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ried, and expects his lady and family here next week; and, naturally enough wants to find a house fit to receive them.” Fanny was not so good an actress as her father was an actor. There could be no doubt, whatever, as to what was passing in her mind at that moment; indeed, I was rejoiced to find that she kept her place and position at table, for I was very apprehensive of a scene, in order to avoid which, as much as possible, I announced the necessity of my getting home—it was growing late—and the weather was cold for the horses, and so on ; upon which the Captain looking at his watch, started from his seat, and declared that he did not think it had been eleven o'clock, instead of nearly one ; and then began the ceremony of leave-taking, and cloak-hunting, and all the rest of it, which ended, the Captain and Smiggs walked of to their separate destinations, and I remained for a few minutes behind the scenes after the performance was over, and when the actors appeared in their natural character. “Well,” said my mother-in-law, “who would have thought that that young man was married, and had a family." “Odd enough,” said Wells. “It never occurred to me to ask the question.” “The Captain enjoyed himself,” said I. “I don't believe he is a Captain,” said Fanny. “Being a Light-bob, he wears wings, so one can't tell.” I admired my sister-in-law's military knowledge. “He is very handsome,” said Mrs. Wells. “La, Ma,” said Fanny; “what, with that long nose s” “His nose is not longer,” said Wells, “than it was before dinner, Fanny, and then you thought him remarkably handsome ; but you must mind and send back the drawings after Bessy has seen them.” “Öh hang his drawings " said Fanny. “Bessy don't want to see them; besides, she can draw better herself—they are odious things.” “And his singing?” said I. “His voice is well enough,” said Fanny: “but that is not what I call singing.” “In short,” said Wells, “he is a very odious fellow.” “No, I don't mean that, Pa,” said Fanny; “what I mean is —he-is—” “Married,” said I. “Come, Fanny, that's the truth.” “Well, I know it is the truth,” said Fanny; “he is married, and who cares!” “Never mind,” said Wells, “let us get to bed: we have had a very pleasant day, and have made a very pleasant acquaintance, and so night to all.”
“Good night, Gilbert,” said Fanny. “All I think is, that it is very foolish for officers in the army to marry so young.—Good night!—love to Harriet.”
And so brake we up this sederunt. And I honestly confess that I was not altogether sorry to find my worthy father-in-law caught in his own trap, after having baited it so sumptuously for &o Cavendish Lorimer,
WHEN I was on my return homewards, I felt myself in a very awkward predicament; the signal defeat of my reverend father-in-law's great scheme was something too good to keep to myself, and yet the difficulty which arose in my mind as to making Harriet, at least in some degree, a participator in my views of the subject, suggested itself mainly because as she, I knew, would inevitably feel there existed a great similitude in the case of Captain Cavendish Lorimer and Fanny to that of Mr. Gilbert Gurney and Harriet; and, moreover, the defeated manoeuvrer was her own respectable and respected, revered and reverend parent;-still I was sure, unless by some exceedingly good turn of fortune she should happen to be asleep when I got to Ashmead, it would be utterly impossible for me to betake myself to my slumbers, without giving her a slight sketchy outline of the evening's proceedings.
I confess I was not sorry for having witnessed those proceedings: for, although I certainly experienced no malicious enjoyment at the frustration of a very laudable undertaking on the Rector's part, I felt my mind relieved and fitter for the more important business of the morning; for I judged that the information from Nubley could not be longer delayed; indeed, as it was, I attributed his backwardness in writing to a disinclination to wound our feelings, until he could no longer avoid doing so by a communication of the facts connected with poor Cuthbert's disasters.
