Miss L., by the dean’s indulgent prudence and discretion, has escaped her rake; and upon the discovery of an intrigue he was carrying on with another, conceived a just abhorrence of him; and is since married to Dr. Jenkins, as you know, with whom she lives very happily.
Miss Sutton is not quite so well off as the three former; though not altogether so unhappy neither, in her way. She could not indeed conquer her love of dress and tinsel, and so became the lady of Col. Wilson: and they are thus far easy in the marriage state, that, being seldom together, they have probably a multitude of misunderstandings; for the colonel loves gaming, in which he is generally a winner; and so passes his time mostly in town. His lady has her pleasures, neither laudable nor criminal ones, which she pursues in the country. And now and then a letter passes on both sides, by. the inscription and subscription of which they remind one another that they have been once in their lives at one church together,
And what now, my dear Lady G., have I to add to this tedious account (for letter I can hardly call it) but that I am, with great affection, your true friend and servant,
MY DEAR LADY G.,
You desire to have a little specimen of my nursery tales and stories, with which, as Miss Fenwick told you, on her return to Lincolnshire, I entertain my Miss Goodwin and my little boys. But you make me too high a compliment, when you tell me, it is for your own instruction and example. Yet you know, my dear Lady G., be your motives what they will, I must obey you, although, were others to see it, I might expose myself to the smiles and contempt of judges less prejudiced in my favour. So I will begin without any further apology; and, as near as I can, give you those very stories with which Miss Fenwick was so pleased, and of which she has made so favourable a report.
Let me acquaint you, then, that my method is to give characters of persons I have known in one part or other of my life, in feigned names, whose conduct may serve for imitation or warning to my dear attentive Miss; and sometimes I give instances of good boys and naughty boys, for the sake of my Billy and my Davers; and they are continually coming about me, “Dear Madam, a pretty story,” now cries Miss: “and dear mamma, tell me of good boys, and of naughty boys,” cries Billy.
Miss is a surprising child of her age, and is very familiar with many of the best characters in the Spectators; and having a smattering of Latin, and more than a smattering of Italian, and being a perfect mistress of French, is seldom at a loss for a derivation of such words as are not of English original. And so I shall give you a story in feigned names, with which she is so delighted, that she has written it down. But I will first trespass on your patience with one of my childish tales.