Squire and fool are the same thing here Farquhar.
such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And, with an unthrift love, did run from
The persécutions which Isabel
had undergone had indeed preyed upon her reason as
well as her health; and, in her brief intervals of
respite from the rage of the uncle, the insults of
the aunt, and, worse than all, the addresses of the
intended bridegroom, her mind, shocked and unhinged,
reverted with such intensity to the sufferings she
endured as to give her musings the character of insanity.
It was in one of these moments that she had written
to Mordaunt; and had the contest continued much longer
the reason of the unfortunate and persecuted girl would
have totally deserted her.
She was a person of acute, and even
poignant, sensibilities, and these the imperfect nature
of her education had but little served to guide or
to correct; but as her habits were pure and good, the
impulses which spring from habit were also sinless
and exalted, and, if they erred, “they leaned
on virtue’s side,” and partook rather of
a romantic and excessive generosity than of the weakness
of womanhood or the selfishness of passion. All
the misery and debasement of her equivocal and dependent
situation had not been able to drive her into compliance
with Mordaunt’s passionate and urgent prayers;
and her heart was proof even to the eloquence of love,
when that eloquence pointed towards the worldly injury
and depreciation of her lover: but this new persecution
was utterly unforeseen in its nature and intolerable
from its cause. To marry another; to be torn
forever from one in whom her whole heart was wrapped;
to be forced not only to forego his love, but to feel
that the very thought of him was a crime, all
this, backed by the vehement and galling insults of
her relations, and the sullen and unmoved meanness
of her intended bridegroom, who answered her candour
and confession with a stubborn indifference and renewed
overtures, made a load of evil which could neither
be borne with resignation nor contemplated with patience.
She was sitting, after she had sent
her letter, with her two relations, for they seldom
trusted her out of their sight, when Mr. Glumford was
announced. Now, Mr. George Glumford was a country
gentleman of what might be termed a third-rate family
in the county: he possessed about twelve hundred
a year, to say nothing of the odd pounds, shillings,
and pence, which, however, did not meet with such
contempt in his memory or estimation; was of a race
which could date as far back as Charles the Second;
had been educated at a country school with sixty others,
chiefly inferior to himself in rank; and had received
the last finish at a very small hall at Oxford.
In addition to these advantages, he had been indebted
to nature for a person five feet eight inches high,
and stout in proportion; for hair very short, very
straight, and of a red hue, which even through powder
cast out a yellow glow; for an obstinate dogged sort
of nose, beginning in snub, and ending in bottle; for
cold, small, gray eyes, a very small mouth, pinched
up and avaricious; and very large, very freckled,
yet rather white hands, the nails of which were punctiliously
cut into a point every other day, with a pair of scissors
which Mr. Glumford often boasted had been in his possession
since his eighth year; namely, for about thirty-two
legitimate revolutions of the sun.
He was one of those persons who are
equally close and adventurous; who love the eclat
of a little speculation, but take exceeding good care
that it should be, in their own graceful phrase, “on
the safe side of the hedge.” In pursuance
of this characteristic of mind, he had resolved to
fall in love with Miss Isabel St. Leger; for she being
very dependent, he could boast to her of his disinterestedness,
and hope that she would be economical through a principle
of gratitude; and being the nearest relation to the
opulent General St. Leger and his unmarried sister
there seemed to be every rational probability of her
inheriting the bulk of their fortunes. Upon these
hints of prudence spake Mr. George Glumford.
Now, when Isabel, partly in her ingenuous
frankness, partly from the passionate promptings of
her despair, revealed to him her attachment to another,
and her resolution never, with her own consent, to
become his, it seemed to the slow but not uncalculating
mind of Mr. Glumford not by any means desirable that
he should forego his present intentions, but by all
means desirable that he should make this reluctance
of Isabel an excuse for sounding the intentions and
increasing the posthumous liberality of the East Indian
and his sister.
“The girl is of my nearest blood,”
said the Major-General, “and if I don’t
leave my fortune to her, who the devil should I leave
it to, sir?” and so saying, the speaker, who
was in a fell paroxysm of the gout, looked so fiercely
at the hinting wooer that Mr. George Glumford, who
was no Achilles, was somewhat frightened, and thought
it expedient to hint no more.
“My brother,” said Miss
Diana, “is so odd; but he is the most generous
of men: besides, the girl has claims upon him.”
Upon these speeches Mr. Glumford thought himself secure;
and inly resolving to punish the fool for her sulkiness
and bad taste as soon as he lawfully could, he continued
his daily visits and told his sporting acquaintance
that his time was coming.
