These, however, are not the only efforts she has made towards a nearer conjunction with our sex. Her fortune was originally no more than a thousand pounds; but she gained an accession of five hundred by the death of a sister, and the lieutenant left her three hundred in his will. These sums she has more than doubled, by living free of all expence, in her brother’s house; and dealing in cheese and Welch flannel, the produce of his flocks and dairy. At present her capital has increased to about four thousand pounds; and her avarice seems to grow every day more and more rapacious; but even this is not so intolerable, as the perverseness of her nature, which keeps the whole family in disquiet and uproar. She is one of those geniuses who find some diabolical enjoyment in being dreaded and detested by their fellow-creatures.

I once told my uncle, I was surprised that a man of his disposition could bear such a domestic plague, when it could be so easily removed. The remark made him sore, because it seemed to tax him with want of resolution. Wrinkling up his nose, and drawing down his eyebrows, ‘A young fellow (said he) when he first thrusts his snout into the world, is apt to be surprised at many things, which a man of experience knows to be ordinary and unavoidable. This precious aunt of yours is become insensibly a part of my constitution. Damn her! She ’s a noli me tangere in my flesh, which I cannot bear to be touched or tampered with.’ I made no reply; but shifted the conversation. He really has an affection for this original; which maintains its ground in defiance of common sense, and in despite of that contempt which he must certainly feel for her character and understanding. Nay, I am convinced, that she has likewise a most virulent attachment to his person; though her love never shews itself but in the shape of discontent; and she persists in tormenting him out of sheer tenderness. The only object within doors upon which she bestows any marks of affection, in the usual style, is her dog Chowder; a filthy cur from Newfoundland, which she had in a present from the wife of a skipper in Swansey. One would imagine she had distinguished this beast with her favour on account of his ugliness and ill-nature; if it was not, indeed, an instinctive sympathy between his disposition and her own. Certain it is, she caresses him without ceasing; and even harrasses the family in the service of this cursed animal, which, indeed, has proved the proximate cause of her breach with Sir Ulic Mackilligut.

You must know, she yesterday wanted to steal a march of poor Liddy, and went to breakfast in the room without any other companion than her dog, in expectation of meeting with the Baronet, who had agreed to dance with her in the evening. Chowder no sooner made his appearance in the room than the Master of the Ceremonies, incensed at his presumption, ran up to drive him away, and threatened him with his foot; but the other seemed to despise his authority, and displaying a formidable case of long, white, sharp teeth, kept the puny monarch at bay.

While he stood under some trepidation, fronting his antagonist, and bawling to the waiter, Sir Ulic Mackilligut came to his assistance; and seeming ignorant of the connexion between this intruder and his mistress, gave the former such a kick in the jaws, as sent him howling to the door. Mrs. Tabitha, incensed at this outrage, ran after him, squalling in a tone equally disagreeable; while the Baronet followed her on one side, making apologies for his mistake; and Derrick on the other, making remonstrances upon the rules and regulations of the place.

Far from being satisfied with the Knight’s excuses, she said she was sure he was no gentleman; and when the Master of the Ceremonies offered to hand her into the chair, she rapped him over the knuckles with her fan. My uncle’s footman being still at the door, she and Chowder got into the same vehicle, and were carried off amidst the jokes of the chairmen and other populace. I had been riding out on Clerkendown, and happened to enter just as the fracas was over. The Baronet, coming up to me with an affected air of chagrin, recounted the adventure; at which I laughed heartily, and then his countenance cleared up. ‘My dear soul (said he), when I saw a sort of a wild baist, snarling with open mouth at the Master of the Ceremonies, like the red cow going to devour Tom Thumb, I could do no less than go to the assistance of the little man; but I never dreamt the baist was one of Mrs. Bramble’s attendants. O! if I had, he might have made his breakfast upon Derrick and welcome. But, you know, my dear friend, how natural it is for us Irishmen to blunder, and to take the wrong sow by the ear. However, I will confess judgment, and cry her mercy; and, ’tis to be hoped, a penitent sinner may be forgiven.’ I told him, that as the offence was not voluntary on his side, it was to be hoped he would not find her implacable.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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