He observed, that I was a phoenix of a man, if so; and he could not but hope that all matters would be happily accommodated in a day or two; and that then he should have the pleasure to aver to her uncle, that he was present, as he might say, on our wedding-day.
The women seemed all to join in the same hope.
Ah, Captain! Ah, Ladies! how happy should I be, if I could bring my dear spouse to be of the same mind!
It would be a very happy conclusion of a very knotty affair, said the widow Bevis; and I see not why we may not make this very night a merry one.
The Captain superciliously smiled at me. He saw plainly enough, he said, that we had been at children’s play hitherto. A man of my character, who could give way to such a caprice as this, must have a prodigious value for his lady. But one thing he would venture to tell me; and that was this—that, however desirous young skittish ladies might be to have their way in this particular, it was a very bad setting-out for the man; as it gave his bride a very high proof of the power she had over him: and he would engage, that no woman, thus humoured, ever valued the man the more for it; but very much the contrary—and there were reasons to be given why she should not.
Well, well, Captain, no more of this subject before the ladies.—One feels [shrugging my shoulders in a bashful try-to-blush manner] that one is so ridiculous—I have been punished enough for my tender folly.
Miss Rawlins had taken her fan, and would needs hide her face behind it— I suppose because her blush was not quite ready.
Mrs. Moore hemmed, and looked down; and by that gave her’s over.
While the jolly widow, laughing out, praised the Captain as one of Hudibras’s metaphysicians, repeating,
He knew what’s
what, and that’s as high
As metaphysic wit can fly.
This made Miss Rawlins blush indeed:—Fie, fie, Mrs. Bevis! cried she, unwilling, I suppose, to be thought absolutely ignorant.
Upon the whole, I began to think that I had not made a bad exchange of our professing mother, for the unprofessing Mrs. Moore. And indeed the women and I, and my beloved too, all mean the same thing: we only differ about the manner of coming at the proposed end.
It was now high time to acquaint my spouse, that Captain Tomlinson was come. And the rather, as the maid told us, that the lady had asked her if such a gentleman [describing him] was not in the parlour?
Mrs. Moore went up, and requested, in my name, that she would give us audience.
But she returned, reporting my beloved’s desire, that Captain Tomlinson would excuse her for the present. She was very ill. Her spirits were too weak to enter into conversation with him; and she must lie down.