Revenons a nos moutons.
Forgive this preliminary detail, and let us return
to Mr. Glumford himself, whom we left at the door,
pulling and fumbling at the glove which covered his
right hand, in order to present the naked palm to
Miss Diana St. Leger. After this act was performed,
he approached Isabel, and drawing his chair near to
her, proceeded to converse with her as the Ogre did
with Puss in Boots; namely, “as civilly as an
Ogre could do.”
This penance had not proceeded far,
before the door was again opened, and Mr. Morris Brown
presented himself to the conclave.
“Your servant, General; your
servant, Madam. I took the liberty of coming
back again, Madam, because I forgot to show you some
very fine silks, the most extraordinary bargain in
the world, quite presents; and I have a
Sèvres bowl here, a superb article, from the cabinet
of the late Lady Waddilove.”
Now Mr. Brown was a very old acquaintance
of Miss Diana St. Leger, for there is a certain class
of old maids with whom our fair readers are no doubt
acquainted, who join to a great love of expense a great
love of bargains, and who never purchase at the regular
place if they can find any irregular vendor.
They are great friends of Jews and itinerants, hand-in-glove
with smugglers, Ladies Bountiful to pedlers, are diligent
readers of puffs and advertisements, and eternal haunters
of sales and auctions. Of this class was Miss
Diana a most prominent individual: judge, then,
how acceptable to her was the acquaintance of Mr. Brown.
That indefatigable merchant of miscellanies had, indeed,
at a time when brokers were perhaps rather more rare
and respectable than now, a numerous country acquaintance,
and thrice a year he performed a sort of circuit to
all his customers and connections; hence his visit
to St. Leger House, and hence Isabel’s opportunity
of conveying her epistle.
“Pray,” said Mr. Glumford,
who had heard much of Mr. Brown’s “presents”
from Miss Diana, “pray don’t
you furnish rooms, and things of that sort?”
“Certainly, sir, certainly, in the best manner
“Oh, very well; I shall want
some rooms furnished soon, a bedroom and
a dressing-room, and things of that sort, you know.
And so perhaps you may have something in
your box that will suit me, gloves or handkerchiefs
or shirts or things of that sort.”
“Yes, sir, everything, I sell
everything,” said Mr. Brown, opening his box.
“I beg pardon, Miss Isabel, I have dropped my
handkerchief by your chair; allow me to stoop,”
and Mr. Brown, stooping under the table, managed to
effect his purpose; unseen by the rest, a note was
slipped into Isabel’s hand, and under pretence
of stooping too, she managed to secure the treasure.
Love need well be honest if, even when it is most
true, it leads us into so much that is false!
Mr. Brown’s box was now unfolded
before the eyes of the crafty Mr. Glumford, who, having
selected three pair of gloves, offered the exact half
of the sum demanded.
Mr. Brown lifted up his hands and eyes.
“You see,” said the imperturbable
Glumford, “that if you let me have them for
that, and they last me well, and don’t come unsewn,
and stand cleaning, you’ll have my custom in
furnishing the house, and rooms, and things
of that sort.”
Struck with the grandeur of this opening,
Mr. Brown yielded, and the gloves were bought.
“The fool!” thought the
noble George, laughing in his sleeve, “as if
I should ever furnish the house from his box!”
Strange that some men should be proud of being mean!
The moment Isabel escaped to dress for dinner, she
opened her lover’s note. It was as follows.
Be in the room, your retreat, at nine
this evening. Let the window be left unclosed.
Precisely at that hour I will be with you. I shall
have everything in readiness for your flight.
Be sure, dearest Isabel, that nothing prevents your
meeting me there, even if all your house follow or
attend you. I will bear you from all. Oh,
Isabel! in spite of the mystery and wretchedness of
your letter, I feel too happy, too blest at the thought
that our fates will be at length united, and that the
union is at hand. Remember nine.
Love is a feeling which has so little
to do with the world, a passion so little regulated
by the known laws of our more steady and settled emotions,
that the thoughts which it produces are always more
or less connected with exaggeration and romance.
To the secret spirit of enterprise which, however
chilled by his pursuits and habits, still burned within
Mordaunt’s breast, there was a wild pleasure
in the thought of bearing off his mistress and his
bride from the very home and hold of her false friends
and real foes; while in the contradictions of the
same passion, Isabel, so far from exulting at her approaching
escape, trembled at her danger and blushed for her
temerity; and the fear and the modesty of woman almost
triumphed over her brief energy and fluctuating resolve.