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and though of these interviews they were themselves witneffes, yet Sir James infenfibly became jealous of his lady, and Mrs. Freeman of her husband.
It happened in the May following, that Sir James went about ten miles out of town to be present at the election of a member of parliament for the county, and was not expected to return till the next day. In the evening his lady took a chair and vifited Mrs. Freeman: the rest of the company went away early, the Captain was upon guard, Sir James was out of town, and the two ladies after fupper fate down to piquet, and continued the game without once reflecting upon the hour, till three in the morning. Lady Forreft would then have gone home; but Mrs. Freeman, perhaps chiefly to conceal a contrary defire, importuned her to ftay till the Captain came in, and at length with fome reluctance fhe confented.
About five the Captain came home, and Lady Forreft immediately sent out for a chair: a chair, as it happened, could not be procured: but a hackney-coach being brought in its ftead, the Captain infifted upon waiting on her ladyfhip home. This she refused with some emotion; it is probable that she still regarded the Captain with lefs indifference than the withed, and was. therefore more fenfible of the impropriety of his offer: but her reafons for rejecting it, however forcible, being fuch as fhe could not allege, he perfifted, and her refolution was overborne. By this importunate complaifance, the Captain had not only thrown Lady Forreft into confufion, but displeased his wife : fhe could not, however, without unpolitenefs, oppofe it; and left her uneafinefs fhould be difcovered, fhe affected a negligence which in fome degree revenged it: fhe defired
No. LIV. that when he came back he would not disturb her, for that she should go directly to bed; and added, with a kind of drousy insenfibility, “ I am more than half afleep "already."
Lady Forrest and the Captain were to go from the Haymarket to Grofvenor Square. It was about half an hour after five when they got into the coach : the morning was remarkably fine, the late conteft had fhaken off all difpofition to fleep, and Lady Forrest could not help faying, that she had much rather take a walk in the Park than go home to bed. The Captain zealously expreffed the fame fentiment, and propofed that the coach fhould fet them down at St. James's Gate.. The lady, however, had nearly the fame 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 hackneycoach fhe, therefore, to extricate herfelf from this fecond difficulty, propofed that they fhould call at her father's in Bond-street, and take her coufin Meadows, whom she knew to be an early rifer with them. This project was immediately put in execution; but Lady Forrest found her coufin indifpofed with a cold. When he had communicated the defign of this early vifit, Mifs Meadows intreated her to give up her walk in the Park, to stay till the family rofe, and go home after breakfast; "No," replied Lady Forreft, "I am "determined up on a walk ;but as I must first get rid of
Captain Freeman, I will fend down word that I will "take your advice." A fervant was accordingly dif patched to acquaint the Captain, who was waiting below, that Mifs Meadows was indisposed and had engaged Lady Forrest to breakfast.
No. LV. Tuesday, May 15, 1753.
Quid quifque vitet, nunquam homini fatis.
While danger hourly round us rife,
THE Captain discharged the coach; but being piqued at the behaviour of his wife, and feeling that flow of fpirits which usually returns with the morning, even to those who have not flept in the night, he had no defire to go home, and therefore refolved 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 fame time to indulge her defire 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 meffage, the motives that produced it, the detection of its falfehood, and difcovery of its defign, her disappointment and consciousness of that very fituation which she had fo much
No. LV. reafon to avoid, all concurred to cover her with confufion which it was impoffible to hide : pride and good breeding were, however, ftill predominant over truth and prudence; she was still zealous to remove from the Captain's mind any suspicion of a design to shun him, and therefore, with an effort perhaps equal to that of a hero who fmiles upon the rack, the affected an air of gaiety, said she was glad to fee him, and as an excufe for her meffage and her conduct, prattled fomething about the ficklenefs of woman's mind, and concluded with obferving, that the changed her's too often ever to be mad. By this conduct a retreat was rendered impoffible, and they walked together till between eight and nine; but the clouds having infenfibly gathered, and a fudden shower falling juft as they reached SpringGardens, 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 his firft purpofe, had returned from his journey, at night. He learnt from the fervants, that his lady was gone to Captain Freeman's, and was fecretly difpleafed that he had made this vifit when he was abfent; an incident, which, however trifling in itself, was by the magic of jealoufy fwelled into importance: yet upon recollection he reproved himself for this displeasure, fince the presence of the Captain's lady would fufficiently secure the honour of his own. While he was struggling with these fufpicions, they increased both in number and ftrength in proportion as the night wore away. At one he went to bed; but he paffed the night in agonies of terror and refentment, doubting whether the abfence of his lady was the effect of accident. or defign, liftening to every
noise and bewildering himself in a multitude of extravagant fuppofitions, he rofe again at at break of day; and after feveral hours of fufpence and irrefolution, whether to wait the iffue, or go out for intelligence, the restleffness of curiofity prevailed, and about eight he fet out for Captain Freeman's; but left word with his fervants, that he was gone to a neighbouring coffeehouse.
Mrs. Freeman, whofe affected indifference and diffimulation of a defign to go immediately to bed, contributed to prevent the Captain's return, had during his abfence fuffered inexpreffible difquiet; fhe, had indeed, neither intention to go to bed, nor inclination to sleep; fhe walked backward and forward in her chamber, distracted with jealoufy and fufpenfe, till fhe was informed that Sir James was below, and defired to fee her. When he came down, he discovered that the had been in tears; his fear was now more alarmed than his jealousy, and he concluded that fome fatal açcident had befallen his wife; but he foon learnt 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 fufpicions, therefore, were confirmed; and in her jealoufy, which to prevent a duel the laboured to conceal, Sir James found new caufe for his own. He determined, however, to wait with as much decency as poffible, till the Captain came in; and perhaps two perfons were never more embarraffed by the prefence of each other, While breakfast was getting ready, Dr. Tattle came to pay Mrs. Freeman a morning vifit; and to the unfpeakable grief both of the lady and her guest was im