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The Adventures of David Simple

Sarah Fielding


The Adventures of David Simple

Sarah Fielding

1744

Contents

I  Introduction

II  Preface

III  BOOK I

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

X

XI

IV  BOOK II

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

X

IX

V  BOOK III

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

VI  BOOK IV

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

THE ADVENTURES

OF DAVID SIMPLE

CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF HIS

TRAVELS THROUGH THE CITIES OF

LONDON AND WESTMINSTER

IN THE SEARCH OF

A REAL FRIEND

By SARAH FIELDING

With the Preface of HENRY FIELDING

And an Introduction by E. A. Baker, M. A.

Part I

Introduction

BY E. A. BAKER, M. A.

It is possible that The Adventures of David Simple would have been far better known as a work of some importance in the early development of English fiction had the authoress’ name not been Fielding. To be the near relative of a great genius is by no means a passport to fame: a good many instances may be called to mind of its being altogether the reverse. Although Richardson himself complimented “Sally” upon her knowledge of the human heart, and quoted her saying of “a critical judge of writing,” perhaps Dr. Johnson, “that your late brother’s knowledge of it was not (fine writer as he was) comparable to yours,” and further, “his was but as the knowledge of the outside of a clockwork machine, while yours was that of all the finer springs and movements of the inside”; in spite of such eulogy from such a man, Sarah Fielding’s name has been completely overshadowed by that of her brother, and is now familiar only to special students of our eighteenth-century literature.

What little, furthermore, we know about herself has been gleaned mostly from the records of her brother’s life. She was born three years after him, in 1710, at East Stower at Dorsetshire. Her father was Lieutenant (afterwards General) Edmund Fielding, descendant of an old family that numbered the Earls of Denbigh in its elder branch, and in its younger, to which he belonged, the earls of Desmond in the peerage of Ireland. Her mother was Sarah, daughter of Sir Henry Gould. She died in 1718, leaving four (or five) children; one daughter had died in 1716. We can fill in the blanks of Sarah Fielding’s life only with the dates and titles of her works, all of which, with the exception of the first, are utterly dead and forgotten. “The Adventures of David Simple: containing an account of his travels through the cities of London and Westminster in the search of a real friend, by a Lady,” was published in 1744, and a second edition, with a preface by her brother Henry, was issued the same year. In 1747 was published a Collection of Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple and some others, with preface by Henry Fielding, and containing five lengthy letters by him. A third volume of David Simple was published in 1752. Two years later, Miss Fielding collaborated with Miss Collier in the production of The Cry, a Dramatic Fable. Other works are: The Governess, 1749; Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia, 1757; a History of Ophelia, 1758; a History of the Countess of Dellwyn, 1759; and a translation of the Memorabilia, entitled Xenophon’s Memoirs of Socrates, with the Defence of Socrates before his Judges, 1762. Harris is said to have corrected her translation.

Miss Fielding was one of Richardson’s coterie of female friends, and several letters from each are included in his correspondence. The eulogy quoted above was probably called forth by her own effusive admiration for the author of Pamela; indeed, David Simple itself, in spite of the satirical character of the earlier half, is in the main a novel in the true style of the great sentimentalist. When she offers to act as Richardson’s amanuensis, she writes with transports of enthusiasm. She would have found, she says, “all my thoughts strengthened, and my words flow into an easy and nervous style; never did I so much wish for it as in this daring attempt of mentioning Clarissa; but when I read of her, I am all sensation: my heart glows—I am overwhelmed—my only vent is tears.” In middle age she went to Bath, to take the waters, and ultimately settled down there. A few casual references are extant of her life in that city of fashion, gaiety and culture, at the time when Beau Nash was “King,” and Ralph Allen of Prior Park was playing Maecenas to many an author in distress. Alien is said to have allowed her an annuity of a hundred pounds. She died at Bath in 1768, and a monument was erected to her in the Abbey Church, bearing an inaccurate inscription and the following verses by Dr. John Hoadley —

Her unaffected manners, candid mind,

Her heart benevolent, and soul resign’d;

Were more her praise than all she knew or thought,

Though Athens’ wisdom to her sex she taught.

It would be unfair to criticize David Simple on its literary merits alone, without taking into account its historical position as an early novel. It was published a year before Tom Jones. Richardson had written Pamela, but not Clarissa Harlowe. The Vicar of Wakefield was still a long way off in the future, and so were the novels of Fanny Burney. Sterne’s Tristram Shandy was not published till 1759, fifteen years ahead; and four years were to elapse before Smollett’s first book, Roderick Random, was to see the light. Few books, in truth, that could with any sense of propriety be called novels, were in existence at the time when Miss Fielding sat down to write. Certainly, the masterpieces of Swift and Defoe were not novels in our sense of the word. Addison’s Sir Roger de Coverley Papers had far more of the stuff of which the novel of the future was to be made. In Addison there is the delineation of real life, the kindly humour, the delicate portraiture of the individual, which were to be the finest characteristics of the English novel of manners. There was also the element of satire, and it is as a satirist and a censor of society in the Addisonian style that, I think, Sarah Fielding may be most favourably regarded.

Her theme is friendship. The sentiments which she has expressed in the adventures of David, Cynthia and Camilla, and in the tender episode of Stainvllle and Dumont are, says Henry Fielding, with brotherly patronage, “as noble and elevated as I have anywhere met with . . . Nay, there are some touches, which I will venture to say, might have done honour to the pencil of the immortal Shakespeare himself.” Professor Wilbur L. Cross has summarized the literary tendency of the period that began with Pamela and ended with the publication of Humphry Clinker, in the following admirable terms: — “The novels of this period which have become a recognized part of our literature, whether they deal in minute incident as in Richardson and Sterne, or in farce, intrigue and adventure as in Smollett and Fielding, have one characteristic in common: their subject is the heart. Moreover, underlying them, as their raison d’être, is an ethical motive. Richardson makes the novel a medium for Biblical teaching as it is understood by a Protestant precisian; Fielding pins his faith on human nature; Smollett cries for justice to the oppressed; Sterne spiritualizes sensation, addressing ‘Dear Sensibility’ as the Divinity whom he adores.” But David Simple, though it belongs of right to the period, appeared at too early a date, when the school was yet unformed. Miss Fielding had no definite model before her, and was without the constructive skill to invent a suitable one. To set forth the admirable philosophy that underlies her criticism of society, and to portray ideal sentiments and characters, she could hardly have chosen a more unfortunate plan than that of the picaresque story, with its loosely linked episodes and motley succession of characters, as fortuitous in arrangement as the faces we meet with in the street. Nothing can be more clumsy than her introduction of dialogue, with the names of the interlocutors formally prefixed as in a play; nothing more perplexing than her stories within the story, and then again the story told at second or third hand, but still in the first person, of brothers, lovers and acquaintances, amid whose long- protracted speeches we are apt to lose the thread altogether. Nevertheless, this method did very well up to a certain point. David Simple, it is noticeable, falls into two parts; the earlier is critical and satirical in spirit, the second half devoted to the portraiture of ideal virtues and sentiments. Henry Fielding’s preface, which does ample justice to his sister’s powers of drawing individual character and expressing lofty emotion, is reprinted here. Let us turn to the other side of the work.

Every novelist of that period thought it was incumbent on him to have a moral purpose in his work, and most of them were pronouncedly and deliberately didactic. Richardson taught his morality directly, with a heavy seriousness; Fielding preferred the lighter and more ambiguous method of the satirist. His sister halted between the two courses. Her satire is lacking in the right spirit of comedy. It is rather the satire of the moral essayist than of the dramatist or the story-writer. But her wit, at its best, is wonderfully sane, discriminating, and caustic. She belongs to that highest type satirist who sees things not merely as related the fashions, mannerisms and prejudices of his own time and place, but in the dry light of abstract intelligence and perfect sanity. Let the following extracts, culled at haphazard and miscellaneous in subject, speak for themselves. Their insight into human nature, as her brother pointed out, is the more remarkable if we consider the narrowness of her experience.

“I never yet knew a man who did not hate the person who seemed not to have the same opinion of him as he had of himself; and, as that very seldom happens, I believe it is one of the chief causes of the malignity mankind have against one another.”

“He reflected that the customs and manners of nations relate chiefly to ceremonies, and have nothing to do with the hearts of men.”

“He took a new lodging every week, and always the first thing he did was to inquire of his landlady the reputation of all the neighbourhood: but he never could hear one good character from any of them; only every one separately gave very broad hints of their own goodness, and what pity it was they should be obliged to live amongst such a set of people.”

“And there for some time I will leave him to his own private sufferings—lest it should be thought I am so ignorant of the world, as not to know the proper time of forsaking people.”

“In short, from morning till night, they did nothing but quarrel; and there passed many curious dialogues between them, which I shall not here repeat: for, as I hope to be read by the polite world, I would avoid everything of which they can have no idea.”

“For, if by taking pains to bridle his passions, he could gain no superiority over his companions, all his love of rectitude, as he calls it, would fall to the ground. So that his goodness, like cold fruits, is produced by the dung and nastiness which surround it.”

“She spent some time in the deepest melancholy, and felt all the misery which attends a woman who has many things to wish, but knows not positively which she wishes most.”

“If he had but sighed, and been miserable for the loss of her, she could have married her old man without any great reluctance: but the thought that he had left her first was insupportable!”

“He never once reflected on what is perhaps really the case, that to prevent a husband’s surfeit or satiety in the matrimonial feast, a little acid is now and then very prudently thrown into the dish by the wife.”

“If, indeed, her reputation had been lost, and she had conversed long enough with a man to have worn out her youth and beauty, and had been left in poverty, and all kinds of distress, without any hopes of relief, her folly would have then been so glaring, he could by no means have owned her for his child.”

“John’s coldness and neglect; nay, his liking other women better than his wife, which no virtuous woman can possibly bear.”

“Lucretia herself (whose chastity nothing but the fear of losing her reputation could possibly have conquered).”

“The words genius, and no genius; invention, poetry, fine things, bad language, no style, charming writing, imagery, and diction, with many more expressions which swim on the surface of criticism, seemed to have been caught by those fishers for the reputation of wit, though they were entirely ignorant what use to make of them, or how to apply them properly.”

“He was not of the opinion, that the more ignorant a man is of any subject, the more necessary it is to talk of it.”

Her satire of the amateur critic is always keen. One of the most entertaining chapters in the book is that relating the conversation of a number of fine ladies on the subject of pathos on the stage. It is amusing to find that some literary historians have not perceived the irony of the passage, and so have done less than justice to Miss Fielding’s critical acumen.

“Fourth Lady. There is nothing so surprising to me as the absurdity of almost everybody I meet with; they can’t even laugh or cry in the right place. Perhaps it will be hardly believed, but I really saw people in the boxes last night, at the tragedy of Cato, sit with dry eyes, and show no kind of emotion, when that great man fell on his sword; nor was it at all owing to any firmness of mind, that made them incapable of crying neither, for that I should have admired: but I have known those very people shed tears at George Barnwell.

“A good many Ladies speak at one time. Oh, intolerable I cry for an odious apprentice-boy, who murdered his uncle at the instigation too of a common woman, and yet be unmoved, when even Cato bled for his country.

Old Lady. That is no wonder, I assure you, ladies; for I once heard my Lady Know-all positively affirm George Barnwell to be one of the best things that ever was wrote: for that nature is nature in whatever station it is placed; and that she could be as much affected with the distress of a man in low life, as if he was a lord or a duke. And what is yet more amazing is, that the time she chooses to weep most, is just as he has killed the man who prays for him in the agonies of death; and then only, because he whines over him, and seems sensible of what he has done, she must shed tears for a wretch whom everybody of either sense or goodness, would wish to crush, and make ten times more miserable than he is.”

I conclude with two remarkable analyses of types of character, that would have done honour to Addison. The second, moreover, is charming, and warrants the saying of some person who replied to the objection that David Simple could not possibly be the work of a woman, by retorting that no man could have written it.

“You are to know, sir, there are a set of men in the world, who pass through life with very good reputations, whose actions are in the general justly to be applauded, and yet upon a near examination their principles are all bad, and their hearts hardened to all tender sensations. Mr. Orgueil is exactly one of those sort of men; the greatest sufferings which can happen to his fellow-creatures, have no sort of effect upon him, and yet he very often relieves them; that is, he goes just as far in serving others as will give him new opportunities of flattering himself; for his whole soul is filled with pride, he has made a god of himself, and the attributes he thinks necessary to the dignity of such a being, be endeavours to have. He calls all religion superstition, because he will own no other deity; he thinks even obedience to the Divine Will, would be but a mean motive to his actions; he must do good, because it is suitable to the dignity of his nature; and shun evil, because be would not be debased as low as the wretches he every day sees.”

“Thus ended this dialogue; in which vanity seemed to have had a fair chance of gaining the victory over love; or, in other words, where a young lady seemed to promise herself more pleasure from the purse than the person of her lover, And I hope to be excused by those gentlemen who are quite sure they have found one woman, who is a perfect angel, and that all the rest are perfect devils, for drawing the character of a woman who was neither; for Miss Nanny Johnson was very good-humoured, had a great deal of softness, and had no alloy to these good qualities, but a great share of vanity, with some small spices of envy, which must always accompany it. And I make no matter of doubt, but if she had not met with this temptation, she would have made a very affectionate wife to the man who loved her: he would have thought himself extremely happy, with a perfect assurance that nothing could have tempted her to abandon him. And when she had had the experience, what it was to be constantly beloved by a man of Mr. Simple’s goodness of heart, she would have exulted in her own happiness, and been the first to have blamed any other woman for giving up the pleasure of having the man she loved for any advantage of fortune; and would have thought it utterly impossible for her ever to have been tempted to such an action; which then might possibly have appeared in the most dishonourable light: for to talk of a temptation at a distance, and to feel it present, are two such very different things, that everybody can resist the one, very few people the other.”

Ernest A. Baker.

Part II

Preface

BY THE AUTHOR OF “TOM JONES”

As so many worthy persons have, I am told, ascribed the honour of this performance to me, they will not be surprised at seeing my name to this preface; nor am I very insincere, when I call it an honour; for if the authors of the age are amongst the number of those who conferred it on me, I know very few of them to whom I shall return the compliment of such a suspicion.

I could indeed have been very well content with the reputation, well knowing that some writings may be justly laid to my change, of a merit greatly inferior to that of the following work; had not the imputation directly accused me of falsehood, in breaking a promise, which I have solemnly made in print, of never publishing, even a pamphlet, without setting my name to it: a promise I have always hitherto faithfully kept; and, for the sake of men’s characters, I wish all other writers were by law obliged to use the same method; but, till they are, I shall no longer impose any such restraint on myself.

A second reason which induces me to refuse this untruth, is, that it may have a tendency to injure me in a profession, to which I have applied with so arduous and intent a diligence, to compose anything of this kind. Indeed, I am very far from entertaining such an inclination; I know the value of the reward

which fame confers on authors, too well, to endeavour any longer to obtain it; nor was the world ever more unwilling to bestow the glorious, envied prize, of the laurel or bays, than I should now be to receive any such garland or fool’s cap. There is not, I believe (and it is bold to affirm) a single free Briton in this kingdom, who hates his wife more heartily than I detest the muses. They have, indeed, behaved to me like the most infamous harlots; and have laid many a spurious, as well as deformed production at my door: in all which, my good friends the criticks have, in their profound discernment, discovered some resemblance of the parent; and thus I have been reputed and reported the author of half the scurrility, bawdy, treason, and blasphemy, which these last few years have produced.

I am far from thinking every person who hath thus aspersed me, had a determinate design of doing me an injury; I impute it only to an idle, childish levity, which possesses too many minds, and makes them report their conjectures as matters of fact, without weighing the proof, or considering the consequence. But as to the former of these, my readers will do well to examine their own talents very strictly, before they are too thoroughly convinced of their abilities to distinguish an author’s style so accurately, as from that only to pronounce an anonymous work to be his: and, as to the latter, a little reflection will convince them of the cruelty they are guilty of by such reports. For my own part, I can aver, that there are few crimes of which I should have been more ashamed, than of some writings laid to my charge. I am as well assured of the injuries I have suffered from such unjust imputations, not only in general character; but as they have, I conceive, frequently raised m inveterate enemies, in persons to whose disadvantage I have never entertained a single thought; nay, in men whose characters, and even names, have been unknown to me.

Among all the scurrilities with which I have been accused (though equally and totally innocent of every one) none ever raised my indignation so much as the Causidicade: this accused me not only of being a bad writer, and a bad man; but with downright idiotism, in flying in the face of the greatest men of my profession. I take, therefore, this opportunity to protest, that I never saw that infamous, paultry libel, till long after it had been in print; nor can any man hold it in greater contempt and abhorrence than myself.

The reader will pardon my dwelling so long on this subject, as I have suffered so cruelly by these aspersions in my own ease, in my reputation, and in my interest. I shall, however, henceforth treat such censure with the contempt it deserves; and do here revoke the promise I formerly made; so that I shall now look upon myself at full liberty to publish an anonymous work, without any breach of faith. For though probably I shall never make any use of this liberty, there is no reason why I should be under a restraint for which I have not enjoyed the purposed recompense.

A third, and indeed the strongest reason which hath drawn me into print, is to do justice to the real and sole author of this little book; who, notwithstanding the many excellent observations dispersed through it, and the deep knowledge of human nature it discovers, is a young woman; one so nearly and dearly allied to me, in the highest friendship as well as relation, that if she had wanted any assistance of mine, I would have been as ready to have given it her, as I would have been just to my word in owning it: but, in reality, two or three hints which arose on the reading of it, and some little direction as to the conduct of the second volume, much the greater part of which I never saw till in print, were all the aid she received from me. Indeed, I believe there are few books in the world so absolutely the author’s own as this.

There were some grammatical and other errors in style in the first impression, which my absence from town prevented my correcting, as I have endeavoured though in great haste, in this edition: by comparing the one with the other, the reader may see, if he thinks it worth his while, the share I have in this book, as it now stands, and which amounts to little more than the correction of some small errors, which want of habit in writing chiefly occasioned, and which no man of learning would think worth his censure in a romance; nor any gentlemen, in the writings of a young woman.

And as the faults of this work want very little excuse, so its beauties want as little recommendation: though I will not say but they may sometimes stand in need of being pointed out to the generality of readers. For as the merit of this work consists in a vast penetration into human natures, a deep and profound discernment of all the mazes, windings, and labyrinths, which perplex the heart of man to such a degree, that he is himself often incapable of seeing through them; and as this is the greatest, noblest, and rarest, of all the talents which constitute a genius, so a much larger share of this talent is necessary, even to recognize these discoveries, when they are laid before us, than falls to the share of a common reader. Such beauties, therefore, in an author, must be contented to pass often unobserved and untasted; whereas, on the contrary, the imperfections of this little book, which arise, not from want of genius, but of learning, lie open to the eyes of every fool who has had a little Latin inoculated into his tail; but had the same great quantity of birch been better employed, in scourging away his ill-nature, he would not have exposed it in endeavouring to cavil at the first performance of one, whose sex and age entitle her to the gentlest criticism, while her merit, of an infinitely higher kind, may defy the severest. But I believe the warmth of ray friendship hath led me to engage a critick of my own imagination only, for I should be sorry to conceive such a one had any real existence. If, however, any such composition of folly, meanness, and malevolence, should actually exist, he must be as incapable of conviction, as unworthy of an answer. I shall, therefore, proceed to the more pleasing task of pointing out some of the beauties of this little work.

I have attempted, in my preface to Joseph Andrews, to prove, that every work of this kind is in its nature a comick epick poem, of which Homer left us a precedent, though it be unhappily lost.

The two great originals of a serious air, which we have derived from that mighty genius, differ principally in the action, which in the Iliad is entire and uniform; in the Odyssey, is rather a series of actions, all tending to produce one great end. Virgil and Milton are, I think, the only pure imitators of the former: most of the other Latin, as well as Italian, French, and English epick poets, chusing rather the history of some war, as Lucan, and Silius Italicus; or a series of adventures, as Ariosto, etc, for the subject of their poems.

In the same manner, the comick writer may either fix on one action, as the authors of Le Lutrin, the Dunciad, etc., or on a series, as Butler in verse, and Cervantes in prose, have done.

Of this latter kind is the book now before us; where the fable consists of a series of separate adventures, detached from and independent on each other, yet all tending to one great end: so that those who should object to want of unity of action here, may, if they please, or if they dare, fly back with their objection, in the face of even the Odyssey itself.

This fable hath in it these three difficult ingredients which will be found on consideration to be always necessary to works of this kind, viz. that the main end or scope be at once amiable, ridiculous, and natural.

If it be said, that some of the comick performances I have above mentioned differ in the first of these, and set before us the odious, instead of the amiable; I answer, that is far from being one of their perfections; and of this the authors themselves seem so sensible, that they endeavour to deceive their reader by false glosses and colours; and, by the help of irony at least, to represent the aim and design of their heroes in a favourable and agreeable light.

I might farther observe, that, as the incidents arising from this fable, though often surprising, are everywhere natural (credibility not being once shocked through the whole) so there is one beauty very apparent, which hath been attributed by the greatest of criticks to the greatest of poets; that every episode bears a manifest impression of the principal design, and chiefly turns on the perfection or imperfection of friendship; of which noble passion, from its highest purity to its lowest falsehoods and disguises, this little book is, in my opinion, the most exact model.

As to the characters here described, I shall repeat the saying of one of the greatest men of this age, “That they are as wonderfully drawn by the writer, as they were by nature herself.” There are many strokes in Orgueil, Spatter, Varnish, Le Vif, the Balancer, and some others, which would have shined in the pages of Theophrastus, Horace, or La Bruyere. Nay, there are some touches, which I will venture to say, might have done honour to the pencil of the immortal Shakespeare himself.

The sentiments are in general extremely delicate; those particularly which regard friendship, are, I think, as noble and elevated as I have anywhere met with: nor can I help remarking, that the author had been so careful in justly adapting them to her characters, that a very indifferent reader, after he is in the least acquainted with the character of the speaker can seldom fail of applying every sentiment to the person who utters it. Of this we have the strongest instance in Cynthia and Camilla, where the lively spirit of the former, and the gentle softness of the latter, breathe through every sentence which drops from either of them.

The diction I shall say no more of, than as it is the last and lowest perfection in a writer, and one which many of great genius seem to have little regarded, so I must allow my author to have the least merit on this head: many errors in style existing in the first edition, and some, I am convinced, remaining still uncured in this; but experience and habit will most certainly remove this objection; for a good style, as well as a good hand in writing, is chiefly learned by practice.

I shall here finish these short remarks on this little book, which have been drawn from me by those people, who have very falsely and impertinently called me its author; I declare I have spoken no more than my real sentiments of it, nor can I see with any relation or attachment to merit should restrain me from its commendation.

The true reason why some have been backward in giving this book its just praise, and why others have sought after some more known and experienced author for it, is, I apprehend, no other, than an astonishment how one so young, and in appearance unacquainted with the world, should know so much both of the better and worse part, as is here exemplified: but, in reality, a very little knowledge of the world will afford an observer, moderately accurate, sufficient instances of evil; and a short communication with her own heart will leave the author of this book very little to seek abroad of all the good which is to be found in human nature.

Henry Fielding.

Dramatis Personae

David Simple, elder son and rightful heir of Daniel Simple, mercer of Ludgate Hill.

Daniel Simple, his wicked brother.

John and Peggy: two servants suborned by Daniel to witness the forged will disinheriting his brother.

Mr. Johnson, a jeweller.

His elder daughter, who marries a rich Jew.

Nancy, his second daughter, who jilts David and marries Mr. Nokes

Betty Trusty, her maid.

A Carpenter, who extols his ugly and lazy spouse as the best wife in the world.

Another man, with a patient and industrious wife, whom he abuses.

Mr. Orgueil, the censorious critic, who introduces David to the various sorts of life in London.

Mr. Spatter, who introduces David to the fashionable coteries, and pulls to pieces, ridicules and abuses all the people they meet with.

Mr. Varnish, who sings the praises of everybody, and has ”the appearance of good-nature, but is not at all affected with the sufferings of others.”

Lady_________Cynthia’s tyrannical protectress.

Cynthia, an unfortunate young lady, loved by David. “After being hated by her family as a wit (she) is insulted as a fool by her patroness.”

The Earl of_________Lady_________’s nephew, who proposes to Cynthia.

Valentine, an unfortunate young man. befriended by David.

Camilla, his more unfortunate sister, whom David loves.

Mr._________, their father, deceived by Livia.

Livia, his second wife, whose beauty belies her odious disposition, and who drives Valentine and Camilla from their father’s house by her remorseless persecution.

A Clergyman, An Atheist, A Butterfly “as he had neither profession nor characters, I know not what other name to give him”, Cynthia’s fellow-travellers in the coach.

The Marquis of Stainville, a chivalrous French gentleman.

Isabelle, another unfortunate young lady, his sister.

Julie, her friend, a passionate girl, who dies of a broken heart.

Monsieur Le Buisson, who loves Isabelle, and is loved by Julie.

The Chevalier Dumont, a French Adonis, irresistible to the ladies, but of invincible virtue; Stainville’s friend.

Monsieur Le Neuf, a villainous friend of Stainville and Dumont.

Dorimene, Stainville’s wife, who falls uncontrollably in love with Dumont.

The Comte de_________, her father.

Vieuville, Dorimene’s brother. He is madly in love with Isabelle, but fortunately falls still more madly in love with some one else.

Pandolph, an old servant of Stainville’s.

Sacharissa and Corinna Two English young ladies at Paris, whose contrasts of character point the moral of Cynthia’s story.

Monsieur Le Vive, a man who always acts according to his passions.

The Balancer, a man who finds every act in life as difficult as an abstruse mathematical problem.

Part III

BOOK I

I

THE BIRTH, PARENTAGE, AND EDUCATION OF MR. DAVID SIMPLE

Mr. David Simple was the eldest son of Mr. Daniel Simple, a mercer on Ludgate Hill. His mother a downright country woman, who originally got her living by plain work; but being handsome, was liked by Mr. Simple. When or where this couple met, or what happened to them during their courtship, is foreign to my present purpose, nor do I really know. But they were married, and lived many years together, a very honest and industrious life; to which it was owing, that they were able to provide very well for their children. They had only two sons, David and Daniel, who, as soon as capable of learning, were sent to a public school, and kept there in a manner which put them on a level with boys of a superior degree, and they were respected equally with those born in the highest station. This indeed their behaviour demanded; for there never appeared anything mean in their actions, and nature had given them parts enough to converse with the most ingenious of their school-fellows. The strict friendship they kept up was remarked by the whole school; who ever affronted the one, made an enemy of the other; and while there was any money in either of their pockets, the other was never to want it: the notion of whose property it was, being the last thing that ever entered into their heads. The eldest, who was of a sober, prudent disposition, had always enough to supply his brother, who was much more profuse in his expenses; and I have often heard him say (for this history is all taken from his own mouth) that one of the greatest pleasures he ever had in his life, was in the reflections he used to make at that time, that he was able to supply and assist his dear brother; and whenever he saw him but look as if he wanted anything, he would immediately bring out all the money he had, and desire him to take whatever he had occasion for. On the other hand, Daniel was in some respects useful to him; for although he had not half the real understanding or parts, yet he was what the world calls a much sharper boy; that is, he had more cunning, and consequently being more suspicious, would often keep his brother from being imposed on; who, as he was too young to have gained much experience, and never had any ill designs on others, never thought of their having any upon him. He paid a perfect deference to his brother’s wisdom; from finding, that whenever he marked out a boy as one that would behave ill, it always proved so in the end. He was sometimes, indeed, quite amazed how Daniel came by so much knowledge; but then his great love and partiality to him easily made him impute it to his uncommon sagacity, and he often pleased himself with the thoughts of having such a brother.

