BOOK X. IN WHICH THE HISTORY GOES FORWARD ABOUT TWELVE HOURS.
3. Chapter iii. A dialogue between the landlady and Susan...
And now arrived another post-boy at the gate; upon which Susan, being
ordered out, returned, introducing two young women in riding habits,
one of which was so very richly laced, that Partridge and the post-boy
instantly started from their chairs, and my landlady fell to her
courtsies, and her ladyships, with great eagerness.
The lady in the rich habit said, with a smile of great condescension,
"If you will give me leave, madam, I will warm myself a few minutes at
your kitchen fire, for it is really very cold; but I must insist on
disturbing no one from his seat." This was spoken on account of
Partridge, who had retreated to the other end of the room, struck with
the utmost awe and astonishment at the splendor of the lady's dress.
Indeed, she had a much better title to respect than this; for she was
one of the most beautiful creatures in the world.
The lady earnestly desired Partridge to return to his seat; but could
not prevail. She then pulled off her gloves, and displayed to the fire
two hands, which had every property of snow in them, except that of
melting. Her companion, who was indeed her maid, likewise pulled off
her gloves, and discovered what bore an exact resemblance, in cold and
colour, to a piece of frozen beef.
"I wish, madam," quoth the latter, "your ladyship would not think of
going any farther to-night. I am terribly afraid your ladyship will
not be able to bear the fatigue."
"Why sure," cries the landlady, "her ladyship's honour can never
intend it. O, bless me! farther to-night, indeed! let me beseech your
ladyship not to think on't----But, to be sure, your ladyship can't.
What will your honour be pleased to have for supper? I have mutton of
all kinds, and some nice chicken."
"I think, madam," said the lady, "it would be rather breakfast than
supper; but I can't eat anything; and, if I stay, shall only lie down
for an hour or two. However, if you please, madam, you may get me a
little sack whey, made very small and thin."