« AnteriorContinuar »
the same quantity of perry to the fire; for this readily answered to the name of every kind of wine.
The Irish footman was retired to bed, and the post-boy was going to follow; but Partridge invited him to stay and partake of his wine, which the lad very thankfully accepted. The school-master was indeed afraid to return to bed by himself; and as he did not know how soon he might lose the company of my landlady, he was resolved to secure. that of the boy, in whose presence he apprehended no danger from the devil, or any of his adherents.
And now arrived another post-boy at the gate; upon which Susan, being ordered out, returned, introducing two young women in riding-habits, one of which was so very richly laced, that Partridge. and the post-boy instantly started from their chairs, and my landlady fell to her curtsies, and her ladyships, with great eagerness.
The lady in the rich habit said, with a smile of great condescension, If you will give me leave, madam, I will warm myself a few minutes at your kitchen fire; for it is really very cold; but I must insist on disturbing no one from his seat.' This was spoken on account of Partridge who had retreated to the other end of the room, struck with the utmost awe and astonishment at the splendour of the lady's dress. Indeed, she had a much better title to respect than this; for she was one of the most beautiful creatures in the world.
The lady earnestly desired Partridge to return to his seat; but could not prevail. She then pulled off her gloves, and displayed to the fire two hands. which had every property of snow in them, except that of melting. Her companion, who was indeed her maid, likewise pulled off her gloves, and discovered what bore an exact resemblance, in cold and colour, to a piece of frozen beef.
I wish, madam,' quoth the latter, your lady.
ship would not think of going any farther to-night. I am terribly afraid your ladyship will not be able to bear the fatigue.'
Why sure,' cries the landlady, her ladyship's honour can never intend it. O, bless me! farther to-night indeed! fet me beseech your ladyship not to think on't-But, to be sure, your ladyship can't. What will your honour be pleased to have for supper? I have mutton of all kinds, and some nice chicken?"
I think, madam,' said the lady, it would be " rather breakfast than supper; but I cannot eat any thing; and if I stay, shall only lie down for an hour or two. However, if you please, madam, you may get me a little sack-whey, made very small and thin.'
Yes, madam,' cries the mistress of the house, I have some excellent white wine.'... You have no sack, then,' says the lady. Yes, an't please your honour, I have; I may challenge the country for that--but let me beg your ladyship to eat something.'
Upon my word, I can't eat a morsel,' answered the lady; and I shall be much obliged to you, if you will please to get my apartment ready as soon as possible; for I am resolved to be on horseback again in three hours.'
Why, Susan,' cries the landlady, is there a fire lit yet in the Wild-goose?--I am sorry, madam, all my best rooms are full. Several people of the first quality are now in bed. Here's a great young squire, and many other great gentlefolks of quality.' Susan answered, That the Irish gentlemen were got into the Wild goose.'
Was ever any thing like it!' says the mistress; why the devil would you not keep some of the best rooms for the quality, when you know scarce a day passes without some calling here ?If they be gentlemen, I am certain, when they know it is for her ladyship, they will get up again."
Not upon my account,' says the lady; I will have no person disturbed for me. If you have a room that is commonly decent, it will serve me very well, though it be never so plain. I beg, madam, you will not give yourself so much trouble on my account.' O, madam!' eries the other, have several good rooms for that matter, but none good enough for your honour's ladyship. However, as you are so condescending to take up with the best I have, do, Susan, get a fire in the Rose this minute. Will your ladyship be pleased to go up now, or stay till the fire is lighted? I think, I have sufficiently warmed myself,' answered the lady; so, if you please, I will go now. I am afraid I have kept people, and particularly that gen. tleman (meaning Partridge), too long in the cold already. Indeed, I cannot bear to think of keeping any person from the fire this dreadful weather.'She then departed with her maid, the landlady marching with two lighted candles before her.
When that good woman returned, the conversa. tion in the kitchen was all upon the charms of the young lady. There is, indeed, in perfect beauty, a power which none almost can withstand; for my landlady, though she was not pleased at the nega tive given to the supper, declared she had never seen so lovely a creature. Partridge ran out into the most extravagant encomiums on her face, though he could not refrain from paying some compliments to the gold-lace on her hahit; the post-boy sung forth the praises of her goodness, which were like. wise echoed by the other post-boy, who was now come in. She's a true good lady, I warrant her,' says he; for she hath mercy upon dumb creatures; for she asked me every now and tan upon the journey, if I did not think she should hurt the horses by riding too fast! and when she came in, she charged me to give them as much corn as ever they would eat.'
Such charms are there in affability, and so sure
is it to attract the praises of all kinds of people. It may indeed be compared to the celebrated Mrs. Hussey. It is equally sure to set off every female perfection to the highest advantage, and to palliate and conceal every defect. A short reflection, which we could not forbear making in this place, where my reader hath seen the loveliness of an affable deportment; and truth will now oblige us to contrast it, by showing the reverse.
THE lady had no sooner laid herself on her pillow, than the waiting-woman returned to the kitchen to regale with some of those dainties which her mistress had refused.
The company, at her entrance, showed her the same respect which they had before paid to her mistress, by rising; but she forgot to imitate her, by desiring them to sit down again. Indeed, it was scarce possible they should have done so; for she placed her chair in such a posture, as to occupy almost the whole fire. She then ordered a chicken to be broiled that instant, declaring, if it was not ready in a quarter of an hour, she would not stay for it. Now though the said chicken was then at roost in the stable, and required the several ceremonies of catching, killing, and picking, before it was brought to the gridiron, my landlady would nevertheless have undertaken to do all within the time; but the guest being unfortunately admitted behind the scenes must have been witness to the fourberie; the poor woman was, therefore, obliged to confess that she had none in the house; but, madam,' said
• A celebrated mantua-maker in the Strand, famous for setting off the shapes of women.
she, I can get any kind of mutton in an instant from the butcher's.'
Do you think, then,' answered the waiting-gentlewoman, that I have the stomach of a horse, to eat mutton at this time of night? Sure you people that keep inns imagine your betters are like yourselves. Indeed, I expect to get nothing at this wretched place. I wonder my lady would stop at it. I suppose none but tradesmen and graziers ever call here.' The landlady fired at this indignity offered to her house; however, she suppressed her temper, and contented herself with saying, 'Very good quality frequented it, she thanked Heaven!'.. Don't tell me,' cries the other, of quality! I be lieve I know more of people of quality than such as you.---But, prithee, without troubling me with any of your impertiuence, do tell me what I can have for supper; for though I cannot eat horse-flesh, I am really hungry.'-- Why truly, madam,' answered the landlady, you could not take me again at such a disadvantage; for I must confess I have nothing in the house, unless a cold piece of beef, which, in. deed, a gentleman's footman and the post-boy have almost cleared to the bone.' Woman,' said Mrs. Abigail (so for shortness we will call her), I entreat you not to make me sick. If I had fasted a month, I could not eat what had been touched by the fingers of such fellows: Is there nothing neat or decent to be had in this horrid place? What think you of some eggs and bacon, madam?' said the landlady. Are your eggs new laid? Are you certain they were laid to-day? And let me have the bacon cut very nice and thin; for I can't endure any thing that's gross. Prithee, try if you can do a little tolerably for once, and don't think you have a farmer's wife, or some of those creatures in the house. The landlady began then to handle her knife; but the other stopped her, saying, "Good woman, I must insist upon your first washing your