« PředchozíPokračovat »
the trouble she was at for my good, I was not to be so censorious as to dislike familiarity and kind. ness between near relations. I was too great a coward to contend, but not so ignorant a child to be thus imposed upon. I resented his contempt as I ought to do, and as most poor passive blinded wives do, until it pleased heaten to take away my tyrant, who left me free possession of my own land, and a large jointure. My youth and money brought me many lovers, and several endeavoured to estab. lish an interest in my heart while my
husband was in his last sickness; the honourable Edward Wait. fort was one of the first who addressed me, advised to it by a cousin of his that was my intimate friend, and knew to a penny what I was worth. Mr. Wait. fort is a very agreeable man, and
every body would like him as well as he does himself, if they did not plainly see that his esteem and love is all taken up, and hy such an object as it is impossible to get the better of ; I mean himself. He made no doubt of marrying me within four or five months, and be gan to proceed with such an assured easy air, that piqued my pride not to banish him ; quite contrary, out of pure malice, I heard his first declaration with so much innocent surprise, and blushed so prettily, I perceived it touched his very heart, and he thought me the best-natured silly poor thing on earth. When a man has su a notion of a woman, he loves her better than he thinks he does. I was overjoyed to be thus revenged on him for designing on my fortune; and finding it was in my power to make his heart ache, I resolved to complete my conquest, and entertained several other pretenders. The first impression of my undesigning innocence was so strong in his head, he attributed all
fol. lowers to the inevitable force of my charms : and, from several blushes and side glances, concluded himself the favourite ; and when I used him like a dog for my diversion, he thought it was all pru. dence and fear; and pitied the violence I did my own inclination to comply with my friends, when I married sir Nicholas Fribble of sixty years of age. You know, sir, the case of Mrs. Medlar.
I hope you would not have had me cry out my eyes for such a husband. I shed tears enough for my wi. dowhood a week after my marriage; and when he was put in his grave, reckoning he had been two years dead, and myself a widow of that standing, I married three weeks afterwards John Sturdy, esq. his next heir. I had indeed some thoughts of taking Mr. Waitfort, but I found he could stay; and besides, he thought it indecent to ask me to marry again until my year was out; so, privately resolv. ing him for my fourth, I took Mr. Sturdy for the present. Would you believe it, sir, Mr. Sturdy was just five-and-twenty, about six foot high, and the stoutest fox-hunter in the country, and I believe I wished ten thousand times for my old Fribble again ; he was following his dogs all the day, all the night keeping them up at table with him and his companions; however, I think myself obliged to them for leading him a chase in which he broke his neck. Mr. Waitfort began his addresses anew ; and I verily believe I had married him now, but there was a young officer in the guards that had debauched two or three of my acquaintance, and I could not forbear being a little vain of his court. ship. Mr. Waitfort heard of it, and read me such an insolent lecture upon the conduct of women, I married the officer that very day, out of pure spite to him. Half an hour after I was married I received a penitential letter from the honourable Mr. Edward Waitfort, in which he begged pardon for his passion, as proceeding from the violence of
his love. I triumphed when I read it, and could not help, out of the pride of my heart, showing it to my new spouse; and we were very merry together upon it. Alas! my mirth lasted a short time ; my young husband was very much in debt when I married him, and his first action afterwards was to set up a gilt chariot and six in fine trappings before and behind. I had married so hastily, I had not the prudence to reserve my estate in my own hands; my ready money was lost in two nights at the Groom-porter's; and my diamond necklace, which was stole I did not know how, I met in the street upon Jenny Wheedle's neck. My plate vanished piece by piece: and I had been reduced to downright pewter, if my officer had not been des liciously killed in a duel, by a fellow that had cheated him of five hundred pounds, and afterwards, at his own request, satisfied him and me too, by running him through the body. Mr. Wait. fort was still in love, and told me so again ; and, to prevent all fears of ill usage, he desired me to reserve every thing in my own hands : but now my acquaintance began to wish me joy.of his constancy, my charms were declining, and I could not resist the delight I took in showing the young flirts about town it was yet in my power to give pain to a man of sense; this, and some private hopes he would hang himself, and what a glory it would be for me, and how I should be envied, made me accept of being third wife to my lord Friday. I proposed, from my rank and his estate, to live in all the joys of pride; but how was I mistaken! he was neither extravagant, nor ill-natured, nor debauched. I suffered however more with him than with all my others. He was splenetic. I was forced to sit whole days hearkening to his imaginary ails ; it was impossible to tell what would please him ;
what he liked when the sun shined made him sick when it rained; he had no distemper, but lived in constant fear of them all; my good genius dictated to me to bring him acquainted with Dr. Gruel ; from that day he was always contented, because he had names for all his complaints; the good doctor furnished him with reasons for all his pains, and prescriptions for every fancy that troubled him; in hot weather he lived upon juleps, and let blood to prevent fevers; when it grew cloudy he generally apprehended a consumption; to shorten the history of this wretched part of my life, he ruined a good constitution by endeavouring to mend it; and took several medicines, which ended in taking the grand remedy which cured both him and me of all our uneasinesses. After his death I did not expect to hear any more of Mr. Waitfort. I knew he had renounced me to all his friends, and been very witty upon my choice, which he affected to talk of with great indifferency. I gave over thinking of him, being told that he was engaged with a pretty woman and a great fortune; it vexed me a little, but not enough to make me neglect the advice of my cousin Wish well, that came to see me the day my lord went into the country with Russel ; she told me experimentally, nothing put an unfaithful lover and a dear husband so soon out of one's head as a new one, and at the same time proposed to me à kinsman of her's. “ You understand enough of the world,” said she, “ to know money is the most valuable consideration ; he is very rich, and I am sure canpat live long ; he has a cough that must carry him off soon.'' I knew afterwards she had given the self-same character of me to him ; but however I was so much persuaded by her, I hasten. ed on the match for fear he should die before the time came; he had the same fears, and was so pressing, I married him in a fortnight, resolving to keep it private a fortnight longer. During this fortnight Mr. Waitfort came to make me a visit : he told me he had waited on me sooner, but had that respect for me, he would not interrupt me in the first day of my affliction for my dear lord ; that, as soon as he heard I was at liberty to make another choice, he had broke off a match very ad. vantageous for his fortune, just upon the point of conclusion, and was forty times more in love with me than ever. I never received more pleasure in my life than from this declaration ; but I composed my face to a grave air, and said the news of his engagement had touched me to the heart, that in a rash jealous fit I had married a man I could never have thought on, if I had not lost all hopes of him. Good-natured Mr.. Waitfort had liked to have drop. ped down dead at hearing this, but went from me with such an air as plainly showed me he had laid all the blame upon himself, and hated those friends that had advised him to the fatal application ; he seemed as much touched by my misfortune as his own, for he had not the least doubt: I was still pasó sionately in love with him. The truth of this story is, my new husband gave me reason to repent I had not staid for him ; he had married me for my money, and I soon found he loved money to disa traction; there was nothing he would not do to get it: nothing he would not suffer to preserve it; the smallest expense kept him awake whole nights ; and when he paid a bill, it was with as many sighs, and after as many delays, as a man that endures the loss of a limb. I had heard nothing but reproofs for extravagancy whatever I did. very well that he would have starved me, but for losing my jointures; and, he suffered agonies between the grief of seeing me have so good a sto.