« PreviousContinue »
pool with him. The reft of the party faw not this convention with fatisfaction. Charlotte faid that George had good reasons for his advice, and that thofe who went partners ought not to fit by each other. George coloured, but laughed at what he could nót answer. A few nights tired me of commerce, and I contented myself with being, in appearance, an unconcerned fpectator, quietly occupying one corner of the table.
Methinks I already fee the ingenuous blush, mantling, if I may use a poetical expreffion, on my Eliza's cheek, at the recollection of that which could not poffibly efcape my notice, or my difapprobation. You will with confufion retrace in your mind your thare of all the bungling tricks and awkward fineffe which fo difgraced the party... Playing for the advantage of those with whom you had fecretly fettled to share the gains.... Signs and winks, and concerted plans, to cheat poor Sophy and Charles of their money, and of all chance of fuccefs
fuccefs.... Combinations, in a word, which imposed upon them in all points but that of removing from them their fufpicions of unfair play. These were avowed with rudeness, nay, fometimes with violence and even tears. I interfered not, but paffively faw anger sparkle in every eye by turns; flushed faces, and fullen retorts; and every propofal for more cheerful and innocent. amusement rejected.
In this way has my Eliza paffed the greater part of the evenings during the last month. You are now an adept at feveral forts of games, and you have acquired talents of which you have no reason to be proud. Last week your cousins left Shall I be unjust if I fay that you have appeared to regret the abfence of the cardtable, more than the removal of your companions and friends? On the evening of their departure you appeared difinclined to every fort of occupation; the mufic-book which you wanted was miflaid; you had no lake for your rofes. I propofed reading.
You yawned, and pleaded your fears that you had caught cold; you approached the fopha, and careffed Fidèle for half an hour; then stretched yourself on the cushions: at length, half hesitating, you faid that you would show me fome tricks with the cards, that George Stanley had taught you. I fmiled, and with great alertnefs the cards were produced. You then asked me, whether I ever played at piquet. I answered in the negative, adding that I had entirely forgotten it.... Fidèle was again referred to.... The evening was long and dull; and you were not forry to retire to your room.
The following day was more propitious. Mrs. Beaumont, with a few of your grandfather's old friends, paffed it with us. After tea, Mrs. Beaumont propofed cards. "I near," faid fhe, "Eliza, that your wild Irish coufins have initiated you into all the fecrets of this fublime art." You blushed, Eliza, crimson deep. "But," added fhe, "good nature now will conduct us to the card-table; for poor doctor Craven is be
come fo deaf that he derives no amusement from converfation." The card-table was placed; your grandfather determined for a pool at commerce, the ftake to be halfguineas; and, fmiling on you, he added, "I will be my Eliza's banker to-night." "1 < will have no partnership," cried I gaily, " without conditions. I mean to win the money, and I now offer half of it, with half the honour annexed to gaining it." "Let us hear your conditions," cried every one.
Why," replied I, "I mean, with the money to clothe a poor half-naked girl who brings us water-creffes. I faw her this morning fhivering with cold and mifery; and I almost blushed at the furvey of the comforts with which I was furrounded."Every one eagerly declared that the pool was the property of Hannah, the watercrefs girl, and that the winner should have the pleasure of applying the money to the relief of her wants. I exerted all my skill; Mrs. Beaumont loft, in her attention to the game, the defire of chatting; your grand
father ftudied, with profound wisdom, every chance and card. But Eliza Palmerstone was liftlefs and unconcerned !-you rofe after. depofiting your laft ftake, retired to the corner of the fire, and took up a news-paper. I was the winner: and thus ended our cardparty.
This morning Hannah, with her mother, paid me a vifit of thanks; for I had loft no time in appropriating the money to its deftined purpose. I had now the fatisfaction of feeing that my child's mind had recovered its natural tone; your eyes beamed with pleasure, as you furveyed the comfortable appearance of these indigent people.
Why," cried you, tranfported, "they are both supplied with new clothes! How did you manage to buy fo many things with fo little money? I could never have fuppofed that four or five guineas could have made them fo clean and comfortable."-" The wants of the poor and needy," replied I," are not coftly; but Hannah's are not yet quite removed: I wifh fhe had a good warm cloak ;