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any one disagree with her. Janet had, moreover, large eyes, pencilled eye-brows, and a dimpled chin. Now, as Bessy was away at the time when I first made her acquaintance, if all these perfections were not enough for me to fall in love with, I must have been difficult to please at the age of eighteen, when one is not so very difficult; and the consequence was, I was her most devoted slave.
Mr. Wilson laughed at us, and seemed either to think that it would end in nothing, or that, if it did end in something, he had no objection. Thus was I fixed ; and with Virginia for a confidant, what was to prevent the course of true love running smooth? Janet received all my sighs all my protestations, all my oaths, and all my presents — and many were the latter, although perhaps not equal to the former three. It was, therefore, not surprising that Bessy, who had been out of the way, had been forestalled by this diamond edition of . Nature's handy-work. Such was the state of my heart at the commencement of the year 1805.
I have mentioned, that my mother had taken a house in the principal street; but I must now add, that in the year 1804 she found it necessary to remove into one much larger, and had therefore shifted more to the upper part of the town. Instead of being in a row, this house was detached, with a small garden in front, and a good piece of ground at the back, which looked down towards the river. The situation not being so central, did no harm to my mother, as she was so well known; on the contrary, it made her even more fashionable. She now kept no shop, but a show room; and had not only accommodation for more work-people, but very handsome apartments to let. In another point it was advantageous, which was on account of my father. At the end of the garden there was an octangular summer-house, looking upon the river: it was a good-sized room, boarded floor, and moreover it had a fire-place in it, and, when shut up, was very warm and comfortable. My mother made this house over to my father as his own, to smoke and drink beer in; and my father preferred a place, in which he could sit alone with his friends, to a public-house, especially as the garden had a gate at the end of it, by which he
could admit himself whenever he pleased. Here my father, Ben the Whaler, Anderson, and others, would sit, having a commanding view of the Thames and the vessels passing and repassing ;-in the summer time, with all the windows open, and enjoying the fresh air and the fresh smoke from their pipes — in winter time surrounding the fire and telling their yarns. It was an admirable arrangement, and Virginia and I always knew where to find him.
I have said but little of my sister Virginia. I may be considered partial to her - perhaps I was; but to me she was, if not the handsomest, certainly one of the most captivating persons I ever saw: to prove that I thought so, I can only say, that, deeply as I was smitten with Miss Janet Wilson, I often thought that I wished she was a facsimile of my sister. Virginia was now seventeen years old, slender and very graceful: she reminded me more of an antelope in her figure than any thing I can compare her to; her head was so beautifully placed on her shoulders, that it was the first thing which attracted your notice when you saw her. Her eyes were of a deep hazel, fringed by long black eye-lashes, and her arching and delicate eye-brows nearly met; her nose was perfectly straight, but rather small; and her face ended in a sharp oval, which added to the brilliancy and animation of her countenance : her mouth was small and beautifully formed, and her little teeth like seed pearl. Every one declared that she was the handsomest creature that ever they had seen; and what every one says must be true. She was so; but she was not always lively
she was only so at times: she appeared to be of a serious, refective turn of mind, and she read a great deal; but at times she was mirth personified. To my
mother she was always dutiful and attentive, and was very useful to her.
I could not at first imagine what made my mother so anxious to have lodgers in the house, as they must have proved a great nuisance to her, and her circumstances were above such an infliction. I was not long before I discovered the cause of this; it was no other but to make up some good match for my sister, whose beauty she considered would effect her purpose. Many were the applications for her lodgings, made by highly respectable gentlemen; but when she discovered, either that they were married, or that in other points they did not suit, she invariably refused, and for months her apartments continued vacant; but if any body at all aristocratical, who was single, wished to inspect them, my mother was all smiles and eagerness. It may be supposed that she was not likely to meet with such people as she solicited, at such a town as Greenwich, but such was not the case: before steam-boats made Greenwich so come-at-able, there were many families of distinction who resided there and in its environs especially in the autumn of the year, when the river offered such amusement. It was just at that period that the white-bait parties became so much in vogue, and Greenwich was considered a pleasant retreat for a few months by many of the fashionable world.