Thus these two brothers lived together at school in the most perfect unity and friendship, till the eldest was seventeen, at which time they were sent for from school, on their father’s being seized with a violent fever. He recovered of that distemper, but it weakened him so much, that he fell into a consumption, in which he lingered a twelvemonth, and then died. The loss of so good a father was sensibly felt by the tender-hearted David; he was in the utmost affliction, till by philosophical considerations, assisted by a natural calmness he had in his own temper, he was enabled to overcome his grief, and began again to enjoy his former serenity of mind. His brother, who was of a much gayer disposition, soon recovered his spirits; and the two brothers seemed to be getting into their former state of happiness, when it was interrupted by the discovery of something in Daniel’s mind, which to his fond brother had never appeared there before; and which, whoever thinks proper to read the next chapter, may know.

II

IN WHICH ARE SEEN THE TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES WHICH ATTEND ENVY AND SELFISHNESS

It will perhaps surprise the reader as much as it did poor David, to find that Daniel, notwithstanding the appearance of friendship he had all along kept up with his brother, was in reality one of those wretches, whose only happiness centres in themselves; and that his conversation with his companions had never any other view, but in some shape or other to promote his own interest. To this was owing his endeavour to keep David from being imposed on, lest his generosity should lead him to let others share his money as well as himself: from this alone arose his character of wisdom; for he could easily find out an ill-disposed mind in another, by comparing it with what passed in his own bosom. While he found it for his benefit to pretend to the same delicate way of thinking and sincere love which David had for him, he did not want art enough to affect it; but as soon as he thought it his interest to break with his brother, he threw off the mask, and took no pains to conceal the baseness of his heart.

From the time they came from school, during the old gentleman’s illness, Daniel’s only study was how he should throw his brother out of his share of his father’s patrimony, and engross it wholly to himself. The anxious thoughts he appeared continually in, on this account, were imputed by his good-natured friend to a tender concern for a parent’s suffering; a consideration which much increased his love for him. His mother had a maid, whom Mr, Daniel had a great fancy for; but she being a virtuous woman (and besides having a sweet-heart in her fellow-servant, whom she liked much better) resisted all his solicitations, and would have nothing to say to him. But yet he found she could not refuse any little presents he made her; which convinced him she was very mercenary, and made him think of a scheme to make her serve his designs of another kind, since she would not be subservient to his pleasures. He knew his father had given a sealed paper to his brother, which he told him was his will, with strict orders not to open it till after his death; and as he was not ignorant where David had put it, he formed a scheme to steal away the real will, and to put a forged one in its place. But then he was greatly puzzled what he should do for witnesses; which, as he had slily pumped out of an ingenious young gentleman his acquaintance, who was a clerk to an attorney, were necessary to the signing a will. He therefore thought, if he could bribe this girl and her sweetheart for this purpose, he should accomplish all he desired; for, as the same learned lawyer had told him, two witnesses were sufficient, where the estate was only personal, as that of his father’s was. This young woman was one of those sort of people who had been bred up to get her living by hard work; she had been taught never to keep company with any man, but him she intended to marry; nor to get drunk, or steal; for if she gave way to those things (besides that they were great sins), she would certainly come to be hanged; which, as she had an utter aversion to, she went on in an honest way, and never intended to depart from it.

Our spark, when first he thought of making use of her, was very much afraid, lest she should refuse, and betray him. But when he reflected how impossible it would be for him to refuse anything he thought valuable, though he was to be guilty of ever so much treachery to obtain it, he resolved boldly to venture on the trial. When he first spoke to her about it, he offered her fifty pounds, but she was so frightened at the thoughts of being accessory to a forgery, that she declared she would not do it for the whole world; for that she had more value for her precious soul than for anything he could give her; that as to him, he was a schollard, and might think of some way of saving himself; but as she could neither write nor read, she must surely be d—d. This way of talking so thoroughly convinced Daniel of her folly that he made no doubt of soon gaining her to his purpose. He, therefore, made use of all the most persuasive arguments he could think of; and, amongst the rest, he told her that by this means she might marry the man she liked, and live with him in a very comfortable manner. He immediately perceived this staggered all her resolutions; and as soon as he saw she could moved did not fear succeeding. He pulled out his pocket a purse with a hundred guineas, and told them out before her (for the sight of money is much more prevalent than the idea of it), and assured her, that he would be better than he had promised her; for if she would comply with his request, the whole sum she had seen should be hers, and that she and her lover by this means would be enabled to live in a manner much above all the maids she used to converse with. The thoughts of being set above her acquaintance quite overcame her; and, as she had never been mistress of above forty shillings at a time, a hundred guineas appeared such an immense sum, that she easily conceived she could live very well, without being obliged to work any more. This prospect so charmed her, that she promised to do whatever he would have her. She did not doubt but she could make her sweetheart comply, for he had never refused her anything since their acquaintance began. This made Daniel quite happy, for everything else was plain before him. He had no scruple on the fellow’s account; for, once get the consent of a woman, and that of a man (who is vulgarly called in love with her) consequently follows; for though a man’s disposition is not naturally bad, yet it is not quite certain he will have resolution enough to resist a woman’s continual importunities.

Daniel took the first opportunity (which quickly offered, everything being common between him and his brother) of stealing the will. As it was in his father’s hand, he could easily forge it, for he wrote very like him; when he had done this, he had it witnessed in form, placed it in the room of the other, and then went away quite satisfied in the success of his scheme.

The real affliction of David, on the old gentleman’s death, prevented his immediate thinking of his will. And Daniel was forced to counterfeit what he did not feel, not daring to be eager for the opening it, lest when the contents were known the truth should be suspected. But as soon as the first grief was a little abated, and the family began to be calmed, David desired his mother and brother to walk upstairs; then went to his bureau, and took out the will; and read it before them. The contents were as follows: Daniel was left sole executor; that out of £11,000 which was the sum left, he should pay his mother £60 per annum, and that David should have £500 for his fortune. They all stood speechless for some time, staring at each other. At last David broke silence, and embracing Daniel, said, “I hope my dear brother will not impute my amazement to any concern I have, that he has so much the largest share of my father’s fortune. No, I do assure you, the only cause of my uneasiness is fearing I have done anything to disoblige my father, who always behaved with so much good nature to me, and made us both so equal in his care and love, that I think he must have had some reason for this last action of leaving me so small a matter, especially as I am the eldest.”

Here Daniel interrupted him, and began to swear and bluster. He said that his father must have been told some wicked lies of his brother, and he was resolved to find out the vile incendiary. But David begged him to be pacified, and assured him he thought of it without concern; for he knew him too well to suspect any alteration in his behaviour, and did not doubt that everything would be in common amongst them as usual: nay, so tenderly and affectionately did he love Daniel, that he reflected with pleasure how extremely happy his life must be in continually sharing with his best friend the fortune his father had left him. Thus would he have acted, and his honest heart never doubted but that his brother’s mind was like his own. Daniel answered him with asseverations of his always commanding everything equally with himself. The good old woman blessed herself for having two such sons, and they all went downstairs in very good humour.

Daniel had two reasons for allotting his mother something; one was that nothing but a jointure could have barred her coming in for thirds the other was, that if no notice had been taken of her in the will, it might have been a strong motive for suspicion; not that he had any great reason for caution, as nothing less than seeing him do it could have made David such confidence had he in him) even suspect he could be guilty of such an action.

The man and maid were soon married; and as they had long lived in the family, David gave them something to set up with. This was thought very lucky by the brother, as it might prevent any suspicions how they came by money. Thus everything succeeded to Daniel’s mind, and he had compassed all his designs without any fear of a discovery.

The two brothers agreed on leaving off their father’s business, as they had enough to keep them; and as their acquaintance lay chiefly in that neighbourhood, they took a little house there. The old gentlewoman, whose ill-health would not suffer her to live in London, retired into the country, and lived with her sister.

David was very happy in the proofs he thought he had of his brother’s love; and as it was his nature to be easily contented, he gave very little trouble or expense to the family. Daniel hugged himself in his ingenuity, and in the thoughts how impossible it would have been for him to have been so imposed on. His pride (of which he had no small share) was greatly gratified in thinking his brother was a dependant on him; but then he was resolved it should not be long before he felt that dependance, for otherwise the greatest part of his pleasure must be lost. One thing quite stung him to the quick, viz., that David’s amiable behaviour, joined to a very good understanding, with a great knowledge which he had attained by books, made all their acquaintance give him the preference: and as envy was very predominant in Daniel’s mind, this made him take an utter aversion to his brother, which all the other’s goodness could not get the better of, for as his actions were such as he could not but approve, they were still greater food for his hatred; and the reflection that others approved them also, was what he could not bear. The first thing in which David discovered an alteration in his brother, was in the behaviour of the servants; for as they are always very inquisitive, they soon found out by some means or other, that Daniel was in possession of all the money, and was not obliged to let his brother share it with him. They watched their master’s motions, and as soon as they found that slackening in their respect to David would not be displeasing to the other, it may easily be believed they were not long in doubt whether they should follow their own interest: so that at last, when David called them, they were always going to do something for their master—truly, while he wanted them, they could not wait on any body else! Daniel took notice of their behaviour, and was inwardly pleased at it. David knew not what to make of it: he would not mention it to his brother, till it grew to such a height he could bear it no longer; and when he spoke of it to Daniel, it was only by way of consulting with him how to turn them away. But how great was his surprize, when Daniel, instead of talking in his usual style, said, that for his part he saw no fault in any of his servants! that they did their duty very well, and that he should not part with his own conveniencies for anybody’s whims! If he accused any of them of a fault, he would call them up, and try if they could not justify themselves. David was at first struck dumb with amazement; he thought he was not awake, that it was impossible it could be his brother’s voice which uttered these words: but at last he recollected himself enough to say, “What, is it come to this? Am I brought to a trial with your servants, (as you are pleased to call them?) I thought we had lived on different terms. Oh! recall those words, and don’t provoke me to say what perhaps I shall afterwards repent!” Daniel knew, that although his brother was far from being passionate for trifles, yet that his whole frame would be so shaken from any ill usage from him, he would not be able to command himself: he resolved, therefore, to take this opportunity of aggravating his passion, till it was raised to an height, which, to the unthinking world, would make him appear in the wrong; he therefore very calmly answered, “You may do as you please, brother; but what you utter appears to me to be quite madness; I don’t perceive but you are used in my house as well as I am myself, and cannot guess what you complain of. If you are not contented, you best know how to find a remedy; many a brother, in your case, I believe, would think himself very happy to meet with the usage you have, without wanting to make mischief in families.” This had the desired effect, and threw David into that inconsistent behaviour, which must always be produced in a mind torn at once by tenderness and rage. That sincere love and friendship he had always felt for his brother made his resentment the higher, and he alternately fired into reproaches, and melted into softness; till at last he swore he would go out of the house, and never more visit the place, which was in the possession of so unnatural a wretch.

Daniel had now all he wanted; from the moment the other’s passion grew loud, he had set open the door, that the servants might hear how he used him, and be witnesses he was not in fault. He behaved with the utmost calmness; which was very easy for him to do, as he felt nothing. He said, his brother should be always welcome to live in his house, provided he could be quiet, and contented with what was reasonable; and not be so mad as to think, while he insisted only on the management of his own family, he departed from that romantic love he so often talked of. Indeed, it must be confessed, that if David would have been satisfied to have lived in his brother’s house in a state of dependency; to have walked about in a rusty coat, and an old tye-wig, like a decayed gentleman, thinking it a favour to have bread, while every visitor at the house should be extolling the goodness of his brother for keeping him; I say, could he have been contented with this sort of behaviour, he might have stayed there as long as he pleased. But Daniel was resolved he should not be on a level with him, who had taken so much pains to get a superior fortune; he therefore behaved in this manner, with design either to get rid of him, or make him submit to his terms. This latter it was impossible ever to accomplish: for David’s pride would not have prevented his taking that usage from a stranger, but his love could by no means suffer him to bear it from his brother. Therefore, as soon as the variety of passions he struggled with would give him leave, he told him, that since he was so very different from what he had always thought him, and capable of what he esteemed the greatest villainy, he would sooner starve than have anything more to say to him. On which he left him and went up to his own chamber, with a fixed resolution to leave the house that very day, and never return to it any more.

It would be impossible to describe what he felt when he was alone: all the scenes of pleasure he had ever enjoyed in his brother’s company rushed at once into his memory; and when he reflected on what had just happened, he could not account for such a difference in one man’s conduct. He was sometimes ready to blame himself, and thought he must have been guilty of something in his passion (for he hardly remembered what he had said) to provoke his brother to such a behaviour: he was then going to seek him to be reconciled to him. But when he considered the beginning of the quarrel, and what Daniel had said to him concerning the servants, he concluded he must be tired of his company, and from some motive or other had altered his affection. Then several little slights came into his head, which he had overlooked at the time of their happening; and from all these reflections, he concluded he could have no further hopes from his brother. However, he resolved to stay in his room till the evening, to see if there yet remained tenderness enough in Daniel to induce him to endeavour the removing his present torment. What he felt during that interval, is not to be expressed or understood, but by the few who are capable of real tenderness; every moment seemed an age. Sometimes, in the confusion of his thoughts, the joy of being again well with his brother appeared so strong to his imagination, he could hardly refrain going to him; but when he found it grew late, and no notice was taken of him, not even so much as a summons to dinner, he was then certain any condescension on his side would only expose him to be again insulted; he therefore resolved to stay there no longer.

When he went downstairs, he asked where his brother was, and was told, he went out to dinner with Mr. _________, and had not been at home since. He was so struck with the thought that Daniel could have so little concern for him, as to go into company and leave him in such misery, he had hardly strength enough left to go any farther; however, he got out of the house as fast as he was able, without considering whither he was going, or what he should do; for his mind was so taken up, and tortured with his brother’s brutality, that all other thoughts quite forsook him. He wandered up and down till he was quite weary and faint, not knowing whither to direct his steps. When he first set out, he had but half-a-crown in his pocket, a shilling of which he gave away in his walk to a beggar, who told him a story of having been turned out of doors by an unnatural brother: so that now he had but one shilling and sixpence left, with which he went into a public house, and got something to recruit his worn-out spirits. In his situation, anything that would barely support nature, was equal to the greatest dainties; for his mind was in so much anxiety it was impossible for him to spend one thought on any thing but the cause of his grief. So true is that observation of Shakespeare’s, “When the mind is free, the body is delicate”; that those people know very little of real misery (however the sorrow for their own sufferings may make them imagine no one ever endured the like) who can be very solicitous of what becomes of them. But this was far from being our hero’s case, for when he found himself too weak to travel farther, he was obliged to go into a public house; for being far from home, and an utter stranger, no private house would have admitted him. As soon as he got into a room, he threw himself into a chair, and could scarce speak. The landlord asked him, what he would please to drink; but he not knowing what he said, made answer, he did not choose any thing. Upon which he was answered in a surly manner, if he did not care for drinking, he could have no great business there, and would be very welcome to walk out again. This treatment just roused him enough to make him recollect where he was, and that he must call for something; therefore he ordered a pint of beer to be brought, which he immediately drank off, for he was very dry, though his griefs were so fixed in his mind, he could not feel even hunger or thirst. But nature must be refreshed by proper nourishment, and he found himself now not so faint, and seemed inclined to sleep; he therefore enquired for a bed; which his kind landlord (on his producing money enough to pay for it) immediately procured for him; and being perfectly overcome with fatigue and trouble, he insensibly sunk to rest.

In the morning when he waked, all the transactions of the preceding day came fresh into his mind; he knew not which way to turn himself, but lay in the greatest perplexity for some time; at last, it came into his head he had an uncle, who, when he was a boy, used to be very kind to him; he therefore had some hopes he would receive and take care of him. He got up, and walked as well as he was able to his uncle’s house. The good old man was quite frightened at the sight of him; for the one day’s extreme misery he had suffered, had altered him as much as if he had been ill a twelve-month, His uncle begged to know what was the matter with him; but he would give him no other answer, but that his brother and he had had a few words (for he would not complain); and he desired he would be so kind to let him stay with him a little while, till matters could be brought about again. His uncle told him, he should be very welcome. And there for some time I will leave him to his own private sufferings— lest it should be thought I am so ignorant of the world, as not to know the proper time of forsaking people.

III

IN WHICH IS SEEN THE POSSIBILITY OF A MARRIED COUPLE’S LEADING AN UNEASY LIFE

Mutual fondness, and the desire of marrying with each other, had prevailed with the two servants, who were the cause of poor David’s misfortunes, and the engines of Daniel’s treachery, to consent to an action which they themselves feared they should be d—n’d for; but this fond couple had not long been joined together in the state of matrimony, before John found out, that Peggy had not all those perfections he once imagined her possessed of; and her merit decreased every day more and more in his eyes. However, while the money lasted, (which was not very long, for they were not at all scrupulous of using it, thinking such great riches were in no danger of being brought to an end) between upbraidings, quarrels, reconciliations, kissing, and falling out, they made a shift to jumble on together, without coming to an open rupture. But the money was no sooner gone, than they grew out of all patience. When John began to feel poverty coming upon him, and found all he had got by his villainy was a wife, whom he now was heartily weary of, his conscience flew in his face, and would not let him rest. All the comfort he had left, was in abusing Peggy: he said she had betrayed him, and he should have been always honest, had it not been for her wheedling. She, on the other hand, justified herself, by alleging, nothing but her love for him could have drawn her into it; and if he thought it so great a crime, as he was a man, and knew better than her, he should not have consented, or suffered her to do it. For though I dare say this girl had never read Milton, yet she could act the part of throwing the blame on her husband, as well as if she had learned it by heart. In short, from morning till night, they did nothing but quarrel; and there passed many curious dialogues between them, which I shall not here repeat; for, as I hope to be read by the polite world, I would avoid every thing of which they can have no idea. I shall therefore only say in general, that between the stings of their consciences, the distresses from poverty, John’s coldness and neglect; nay, his liking other women better than his wife, which no virtuous woman can possibly bear; and Peggy’s uneasiness and jealousy; this couple led a life very little to be envied. But this could not last long; for when they found it was impossible for them to subsist any longer without working, they resolved to go into separate services: for they were now as eager to part, as they had formerly been to come together.

They were forming this resolution when they heard Mr. David was gone from his brother’s house on a violent quarrel. This separation had made a general discourse, and people said—it was no wonder, for it was impossible anybody could live in the house with him; for he was of such a temper that he fell out with his brother, for no other reason than because he would not turn away all his servants to gratify his humours! For although Mr. Daniel had all the money, yet he was so good to keep him; and sure, when people are kept upon charity they need not be so proud, but be glad to be contented without setting a gentleman against his servants! The old gentleman, his father, knew what he was, or he would have left him more!

When John heard all this he was struck with amazement and the wickedness he had been guilty of appeared in so horrible a light that he was almost mad. At first he thought he would find Mr. David out, and confess the whole truth: they had lived in the same house a great while and John knew him to be so mild and gentle that he flattered himself he might possibly obtain his forgiveness; but then the fear of shame worked so violently, that he despaired of mustering sufficient spirits to go through the story. The struggle in his mind was so great, he could not fix on what to determine; but the same person who had drawn him into this piece of villainy occasioned at last the discovery; for his wife intreated him with all the arguments she could think of not to be hanged voluntarily, when there was no necessity for it, for although the action they had done was not right, yet, thank God, they had not been guilty of murder. Indeed, if that had been the case there would have been a reason for confessing it, because it could not have been concealed, for murder will out; the very birds of the air will tell of that: but as they were in no danger of being found out it would be madness to run their necks into a halter.

John, who was ruined by his compliance with this woman while he liked her, since he was weary of and hated her, took hold of every opportunity to contradict her. Therefore, her eagerness to keep their crime a secret, joined to his own remorse, determined him to let Mr. David know it. However, he dissembled with her for the present lest she should take any steps to obstruct his designs.

He immediately began to inquire where Mr. David was gone, and when he was informed he was at his uncle’s he went thither and asked for him; but a servant told him Mr. David was indeed there but so ill he could not be spoke with. However, if the business was of great consequence, he would call his master, but disclosing it to himself would do as well. John answered what he had to say could be communicated to nobody but to Mr. David himself. He was so very importunate to see him that at last, by the uncle’s consent, he was admitted into his chamber. When the fellow came near poor David, and observed that wan and meagre countenance, which the great agitation of his mind (together with a fever, which he had been in ever since he came to his uncle’s) had caused, he was so shocked for some time, that he could not speak. At last he fell on his knees, and imploring pardon, told him the whole story of his forging the will, not omitting any one circumstance. The great weakness of David’s body, with this fresh astonishment and strong conviction of his brother’s villainy, quite overcame him, and he fainted away; but as soon as his spirits were a little revived, he sent for his uncle, and told him what John had just related. He asked him what was to be done, and in what manner they could proceed; for that he would on no account bring public infamy on his brother. His uncle told him, he could do nothing in his present condition; but desired him to compose himself, and have a regard to his health, and that he would take care of the whole affair, adding a promise to manage everything in the quietest manner possible.

Then the good-natured man took John into another room, examined him closely, and assured him, if he would act as he would have him, he would make interest that he should be forgiven; but that he must prevail with his wife to join her evidence with his. John said, if he pleased to go with him, he thought the best method to deal with her, was to frighten her to it. On which the old gentleman sent for an attorney, and carried one of his own servants for a constable, in order to make her comply with as little noise as such an affair could admit of. They then set out for John’s house, when David’s uncle told the woman, if she would confess the truth, she should be forgiven; but if she resolved to persist, he had brought a constable to take her up, and she would surely be hanged on her husband’s evidence. The wench was so terrified she fell a-crying, and told all she knew of the matter. The attorney then took both their depositions in form; after which, John and his wife went home with Mr. David’s uncle, and were to stay there till the affair was finished.

The poor young man, with this fresh disturbance of his mind, was grown worse, and thought to be in danger of losing his life; but by the great care of the old gentleman he soon recovered. The uncle’s next design was to go to Daniel, and endeavour by all means to bring him to reasonable terms, and to prevail on him to submit himself to his brother’s discretion. Daniel at first blustered, and swore it was a calumny, and that he would prosecute the fellow and wench for perjury: and then left the room, with a haughtiness that generally attends that high-mindedness which is capable of being detected in guilt. He tried all methods possible to get John and his wife out of his uncle’s house, in order to bribe them a second time; but that scheme could not succeed. He then used every endeavour to procure false evidence; but when the time of trial approached, his uncle went once more to him, and talked seriously to him on the consequences of being convicted in a court of justice of forgery, especially of that heinous sort: assuring him, he had the strongest evidence, joined to the greatest probability of the falseness of his father’s will. After he had discoursed with him some time, and Daniel began to find the impossibility of defending himself, he fell from one extreme to another (for a mind capable of treachery is most times very pusillanimous) and his pride now thought fit to condescend to the most abject submissions; he begged he might see his brother, and ask his pardon; and said, he would live with him as a servant for the future, if he would but forgive him. His uncle told him, he could by no means admit of his seeing David as yet, for he was still too weak to be disturbed; but if he would resign all that was left of his father’s fortune, and leave himself at his brother’s mercy, he would venture to promise that he should not be prosecuted. Daniel was very unwilling to part with his money; but finding there was no remedy, he at last consented.

His uncle would not leave him till he had got everything out of his hands, lest he should embezzle any of it; there was not above eight thousand pounds out of eleven left by his father, for he had rioted away the rest with women and sots.

When everything was secured, the old gentleman told David what he had done, who highly approved every step he had taken, and was full of gratitude for his goodness to him. And now in appearance all David’s troubles were over, and indeed he had nothing to make himself uneasy, but the reflecting on his brother’s actions; these were continually before his eyes, and tormented him in such a manner, it was some time before he could recover his strength. However, he resolved to settle on Daniel an annuity for life to keep him from want; and if he should ever by his extravagance fall into distress, to relieve him, though he should not know from whom it came; but he thought it better not to see him again, for he dared not venture that trial.

David desired his uncle would let him live with him, that he might take care of him in his old age; and make as much return as possible for his generous, good-natured treatment of him in his distress. This request was easily granted; his company being the greatest pleasure the old man could enjoy.

David now resolved to live an easy life, without entering into any more engagements of either friendship or love; but to spend his time in reading and calm amusements, not flattering himself with any great pleasures, and consequently not being liable to any great disappointments. This manner of life was soon interrupted again by his uncle’s being taken violently ill of a fever, which carried him off in ten days’ time. This was a fresh disturbance to the ease he had proposed; for David had so much tenderness, he could not possibly part with so good a friend, without being moved: though he soothed his concern as much as possible, with the consideration that he was arrived to an age, wherein to breathe was all could be expected, and that diseases and pains must have filled up the rest of his life. At last he began to reflect, even with pleasure, that the man whom he had so much reason to esteem and value, had escaped the most miserable part of human life; for hitherto the old man had enjoyed good health; and he was one of those sort of men who had good principles, designed well, and did all the good in his power; but at the same time was void of those delicacies and strong sensations of the mind, which constitute both the happiness and misery of those who are possessed of them. He left no children; for though he was married young, his wife died within half a year, of the small-pox. She brought him a very good fortune; and by his frugality and care he died worth upwards of ten thousand pounds, which he gave to his nephew David, some few legacies to old servants excepted.

When David saw himself in the possession of a very easy, comfortable fortune, instead of being overjoyed, as is usual on such occasions, he was at first the more unhappy; the considerations of the pleasure he should have had to share this fortune with his brother continually brought to his remembrance his cruel usage, which made him feel all his old troubles over again. He had no ambition, nor any delight in grandeur. The only use he had for money was to serve his friends; but when he reflected how difficult it was to meet with a person who deserved that name, and how hard it would be for him ever to believe any one sincere, having been so much deceived, he thought nothing in life could be any great good to him again. He spent whole days in thinking on this subject, wishing he could meet with a human creature capable of friendship: by which word he meant so perfect a union oi minds, that each should consider himself but as a part of one entire being; a little community, as it were, of two, to the happiness oi which all the actions of both should tend, with an absolute disregard of any selfish or separate interest.

This was the phantom, the idol of his soul’s admiration. In the worship of which he at length grew such an enthusiast, that he was in this point only as mad as Quixote himself could be with knight-errantry; and after much amusing himself with the deepest ruminations on this subject, in which a fertile imagination raised a thousand pleasing images to itself, he at length took the oddest, most unaccountable resolution, that ever was heard of, viz., to travel through the whole world, rather than not meet with a real friend.

From the time he lived with his brother, he had led so recluse a life, that he in a manner had shut himself up from the world; but yet when he reflected that the customs and manners of nations relate chiefly to ceremonies, and have nothing to do with the hearts of men; he concluded, he could sooner enter into the characters of men in the great metropolis where he lived, than if he went into foreign countries; where, not understanding the languages so readily, it would be more difficult to find out the sentiments of others, which was all he wanted to know. He resolved, herefore, to take a journey through London; not as some travellers do, to see the buildings, the streets, to know the distances from one place to another, with many more sights of equal use and improvement; but his design was to seek out one capable of being a real friend, and to assist all those who had been thrown into misfortunes by the ill usage of others.

He had good sense enough to know, that mankind in their natures are much the same everywhere; and that if he could go through one great town, and not meet with a generous mind, it would be in vain to seek farther. In this project he intended not to spend a farthing more than was necessary; designing to keep all his money to share with his friend, if he should be so fortunate to find any man worthy to be called by that name.

