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by the surprise I expressed at the many new discoveries I daily made.
About this time, my father died. I came to London, and was glad to be taken under the protection of one of my cousins, a man of consider- : able fashion, and what I liked more, not only very observing, and infinitely more knowing than myself, but kindly communicative; of which I had all the benefit. Sir Charles Etheredge was indeed “ á gentlemañ of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, and great admittance ;” and with him I associated' much, and was the less scrupulóus in allowing myself to be amused by his turn for satire, because I knew at bottom he had both benevolence and honour. His turn was indeed decidedly critical. He probed deeply; was a lover of Rochefocault and La Bruyère ; did not dislike Eord Halifax or Horace Walpole, and had no aversion to Swift. But on the other hand, he idolized Addison; and, however he laughed at the follies of women, no man was more alive to the softness and dignity of the female character, where they really existed. He was, in fact, like Lord Dorset, - The best good natured man with the worst natured Muse.”
From this gentleman I received many lessons, as will be seen; and no occupation, or meeting of
ämusement, no scene, public or private, in house or street, walking or riding, in garden or park, was exempt from this instruction. In short, wherever there were men and women, there also was food for keen observation.
The first time this disposition of his challenged my notice, was in a walk, when we were met by an active, open-countenanced man, who eagerly addressed him with inquiries after his health; was glad to see him so perfectly well; hoped he had no return of the nasty pains that used to plague him; in short, prayed, to use the Spanish phrase, that he might live a thousand years. As I had never heard of this gentleman before, I was surprised at the eagerness of his address; but Etheredge explained it, by telling me the man was sincere, for he was chairman of a great insurance company, where Etheredge's life was . insured to a large amount.
Soon after we were accosted by a person who drove by in a most fashionable barouche, but stopped to ask us whether it was true that the drawing-room of next day was postponed? 16. You mean to be there, of course,” said Etheredge. "I wished it,” replied he, with a sigh, “ but you know my poor friend Lord C. died yesterday, and we were so intimate, I don't think I could
possibly, be seen at court. I am really under great concern for Lord C.”.
Now who would believe,” said Etheredge, when his friend had passed, “ that is a lie, and a very silly one, as all the world knows he was scarcely acquainted with Lord C.”
“But he is very intimate,” said I, “ with Lord Ci's son, and no doubt feels much for him."
Judge for yourself,” said my companion. “ The gentleman is neither more nor less than a sentimental tuft hunter by disposition, and a very knavish usurer by profession; perhaps the only one of his sort in town. Having made a fortune by fleecing young heirs who paid him from forty to: fifty per cent., he had been long smitten with the love of courts and titled people ; and being the creditor of many of the young nobility, he endeavoured to make use of their necessities, to pass him over from the plebeian shore on which he was hatched,, to the sunny bank, of aristocracy. In doing this, he would assume a tone of generous indignation against other usurers, who, he said, were only fit to live in their own kitchens, and were satisfied with making no figure, if they could make fifty per cent. of their money; whereas he would be glad to lend to my lord, whom he may call his friend as well as client, at thirty, and
even twenty, when the security was particularly good. But as all friendship must be reciprocal; he would ask the young peer in return to facilitate his wish for higher society, more consonant to his fortune and pretensions, and in particular, perhaps, to do him the honour to present him at court. This he actually proposed to the young Lord B., the son of the deceased Lord C., who, in the hope of being let off twenty per cent. (which, however, did not succeed), made the promise demanded, but is thus disabled from performing it, by the death of his father. How much, therefore, of his grief for Lord C. is oceasioned by friendship for his son, how much by his disappointment as to the presentation, wiser people
We had not yet done ; for in St. James's Park we were accosted by a person of a very jaunty air, but of wild look and heated jaded counterance, such as the gaming-table or betting-stand bestow upon their frequenters. His tone of voice and manner corresponded with this appearance, and he asked Etheredge how he did, in a sort of slang language, so vulgarly familiar, and yet so sheepishly doubtful of the reception he might meet with, that I could not help afterwards noticing it. "Etheredge was evidently cool with him;
but, by way of conversation, asked if he had lately seen his relation Sir James D.?
“I hope the old man is well,” he said ; "I have a great regard for him and all his family, but I now seldom visit them; for, to tell you the truth, old Squaretoes, and still' more my lady, have looked so queer upon me of late, that paying one's duty is anything but agreeable. But I suppose, like the rest of world, they are biassed by those two or three untoward accidents which made such a noise at the time.”
· These accidents,” said Etheredge, after he left us, “were merely a very gross case of seduction, a fraudulent pecuniary transaction to the amount of some thousands, and, being in parliament, a black political treachery.”
“I suppose," said I, “he is not received.”
“I beg your pardon,” he rejoined. I have told you he is in parliament, and the party for whom he betrayed his own received him with
“I am horrified,” said I; “can such things be?” But my
reflections were cut short by encountering a Mrs. S., a well-dressed, fashionable-looking woman, walking with two pretty children; her carriage following, to relieve them when tired. They were in an amiable group, and I saw and