In which several things are touched upon.
WHEN this great affair was over, the marriage came next upon the carpet; the celebration of which was fixed for Easter week; but Mr. Chase recollecting in time that it would interfere with Newmarket races, procured a reprieve till the week following. At his return from those Olympic Games, the nuptials were celebrated before a general assembly of their relations, and the happy couple were conducted to bed in public with great demonstrations of joy. The bridegroom took possession of the bride, and Sir Thomas took possession of Mr. Chase's estate.
When they had shown their new clothes a little in London, they set out in a body for the country; and in a few days afterwards, the lodgings on the first floor were taken by a lady, who passed under the fictitious name of Mrs. Caryl. The hasty manner, in which she made her agreement, infused a suspicion into our milliner from the very beginning; and many circumstances soon concurred to persuade her, that her new lodger was a wife eloped from her husband. For besides that she came into her lodgings late in the evening, she seemed to affect a privacy in all her actions, which plainly evidenced, that she was afraid of some discovery; and this increased our milliner's curiosity the more as the other seemed less inclined to gratify it. But an event soon happened to confirm her conjectures; for three days after the lady's arrival, a chair stopped at the door one evening near ten o'clock, from whence alighted a well-dressed man about forty years old, who wrapping himself up in a red cloak, proceeded hastily upstairs, as if desirous to conceal himself from observation. This adventure savoured so strongly of intrigue, that it was no wonder our milliner contrived to meet him in the passage, to satisfy her curiosity with a survey of his features; for people, in whom that passion predominates, often find the greatest consolation from knowing the smallest trifles. Pompey was still more inquisitive than his mistress, and took courage to follow the gentleman into the dining-room, with a desire, I suppose, of hearing what passed in so fashionable an interview.
The lady rose from her chair to receive this man of fashion, who saluted her with great complaisance, and hoped she was pleased with her new apartments. 'Yes, my lord,' answered she, 'the people are civilized people enough, and I believe have no suspicion about me—but did they see your lordship come upstairs? '' 'Pon my honour, Madam,' said the peer, 'I can't tell; there was a female figure glided by me in the passage, but whether the creature made remarks or not, I did not stay to observe—Well, Madam, I hope now I may give you joy of your escape, and I dare say you will find yourself much happier than you was under the ill-usage of a tyrant you despised.' The lady then related, with great pleasantry, the manner of her escape, and the difficulties that attended the execution of it; after which she concluded with saying, 'I wonder, my lord, what my husband is now thinking on?' 'Thinking on!' answered the peer—' that he's a fool and a blockhead, I hope, Madam, and deserve to be hanged for abusing the charms of so divine a creature—Good God! was it possible for him to harbour an ill-natured thought, while he had the pleasure of looking in that angelic face? 'My lord,' said the lady, 'I know I have taken a very ill step in the eye of the world; but I have too much spirit to bear ill-usage with patience, and let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to submit to them, rather than be a slave to the ill-humours of a man I despised, hated, and detested.' 'Forbear Madam,' said his lordship, 'to think of him; my fortune, my interest, my sword, are all devoted to your service, and I am ready to execute any command you please to impose upon me—but let us call a more agreeable topic of conversation.'
Soon after this a light, but elegant supper, was placed upon the table, and the servants were ordered to retire; for there are certain seasons, when even the Great desire to banish ostentation. The absent husband furnished them with much raillery, and they pictured to themselves continually the surprise he would be in, when first he discovered his wife's elopement; nor did this man of gallantry and fashion finish his amorous visit till past two o'clock in the morning. As he was going downstairs, he found himself again encountered by the barking of little Pompey, whom he snatched up in his arms, and getting hastily into the chair, that waited for him at the door, carried him off with him to his own house.
THE next morning when our hero waked, and took a survey of his new apartments, he had great reason to rejoice in the change he had made: the magnificence of the furniture evidently showed that he was in the house of a man of quality; and the importance which discovered itself in the faces of all the domestics, seemed likewise to prove that their master belonged to the Court. The porter in particular appeared to be a politician of many years standing, for he never delivered the most ordinary message but in the voice of a whisper, accompanied with so many nods, winks, and other mysterious grimaces, that he passed among his acquaintance for a statesman of no common capacity.
About nine o'clock in the morning Lord Danglecourt was pleased to raise himself up in his bed, and summoned his valets to assist him in putting on his clothes. As soon as it was reported through the house that his Lordship was stirring, the multitudes who were waiting to attend his levee, put themselves in order in his ante-chamber to pay their morning homage, as soon as he pleased to appear. Several of them, however, who came on particular business, or were necessary agents under his Lordship, were selected from the common group, and introduced into the bed-chamber where they had the inexpressible honour and pleasure to see his lordship wash his hands and buckle on his shoes in private.
But his Lordship was condemned this morning to give private audience to the chief inhabitants of a borough-town, of which (to use the common phrase) he made the members, and consequently was obliged to treat them with that ceremonious respect, which free Britons always demand in exchange for their liberty. These gentlemen were ambitious of having their town erected into a corporation, and now waited on lord Danglecourt with a petition, setting forth the nature of their request, and begging his lordship's interest to obtain a charter for them. They were conducted into a private room, where his lordship soon presented himself to them, and after saluting them all round, begged to know if he could have the honour of serving them in anything, making many protestations of his particular regard for them and eternal devotion to their interest. This seemed to answer their wishes; whereupon one of them taking a packet out of his breast, began to read what might.be called the history of their town with more propriety than a petition, for it contained the names of all the blacksmiths, barbers, and attorneys, that had flourished in it for many centuries backwards. His lordship took great pains to suppress his inclination to laughter, and for a while seemed to listen with great attention; but at length his patience being quite exhausted, he was obliged to interrupt the orator of the company, saying, "Well, gentlemen, I won't give you the trouble to read any more; I see the nature of your petition extremely well, and you may depend upon ray interest; please to leave your petition with me, sir, and I'll look over the remaining part at my leisure;—depend upon it, gentlemen, you shall soon be in possession of your desires.' His Lordship then began to enquire after their wives and daughters, and having ordered his servants to bring a salver of sack and biscuits, he drank prosperity to their new corporation, represented in the strongest terms the honour they did him, in making him instrumental to the completion of their desires, and hoped he mould very soon be able to compliment them on their success. He then conducted them to the door, and they departed from him with the most grateful acknowledgments of his goodness, and the highest inward satisfaction to think they had so gracious a patron.
They were no sooner gone, than his lordship returned into his closet, and fell a laughing at the folly and impertinence of his petitioners. 'Curse the boobies,' cries he, 'do they think I have nothing to do but to make mayors and aldermen?' and so saying, he threw down the petition to the dog, and began to make him fetch and carry for his diversion. Pompey very readily entered into the humour of this pastime, and made such good use of his teeth, that the hopes of a new corporation were soon demolished, and the Lord knows how many mayors and aldermen in a moment perished by the unmerciful jaws of a Bologna lap-dog. But his lordship soon grew tired of this entertainment, and when he thought the petition had been severely enough handled by the dog, he snatched it from him, and flung it into the fire, saying, with a most contemptuous sneer, 'So much for a new corporation:' after which, he called for his hat and sword, and went abroad; nor did Pompey see anything more of him during the remaining part of the day.