IV

THE FIRST SETTING OUT OF MR. DAVID SIMPLE ON HIS JOURNEY; WITH SOME VERY REMARKABLE AND UNCOMMON ACCIDENTS

The first thought which naturally occurs to a man who is going in search of anything, is, which is the most likely method of finding it. Our hero, therefore, began to consider seriously amongst all the classes and degrees of men, where he might most probably meet with a real friend. But when he examined mankind, from the highest to the lowest, he was convinced, that to experience alone he must owe his knowledge; for that no circumstance of time, place, or station, made a man absolutely either good or bad, but the disposition of his own mind; and that good-nature and generosity were always the same, though the power to exert those qualities are more or less, according to the variation of outward circumstances. He resolved, therefore, to go into all public assemblies, and to be intimate in as many private families as possible, and to observe their manner of living with each other; by which means he thought he should judge of their principles and inclinations.

As there required but small preparation for his journey, a staff, and a little money in his pocket, being all that was necessary, he set out without any farther consideration. The first place he went into was the Royal Exchange. He had been there before to see the building, and hear the jargon at the time of high change; but now his curiosity was quite of a different kind. He could not have gone anywhere to have seen a more melancholy prospect, or with more likelihood of being disappointed of his design, than where men of all ages and all nations were assembled, with no other view than to barter for interest. The countenances of most of the people showed they were filled with anxiety: some, indeed, appeared pleased; but yet it was with a mixture of fear. While he was musing and making observations to himself, he was accosted by a well-looking man, who asked him, if he would buy into a particular fund. He said. No, he did not intend to deal. “Nay,” says the other. “I advise you as a friend, for now is your time, if you have any money to lay out; as you seem a stranger, I am willing to inform you in what manner to proceed, lest you should be imposed on by any of the brokers.” He gave him a great many thanks for his kindness; but could not be prevailed on to buy any stock, as he understood so little of the matter. About half an hour afterwards there was a piece of news published, which sunk this stock, a great deal below par. David then told the gentleman, it was very lucky he had not bought: “Aye and so it is,” replied he; “but when I spoke, I thought it would be otherwise. I am sure I have lost a great deal by this cursed news.” Immediately David was pulled by the sleeve by one who had stood by, and overheard what they had been saying; who whispered him in the ear, to take care what he did, otherwise the man with whom he had been talking would draw him into some snare. Upon which he told his new friend what had passed with the other, and how he had advised him to buy stock. “Did he?” said this gentleman. “I will assure you, I saw that very man sell off as much of that stock as he could, just before you spoke to him; but he having a great deal, wanted to draw you in to buy, in order to avoid losing; for he was acquainted with the news before it was made public.”

David was amazed at such treachery, and began to suspect everything about him of some ill design. But he could not imagine what interest this man could have in warning him of trusting tha other; till, by conversing with a third person, he found out, that he was his most inveterate enemy from envy; because they had both set out in the world together, with the same views of sacrificing everything to the raising of a fortune; and that, either by cunning or accident, the other was got rich before him. “This was the motive,” said he, ”of his forewarning you of the other’s designs: for that gentleman who spoke to you first, is one of the sharpest men I know; he is one of the long-heads, and much too wise to let any one impose on him; and, to let you into the secret, he is what we call a good man.”

David seemed surprised at that epithet; and asked how it was possible a fellow, whom he had just catched in such a piece of villainy, could be called a good man? At which words, the other, with a sneer at his folly, told him he meant that he was worth a plumb. Perhaps he might not understand that neither, (for he began to take him for a fool;) but he meant by a plumb, £100,000.

David was now quite in a rage: and resolved to stay no longer in a place where riches were esteemed goodness; and deceit, low cunning, and giving up all things to the love of gain, were thought wisdom.

As he was going out of the Change, he was met by a jeweller, who knew him by sight, having seen him at his uncle’s, where he used often to visit. He asked him several questions; and after a short conversation, desired he would favour him with his company at dinner, for his house was just by.

David readily accepted his offer, being willing to be acquainted with as great a variety of people as he possibly could. The jeweller’s name was Johnson; he had two daughters, who were of their company at dinner. They were both young and pretty, especially the younger; who had something so soft and engaging in her countenance, that David was quite charmed with her. Mr. Johnson, who had been an extravagant rake in his youth, though he was now become a miser, and a rigid censurer of other’s pleasures, immediately perceived the young man was greatly taken with his daughter; which he resolved to improve, knowing that his uncle had made him his heir, and that it was worth while to endeavour to increase his liking for her. He well remembered, that in his days of gallantry, he had often, from a transient view of women, liked them; but for want of opportunities of frequently conversing with them, his passion had grown cool again. He therefore thought the wisest way would be to engage David to stay some time with him, as the surest method to fix his affection. It was no hard matter to persuade the young man to what his inclination so strongly prompted him to comply with; though this inclination was so newly born, he hardly knew himself from what motive his desire of staying there arose. But this ignorance did not continue long, for a short time’s conversing with his mistress convinced him how much he liked her: he resolved to watch her very narrowly, to see if her mind was equal to her person, which was indeed very agreeable; but love so magnified her charms in the eyes of David, that from the moment he took a fancy to her, he imagined her beauty exceeded that of all other women in the world. For which reason, he was strongly possessed she was in all respects what he wished her to be.

The girl was commanded by her father, if Mr. David made any addresses to her, to receive them in such a manner as to fix him her’s. He said, he had conversed with women enough, in his time, to know they did not want arts to manage the men they had formed any designs on; and therefore desired she would comply with him in a case which would be so greatly to her advantage. She did not want many arguments to persuade her to endeavour the promotion of her own interest, which she had as much at heart as he could have. Her only answer was, she should obey him; on which he left her highly pleased at her dutifulness, which he imputed to his own wisdom in educating her in a strict manner.

David passed his time very happily; for the master of the family omitted nothing in his power to oblige him, and he was always received by his mistress with cheerful smiles and good humour. He lived in this agreeable manner for three months, without ever wishing to go in search of new adventures, thinking he had now found the greatest happiness to be attained in this world, in a woman he could both love and esteem. Her behaviour was in all respects engaging; her duty to her father, complaisance and affection to her sister, and humanity to the servants, made him conclude his travelling was at an end, for that in her he had met with every thing he wanted. He was not long before he asked her father’s consent, which was easily obtained; and now he had not a wish beyond what he imagined satisfied.

Hitherto he had observed nothing in her, but what increased his good opinion. He was one day a little startled, by her telling him, he should not seem too anxious whether he had her or no; for she was certain her father designed, if he found he loved her enough to take her on any terms, to save some of her fortune to add to her sister’s; but when she told him she had too much generosity and love for him to let him be imposed on by his affection to her, this discourse increased his good opinion of her; and the thought that she loved him gave him the greatest pleasure. He then told her he did not care whether her father would or could give her anything; her affection was all he coveted in this world. He spent his time in raptures, in the reflection what a charming life he should lead with such a woman; but this lasted not long, before all his fancied scenes of joy fell to the ground, by an accident so very common, I must pause a while before I can relate it.

V

IN WHICH IS CONTAINED A MOST CURIOUS DIALOGUE BETWEEN A YOUNG WOMAN AND HER CONFIDANTE

Just as Mr. David and his mistress were on the point of being married, there came one day a rich Jew to Mr. Johnson’s house, in order to deal with him for some jewels. As he had been a long time an acquaintance of his, he invited him to dinner. It happened the Jew was as much taken with the elder daughter, as Mr. David was with the younger, which occasioned his making frequent visits. The father soon perceived the reason of it, and was greatly rejoiced at it; on which account he delayed the other’s match for a little while, hoping to see them both well disposed of at the same time. But the Jew did not presently declare himself, on the consideration that she was a Christian. He considered whether it might not be possible to obtain her on any other terms than matrimony. He knew her father was very covetous, which gave him hopes, that for a sum of money he himself would sell her. He resolved therefore to try that method first; but if that did not succeed, as he found he liked her so much, that he was uneasy without the possession of her, he could but marry her afterwards. He was charmed with her person, and thought women’s souls were of no great consequence, nor did it signify much what they profess. He took the first opportunity of making his proposal to the father, and offered him such a sum of money as his heart leaped at the mention of; but he endeavoured to conceal the effect it had on him as much as possible, and only said, he would consider of it till the next morning, and then he should have an answer.

As soon as Mr. Johnson was alone he sat down to think seriously on what he should determine. He was sure, by the sum the Jew had offered for his daughter, that if he did not comply with his scheme, be would marry her, rather than go without her. But then he was dubious which he should get most by. He was a good while deliberating which way hxs interest would be best promoted. At last concluded, if ha could get rid of his daughter, out giving her any fortune, and make an alliance with so rich a man, it would in the end prove more conducive to his interest than taking the money.

When the Jew therefore came at the appointed time to know his determination, he began by telling him, he was very sorry after so long an acquaintance, in all which time he had dealt fairly with him (as indeed he had never attempted to impose on the Jew, knowing it to be impossible) that he should form a scheme to dishonour his family, and have so ill an opinion of him, to think he would be an instrument in it; but as it might be owing to the great passion he had for his daughter, he was very unwilling to fall out with him; if his love was great enough to marry her he would give her to him with all his heart. Perhaps he might object to her being a Christian; but he had always used her implicitly to obey him; and therefore he did not fear her conforming to whatever he pleased. This stumbling-block once got over, everything else was soon agreed between them; for the Jew consented to take her on her father’s own terms: and there remained nothing now to do but to acquaint Miss Johnson with it.

She was at first startled at the thoughts of changing her religion; but as she had no more understanding than was just necessary to set off her own charms by knowing which dress and which posture became her best; and had never been taught anything more than to go to church of a Sunday, when she was not wanted to stay at home to overlook the dinner, without knowing any other reason for it than custom; the rich presents the Jew made her; and his promises of keeping her great soon overcame all her scruples, and she consented to have him.

He now took the privilege of a son-in-law, being so soon to be married, and had always one dish dressed in his own way. He one day brought iMr. Nokes, an acquaintance of his, to dinner with him; and though he was immensely rich, he was not afraid he would steal away his mistress, he being too old and ugly to admit a suspicion of any woman’s liking him. But unluckily this old fellow cast his eyes upon David’s mistress, and took so great a fancy to her, that he was resolved to have her: he was not afraid of being refused, for he had money enough to have bought a lady of much higher rank; nor did he give himself any trouble I about gaining a woman’s affections, not thinking them worth having; but took it for granted, that every virtuous woman, when she was married, must love her husband well enough to make a good wife, and comply with his humour. He went therefore directly to the father, and offered to make any settlement he should think proper, if he would give him his daughter; who was overjoyed at the proposal and made no scruple of promising her to him, without ever reflecting on the base trick he was playing David.

As soon as Mr. Nokes was gone, Johnson sent for his daughter, and told her what had passed; he said, as she had hitherto been a very obedient girl, he hoped she would still continue so. He owned he had ordered her to encourage Mr. Simple’s addresses, because at that time he appeared to be a very advantageous match for her; but now, when a better offered, she would, he said, be certainly in the right to take the man she could get most by; otherwise she must walk on foot, while her sister rode in her coach. He allowed her a week’s time to consider it; well knowing women are most apt to pursue their interests, when they have had time enough to paint to their own imaginations, how much riches will conduce to the satisfaction of their vanity. She made him no answer, but went immediately to her chamber, where she had left a young woman, her chief confidante, and from whom she concealed nothing. As soon as she entered the room, she threw herself on the bed, and fell into a violent passion of crying. Her companion was amazed, and thinking some dreadful accident had happened to her, begged to know what was the matter. Miss Johnson then told her what her father had been saying, with all the agonies of a person in the highest distress. Upon which ensued the following dialogue; which I shall set down word for word; everybody’s own words giving the most lively representations of their meaning.

A Dialogue between Miss Nancy Johnson and Miss Betty Trusty.

Miss Betty.—Well! and I see nothing in all this to make you so miserable. You are very sure your lover will take you without a farthing, and will think himself happy to have such a proof of your affection; and for my part, if it was my case, I should think it no manner of sin to disobey a father who imposed such unreasonable commands on me.

Miss Nanny.—Oh! my dear, you quite mistake my case; I am not troubling my head either about the sin or my father, but the height of my distress lies in not knowing my own mind; if I could once find that out I should be easy enough. I am so divided by the desire of riches on the one hand and by my honour and the man I like on the other, that there is such a struggle in my mind, I am almost distracted.

Miss Betty.1 — O fie! child, I thought you had been more constant in your nature, and that when you had given your affection to a man it had not been in the power of money to have altered you. I am sure if it was my case I should make no question of preferring a young man I liked to an old decrepid ugly monster, though he was ever so rich, I cannot help laughing at the idea of his figure whenever it comes in ray head: in him nature seems perfectly reversed; the calves of his legs are placed before, and his feet turned inward as it were in spite of nature: one side of his back is high enough to carry the load of riches he possesses, and the other is shrunk in such a manner, that one would imagine his two sides were made only to form a ridiculous contrast. Undoubtedly you will be much envied the possession of so lovely a creature!

Miss Nanny.—At what a rate you run on; it is easy to talk, but if you was in my place you can’t tell what you would feel. Oh, that this good offer had but come before I knew the other, or at my first acquaintance with him I for then I only received him because my father bid me, and I thought to gain by such a match: but now when I have conversed long enough with him, to find it is in his power to give me pleasure; I must either forsake him, or abandon all thoughts of being a great woman. It is true, my lover can indeed keep me very well, I shall not want for anything he can procure me; for I am sure he loves me sincerely, and will do all in his power to oblige me; and I like him very well, and shall have no reason to envy another woman the possession of any man whatever: but then, he can’t afford to buy me fine jewels, to keep me an equipage; and I must see my sister ride in her coach and six, while I take up with a hack, or at best with a coach and pair. Oh! I can never bear that thought, that is certain I my heart is ready to burst. Sure never woman’s misfortune equalled mine!

[Here she fell into such a violent passion of crying, it was some time before she could speak; but when she was a little recovered, she went on in the following words.]

Pray, my dear friend, advise me; do not be silent while I am thus perplexed, but tell me which will give me the greatest pleasure, the satisfaction of my love or of my vanity?

Miss Betty.—Was ever woman so unreasonable? How is it possible for me to tell which will give you most pleasure? You certainly must know that best yourself. I have already told you, if it was my case I should not hesitate a moment, but take the young fellow, and let the old wretch purchase what nurse he pleased; he may meet with women enow who have no engagements, and there is no fear that any such would refuse him.

Miss Nanny.—You say true; I wish that had been my situation; but if I should neglect this opportunity of making my fortune, every woman whom I see supported in grandeur, will make me mad to think I had it once in my power to have been as great as her. Well, I find it is impossible I should ever come to any determination; I shall never find out what I have most mind to do, so I must even leave it to chance. I will go tell Mr. David what has happened, and if he presses me very much to run away with him, I shall never be able to resist him; but perhaps he may be afraid to make me unhappy, and then I may marry the other without any obstruction: but then no doubt he will marry somebody else, and I cannot bear that neither! I find it is in vain for me to think; I am in a labyrinth, and the farther I go the more I am puzzled: if I could but contrive some way to have my lover, and yet not give up the money, I should be happy; but as that is impossible, I must be miserable, for I shall always regret the loss of either. I will do the best I can, I will have the riches, that is positive; if I can possibly command myself enough to resist my lover’s importunities, in case he should persist in my going away with him.

Thus ended this dialogue; in which vanity seemed to have had a fair chance of gaining the victory over love; or, in other words, where a young lady seemed to promise herself more pleasure from the purse than the person of her lover. And I hope to be excused by those gentlemen who are quite sure they have found one woman, who is a perfect angel, and that all the rest are perfect devils, for drawing the character of a woman who was neither; for Miss Nanny Johnson was very good-humoured, had a great deal of softness, and had no alloy to these good qualities, but a great share of vanity, with some small spices of envy, which must always accompany it. And I make no matter of doubt, but if she had not met with this temptation, she would have made a very affectionate wife to the man who loved her: ha would have thought himself extremely happy, with a perfect assurance that nothing could have tempted her to abandon him. And when she had had the experience, what it was to be constantly beloved by a man of Mr. Simple’s goodness of heart, she would have exulted in her own happiness, and been the first to have blamed any other woman for giving up the pleasure of having the man she loved for any advantage of fortune; and would have thought it utterly impossible for her ever to have been tempted to such an action; which then might possibly have appeared in the most dishonourable light: for to talk of a temptation at a distance, and to feel it present, are two such very different things, that everybody can resist the one, and very few people the other. But it is now time to think of poor David, who has been all this time in a great deal of misery; the reason of which the next chapter will disclose.

VI

WHICH TREATS OF VARIETY OF THINGS, JUST AS THEY FELL OUT TO THE HERO OF OUR HISTORY

David was going up to his mistress’ chamber, to desire her company to walk; when he came near the door, he fancied he heard the voice of a woman in affliction, which made him run in haste to know what was the matter; but as he was entering the room, being no longer in doubt whose voice it was, he stopped short, to consider whether he should break in so abruptly or no. In this interim, he heard the beginning of the foregoing dialogue; this raised such a curiosity in him, that he was resolved to attend the event. But what was his amazement, when he found that the woman he so tenderly loved, and who he thought had so well returned his affection, was in the highest perplexity to determine whether she should take him with a competency, or the monster before described with great riches. He could hardly persuade himself that he was not in a dream. He going to burst open the door, and tell her he had witness to the delicacy of her sentiments; but his tenderness for her, even in the midst of his passion, restrained him, and he could not bring himself to do anything to put her into confusion.

He went back to his own room, where love, rage, despair, and contempt, alternately took possession of his mind; he walked about, and raved like a madman; repeated all the satires he could remember on women, all suitable to his present thoughts, (which is no great wonder, as most probably they were writ by men in circumstances not very different from his). In short, the first sallies of his passion, his behaviour and thoughts, were so much like what is common on such occasions, that to dwell long upon them, would be only a repetition of what has been said a thousand times. The only difference between him and the generality of men in the same case, was, that instead of resolving to be her enemy, he could not help wishing her well: for as tenderness was always predominant in his mind, no anger, nor even a just cause of hatred could ever make him inveterate or revengeful: it cost him very little to be a Christian in that point; for it would have been more difficult for him to have kept up a resentment, than it was to forgive the highest injury, provided that injury was only to himself, and that his friends were no sufferers by it. As soon therefore as his rage was somewhat abated, and his passion a little subsided, he concluded to leave his mistress to the enjoyment of her beloved grandeur with the wretch already described, without saying or doing anything that might expose or any way hurt her.

When he had taken this resolution, he went down stairs into a little parlour, where he ccidentally met Miss Nanny alone. She, with her eyes swelled out of her head with crying, with fear and trembling told him her father’s proposals. Her manner of speaking, and her looks, would have been to him the strongest proofs of her love, and given him the greatest joy, if he had not before known the secrets of her heart from her own mouth. The only revenge he took, or ever thought of taking, was by endeavouring to pique that vanity which was so greatly his enemy. He therefore put on a cold indifference, and said, he was very glad to hear she was likely to make so great a fortune; for his part, he was very easy about it, he thought indeed to have been happy with her as a wife; but since her father had otherwise disposed of her, he should advise her to be dutiful, and obey him.

He was very bad at acting an insincere part; but the present confusion of her mind was so great, she could not distinguish very clearly; and not knowing he was acquainted with what had passed between her and her confidante, his behaviour threw her into a great consternation, and had the desired effect of piquing her vanity. I verily believe, had his design been to have gained her, and could he have taken the pains to have turned about, and made a sudden transition in her mind, from the uneasiness his coldness gave her pride, to a triumph in a certain conquest of him, joined to the love which she really had for him, notwithstanding it was not her predominant passion, he might have carried her wherever he pleased. But as that was not his design, he durst not stay long with her; for he was several times tempted by her behaviour to think he was not in his senses, when he fancied he overheard her say anything that could be construed to her disadvantage. And certainly, if the longest experienced friend had told him what he heard himself, he would have suspected him of falsehood; and if, on being taxed with it, she had denied it, he would have believed her against the whole world. But as he was witness himself to what she had said, and was convinced that she could think of such a fellow as his rival, for the sake of money, he had just resolution enough to leave her, though he had a great struggle in his mind before he could compass it; and he has often said since, that if he had staid five minutes longer, his love would have vanquished his reason, and he should have become the fond lover again. Before he went, he took leave of her father and sister, with great civility, for he was resolved to avoid any bustle. He sent for a coach, put his clothes into it, and drove from the door.

Mr. Johnson asked no questions, for he heartily glad to get rid of him, and thought it was owing to his daughter’s discharging him; he therefore again exulted in his own wisdom, in making her always obey him. He then went to look for her, in order to applaud her obedience; but how great was his surprise, when he found her, instead of being rejoiced at having done her duty, and being rid of a troublesome lover, walking about the room like a mad woman, crying and tearing her hair; calling out she was undone for ever; she had no refuge now; her misery must last as long as her life.

Her father had been in the room some time before she perceived him, and now she took no notice of him; but continued walking about in the same manner. As soon as he could recollect himself, he began to talk to her, and asked her what could be the cause of ail this uneasiness; said her lover was just gone from the door in a coach, and he was come to praise her dutiful behaviour. When she heard David was gone, it increased her agony, and she could hardly forbear reproaching her father, for being the cause of her losing such a man. For no sooner did she think him irretrievable, than she fancied in him she had lost everything truly valuable; and though that very day all her concern had been how to get rid of him; yet, now he was gone, she would have sacrificed (for the present) even her darling vanity, if she could have brought him back again. And when Mr. Johnson would have comforted her, by telling her of the rich husband she was to have, she flew into the greatest rage imaginable, and swore, if she could not see Mr. Simple again, she would lock herself up, and never converse with any living creature more; for, without him, she was undone and ruined.

Her father, who had no idea of a woman’s being ruined any way but one, began to be startled at her repeating that word so often, and to fear, that the girl had been drawn in by her passion to sacrifice her honour; he was terrified, lest he should prove the dupe instead of Mr. Simple. He stood considering some time, and at last was going to burst into a rage with his daughter, resolving, if she was not virtuous, he would turn her out of doors: but, before he said anything in anger to her, a sudden thought came into his mind, which turned him into a milder temper. He considered, that as the thing was not publick, and Mr. Nokes was ignorant of it, it might be all hushed up. He wisely thought, that as she was not in that desperate condition in which some women who have been guilty of indiscretions of that kind are, he might justify himself in forgiving her. If, indeed, her reputation had been lost, and she had conversed long enough with a man to have worn out her youth and beauty, and had been left in poverty, and all kinds of distress, without any hopes of relief, her folly would have then been so glaring, he could by no means have owned her for his child. But as he did not at all doubt when the first sallies of her grief were over, she would consent to follow her interest, and marry the old man; and that then he should still have the pleasure of seeing her a fine lady, with her own equipage attending her; he condescended to speak to her in as kind a manner as if he had been sure Lucretia herself (whose chastity nothing but the fear of losing her reputation could possibly have conquered) had not excelled her in virtue. He desired her to be comforted; for if she had been led astray by the arts of a man she liked, if she would be a good girl, and follow his advice in concealing it from and marrying the man who liked her, he would not only forgive it, but never upbraid, or mention it to her more.

She was quite amazed at this speech; and the consideration, that even her own father could suspect her virtue, which was dearer to her than her life, did but aggravate her sorrows. At first she could not help frowning, and reproaching her father for such a suspicion, with some hints of her great wonder how it was possible there could be such creatures in the world; but, in a little time, her thoughts were all taken up again with Mr. Simple’s leaving her. She told her father, nothing but his returning could make her happy, and she could not think how she had lost him; for she never told him she would prefer the other to him: though, indeed, she was very wavering in her own mind, yet she had not expressed it to him, and his indifference was what she could not bear. If he had but sighed, and been miserable for the loss of her, she could have married her old man without any great reluctance: but the thought that he had left her first was insupportable! At this rate did she run on for some time.

Mr. Johnson, who in his youth had been very well acquainted with women’s ways, and knew the ebbs and flows of their passions, was very well satisfied that as there was a great mixture of vanity in the sorrow she expressed for the loss of her lover, the greater vanity would in the end conquer the less, and he should bring her to act for her own and his interest: he therefore left her, to go and follow his own affairs, and made no doubt of everything succeeding according to his wish. She spent some time in the deepest melancholy, and felt all the misery which attends a woman who has many things to wish, but knows not positively which she wishes most. Sometimes her imagination would represent Mr. Simple with all the softness of a lover, and then the love she had had for him would melt her into tenderness; then in a moment his indifference and neglect came into her head, her pride was piqued, and she was all rage and indignation; then succeeded in her thoughts the old man and his money: so that love, rage, and vanity, were in the greatest contention which should possess the largest share of her inclinations. It cannot be determined how long this agitation of mind would have lasted, had not her sister’s marriage with the rich Jew put end to it; which being celebrated with great pomp and splendour, made Miss Nanny resolve she would not be outdone in grandeur: she therefore consented to give her hand to Mr. Nokes, and as he was ready to take her, it was soon concluded; and she now no longer made any difficulty of preferring gaiety and show to everything in the world. She thought herself ill-used by Mr. Simple, (not knowing the true cause of his leaving her in that abrupt manner;) so that her pride helped her to overcome any remains of passion, and she fancied herself in the possession of everything which could give happiness, namely, splendid equipages and glittering pomp. But she soon found herself greatly mistaken; her fine house, by constantly living in it, became as insipid as if it had been a cottage: a short time took away all the giddy pleasure which attends the first satisfaction of vanity.

Her husband, who was old, soon became full of diseases and infirmities, which turned his temper (naturally not very good) into moroseness and ill-nature: and as he had married a woman whom he thought very much obliged to him, on account of his superiority of fortune, he was convinced it was but reasonable she should comply with his peevish humours; so that she had not lived long with him, before the only comfort she had was in the hopes of outliving him.

She certainly would soon have broke her heart, had she known that all this misery, and the loss of the greatest happiness, in being tenderly used by a man of sense, who loved her, was her own fault; but, as she thought it his inconstancy, to his generosity in not telling her the truth, she owed the avoiding that painful reflection. The uneasy state of her mind made her peevish and cross to all around her; and she never had the pleasure of enjoying that fortune, which she had been so desirous of obtaining: her husband, notwithstanding his old age, died of I spotted fever; she caught the infection of him, and survived him but three days. But I think it is now full time to look after my hero.

VII

CONTAINING A REMARKABLE CONTENTION BETWEEN THREE SISTERS

Poor David’s heart was ready to burst. He ordered his coach to drive into Fleet Street, where he presently took a lodging; and now being at some distance from the cause of his torment, and at liberty to reflect on what had passed, he found it was much harder to conquer passion than to raise it; for notwithstanding the great contempt he had for his mistress’ conduct, and his aversion to the very thought of a mercenary woman, yet would his fancy set before him all those scenes of pleasure he once imagined he should enjoy with the object of his love. With those thoughts returned all his fondness: then came his reason spitefully to awake him from the pleasing dream, and represented to him, he ought to forget it was ever in the power of a person, who so highly deserved to be despised, to have contributed to his pleasure. But all the pains he could take to overcome his inclination for her could not make him perfectly easy; sometimes he would weep, to think that vanity should prevent such a creature from being perfect; then would he reflect on the opinion he once had of her, and from thence conclude, if she could have such faults, no woman was ever truly good; and that nature had certainly thrown in some vices to women’s minds, lest good men should have more happiness than they are able to bear. On this consideration, he thought it would be in vain to search the world round, for he was sure he could meet with nothing better than what he had already seen; and he fancied he might certainly justify himself in going back to her, who had no faults, but what nature, for some wise purpose, had given to all creatures of the same kind: he began to flatter himself, that time and conversation with him would get the better of those small frailties (for such he soon began to think them) which, perhaps, might be only owing to youth, and the want of a good education. With these reflections he was ready to go back to throw himself at her feet and ask ten thousand pardons for believing his own senses; to confess himself highly to blame, and unworthy her favour, for having left her. However, he had just sense enough left to send a spy first to enquire into her conduct concerning the old man, who came just as she was married. This news assisted him to get the better of his love; and he never enquired for her more, though he was often thoughtful on her account.

