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soul, and would willingly give any thing in my power, that no familiarities had ever passed between us. Nay, believe me, I had many struggles with my passion before I could prevail with myself to write that cruel letter, which hath caused all the misery, in that unhappy family. If I had no inclinations to consult but my own, I would marry her tomorrow morning: I would, by Heaven; but you will easily imagine how impossible it would be to prevail on my father to consent to such a match; besides, he hath provided another for me; and tomorrow, by his express command, I am to wait on the lady."
"I have not the honour to know your father," said Jones; "but suppose he could be persuaded, would you yourself consent to the only means of preserving these poor people?" "As eagerly as I would pursue my happiness," answered Nightingale; "for I never shall find it in my other woman.-O my dear friend, could you imagine what I have felt within these twelve hours for my poor girl, I am convinced she would not engross all your pity. Passion leads me only to her; and if I had any foolish scruples of honour, you have fully satisfied them: could my father be induced to comply with my desires, nothing would be wanting to compleat my own happiness, or that of my Nancy.'
"Then I am resolved to undertake it," said Jones. "You must not be angry with me, in whatever light it may be necessary to set this affair, which you may depend on it, could not otherwise be long hid from him: for things of this nature make a quick progress, when once they get abroad, as this unhappily hath already. Besides, should any fatal accident follow, as upon my soul I am afraid will, unless immediately prevented, the public would ring of your name in a manner which, if
your father hath common humanity, must offend him. If you will therefore tell me where I may find the old gentleman, I will not lose a moment in the business; which while I pursue, you cannot do a more generous action than by paying a visit to the poor girl. You will find I have not exaggerated in the account I have given of the wretchedness of the family."
Nightingale immediately consented to the proposal; and now having acquainted Jones with his father's lodging, and the coffee-house where he would most probably find him, he hesitated a moment, and then said, "My dear Tom, you are going to undertake an impossibility. If you knew my father, you would never think of obtaining his consent.-Stay, there is one way-suppose you told him I was already married, it might be easier to reconcile him to the fact after it was done; and, upon my honour, I am so affected with what you have said, and I love my Nancy so passionately, I almost wish it was done, whatever might be the consequence."
Jones greatly approved the hint, and promised to pursue it. They then separated, Nightingale to visit his Nancy, and Jones in quest of the old gentleman.
What passed between Jones and old Mr. Nightingale; with the arrival of a person not yet mentioned in this history.
OTWITHSTANDING the sentiment of the Roman satyrist, which denies the divinity of Fortune; and the opinion of Seneca to the same purpose; Cicero, who was, I believe, a wiser man than either of them, expressly holds the contrary; and certain it is, there are some incidents in life so very strange and un
accountable, that it seems to require more than human skill and foresight in producing them.
Of this kind was what now happened to Jones, who found Mr. Nightingale the elder in so critical a minute, that Fortune, if she was really worthy all the worship she received at Rome, could not have contrived such another. In short, the old gentleman and the father of the young lady whom he intended for his son, had been hard at it for many hours; and the latter was just now gone, and had left the former delighted with the thoughts that he had succeeded in a long contention, which had been between the two fathers of the future bride and bridegroom; in which both endeavoured to over-reach the other, and, as not rarely happens in such cases, both had retreated fully satisfied of having obtained the victory.
This gentleman whom Mr. Jones now visited, was what they call a man of the world; that is to say, a man who directs his conduct in this world, as one who being fully persuaded there is no other, is resolved to make the most of this. In his early years he had been bred to trade, but having acquired a very good fortune, he had lately declined his business; or, to speak more properly, had changed it from dealing in goods, to dealing only in money, of which he had always a plentiful fund at command, and of which he knew very well how to make a very plentiful advantage; sometimes of the necessities of private men, and sometimes of those of the public. He had indeed conversed so entirely with money, that it may be almost doubted, whether he imagined there was any other thing really existing in the world: this at least may be certainly averred, that he firmly believed nothing else to have any real value.
The reader will, I fancy, allow, that Fortune could not have culled out a more improper person for Mr. Jones to attack with any probability of success; nor could the whimsical lady have directed this attack at a more unseasonable time.
As money then was always uppermost in this gentleman's thoughts, so the moment he saw a stranger within his doors, it immediately occurred to his imagination, that such stranger was either come to bring him money, or to fetch it from him. And according as one or other of these thoughts prevailed, he conceived a favourable or unfavourable idea of the person who approached him.
Unluckily for Jones, the latter of these was the ascendant at present; for as a young gentleman had visited him the day before, with a bill from his son for a play debt, he apprehended, at the first sight of Jones, that he was come on such another errand. Jones therefore had no sooner told him, that he was come on his son's account, than the old gentleman, being confirmed in his suspicion, burst forth into an exclamation, "That he would lose his labour." "Is it then possible, sir," answered Jones, "that you can guess my business?" "If I do guess it," replied the other, "I repeat again to you, you will lose your labour. What, I suppose you are one of those sparks who lead my son into all those scenes of riot and debauchery, which will be his destruction; but I shall pay no more of his bills I promise you. I expect he will quit all such company for the future. If I had imagined otherwise, I should not have provided a wife for him; for I would be instrumental in the ruin of no body." "How, sir," said Jones, "and was this lady of your providing?" "Pray, sir," answered the old gentleman, "how comes it to be any concern of yours?"-"Nay, dear sir," replied Jones,
"be not offended that I interest myself in what regards your son's happiness, for whom I have so great an honour and value. It was upon that very account I came to wait upon you. I can't express the satisfaction you have given me by what you say; for I do assure you your son is a person for whom I have the highest honour.-Nay, sir, it is not easy to express the esteem I have for you, who could be so generous, so good, so kind, so indulgent to provide such a match for your son; a woman who, I dare swear, will make him one of the happiest men upon earth."
There is scarce any thing 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 rais'd 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 any thing 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 deli