O, my dear, these gentlemen are strange creatures!—What can they think of themselves? for they say, there is not one virtuous man in five; but I hope, for our sex’s sake, as well as for the world’s sake, all is not true that evil fame reports; for you know every man-trespasser must find or make a woman-trespasser!—And if so, what a world is this!—And how must the innocent suffer from the guilty! Yet, how much better is it to suffer one’s self, than to be the cause of another’s sufferings? I long to hear of you, and must shorten my future accounts, or I shall do nothing but write, and tire you into the bargain, though I cannot my dear father and mother. I am, my dear Miss, always yours, P.B.
From Miss Darnford to Mrs. B.
DEAR MRS. B.,
Every post you more and more oblige us to admire and love you: and let me say, I will gladly receive your letters upon your own terms: only when your worthy parents have perused them, see that I have every line of them again.
Your account of the arrival of your noble guests, and their behaviour to you, and yours to them; your conversation, and wise determination, on the offered title of Baronet; the just applauses conferred upon you by all, particularly the good countess; your breakfast conversation, and the narrative of your saucy abominable master, though amiable husband; all delight us beyond expression.
Do go on, dear excellent lady, with your charming journals, and let us know all that passes.
As to the state of matters with us, I have desired my papa to allow me to decline Mr. Murray’s addresses. The good man loved me most violently, nay, he could not live without me: life was no life, unless I favoured him: but yet, after a few more of these flights, he is trying to sit down satisfied without my papa’s foolish perverse girl, as Sir Simon calls me, and to transpose his affections to a worthier object, my sister Nancy; and it would make you smile to see how, a little while before he directly applied to her, she screwed up her mouth to my mamma, and, truly, she’d have none of Polly’s leavings; no, not she!—But no sooner did he declare himself in form, than the gaudy wretch, as he was before with her, became a well-dressed gentleman;—the chattering magpie (for he talks and laughs much), quite conversable, and has something agreeable to say upon every subject. Once he would make a good master of the buck-hounds; but now, really, the more one is in his company, the more polite one finds him.
Then, on his part,—he happened to see Miss Polly first; and truly, he could have thought himself very happy in so agreeable a young lady; yet there was always something of majesty (what a stately name for ill nature!) in Miss Nancy, something so awful; that while Miss Polly engaged the affections at first sight, Miss Nancy struck a man with reverence; insomuch, that the one might he loved as a woman, but the other revered as something more: a goddess, no doubt!