BOOK XII. CONTAINING THE SAME INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH THE FORMER.
2. Chapter ii. In which, though the squire doth not find...
Whether Fortune, who now and then shows some compassion in her
wantonest tricks, might not take pity of the squire; and, as she had
determined not to let him overtake his daughter, might not resolve to
make him amends some other way, I will not assert; but he had hardly
uttered the words just before commemorated, and two or three oaths at
their heels, when a pack of hounds began to open their melodious
throats at a small distance from them, which the squire's horse and
his rider both perceiving, both immediately pricked up their ears, and
the squire, crying, "She's gone, she's gone! Damn me if she is not
gone!" instantly clapped spurs to the beast, who little needed it,
having indeed the same inclination with his master; and now the whole
company, crossing into a corn-field, rode directly towards the hounds,
with much hallowing and whooping, while the poor parson, blessing
himself, brought up the rear.
Thus fable reports that the fair Grimalkin, whom Venus, at the desire
of a passionate lover, converted from a cat into a fine woman, no
sooner perceived a mouse than, mindful of her former sport, and still
retaining her pristine nature, she leaped from the bed of her husband
to pursue the little animal.
What are we to understand by this? Not that the bride was displeased
with the embraces of her amorous bridegroom; for, though some have
remarked that cats are subject to ingratitude, yet women and cats too
will be pleased and purr on certain occasions. The truth is, as the
sagacious Sir Roger L'Estrange observes, in his deep reflections,
that, "if we shut Nature out at the door, she will come in at the
window; and that puss, though a madam, will be a mouser still." In the
same manner we are not to arraign the squire of any want of love for
his daughter; for in reality he had a great deal; we are only to
consider that he was a squire and a sportsman, and then we may apply
the fable to him, and the judicious reflections likewise.