife, for I am at a great loss in that affair.” At last I broke the way myself in the family | “How can that be," says his mother ; "did not for my removing; for being talking seriously with || you say you resolved to have Mrs Betty ?" the old lady one day about my own circum-T“ Ay, madam," says Robin, “ but there is one stances in the world, and how my distemper had that has forbid the banns." left a heaviness upon my spirits, that I was not || “ Forbid the banns,” says his mother, “who the same thing I was before, the old lady said, I can that be ?" " I am afraid, Betty, what I have said to you | “ Even Mrs Betty herself,” says Robin. about my son has had some influence upon you,l! " How so?" says his mother. “Have you asked and that you are melancholy on his account;|| her the question then ?" pray will you let me know how the matter stands “ Yes, indeed, madam,” says Robin; “I have with you both, if it may not be improper ? for attacked her in form five times since she was as for Robin, he does nothing but rally and ban- sick, and am beaten off; the jade is so stout she ter when I speak to him.”

will not capitulate, nor yield upon any terms, ex" Why truly, madam," said I, “the matter cept such as I cannot effectually grant.” stands as I wish it did not, and I shall be very 1 « Explain yourself,” says the mother, “ for I sincere with you in it, whatever befalls me for it; I am surprised, I do not understand you; I hope Mr Robert has several times proposed marriage you are not in earnest." to me, which is what I had no reason to expect, “Why, madam,” says he, “ the case is plain my poor circumstances considered; but I have enough upon me; it explains itself : she won't always resisted him, and that, perhaps, in terms have me, she says ;-is not that plain enough? more positive than became me, considering the I think it is plain, and pretty rough too." regard that I ought to have for every branch of! “ Well, but," says the mother, “ you talk of your family. But,” said I, “madam, I could || conditions that you cannot grant, what, does she never so far forget my obligations to you and all want a settlement ? Her jointure ought to be acyour house, to offer to consent to a thing which || cording to her portion; but what fortune does I know must needs be disobliging to you, and she bring you ?"

“ Nay, as to fortune," says Robin, “ she is rich || says Robin ; "if you had as much thought about enough; I am satisfied in that point; but it is I || making me easy as you have about making me that am not able to come up to her terms, and rich, you would soon consent to it.” she is positive she will not have me without.” “Why Robin," says the mother again, "are

Here the sisters put in. “Madam,” says the you really in earnest ? Would you so fain have second sister, “it is impossible to be serious with || her as you pretend ?" him ; he will never give a direct answer to any “Really, madam,” says Robin, “I think it is thing: you had better let him alone, and talk no | hard you should question me upon that head, more of it to him; you know how to dispose of after all I have said; I won't say that I will have her out of his way, if you thought there was any- || her, how can I resolve that point, when you see thing in it."

I cannot have her without your consent? Besides, Robin was a little warmed with his sister's | I am not bound to marry at all; but this I will rudeness, but he was even with her; and yet with say I am in earnest in, that I will never have good manners too. “There are two sorts of peo- || anybody else if I can help it, so you may deterple, madam," says he, “turning to his mother, mine for me, Betty, or nobody, is the word; and that is, a wise body and a fool; it is a little hard the question which of the two shall be in your I should engage with both of them together.” breast to decide, madam ; provided only, that my

The younger sister then put in. “ We must be good-humoured sisters may have no vote in it." fools indeed,” says she, “in my brother's opinion, All this was dreadful to me, for the mother that he should think we can believe he has se- || bega to yield, and Robin pressed her home in it. riously asked Mrs Betty to marry him, and that | On the other hand, she advised with the eldest she has refused him."

son, and he used all the arguments in the world “ Answer, and answer not," says Solomon, re- || to persuade her to consent : alleging his brother's : plied her brother. “ When your brother had said passionate love for me, and my generous regard to your mother, that he had asked her no less to the family, in refusing my own advantage, upon i than five times, and that it was so, that she posi- |such a nice point of honour, and a thousand suche tively denied him, methinks a younger sister || things. And as to the father, he was a man in a need not question the truth of it, when her mo- || hurry of public affairs, and getting money, seldorn ther did not."

at home, thoughtful of the main chance; but left “My mother, you see, did not understand it," || all those things to his wife. says the second sister.

You may easily believe, that when the plot was " There is some difference," says Robin, “be- ||thus, as they thought, broke out, and that every tween desiring me to explain it, and telling me one thought they knew how things were carried, she did not believe it."

it was not so difficult, or so dangerous, for the “ Well but, son,” says the old lady, “ if you are elder brother, who nobody suspected of anything, disposed to let us into the mystery of it, what to have a freer access to me than before. Nay, were these hard conditions ?"

the mother, which was just as he wished, pro“ Yes, madam," says Robin, “ I had done it be- Il posed it to him to talk with Mrs Betty. “ For it fore now if the teazers here had not worried me may be, son," said she, “ you may see farther by way of interruption. The conditions are, into the thing than 1, and see if you think she that I bring my father and you to consent to it, has been so positive as Robin says she has been, and without that, she protests she will never see or no. This was as well as he could wish, and me more upon that head; and these conditions, he as it were yielding to talk with me at his moas I said, I suppose I shall never be able to grant; ther's request, she brought me to him into her I hope my warm sisters will be answered now, own chamber ; told me her son had some busiand blush a little ; if not, I have no more to say ness with me at her request, and desired me to till I hear farther.”

be very sincere with him, and then she left us This answer was surprising to them all, though together, and he went and shut the door after less to the mother, because of what I had said to her. her; as to the daughters, they stood mute a great He came back to me and took me in his arms while ; but the mother said with some passion, and kissed me very tenderly; but told me he had “ Well, I had heard this before, but I could not | a long discourse to hold with me, and it was now believe it, but if it is so, then we have all done come to that crisis that I should make myself Betty wrong, and she has behaved better than I happy or miserable, as long as I lived: that the ever expected."

thing was now gone so far, that if I could not “Nay,” says the eldest sister, “if it is so, she comply with his desire, we should be both ruined : has acted handsomely indeed.”

líthen he told me the whole story between Robin, “I confess," says the mother, “it was none of as he called him, and his mother, and sisters, and her fault, if he was fool enough to take a fancy himself, as it is above." And now, dear child," to her, but to give such an answer to him, shows says he, “ consider what it will be to marry a genmore respect to your father and me than I can || tleman of a good family in good circumstances, tell how to express; I shall value the girl the and with the consent of the whole house, and to better for it as long as I know her."

enjoy all that the world can give you : and what, “ But I shall not," says Robin, “ unless you on the other hand, to be sunk into the dark cirwill give your consent."

cumstances of a woman that has lost her rcputa" I will consider of that awhile,” says the mo tion, and that though I shall be a private friend to ther, " I assure you, if there were not some other you while I live, yet, as I shall be suspected always objections in the way, this conduct of hers would so you will be afraid to see me, and I shall be go a great way to bring me to consent."

afraid to own you." “I wish it would go quite through with it,' " He gave me no time to reply, but went on with

« VorigeDoorgaan »