Now was David in the same condition as when he discovered his brother’s treachery. The world was to begin again with him; for he could find no pleasure in it, unless he could meet with a companion who deserved his esteem; he had been used ill by both the man and the woman he had loved. This gave him but a melancholy prospect, and sometimes he was in perfect despair; but then his own mind was a proof to him, that generosity, good-nature, and a capacity for real friendship, were to be found in the world. Besides, he saw the shadow of those virtues in so many minds, that he did not in the least doubt but that the substances must exist in some place or other. He resolved, therefore, to go in his search; for he was sure, if ever he could find a valuable friend, in either man or woman, he should be doubly paid for all the pains and difficulties he could possibly go through.

He took a new lodging every week, and always the first thing he did was to enquire of his landlady the reputation of all the neighboorhood: but be never could hear one good character from any of them: only every one separately gave very broad hints of their own goodness, and what pity it was they should be obliged to live amongst such a set of people. As he was not quite so credulous to take their words, he generally, in two or three days, had some reason to believe they were not totally exempt from partiality to themselves. He went from house to house for some time, without meeting with any adventure worth relating. He found all the women tearing one another to pieces from envy, and the men sacrificing each other for every trifling interest. Every shop be went into, be heard men swear they could not afford their goods under such a price one minute, and take a great deal less the next; which even his charity could not impute to the desire of serving the buyer. In short, the generality of scenes he saw he could never mention without a sigh, or think of without a tear.

In one of the houses where he lodged, the master of the family died while he was there. This man bad three daughters, every one of whom attended him with the utmost duty and care during bis illness, and at the approach of bis last moments showed such agonies of grief and tender sorrow, as give our hero great pleasure. He reflected how much happier the world would be, if all parents would sustain the helpless infancy of their children with that tenderness and care, which would be thought natural by every good mind, unexperienced in the world, for all creatures to have towards everything immediately placed under their protection; and as they grew older, form their minds, and instruct them with that gentleness and affection which would plainly prove everything they said or did was for their good, instead of commanding them with an arbitrary power. He thought that children thus educated, with grateful minds would return that care and love to their parents, when old age and infirmities rendered them objects of compassion, and made it necessary for them to be attended with more assiduity than is generally met with in those people who only serve them for their money.

The three daughters above-mentioned never ceased crying and lamenting, till their father was buried, in all which time Mr. Simple did all he could to comfort them; but as soon as the funeral was over, they dried up their tears, and seemed quite recovered. The next morning, as David was musing by himself, he was startled by a sudden noise he knew not what to make of. At first he fancied it was the chattering of magpies; then he recollected, that some young female neighbours of his, fearing lest there should be too much silence in their house, kept two or three parrots to entertain themselves with. At last, he thought he heard something like the sound of human voices, but so confused and intermixed, three or four together, that nothing could be distinguished. He got up, and went towards the room the noise seemed to come from: but how great was his amazement, when he threw open the door, and saw the three dutiful daughters (whom he had so much applauded in his own mind) looking one pale as death, the other red as scarlet, according as their different constitutions or complexions were worked on by violent passions; each of them holding a corner of a most beautiful carpet in her hand! The moment they saw David, they ran to him, got hold of him, and began to tell their story all at a time. They were agitated by their rage to such a degree, that not one of them could speak plain enough to be understood; so that he stood as if he had been surrounded by the three furies for a considerable time, before he could have any comprehension what they would be at. At last, with great intreaties that one of them would speak at a time, he so far prevailed, that the eldest told him the story, though it was not without several interruptions and many disputes.

Their father had left all he had to be equally divided amongst them; and when they came to examine his effects (which they did very early in the morning after the funeral) they found this carpet, which was a present to him from a merchant, and was one of the finest that ever was seen. The moment they set eyes on it, they every one resolved to have it for themselves, on which arose a most violent quarrel; and, as none of them would give it up, the most resolute of them took up a pair of scissors, and cut it into three parts, They were all vexed to have it spoiled, yet each was better pleased than if either of the sisters had had it whole. But still the difference was not decided, for in one of the pieces was a more remarkably fine flower than the rest, and this they had every one fixed on as their own. When David had heard all this, he could not express his astonishment, but stood staring at them, like one who has seen, or fancies he has seen, a ghost, desired them to let go their hold, for he could not possibly be a judge in a dispute of so nice a nature, which they all cried out, they would have the flower divided; for they had rather see it cut in a thousand pieces, than that anybody should have it but themselves.

As soon as David could free himself from them, he ran downstairs, got as far out of their hearing as he could, and left the house that very night.

The behaviour of these sisters to each other, and that lately shown to their father, may appear perhaps very inconsistent, and difficult to be reconciled. But it must be considered, that as the old man had always preferred all the power in in his own hands, they had been used implicitly to obey his commands, and wait on him; and as to their grief at his death, there is to most people a terror and melancholy in death itself, which strikes them with horror at the sight of it: and it being usual for families to cry and mourn for their relations till they are buried, there is such a prevalency in custom, that it is not uncommon to see a whole house in tears for the death of those very people they have hated and abused while living, though their grief ceases with their funerals. But these three sisters had an inveterate hatred to each other; for the eldest being much older than the others, had, during their childhood, usurped so unreasonable an authority over them, as they could never forgive; and as they were handsomer when they grew up than she was, they were more liked by the rest of the world, and consequently more disliked and hated by her. The other two, as they were nearer of an age, in all appearance might have agreed better; but they had met with one of those fine gentlemen who make love to every woman they chance to be in company with. Each of these two sisters fancied he was in love with her; they therefore grew jealous rivals, and never after could endure one another: yet notwithstanding all this, I make no doubt, but on the death of either, the others could have performed the ceremony of crying with as good a grace as if they had loved one another ever so well. Nay, and what is yet more surprising, this grief might not have been altogether affectation; for when any person is in so low a state of body, mind, or fortune, as makes it impossible for them to be the objects of envy, if there is the least grain of compassion or good-nature in the human mind, it has full power to exert itself, and the thought of being about for ever to lose anybody we are used to converse with, like a charm, suddenly banishes from our thoughts all the bad which former piques and quarrels ever suggested to us they had in them, and immediately brings to our remembrance all the good qualities they possessed.

Poor Mr. Simple began now utterly to despair that he should ever meet with any persons who would give him leave to have a good opinion of them a week together; for he found such a mixture of bad in all those he had yet met with, that as soon as he began to think well of any one, they were sure to do something to shock him, and overthrow his esteem: he was in doubt in his own mind, whether he should not go to some remote comer of the earth, lead the life of a hermit, and never see a human face again; but as he was naturally of a social temper, he could not bear the thoughts of such a life. He therefore concluded he would proceed in his scheme, till he had gone through all degrees of people; and, if he continued still unsuccessful, he could but retire at last.

VIII

WHEREIN IS TO BE SEEN THE INFALLIBILITY OF MEN’S JUDGMENTS CONCERNING THE VIRTUES OR VICES OF THEIR OWN WIVES; A SCENE TAKEN FROM VERY LOW LIFE, IN WHICH ONLY SUCH EXAMPLES ARE TO BE FOUND

As David was one day walking along the Strand, full of these reflections, he met a man with so contented a countenance, he could not forbear having a curiosity to know who he was: he therefore watched him home; and, on enquiry, found he was a carpenter, who worked very hard, brought home all the money he could get to his wife, and that they led a very quiet, peaceable life together. He was resolved to take the first opportunity of sending for him, on pretence of employing him in his trade, in order to know, from his own mouth, what it was caused those great signs of happiness which so visibly appeared in his countenance. The man told him, he was indeed the happiest of all mortals; for he certainly had the best wife in the world; to which was owing that cheerfulness he was pleased to take notice of. This still raised his curiosity the more, and made him resolve to go to the man’s house to observe his manner of living. He told him he had a desire to see this good woman, whose character pleased him so well, and that he would go home to dinner with him. The carpenter, who thought he never had witnesses enough of his wife’s goodness, said he should be very proud of his company. And home they went together.

Mr. Simple expected to have found everything prepared in a neat, though plain way by this extraordinary woman, for the reception and comfort of her husband after his morning’s work: but how greatly was he surprised, when he heard by a prentice boy (who was left at home to wait on her, instead of assisting his master in his business) that she in bed, and desired her husband would go and buy the dinner, which the boy dressed for them, but very ill; and when it was ready the lady condescended to sit down at table with them, with the boy waiting behind her chair: and what was still the more amazing, was, that this woman was ugly to such a degree, that it was a wonder any man could think of her at all. The whole dinner passed in the man’s praises of her good humour and virtue, and in exultings in the happiness of possessing such a creature.

This scene perplexed David more than anything he had yet seen, and he endeavoured all he could to account for it. He therefore desired to board with them a week, in order to find out (if possible) what could be the cause of a man’s fondness for such a woman. In all the time he was there he observed she indulged herself in drinking tea and in such expenses as a man in his way could not possibly supply, notwithstanding all his industry; but he thought nothing too much for her. After all the reflections that could be made on this subject, there could be no other reason assigned for this poor man’s being such a willing slave, bat her great pride, and high spirit, which imposed on him, and made him afraid to disoblige her, together with a certain self-sufficiency in all she said or did; which, joined to her superiority to him in birth (she having been a lady’s waiting-gentlewoman) made him imagine her much more capable than she really was in all respects.

I think it very likely, if she had known her own deserts, and been humble in her behaviour, he would have paid her no other compliment than that of confessing her in the right in the mean thoughts she had of herself. He then would have been master in his own house, and have made a drudge of her; an instance of which David saw while he was there, by a man who came one day to visit his neighbour, and was what is called by those sort of people a jolly companion: the first thing he did was to abuse his wife. He said, he had left her at home out of humour, and would always deal with her after that manner when he found her inclined to be ill-tempered. The carpenter cast a look on his wife, which expressed his satisfaction in having so much the advantage of his acquaintance. The other went on, in saying, for his part, he could never have anything he liked at home, therefore he would stay but little there.

David hearing all this, had a great desire to see if this woman was as much better than her husband thought her, as the other was worse; and told the man, if he would let him come and board with him a week, he would give him his own price. The other answered, he should be very welcome, but his wife did things in such an awkward way, he was afraid he would not stay there a day. But he, who was very indifferent as to what he ate and drank, was not frightened at this, and went home with the man. He found the woman hard at work, with two small children, the eldest not four years old, playing round her; they were dressed in coarse things, full of patch-work, but yet whole and clean; everything in the house was neat, and plainly proved the mistress of that family, having no servant, could not be idle. As soon as they came in, she rose from her work, made an humble curtsey to the stranger, and received her husband with a mixture of love and fear. He, in a surly tone, said, “Well, Moll, I hope you are in a better humour than when I left you; here is a gentleman wants to board with us for a week, you had best not be in your airs; none of your crying and whining, for I won’t stay an hour in the house, if you don’t behave yourself as you ought.” The poor woman, who could hardly refrain from tears, said, indeed, she was in very good humour, and would do all she could, in her homely way, to give the gentleman content. She had been very pretty, but her eyes now had a deadness in them, and her countenance was grown pale, which seemed to be occasioned by the sorrow and hard labour she had endured, which produced the effects of old age, even in youth itself.

The husband never spoke for anything but it was done, as if by enchantment; for she flew to obey him the moment be but intimated his inclinations: she watched his very looks to observe what he would have; and if ever he expressed himself mildly, it seemed to give her vast pleasure. Everything was ordered in the house in the most frugal and best manner possible; yet she could seldom get a good word from the man she endeavoured to please. Her modest behaviour, love to her husband, and tenderness for her children, in short, everything she did or said, raised a great compassion in David, and a strong desire to know her story, which he took the first opportunity of desiring her to relate. She for a great while excused herself, saying, she could not tell her story without reflecting on the man she was unwilling to blame. But on David’s assuring her everything should be a secret, and that he would exert the utmost of his power to serve her, she was at last prevailed on to give the following account of her life.

As you seem, sir, so desirous of knowing my misfortunes, I cannot refuse complying with your request, though the remembrance of most of the scenes of my life brings nothing but melancholy thoughts to my mind, which I endeavour as much as possible to avoid. Indeed, I have so few comforts, that it’s well my being continually obliged to employ myself in feeding and covering these my little ones, prevents my having time to think so much as otherwise I should.

“My father was a great distiller in the city, and I was bred up with the utmost tenderness and care, till I was ten years old, when he died and left me to the care of an elder brother, to depend on his pleasure for my support. He was a sort of man it is impossible to draw any character of, for I never knew him to do one action in my life, that was not too much in the common road to be remarked. He kept me in his house without either abusing or showing the least affection towards me; by which sort of behaviour he neither gained my love nor my hatred, but I lived a dull life with very few things to amuse me; for as all the companions I used to play with in my father’s time had plenty of money, and I now was kept without any, they soon shunned me, and I was as willing to avoid them, having too much pride to be beholden to them for paying my share of the expense. I had now nothing to do but to fly to books for refuge: all the pleasure I had was in reading romances, so that by the time I was fifteen, my head was full of nothing but love. While I was in this disposition, one Sunday, as I came out of church, an old woman followed me, and whispered in my ear, if I had a mind to save a pretty young fellow’s life, I should give a kind answer to a note he had sent by her; which she put into my hand, and presently mixed amongst the crowd. I made haste home with the utmost impatience to read my letter, it contained the strongest expressions of love, and was writ so much in the strain of some of my favourite books, that I was overjoyed at the thoughts of such an adventure. However, I would not answer it, thinking some years’ service due to me, before such a favour should be granted; for I began now to look on myself as the heroine of a romance. The young man was clerk to an attorney in the neighbourhood, and was none of those lukewarm lovers who require their mistresses to meet them half way, but he followed me with the utmost assiduity. This exactly suited my taste, and I soon found a great inclination for him, yet was resolved to make a long courtship of it; but a very few meetings with him got the better of all my resolutions, and he made me engage myself to him.

“If my brother had treated me with good nature, I certainly should have acquainted him with this affair: but he took so little notice of me, and whenever I spoke to him showed such a contempt for talking with girls, that, he being twice my age, I contracted such an awe of him, I really was afraid to tall him of it. I take shame to myself for giving so easily into an affair of this nature: but I was young, and had nobody to advise or instruct me, for my mother died when I was an infant, which I hope may be some excuse for me; but I won’t tire you with my foolish remarks.

“My brother happened one day to bring home a young man to dinner with him, who took such a fancy to me, he would have married me. My person then, as I was told, was very agreeable, though now, sir, I am so altered, nobody would know me to be the same woman. This young man was in very good circumstances, which you may be sure made my brother readily agree to it. He therefore told me of it, but was greatly surprised to find me utterly averse to the match; he teased me so much about it, that at last I told him the truth, that I was already engaged, both in honour and inclination, to another.

On hearing this, he fell into the most violent rage imaginable, at my daring to engage myself to any one without his consent. He told me, the man I had pleased to take a fancy to was a pitiful fellow. That his master often said he would never come to any good, for he thought of nothing but his pleasures, and never minded his business. In short, he said, if I would not give him up, he would abandon me, and never see me more. This roughness and brutality made me still fonder of my lover, who was all complaisance and eagerness to please me. I took the first opportunity of informing him of what had happened. He was not at all concerned, as he saw me so resolute, only he pressed me to marry him immediately, which my foolish fondness soon made me consent to. My brother was as good as his word, for be would never see me more. And, indeed, it was not long before I found what he had told me was too true, that my husband would not follow his business; for as soon as he was out of his time he swore be would have no more to do with it. His father was a very good man but, unfortunately for me, died soon after we were married; for he would have been kind to me if he had lived. He had more children, and was not very rich, so that he could not leave us a great deal: however, he left me £30 per annum in an annuity; and to his son £500, which he soon spent, and made me sell my annuity: I have never refused him anything since we have been married. You see, sir, by the manner we live, money is not very plenty with us, though I do my household affairs myself, take care of my poor children, and am glad to do plain work besides, when I can get it; that, by all means possible, I may help to support the man, whom yet I love with the greatest fondness, notwithstanding you see he doth not treat me with an equal tenderness.

“He has a brother, who allows him a small matter, so that we make shift to rub on with bread, and I could be content with my lot, if he behaved to me as when we were first married; what has occasioned this alteration I cannot imagine, for I don’t find he converses with any other women, and I have always been a very humble wife; I have humoured him in everything he has desired: I have never upbraided him with the misery I have suffered for his sake, nor refused him any of the little money I got. I remember once, when I had but just enough to buy a dinner for the day, and had been hard at work, he had a mind to go out, where he thought he should be merry: I let him have this little, and concealed from him that I had no more; thinking it impossible for him to take it, if he had known the truth. I ate nothing but bread that day. When he came home at night, I received him with great good humour; but had a faintness upon me, which prevented my being cheerful, which he immediately imputed to the badness of my temper. He swore there was no hving with women, for they had such vile humours no mortal could bear them. Thus even my tenderness for him is turned against me, and I can do nothing that he does not dislike; yet my fondness still continues for him, and there are no pains I would not take, if he would return it; but he imputes it to a warmth in my inclination, which accident might as well have given to another man.”

David, who sat silent all this while, and attended to her discourse, was amazed at her story; he assured her he would do all in his power to serve her, and would leave her some money, which she might produce at times as she thought proper; and try if finding her always able and willing to supply her husband with what he wanted would not make him kinder to her. He said he had great compassion for her, gave her five guineas, being all he had about him, and promised to send her more, which he punctually performed.

When David came to reflect, he was perfectly amazed, how it was possible for one man to be continually rejoicing in his own happiness, and declaring he had the best of wives, although she spent all his substance, and threw the burden of everything upon him; while another was continually complaining of his wife, when her whole time and labour was spent to promote his interest, and support him and his children. However common it may be in the world, the goodness of David’s heart could not conceive how it was possible for good usage to make a man despise his wife, instead of returning gratitude and good humour for her fondness. He never once reflected on what is perhaps really the case, that to prevent a husband’s surfeit or satiety in the matrimonial feast, a little acid is now and then very prudently thrown into the dish by the wife.

IX

CONTAINING SOME PROOFS, THAT ALL MEN ARE NOT EXACTLY WHAT THEY WISH TO PASS FOR IN THE WORLD

The next lodging our hero took, was near Covent Garden; where he met a gentleman who accidentally lodged in the same house, whose conversation Mr. Simple was mightily charmed with. He had something in his manner which seemed to declare that inward serenity of mind, which arises from a consciousness of doing well, and every trifle appeared to give him pleasure, because he had no tumults within to disturb his happiness. His sentiments were all so refined, and his thoughts so delicate, that David imagined such a companion, if he was not again deceived in his opinion, would be the greatest blessing this world could afford.

This gentleman, whose name was Orgueil, being of French extraction, was equally pleased with Mr. Simple, and they spent their whole time together: he had a great deal of good acquaintance; that is, he conversed with all the people of sense he could meet with, without any considerations what their fortunes were; for he did not rate men at all by the riches they possessed, but by their own behaviour. In this man therefore did David think he had met with the completion of all his wishes; for, on the closest observation, he could not find he was guilty of any one vice, nor that he neglected any opportunity in his power of doing good; the only fault he could ever discern in him, was, a too severe condemnation of others’ actions; for he would never make any allowance for the frailties of human nature, but expected every one to act up to the strictest rules of reason and goodness. But this was overlooked by a friend, and imputed to his knowing, by himself, the possibility of avoiding those frailties, if due care was taken. Wherever he went, he carried David with him, and introduced him into a perfect new scene of life: for hitherto his conversation had been chiefly amongst a lower degree of men. The company in which Mr. Orgueil delighted, was of people who were bred to genteel professions, and who were neither to be reckoned in very high, nor in low life. They went one night to a tavern, with four other gentlemen, who had every one a great deal of that kind of wit which consists in the assemblage of those ideas which, though not commonly joined, have such a ressemblance to each other, that there is nothing preposterous or monstrous in the joining them; whereas I have known some people, for the sake of saying a witty thing, as it were by force, haul together such inconsistent ideas, as nothing but vanity, and a strong resolution of being witty in spite of nature, could have made them think of. But this conversation was quite of a different kind; all the wit was free and easy; every thing that was said semm’d to be spoke with a desire of entertaining the company, without any reflection on the applause that was to arise from it to themselves. In short, nothing but envy and anger, at not having been author of very thing that was said, could have prevented any body’s being pleased with every expression that was made use of. And, as David’s mind was entirely free from those low, mean qualities, his entertainment was pure and unmixed.

The next morning passed in observations on the conversation of the foregoing night, and David thanked his fried for the pleasure his acquaintance had given him. “Ay,” says the other, “I do not in the least double but one of your taste might be highly satisfied with every one of those gentlemen you were with last night; but your goodness will make you sigh at what I am going to relate. Each of those men you were so delighted with, has such glaring faults, as make them all unfit to be thought of in any other light than that of contributing to our diversion. They are not to be trusted, nor depended on in any point in life; and although they have such parts and sense, that I cannot help liking their company, I am forced, when I reflect, to think of them just as I do of a buffoon, who diverts me, without engaging either my love or esteem. Perhaps you may blame me, when I have told you their real characters, for having anything to say to them; but as I consider I have not the power of creation, I must take men as they are; and a man must be miserable who cannot bring himself to enjoy all the pleasures he can innocently attain, without examining too nicely into the delicacy of them. That man who sat next to you, and to whom I was not at all surprised to see you hearken with so much attention, notwithstanding all those beautiful thoughts of his on covetousness, and the eloquence in which he displayed its contemptibleness, is so great a miser, that he would let the greatest friend suffer the height of misery rather than part with anything to relieve him: and was it possible to raise, by any means, compassion enough in him to extort the least trifle, the person who once had a farthing of his money would be ever afterwards hateful to him. For men of his turn of mind take as great an aversion to those people whom they think themselves, or, to speak more properly, their chests a penny the poorer for, as children do to the surgeons who have drawn away any of their blood.

“That other gentleman, who seemed to pitch on extravagance as the properest subject to harangue against, is himself the most extravagant of all mortals; he values not how he gets money, so that he can but spend it; and notwithstanding his lavishness, he is full as much a miser, to everybody but himself, as the other. Indeed, he is reputed by the mistaken world to be generous; and, as he perfectly understands the art of flattering himself, he believes he is so; but nothing can be farther from it. For though he would not scruple to throw away the last twenty guineas he had in the world to satisfy any fancy of his own, he would grudge a shilling to do anything that is right, or to serve another. These two men, who appear so widely different, you may suppose have a strong contempt for each other; but if they could think of themselves with that impartiality, and judge of their own actions with that good sense with which they judge of everything else, they would find that they are much more alike than they at present imagine. The motive of both their actions is selfishness, which makes everything centre wholly in themselves. It was accident brought them together last night; for a covetous man as naturally shuns the company of a prodigal, unless he has a great estate, and he can make a prey of him, as an envious ugly woman does that of a handsome one, unless she can contrive to do her some mischief by conversing with her.

“That gentleman who sat next me, and inveighed against treachery and ingratitude, with such a strength of imagination, and delightful variety of expressions, that a Pythagorean would have thought the soul of Seneca had been transmigrated into him, I know a story of, that will at once raise your wonder and detestation.

“His father was one of those sort of men, who, though he never designed any ill, yet from an indolent, careless disposition, and trusting his affairs entirely to others, ran out a very good estate, and left his son at the age of fifteen, upon the wide world, to shift for himself. An uld gentleman in the neighbourhood took a great fancy to this boy, from the genius he saw in him. He received him into his house, kept him, as if he had been his own son, and at length made use of all his interest to procure him a commission in the army, which he accomplished; and being in the time of peace, he easily obtained leave for him to come often, and spend much of his time at his house. The good old man had a daughter, who was just fifteen when our spark was twenty. She was handsome to a miracle, the object of her father’s most tender love and affection, and the admiration of everybody who knew her. She repaid her father’s tenderness with the utmost duty and care to please him, and her whole happiness was placed in his kindness and good opinion of her. She was naturally warm in her passions, and inclined to love everybody who endeavoured to oblige her. This young gentleman soon fell in love with her: that is, he found it was in her power to give him pleasure, and he gave himself no trouble what price she paid for gratifying his inclination. In short, he made use of all the arts he is master of (and you see how agreeable he can make himself) to get her affections; which, as soon as he found he had obtained, he made no scruple of making use of that very love in her breast (which ought to have made him wish to protect find guard her from every misfortune) to betray her into the greatest scene of misery imaginable; and all the return he made to the man, who had been a father to him from choice and good nature, was to destroy all the comfort he proposed in his old age, of seeing his beloved only child happy.

“He was soon weary of her, and then left her in a condition the most unable to bear afflictions, to suffer more than can be expressed. The being forsaken by the man she loved, and the horror of being discovered by her father, made her almost distracted; it was not that she was afraid of her father, but she loved him so well, that her greatest terror was the thoughts of making him uneasy. It was impossible to conceal her folly long, and she could by no means bring herself to disclose it. The alteration of her behaviour, which from the most lively cheerfulness, grew into a settled melancholy, with her pale and dejected countenance, made the poor old man fear she was going into a consumption. He was always enquiring what was the matter with her; he perceived whenever he spoke to her on that subject, the tears rising in her eyes, and that she was hardly able to give him an answer. At last, by continual importunities, he got from her the whole truth. What words can describe his distress when he heard it! His thoughts were so confused, and his amazement so great, it was some time before he could utter his words. She stood pale and trembling before him, without power to speak, till at last she fainted away. He then catched her up in his arms, cried out for help, and the moment she began to recover, welcomed her to returning life, not in passion and reproaches, but in all the most endearing expressions the most tender love can suggest. He assured her, he never would upbraid her; that all his resentment should fall on the proper object, the villain who had imposed on her soft artless temper, to both their ruins. He wondered what could induce the wretch to so much baseness, since if he had asked her in marriage, as she was fond of him, there was nothing he would not have done to have made her easy. ‘Nay,’ said he, with tears bursting from his aged eyes, ‘I should have had an additional pleasure in contributing to the happiness of that man who hath now so barbarously destroyed all the comfort I proposed in my decline of life, and hath undone me, and my poor only girl.’

“This excess of goodness was more fatal to the wretched young creature, than if he had behaved as most fathers do in the like case; who, when they find their vanity disappointed, and despair of seeing their daughters married to advantage, fall into a violent rage, and turn them out of doors: for this uncommon behaviour of his quite overcame her; she fell from one fainting fit to another, and lived but three days. During all which time, she would never let her father stir from her; and all she said, was to beg him to be comforted, to forget and drive her out of his memory. On this occasion she exerted an uncommon height of generosity, for by exaggerating her own fault, she endeavoured to draw his mind from contemplating her former behaviour, and all those little scenes, in which, by the utmost duty and tenderness, she had so often drawn tears of joy from her then happy father: but the thoughts of his goodness to her overwhelmed her soul; the apprehension that ever she had been the cause of so much grief to him, was worse than ten thousand griefs to her; all the rest she could have borne with patience, but the consideration of what she had brought on him (the best of fathers) was more than nature could support.

“The poor man stifled his groans while she could hear them, for fear of hurting her; but the moment she was gone, he tore his hair, beat his breast, and fell into such agonies, as is impossible to describe. So I shall follow the example of the painter, who drew a veil before Agamemnon’s face, when his daughter was sacrificed, despairing from the utmost stretch of his art, to paint any countenance that could express all that nature must feel on such a dreadful occasion: I shall leave to your own imagination to represent what he suffered; and only tell you, it was so much, that his life and misery soon ended together.”

Here Mr. Orgueil stopped, seeing poor David could hear no more, not being able to stifle his sighs and tears, at the idea of such a scene; for he did not think it beneath a man to cry from tenderness, though he would have thought it much too effeminate to be moved to tears by any accident that concerned himself only.

