A Man of Humour.
We will now return to lord Martin. All his messengers, from what cruel fate we cannot exactly ascertain, miscarried; and it was not till Damon had left the country, that he learned that he had been a visitor at the house of Mr. Moreland. Finding that he had missed his expected vengeance, he discharged his anger in unavailing curses, and for three days he breathed nothing but daggers, death, and damnation. Having thus vapoured away the paroxysm of his fury, he became tolerably composed.
But adverse fate had decreed a short duration to the tranquility of his lordship. Scarcely had the field been cleared from the enemy he so greatly dreaded, ere a new rival came upon the stage, to whose arms, though without any great foundation, the whole town of Southampton had consigned the charming Delia.
The name of this gentleman was Prettyman. He was just returned from his travels, and was reckoned perfectly accomplished. He was six foot high, his shoulders were broad, his legs brawny, and his whole person athletic. The habits however he had formed to himself in foreign countries, will not perhaps be allowed exactly to correspond with the figure which nature had bestowed upon him. He generally spent two hours every morning at his toilette. His face was painted and patched, his whole person strongly perfumed, and he had continually in his hand a gold snuff-box set with diamonds. His voice was naturally hoarse and loud, but with infinite industry he had brought himself to a pronunciation shrill, piping, and effeminate. His conversion was larded with foreign phrases and foreign oaths, and every thing he said was accompanied with a significant shrug.
The same period which had introduced this new pretender to the heart of Delia, had been distinguished by the arrival of a Sir William Twyford, who paid his addresses to Miss Fletcher. Sir William was exactly the reverse of Mr. Prettyman. With a genteel person, and an open and agreable phisiognomy, his manners were perfectly careless and unstudied. A predominant feature in his character was good nature. But this was not his ruling passion. He had an infinite fund of wit and humour, and he never was so happy as when he was able to place the foibles of affectation in a whimsical and ridiculous light.
As it was vanity alone, that had induced Mr. Prettyman to pay his addresses to the lady, who was universally allowed to surpass in beauty and every elegant accomplishment in the place in which he was, he would have been less pleased that his amour should have terminated in a marriage, than that by his affectation and coquetry he might break the heart of the simple fair one. Accordingly, it was his business to make the affair as public as possible.