As fate would have it, Harriet's kind watchfulness for my return had kept her awake, and, being so, it was natural enough for her to inquire how the day had gone off; so I told her truly and exactly the progress of the banquet, the history of the drawings, so the ring, and the key, and the portefeuille, and the singing, and the fluting, and the cold-meating, and the hot-drinking, reserving to the very last moment the fact of our new Adonis being married. She professed herself angry at my procrastination of the dénouement, but I could quite understand that she was not entirely sorry for the result, her opinion being that Fanny's ready forgetfulness of the man to whom, let him be what he might, she had been devotedly attached, and moreover, positively engaged, was, to say the least of it, extremely undignified: why, I never could discover. It might have been fickleness—it might have been levity—it might have been a sort of vengeance which prompted so sudden a transfer of her affections; but what dignity had to do with it, I really could not clearly comprehend. In the midst of my calculations thereanent I fell asleep, dreamt I saw Nubley with his spectacles on his nose, and a pair of wings on his shoulders, refreshing with water from a large watering-pot a rose-tree, the buds of which were all like the face of my brother Cuthbert; while little Hull, in a skyblue jacket and trousers, was playing leap-frog with Mrs. Brandyball in the distance. “If, while we sleep,” says Franklin, “we can have any pleasing dreams, it is, as the French say, tant gagné, so much added to the pleasure of life.” Certainly my dreams during the night in question were, at all events, amusing; but, inasmuch as I did not see Nubley the next morning, somewhat disappointing. When the next, to me dreadfully long, day had worn itself out, and neither Nubley, nor intelligence fiom him, arrived, I really grew seriously uneasy, and Mrs. Nubley kept up a perpetual “lauking” about Mr. N. being “such a man s" and I made up my mind, let what might be the consequence, to start for Bath on the morrow, the moment after the post had arrived. Even that seemed a dreadful delay. Nubley's kindness of disposition, and earnestness of good-will towards me, rendered the idea of neglectfulness on his part out of the question, and, as Harriet judiciously enough said, “If he had any thing to communicate, rely upon it he would write; if matters were desperate, and he could be of no use, he would return; and if your presence were necessary, or could be serviceable, he would send for you.” I admitted the .. of my dear Harriet's reasoning, although she could only reason upon what she knew, and suffered myself to be amused by her sister Fanny with a proceeding which her favourite maid, Miss Sally o had taken during the morning; having first asked her young mistress's advice upon the point, but having previously made up her own mind beyond the power of change or alteration. Fanny accepted the office of counsellor, heard Kerridge's statement, satisfied herself as to the girl's wishes and inclination, and gave her decision in favour of the proposed measure, which was no sooner pronounced than Sally proceeded to her
reverend pastor and master, and, with all the blushes requisite upon such an occasion, and a smile that was half a tear, insinuated her desire that he would be good enough to publish the bans of matrimony between herself, the said Sally Kerridge, and William Waggle, the young baker, against whose winning ways and white jacket her ci-devant admirer Mr. Lazenby had so amicably given her warning. Fanny gave us the history of this affair with a great deal of archness, and when Harriet, upon her “dignity” principle, I suppose, began censuring poor Sally Kerridge for the rapidity with which she had surrendered her heart to a new suitor, it struck me that Fanny did not join in the attack with any very great energy; but that, on the contrary, she reverted to the mistake of the preceding evening, as to Captain Cavendish Lorimer, with the full sense of Sally's being, in her grade, much better off than her young mistress. At all events, in her defence against our raillery upon the error under which she had laboured with regard to the Benedick, she made no scruple of admitting that she did think him very delightful, when she saw no reason why she might not think so; but that now it was no use for us to worry her, nor any for her to worry herself, and, of course, she thought no more about him. It may easily be imagined that it cost me no little effort to affect to take an interest in the current matters of Blissfold, with a mind occupied not only with the important affairs in progress at Bath, but borne down by the struggle, I had to maintain silence on the subject towards my wife, from whom I had scarcely before kept a secret since our marriage. The longest day will have an end, and night again close in. Again the sun rose—again the post arrived, and amongst other communications, a very long letter from Nubley; so long, indeed, that I consider it better to put in my notes the essence of the communication, than its whole substance. Nubley received the announcement of the failure of the house of Chipps, Rice, and Hiccory with great composure, because, although his dealings with them had been various and extensive, he, with that worldly and prudential activity as regarded nature's first law—self-preservation, had, upon quitting the “city of palaces,” washed his hands—to use his own phrase —of the whole concern, and having a certain and well-founded faith in the funds of his native country, converted all the profits of his sultry exile into three per cent. consols, which having purchased at a war price, with heavy taxes, an enormous army and an extensive navy, and the quartern loaf at eighteen