As soon as he could recover enough to speak, he cried out, “Good God! is this a world for me to look for happiness in, when those very men, who seem to be the favourites of nature; in forming whom, she has taken such particular care to give them every thing agreeahis, can be guilty of such crimes as make them a disgrace to the species they are born of! What could incite a man to such monstrous ingratitude! there was no circumstance to alleviate his villainy; for if his passion was violent he might have married her.” “Yes,” answered Mr. Orgueil, “but that was not his scheme, he was ambitious, and thought marrying so young would have spoiled his fortune; he could not expect with this poor creature above fifteen hundred pounds at first: he did not know how long the father might live, and he did not doubt, but when he had been some time in the world, he might meet with women equally agreeable, and much more to his advantage.”

“Well,” replied David, “and is this man respected in the world? Will men converse with him? Should he not be drove from society, and a mark set upon him, that he might be shunned and despised? He certainly is one of the agreeablest creatures I ever saw; but I had rather spend my time with the greatest fool in nature, provided he was an honest man, than with such a wretch.” “Oh, sir!” says the other, “by that time you have conversed in the world as long as I have, you will find, while a man can support himself like a gentleman, and has parts sufficient to contribute to the entertainment of mankind, his company will be courted where poverty and merit will not be admitted. Every one knows who can entertain them best, but few people are judges of merit. He has succeeded in his designs; for he has married a woman immensely rich.” At this David was more astonished than ever, and asked if his wife knew the story he had just told him. “Yes,” says he; “I knew a gentleman, her friend, who told her of it before she was married, and all the answer she made was—Truly, if women would be such fools to put themselves in men’s power, it was their own fault, and good enough for them; she was sure he would not use a virtuous woman ill, and she did not doubt but her conduct would make him behave well. In short, she was fond of him, and would have him. He keeps an equipage, and is liked by all his acquaintance. This story is not known to everybody, and amongst those who have heard it, they are so inclined to love him, that while they are with him, they can believe nothing against him. No wonder he could impose upon a young unexperienced creature, when I have known him impose on men of the best sense.”

David could not bear the thought that anybody’s wit and parts should have power enough to make the world forget they were villains, and lamented to his friend, that whoever was capable of giving pleasure, should not also have goodness. ”Why, really sir,” says Mr. Orgueil, “in my observations on the world, I have remarked that good heads and good hearts generally go together; but they are not inseparable companions, of which I have already given you three instances, and have one more in the other gentleman who was with us last night, though it is impossible to equal the last story.

“Perhaps, sir, you would think it very unnatural that a person, with his understanding, should have all his good qualities swallowed up and overrun with the most egregious vanity; you see he is very handsome, and to his beauty are owing all his faults. I often think he manages the gifts in which nature has been so liberal to him, with just the same wisdom as a farmer would do, who should bestow all his time and labour on a little flower-garden, placing his whole delight in the various colours and fragrant smells he there enjoyed, and leave all the rich fields, which with a small care would produce real benefits, uncultivated and neglected. So this gentleman’s mind, if he thought it worth his notice, is capable of rendering him a useful member of society; but his whole pleasure is in adorning his person, and making conquests. You could observe nothing of this, because there were no women amongst us; but if there had, you would have seen him fall into such ridiculous tosses of his person, and foolish coquetries, as would be barely excusable in a handsome girl of fifteen. He was thrown very young upon the town, where he met with such a reception wherever he went, and was so much admired for his beauty, even by ladies in the highest station, that his head was quite turned with it. You will think, perhaps, these are such trifling frailties, after what I have already told you of the others, they hardly deserve to be mentioned; but if you will consider for a moment, you will find that this man’s vanity produces as many real evils as ill-nature, or the most cruel dispositions could do. For there are very few families, where he has ever been acquainted, in which there is not at least one person, and sometimes more, unhappy on his account. As the welfare and happiness of most families depend in a great measure on women, to go about endeavouring to destroy their peace of mind, and raise such passions in them as render them incapable of being either of use or comfort to their friends, is really taking a pleasure in general destruction. And I myself know at this present time several young ladies, formerly the comfort and joy of their parents, and the delight of all their companions, who are become, from a short acquaintance with this spark, negligent of everything; their tempers are changed from good-humour and liveliness, to peevishness and insipidity, each of them languishing away her days in fruitless hopes, and chimerical fancies, that her superior merit will at last fix him her own.

“In one house there are three sisters so much in love with him, that from being very good friends, and leading the most amicable life together, they are become such inveterate enemies, that they cannot refrain, even in company, from throwing out sly invectives and spiteful reproaches at one another. I know one lady of fashion, who has no fault but an unconquerable passion for this gentleman, and having too much honour to give her person to one man while another has her affections, has refused several good matches, pines herself away, and falls a perfect sacrifice to his vanity. And yet this man, in all his dealings with men, acts with honour and good-nature. It appears very strange to me, that any one who would scruple a murder, can without regret take pains to rack people’s minds. His character is very well known, yet he is not the less, nay, I think, he is the more liked; for whether it arises from the hopes of gaining a prize that is sighed for by all the rest, or from thinking that they stand excused, for not resisting the arts of the man who is generally allowed to be irresistible, or what is the reason I cannot tell, but I have observed the man who is reported to have done most mischief, is received with most kindness by the women. I suppose, I need not bid you remember in what sprightly and polite expressions he ridiculed that very sort of vanity, which, from what I have just now related, it is plain he has a great share of himself.”

David said, that was the very remark that had just occurred to himself; and he found, by his stories, every one of the company expressed the greatest aversion for the vices they were more particularly guilty of. “Yes,” says Mr. Orgueil, ”ever since I have known anything of the world, I have always observed that to be the case; insomuch that whenever I hear a man express an uncommon action, I always suspect he is guilty of it himself. It is what I have often reflected on; and I believe men think, by exclaiming against any particular vice, to blind the world, and make them imagine it impossible they should have a fault, against which all their satire seems to be pointed; or, perhaps, as most men take a great deal of pains to flatter themselves, they continually endeavour, by giving things false names, to impose on their own understandings; till at last they prevail so far with their own good nature, as to think they are entirely exempt from those very failings they are most addicted to. But still there remains some suspicion, that other people, who are not capable of distinguishing things so nicely, will think they have those faults of which their actions give such strong indications. Therefore, they resolve to try if a few words, which do not cost them much, will clear them in the opinion of the world. To say the truth, people with a lively imagination, and a strong resolution, may almost persuade themselves of anything.

“I remember a man very fond of a woman, whose person had no fault to be found with it, but a coarse red hand: he at first chose to compliment her on that part which was most defective, from a knowledge of nature, that nothing plaeses so much, as to find blemishes turned into beauties. He persisted in this so long, that at last he really thought she had the finest white hand that ever was seen; but still there remained a suspicion in his mind, from a faint remembrance of what he had once thought himself, that others might not think so. Therefore he was continually averring to all people, he never saw so beautiful a hand in his life. The woman, whose understanding would have been found light in the scale, if weighed against a feather, was foolish enough to be pleased with it; and instead of trying to hide from sight, as she used to do, what really seemed too ugly to belong to the rest of her person, forgot all her beauties; and had no pleasure but in displaying, as much as possible, before every company, what she was now convinced was so deservedly the object of admiration. They carried this to such a ridiculous height, that they became a perfect proverb; and she was called by way of derision, the white-handed queen.”’

Mr. Orgueil was now quite exhausted with giving so many various characters; and I think it full time to conclude this long chapter.

X

WHICH TEACHETH MANKIND A TRUE AND EASY METHOD OF SERVING THEIR FRIENDS

Aftera dinner, Mr. Orgueil proposed going to the new play, which he heard had made a great noise in the town. David said, he would accompany him wherever he went, but it was what he had hitherto avoided; from hearing that those who either approved or disapproved the performance, generally made such a noise that it was impossible not to lose great part of the play. “That is very true,” replied Mr. Urgueil, “but I go on purpose to make I observations on the humours of mankind; for as r all the criticks commonly go from taverns, nature breaks out, and shews herself, without the disguise which people put on in their cooler hours.”

On these considerations they agreed to go, and at half an hour past four they were placed in the pit; the uproar was began, and they were surrounded every way with such a variety of noises, that it seemed as if the whole audience was met by way of emulation, to try who could make the greatest. David asked his friend what could be the meaning of all this, for he supposed they could be neither condemning, nor applauding the play, before it was began. Mr. Orgueil told him, the author’s friends and enemies were now shewing what parties they had gathered together, in order to intimidate each other.

David could not forbear enquiring what could induce so many people to shew such an eagerness against a man or his performance, before they knew what it was; and, on being told by Orgueil it was chiefly owing to envy and anger at another’s superiority of parts, for that every man who is talked of in the world for any perfection, must have numberless enemies, whom he does not suspect; he could refrain no longer, but burst into the most pathetick lamentation on the miseries of mankind, that people could rise to that height of malignity as to bring spite and envy with them into their very diversions. He thought when men were met together, to relax their minds, and unbend their cares, all was calm within, and every one endeavoured to raise his pleasures as high as possible, by a benevolent consideration, that all present were enjoying the same delights with himself. He told his friend, he now should have one enjoyment less than ever he had; for he used to love public assemblies, because there people generally put on their most cheerful countenances, and seemed as if they were free from every malicious and uneasy thought; but if what he had told him was true, he could consider them as nothing but painted oatsides, while within they were full of rancorous poison.

Mr. Orgueil said, there were yet another sort of people who contributed to the damning of plays, which were a set of idle young fellows, who came there on purpose to make a noise, without any dislike to the author, for few of them knew him; and as to the play, they never hearkened to it, but only out of wantonness they happened to have said it should not be acted a second night, and as fools are generally stubborn, they are resolved not to be overcome. Just as he had spoke these words the curtain drew up, and the play began.

The first act went on very quietly; at which David expressed his satisfaction, hoping to hear it out without any disturbance. But his friend knew to the contrary, and informed him, the more silent the damners were now, the more noise they would soon make; for that was only their cunning, that they might not appear to have come there on purpose to condemn the play. The second act passed also with only a few contentions between claps and hisses; but in the third the tumult grew much louder, and the noise increased; whistles, cat-calls, groans, hallooing, beating with sticks, and, clapping with hands, made such a hideous din, and confusion of sounds, as no one can have any idea of, who has not had the happiness to hear it. In short, the third act was with great difficulty got through; but in the fourth the noise began again, and continued with heroic resolution for some time on both sides; but, as enemies generally stick longer by people than friends, the latter were first worn out, and forced to yield to their antagonists. The words, “Horrid stuff! Was ever such nonsense! Bad plot,” etc. were re-echoed throughout the house, for a considerable time; and thus the play was condemned to eternal oblivion, without having been heard; and the author was forced to go without his benefit, which, it is more than probable, would have been of great use to him, as well as many others, who had not failed in their attendance on him once a week for a long time.

As soon as the hurry was a little over, a gentleman who had sat near them the whole time, began to talk to them about the play. He said, he was sorry, that it was impossible for any body of common sense to appear in the imposing such horrid nonsense on the town; for he was the author’s friend, and would have been glad if he could have got anything by it; as, at this time he knew it would have been very acceptable to him. David could not forbear saying, ”Indeed, sir, I took you rather for a great enemy of his; for I observed you making use of all the methods possible that it might not be heard.” “Yes, sir,” answered the other, “that was, because, as I am his friend, and found it was very bad, I was unwilling he should be exposed; besides, I looped, by the mortification this would give him, to prevent his ever attempting to appear again in this manner; for he is a very good-natured fellow, a good companion, and a friend of mine; but, between you and I, he cannot write at all.”

As soon as this friendly creature left them, Mr. Orgueil observed to David, how strong a proof this was of the truth of what he had told him before; for he himself had been a witness once, though he found he had forgot him, of this gentleman’s attempting to rally the author before a room full of company; but his getting the better of him, and having always the laugh on his side, had made him envious of him ever since. On this subject Mr. Orgueil and Daid discoursed all the way home; where, when they arrived, being worn out with hurry and noise, they retired immediately to bed, where I will leave them to take their repose.

XI

WHICH CONTAINS SOME STRONG INTIMATIONS, THAT THE HUMAN MIND IS NOT ALWAYS TOTALLY EXEMPT FROM PRIDE

The next day passed without any occurrence worth mentioning, when in the evening Mr. Orgueil perceiving his friend to be very melancholy, did all he could to make him throw off the thoughts which disturbed him; telling him, it was in vain to sigh for what was impossible for him to remedy. That it was much better to be the laughing than weeping philosopher. That for his part, the follies and vices of mankind were his amusements, and gave him such ridiculous ideas, as were a continual fund of entertainment to him. David replied, he could never think it a matter of jest, to find himself surrounded by beasts of prey; and that it differed little into which of their voracious jaws he fell, as they were all equally desirous of pulling him to pieces. He went on remarking, that if beauty, wit, goodness, or anything which is justly the object of admiration and love, can subject the possessors of them to envy, and consequently hatred of mankind, then nothing but knavery, folly, and deformity can be beloved; or, at least, whoever is remarkable for either of the last mentioned qualities, must be the only people who can pass through the world without anybody’s wishing to hurt them, and that only because they are thought low enough already. “What you told me yesterday, together with the scenes I was witness to, has made such a deep impression on me, I shall not easily recover it. I was very much surprised to hear you tell that story of the old man and his daughter with dry eyes, and quite unmoved.” Mr. Orgueil smiled, and said, ”I look upon compassion, sir, to be a very great weakness; I have no superstition to fright me into my duty, but I do what I think just by all the world; for the real love of rectitude is the motive of all ray actions. If I could be moved by compassion in my temper to relieve another, the merit of it would be entirely lost, because it would be done chiefly to please myself; but when I do for any one, what they have a right to demand from me, by the laws of society and right reason, then it becomes real virtue, and sound wisdom.” David was amazed at this doctrine, he knew not what to answer; but it being late, took his leave, and went to bed, with a resolution to consider and examine more narrowly into it; for though it appeared to him very absurd, yet, as it was a subject he had never thought of, he would not condemn what he could not hastily refute.

His head was so crowded with ideas, he could sleep but little; he began to be frightened, lest he should have no more reason to esteem Mr. Orgueil than the rest of his acquaintances, when he thoroughly knew him. However, he got up the next morning, with a design of entering into conversation, that might give him more light into his friend’s mind and disposition. He found him at breakfast with another gentleman: the moment Mr. Orgueil saw him, he said, he was very sorry an affair had happened, which must oblige them be apart that day; but he told him, that gentleman, whom he before had some small acquaintance with, had promised not to leave him, and he was sure his company would make amends for the loss of any other. As soon as breakfast was over, Mr. Orgueil dressed and went out.

David’s mind was so full of what had passed the night before, that he could not forbear communicating his thoughts to his present companion, and desiring him to tell him the meaning of what Mr. Orgueil had said to him last night concerning rectitude and compassion. On which the other replied, he had conversed for many years with Mr. Orgueil, and had the greatest veneration for him at first, but by continually observing him, he had at last got into his real character, which if he pleased to hear, he would inform him of. And on David’s assuring him he could not oblige him more, he began in the following manner—

“You are to know, sir, there are a set of men in the world, who pass through life with very good reputations, whose actions are in the general justly to be applauded, and yet upon a near examination their principles are all bad, and their hearts hardened — to all tender sensations. Mr Orgueil is exactly one of those sort of men; the greatest sufferings which can happen to his fellow-creatures, have no sort of effect upon him, and yet he very often relieves them; that is, he goes just as far in serving others as will give him new opportunities of flattering himself; for his whole soul is filled with pride, he has made a god of himself, and the attributes he thinks necessary to the dignity of such a being, he endeavours to have. He calls all religion superstition, because he will own no other deity; he thinks obedience to the Divine Will, would be but a mean motive to his actions; he must do good, because it is suitable to the dignity of his nature; and shun evil, because he would not be debased as low as the wretches he every day sees. When he knows any man do a dishonourable action, then he enjoys the height of pleasure in the comparison he makes between his own mind, and that of such a mean creature. He mentally worships himself with joy and rapture; and I verily believe, if he lived in a world, where to be vicious was esteemed praiseworthy, the same pride which now makes him take a delight in doing what is right (because for that reason he thinks himself above most of the people he converses with) would then lead him to abandon himself to all manner of vice: for if by taking pains to bridle his passions, he could gain superiority over his companions, all his love of rectitude, as he calls if, would fall to the ground. So that his goodness, like cold fruits, is produced by the dung and nastiness which surround it. He has fixed in his mind, what he ought to do in all cases of life, and is not to be moved to go beyond it. Nothing is more miserable than to have a dependance on him; for he makes no allowance for the smallest frailties, and the moment a person exceeds, in the least degree, the bounds his wisdom has set, he abandons them, as he thinks they have no reasonable claim to anything farther upon him. If he was walking with a friend on the side of a precipice, and that friend was to go a step nearer than he advised him, and by accident should fall down, although he broke his bones, and lay in the utmost misery, he would coolly leave him, without the least thought of anything for his relief; saying, if men would be so mad they must take the consequence of their own folly. Nay, I question, whether he would not have a secret satisfaction in thinking, that from his wisdom, he could walk safely through the most dangerous places, while others fell into them. As polite as you can see he can be when he desires to be so, yet when he converses with any whom he thinks greatly beneath him, or who is forced by circumstances to be any ways obliged to him, he thinks they cannot expect good breeding; and therefore can be as rude, though in different terms, as the most vulgar wretch in the world. In short, every action of his is centred in pride; and the only reason he is not perfectly ridiculous, is, because he has sense enough to affect to be quite contrary to what he is. And as you know he has great parts, and his manner is very engaging whenever he pleases, very few people really know him.”

“What, then,” says David, “have I been hugging myself all this time in the thoughts, that I had met with a man who really deserved my esteem, and it is all owing to my ignorance of his real character?”

“Yes, sir,” answered the gentleman, “I assure you, what I have told you is all true, and if you give yourself the trouble to observe him narrowly, you will soon be convinced of it.” David, with a sigh, replied, he wanted no stronger proof of the certainty of it; for what he himself said last night, joined to what he had just now heard, was full conviction enough. “I never was so startled,” continued he, “in my life, as at his saying, he looked upon compassion as a weakness. Is it possible that the most amiable quality human nature can be possessed of should be treated with contempt by a man of his understanding! or is it all delusion, and am I as much deceived in his sense as in his goodness? For surely nothing but the greatest folly could make a creature, who must every day, nay, every hour in the day, be conscious of a thousand failings, and feel a thousand infirmities, fancy himself a deity, and contemplate his own perfections!” “As to that,” says the gentleman, “when you have seen more of the world, you will find that what is generally called sense, has very little to do with what a man thinks; where self is at all concerned, inclination steps in, and will not give the judgment fair play, but forces it to wrest and torture the meaning of everything to its own purposes. You must know, there are two sorts of men who are the direct opposites to each other; the one sort, like Mr. Orgueil, live in a continual war with their passions, subdue their appetites, and act up to whatever they think right; they make it their business in all companies to exalt the dignity of human nature as high as they can; that is, to prove men are capable, if it was not their own fault, of arriving to a great degree of perfection, which they heartily consent every one should believe they themselves have done. The others give way to every temptation, make it their whole business to indulge themselves, without any consideration who are sufferers by it, or what consequences attend it; and as they are resolved to pull others down as low as themselves, they fall to abusing the whole species without any distinction, assert in all their conversation, that human nature is a sink of iniquity; every good action they hear of another, they impute to some bad motive; and the only difference they allow to be in men is, that some have art and hypocrisy enough to hide from undiscerning eyes the blackness that is within. In short, I they know they cannot be esteemed, and therefore cannot bear another should enjoy what they either can’t or won’t take the pains to attain.

“Thus there is no end of their arguments, which may be all summed up in a very few words: for the one sort only contend, that they themselves may be allowed to be perfect, and therefore that it is possible; and the other, as they know themselves to be good for nothing, modestly desire, that, for their sakes, you will be so kind as to suffer all mankind to appear in the same light; whence you are to conclude, that their faults are owing to nature; they cannot help it. They have, indeed, some little pleasure in reflecting that they have this superiority over others, that while they endeavour to deceive people, and impose on their understandings, they claim this merit, that they own themselves as bad as they are; that is, utterly void of every virtue, and possessed of every vice.”

David stood amazed at this discourse, and cried out, “I am come to the uttermost despair. If these are the ways of mankind, not to endeavour to be what really deserves esteem, but only by fallacy and arts to impose on others, and flatter themselves, where shall I hope to find what I am in search of?”

“And pray, sir,” said the other, “if it is not impertinent to ask, what is it you are seeking?” David answered, it was a person who could be trusted; one who was capable of being a real friend; whose every action proceeded either from obedience to the Divine will, or from the delight he took in doing good; who could not see another’s sufferings without pain, nor his pleasures without sharing them. In short, one whose agreeableness swayed his inclination to love him, and whose mind was so good, he could never blame himself for so doing. The gentleman smiled, and said, “I don’t doubt, sir, but if you live any time, you will find out the philosopher’s stone; for that certainly will be your next search, when you have found what you are now seeking.” David thought he was mad, to make a jest of what to him appeared so serious; and told him, notwithstanding his laughing, if ever he did attain to what he was in pursuit of, he should be the happiest creature in the world. Indeed, he must confess he had hitherto met with no great encouragement. However, he had resolved to proceed; and if he was disappointed at last, he could but retire from the world, and live by himself; as he was mistaken in Mr. Orgueil, he would not stay to converse any longer with him, but remove that very day to another lodging.

Mr. Spatter (for that was this gentleman’s name) seeing him so obstinate in his purpose, thought it would be no ill scheme to accompany him for a little while by way of diversion. He therefore said, if it would be agreeable to him, he might lodge in the same house with him in Pall Mall. David readily agreed to it, and they only stayed till Mr. Orgueil came home, that he might take his leave of him for it was his method, whenever he found out anything he thought despicable in a person he had esteemed, quietly to avoid him as much as possible for the future. He therefore took his leave of Mr. Orgueil, and set out with his new acquaintance to view another scene of life; for the manner of living of the inhabitants of every different part of this great metropolis, varies as much as that of different nations.

Part IV

BOOK II

I

WHICH IS WRIT ONLY WITH A VIEW TO INSTRUCT READERS, THAT WHIST IS A GAME VERY MUCH IN FASHION

David’s next scheme was to converse amongst people in high life, and try if their minds were as refined as the education and opportunities they had of improving themselves, gave him hopes of. But then, as he had never lived at that end of the town before, kept no equipage, and was besides a very modest man, he was under some difficulty how to get introduction to persons of fashion. Mr. Spatter told him, he need be in no pain on that account, for that he frequented all the assemblies, and kept the best company in town, and he would carry him wherever he went. He told him he had nothing to do but to get a fine coat, a well-powdered wig, and a whist-book, and he would soon be invited to more routs than he would be able to go to. “And pray, sir,” said David, ”what do you mean by a whist-book? It is a game I have often played to pass away a winter evening, but I don’t find any necessity of a book to learn it.”—” Why, really, sir,” replied Spatter, “I cannot tell what use it is of, but I know it is a fashion to have it, and no one is qualified for the conversation in vogue without it. Though I can’t but say I have known several people, especially among the ladies, who used to play tolerably well, but since they have set themselves to learn by book, are so puzzled they cannot tell how to play a card. Not but this book is, they say, excellently well writ, and contains every rule necessary to the understaing the game: but as a traveller, who is ignorant of the country he passes through, is the most perplexed where he finds the greatest variety of roads; so a weak head is the most distracted, and the least able to pursue any point in view, where it endeavours to get many rules, and comprehend various things at once.

“But as to the routs, I can give you no other account of them, than that it is the genteel name for the assemblies that meet at private houses to win or lose money at whist. The method pursued to gather these companies together, is, that the lady of the house where the rout is to be held, a fortnight or three weeks before the intended day, dispatches a messenger to every person designed to be there,with a few magic words properly placed on a card, which infallibly brings every one at the appointed time: but if by chance, notwithstanding the care of sending so long beforehand, two of these cards should happen to interfere, and the same person be under a necessity of being at two places at once, the best expedient to be found out, is, to play a rubber at one place, and then drive their horses to death to get to the other time enough not to disappoint their friends. For you must know, every one looks on herself as in the highest distress, who has not as many tables at her house as any of her acquaintance.” — “But,” says David, “I don’t see how this will at all promote my scheme; for, by going amongst people who place their whole happiness in gaming, and where there is no sort of conversation, how is it possible I should come at their sentiments, or enter into their characters?”—” Indeed, sir,” replied the other, “you was never more mistaken in your life, for people’s minds, and the bent of their inclination, is nowhere so much discovered as at a gaming-table: for in conversation, the real thoughts are often disguised; but when the passions are actuated, the mask is thrown off, and nature appears as she is. I could carry you into several companies, where you should see very pretty young women, whose features are of such exact proportion, and in whose countenances is displayed such a delightful harmony, as you would think to be the strongest indication that every thought within was peace and gentleness, and that their breasts were all softness and good-nature. Yet but follow them to one of these assemblies, and in half an hour’s time you shall see all their beauty vanish; those features, with which you were so charmed before, all distorted and in confusion; and that harmony of countenance, which could never be enough admired, converted into an eagerness and fierceness, which plainly prove the whole soul to be discomposed, and filled with tumult and anxiety; and all this, perhaps, only from a desire of getting jewels something finer than they could otherwise procure, and in order to surpass some lady who had just bought a new set. Besides, I can give you the character of most of the people where we shall go, and that will be an entertainment to us every night at our return home.”

David thanked him for his offer; and they agreed to set out every day to different houses, in order to make observations. The first assembly they went to there were ten tables at whist, and at each of them the competitors seemed to lay as great a stress on either their victory or defeat, as if the whole happiness of their lives depended on it.

David walked from one to the other to make what observations he could; but he found they were all alike. Joy sparkled in the eyes of all the conquerors, and black despair seemed to surround all the vanquished. Those very people, who, they sat down to play, conversed with each in a strain so polite and well-bred, that unexperienced man would have thought the greatest pleasure they could have had would have been in serving each other, were in a moment turned into enemies, and the winning of a guinea, or perhaps five, (according to the sum played for) was the only idea that possessed the minds of a whole company of people, none of whom were in any manner of want of it.

This was a melancholy prospect for poor David; for nothing could be a stronger proof of the selfish and mercenary tempers of mankind, than to see those people whom fortune had placed in affluence, as desirous of gaining from each other, as if they really could not have had necessaries without it.

The two gentlemen stayed till they were heartily weary, and then retired to spend the rest of the evening together at a tavern, where the whole conversation turned on what they had seen at the assembly. David asked his companion, if this was the manner in which people who have it in their power to spend their time as they pleased, chose to I employ it. “Yes, sir,” answered Mr. Spatter, “I assure you I have very few acquaintance at this end of the town, who seem to be born for any other purpose but to play at whist, or who have any use or more understanding than what serves to that end.” He then run through the characters of the whole company, and at the finishing of every one uttered a sentence with some vehemence (which was a manner peculiar to himself) calling them either fools or knaves; but as he had a great deal of wit, he did this in so entertaining a way that David could not help laughing sometimes, though he checked himself for it; thinking the faults or follies or mankind were not the proper objects of mirth.

The next morning Mr. Spatter carried him to the toilette of one of the ladies who was of the whist-party the night before, where great part of the company were met. There was not one single syllable spoke of anything but cards; the whole scene of the foregoing night was played over again—who lost, or won—who played well, or ill—in short, there was nothing talked of that can be either remembered or repeated.

David led this life for about a week, in the morning at toilettes, the evening at cards, and at night with Mr. Spatter, who constantly pulled to pieces, ridiculed and abused all the people they had been with the day before. He told him stories of ladies who were married to men infinitely their superiors, who raised their fortunes, indulged them in everything they could wish, were wholly taken up in contemplating their charms, and yet were neglected and slighted by them, who would abandon everything that can be thought most valuable rather than lose one evening playing at their darling whist.

