“If it displeases you. Sir, I will dress otherwise in a minute.”
“You look well in any thing. But I thought you’d have been better dressed. Yet it would never have less become you; for of late your eyes have lost that brilliancy that used to strike me with a lustre, much surpassing that of the finest diamonds.”
“I am sorry for it, Sir. But as I never could pride myself in deserving such a kind of compliment, I should be too happy, forgive me, my dearest Mr. B., if the failure be not rather in your eyes, than in mine.”
He looked at me steadfastly. “I fear, Pamela—But don’t be a fool.”
“You are angry with me. Sir?”
“No, not I.”
“Would you have me dress better?”
“No, not I. If your eyes looked a little more brilliant, you want no addition.” Down he went.
Strange short speeches, these, my lady, to what you have heard from his dear mouth!—“Yet they shall not rob me of the merit of a patient sufferer, I am resolved,” thought I.
Now, my lady, as I doubted not my rival would come adorned with every outward ornament, I put on only a white damask gown, having no desire to vie with her in appearance; for a virtuous and honest heart is my glory, I bless God! I wish the countess had the same to boast of!
About five, their ladyships came in the countess’s new chariot: for she has not been long out of her transitory mourning, and dressed as rich as jewels, and a profusion of expense, could make her.
I saw them from the window alight. O how my heart throbbed!—“Lie still,” said I, “busy thing! why all this emotion?—Those shining ornaments cover not such a guileless flatterer as thou. Why then all this emotion?”
Polly Barlow came up instantly from Mr. B.
I hastened down; tremble, tremble, tremble, went my feet, in spite of all the resolution I had been endeavouring so long to collect together.
Mr. B. presented the countess to me, both of us covered with blushes; but from very different motives, as I imagine.
“The Countess of—–, my dear.”
She saluted me, and looked, as I thought, half with envy, half with shame: but one is apt to form people’s countenances by what one judges of their hearts.
“O too lovely, too charming rival!” thought I—“Would to heaven I saw less attraction in you!”—For indeed she is a charming lady; yet she could not help calling me Mrs. B., that was some pride to me: every little distinction is a pride to me now—and said, she hoped I would excuse the liberty she had taken: but the character given of me by Mr. B. made her desirous of paying her respects to me.
“O these villainous masquerades,” thought I!—“You would never have wanted to see me, but for them, poor naughty Nun, that was!”
Mr. B. presented also the Viscountess to me; I saluted her ladyship; her sister saluted me.