BOOK XIV. CONTAINING TWO DAYS.
8. Chapter viii. What passed between Jones and old Mr Nightingale...
What passed between Jones and old Mr Nightingale; with the arrival of
a person not yet mentioned in this history.
Notwithstanding the sentiment of the Roman satirist, which denies the
divinity of fortune, and the opinion of Seneca to the same purpose;
Cicero, who was, I believe, a wiser man than either of them, expressly
holds the contrary; and certain it is, there are some incidents in
life so very strange and unaccountable, that it seems to require more
than human skill and foresight in producing them.
Of this kind was what now happened to Jones, who found Mr Nightingale
the elder in so critical a minute, that Fortune, if she was really
worthy all the worship she received at Rome, could not have contrived
such another. In short, the old gentleman, and the father of the young
lady whom he intended for his son, had been hard at it for many hours;
and the latter was just now gone, and had left the former delighted
with the thoughts that he had succeeded in a long contention, which
had been between the two fathers of the future bride and bridegroom;
in which both endeavoured to overreach the other, and, as it not
rarely happens in such cases, both had retreated fully satisfied of
having obtained the victory.
This gentleman, whom Mr Jones now visited, was what they call a man of
the world; that is to say, a man who directs his conduct in this world
as one who, being fully persuaded there is no other, is resolved to
make the most of this. In his early years he had been bred to trade;
but, having acquired a very good fortune, he had lately declined his
business; or, to speak more properly, had changed it from dealing in
goods, to dealing only in money, of which he had always a plentiful
fund at command, and of which he knew very well how to make a very
plentiful advantage, sometimes of the necessities of private men, and
sometimes of those of the public. He had indeed conversed so entirely
with money, that it may be almost doubted whether he imagined there
was any other thing really existing in the world; this at least may be
certainly averred, that he firmly believed nothing else to have any