David was soon tired of this manner of life, in which he saw no hopes of finding what he was in search of, and in which there was no variety, for the desire of winning seemed to he the only thing thought on by everybody; he observed to his companion here and there a person who played quite carelessly, and did not appear to trouble themselves whether they won or lost. These, Mr. Spatter told him, were a sort of people who had no pleasure in life, but in being with people of quality, and in telling their acquaintance they were such a night at the duchess of_________, another time at the countess of_________; and although they do not love play themselves, yet as they find it the easiest passport into that company where their whole happiness is centered, they think it a small price to pay for what they esteem so valuable. “But,” added he, ”the worst of it is, some of them cannot afford to play, but sacrifice that fortune to nothing but the vanity of appearing with the great, which would procure them everything essentially necessary in their own sphere of life.”

Thus was David again disappointed; for he had entertained some hopes, that those few people in whom he had seen a calmness at play, were disinterested, and had that contempt for money, which he esteemed necessary to make a good character; but when he found it arose from so mean a vanity, he could not help thinking them the most despicable of all mortals. “I do assure you,” says Spatter, “I have known people spend their whole time in the most servile compliances, for no other reason, but to have the words lordship, and ladyship, often in their mouths, and who measure their happiness and misery every night, by the number of people of quality they had spoke to that day. But as your curiosity seems to be fully satisfied with what you have seen of the whist-players, I will carry you to-morrow into a set of company, who have an utter contempt for cards, and whose whole pleasure is in conversation.”

David thanked him, approving of what he said, and they separated that night with a resolution of changing the scene next day. And I believe my reader, as well as myself, is heartily glad to quit a subject so extremely barren of matter, as that of gaming; and into which I would not have entered all, but that it would have been excluding my hero from one of the chief scenes to be viewed at present in this great town.

II

WHICH CONTAINS A CONVERSATION, IN WHICH IS PROVED, HOW HIGH TASTE MAY BE CARRIED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE FIXED RESOLUTIONS OF BEING CRITICKS

When David was alone, he began to reflect with himself, what could be the meaning that Mr. Spatter seemed to take such delight in abusing people; and yet, as he observed, no one was more willing to oblige any person who stood in need of his assistance: he concluded that he must be good at the bottom, and that perhaps it was only his love of mankind, which made him have such a hatred and detestation of their vices, as caused him to be eager in reproaching them; he therefore resolved to go on with him till he knew more of his disposition.

The next day they went to visit a lady, who was reputed to have a great deal of wit, and was so generous as to let all her acquaintance partake of it, by omitting no opportunity of displaying it. There they found assembled a large company of ladies, and two or three gentlemen; they were all busy in discourse, but they rose, up, paid the usual compliments, and then proceeded as follows—

First Lady. Indeed, madam, I think you are quite in the right, as to your opinion of Othello; for nothing provokes me so much, as to see fools pity a fellow who could murder his wife. For my part, I cannot help having some compassion for her, though she does not deserve it, because she was such a fool as to marry a filthy black. Pray, did you ever hear anything like what my Lady True-wit said the other night, that the part of the play which chiefly affected her, was that which inspired an apprehension of what that odious wretch must feel, when he found out that Desdemona was innocent; as if he could suffer too much, after being guilty of so barbarous an action.

Second Lady. Indeed, I am not at all surprised at anything that Lady True-wit says; for I have heard her assert the most preposterous things in the world: nay, she affirms, a man may be very fond of a woman, notwithstanding he is jealous of her, and dares suspect her virtue.

Third Lady. That lady once said, that one of the most beautiful incidents in all King Lear, was that the impertinence of his daughter’s servant, was the first thing that made him uneasy; and after that, I think one can wonder at nothing: for certainly it was a great oversight in the poet, when he was writing the character of a king, to take notice of the behaviour of such vulgar wretches; as if what they did was anything to the purpose. But some people are very fond of turning the greatest faults into beauties, that they may be thought to have found out something extraordinary; and then they must admire everything in Shakespeare, as they think, to prove their own judgment; but, for my part, I am not afraid to give my opinion freely of the greatest men that ever wrote.

Fourth Lady. There is nothing so surprising to me as the absurdity of almost everybody I meet with; they can’t even laugh or cry in the right place. Perhaps it will be hardly believed, but I really saw people in the boxes last night, at the tragedy of Cato, sit with dry eyes, and show no kind of emotion, when that great man fell on his sword; nor was it at all owing to any firmness of mind, that made them incapable of crying neither, for that I should have admired; but I have known those very people shed tears at George Barnwell.

A good many Ladies speak at one time. Oh, intolerable! cry for an odious apprentice-boy, who murdered his uncle, at the instigation too of a common woman, and yet be unmoved, when even Cato bled for his country.

Old Lady. That is no wonder, I assure you, ladies, for I once heard my Lady Know-all, positively affirm George Barnwell to be one of the best things that ever was wrote; for that nature is nature in whatever station it is placed; and that she could be as much affected with the distress of a man in low life, as if he was a lord or a duke. And what is yet more amazing is, that the time she chooses to weep most, is just as he has killed the man who prays for him in the agonies of death; and then only, because he whines over him, and seems sensible of what he has done, she must shed tears for a wretch whom everybody of either sense or goodness, would wish to crush, and make ten times more miserable than he is.

A lady who had been silent, and was a particular friend of Lady Known-all’s, speaks. Indeed that lady is the most affected creature that ever I knew, she and Lady True-wit think no one can equal them; they have taken a fancy to set up the author of George Barnwell for a writer, though certainly he writes the worst language in the world: there is a little thing of his, called, The Fatal Curiosity, which, for my part, I know not what to make of; and they run about crying it up, as if Shakespeare himself might have wrote it. Certainly that fellow must be something very low, for his distresses always arise from poverty; and then he brings his wicked wretches, who are to be tempted for money to some monstrous action, which he would have his audience pity them for.

She would have talked on more in this strain, but was interrupted by another lady, who assured the company she had the most ridiculous thing to tell them of the two ladies they were talking of, in the world: “For,” continued she, “I was once at Don Sebastian with them, which is a favourite play of theirs; and they make a great noise about the scene between Dorax and Sebastian, in the fourth act, I observed them more than the play, to see in what manner they behaved: and what do you think they did? Why, truly, all the time the two friends were quarrelling, they sat indeed with great attention, although they were quite calm; but the moment they were reconciled, and embraced each other, they both burst into a flood of tears, which they seemed unable to restrain. They certainly must have something very odd in their heads, and the author is very much obliged to them for grieving most when his hero, Don Sebastian, had most reason to be pleased, in finding a true friend in the man he thought his enemy.”

Here the whole company fell into a violent fit of laughter, and the word ridiculous was the only sound heard for some time; and then they fell back again to their discourse on authors, in which they were all so desirous to prove their own judgment, that they would not give one another leave to speak.

And now, reader, if ever you have lived in the country, and heard the cackling of geese, or the gobbling of turkeys, you may have an idea something adequate to this scene; but if the town has been mostly your place of abode, and you are a stranger to every rural scene, what will give you the best idea of this conversation, is the ‘Change at noon, where every one has a particular business of his own, but a spectator would find it a very difficult matter to comprehend anything distinctly. Addison, Prior, Otway, Congreve, Dryden, Pope, Shakespeare, Tom Dursey, etc., etc., etc, were names all heard between whiles, though no one could tell who spoke them, or whether they were mentioned with approbation or dislike. The words genius, and no genius; invention, poetry, fine things, bad language, no style, charming writing, imagery, and diction, with many more expressions which swim on the surface of criticism, seemed to have been caught by those fishers for the reputation of wit, though they were entirely ignorant what use to make of them, or how to apply them properly; but as soon as the noise grew loud, and the whole company were engaged in admiring their own sentiments so much that they observed nothing else, David made a sign to his companion, and they left the room, and went home; but were, for some time, in the condition of men just escaped from a shipwreck, which, though they rejoice in their safety, yet there is such an impression left on them by the bellowing of the waves, cursing and swearing of some of the sailors, the crying and praying of others, with the roaring of the winds, that it is some time before they can come to their senses. But as soon as David could recover himself enough to speak coherently, he told the gentleman, he had now shewn him what had surprised him more than anything he ever saw before; for he could comprehend what it was people pursued who spent their time in gaming, but he could not find out what were the schemes of this last set of company, nor what could possibly make so many people eager about nothing; for what was it to them who writ best or worst, or how could they make any dispute about it, since the only way of writing well was to draw all the characters from nature, and to affect the passions in such a manner, as that the distresses of the good should move compassion, and the amiableness of their actions incite men to imitate them; while the vices of the bad stirred up indignation and rage, and made men fly their footsteps: that this was the only kind of writing useful to mankind, though there might be embellishments, and flights of imaginatin, to amuse and divert the reader. His companion was quite peevish with him (which was no hard matter for him to be) to find him always going on with his goodness, usefulness, and morality. However, at last he fell a-laughing, and told him, he was much mistaken, if he thought any of them troubled their heads at all about the authors, or ever took the least pleasure in reading them; nay, half of them had not read the books they talked of. “But they are,” said he, “a set of people, who place their whole happiness in the reputation of wit and sense, and consequently all their conversation turns on what they think will establish that character; and they are the most inveterate enemies to any person they imagine has more reputation that way than themselves.”

David had no longer patience, but cried out, “What hopes can I ever have of meeting with a man who deserves my esteem, if mankind can be so furious against each other for things which are of no manner of consequence, and which are only to be valued according to the use that is made of them, while they despise what is in every one’s power of attaining; namely, the consciousness of acting with honour and integrity? But I observed one young lady who showed by her silence, the contempt for the company they deserved. Pray, sir, do you know her? I should be glad to be acquainted with her.”—”I know no more of her,” replied Spatter, “than that she is daughter to one of the ladies who was there; but her silence is no proof of anything but that she is unmarried; for you must know, that it is reckoned a very ill-bred thing for women to say any more than just to answer the questions asked them, while they are single. I cannot tell the meaning of it, unless it is a plot laid by parents to make their daughters willing to accept any match they provide for them, that they may have the privilege of speaking. But if you are not tired with criticism, I will carry you to-morrow where you shall hear some of a quite different kind; for there are three sorts of criticks, the one I have already shewn you, who arrogantly set up their own opinions, though they know nothing, and would be ashamed of taking anything from another; and, as they cannot engage attention by the solidity of their sentiments, endeavour to procure it by the loudness of their voice, and to shun those they cannot confute. The second sort are a degree above them; have fixed in their minds that it is necessary for them to know everything; but, as they have something more sense than the former, they find out that they have no opinions of their own, and therefore make it their whole study to get into company with people of real understanding, and to pick up everything they hear among them. Of this treasure they are so generous, that they vent it in every company they go into, without distinction, by which means they impose on the undiscerning, and make them wonder at their knowledge and judgment; but there is an awkwardness and want of propriety in their way of speaking, which soon discover them to the discerning eye: for borrowed wit becomes the mouth as ill as borrowed clothes the body; and whoever has no delicate sentiments, nor refined thoughts of his own, makes as ill a figure in speaking them, as the most awkward country girl can do, dressed up in all the finery of a court lady. I remember a man of that sort, whom I once heard run through most of the famous authors, without committing any error, at least in my opinion; and yet there was something so preposterous in his delivery, something so like a schoolboy saying his lesson, it struck me with laughter and contempt, rather than with that admiration which he proposed to gain by it; but he has stuck himself on to a man of sense, whom he takes so much pains to oblige, that as he is not ill-natured, he does not know how to throw him off; by which means, he has laboriously gathered together all he says. I’ll say no more of him; he will be to-morrow evening where I propose to carry you; and, I dare say, you will be very well entertained with him; only mention books, and he will immediately display his learning.” David said, he should be glad to accompany him. On which they separated for that evening.

III

WHICH PROVES MEMORY TO BE THE ONLY QUALIFICATION NECESSARY TO MAKE A MODERN CRITICK

The next night they went to a tavern, where there were three gentlemen whom Spatter had promised to meet; and as the ceremony is not so difficult to introduce men to each other as women, they soon fell into a freedom of conversation. David remembered his cue, and began to talk of authors; on which the gentleman, whom Spatter had mentioned, presently began as follows: “Homer had undoubtedly the greatest genius of any man who ever writ: there is such a luxuriancy of fancy, such a knowledge of nature, such a penetration into the inmost recesses of all the passions of human kind, displayed in his works as none can equal, and few dare imitate. Virgil certainly is the most correct writer that ever was; but then his invention is not so fruitful, his poem is more of the narrative kind, and his characters are not so much alive as those of his great master. Milton, who imitates the other two, I think, excels the latter, though he does not come up to the former: he certainly can never be enough admired; for nothing can at once be more the object of wonder and delight than his Paradise Lost. Shakespeare, whose name is immortal, had an imagination which had the power of creation, a genius which could form new beings, and make a language proper for them. Ben Johnson, who writ at the same time, had a vast deal of true humour in his comedies, and very fine writing in his tragedies; but then he is a laborious writer, a great many of those beautiful speeches in Sejanus and Catiline are translations from the classicks, and he can by no means be admitted into any competition with Shakespeare. But I think any comparison between them ridiculous; for what Mr. Addison says of Homer and Virgil, that reading the Iliad is like travelling through a country uninhabited, where the fancy is entertained with a thousand savage prospects of vast deserts, wide uncultivated marshes, huge forests, mis-shapen rocks and precipices; on the contrary, the Æneid is like a well-ordered garden, where it is impossible to find out any part unadorned, or to cast our eyes upon a single spot that does not produce some beautiful plant or flower; is equally applicable to Shakespeare and Ben Johnson, so that to say that one or the other writes best, is like saying of a wilderness, that it is not a regular garden; or, of a regular garden, that it does not run out into that wildness which raises the imagination, and is to be found in places where only the hand of nature is to be seen. In my opinion, the same thing will hold as to Corneille and Racine: Corneille is the French Shakepeare, and Racine their Ben Johnson. The genius of Corneille, like a fiery courser, is hard to be restrained; while Racine goes on in a majestick pace, and never turns out of the way, either to the right or the left. The smoothness of Waller’s verse resembles a gentle cooling stream, which gives pleasure, and yet keeps the mind in calmness and serenity; while Dryden’s genius is like a rapid river, ready to its bounds; which we view with admiration, and find, while we are reading him, our fancy heightened to rove through all the various labyrinths of the human mind. It is a thousand pities he should ever have been forced to write for money; for who that has read his Guiscarda and Sigismunda, could ever have thought he could have penned some other things that go in his name? Prior’s excellence lay in telling of stories: and Cowley had a great deal of wit; but his verse is something hobbling. His Pindarick odes have some very fine thoughts in them, although I think, in the main, not much to be admired; for it is my opinion, that manner of writing is peculiar to Pindar himself; and the pretence to imitate him is, as if a dwarf should undertake to step overwide rivers, and stride at once over mountains, because he has seen a giant do it.”

Here our gentleman’s breath began to fail him, for he had uttered all this as fast as he could speak, as if he was afraid he should lose his thread, and forget all that was to come. When he had ceased, his eyes rolled with more than usual quickness, to view the applause he expected, and thought he so well deserved, and he looked bewildered in his own eloquence.

The two gentlemen who were with him seemed struck with amazement; and yet there was a mixture of uneasiness in their countenances, which plainly proved they were sorry they had not spoke every word he had said. David stared to hear so much good sense thrown away, only by being conveyed through a channel not made by nature for that purpose; whilst his companion diverted himself with the thoughts how ridiculous a figure the man made, at the same time that he fancied he was the object of admiration. They staid at the tavern short time, and concluded the evening at home, as usual, with Spatter’s animadversions on the company they had just left. David said, he thought there was no great harm in this sort of vanity; for if a man could make himself happy by imagining himself six foot tall, though he was but three, it certainly would be ill-natured in any one to take that happiness from him. Spatter smiled, and said, he believed he at present spoke without consideration; for nothing hurts a man or his acquaintance more than his possessing himself with the thoughts he is any thing he is not. If, indeed, a short man would think himself tall, without being actuated by that fancy, there would be no great matter in it; but if that whim carries him to be continually endeavouring at things out of his reach, it probably will make him pull them down on his own head, and those of all his companions; and if the looking as if you did not believe he is quite so tall, as he is resolved you shall think him, will turn him from being your friend into your most inveterate enemy, then it becomes hurtful: “And,” continued he, ”I never yet knew a man who did not hate the person who seemed not to have the same opinion of him as he had of himself; and, as that very seldom happens, I believe it is one of the chief causes of the malignity mankind have against one another. If a man who is mad, and has taken it into his head he is a king, will content himself with mock diadems, and the tawdry robes of honour he can come at, in some it will excite laughter and in others pity, according to the different sorts of men; but if he is afraid that others don’t pay him the respect due to the station his own wild brain has placed him in, and for that reason carries daggers and poison under his fancied royal robes, to murder everybody he meets, he will become the pest of society; and, in their own defence, men are obliged to confine him. The three fellows we were with to-night, have an aversion to everybody who do not seem to think them as wise as they think themselves; and, as they have some reason to believe that does not often happen, there are but very few people to whom they would not willingly do any injury in their power: whereas, if they would be contented with being as nonsensical dull blockheads as nature made them, they might pass through the world without doing any mischief; and perhaps, as they have money, they might sometimes do a good action.”

David said, he had convinced him he was mistaken, and he was always more ashamed to persist in the wrong, than to own his having been so. His companion asked him if he would spend the next day in relaxing his mind, by being continually in what is called company, and conversing with a set of nobodies. But I shall defer the adventures of the next day to another chapter.

IV

IN WHICH IS SEEN THE NEGATIVE DESCRIPTION MOST PROPER TO SET FORTH THE NO QUALITIES OF A GREAT NUMBER OF CREATURES WHO STRUT ABOUT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH

The next morning David asked Spatter what it was he meant by his nobodies. He told him he meant a number of figures of men, whom he knew not how to I give any other denomination to: but if he would saunter with him from coffee-house to coffee-house, and into St. James’s Park, which are places they much haunt, he would show him great numbers of them; he need not be afraid of them, for although there was no good in them, yet were they perfectly inoffensive; they would talk for ever, and say nothing; were always in motion, and yet could not properly be said ever to act. “They have neither wit nor sense of any kind; and yet, as they have no passions, they are seldom guilty of so many indiscretions as other men: the only thing they can be said to have, is pride; and the only way to find that out, is, by a strut in their gait, something resembling that of the peacock’s, which shews that they are conscious (if they can be said to have any consciousness) of their own dignity; and, like the peacock, their vanity is all owing to their fine feathers: for they are generally adorned with all the art imaginable.

“But come, if you will go with me, you may see them; for now is the time for them to peep abroad, which they generally do about noon.”

David and Spatter spent all that day in rambling about with these nobodies; for as Spatter knew their walks, they soon met whole clusters of them. David found them just what his companion had described them: and when they came home at night, he said, it had been the most agreeable day he had spent a great while; for he was only hurt by conversing with mischievous animals; but these creatures appeared quite harmless, and they certainly were created for some wise purpose. They might, perhaps, like cyphers in an account, be of great use in the whole, though it was not to be found out by the narrow sight of ignorant mortals. Spatter made no other answer, but by uttering the word fools with some earnestness; a monosyllable he always chose to pronounce before he went to bed, insomuch that it was thought by some who knew him, he could not sleep without it. After this, they both retired to rest.

The next day they accidentally met at a coffee-house an acquaintance of Spatter’s, who behaved with that extreme civility and good-humour to every thing around him that David took a great fancy to him, and resolved to spend the day with him. They went all to a tavern to dinner, and there passed a scene which would have been no ill entertainment to the true lovers of ridicule: the conversation turned mostly on the characters of the men best known about town. Mr. Varnish, for that was this gentleman’s name, found something praiseworthy in everybody who was mentioned; he dropped all their faults, talked of nothing but their good qualities, and sought out good motives for every action that had any appearance of bad. He turned extravagance into generosity, avarice into prudence, and so on, through the whole catalogue of virtues and vices; and when he was pushed so home on any person’s faults, that he could not entirely justify them, but would only say, indeed, they were not what he could wish them; however, he was sure they had some good in them. On the contrary, Spatter fell to cutting up every fresh person who was brought on the carpet, without any mercy. He loaded them with blemishes, was silent on all their perfections, imputed good actions to bad motives; looked through the magnifying glass on all their defects, and through the other end of the perspective on every thing commendable in them: and, quite opposite to Mr. Varnish, he always spoke in the affirmative when he was condemning; and in the negative when he was forced, in spite of himself, to allow the unfortunate wretch, whom he was so horribly mauling, any good qualities.

If the reader has a mind to have a lively idea of this scene, let him imagine to himself a contention between a painter, who is finishing his favourite piece, and a man who places his delight in throwing dirt; as fast as the one employs his art to make it , beautiful, and hide its blemishes, the other comes with shoals of dirt, and bespatters it all over. And poor David was in the situation of a man who was to view the piece, which had thus alternately been touched by the pencil, and daubed with mud, till it was impossible to guess what it originally was. Or if this will not give him an adequate idea of it, let him fancy a vain man giving his own character, and a revengeful one giving that of his most inveterate enemy. This contrast, in these two men, and the eagerness with which they both espoused their favourite topicks, one of praising, and the other of blaming, would have been the highest diversion to all those men who make it their business to get together such companies, as, by opposing each other, afford them matter of laughter.

But poor Mr. Simple looked on things in another light; he was seriously considering the motives from which they both acted: he could not help applauding Mr. Varnish; but then he was afraid lest he should be too credulous in his good opinion, as he had often been already; and in the end discover, that all this appearance of good-nature was not founded on any real merit, as most of the people they had talked of were strangers to him; and he was not of the opinion, that the more ignorant a man is of any subject, the more necessary it is to talk of it. He said very little: but when he came home in the evening, he asked Spatter, what could be the reason he so earnestly insisted on putting the worst construction on every man’s actions: who replied, that he hated detractions as much as any man living, and was as willing to allow men the merit they really had; but he could not bear to see a fellow imposing himself as a good-natured man on the world, only because nature had given him none of that melancholy which physicians call by the name of black blood, which makes him, to please himself, look on every thing on the best side. “I cannot say,” continued he, “that gentleman is ill-humoured; but I am confident he has none of those sensations which arise from good-nature; for if the best friend he had was in ever so deplorable a situation, I don’t say he would do nothing to relieve him, but he would go on in his good-humoured way, and feel no uneasiness from anything he suffered. This I say, only to shew you, how desirous I am of placing things in the most favourable light: for it is rather my opinion, he is so despicable a fellow, as to lead a life of continual hypocrisy, and affects all that complaisance only to deceive mankind. And as he is no fool, he may think deeply enough to know, that the praising of people for what they don’t deserve, is the surest way of making them contemptible, and leading others into the thinking of their faults. For with all his love of his species, I can’t find it goes farther than words: I never heard of any thing remarkable he did to prove that love.” David said, let what would be the cause of his good-humour, and apparent good nature, yet if his actions were not conformable to his discourse, he could not esteem him; although he could not help being pleased with his conversation.

Thus they talked on from one subject to another, till they happened on revenge. David said, of all things in the world, he should hate a man who was of a vindictive temper; for his part, he could never keep up anger against any one, even though he should endeavour to do it. All he would do, when he found a man capable of hurting him (unprovoked) was to avoid him. “Indeed, sir,” says Spatter, “I am not of your mind; for I think there is nothing so pleasant as revenge: I would pursue a man who had injured me, to the very brink of life. I know it would be impossible for me ever to forgive him; and I would have the pleasure of seeing him miserable.” David was amazed at this, and said, “Pray, sir, consider, as you are a Christian, you cannot act in that manner.” Spatter replied, he was sorry it was against the rules of Christianity, but he could not help his temper: he thought forgiving any body a very great meanness, and he was sure it was what he could never bring himself to. But as they were both tired, they separated without any further discourse on that subject for that night.

V

IN WHICH PEOPLE OF NO FORTUNE MAY LEARN WHAT MONSTROUS INGRATITUDE THEY ARE GUILTY OF, WHEN THEY ARE INSENSIBLE OF THE GREAT OBLIGATION OF BEING ILL-USED; WITH MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH I SHALL NOT ACQUAINT THE READER WITH BEFOREHAND

David could not sleep that night for reflecting on this conversation. He had never yet found any fault with Spatter, but his railing against others; and as he loved to excuse everybody till he found something very bad in them, he imputed it to his love of virtue and hatred of vice: but what he had just been saying, made him think him a perfect demon, and he had the utmost horror for his principles; he resolved therefore to stay no longer with him. He accordingly got up the next morning, and went out, without taking leave or any notice of him, in order to seek a new lodging.

In his walk he met with Mr. Varnish, who accosted him in the most agreeable manner, and asked him if he would take a turn in the Park with him. The discourse naturally fell on Spatter, as he was the person who introduced them to each other; and Varnish asked David, how he could be so intimate with a man who did nothing but laugh at and ridicule him behind his back. This question a little confounded David, which the other perceiving, continued to assure him, that Spatter had represented him in several publick places as a madman, who had pursued a scheme which was never capable of entering the brain of one in his senses; namely, of hunting after a real friend. “This, sir,” says Varnish, “he ridiculed with more pleasantry than I can remember; and, in the end, said you were as silly as a little child, who cries for the moon.” However difficult it was to raise David’s resentment, yet he found an indignation within him at having his favourite scheme made a jest of: for his man of goodness and virtue was, to him, what Dulcinea was to Don Quixote; and to hear it was thought impossible for any such thing to be found, had an equal effect on him as what Sancho had on the knight, when he told him, his great princess was winnowing of wheat and sifting corn. He cried out, “Is there a man on earth who finds so much badness in his own bosom, as to convince him (for from thence he must be convinced) that there is no such thing in the world as goodness? But I should wonder at nothing in a man who professes himself a lover of revenge, and of an inexorable temper.” Varnish smiled, and said, if he would please to hear him, he would tell him Spatter’s character, which, by what he had said, he found he was wholly mistaken in; for it was so odd a one, that nobody could find it out, unless they had conversed with him a great while; that, for his part, he should never have known it, had he not been told it by a man who had been a long time intimate with him, and who knew the history of his whole life. David said he would be all attention. Then Mr. Varnish went on as follows—

“You are to know, sir, Mr. Spatter’s ill-nature dwells nowhere but in his tongue; and the very people whom he so industriously endeavours to abuse, he would do anything in his power to serve. I have known instances of his doing the best-natured actions in the world, and at the same time abusing the very person he was serving. He deals out the words ‘fool’ and ‘knave’ with such liberality behind people’s backs, and finds such a variety of epithets and metaphors to convey those ideas to persons before their faces, that he makes himself many inveterate enemies. He, indeed, soon forgets what he has said, finds no ill-will in himself, and thinks no more of it; but those who hear what be hath said openly against them in their absence, or comprehend his dark abuse in their presence, never forgive him. I myself was once a witness of his doing the most generous thing in the world by a man whom, the moment he was gone out of the room, he fell to pulling to pieces, in a manner as if he had been his greatest enemy. What can be the cause of it, I cannot imagine; whether, as you see, he has a great deal of wit, and it lies chiefly in satire, he does it in order to display his parts; or whether it is owing to a natural spleen in his temper, I cannot determine. But as to his being of a revengeful temper, I can assure you he is quite the contrary; for I have seen him do friendly things to people, who, I am certain, had done him great injuries; but that is his way. And so great is his love of abuse, that when no one else is talked of, to give him an opportunity of displaying his favourite talent, lie falls to abusing himself, and makes his own character much worse than it is; for I have known him say such things of his own principles, as would make any one think him the worst creature in the world, and the next minute act quite the contrary; nay, I verily believe, this humour so strongly possesses him, could he be put into a world by himself, he would walk about abusing himself even to inanimate things; for I think he would die of the spleen, if it was not for that vent. He is like a madman, who, when he finds nothing else to cut and slash, turns his sword on himself.”

