That afterwards as he was engaged in French with a lady who had the dress of an Indian Princess, and the mask of an Ethiopian, his fair Nun said, in broken Spanish, “Art thou at all complexions?—By St. Ignatius, I believe thou’rt a rover!”
“I am trying,” replied he in Italian, “whether I can meet with any lady comparable to my lovely Nun.”
“And what is the result?”—“Not one: no not one.”—“I wish you could not help being in earnest,” said she; and slid from him.
He engaged her next at the sideboard, drinking under her veil a glass of Champaign. “You know, Pamela,” said he, “there never was a sweeter mouth in the world than the Countess’s except your own.” She drew away the glass, as if unobserved by any body, to shew me the lower part of her face.
“I cannot say, but I was struck with her charming manner, and an unreservedness of air and behaviour, that I had not before seen so becoming. The place, and the freedom of conversation and deportment allowed there, gave her great advantages in my eye, although her habit required, as I thought, a little more gravity and circumspection: and I could not tell how to resist a secret pride and vanity, which is but too natural to both sexes, when they are taken notice of by persons so worthy of regard.
“Naturally fond of every thing that carried the face of an intrigue, I longed to know who this charming Nun was. And next time I engaged her, ‘My good sister,’ said I, ’how happy should I be, if I might be admitted to a conversation with you at your grate!’
“‘Answer me,’ said she, ‘thou bold Spaniard,’ (for that was a name she seemed fond of, which gave me to imagine, that boldness was a qualification she was not displeased with. ’Tis not unusual with our vain sex,” observed he, “to construe even reproaches to our advantage,”) ’is the lady here, whose shackles thou wearest?’—’Do I look like a man shackled, my fairest Nun?’—’No—no! not much like such an one. But I fancy thy wife is either a Widow or a Quaker.’—’Neither,’ replied I, taking, by equivocation, her question literally.
“’And art thou not a married wretch? Answer me quickly!—We are observed.’—’No,’ said I.—’Swear to me, thou art not.’—’By St. Ignatius, then;’ for, my dear, I was no wretch, you know.—’Enough!’ said she, and slid away; and the Fanatic would fain have engaged her, but she avoided him as industriously.
“Before I was aware, she was at my elbow, and, in Italian, said, ’That fair Quaker, yonder, is the wit of the assemblee; her eyes seem always directed to thy motions; and her person shews some intimacies have passed with somebody; is it with thee?’—’It would be my glory if it was,’ said I, ’were her face answerable to her person.’—’Is it not?’—’I long to know,’” replied Mr. B.—“I am glad thou dost not.”—“I am glad to hear my fair Nun say that.”—“Dost thou,” said she, “hate shackles? Or is it, that thy hour is not yet come?”