BOOK XV. IN WHICH THE HISTORY ADVANCES ABOUT TWO DAYS.
3. Chapter iii. A further explanation...
A further explanation of the foregoing design.
Though the reader may have long since concluded Lady Bellaston to be a
member (and no inconsiderable one) of the great world; she was in
reality a very considerable member of the little world; by which
appellation was distinguished a very worthy and honourable society
which not long since flourished in this kingdom.
Among other good principles upon which this society was founded, there
was one very remarkable; for, as it was a rule of an honourable club
of heroes, who assembled at the close of the late war, that all the
members should every day fight once at least; so 'twas in this, that
every member should, within the twenty-four hours, tell at least one
merry fib, which was to be propagated by all the brethren and
Many idle stories were told about this society, which from a certain
quality may be, perhaps not unjustly, supposed to have come from the
society themselves. As, that the devil was the president; and that he
sat in person in an elbow-chair at the upper end of the table; but,
upon very strict enquiry, I find there is not the least truth in any
of those tales, and that the assembly consisted in reality of a set of
very good sort of people, and the fibs which they propagated were of a
harmless kind, and tended only to produce mirth and good humour.
Edwards was likewise a member of this comical society. To him
therefore Lady Bellaston applied as a proper instrument for her
purpose, and furnished him with a fib, which he was to vent whenever
the lady gave him her cue; and this was not to be till the evening,
when all the company but Lord Fellamar and himself were gone, and
while they were engaged in a rubber at whist.
To this time then, which was between seven and eight in the evening,
we will convey our reader; when Lady Bellaston, Lord Fellamar, Miss
Western, and Tom, being engaged at whist, and in the last game of
their rubbers, Tom received his cue from Lady Bellaston, which was, "I
protest, Tom, you are grown intolerable lately; you used to tell us
all the news of the town, and now you know no more of the world than
if you lived out of it."