David’s anger at Spatter’s turning him into ridicule was now quite vanished, for rage never lasted above two minutes with him; and he was glad to hear an account, which did not make Spatter so black as, by his last conversation, he began to suspect him. On the other hand, he was pleased to think all the characters of men he had had from him were not so bad as he had represented them. However, he resolved to leave him; for nothing was more unpleasant to him than continual invectives; nor could he resist an offer Mr. Varnish made him of lodging in the same house with him, for in his company he always found himself pleased.

The next day Varnish told him he would carry him to visit my Lady_________, who was just come from abroad, where he believed lie would be very well entertained, as her house was frequented by a great deal of good company. David, who was never out of his way, very willingly accompanied him. There happened that afternoon to be only three ladies (who all appeared, by their manner, to be very intimate in the family) besides the lady of the house, and a young woman who lived with her. Our hero, on whose tenderness the least appearance of grief in others made an immediate impression, could not help observing, in the countenance of this young creature, a fixed melancholy, which made him uneasy.

They had not been long seated before my Lady _________ sent her out of the room for some trifle, saying, with a sneer, she hoped the expectation of being a lady had not turned her head in such a manner that she had forgot to walk across the room. Cynthia (for that was the young woman’s name) gave her a look, which at once expressed indignation and shame at being thus treated; with such a mixture of softness, as plainly proved she was sorry she had so much reason to despise the person she wished to love. As soon as she was gone out of the room, my lady, without any reserve, began to declare, what an ungrateful creature she was; said, she had taken her into her house from mere compassion, used her as well as if she had been her nearest relation; and the reward she had for all this, was the wretch’s endeavouring to draw in her nephew (a boy about seventeen) to marry her. David, who utterly detested all ingratitude, began in his mind to be of my lady’s side; but then he could not help reflecting, that insult was not the proper manner of shewing resentment for such usage; if Cynthia was really guilty of such a piece of treachery, he thought it would be better to part with such a wretch, than to keep her only to abuse her.

The other ladies gave several instances of the ingratitude of those low mean animals, who were forced to be dependants, declaring, that, from the experience they had had of the badness of the world, they were almost tempted to swear they would never do anything to serve anybody; at the same time giving very broad hints, what a vast restraint this would be upon their inclinations, which naturally led them to good.

One of the ladies, amongst several others, gave the following instance how ungrateful the world was: that she had bred up a young woman from her childhood, who was, indeed, the daughter of a man of fashion, a very good friend of her’s, for which reason she took to her, purely from good-nature; but when she came to be old enough to be capable of being of service, she only desired the wench to keep her house, to take care of her children, to over-look all her servants, to be ready to sit with her when she called her, with many more trifling things; and madam grew out of humour at it, although she never put the creature at all on the footing of a servant, nor paid her any wages as such, but looked on her as her companion. “Indeed,” continued she, “I soon grew weary of it; for the girl pined cried in such a manner, I could not bear the sight her. I did not dare to speak to the minx, which I never did but in the gentlest terms, only to tell her what a situation she was in, and how unbecoming it was in her to think herself on a footing with people of fortune; for that she was left by her father on the world, without any provision, and was beholden to me for everything she had. And I do assure you, I never talked to her in this manner but she had tears in her eyes for a week afterwards.”

All the company, except David, joined with this lady in condemning the poor girl’s monstrous ingratitude; but he could not forbear telling her he thought it was a little unkind in her to upbraid so unfortunate a person as the young woman she had been talking of, with any favours she conferred on her. On this ensued a discourse between the four ladies concerning obligation and ingratitude, of which I really cannot remember one word.

When the two gentlemen got home, David said to his companion, he had a great curiosity to hear Cynthia’s story; for there was something so good-natured in her countenance, that he was very much inclined to believe my Lady _________ had not represented the case fairly; adding, that he should be obliged to him, if he would carry him the next day to see Cynthia alone; for he had observed by my lady’s conversation, that she was to go out of town in the morning, and should leave Cynthia at home. Varnish, who was all complaisance, readily complied with his request, for he had a long time been intimate in the family, and had admittance as often as he pleased; only he told him, he must leave him there some time, being obliged to meet a gentleman at a coffee house. This gave David an opportunity of being alone with Cynthia, which he eagerly embraced, to tell her that he saw by her look and mannier she was very unhappy, and begged, if it was any way in his power to serve her, she would let him know it; for nothing in this world was capable of giving him so much pleasure, as relieving the distressed. Cynthia at first replied, that she dared not receive any more obligations; for she had already suffered so much by accepting them, that she heartily wished she had gone through all the miseries poverty could have brought upon her, rather than have endured half what she had done for living in plenty at another’s expense.

But, at last, by the innocence of David’s looks, and the sincerity which was visible in his manner of expressing himself, she was prevailed on to relate the history of her life; which will be the subject of another chapter.

VI

IN WHICH IS DISPLAYED THE MISERY YOUNG PERSONS WHO HAVE ANY TASTE SUFFER UNLESS THEY ARE BRED UP WITH REASONABLE PEOPLE

“I cannot say I ever had any happiness in my life; for while I was young I was bred up with my father and mother, who, without designing me any harm, were continually teasing me. I loved reading, and had a great desire of attaining knowledge; but, whenever I asked questions of any kind whatsoever, I was always told, such things were not proper for girls of my age to know. If I was pleased with any book above the most silly story or romance, it was taken from me — for miss must not enquire too far into things, it would turn her brain; she had better mind her needle-work, and such things as were useful for women! reading and poring on books would never get me a husband. Thus was I condemned to spend my youth, the time when our imagination is at the highest, and we are capable of most pleasure, without being indulged in any one thing I liked, and obliged to employ myself in what was fancied by my mistaken parents to be for my improvement, although in reality it was nothing more than what any person, a degree above a natural fool, might learn as well in a very small time, as in a thousand ages. And what yet aggravated my misfortunes was, my having a brother who hated reading to such a degree, that he had a perfect aversion to the very sight of a book; and he must be cajoled or whipped into learning, while it was denied me, who had the utmost eagerness for it. Young and unexperienced as I was in the world, I could not help observing the error of this conduct, and the impossibility of ever making him get any learning that could be of use to him, or of preventing my loving it. “I had two sisters, whose behaviour was more shocking to me than that of my father and mother; because, as we were more of an age, we were more constantly together. I should have loved them with the sincerest affection, if they had behaved to line in a manner I could have borne with patience: they neither of them were to be reckoned amongst the silliest of women, and had both some small glimmering rays of parts and wit. To this was owing all their faults; for they were so partial to themselves, they mistook this faint dawn of day for the sun in its meridian; and from grasping at what they could not attain, obscured and rendered useless all the understanding they really had. From hence they took an inveterate hatred to me, because most of our acquaintances allowed me to have more wit than they had; and when I spoke, I was generally listened to with most attention. I don’t speak this from vanity; for I have been so teased and tormented about wit, I really wish there was no such thing in the world. I am very certain the woman who is possessed of it, unless she can be so peculiarly happy as to live with people void of envy, had better be without it. The fate of those persons who have wit, is nowhere so well described, as in those excellent lines in the Essay on Criticism, which are so exactly suited to my present purpose, I cannot forbear repeating them to you.

“Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things.

Atones not for that envy which it brings;

In youth alone its empty praise we boast.

But soon the short-liv’d vanity is lost:

Like some (air flower the early spring supplies,

That gaily blooms, but e’en in blooming dies.

What is this wit which most our cares employ?

The owner’s wife that other men enjoy:

The most our trouble still, when most admir’d;

The more we give, the more is still requir’d;

The fame with pains we gain, but lose with ease;

Sure some to vex, but never all to please:

’Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun;

By fools ’tis hated, and by knaves undone.

“I never spoke, but I was a wit; if I was silent, it was contempt, I certainly would not deign to converse with such people as they were. Thus whatever I did disobliged them; and it was impossible to be otherwise, as the cause of their displeasure was what I could not remove. I should have been very well pleased with their conversation, if they had been contented to have been what nature designed them; for good-humour, and a desire to please, is all I wish for in a companion; for, in my opinion, being inoffensive goes a great way in rendering any person agreeable; but so little did they show to me, that every word I spoke was misunderstood, and turned to my disadvantage. I remember once, on my saying I would follow my inclinations while they were innocent, and no ill consequences attended them; my eldest sister made me so absurd an answer, I cannot help relating it to you: for she said, she did not at all doubt but I would follow my inclinations; she was really afraid what I should come to, as she saw I fancied it a sign of wit to be a libertine; a word which she chose to thunder often in my ears, as she had heard me frequently express a particular aversion to those of our sex who deserve it. Indeed, she always exulted in saying anything she thought could hurt me: if I dropped an unguarded word or expression they could possibly lay hold on, to turn into what they thought ridicule, the joy it gave them was incredihie; if I took up a book they could not comprehend, they suddenly grew very modest, and did not pretend to know what was only fit for the learned. It is really entertaining to see the shifts people make to conceal from themselves their own want of capacities; for whoever really has sense, will understand whatever is writ in their own language, although they are entirely ignorant of all others, with an exception only of the technical terms of sciences. But I was once acquainted with an old man, who, from a small suspicion that he was not thought by the I world to be extremely wise, was always considering which way he should flatter himself that the fault was not in him, but owing to some accident; till at last he hit on the thought that his folly was caused by his father’s neglect of him; for he did not at all seem to doubt but he should have had as much sense as another, if he had but understood Greek and Latin. As if languages had a charm in them which could banish all stupidity and nonsense from those who understood them. But to proceed in my story.

“If youth and liveliness sometimes led me into any action, which they, in their riper judgments, (for the youngest of them was five years older than myself) termed indiscretions, they immediately thanked God, though they had no wit, they had common sense, and knew how to conduct themselves in life, which they thought much more valuable; but these wits had never any judgment. This is a mistake which prevails generally in the world; and, I believe, arises from the strong desire most men have to be thought witty; but when they find it is impossible, they would willingly be thought to have a contempt for it; and perhaps they sometimes have the art of flattering themselves to such a degree, as really to believe they do despise it: for men often impose so much on their own understandings, as to triumph in those very things they would be ashamed of, if their self-love would but permit them for a moment, to see things clearly as they are; they go beyond the jackdaw in the fable, who never went farther than to strut about in the peacock’s feathers, with a design of imposing on others. For they endeavour so long to blind other men’s eyes, that at last they quite darken their own; and although in their nature they are certainly daws, yet they find a method of persuading themselves that they are peacocks. But notwithstanding all the industry people may make use of to blind themselves, if wit consists, as Mr. Locke says, in the assemblage of ideas, and judgment in the separating them; I really believe the person who can join them with the most propriety, will separate them with the greatest nicety. A metaphor from mechanism, I think, will very plainly illustrate my thoughts on this subject: for let a machine, of any kind, be joined together by an ingenious artist, and I dare say, he will be best able to take it apart again: a bungler, or an ignorant person, perhaps, may pull it asunder, or break it to pieces; but to separate it nicely, and know how to divide it in the right places, will certainly be the best performed by the man who had skill enough to set it together. But with strong passions, and lively imaginations, people may sometimes be led into errors, although their judgments are ever so good; and when persons, who are esteemed by the world to have wit, are guilty of any failing, all the envious (and I am afraid they are too great a part of the human species) set up a general outcry against them.”

David, into whose head not one envious thought ever entered, could easily comprehend the reasonableness of what Cynthia said, though he was at a loss for examples of such behaviour, but was too well pleased with her manner of talking to interrupt her: and she thus continued her story.

“We had a young cousin lived with us, who was the daughter of my father’s brother, she was the oddest character I ever knew; for she certainly could not be said to have any understanding, and yet she had one of the strongest signs of sense that could be: for she was so conscious of her defect that way, that it made her so bashful she never spoke but with fear and trembling, lest she should make herself ridiculous. This poor creature would have been made a perfect mope had it not been for me; for she was the only person I ever submitted to flatter. I always approved whatever she said, and never failed asking her opinion, whenever I could contrive to do it without appearing to make a jest of her. This was the highest joy to my sisters, who thought that in this instance, at least, they could prove my want of sense, and their own superiority; for their delight was in making a butt of this poor girl, by rallying, as they pleased to term it, and putting her out of countenance.”

“Pray, madam,” said David, “what is the meaning of making a butt of any one?” Cynthia replied, “It is setting up a person as a mark to be scorned and pointed at for some defect of body or mind, and this without any offence comitted, to provoke such treatment: nay, on the contrary, it generally falls on the bashfill and innocent; and when a poor creature is thus undeservedly put to the torment of feeling the uneasy sensation of shame, the raillers exult in the thoughts of their own wit. To be witty without either blasphemy, obscenity, or ill-nature, requires a great deal more than every person, who heartily desires the reputation of being so, can come up to; but I have made it my observation, in all the families I have ever seen, that if any one person in it is more remarkably silly than the rest, those who approach in the next degree to them, always despise them the most; they are as glad to find any one below them, whom they may triumph over and laugh at, as they are envious and angry to see any one above them; as cowards kick and abuse the person who is known to be a degree more timorous than themselves, as much as they tremble at the frown of any one who has more courage. Thus my sisters always treated my cousin as a fool, while they upbraided me with being a wit; little knowing, that if the term had any meaning at all, when it is used by way of contempt, they were the very people who deserved to be called so. For if I understand it, it is then used to signify a person with but a very moderate share of understanding, who from affectation, and an insatiable desire of being thought witty, grows impertinent, and says all the ill-natured things he can think of. For my part, I conceive all manner of raillery to be the most disagreeable conversation in the world, unless it be amongst those people who have politeness and delicacy enough to rally in the manner La Bruyere speaks of; that is, to fall only on such frailties as people of sense voluntarily give up to censure: these are the best subjects to display humour, as it turns into a compliment to the person rallied, being a sort of insinuation that they have no greater faults to be fallen upon.

“When I was about sixteen, I became acquainted with a young lady, in whose conversation I had the utmost pleasure; but I had not often an opportunity of seeing her: for as she was too fond of reading, my mother was frightened out of her wits, to think what would become of us, if we were much together. I verily believe, she thought we should draw circles, and turn conjurers. Every new acquaintance we had increased my sisters’ aversion to me; for as I was generally liked best, they were in a continual rage at seeing I was taken so much notice of. But the only proof of their sense they ever gave me, was the being irritated more than usual, at the fondness which was shewn me by this young woman: for since they could be so low as to be envious, there was more understanding in being so at my attaining what was really valuable, than at what was of no consequence, and gave me no other pleasure but finding it was in my power to give it; which was the case with most of the people I convened with.

“When I was seventeen, my mother died, and after that I got with more freedom to my companion; for my father did not trouble himself much about me. He had given way to my mother’s method of educating me, as indeed he always complied with her in everything; not that he had any extraordinary affection for her, but she was one of those sort of women, who, if they once take anything in their heads, will never be quiet till they have attained it; and as he was of a disposition which naturally loved quietness, he would sooner consent to anything than hear a noise.

“One day at dinner, my father told me, if I would be a good girl, I should be married very soon. I laughed, and said, I hoped I should see the man who was to be my husband, at least an hour beforehand. ‘Yes, yes,’ replied he, ‘you shall see him time enough; but it suffices I have an offer for you, which I think to your advantage, and I expect your obedience; you know, your mother always obeyed me, and I will be master of my own family.’ I really could hardly forbear laughing in his face; but as I thought that would be very unbecoming in me to my father, I turned the discourse as fast as possible. My sisters both fell out a-laughing; one cried, ‘Oh! now we shall have fine diversion, Cynthia will be a charming mistress of a family. I wonder which of her books will teach her to be a housewife.’—’Yes,’ says the other, ‘undoubtedly her husband will be mightily pleased, when he wants his dinner, to find she has been all the morning diverting herself with reading, and forgot to order any; which I dare say will be the case,’ I had now been so long used to them, that what they said, gave me no manner of concern, and I was seldom at the trouble of answering them.

“The next day my father brought a country gentleman home to dinner with him, who was a perfect stranger to me: I did not take much notice of him, for he had nothing remarkable in him; he was neither handsome nor ugly, tall nor short, old nor young; he had something, indeed, of a rusticity in his person; what he said, had nothing entertaining in it, either in a serious or merry way, and yet it was neither silly nor ridiculous. In short, I might be in company with a thousand such sort of men, and quite forget I had ever seen them: but I was greatly surprised after dinner, at my father’s calling me out of the room, and telling me, that was the gentleman he designed for my husband; that he expected me to receive him as such, and he would take the first opportunity to leave us together, that my lover might explain himself. Which, as soon as he could contrive it, he did, by sending my sisters and cousin, one after another, out of the room, and then withdrawing himself. I had so ridiculous an idea of being thus shut up with a stranger, in order to be made love to, that I could not resist the temptation of making a little diversion with a person who appeared to me in so despicable a light. The gentleman took three or four strides across the room, looked out of the window once or twice, and then turned to me, with an awkward bow, and an irresistible air (as I fancy he thought it) and made me the polite compliment, of telling me, that he supposed my father had informed me that they two were agreed on a bargain. I replied, ‘I did not know my father was of any trade, or had any goods to dispose of; but if he had, and they could agree on their terms, he should have my consent, for I never interfered with any business of my father’s’: and went on rattling a good while, till he was quite out in his catechism, and knew not what to say. But he soon recollected himself, for he had all the assurance of a man, who from knowing he has a good fortune, thinks he does every woman an honour he condescends to speak to; and assured me, I must interfere in this business as it more particularly concerned me. ‘In short, madam,’ continued he, ‘I have seen you two or three times, although you did not know it; I like your person, hear you have had a sober education, think it time to have an heir to my estate, and am willing, if you consent to it, to make you my wife; notwithstanding your father tells me, he can’t lay you down above two thousand pounds, I am none of those nonsensical fools that can whine and make romantic love, I leave that to younger brothers, let my estate speak for me; I shall expect nothing from you but that you will retire into the country with me, and take care of my family. I must inform you, I shall desire to have everything in order; for I love good eating and drinking, and have been used to have my own humour from my youth, which, if you will observe and comply with, I shall be very kind to you, and take care of the main chance for you and your children.’ I made him a low curtsey, and thanked him for the honour he intended me; but told him, I had no kind of ambition to be his upper servant; though, indeed, I could not help wondering how it was possible for me to escape being charmed with his genteel manner of addressing me. I then asked him how many offices he had allotted for me to perform, for those great advantages he had offered me, of suffering me to humour him in all his whims, and to receive meat, drink, and lodging at his hands; but hoped he would allow me some small wages, that I might now and then recreate myself with my fellow-servants. In short, my youth led me into indulging myself in a foolish ridicule, for which I now condemn myself. He grew angry at my laughing at him, and left me, saying, he should let my father know in what manner I had used him; that I might very likely repent the refusing him, for such estates as his were not to be met with every day.

“I could not help reflecting on the folly of those women who prostitute themselves (for I shall always call it prostitution, for a woman who has sense, and has been tolerably educated, to marry a clown and a fool) and give up that enjoyment, which every one who has taste enough to know how to employ their time, can procure for themselves, though they should be obliged to live ever so retired, only to know they have married a man who has an estate; for they very often have no more command of it, than if they were perfect strangers. Some men, indeed, delight in seeing their wives finer than their neighbours; which, to those women whose whole thoughts are fixed on fine clothes, may be a pleasure; but for my part, I should in that case think myself just in the situation of the horse who wears gaudy trappings only to gratify his master’s vanity, whilst he himself is not at all considered in them. I was certain I could live much more to my satisfaction on the interest of my own little fortune, than I could do with subjecting myself to the humours of a man I must have always disliked and despised.

“I don’t know how it was brought about, but this man married my second sister, and she took the other away with her, so that I was happily rid of them both. My father was very angry with me for the present; but I thought that would be I soon over, and did not at all doubt his being reconciled to me again. I now began to flatter myself, that I should lead a hfe perfectly suitable to my taste; my cousin was very fond of me, for I was the only woman she had ever met with, who had not shown a contempt for her. I carried her with me wherever I went, and had the pleasure of seeing I was the cause of her being happy. I conversed as much as I pleased with my beloved companion, and books and friendship shared my peaceful hours. But this lasted but a very short time; for my father, in the heat of his anger against me, made a will, in which he left me nothing; and before his rage abated enough for him to alter it, he died of an apoplexy. As soon as my sisters heard of his death, they hurried to town, when the will was opened, and they found I was excluded from having any share in my father’s fortune: they triumphed over me with all the insolence imaginable, and vented all their usual reproaches; saying, it was impossible but that a person of my great wit and genius must be able to provide for myself, and did not doubt but 1 could shift very well without money. Thus this unpardonable crime of being thought to have more sense than they had, was never to be forgiven; they stayed no longer in town, than while they were settling their affairs, and left me with but five guineas, which I happened to have saved out of my pocket-money, while my father was alive. The young woman I have so often mentioned to you, was so generous as to let me have all the little money she was mistress of. I wish nothing so much as to see her again; but while I was abroad, she and her brother went from their father’s house, on his bringing home a mother-in-law, and I cannot hear what is become of them. Whilst I was in this situation, my Lady_________, with whom I had had a small acquaintance for some time, took such a fancy to me, she invited me to come and live with her; she seemed as if she loved me, and I was ignorant enough of the world to think she did so. She was going abroad; and as I had a great desire to see more countries than my own, I proposed to myself a great deal of pleasure in going with her; the only regret I had was in leaving my dear companion, but I was not in circumstances to refuse my Lady _________’s offer.

“And now I am come to the conclusion of my history, whilst I went under the denomination of a wit, and am really quite tired of talking; but if you have a curiosity to know the rest of my history, and will favour me with your company to-morrow, I will resume it.”

David assured her, nothing could oblige him more, and in a little while took his leave of her for that night.

VII

THE CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF CYNTHIA, WITH AN ACCOUNT IN WHAT MANNER SHE WAS SUDDENLY TRANSFORMED FROM A WIT INTO A TOAD-EATER, WITHOUT ANY VISIBLE CHANGE IN EITHER HER PERSON OR BEHAVIOUR

David went exactly at the time appointed the next day; and, after some little discourse, Cynthia went on with her story, as follows—

“I think I left off at my going abroad with my lady. My cousin went home to live with her mother; as they had but a very small income to keep them, I should have been heartily glad if it had been in my power to have increased it. I forgot to tell you, that my brother died at school, when he was fifteen; for he had but a weakly constitution, and the continual tormenting and whipping him, to make him learn his book, (which was utterly impossible) had such an effect on the poor boy, it threw him into a consumption, of which he died. I shall not undertake to give you a description of the countries through which we passed; for as we were only to make the tour of France and Italy, I suppose you have read a hundred descriptions of them already. The lady I went with had something very amiable in her manner, and at first behaved to me with so much good-nature, that I loved her with the utmost sincerity. I dwelt with pleasure on the thoughts of the obligations I owed her, as I fancied she was generous enough to delight in conferring them; and I had none of that sort of pride, by fools mistaken for greatness of mind, which makes people disdain the receiving obligations; for I think the only meanness consists in accepting, and not gratefully acknowledging them. I had learned French, that is, I had read some French books with the help of a dictionary, to satisfy my own curiosity, for nobody had ever taught me anything: on the contrary, I was to be kept back as much as possible, for fear I should know too much. But the little I had learned by myself helped me, when I came into the country, to talk it tolerably well. My Lady _________ could not speak it at all; and as she did not care to take much pains while we were at Paris, which was a whole winter, we herded mostly amongst the English.

“I was now in the place of the world I had often most wished to go to, where I had everything in great plenty, and yet I was more miserable than ever. Perhaps you will wonder what caused my unhappiness; but I was to appear in a character I could not bear, namely, that of a toad-eater: and what hurt me most, was, that my lady herself soon began to take pains to throw me into it as much as possible.”

David begged an explanation of what she meant by a toad-eater; for he said it was a term he had never heard before. On which Cynthia replied, “I don’t wonder, sir, you never heard of it; I wish I had spent my life without knowing the meaning of it: it is a metaphor taken from a mountebank’s boy who eats toads, in order to show his master’s skill in expelling poison: it is built on a supposition, (which I am afraid is too generally true) that people who are so unhappy as to be in a state of dependance, are forced to do the most nauseous things that can be thought on, to please and himour their patrons. And the metaphor may be carried on yet farther; for most people have so much the art of tormenting, that every time they have made the poor creatures they have in their power swallow a toad, they give them something to expel it again, that they may be ready to swallow the next they think proper to prepare for them: that is, when they have abused and fooled them, as Hamlet says, to the top of their bent, they grow soft and good to them again, on purpose to have it in their power to plague them the more. The satire of the expression, in reality, falls on the person who is mean enough to act in so cruel a manner to their dependant; but as it is no uncommon thing for people to make use of terms they don’t understand, it is generally used, by way of derision, to the unfortunate wretch who is thrown into such a miserable situation.

“I remember once I went with my Lady _________ to visit some English ladies, where there happened to be a great deal of company: as we went out of the room, I heard somebody mention the word toad-eater; I thoaght it was me they were speaking of, and dropped my fan for an excuse to make a stop at the door, when I heard one lady say to another, ‘What a creature it is! I believe she is dumb, for she has not spoke one word since she has been here; but yet I do not dislike to see her, for I love ridicule above all things, and there is certainly nothing so ridiculous as a toad-eater.’ I could not stay to bear any more; but I despised both these women too much to let it be in their power to give me any pain, for I knew by their manner of talking they were fine ladies; and that is the character in life I have the greatest contempt for.”

David begged of her to let him know what she meant by fine ladies. On which she replied, “Indeed, sir, you have imposed on me the hardest task in the world: I know them when I meet with them; but they have so little of what we call character, that I do not know how to go about the describing them. They are made up of caprice and whim; they love and hate, are angry and pleased, without being able to assign a reason for any of these passions. If they have a characteristic, it is vanity, to which everything else seems to be subservient; they always affect a great deal of good-nature, are frighted out of their wits at the sight of any object in bodily pain, and yet value not how much they rack people’s minds. But I must justify them so far as to say, I believe this is owing to their ignorance; for as they have no minds of their own, they have no idea of other’s sensations. They cannot, I think, well be liable to the curse attending Eve’s transgression, as they do not enjoy the benefit proposed by it, of knowing good from evil. They are so very wise, as to think a person’s being ignorant of what is utterly impossible they should know, is a perfect sign of folly. Congreve seems to me to have known them the best of any one: my Lady Wish-for’t at her toilette is a perfect picture of them, where she insults over, and thinks herself witty on a poor ignorant wench, because she does not know what she has never been taught or used to. That fine ridicule of the brass thimble and the nutmeg jingling in her pocket, with the hands dangling like bobbins, is exactly their sort of wit; and then they never call any one by their right names; creatures, animals, tilings, all the words of contempt they can think of, are what they delight in. Shakespeare has made Hamlet give the best description imaginable of them in that one line which he addresses to Ophelia; ‘Ye lisp, and ye amble, and ye nickname God’s creatures.’ An expression I never understood, til I knew the world enough to have met with some of these sort of women. They are not confined to any station; for I have known, while the lady has been insulting her waiting-woman in the dressing-room, the chamber-maid has been playing just the same part below-stairs, with the person she thought her inferior, only with a small variation of terms. But I will dwell no longer on them; for I am tired of them, as I have often been in life.

