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Chapter 41

Mr. Jolter threatens to leave him on account of his Misconduct, which he promises to rectify; but his Resolution is defeated by the Impetuosity of his Passions — He meets accidentally with Mrs. Hornbeck, who elopes with him from her Husband, but is restored by the Interposition of the British Ambassador.

Though Mr. Jolter was extremely well pleased at the safety of his pupil, he could not forgive him for the terror and anxiety he had undergone on his account; and roundly told him, that notwithstanding the inclination and attachment he had to his person, he would immediately depart for England, if ever he should hear of his being involved in such another adventure; for it could not be expected that he would sacrifice his own quiet, to an unrequited regard for one who seemed determined to keep him in continual uneasiness and apprehension.

To this declaration Pickle made answer, that Mr. Jolter, by this time, ought to be convinced of the attention he had always paid to his ease and satisfaction; since he well knew that he had ever looked upon him in the light of a friend rather than as a counsellor or tutor; and desired his company in France with a view of promoting his interest, not for any emolument he could expect from his instruction. This being the case, he was at liberty to consult his own inclinations, with regard to going or staying; though he could not help owning himself obliged by the concern he expressed for his safety, and would endeavour, for his own sake, to avoid giving him any cause of disturbance in time to come.

No man was more capable of moralizing upon Peregrine’s misconduct than himself: his reflections were extremely just and sagacious, and attended with no other disadvantage but that of occurring too late. He projected a thousand salutary schemes of deportment, but, like other projectors, he never had interest enough with the ministry of his passions to bring any of them to bear. He had, in the heyday of his gallantry received a letter from his friend Gauntlet with a kind postscript from his charming Emilia; but it arrived at a very unseasonable juncture, when his imagination was engrossed by conquests that more agreeably flattered his ambition; so that he could not find leisure and inclination, from that day, to honour the correspondence which he himself had solicited. His vanity had, by the time, disapproved of the engagement he had contracted in the rawness and inexperience of youth; suggesting, that he was born to such an important figure in life, as ought to raise his ideas above the consideration of any such middling connections, and fix his attention upon objects of the most sublime attraction. These dictates of ridiculous pride had almost effaced the remembrance of his amiable mistress, or at least so far warped his morals and integrity, that he actually began to conceive hopes of her altogether unworthy of his own character and her deserts.

Meanwhile, being destitute of a toy for the dalliance of his idle hours, he employed several spies, and almost every day made a tour of the public places in person, with a view of procuring intelligence of Mr. Hornbeck, with whose wife he longed to have another interview. In this course of expectation had he exercised himself a whole fortnight, when, chancing to be at the Hospital of the Invalids with a gentleman lately arrived from England, he no sooner entered the church than he perceived his lady, attended by her spouse, who at sight of our hero changed colour and looked another way, in order to discourage any communication between them. But the young man, who was not so easily repulsed, advanced with great assurance to his fellow-traveller, and taking him by the hand, expressed his satisfaction at this unexpected meeting; kindly upbraiding him for his precipitate retreat from Chantilly. Before Hornbeck could make any reply he went up to his wife, whom he complimented in the same manner; assuring her, with some significant glances, he ass extremely mortified that she had put it out of his power to pay his respects to her on his first arrival at Paris; and then, turning to her husband, who thought proper to keep close to him in this conference, begged to know where he could have the honour of waiting upon him; observing at the same time, that he himself lived a l’Academie de Palfrenier.

Mr. Hornbeck, without making any apology for his elopement on the road, thanked Mr. Pickle for his complaisance in a very cool and disobliging manner; saying that as he intended to shift his lodgings in a day or two, he could not expect the pleasure of seeing him, until he should he settled, when he would call at the academy, and conduct him to his new habitation.

Pickle, who was not unacquainted with the sentiments of this jealous gentleman, did not put much confidence in his promise, and therefore made divers efforts to enjoy a little private conversation with his wife; but he was baffled in all his attempts by the indefatigable vigilance of her keeper, and reaped no other immediate pleasure from this accidental meeting, than that of a kind squeeze while he handed her into the coach. However, as he had been witness to some instances of her invention, and was no stranger to the favourable disposition of her heart, he entertained some faint hopes of profiting by her understanding, and was not deceived in his expectation; for the very next forenoon, a Savoyard called at the academy, and put the following billet in his hand:—

“Coind Sur,— Heaving the playsure of meating with you at the osspital of awilheads, I take this lubbertea of latin you know, that I lotch at the hottail de May cong dangle rouy Doghouseten, with two postis at the gait, naytheir of um very hole, ware I shall be at the windore, if in kais you will be so good as to pass that way at sicks a cloak in the heavening when Mr. Hornbeck goes to the Calf hay de Contea. Prey for the loaf of Geesus keep this from the nolegs of my hussban, ells he will make me leed a hell upon urth.— Being all from, deer Sur,
your most umbell servan wile “Deborah Hornbeck.”

Our young gentleman was ravished at the receipt of this elegant epistle, which was directed, A Monsr. Monsr. Pickhell, a la Gaddamme de Paul Freny, and did not fail to obey the summons at the hour of assignation; when the lady, true to her appointment, beckoned him up-stairs, and he had the good fortune to be admitted unseen.

After the first transports of their mutual joy at meeting, she told him, that her husband had been very surly and cross ever since the adventure at Chantilly, which he had not yet digested; that he had laid severe injunctions upon her to avoid all commerce with Pickle, and even threatened to shut her up in a convent for life, if ever she should discover the least inclination to renew that acquaintance; that she had been cooped up in her chamber since her arrival at Paris, without being permitted to see the place, or indeed any company, except that of her landlady, whose language she did not understand; so that her spirit being broken, and her health impaired, he was prevailed upon some days ago to indulge her in a few airings, during which she had seen the gardens of the Luxembourg, the Tuileries, and Palais Royal, though at those times when there was no company in the walks; and that it was in one of those excursions she had the happiness of meeting with him. Finally, she gave him to understand, that rather than continue longer in such confinement with the man whom she could not love, she would instantly give him the slip, and put herself under the protection of her lover.

Rash and unthinking as this declaration might be, the young gentleman was so much of a gallant, that he would not balk the lady’s inclinations; and too infatuated by his passion to foresee the consequences of such a dangerous step: he therefore, without he............

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