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Two ladies of great distinction introduced.
Superior finery ever seems to confer superior breeding
R. Burchell had scarce taken leave,
and Sophia consented to dance with the chaplain, when my little ones came running out to tell us, that the 'Squire was come, with a crowd of company. Upon our return, we found our landlord with a couple of under gentlemen and two young ladies richly dressed, whom he introduced as women of very great distinction and fashion from town. We happened not to have chairs enough for the whole company; but Mr. Thornhill immediately proposed that every gentleman Mould sit in a lady's lap. This I positively objeçted to, notwithstanding a look of difapprobation from my wife. Mofes was therefore dispatched to borrow a couple of chairs; and as we were in want of ladies to make up a set at country dances, the two gentlemen went with him in quest of a couple of partners. Chairs and partners were foon provided. The gentlemen returned with my neighbour Flamborough's rofy daughters, flaunting with red top-knots, but an unlucky circumstance was not adverted to; though the Miss Flamboroughs were reckoned the very best dancers in the parish, and. understood the jig and the round-about to perfection; yet they were totally unacquainted with country dances.
This at first discomposed us: however, after a little shoving and dragging, they at last went merrily on. Our music consisted of two fiddles, with a pipe and tabor. The moon shone bright, Mr. Thornhill and my eldest daughter led up the ball, to the great delight of the spectators; for the neighbours hearing what was going for
ward, came flocking about us. My girl moved with so much grace and vivacity, that my wife could not avoid discovering the pride of her heart, by assuring me, that though the little chit did it so cleverly, all the stej's were stolen from herself. The ladies of the town strove hard to be equally easy, but without success. They swam, sprawled, languished, and frisked, but all would not do: the gazers indeed owned that it was fine ; but neighbour Flambo. rough observed, that Miss Livy's feet seemed as pat to the music as its echo. After the dance had continued about an hour, the two ladies, who were apprehensive of catching cold, moved to break
up the ball. One of them, I thought, pressed her sentiments upon this occasion in a very coarse manner, when she observed, that by the living jingo, she was all of a muck of sweat. Upon our return to the house, we found a very elegant cold supper, which Mr. Thornhill had ordered to be brought with him. The conversa
tion at this time, was more reserved than before. The two ladies threw my girls quite into the Made; for they would talk of nothing but high life, and high lived company; with other fashionable topics, such as pictures, taite, Shakespeare, and the musical glasses. 'Tis true, they once or twice mortified us sensibly by nipping out an oath; but that appeared to me as the surest symptom of their distinction, (though I am since informed that swearing is perfectly unfashionable.) Their finery, however, threw a veil over any grossness in their conversation.. My daughters seemed to regard their superior accomplishments with envy; and what. appeared amiss was ascribed to tip-top. quality breeding. But the condescension of the ladies was still superior to their other accomplishments. One of them obferved, that had Miss Olivia seen a little more of the world, it would greatly inprove her. To which the other added, that a single winter in town would make her little Sophia quite another thing. My
wife warmly assented to both ; adding, that there was nothing she more ardently wished than to give her girls a single winter's polishing. To this I could not help replying, that their breeding was already fuperior to their fortune ; and that greater refinement would only serve to make their poverty ridiculous, and give them a taste for pleasures they had no right to poffefs.
And what pleasures,' cried Mr. Thornhill, “ do they not deserve to possess, « who have so much in their power to be• ftow? As for my part,' continued he,
my fortune is pretty large; love, li.
berty, and pleasure, are my maxims ; « but curfe me if a settlement of half
my • estate could give my charming Olivia
pleasure, it should be hers; and the only favour I would ask in return, would
be to add myself to the benefit.' I was not such a stranger to the world as to be ignorant that this was the fashionable cant to disguise the infolence of the baseft
proposal; but I made an effort to suppress