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half an hour after five when they got into the coach; the morning was remarkably fine, the late contest had shaken off all disposition to sleep, and Lady Forrest could not help saying, that she had much rather take a walk in the park than go home to bed. The captain zealously expressed the same sentiment, and proposed that the coach should set them down at St. James's gate. The lady, however, had nearly the same objections against being seen in the mall without any other company than the captain, that she had against its being known that they were alone together in a hackney coach: she, therefore, to extricate herself from this second difficulty, proposed that they should call at her father's in Bond Street, and take her cousin Meadows, whom she knew to be an early riser, with them. This project was immediately put in execution; but Lady Forrest found her cousin indisposed with a cold. When she had communicated the design of this early visit, Miss Meadows entreated her to give up her walk in the park, to stay till the family rose, and go home after breakfast. No," replied Lady Forrest, “ I am determined upon a walk; but as I must first get rid of Captain Freeman, I will send down word that I will take your advice.” A servant was accordingly dispatched to acquaint the captain, who was waiting below, that Miss Meadows was indisposed, and had engaged Lady Forrest to breakfast.
No. 55. TUESDAY, MAY 15, 1753.
Quid quisque vitet, nunquam homini satis
The captain discharged the coach; but being piqued at the behaviour of his wife, and feeling that flow of spirits which usually returns with the morning, even to those who have not slept in the night, he had no desire to go home, and therefore resolved to enjoy the fine morning in the park alone.
Lady Forrest, not doubting but that the captain · would immediately return home, congratulated'herself upon
her deliverance; but at the same time, to indulge her desire of a walk, followed him into the park.
The captain had reached the top of the mall, and turning back met her before she had advanced two hundred yards beyond the palace. The moment she perceived him, the remembrance of her message, the motives that produced it, the detection of its falsehood, and discovery of its design, her disappointment and consciousness of that very situation which she had so much reason to avoid, all concurred to cover her with confusion which it was impossible to bide: pride and good breeding were however, still predominant over truth and prudence; she was still zealous to remove from the captain's mind any suspicion of a design to shun bim, and therefore, with an effort perhaps equal to that of a hero who smiles upon the rack, she affected an air of gaiety, said she was glad to see him, and as an
excuse for her message and her conduct, prattled something about the tickleness of woman's mind, and concluded with observing that she changed hers too often ever to be mad. By this conduct a retreat was rendered impossible, and they walked together till between eight and nine: but the clouds having insensibly gathered, and a sudden shower falling just as they reached Spring Gardens, they went out instead of going back; and the captain having put the lady into a chair, took his leave.
It happened that Sir James, contrary to bis first purpose, had returned from his journey at night. He learned from the servants that his lady was gone to Captain Freeman's, and was secretly displeased that she had made this visit when he was absent; an incident which, however trifling in itself, was by the magic of jealousy swelled into importance: yet upon recollection he reproved himself for this displeasure, since the presence of the captain's lady would sufficiently secure the honour of his own. While he was struggling with these suspicions, they increased both in number and strength in proportion as the night wore away. At one he went to bed; but he passed the night in agonies of terror and resentment, doubting whether the absence of his lady was the effect of accident or design, listening to every noise, and bewildering himself in a multitude of extravagant suppositions. He rose again at break of day; and after several hours of suspense and irresolution, whether to wait the issue or go out for intelligence, the restlessness of curiosity prevailed, and about eight he set out for Captain Freeman's; but left word with his servants that he was gone to a neighbouring coffee-house.
Mrs. Freeman, whose affected indifference and dissimulation of a design to go immediately to bed, contributed to prevent the captain's return, had
during his absence suffered inexpressible disquiet; she bad, indeed, neither intention to go to bed, nor inclination to sleep; she walked backward and forward in her chamber, distracted with jealousy and suspense, till she was informed that Sir James was below, and desired to see her. When she came down, he discovered that she had been in tears; his fear was now more alarmed than his jealousy, and he concluded that some fatal accident had befallen his wife; but he soon learned that she and the captain had gone from thence at five in the morning, and that he was not yet returned. Mrs. Freeman, by Sir James's inquiry, knew that his lady had not been at home: her suspicions, therefore, were confirmed ; and in her jealousy, which to prevent a duel she laboured to conceal, Sir James found new cause for his own. He determined, however, to wait with as much decency as possible, till the captain came in; and perhaps two persons were never more embarrassed by the presence of each other. While breakfast was getting ready, Dr. Tattle came to pay Mrs. Freeman a morning visit; and to the unspeakable relief both of the lady and her guest, was immediately admitted. Doctor Tattle is one of those male gossips who in the common opinion are the most diverting company in the world. The doctor saw that Mrs. Freeman was low spirited, and made several efforts to divert her, but without success : at last he declared, with an air of ironical importance, that he could tell her such news as would make her look grave for something: 6. The captain,” says he, " has just huddled a lady into a chair, at the door of a bagnio near Spring Gardens.” He soon perceived that this speech was received with emotions
different from those he intended to produce; and, therefore, added, " that she need not, however, be jealous; for notwithstanding the
manner in which he had related the incident, the lady was certainly a woman of character, as he instantly discovered by her mien and appearance." This particular confirmed the suspicion it was intended to remove; and the doctor finding that he was not so good company as usual, took his leave, but was met at the door by the captain, who brought him back. His presence, however insignificant, imposed some restraint upon the rest of the company; and Sir James, with as good an appearance of jocularity as he could assume, asked the captain, “ What he had done with his wife ?" The captain, with some irresolution, replied, that “ he had left her early in the morning at her father's; and that having made a point of waiting on her home, she sent word down that her cousin Meadows was indisposed, and had engaged her to breakfast.” The captain, who knew nothing of the anecdote that had been communicated by the doctor, judged by appearances that it was prudent thus indirectly to lie, by concealing the truth both from Sir James and his wife: he supposed, indeed, that Sir James would immediately inquire after his wife at her father's, and learn that she did not stay there to breakfast; but as it would not follow that they had been together, he left her to account for her absence as she thought fit, taking for granted that what he had concealed she also would conceal for the same reasons; or, if she did not, as he had aftirmed nothing contrary to truth, he might pretend to have concealed it in jest, Sir James, as soon as he had received this intelligence, took his leave with some appearance of satisfaction, and was followed by the doctor.
As soon as Mrs. Freeman and the captain were alone, she questioned him with great earnestness about the lady whom he had been seen to put into a