페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Nay, it is but a trifle that I ask 1 sa

lute."

“ I cannot grant it indeed. You sec that I have just made up my face for the day, and you are unreasonable enough to wish to discompose it. Pray, do be contented with something in reason, and give me no more interruption.—The last time you broke in upon me in a similar man. ner, — when I was dressing for the Duchess of Dilberry's rout, you were the occasion of an omission, for which if it had been discovered, I should never have forgiven you.”

“Pray, what was the omission which would have drawn down so severe a punishment upon me?"

Why-what betwixt my hurry, and your interruption, I forgot to put in a front tooth, which the Chevalier had just sent me; and absolutely was half way on my visit before I recollected the omission. It was then too late to return. – Afraid to discover the horrid vacancy, I was obliged to keep my mouth shut during the whole evening. Luckily, I lost every game I played, and had more occasion to bite my lips, than to shew my teeth in a smile. — But I wonder where my maid is; -- she grows very

stupid of late, and is always out of the way when I want to dress. - I almost think the jade is in love : - I am so distrest, - I ordered some pommade divine this morning, and it is not sent. I do not know what I should not feel inclined to do for you, if you would drive to

's, and bring it in the carriage with you. I dare say the horses are not taken out yet."

66 I would do more than that, my lady, in hopes of the promised reward ; but may I not have a small earnest at present?”

66 There—there's my hand ; let that satisfy your lips now, and at a proper season,

I fly, my lady.”His grace left the dressing-room, and the colonel and Mrs. Secondhand came out of the closet more knowing than they went in. No malicious interpretations, Reader ! - We only mean, that, as they had overheard every word that passed between their graces, they were in full possession of ME. - As I was of great consequence, and the colonel was a member of the Opposilion party, he burned with impatience to communicate me to his friends; but he was to be her grace's cicisteo that night, and he could by no means get away. So irksome was I to his bosom that, instead of going to rest after receiving his dismissal, he knocked up the leading member of the Opposition; but he had the mortification to learn that I had got the start of him several hours before. The fact was :Mrs. Secondhand had shewn so much alacrity and zeal for her lady's reputation,- even to the disregard of her own, - that it was necessary (we believe too that it is usual on all such occasions) to make her some present by way of return. Her grace had accordingly given her a sarsnet dress, scarcely worn, and if the car lonel's heart ached to dishurthen itself of me, Mrs. Secondhand's back itched to burthen itself with her new finery. When ladies give themselves liberties, their confidantes will take them ; so that her grace's back was no sooner turned than Mrs. Secondhand equipped herself, sent one of the stable-helpers to fetch a chair, and went to pay a visit to the lady's maid of a neighbouring family; or rather to Mr. Thomas, the footman, who was one, and perhaps, the most favoured of her gallants.

Tom's master, as well as the gallant colonel,

was also of the opposition party : and he had ordered Tom to insinuate himself into the good graces of Mrs. Secondhand, who was known to possess the confidence of her mistress, the duchess of Cowheel, who was famed for her influence over the duke her husband, who enjoyed a seat in the Privy Council, by which means his master hoped to learn all that passed there, and to gain great credit with his party for his ready and certain information. Tom was an arch, wheedling dog, and a match, single-handed, for any lady's maid, which generally required three or four of his particoloured brethren to be. He no sooner espied Mrs. Secondhand, than he discerned importance in her looks : her new dress partly told him the cause of it. — “She is on high ropes," said Tom to himself, “and it will take me some time to bring the jade down again ; but I will effect it, or be content to be set down as a driveller."

He advanced towards her with a most familiar air-as familiar as if he had not noticed her new feathers,-crying out :-"My dear Mrs. Secondhand !-- Well, 1 protest this is really kind of you to walk out in such plebeian weather to see us.

66 Walk indeed! and to see us that is, you I suppose ? — [Tom nodded and smiled.] – Impertinent enough !" continued Mrs. Secondhand with a toss of her head; “ I neither walked, nor did I come to see you."

“ Nay, I hope, Mrs. Secondhand, that no accident has happened to your leg, - your foot I mean ;-no bruise, sprain, or chilblains.”_

66 No matter;" said Mrs. Second-hand, ready to burst with spite; “ it is enough for you that I have already told you, that I neither walked, nor came to see you.”

6 I never believe more than half of what the world says, my dear Mrs. Secondhand ! and so

as to your coming in a hackney-coach, [Mrs. Secondhand had nearly splintered her fan to pieces,] I am inclined to give credit to that; but as to your not coming to see me, I could as soon swallow St. Paul's as that.”

“ Mr. Thomas, you are really a perter coxcomb than ever.

And, Mrs. Secondhand, you are really a greater beauty than ever ; and if it were not more

« 이전계속 »