“And, indeed, I wanted it; though I limped like a puppy before I was lame. One can’t think of every thing as one used to do at your time of life, gentlemen.” This flippant stuff was all that passed, which I can recite; for the rest, at table, and after dinner, was too polite by half for me; such as, the quantity of wine each man could carry off (that was the phrase), dogs, horses, hunting, racing, cock-fighting, and all accompanied with swearing and cursing, and that in good humour, and out of wantonness (the least excusable and more profligate sort of swearing and cursing of all).
The gentlemen liked the wine so well, that we had the felicity to drink tea and coffee by ourselves; only Mr. B. (upon our inviting the gentlemen to partake with us) sliding in for a few minutes to tell us, they would stick by what they had, and taking a dish of coffee with us.
I should not omit one observation; that Sir Jacob, when they were gone, said they were pure company; and Mr. H. that he never was so delighted in his born days.—While the two ladies put up their prayers, that they might never have such another entertainment. And being encouraged by their declaration, I presumed to join in the same petition.
Yet it seems, these are men of wit! I believe they must be so—for I could neither like nor understand them. Yet, if their conversation had much wit, I should think my ladies would have found it out.
The gentlemen, permit me to add, went away very merry, to ride ten miles by owl-light; for they would not accept of beds here. They had two French horns with them, and gave us a flourish or two at going off. Each had a servant besides: but the way they were in would have given me more concern than it did, had they been related to Mr. B. and less used to it. And, indeed, it is a happiness, that such gentlemen take no more care than they generally do, to interest any body intimately in their healths and preservation; for these are all single men. Nor need the public, any more than the private, be much concerned about them; for let such persons go when they will, if they continue single, their next heir cannot well be a worse commonwealth’s man; and there is a great chance he may be better.
You know I end my Saturdays seriously. And this, to what I have already said, makes me add, that I cannot express how much I am, my dear Miss Darnford, your faithful and affectionate PB
From Mrs. B. to Miss Darnford. In Answer to Letters XXXV and XXXVI.
MY DEAR MISS DARNFORD,