And then the dear saucy-face laughed out, to bear me company; for I could not, for the soul of me, avoid laughing heartily at the figure she brought to my mind, which I have seen my old friend more than once make, with his dismounted spectacles, arch mouth, and gums of shining jet, succeeding those of polished ivory, of which he often boasts, as one ornament of his youthful days.—And I the rather in my heart, Sir Simon, gave you up, because, when I was a sad fellow, it was always my maxim to endeavour to touch a lady’s heart without wounding her ears. And, indeed, I found my account sometimes in observing it. But, resuming my gravity—“Hussy, said I, do you think I will have my old friend thus made the object of your ridicule?—Suppose a challenge should have ensued between us on your account—what might have been the issue of it? To see an old gentleman, stumping, as he says, on crutches, to fight a duel in defence of his wounded honour!”—“Very bad, Sir, to be sure: I see that, and am sorry for it: for had you carried off Sir Simon’s crutch, as a trophy, he must have lain sighing and groaning like a wounded soldier in the field of battle, till another had been brought him, to have stumped home with.”
But, dear Sir Simon, I have brought this matter to an issue, that will, I hope, make all easy;—Miss Polly, and my Pamela, shall both be punished as they deserve, if it be not your own fault. I am told, that the sins of your youth don’t sit so heavily upon your limbs, as in your imagination; and I believe change of air, and the gratification of your revenge, a fine help to such lively spirits as yours, will set you up. You shall then take coach, and bring your pretty criminal to mine; and when we have them together, they shall humble themselves before us, and you can absolve or punish them, as you shall see proper. For I cannot bear to have my worthy friend insulted in so heinous a manner, by a couple of saucy girls, who, if not taken down in time, may proceed from fault to fault, till there will be no living with them.
If (to be still more serious) your lady and you will lend Miss Darnford to my Pamela’s wishes, whose heart is set upon the hope of her wintering with us in town, you will lay an obligation upon us both; which will be acknowledged with great gratitude by, dear Sir, your affectionate and humble servant.
From Sir Simon Darnford in reply.
Hark ye, Mr. B.—A word in your ear:—to be plain: I like neither you nor your wife well enough to trust my Polly with you.