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The reverend speaker ceased, and Sir Roger had no more to do but to signify his affent, and take up his burthen with the best grace he could. The victory was complete, and the glass began to circulate to the health of the Baronet; Captain Cary was in the chair, and the very soul of good fellowship; the wine was excellent, the company in high good humour, and Sir Roger's courage began to rally; he had now his joke at his nephew Jack, and a whisper for Henry at his elbow, which intimated to him, that his prediction about Fanny was in a fair course to be made good; in short, there was no one present who did not seem to sympathise in the festivity of the moment.
When the gentlemen negotiators were three parts tipsey, and their servants entirely so, they set · out, at the risque of their necks, towards their
respective homes. Henry and the Captain joined the ladies in the drawing-room, whilst Sir Roger, according to custom, exercised himself with a walk up and down the great hall with his friend
Claypole: though a man in general of few ' words, he was just now in a talking vein, and having gently tapped the parson on the shoulder as if to bespeak attention, he began as follows:
« Well, my good friend, these gentlemen have carried their point, with your assistance, and I am in a fair train to find myself, where I never expected to be found, a mute member in the British senate, and the unworthy representa-, tive of this great country. Pr’ythee, Claypole, what do'it think that I can do in that place? a pretty figure I shall make; a mere country putt, amongst wits, lawyers, orators and politicians. I may perhaps be able to say aye, or no, but good chance if I do not say it, like Şir Francis Wronghead, sometimes in the wrong place.” .« No fear of that,” quoth Claypole; “ if all were speakers that fit in parliament, .our. House of Commons would be a mere club of spouters. The assent or diffent of an honest and right-judging country gentleman will never be a matter of indifference.”
“Why, truly,” said the Baronet, “ speechmaking has not been in vogue with my family for many years past; not but there have been those heretofore who could do it, and roundly too; we have a record of my ancestor Sir Thomas Manstock, in 1566, making a flaming speech in the Commons to constrain: Queen Bess to marry or appoint a fucceffor; VOL. II.
he was a bold man, and callid her a faint hearted woman in the face of the House, for which, by the way, she tweak'd his nose in the face of the Court, and call'd him cuckold. It was scurvy treatment, and, I am apt to think, gave the orator a surfeit, that has run in the blood ever since; for all our generations in defcent from Sir Thomas have been as mute as fishes to the present day.” . .
« Well, Sir Roger,” said Claypole, “there have been times since those of Elizabeth, when taciturnity was a good family qualification, and that same royal tweak of the nose may have been the means of keeping some heads upon their shoulders: after all, it must be own'd, it was a rough way her Majesty took of snubbing the good man Sir Thomas, and what few old maids in the like case wou'd have done ; but match-making for crown'd heads is a ticklish business,”-“ For any heads," added, Sir Roger; “ and tho' a matter of that sort may, for aught I know, be going on at this very moment under our noses, I shall keep mine at least out of danger, as I shou'd be loth to have it tweak’d, even by the fair fingers of Fanny Claypole.” .
This was a hit that Claypole had not quite
given his friend credit for, and it was at least a proof to him that h's own remarks had not been singular ; for he argued rightly enough, that if Sir Roger had spied it out, nobody could have overlooked it; he thought it best therefore to treat it in the same strain, between jeft and earnest, and observed in reply, that Fanny was a free-hearted girl, and her own mistress." She is out of my hands,” said he ; “ so shou'd not I be out of her's with a whole skin, if I was to play the part of Sir. Thomas Manstock, and dictate to her on the subject of matrimony. Henry is a fine fellow, it must be confess'd, and · it is no impeachment to her taste that she likes him; if, therefore, she is resolv'd to make him a present of fifteen thousand pounds and her fair person, much good may it do him; I can't gainsay it."-". And if it was to come to that,” said Sir Roger, “ it might not, perhaps, be the very worst thing she could do: I have a very high opinion of Henry, and tho' we are in the dark about his p rents, I would risque a wager that my niece Crowbery knows him to be a very honest man's son, and one for whose memory she has a great regard; and as a proof of it, friend Claypole, I can tell you in confi- ' dence, that Henry will be well provided for at
her decease; but he has a high proud fpirit of his own, and it must be Fanny's charms, not her money, that will weigh with him.” · Claypole was a man that looked to the main chance, and not a word of this was lost upon him: his eyes had not been idle, whilft Fanny's were employed with Henry; he knew her well, and had had a painful trust whilst fhe had been under his guardianship; he saw her daily in danger of being made the prey of the first sightly knave that laid his traps for her; he had as high an opinion of our young hero as Sir Roger himself had, and was in the fame persuasion, as to his being the son of Ratcliffe ; believing also that he was in a fair train fhortly to become his nephew, he was by no means sorry to hear of Lady Crowbery's intentions in his favour. Upon these grounds he not only became reconciled to the necessity he was under of leaving his niece to her own choice, but was secretly disposed to further the connection by all the means in his power: all these thoughts he kept to himself, and quietly followed his friend Sir Roger to the drawing-room.