Page images

I had, and have still a cousin, who was the idol of all our relations for economy, prudence, and correct management, not only of his own, but of the affairs of others, George Fennell-he wasmy father's agent, and, I believe, that of the heads of every family connected with us Though some years older than myself, I remember him, when quite a boy, visiting London, to take, under my father's patronage, the sitnation of a clerk in the navy pay-office, of which he is now accountant. He has from that time to this, ever been kind and affectionate to me, and I am proud of this opportunity of acknowledging it.

Having received the three hundred and fifty guineas, I was determined to save them, and hazard no more Therefore, and to “ make assurance doubly sure,” I resolved to proceed immediately to my cousin George, listen attentively to some sound advice, and deposit the money with him. I preferred my cousin to a banker, because I thought it would be better for me, when I wanted money, beyond my father's allowance, instead of giving a check for it, to receive one with it--a check to my extravagance.

Accordingly, I set off with the money that very evening to my cousin's chambers; but fate, as usual, seemed to oppose in me every effort of reformation my cousin was not at home. I was sorry, till fancy dazzled me with the brilliant idea that fortune had thus decided to give me another opportunity of courting her favours, that she might be to me still more munificent.

I returned home, deposited the greater part of the money in my chest, and with the rest went to the lotte. ry office, and insured as far as what I had with me would go, excepting two or three guineas; then went to


the coffee-house, where I met six of my acquaintances: we agreed to sup together, and after supper we proposed clubbing five guineas each, and sending one of the party to a neighbouring faro table, to make the five guineas ten: all consented, but we could not muster the money: I offered to go for it, as I was the nearest home; but one of the party drew a check, and our landlord gave us the money for it: we then cast lots to see who should go, and the lot fell to me; but I had never been at the house before, and I hesitated, till one of the com. pany offered to go with me: I took the money and we

set off.

I played with various success for some time, till at last I attained the point at which I had been ordered to stop. I did so, and informed my companion that I had effected what had been proposed; and, consequently, ceased playing for the party; but that I should withdraw my ten guineas and continue to play on my own account: he requested that I would give him his also, for the same purpose: I did so: what his success was, I know not; but I shortly won about thirty guineas more, and prudently withdrew.

On inquiry the next day, I found that all my insurance money was lost; I resolved to insure no more; and indeed a circumstance occurred in the evening, which, had I not so resolved, would have effectually deterred me from it; at least for a time.

I was in the green boxes at the theatre, Covent Garden, when a large star attracted my attention to the company in one of the lower boxes on the opposite side: I immediately recognised my revered friend lord Bective and his family, and in the adjoining one, their ami.

[ocr errors]

able associates. I paused to consider what I should do. I recollected their sudden: departure from Matlock, on our arrival there; the cause as yet not thoroughly understood, and was doubtful of my reception; however, I plucked up courage, and descended: I tapped at the door of the box; it was immediately opened, for they had perceived and watched ine. Lord Bective shook me cordially by the hand, enquired kindly of my health, my situation and engagements; said he was very happy to see me, and invited me to dine with him the next day; which invitation I most gratefully accepted.

I then entered into conversation with the ladies; one of whom, in the next box, requested I would call early and pass the morning at Mrs. M-'s house, opposite the earl's. I need not say I promised. I felt overjoyed to find I had not forfeited the friendship of this amiable family; and I this evening conducted the ladies to their carriages with sensations far different from those which I experienced on an occasion of a similar nature a few months before.

Joyful expectations have as much power in banishing repose, as have painful reflections. My mind was occupied all night in anticipating the pleasures of the following day, and disdained the dominion of sleep. I rose early, dressed myself, for the morning, with more than ordinary care, and proceeded to St. James's street. I had not been there long, before I found myself in company with the whole of our former party. Then were recapitulations pleasant, and all enjoyed them.

I staid till I had scarcely time to go home, dress myself, for the evening, and return to dinner. However, by the assistance of a shilling, in addition to the regular fare of a hackney coachman, I managed it. The earl had a large party; but I scarcely knew whom: for my feelings were so completely engrossed by his own family, that I confess I paid only a strained attention to his company. Soon after dinner, the earl asked me where my

fa. ther resided? I told him Rochester. “Then my infor mation is correct, he replied. “I am happy to hear it; for we shall pass through Rochester in a few days, and will give ourselves the pleasure of waiting on your fa : mily.” This was a most mortal stab; and I had scarcely power to articulate," your lordship will do our family much honour.” Looking at lady Harriet: what! thought I, are you then going so soon-a few days seen only yesterday! Recovering myself a little, I added, I had hopes, my lord, that you had intended passing the whole season in London. The earl replied, that he had business which called him out of London, and was sorry he had not had the pleasure of seeing me before. I told his lordship, that had I known of his being in London, I certainly should have done myself the honour of paying my respects to himself and family on the first information. And here the conversation ended; but not my sufferings. Finding my spirits become more and more depressed, I took my leave early. The earl and his family set off in a few days, and I never saw them more.

Estimable and dearly esteemed family! should this book ever meet your eyes, disdain not the grateful effusions of a heart, which you once taught to beat with the supremest happiness.

A period of insipidity, dullness, and anxiety ensued. My friends tried to rouse me from it; but I shunned them who could have given me the best remedy, and permitted myself to be guided by those who afforded

[ocr errors]

me momentary ease. One evening, I suffered one of the latter to introduce me to Burlton's for a little amusement at faro. I had taken but ten guineas with me, and I soon lost them; but the elegance of the rooms, the supper table, and the apparently genteel company, had something in them of an inviting and fascinating nature, and I determined to come again with more money.

I did not, however, push my resolve to execution immediately; but began to join freely in private parties, with my gayer friends of the inns of court. In the evening parties I seldom, very seldom, met my friend Carr. His economy, prudence, and attachment to his studies restrained him; and he had not put himself in the way of Fortune, to be allured by her gilded hook from the safe retreat that virtuous employments had secured for him.

Frequently, and almost incessantly, did I say to myself, I was doing wrong. As frequently as I erred I repented; and as frequently as I repented I erred; but my resolution was so weak, that I

Resolved, and re-resolved, and did the same." Attached as I was to foolish gayety and extravagancies, I was as much ashamed of them; and I therefore determined, that if I could not conquer, I would at least conceal them. I thought, too, that by absenting myself from the societies in which I was so deeply engaged, my attachment to perpetual parties might be gradually weakened, till at last my mind would be completely weaned from them. I wished also the society of fe. males, and particularly that of my own relations, of

« EelmineJätka »