BOOK XV. IN WHICH THE HISTORY ADVANCES ABOUT TWO DAYS.
4. Chapter iv. By which it will appear...
By which it will appear how dangerous an advocate a lady is when she
applies her eloquence to an ill purpose.
When Lady Bellaston heard the young lord's scruples, she treated them
with the same disdain with which one of those sages of the law, called
Newgate solicitors, treats the qualms of conscience in a young
witness. "My dear lord," said she, "you certainly want a cordial. I
must send to Lady Edgely for one of her best drams. Fie upon it! have
more resolution. Are you frightened by the word rape? Or are you
apprehensive----? Well! if the story of Helen was modern, I should
think it unnatural. I mean the behaviour of Paris, not the fondness of
the lady; for all women love a man of spirit. There is another story
of the Sabine ladies--and that too, I thank heaven, is very antient.
Your lordship, perhaps, will admire my reading; but I think Mr Hook
tells us, they made tolerable good wives afterwards. I fancy few of my
married acquaintance were ravished by their husbands." "Nay, dear Lady
Bellaston," cried he, "don't ridicule me in this manner." "Why, my
good lord," answered she, "do you think any woman in England would not
laugh at you in her heart, whatever prudery she might wear in her
countenance?----You force me to use a strange kind of language, and to
betray my sex most abominably; but I am contented with knowing my
intentions are good, and that I am endeavouring to serve my cousin;
for I think you will make her a husband notwithstanding this; or, upon
my soul, I would not even persuade her to fling herself away upon an
empty title. She should not upbraid me hereafter with having lost a
man of spirit; for that his enemies allow this poor young fellow to
Let those who have had the satisfaction of hearing reflections of this
kind from a wife or a mistress, declare whether they are at all
sweetened by coming from a female tongue. Certain it is, they sunk
deeper into his lordship than anything which Demosthenes or Cicero
could have said on the occasion.