that he had long ago resolved to quit all such aspiring thoughts, but that some strange accidents had made him desirous to see her once more, when he promised he would take leave of her for ever. No, madam,” concluded he, “my love is not of that base kind which seeks its own satisfaction at the expense of what is most dear to its object. I would sacrifice everything to the possession of my Sophia, but Sophia herself.”

Though the reader may have already conceived no very sublime idea of the virtue of the lady in the mask; and though possibly she may hereafter appear not to deserve one of the first characters of her sex; yet, it is certain, these generous sentiments made a strong impression upon her, and greatly added to the affection she had before conceived for our young heroe.

The lady now, after a silence of a few moments, said, “She did not see his pretensions to Sophia so much in the light of presumption, as of imprudence. Young fellows,” says she, “can never have too aspiring thoughts. I love ambition in a young man, and I would have you cultivate it as much as possible. Perhaps you may succeed with those who are infinitely superior in fortune; nay, I am convinced there are women—but don’t you think me a strange creature, Mr. Jones, to be thus giving advice to a man with whom I am so little acquainted, and one with whose behaviour to me I have so little reason to be pleased?”

Here Jones began to apologize, and to hope he had not offended in anything he had said of her cousin.—To which the mask answered, “And are you so little versed in the sex, to imagine you can well affront a lady more than by entertaining her with your passion for another woman? If the fairy queen had conceived no better opinion of your gallantry, she would scarce have appointed you to meet her at the masquerade.”

Jones had never less inclination to an amour than at present; but gallantry to the ladies was among his principles of honour; and he held it as much incumbent on him to accept a challenge to love, as if it had been a challenge to fight. Nay, his very love to Sophia made it necessary for him to keep well with the lady, as he made no doubt but she was capable of bringing him into the presence of the other.

He began therefore to make a very warm answer to her last speech, when a mask, in the character of an old woman, joined them. This mask was one of those ladies who go to a masquerade only to vent ill-nature, by telling people rude truths, and by endeavouring, as the phrase is, to spoil as much sport as they are able. This good lady, therefore, having observed Jones, and his friend, whom she well knew, in close consultation together in a corner of the room, concluded she could nowhere satisfy her spleen better than by interrupting them. She attacked them, therefore, and soon drove them from their retirement; nor was she contented with this, but pursued them to every place which they shifted to avoid her; till Mr. Nightingale, seeing the distress of his friend, at last relieved him, and engaged the old woman in another pursuit.

While Jones and his mask were walking together about the room, to rid themselves of the teazer, he observed his lady speak to several masks, with the same freedom of acquaintance as if they had been barefaced. He could not help expressing his surprize at this; saying, “Sure, madam, you must have infinite discernment, to know people in all disguises.” To which the lady answered, “You cannot conceive anything more insipid and childish than a masquerade to the people of fashion. who in general know one another as well here, as when they meet in an assembly or a drawing-room; nor will any woman of condition converse with a person with whom she is not acquainted. In short, the generality of persons whom you see here, may more properly be said to kill time in this place than in any other; and generally retire from hence more tired than from the longest sermon. To say the truth, I begin to be in that situation myself; and if I have any faculty at guessing, you are not much better pleased. I protest it would be almost charity in me to go home for your sake.” “I know but one charity equal to it,” cries Jones, “and that is to suffer me to wait on you home.” “Sure,” answered the lady, “you have a strange opinion of me, to imagine, that upon such an acquaintance, I would let you into my doors at this time of night. I fancy you impute the friendship I have shown my cousin to some other motive. Confess honestly; don’t you consider this contrived interview as little better than a downright assignation? Are you used, Mr. Jones, to make these sudden conquests?” “I am not used, madam,” said Jones, “to submit to such sudden conquests; but as

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