“But this would have had no effect on me, had my lady behaved well herself. To her usage was owing all my misery; for by that time I had remained with her two or three months, she began to treat me as a creature born to be her slave: whenever I spoke, I was sure to offend her; if I was silent, I was out of humour; if I said anything in the softest terms, to complain of the alteration of her affection, I was whimsical and ungrateful. I think it impossible to be in a worse situation. She had raised my love by the obligations she had conferred on me, and yet continually provoked my rage, by her ill-nature; I could not, for a great while, any way account for this conduct. I thought, if she did not love me, she had no reason to have given herself any trouble about me; and yet I could not think she could have used one for whom she had had the least regard in so cruel a manner. At last, I reflected, it must be owing to a love of tyranny; and as we are born in a country where there is no such thing as public legal slavery, people lay plots to draw in others to be their slaves, with the pretence of having an affection for them: and what is yet more unfortunate, they always choose the persons who are least able to bear it. It is the fierce mettled courser who must be brought to their lure by fawning and stroking) that they love to wring, and gird the saddle on; whilst the mule, which seems born to bear their burdens, passes by them unheeded and neglected. I was caught, like the poor fish, by the bait which was treacherously extended for me, and did not observe the hook which was to pierce my heart, and be my destruction. You cannot imagine what I felt; for to be used ungratefully by any one I had conferred favours on, would have been nothing to me, in comparison of being ill-used by the person I thought myself obliged to. I was to have no passions, no inclinations of my own; but was to be turned into a piece of clock-work, which her ladyship was to wind up or let down as she pleased. I had resolution enough to have borne any consequence that might have attended my leaving her; but I could not bear the thoughts of even the imputation of ingratitude; for there are very few people who have any notion of obligations which are not pecuniary. But, in my opinion, those persons who give up their time, and sacrifice all their own inclinations, to the humours of others, cannot be overpaid by anything they can do for them. Men never think a slave obliged to them for giving him bread, when he has performed his task. And certainly it is a double slavery to be made servile under the pretence of friendship; for no labour of the body could have been so painful to me, as the having my mind thus teazed and tortured. My wit, which I had heard so much of, was now all fled; for I was looked on in so contemptible a light, that nobody would hearken to me: the only comfort I had, was in the conversation of a led captain who came abroad with a gentleman of my lady’s acquaintance. There are two sorts of led captains; the one is taken a fancy to by somebody much above him, seated at his superior’s table, and can cringe and flatter, fetch and carry nonsense for my lord; thinking himself happy in being thus admitted into company whom his sphere of fife gives him no pretensions to keep. The other is a sort of male toad-eater, who by some misfortune in life is thrown down below his proper station, meets wih a patron who pretends to be his friend, and who by that means draws him in to be sincerely his. This gentleman’s case and mine were so much alike, that our greatest pleasure was in comparing them; but I was much more astonished at his patron’s behaviour than at my Lady _________’s; for although she had a tolerable understanding, yet it was not of that sort which would make one wonder at her frailties. But he was remarkable for his sense and wit, and yet could not forbear making this poor gentleman feel all the weight of dependance. He was so inconsistent with himself, he could not bear he should see his tyranny, because he was very fond of gaining everybody’s esteem; not considering his aim would have been lost, if the other had not been sensible of his behaviour: but because he saw him uneasy under it, he took a perfect aversion to him. I have heard of a gentleman, who would never go to another’s house, if he had ever so many coaches and six to carry him in, without horses of his own; saying the only way to be treated well, was to show people he had it in his power to leave them whenever he pleased. And I think he was perfectly in the right; for melancholy experience has taught me how miserable it is to abandon one’s self to another’s power. But now to show you the unaccountable caprice of human nature, I must tell you, that this very gentleman, who had thus groaned under the affliction of another’s using him ill, coming to an estate which was entailed on him by a cousin’s dying without children, became the greatest tyrant in the world; and kept a led captain, whom he used much worse than his former patron had ever done him: and instead of avoiding the treating another in a manner he himself had found difficult to bear, he seemed so as if he resolved to revenge his former sufferings on a person who was perfectly innocent of them.

“I know not to what malignity it is owing, but I have observed, in all the families I have ever been acquainted with, that one part of them spend their whole time in oppressing and teazing the other; and all this they do like Drawcansir, only because they dare, and to show their power; while the other part languish away their days in bemoaning their own hard fate, which has just subjected them to the whims and tyranny of wretches, who are so totally void of taste, as not to desire the affection of the very people they appear willing to oblige. It is late to-night; but if you have a curiosity to hear the remainder of my story, to-morrow I will proceed.”

David, who never desired any one to do what was the least irksome, took his leave for that evening, and returned the next day, according to Cynthia’s own appointment.

VIII

A CONTINUATION OF CYNTHIA’S STORY

The next evening, after the usual civilities had passed between David and Cynthia, she, at his request, went on with her story.

“I spent the whole time I was abroad in misery; because my Lady _________ chose to see me unhappy, and sighing at her tyranny, instead of viewing me always (which she might have done) with cheerful looks, and a countenance expressive of the most grateful acknowledgments, for owing a life of ease and plenty to her benevolence.”

David, whose only pleasure was in giving it to others, was more amazed at this account of my Lady _________’s behaviour, than he would have been at the most surprising phenomenon in nature: but he had so much curiosity to know the end of Cynthia’s story, that he would not interrupt her; and she went on as follows—

“Since our arrival in England, an accident has happened to me, which was as little thought on as wished for. My Lady _________ has a nephew of about seventeen years of age, who, after the death of his father, will be Earl of _________, with a great estate. This young man took such a fancy to me, that the very first opportunity he had of speaking to me alone, he made me a proposal of marriage. This is, in my opinion, a very odd way of proceeding; but it is not very uncommon amongst men who think themselves so much above us, that there is no danger of a refusal; and consequently that they may be excused the usual forms on such occasions. I was at first so surprised, I knew not what to answer; but as soon as I could recollect my thoughts, and revolve in my mind the situation I was in, I told him that I was infinitely obliged to him for his good opinion of me; but that as I lived in my Lady _________’s house, I should think myself guilty of the utmost treachery, to marry so near a relation of her’s without her consent; and as in my circumstances I was not likely to obtain that, I begged him to give up all thoughts of it. The more I refused him, the more earnest he was with me to comply: but while we were talking, my Lady _________ entered the room. I could not help blushing and looking confused, and my Lord _________ was almost as much so as myself. She has very penetrating eyes, and immediately saw something extraordinary had happened. However, she said nothing till my Lord was gone, when she insisted on knowing the whole truth; and was so very pressing, that at last I told it her. As I had nothing I had any reason to be ashamed of, but acted (as I thought) with great honour towards my Lady _________, I had no suspicion, that letting her know her nephew liked me, could possibly turn out to my disadvantage. But the moment I had complied with her desire, in openly declaring the cause of that confusion she had observed in us both at her entrance, she flew into as great a rage as if I had been guilty of the worst of crimes; talked in her usual style of my ingratitude; said, it was a fine return for all her kindness, to endeavour to draw in her nephew to marry me. All I could say or do, could not pacify her. She immediately sent to my lord’s father, who carried his son out of town, and intends to send him abroad, in order to prevent his seeing me any more.

“And now I am to be used ten times worse than ever I was: but I shall not bear it much longer; for let the consequence be what it will, I am sure I cannot lead a more unhappy life than I do at present. I verily believe, if my Lord was to marry any other woman without a fortune, it would not give her half the uneasiness; but to think that a person, whom she has so long looked on as her subject, should have an opportunity of becoming her equal, is more than she can bear. Thus, sir, I am come to the end of my story: I wish there was anything more entertaining in it; but your desiring to know it appeared to me to arise from so much good-nature and compassion for the afflicted, I could not refuse to gratify your curiosity.”

David assured her, if it was any way in his power to serve her, he should have the utmost pleasure in doing it, and that if she thought it proper to leave my Lady _________, and go into a lodging by herself, he would supply her with whatever she wanted: that she had no reason to be afraid that he should upbraid her with being obliged to him; for that, on the contrary, he should be thankful to her for giving him an opportunity of being any ways useful to a person of her merit; for that he had observed the world in general was so very mercenary, he could not help being at once pleased and surprised, to find a person of her age, and in her circumstances, who had resolution enough to think of refusing any offer that was for her advantage, from a notion of honour.

Whilst they were in this discourse, my Lady _________, who had altered her mind, and did not stay out of town as long as she at first intended, returned home. David thinking he might be troublesome at her first coming off her journey, soon retired; and the moment he was gone, my Lady _________ vented all the most ill-natured reproaches on poor Cynthia she could think on; saying, she supposed now her house was to be made the receptacle for all the young fellows in town—that she was sure there must be something very forward in her behaviour, for it could not be her beauty that drew men after her.—In short, she treated her as if she had been the most infamous creature alive; nor did she scruple this before all the servants in her house. I suppose, besides her natural love of tyranny, she was one of those sort of women, who, like Venus in Telemachus, lose the pleasure of their numberless votaries, if one mortal escapes their snares. Besides, she thought it insupportable, that a wretch, whom she looked upon to be so much below her as Cynthia, should have any charms at all.

The next day, David went to see her again; and as my Lady was gone to make a visit, he met with Cynthia alone: he found her dissolved in tears, and in such an agony, that she was hardly able to speak to him; at last, however, she informed him in what manner my Lady longdash had used her, because he happened to be there when she came home. David begged her not to bear this treatment any longer, but to accept his offer; and assured her, he would both protect and support her, if she would give him leave. Cynthia was charmed with his generous manner of offering to assist her; but said, her case was the most to be lamented in the world; for that if she accepted what he with so much good-nature offered her, it would be in my Lady ’s power (and she was certain it would be in her will) to make her infamous. But on an assurance from David, that he would submit to what rules she pleased, supply her with whatever she wanted, and at the same time deny himself even the pleasure of seeing her, she thought it proper, she at last consented, and they consulted together the method they should take. I They agreed that Cynthia should leave a place she so much detested, as the house where she then was, the next day. But she said she would acquaint my Lady ____ with her resolution, that it might not look like running away from her; she was very sensible she must bear great invectives and reproaches; but, however, she thought she should be able to go through them, as she hoped it would be tha last time.

David was to take her a lodging, and send her word by some woman where it was, that she might go to it without his appearing in the affair. When they had settled every thing to their satisfaction, he took his leave, that he might not be there when my Lady _________ came home. Now the anxiety was over, for the perplexity which is caused by not knowing how to act, is the greatest torment imaginable; but as Cynthia had fixed her resolution, her mind was calmer, and her countenance more cheerful than it had been for some time. My Lady _________ designed thet evening to use her very well, which she generally did once a week or fortnight, as if she laid a plot sometimes just to give her a taste of pleasure, only to make her feel the want of it the more. But when she saw her look pleased, and, on enquiry, found that David had been there, her designs were altered, and she could not forbear abusing her. But the moment she began, Cynthia, instead of keeping her usual silence, intreated her to give her one quarter of an hour’s attention; which, after two or three speeches, which my Lady _________ thought witticisms (such as, that what she said must be worth hearkening to; that may be her new gallant had put some fresh nonsense in her head) was at last obtained. When Cynthia began as follows—

“I confess, madam, you took me from poverty and distress, and gave me plenty; I own the obligation, nor have I ever, even in my thoughts, tried to lessen it. The moment pride makes any of us wish or endeavour, by the power of imagination and fallacy, to lose the sense of favours conferred on us, all gratitude must necessarily be at an end. Had you behaved to me, as I first flattered myself you intended, your ladyship in me might have had a willing slave: I should have thought my life would have been but a small sacrifice, could any interest of yours have required it. Nay, I have already done more; I have given up my youth, the time which is the most valuable in life, to please all your whims, and comply with all your humours. You have chose, that instead of looking on you as my generous benefactress, I should find you an arbitrary tyrant; the laws of England will not suffer you to make slaves of your servants, nor will I bear it any longer. I am certain, the meanest person in your house has not gone through half what I have done for bread; and, in short, madam, here your power is at an end, to-morrow I shall take my leave of you: I cannot help wishing you happy, but must own, I heartily hope you will never have anybody so much in your power again.”

My lady, who had been used to be treated by everything in her house (her husband not excepted) with the greatest deference, swelled and reddened at this discourse of Cynthia’s; till at last, for want of words to vent her rage, she burst into tears, Cynthia, whose good-nature nothing could exceed, thinking this arose from my lady’s consciousness of her own wrong behaviour, was softened, and threw herself at her feet; asked ten thousand pardons; said, if she could have guessed the effect what she said would have had on her, she would sooner have been for ever dumb, than have uttered a word to offend her. But, alas! how was she mistaken! For as soon as my Lady ____’s tears had made way for her words, she fell upon her with all the most bitter invectives she could think of, and even descended so far as to forget her quality (which was seldom out of her thoughts) and use the most vulgar terms, in order to abuse her. Cynthia, who had a I great aversion to all broils and quarrels, seeing her passion was so high, said no more, but let her rail on till it was time to go to bed.

When Cynthia waked the next morning, she thought she had now performed her duty in informing my Lady of her design to leave her, therefore chose not to hear any farther abuses from her; so that as soon as David’s messenger came, which was very early, she went with her, without any more ceremony, to the lodging he had taken for her.—And here, I doubt not, but the graver sort of my female readers will be as ready to condemn Cynthia for taking such a step, and thus putting herself in the power of a man, with whom she had had so short an acquaintance, as my Lady _________ herself was. I do not pretend to justify her; but, without doubt, there are circumstances in life, where tile distress is so high, and the mind in such an anxiety, that persons may be pardoned the being thrown so much off their guard, as to be drawn into actions, which, in the common occurrences of life, would admit of no alleviation.

Cynthia herself, as soon as she had time to reflect, suffered as much by the consideration of what she had done, as she did while she lived with my Lady _________. She knew too much of the world, to be easily persuaded that any man could act, as David did by her, from pure friendship: nor was she, indeed, long left in doubt in this matter; for although he paid her all imaginable respect, yet she plainly saw that he liked her. This perplexed her more than ever, for it gave her very little relief to find his designs were honourable, as in her situation she could not comply with them. For, to confess the truth, although I hope she would have acted the same part with relation to her refusal of my Lord _________, had she no other motive than honour to induce her to it; yet she had the additional reason for it, of having from her youth secretly liked and esteemed a young gentleman with whom she was then acquainted. At last, after many reflections, and often revolving in her mind which way she should act, she fixed on a resolution of going into the country to see her cousin, a person whom she has often mentioned in the foregoing part of this history.

David, although it was with great regret he parted with her, did not attempt to say anything to dissuade her from what he saw she had so great an inclination to; only insisted on her accepting money enough to bear her expenses. This she would not have done on any other consideration, but that of seeing he would be very uneasy if she refused him. And here, for the present, we must take our leave of Cynthia.

David’s stay with Varnish was but of small duration; for although he was agreeably entertained, by continually hearing the praises of all the company they met with; yet he could not help observing, that notwithstanding the appearance of good-nature which showed itself in Varnish, yet, in reality, he was not at all affected with others’ sufferings. His mother lived with him; and he showed her so much respect, and treated her with so much complaisance, that David at first thought he loved her with the greatest tenderness; but as this poor woman was afflicted with the stone and gout to such a degree, as often threw her into violent agonies, it gave David an opportunity of observing, that in the midst of her groans, which often pierced him to the soul, Varnish preserved his usual serenity of countenance, nor did the gaiety of his temper fail him in the least. This reminded him of the character which Spatter had given of him, viz., that he kept up an eternal cheerfulness, only because he had none of those sensations which arise from good-nature; and made David resolve not to live with a man he could not esteem, which was the point he was always aiming at; and although he had met with so many disappointments, he was not yet drove to despair, but went on in his pursuit.

X

IN WHICH MR. SIMPLE GAVE A FRESH PROOF, THAT HE WAS NOT INSENSIBLE OF HIS FELLOW-CREATURES’ SUFFERINGS

My hero now had left Varnish, and Cynthia was gone out of town; so that he was to begin the world again. And the next fancy he took into his head, was to dress himself in a mean habit, take an ordinary lodging, and go amongst the lower sort of people, and see what he could make of them. He went from house to house for a whole month; for as he was now got amongst a class of people who had not had the advantages from education which teach men the way of artfully disguising their dispositions, whilst he lived with them, he never imagined he had met with anything he could esteem. For mercenary views there were so immediately perceptible in everything they all said or did, that he met with fewer disappointments in this way than in any other. This gave him but a melancholy prospect; for he thought, if a disposition was naturally good, it would appear as well in the lowest as in the highest station.

As he was sitting one evening revolving these things in his mind, he suddenly heard a great scolding, in a female voice, over his head; which was so shrill, and continued so long in one tone, that it gave him a curiosity to know the meaning of it. He went up stairs into a garret, where he saw a most moving scene. There lay on a bed (or rather on a parcel of rags patched together, to which the mistress of the house chose to give the name of a bed) a young man, looking as pale as death, with his eyes sunk in his head, and hardly able to breathe, covered with half a dirty rug, which would scarce come round him. On one side of him sat, holding him by the hand, a young woman, in an old silk gown, which looked as if it had been a good one, but tattered, that it would barely cover her with decency; her countenance wan with affliction, and tears stood in her eyes, which she seemed unwilling to let fall, lest she should add to the sorrow of the man she sat by, and which, however, she was not able to restrain. The walls were bare, and broke in many places in such a manner, that they were scarce sufficient to keep out the weather. The land-lady stood over them, looking like a fury, and swearing she would have her money; that she did not understand what people meant by coming to lodge in other folks’ houses without paying them for it: she had been put off several times, and she could not stay any longer.

David was struck dumb at this scene; he stared at the man on the bed, viewed the young woman; then turned his eyes on the landlady, whom he was ready to throw down stairs for her cruelty. He was for some time disabled from speaking, by the astonishment he was under. The young woman, in a low voice, interrupted with sobs and tears, begged the landlady to have patience; and promised, if she should ever be worth so much, she would pay her double the sum she owed her; begged her no more to disturb her brother in his present condition; but if he must die, that she would suffer him to die in peace. During the time she was speaking, David’s tears flowed as fast as her’s; his words could find no utterance, and he stood motionless as a statue. The landlady replied immediately in a surly tone, “Brother!—Yes, it is very likely indeed, that anyone would be so concerned for only a brother!” and she believed, if she was to tell her butcher and baker she would pay them, if ever she should be worth the money, she must go without bread and meat; she could not think how folks imagined she could live, unless she was paid her own.

David now could hold no longer, but cried out, “Can anything in a human shape persecute creatures in the misery this young man and woman are? What do they owe you? I will pay you immediately, if you will let them be quiet.” As soon as the woman heard she was to have her money, she turned her furious look and tone into the mildest she was capable of; made a low curtsey, and said, she was sure no one could think her unreasonable in desiring what was her due, she asked no more; and if the gentleman would promise to pay for it, she would fetch them anything they wanted. For her part, she was as willing to be obliging as another. In saying this she left the room.

The young woman stared for the space of a minute on David, with a wildness which quite frightened him: at last she got up, threw herself at his feet, and said, she was sure he was some angel, who had put on a human form, to deliver her from the only distress capable of affecting her in that manner, which was her brother’s illness, and her being totally void of capacity to help him.

David, who was very much surprised at her air and manner, had no time then for reflections, but only asked her what he should get to refresh them, and begged her to think of nothing at present, but how to recruit her’s and her brother’s spirits. She returned this goodness with a look that expressed more thankfulness than all the pompous words of laboured eloquence could have done; she would not waste a moment before her brother was taken care of; and therefore desired her benefactor would get a glass of wine, and a biscuit for him; “For I am sure,” says she, “it is a great many hours since the poor creature has had anything.”

David, with his heart ready to burst, and his eyes overflowing, ran down stairs, and made the land-lady (who was now as solicitous to oblige, as she was before to be rude) send immediately for what they desired; and when he had got it, ran upstairs with the utmost joy. The young woman took no thought for herself, but used all her endeavours to make her brother get something down to revive him: it was with great difficulty he could swallow; for his weakness was so great, he could hardly move. He had not yet spoke; but at last, by the help of the refreshment he had taken, he got strength enough to say, “I hope, sir, I shall live to acknowledge your goodness, though I am now utterly unable to do it.” He then turned to his sister, and begged her, for God’s sake, to drink something herself; for he was certain she must want it. He had not strength enough to go on, but looked some-times at her, and expressed his amazement at the unexpected relief they had found. Sometimes he looked on David with an air of softness and gratitude, in which our hero’s sensibility read as much as any thing he could have said. The poor young woman, who had a long time stifled her own sorrows, lest she should add to her brother’s, found now such a struggle of variety of passions labouring in her mind at once; the tenderness she had for her brother, the joy that suddenly rushed on her to see him a little relieved, and the gratitude she felt for her generous benefactor, that it quite overcame her; she was unable to speak, or to refrain any longer from bursting into a flood of tears, which was the only means she had left to express her thoughts.

David, who had more of what Shakespeare calls the milk of human kind, than any other among all the children of men, perceived by her manner of behaviour all that must pass in her mind, and was much less able to comfort her, than what is called a good-humoured man would have been; for his sensations were too strong to leave him the free use of his reason, and he stood some time without knowing what to do. At last, he recollected himself enough to beg her to dry her eyes; saying, it would be the utmost injury to her brother to continue in those agonies, which seeing her in that condition must unavoidably cause. That thought immediately roused her, and suddenly stopped her gushing tears. As soon as she grew a little calm, David’s senses began to return to him; and he asked her, if she thought her brother would be able to bear a chair to carry him to some place where he might get what was decent, and be taken care of. He had indeed a chamber below stairs, where everything was clean, though in a very plain way, which he should be very welcome to have; but he supposed they would be willing to move from a place in which they had met with such treatment; besides, there was not room enough for them all; and he would not leave them, till he saw them recovered from the condition they were now in. On which she replied, that, indeed, that last consideration weighed greatly with her; but as to the treatment they had met with, she had learned from sad experience in the world, that good or bad usage was to be had, just according to the situation any person appeared in, and that most people weighed the respect they paid others very exactly in a scale against the money they thought them worth, taking great care not to let the one exceed the other. The brother, who found himself revived, said he was sure he could bear being carried wherever he pleased; and that nothing could make him suffer so much, as the being separated from him. On which David presently went out, got a good lodging for them and himself, returned, and paid the landlady his and their bills (the whole of what she had been so clamorous about, amounting only to two guineas). He could not help reflecting with pleasure, that this woman had been a loser by her cruelty and ill-nature; for he paid her whatever price she asked, and might have staid with her some time, had it not been for this accident.

David ordered a couple of chairs, put the two poor young creatures into them, and followed them to the place he had provided for them; where, when they arrived, they were so faint and worn out, that he ordered them immediately to be carried to their beds, and they had something warm prepared for them to take. But the mean appearance they made, caused all the people in the house to stare with great astonishment, wondering what they could be; neither would they show them to their beds, or get them anything; till David, whose dress, though it was but indifferent, was whole and clean, pulled out money enough to convince them he could pay for anything they had: for nothing but the sight of the money could have got the better of that suspicion the first sight of them had occasioned. The next thing David thought on was to send for a physician, to endeavour to restore these miserable wretches to health. When the doctor came, and had seen his patients, he told David, in a great many words, too learned for me either to understand or remember, that from the perturbation of mind the young woman had suffered, she was in great danger of a fever; and that the man was so excessively weak, it would be some time before he could be restored: but he would immediately order something for them to sleep, and was in hopes of setting them up again.

David took care of everything for them; and as soon as they had taken the doctor’s prescription, left them with proper people to attend them, and retired into his chamber. His head was filled with the thoughts of what he had seen that day; nor could he imagine what these two young people could be: he was certain, by their manner and behaviour, they could not have been bred in very low life; and if they had, he thought it a still stronger proof of their sense, that they could so much get the better of the want of education, as to be able, notwithstanding that disadvantage, and the disguise of their dress, to show, in every word and gesture, a delicacy which could not be surpassed by the best bred persons in the world.

David got up very early the next morning to enquire for them; he heard they were both fast asleep, and had been so all night. This news gave him the greatest pleasure imaginable; he went out and bought them decent clothes to put on when they got up; and as soon as he heard the young man was awake, he went into his room, and was surprised to find such an amendment. The moment the sick man saw him, he said, “Sir, your goodness has worked a miracle on me; for it is so long since I have lain in a place fit for a human creature, that I have seemed in heaven to-night. I have had no distemper on me for some time, but a weakness occasioned by a fever, and the want of necessaries, had brought me to the condition you found me in; I am still faint and low, but don’t in the least doubt soon to get the better of it. I hear my poor sister is not yet awake; no wonder, the good creature has sat up with me a great many nights, and has had no sustenance but a bit of dry bread: nature must be worn out in her, but I hope, with the blessing of God, this sleep will refresh her.”

David then told him, if he was able to rise that day, he had prepared some clothes fit for him to put on, and likewise for his sister; which he had already sent by the maid, to be in readiness for her against she waked. What this poor creature, whose heart was naturally tender and grateful, felt at seeing himself loaded with benefits from a stranger, I leave to the imagination of every reader, who can have any sense of obligations; and those who have none, I am sure must think enough of trifles, to imagine he must be pleased, after being some time in rags, to have whole clothes to put on.

As soon as the young woman opened her eyes, she got up, and dressed herself in the things David had sent her, and then came to see her brother. She looked very pale and weak, but very beautiful; her whole person was exactly formed, and genteel to admiration; her rags could not totally disguise her, but now she was clean, she made a most charming figure. The meeting between the brother and sister was with the greatest joy, to see each other so much better than they had been; and David’s pleasure was perfectly equal with either of theirs, in the thoughts that he was the cause of it. He took such care of them, that a little time perfectly recovered them, and they lived together in the most agreeable manner: sometimes they would say, as they had not a farthing in the world, they were so much ashamed to be such a burden to him, they could not bear it, David desired them to be easy, for he could not spend his money more agreeably to himself, than in supplying people who had the appearance of so much merit.—Indeed it was true; for there was such an open simplicity in their manner, and such a goodness of heart appeared in their love to each other, as would have made any one, less credulous than Mr. Simple, have a good opinion of them; and they had both such a strength of understanding, as made them the most delightful companions in the world.

David longed to know their story, and yet was afraid to ask it, lest by that means he should dis cover something in their conduct which would lessen his esteem for them; besides, he was afraid they might not care to tell it, and it would look like thinking he had a right to know what he pleased because they were obliged to him; a thought which he would have utterly detested himself for, could it once have entered into his head. He began to feel for Camilla (for so we shall call the young woman for the future) something more soft than friendship, and more persuasive than common compassion: for although Cynthia appeared to be a person perfectly deserving of his esteem, which was what he had a long time sought for, and he really very much admired her; yet there was something which more nearly touched his heart in this young woman, and immediately caused him to lose all regret on the account of the other’s refusing him; and as he was not at all suspicious in his nature, he never entertained any notion of what the landlady hinted at, as if her companion was not her brother. For as he was capable of the strongest affection, without the mixture of any appetite with it, he did not doubt but others might be so too, though it is a thing some few people in the world seem to have no notion of. He lived in a continual fear lest she might not turn out as he wished her: he as yet saw nothing but what he approved; but as he had been so often deceived, he was afraid of providing for himself those sorrows he had already felt by too forward a credulity.

However, one evening, as David and Camilla were sitting together, Valentine (for that was the brother’s name) being walked out for the air, he resolved to ask her to let him into her history; which he did with the greatest caution and respect, lest she should be offended at his request. She told him, she should already have related it to him, but that there was nothing entertaining in it; on the contrary, she feared, from the experience she had had of his good-nature, it might raise very uneasy sensations in him; but as he desired it, she should think it unpardonable in her not to comply: only, whenever her brother came in, she must leave off, not being willing to remind him of some scenes, which she used her utmost art to make him forget. David told her, he would not for the world have her do anything to give either herself or brother a moment’s pain. She then proceeded to relate what will be seen in the following