« السابقةمتابعة »
Y friend Ned Drowsy is a man, who
hath indeed neglected nature's gifts, but not abused them; he is as void of vice, as he is of industry, his teinper is serene, and his manners harmles, and inofensive ; he is avaricious of nothing but of his casc, and certainly poffesies bencvolence, though too indolent to put it into action: He is as sparing of his teeth as he is of his tongue, and whether it be that he is naturally temperate, or that eating and drinking are too troublcfonc, so it is that he is very abstemious in both particulars, and having received the blessings of a good constitution and a comely person from the hand of Providence, he has not squandered his talent, though he has not put it out to use.
Accordingly when I perceived him interested in the manner I have related upon Mr. Sparkle's discourse, and heard him give orders to his servant to shew the gentleman into the room, which he did in a quicker and more spirited tone than is usual with him, I began to think that nature was about to struggle for her pri
vileges, and fufpecting that this stranger might perhaps have some connection with Sparkle’s incognita, I grew impatient for his appearance.
After a while the servant returned and introduced a little swarthy old man with short grey hair and whimsically dressed; having on a dark brown coat with a tarnished gold edging, black figured velvet waistcoat and breeches of scarlet cloth with long gold knee-bands, dangling down a pair of black filk stockings, which cloathed two legs not exactly cast in the mould of the Belvedere Apollo. He made two or three low reverences as he advanced, so that before Mr. Sparkle could announce him by name, I had set him down for an Israelite, all the world to nothing; but as soon as I heard the words, Gentlemen, this is my worthy friend Mr. Abraham Abrahams! I recognized the person of my correspondent, whose humble and ingenuous letter I thought fit to publish in N° LXIV. of my third volume, and whom I had once before had a glimpse of, as he walked past my bookseller's door in Cornhill, and was pointed out to me from the shop.
Mr. Abrahams, not being a person, to whom nature had affixed her passport, saying Let this man have free ingress and egress upon my authority, made his first approaches with all those civil
affiduities, which fome people are constrained to practise, who must first turn prejudice out of company, before they can fit down in it. In the present case I flatter myself he fared fomewhat better for the whisper I gave my friend Ned in his favor, and filence after a short time having taken place in such a manner as seemed to indicate an expectation in the company, that he was the person who was now to break it, he began not without some hesitation to deliver himself in these words.
Before I take the liberty of addressing the gentleman of the house, I wish to know from my friend Mr. Sparkle, whether he has opened any hint of what has pasied between him and me relative to a certain advertisement; and if he has, I should next be glad to know, whether I have permission of the party concerned to go into the business.
Yes, Sir, cried Ned somewhat eagerly, Mr. Sparkle has told me all that passed, and you have not only my free leave, but my earnest desire to say every thing you think fit before these friends, Then, Sir, said Abrahams, I shall tell you a plain tale without varying a single tittle from the truth.
As I was coming home from my club pretty late in the evening about five months ago, in
turning the corner of a narrow alley, a young woman came hastily out of the door of a house, and, seizing hold of my hand, eagerly befought me for the love of God to follow her. I was startled, and knew not what to think of such a greeting ; I could discern that she was young and beautiful, and I was no adventurer in affairs of gallantry; she seemed indeed to be exceedingly agitated and almost beside herself, but I knew the profligate of that sex can sometimes feign distress for very wicked purposes, and therefore desired to be excused from going into any house with her; if she would however advance a few paces I would hear what the had to say, and so it was nothing but my charity she solicited, I was ready to relieve her: We turned the corner of the alley together, and being now in one of the principal streets of the city, I thought I might safely stop and hear the petition she had to make. As we stood together under the eaves of a shop, the night being rainy, the told me that the reason the besought me to go into the house with her was in hopes the spectacle of distress, which would there present itself to my fight, might, if there was any pity in my heart, call it forth, and prevail with me to stop a deed of cruelty, which was then in exc. cution, by saving a wretched object from being thrust into the streets in a dying condition for a small debt to her landlord, whom no entreaties could pacify. Blessed. God! I exclaimed, can there be such human monsters? who is the wo. man? My mother, replied fhe, and burst into an agony of tears; if I would be what I may have appeared to you, but what I never can be even to save the life of my parent, I had not been driven to this extremity, for it is resentment, which actuates the brutal wretch no less than cruelty. Though I confess myself not insensible to fear, being as you see no athletic, I felt such indignation rise within me at these words, that I did not hesitate for another moment about accompanying this unhappy girl to her house, not doubting the truth of what she had been telling me, as well from the manner of her relating it, as from my observation of her countenance, which the light of the lamp under which we were standing, discovered to be of a most affecting, modest and even dignified character.