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mediately admitted. Doctor Tattle is one of those male gossips who, in the common opinion, are the most diverting company in the world. The Doctor faw 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; “ The Captain," says he,“ has just 4 huddled a lady into a chair, at the door of a bagnio " near Spring Gardens." He foon perceived, that this fpeech was received with emotions very different from those he intended to produce; and, therefore, added.
that she need not, however, be jealous; for notwith“ standing the manner in which he had related the in“cident, the lady was certainly a woman of character,
as he instantly discovered by her mein and appear
ance :” This particular confirmed the fufpicion it was intended to remove ; and the Doctor finding that he was not fo good company as usual, took his leave, but was met at the door by the Captain, who brought him back. His presence, however infignificant, imposed some restraint upon the rest of the company; and Sir James, with as good an appearance of jocularity as be could assume, asked the Captain, “ What he had * done with his wife.” The Captain, with some irrefolution, 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, the fet down word 4 that her coufin 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 lię, by concealing the truth
both from Sir James and his wife: he fupposed, indeed, that Sir James would immediately inquire after his wife at her father's, and learn that she did not fray there to breakfast; but as it would not follow that they had been together, he left her to account for her abfence 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 affirmed 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 fome appearance of fatisfaction, and was followed by the Doctor.
As soon as Mrs. Freeman and the Captain were alone, the questioned him with great earnestness about the lady whom he had been seen to put into a chair. When he had heard that this incident had been related: in the presence of Sir James, he was greatly alarmed, least lady Forrest Mould increase his fufpicions, by attempting to conceal that which, by a series of inquiry to which he was now. stimulated, he would probably discover : he condemned his conduct in himself, and, as, the most effectual means at once to quiet the mind of his wife and obtain her assistance, he told her all: that had happened, and his apprehension of the consequences : he also urged her to go directly to Miss Meadows, by, whom his account would be confirmed, and of whom she might learn farther intelligence of Sir James ; and'to find some way to acquaint lady Forrest with ker danger, and admonish her to conceal nothing.
Mrs. Freeman was convinced of the Captain's fincerity, not only by the advice which he urged her to give to lady Forrest, but by the consistency of the story, and
the manner in which he was affected. Her jealousy was changed into pity for her friend, and apprehenfion for her husband. She hastened to Miss Meadows, and learnt that Sir James had inquired of the servant for his lady, and was told that she had been there early with Captain Freeman, but went away soon after him : the related to Miss Meadows all that had happened, and thinking it at least pofiible that Sir James might not go directly home, she wrote the following letter to his lady:
« MY DEAR LADY FORREST, I in the utmost distress for you. Sir James has fufpicions which truth only can remove, and of which
my indiscretion is the cause. If I had not conceali ed my desire of the Captain's return, your design to
disengage yourself from him, which I learn from “ Miss Meadows, would have been effected. Sir “ James breakfafted with me in the Haymarket; and
; “ has since called at your father's, from whence I “ write: he knows that your stay here was short, and " has reason to believe the Captain put you into a “ chair fome hours afterwards at Spring-Gardens. I
hope, therefore, my dear lady, that this will reach “ your hands tíme enough to prevent your concealing “ any thing. It would have been better if Sir James “ had known nothing, for then you would not have " been suspecied; but now he must know all, or you
cannot be justified. Forgive the freedom with which " I write, and believe me most affectionately
16 MARIA FREEMAN. 66 P. S. I have ordered the bearer to say he came From Mrs Fashion the milliner."
This letter was given to a chairman, and he was ordered to say he brought it from the milliner's; because if it should be known to come from Mrs. Freeman, and should fall by accident into Sir James's hands, his curiosity might prompt him to read it, and his jealousy' to question the lady, without communicating the contents.
No. LVI. Saturday May 19. 1753.
-Multos in fumma pericula misit Venturi timor ipfe mali.
How oft the fear of ill to ill betrays !
Sir James being convinced, that his lady and the Captain had passed the morning at a bagnio, by the anfwer which he received at her father's, went directly home. His lady was just arrived before him, and had not recovered from the confusion and dread which feized her when she heard that Sir James came to town the night before, and at the same instant anticipated the consequences of her own indiscretion. She was told he was then at the coffee-house, and in a few minutes was thrown into an universal tremor upon hearing him knock at the door. He perceived her distress, not with compassion but rage, because he believed it to proceed from the conscioufness of guilt : he turned