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only things that ever disturbed his tranquillity, and upon these topics he was rather sore, till Mr. Driver found it convenient to give up both points, and Ned heard no more of his Chancery-suit or his copper mine.
These few traits of my friend's character will suffice to make my readers acquainted with him before I relate the particulars of a visit I paid him about three months ago. It was in compliance with the following letter, which I was favoured with from Mr. Driver:
· SIR, • These are to inform you that Mr. Drowsy desires the favour of your company at Poppy-hall, which he has ordered me to notify to you, not doubting but you will take it in good part, as you well know how his humour stands towards writing. He bids me say that he has something of consequence to consult you upon, of which more when we meet: wishing you health and a safe journey, I remain in all reasonable service,
Yours to command,
DANIEL DRIVER.' In consequence of this summons I set off for Poppy-hall, and arrived there early in the evening of the second day. I found my friend Drowsy in company with my correspondent the attorney, the reverend Mr. Beetle, curate of the parish, and two gentlemen, strangers to me, who, as I understood from Mr. Driver, were Mr. Sparkle, senior, an eminent auctioneer in London, and Billy Sparkle his son, a city beau. My friend was in his easy chair turned towards the fire; the rest were sitting round the table at some distance, and engaged, as I soon discovered, in a very interesting conversation upon beauty, which my entrance for a while put a stop to. This
intermission however lasted no longer than whilst Mr. Drowsy paid his compliments to me, which he performed in few words, asking me however if I came on horseback, which having answered in the affirmative, he sententiously observed, that he never rode. And now the elder Mr. Sparkle resumed the conversation in the following manner :- What I was going to observe to you, when this gentleman came in, upon the article of beauty, is peremptorily and precisely this: beauty, gentlemen, is in the eye, I aver it to be in the eye of the beholder, and not in the object itself; my beauty for instance is not your beauty, yours is not mine; it depends upon fạncy and taste ; fancy and taste are nothing but caprice; a collection of fine women is like a collection of fine pictures; put them up to auction, and bidders will be found for every lot.'— But all bidders, cries the attorney, are not bonâ fide buyers; I believe you find many an article in your sales sent back upon the owner's hands, and so it is with beauty; all that is bidden for is not bought in.'
Here the curate interposed, and turning to his lay-brother of the pulpit, reminded him that beauty was like a flower in the field : here to-day, and gone to-morrow; whereas virtue was a hardy plant and defied the scythe of time; virtue was an evergreen, and would bloom in the winter of life; virtue would flourish, when beauty was no more.'-' l be
ve it seldom makes any considerable shoot till that is the case,' cried Billy Sparkle, and followed up his repartee with a laugh, , in which he was himself the only performer.. It is high time now,' says the attorney, directing his discourse to me, ' to make you acquainted with the business we are upon, and how we came to fall upon this topic of beauty. Your friend Mr. Drowsy does not like the trouble of talking, and therefore with his leave I shall open the case to you, as I know he
wishes to take your opinion upon it.' Here the attorney seeming to pause for his cue, Drowsy nodded his head and bade him go on. • We are in consultation, rejoined he,“ upon a matter of no less moment than the choice of a wife for the gentleman in that easy chair.'-' And if he is
easy in it,' demanded 1,' what need he wish for more ?'— Alackaday! he has no heir, and till hat event takes place, he is only tenant for life subject to impeachment of waste; he cannot be called master of his own estate; only think of that, Sir.'- That was for him to do,' I replied, “how does Mr. Drowsy himself think of it?
I don't think much about it,' answered Ned. “And how stands
your mind towards matrimony ? - No
- There's trouble in it,' added I. There is so,' replied he with a sigh; but Driver says I want an heir.'— There's trouble in that too,' quoth I; have you any particular lady in your eye ??: • That is the very point we are now upon,' cried Mr. Sparkle, senior; * there are three lots op for Mr. Drowsy or his friends to choose from, and I only wait his signal for knocking down the lot that he likes best.' This I could not perfectly understand, in the terms of art which Mr. Sparkle made use of, and therefore desired he would express himself in plain language. My father means to say,' cries Billy, 'there are three girls want husbands, and but one man that wishes to be married.'
* Hold your tongue, puppy,' said old Sparkle, and proceeded. “You shall know, Sir, that to accommodate Mr. Drowsy in the article of a wife, and save him the trouble of looking out for himself, we some time ago put an advertisement in the papers; I believe I have a copy of it about me: aye, here it is!
“ WANTED, “ A young, healthy, unmarried woman, of a dis
creet character, as wife to a gentleman of fortune, who loves his ease and does not care to take upon himself the trouble of courtship; she must be of a placid domestic turn, and not one that likes to hear herself talk. Any qualified person, whom this may suit, by applying to Mr. Sparkle auctioneer, may be informed of particulars. A short trial will be expected.
*6 N. B. Maids of honour need not apply, as none such will be treated with.”
I told Mr. Sparkle I thought his advertisement a very good one, and properly guarded, and I wished to know the result of it; he said that very many applicants had presented themselves, but for want of full credentials he had dismissed all but three, whom I will again describe, added he, not only for your information, but in hopes Mr. Drowsy will give some attention to the catalogue, which I am sorry to say has not yet been the case.
He then drew a paper of minutes from his pocketbook and read as follows :
• Catherine Cumming, spinster, aged twenty-five, lodges at Gravesend in the house of Mr. Duffer, a reputable slopseller of that place, can have an undeniable character from two gentlemen of credit, now absent, but soon expected in the next arrivals from China; her fortune, which she ingenuously owns is not capital, is for the present invested in certain commodities, which she has put into the hands of the gentlemen above-mentioned, and for which she expects profitable returns on their arrival. This
young lady appeared with a florid blooming complexion, fine long ringlets of dark hair in the fashionable dishevel, eyes uncommonly sparkling, is tall of stature, straight and in good case. She wore a locket of plaited hair slung in a gold chain round her neck, and was remarkably neat and elegant about the feet
and ancles : is impatient for a speedy answer, as she has thoughts of going out in the next ships to India.'
• Let her go!' cried Ned, “I'll have nothing to say to Kitty Cumming.'-—' I'll bet a wager she is one of us,' exclaimed the city beau, for which his father gave him a look of rebuke, and proceeded to the next.
Agnes de Crapean, daughter of a French Protestant clergyman in the isle of Jersey, a comely young woman, but of a peusive air and downcast look; lived as a dependant upon a certain rich trader's wife, with whom her situation was very unpleasant; flattered herself she was well practised in submission and obedience, should conform to any humours which the advertiser might have, and should he do her the honour to accept her as his wife, she would do her possible to please him with all humble duty, gratitude, and devotion.'
Ned Drowsy now turned himself in his chair, and with a sigh whispered me in the ear, Poor thing! I pity her, but she won't do, go on to the last.'
• The lady I am next to describe,' said Sparkle, • is one of whom I can only speak by report, for as yet I have not set eyes on her person, nor is she acquainted with a syllable of these proceedings, being represented to me as a young woman whose delicacy would not submit to be the candidate of an advertisement. The account I have had of her is from a friend, who, though a man of a particular way of thinking, is a very honest honourable person, and one whose word will pass for thousands : he called at my office one day, when this advertisement was lying on my desk, and casting his eye upon the paper, asked
inventing?" I assured him it was no jest, but a serious advertisement; that the party was a man of property