There is scarce anything which so happily introduces men to our good liking, as having conceived some alarm at their first appearance; when once those apprehensions begin to vanish, we soon forget the fears which they occasioned, and look on ourselves as indebted for our present ease to those very persons who at first raised our fears.

Thus it happened to Nightingale, who no sooner found that Jones had no demand on him, as he suspected, than he began to be pleased with his presence. “Pray, good sir,” said he, “be pleased to sit down. I do not remember to have ever had the pleasure of seeing you before; but if you are a friend of my son, and have anything to say concerning this young lady, I shall be glad to hear you. As to her making him happy, it will be his own fault if she doth not. I have discharged my duty, in taking care of the main article. She will bring him a fortune capable of making any reasonable, prudent, sober man, happy.” “Undoubtedly,” cries Jones, “for she is in herself a fortune; so beautiful, so genteel, so sweet-tempered, and so well-educated; she is indeed a most accomplished young lady; sings admirably well, and hath a most delicate hand at the harpsichord.” “I did not know any of these matters,” answered the old gentleman, “for I never saw the lady: but I do not like her the worse for what you tell me; and I am the better pleased with her father for not laying any stress on these qualifications in our bargain. I shall always think it a proof of his understanding. A silly fellow would have brought in these articles as an addition to her fortune; but, to give him his due, he never mentioned any such matter; though to be sure they are no disparagements to a woman.” “I do assure you, sir,” cries Jones, “she hath them all in the most eminent degree: for my part, I own I was afraid you might have been a little backward, a little less inclined to the match; for your son told me you had never seen the lady; therefore I came, sir, in that case, to entreat you, to conjure you, as you value the happiness of your son, not to be averse to his match with a woman who hath not only all the good qualities I have mentioned, but many more.” —“If that was your business, sir,” said the old gentleman, “we are both obliged to you; and you may be perfectly easy; for I give you my word I was very well satisfied wit her fortune.” “Sir,” answered Jones, “I honour you every moment more and more. To be so easily satisfied, so very moderate on that account, is a proof of the soundness of your understanding, as well as the nobleness of your mind.”—“Not so very moderate, young gentleman, not so very moderate,” answered the father. —“Still more and more noble,” replied Jones; “and give me leave to add, sensible: for sure it is little less than madness to consider money as the sole foundation of happiness. Such a woman as this with her little, her nothing of a fortune”—“I find,” cries the old gentleman, “you have a pretty just opinion of money, my friend, or else you are better acquainted with the person of the lady than with her circumstances. Why, pray, what fortune do you imagine this lady to have?” “What fortune?” cries Jones, “why, too contemptible a one to be named for your son.”—“Well, well, well,” said the other, “perhaps he might have done better.”—“That I deny,” said Jones, “for she is one of the best of women.”—“Ay, ay, but in point of fortune I mean,” answered the other. “And yet, as to that now, how much do you imagine your friend is to have?” —“How much?” cries Jones, “how much? Why, at the utmost, perhaps £200.” “Do you mean to banter me, young gentleman?” said the father, a little angry. “No, upon my soul,” answered Jones, “I am in earnest: nay, I believe I have gone to the utmost farthing. If I do the lady an injury, I ask her pardon.” “Indeed you do,” cries the father; “I am certain she hath fifty times that sum, and she shall produce fifty to that before I consent that she shall marry my son.” “Nay,” said Jones, “it is too late to talk of consent now; if she had not fifty farthings, your son is married.”—“My son married!” answered the old gentleman, with surprize. “Nay,” said Jones, “I thought you was unacquainted with it.” “My son married to Miss Harris!” answered he again. “To Miss Harris!” said Jones; “no, sir; to Miss Nancy Miller, the daughter of Mrs. Miller, at whose house he lodged; a young lady, who, though her mother is reduced to let lodgings—”—“Are you bantering, or are you in earnest?” cries the father, with a most solemn voice. “Indeed, sir,” answered Jones, “I scorn the character of a banterer. I came to you in most serious earnest, imagining, as I find true, that your son had never dared to acquaint you with a match so much inferior to him in point of fortune, though the reputation of the lady will suffer it no longer to remain a secret.”

While the father stood like one struck suddenly dumb at this news, a gentleman came into the room, and saluted him by the name of brother.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.