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We once again, therefore, entered into a consultation upon obviating the malice of our enemies, and at last came to a resolution which had too much cunning to give me entire satisfaction. It was this: as our principal object was to discover the honour of Mr. Thornhill's addresses, my wife undertook to sound him, by pretending to ask his advice in the choice of a husband for her eldest daughter. If this was not found sufficient to induce him to a declaration, it was then resolved to terrify him with a rival. To this last step, however, I would by no means give my consent, till Olivia gave me the most solemn assurances that she would marry the person provided to rival him upon this occasion, if he did not prevent it, by taking her himself. Such was the scheme laid, which, though I did not strenuously oppose, I did not entirely approve.

The next time, therefore, that Mr. Thornhill came to see us, my girls took care to be out of the way, in order to give their mamma an opportunity of putting her scheme in execution ; but they only retired to the next room, from whence they could overhear the whole conversation. My wife artfully introduced it, by observing, that one of the Miss Flamboroughs was like to have a very good match of it in Mr. Spanker. To this the 'Squire assenting, she proceeded to remark, that they who had warm fortunes were always sure of getting good husbands : “But heaven help,” continued she, “the girls that have none. What signifies beauty, Mr. Thornhill ? or what signifies all the virtue, and all the qualifications in the world, in this age of self-interest? It is not, what is she ? but what has she? is all the cry."

“Madam," returned he, "I highly approve the justice, as well as the novelty of your remarks, and if I were a king, it should be otherwise. It should then, indeed, be fine times with the girls without fortunes : our two young ladies should be the first for whom I would provide."

“Ah, Sir," returned my wife, “you are pleased to be facetious: but I wish I were a queen, and then I know where my eldest daughter should look for an husband. But, now that you have put it into my head, seriously, Mr. Thornhill, can't you recommend me a proper husband for her? She is now nineteen years old, well grown and well educated, and in my humble opinion, does not want for parts."

“ Madam," replied he, “ if I were to choose, I would find out a person possessed of every accomplishment that can make an angel happy. One with prudence, fortune, taste, and sincerity; such, madam, would be, in my opinion, the proper husband." “Ay, Sir,” said she, “but do you know of any such person ?

-“ No, madam,” returned he,“ it is impossible to know any person that deserves to be her husband : she's too great a treasure for one man's possession: she's a goddess. Upon my soul, I speak what I think, she's an angel,”—“Ah, Mr. Thornhill, you only flatter my poor girl: but we have been thinking of marrying her to one of your tenants, whose mother is lately dead, and who wants a manager: you know whom I mean, farmer Williams; a warm man, Mr. Thornhill, able to give her good bread; and who has several times made her proposals :" (which was actually the case) “but, Sir,” concluded she, “I should be glad to have your approbation of our choice.”—“How, Madam,” replied he, “my approbation ! My approbation of such a choice ! Never. What! sacrifice so much beauty, and sense, and goodness, to a creature insensible of the blessing! Excuse me, I can never approve of such a piece of injustice! And I have my reasons !"-“Indeed, Sir," cried Deborah, "if you have your reasons, that's another affair; but I should be glad to know those reasons.”—“Excuse me, Madam," returned he, “they lie too deep for discovery :" (laying his hand upon his bosom) " they remain buried, rivetted here.”

After he was gone, upon general consultation, we could not tell what to make of these fine sentiments. Olivia considered them as instances of the most exalted passion; but I was not quite so sanguine : it seemed to me pretty plain, that they had more of love than matrimony in them : yet, whatever they might portend, it was resolved to prosecute the scheme of farmer Williams, who, from my daughter's first appearance in the country, had paid her his addresses.

CHAPTER XVII.

SCARCELY ANY VIRTUE FOUND TO RESIST THE POWER OF LONG

AND PLEASING TEMPTATION.