Although Virginia never mentioned her surmises directly, I perceived, by her occasional remarks, that she had latterly become aware of what were my mother's views; indeed, how could she do otherwise, when my mother would refuse her lodgings one day to a gentleman because he was married, and let them the next time merely because he was a single man? and that she was disgusted with my mother's conduct, I was convinced; at the same time, she certainly kept her thoughts to herself, merely telling me how very uncomfortable it was to have lodgers, and to be obliged to go into their rooms with messages from my mother. There was an Honourable Mr. I really forget his name indeed I should not have mentioned him, except that he was the introduction of another personage -- who was several months in my mother's house, a harmless old bachelor. How old he was I cannot say, as he wore a very youthful wig and also false whiskers, but I should think about sixty. He was a great admirer of the fine arts, and a still greater admirer of his own performances in painting. He took lessons twice a day from two different masters, who came from London; and he was at it from morning to night. He came down to Greenwich, as he said, to study tints, and get up his colouring. I cannot say I thought his performances very good, but perhaps I was not a judge. My mother, who would, I believe, have sacrificed my sister to an ourang-outang, provided he was an
Honourable, took every opportunity of sending Virginia in to him, that he might study the delicate tints on her cheeks; but it would not do, even if Virginia had been a party to it. He looked at his palette instead of her pretty mouth ; and his camel- hair pencils attracted his attention more than her pencilled eye-brows: he was wrapt up in his art, and overlooked the prettiest piece of nature in the world; and Virginia, seeing this to be the case, had no longer any objection to go into his room. But this gentleman had a nephew, a very different sort of a personage, a young heir to a marquisate, who used to pay attention to his bachelor uncle, by paying him visits, at first because he was ordered so to do, and after once or twice because he had seen Virginia, and was struck with her appearance. He was a good-looking young man, about nineteen, but not very bright-indeed I ought to say very silly, although at the same time not at all bashful. He made an acquaintance with my mother, who was delighted with his condescension, and declared that he was one of the most pleasant young men she had ever met with ; and he would have been very intimate with Virginia, had she not repulsed him. As soon as the leaves dropped off the trees, the old bachelor declared that there were no more tints worth remaining for, and he took his departure. About a month afterwards, his nephew came down, accompanied by a young man who was his tutor, and hired the apartments, much to the joy of my mother, who now had hopes ; and much to the annoyance of my sister, who had fears of being persecuted.
And now having, in this chapter, brought up my history to the commencement of the year 1805, I shall again enter into a more detailed narrative.
MORE CRY THAN WOOL.- BRAMBLE WOULD DIG A PIT FOR ANOTHER
AND TUMBLES IN ALONG WITH HIM.
It was in the month of March, 1805, when the easterly winds prevailed, and vessels were detained in the chops of the Channel, that I agreed with Bramble that we would return together and halve the pilotage. About eight leagues from the Lizard Point, we boarded a small ship which had hoisted the signal ; the weather at that time being fine, and the wind variable. When we went on board, it was but just daylight, and the captain was not yet on deck ; but the mate received us : we were surprised to find that she mounted twelve brass guns remarkably well fitted, and that every thing was apparently ready for action ; rammers and sponges, shot and wadding, being all up and at hand.
“A prime morning, shipmate,” said Bramble ;— then casting his eye over the deck, “ A letter of marque, I presume."
“ Yes,” replied the mate, “ we have the papers, but still she has never run without convoy since I have been in her; we lost our convoy three days back, and the captain has been rather uneasy ever since."
“ Uneasy! why, I should think that you could beat off a good stout privateer with these guns of yours.”
Well, I don't know but what we might; but our cargo is valuable, and we might be overpowered."
“ Very true; and the captain must be anxious. Where are you from?"
“Why, we have raw silk and dry-salter's goods chiefly. D'ye think we shall have a fair wind ? I don't care how soon, for we've