Chapter 12


Adams, Fanny, and the guide, set out together about one in the morning, the moon being then just risen. They had not gone above a mile before a most violent storm of rain obliged them to take shelter in an inn, or rather alehouse, where Adams immediately procured himself a good fire, a toast and ale, and a pipe, and began to smoke with great content, utterly forgetting everything that had happened.

Fanny sat likewise down by the fire; but was much more impatient at the storm. She presently engaged the eyes of the host, his wife, the maid of the house, and the young fellow who was their guide; they all conceived they had never seen anything half so handsome; and indeed, reader, if thou art of an amorous hue, I advise thee to skip over the next paragraph; which, to render our history perfect, we are obliged to set down, humbly hoping that we may escape the fate of Pygmalion; for if it should happen to us, or to thee, to be struck with this picture, we should be perhaps in as helpless a condition as Narcissus, and might say to ourselves, Quod petis est nusquam. Or, if the finest features in it should set Lady ——’s image before our eyes, we should be still in as bad a situation, and might say to our desires, Cælum ipsum petimus stultitia.

Fanny was now in the nineteenth year of her age; she was tall and delicately shaped; but not one of those slender young women who seem rather intended to hang up in the hall of an anatomist than for any other purpose. On the contrary, she was so plump that she seemed bursting through her tight stays, especially in the part which confined her swelling breasts. Nor did her hips want the assistance of a hoop to extend them. The exact shape of her arms denoted the form of those limbs which she concealed; and though they were a little reddened by her labour, yet, if her sleeve slipped above her elbow, or her handkerchief discovered any part of her neck, a whiteness appeared which the finest Italian paint would be unable to reach. Her hair was of a chestnut brown, and nature had been extremely lavish to her of it, which she had cut, and on Sundays used to curl down her neck, in the modern fashion. Her forehead was high, her eyebrows arched, and rather full than otherwise. Her eyes black and sparkling; her nose just inclining to the Roman; her lips red and moist, and her underlip, according to the opinion of the ladies, too pouting. Her teeth were white, but not exactly even. The small-pox had left one only mark on her chin, which was so large, it might have been mistaken for a dimple, had not her left cheek produced one so near a neighbour to it, that the former served only for a foil to the latter. Her complexion was fair, a little injured by the sun, but overspread with such a bloom that the finest ladies would have exchanged all their white for it: add to these a countenance in which, though she was extremely bashful, a sensibility appeared almost incredible; and a sweetness, whenever she smiled, beyond either imitation or description. To conclude all, she had a natural gentility, superior to the acquisition of art, and which surprised all who beheld her.

This lovely creature was sitting by the fire with Adams, when her attention was suddenly engaged by a voice from an inner room, which sung the following song:

The Song

Say, Chloe, where must the swain stray
     Who is by thy beauties undone?
To wash their remembrance away,
     To what distant Lethe must run?
The wretch who is sentenced to die
     May escape, and leave justice behind;
From his country perhaps he may fly,
     But oh! can he fly from his mind?
O rapture! unthought of before,
     To be thus of Chloe possess’d;
Nor she, nor no tyrant’s hard power,
     Her image can tear from my breast.
But felt not Narcissus more joy,
     With his eyes he beheld his loved charms?
Yet what he beheld the fond boy
     More eagerly wish’d in his arms.
How can it thy dear image be
     Which fills thus my bosom with woe?
Can aught bear resemblance to thee
     Which grief and not joy can bestow?
This counterfeit snatch from my heart,
     Ye pow’rs, tho’ with torment I rave,
Tho’ mortal will prove the fell smart:
     I then shall find rest in my grave.
Ah, see the dear nymph o’er the plain
     Come smiling and tripping along!
A thousand Loves dance in her train,
     The Graces around her all throng.
To meet her soft Zephyrus flies,
     And wafts all the sweets from the flowers,
Ah, rogue! whilst he kisses her eyes,
     More sweets from her breath he devours.
My soul, whilst I gaze, is on fire;
     But her looks were so tender and kind,
My hope almost reach’d my desire,
     And left lame despair far behind.
Transported with madness, I flew,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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