As I only studied my child's real happiness, the assiduity of Mr. Williams pleased me, as he was in easy circumstances, prudent, and sincere. It required but very little encouragement to revive his former passion; so that in an evening or two he and Mr. Thornhill met at our house, and surveyed each other for some time with looks of anger; but Williams owed his landlord no rent, and little regarded his indignation. Olivia, on her side, acted the coquet to perfection, if that might be called acting which was her real character, pretending to lavish all her tenderness on her new lover. Mr. Thornhill appeared quite dejected at this preference, and with a pensive air took leave, though I own it puzzled me to find him so much in pain as he appeared to be, when he had it in his power so easily to remove the cause, by declaring an honourable passion. But whatever uneasiness he seemed to endure, it could easily be perceived that Olivia's anguish was still greater. After any of these interviews between her lovers, of which there were several, she usually retired to solitude, and there indulged her grief. It was in such a situation I found her one evening, after she had been for some time supporting a fictitious gaiety.“You now see, my child,” said I, “that your confidence in Mr. Thornhill's passion was all & dream : he permits the rivalry of another, every way his inferior, though he knows it lies in his power to secure you to himself by a candid declaration." -“ Yes, papa,” returned she, “but he has his reasons for this delay: I know he has. The sincerity of his looks and words convince me of his real esteem. A short time, I hope, will discover the generosity of his sentiments, and convince you that my opinion of him has been more just than yours.”—“Olivia, my darling," returned I, "every scheme that has been hitherto pursued to compel him to a declaration, has been proposed and planned by yourself, nor can you in the least say that I have constrained you. But you must not suppose, my dear, that I will ever be instrumental in suffering his honest rival to be the dupe of your ill-placed passion. Whatever time you require to bring your fancied admirer to an explanation shall be granted; but at the expiration of that term, if he is still regardless, I must absolutely insist that honest Mr. Williams shall be rewarded for his fidelity. The character which I have hitherto supported in life demands this from me, and my tenderness as a parent, shall never influence my integrity as a man. Name then your day, let it be as distant as you

think proper, and in the mean time take care to let Mr. Thornhill know the exact time on which I design delivering you up to another. If he really loves you, his own good sense will readily suggest that there is but one method alone to prevent his losing you for ever.”—This proposal, which she could not avoid considering as perfectly just, was readily agreed to. She again renewed her most positive promise of marrying Mr. Williams, in case of the other's insensibility; and at the next opportunity, in Mr. Thornhill's presence, that day month was fixed upon for her nuptials with his rival.

Such vigorous proceedings seemed to redouble Mr. Thornhill's anxiety: but what Olivia really felt gave me some uneasiness. In this struggle between prudence and passion, her vivacity quite forsook her, and every opportunity of solitude was sought, and spent in tears. One week passed away: but Mr. Thornhill made no efforts to restrain her nuptials. The succeeding week he was still assiduous; but not more open. On the third he discontinued his visits entirely, and instead of my daughter testifying any impatience, as I expected, she seemed to retain a pensive tranquillity, which I looked upon as resignation. For my own part, I was now sincerely pleased with thinking that my child was going to be secured in a continuance of competence and peace, and frequently applauded her resolution, in preferring happiness to ostentation.

It was within about four days of her intended nuptials, that my little family at night were gathered round a charming fire, telling stories of the past, and laying schemes for the future. Busied in forming a thousand projects, and laughing at whatever folly came uppermost, “Well, Moses," cried I, "we shall soon, my boy, have a wedding in the family; what is your opinion of matters and things in general ?”—“My opinion, father, is, that all things go on very well; and I was just now thinking, that when sister Livy is married to farmer Williams, we shall then have the loan of his cyder-press and brewing tubs for nothing.”—“That we shall, Moses,” cried I, “and he will sing us Death and the Lady, to raise our spirits into the bargain.”—“He has taught that song to our Dick," cried Moses, “and I think he goes through it very prettily.”—“Does he so?” cried I," then let us have it: where's little Dick ? let him up with it boldly.”—“My brother Dick,” cried Bill my youngest,“ is just gone out with sister Livy; but Mr. Williams has taught me two songs, and I'll sing them for you, papa. Which song do you choose, the Dying Swan, or the Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog?"-" The elegy, child, by all means," said I; “I never heard that yet; and Deborah, my life, grief you know is dry, let us have a bottle of the best gooseberry wine, to keep up our spirits. I have wept so much at all sorts of elegies of late, that without an enlivening glass I am sure this will overcome me; and Sophy, love, take your guitar, and thrum in with the boy a little.”

AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG.

Good people all of every sort,

Give ear unto my song,
And if you find it wonderous short,

It cannot hold you long.

In Islington there was a man,

Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,

Whene'er he went to pray.

VOL. I.

B B

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