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mediately admitted. Doctor Tattle is one of those male gossips who, in the common opinion, are the most diverting company in the world. The Doctor faw that Mrs. Freeman was low-fpirited, and made several efforts to divert her, but without success: at last he declared with an air of ironical importance, that he could tell her fuch news as would make her look
grave for something ; “ The Captain," says he, “ has just “ huddled a lady into a chair, at the door of a bagnio
near Spring Gardens." He foon perceived, that this fpeech was received with emotions very different from those he intended to produce ;, and, therefore, added. u that she need not, however, be jealous; for notwith
standing the manner in which he had related the iacident, the lady was certainly a woman of character,
as he instantly discovered by her mein and appear“ ance:” This particular confirmed the fufpicion it was intended to remove ; and the Doctor finding that he was not fo good company as usual, took his leave, but was met at the door by the Captain, who brought him back. His presence, however insignificant, imposed some restraint upon the rest of the company; and Sir James, with as good an appearance of jocularity as he could affume, asked the Captain, “ What he had * done with, his wife.” The Captain, with some irrefolution, replied, that " he had left her early in the * morning at her father's; and that having made a " point of waiting on her home, she fet down word " that her coufin Meadows was indisposed, and had " engaged her to breakfast." The Captain, who knew pothing of the anecdote that had been communicated by the Doctor, judged by appearances that it was prudent thus indirectly to lie, by concealing the truth
both from Sir James and his wife: he supposed, indeed, that Sir James would immediately inquire after his wife at her father's, and learn that she did not stay there to breakfast; but as it would not follow that they had been together, he left her to account for her abfence as she thought fit, taking for granted that what he had concealed she also would conceal, for the same reasons; or, if she did not, as he had affirmed nothing contrary to truth, he might pretend to have concealed it in jeft. Sir James, as soon as he had received this intelligence, took his leave with some appearance of fatisfaction, and was followed by the Doctor.
As soon as Mrs. Freeman and the Captain were alone, the questioned him with great earnestness about the lady whom he had been seen to put into a chair. When he had heard that this incident had been related: in the presence of Sir Jatnes, he was greatly alarmed, least lady Forrest should increase his fufpicions, by attempting to conceal that which, by a series of inquiry to which he was now. stimulated, he would probably discover : he condemned his conduct in himself, and, as,
the most effectual means at once to quiet the mind of his wife and obtain her aslistance, he told her all: that had happened, and his apprehension of the consequences: he also urged her to go directly to Miss Meadows, by, whom his account would be confirmed, and of whom she might learn farther intelligence of Sir James; and'to find some way to acquaint lady Forrest with Her danger, and admonish her to conceal nothing.
Mrs. Freeman was convinced of the Captain's fincerity, not only by the advice which he urged her to give to lady Forreft, but by the consistency of the story, and
the manner in which he was affected. Her jealousy was changed into pity for her friend, and apprehenfion for her husband. She hastened to Miss Meadows, and learnt that Sir James had inquired of the servant for his lady, and was told that she had been there early with Captain Freeman, but went away soon after him : the related to Miss Meadows all that had happened, and thinking it at least possible that Sir James might not go directly home, she wrote the following letter to
My Dear LADY FORREST, I Am in the utmost distress for you. Sir James has “ suspicions which truth only can remove, and of which
my indiscretion is the cause. If I had not conceal“ed my desire of the Captain's return, your design to “ disengage yourself from him, which I learn from “ Miss Meadows, would have been effected. Sir “James breakfafted with me in the Haymarket; and " has since called at your father's, from whence I “ write: he knows that your stay here was short, and “ has reason to believe the Captain put you into a “ chair some hours afterwards at Spring-Gardens. I “ hope, therefore, my dear lady, that this will reach
your hands tíme enough to prevent your concealing
any thing. It would have been better if Sir James “ had known nothing, for then you would not have 6 been suspected; but now he must know all, or you
cannot be justified. Forgive the freedom with whichi " I write, and believe me most affectionately
MARIA FREEMAN. 61 P. S. I have ordered the bearer to say he came « From Mrs Fashion the milliner."
This letter was given to a chairman, and he was ordered to say he brought it from the milliner's; because if it should be known to come from Mrs. Freeman, and should fall by accident into Sir James's hands, his curiosity might prompt him to read it, and his jealousy to question the lady, without communicating the con
No. LVI. Saturday May 19. 1753.
Multos in fumma pericula mifit Venturi timor ipfe mali.
How oft the fear of ill to ill betrays !
Sir James being convinced, that his lady and the Captain had passed the morning at a bagnio, by the answer which he received at her father's, went directly home. His lady was just arrived before him, and had not recovered from the confusion and dread which seized her when she heard that Sir James came to town the night before, and at the fame instant anticipated the çonsequences of her own indiscretion. She was told he was then at the coffee-house, and in a few minutes was thrown into an universal tremor upon hearing him knock at the door. He perceived her distress, not with compassion but rage, because he believed it to proceed from the consciousness of guilt : he turned