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time they conversed with her, admired her the more, the change of scene, so different from that she had been accustomed to, almost turned her little head, and she became giddy, thoughtless, and perhaps in some degree imprudent, but nothing more. She loved her husband with the warmest and most sincere affection, but yet she loved to see scarlet beaux fluttering about her.
Pleased with the admiration she excited, and which was generally more directed to her talents than her person, her husband often encouraged those men, who however they may appear charmed with the hospitality of the husband, and the wit and vivacity of the wife, have yet no other views, than to drink the good man's wine, meet parties, play cards, pass jovial evenings, and cry quit in the hour of distress.
The Honourable Major Brereton, the Creates envy, and causes eclat.
husband of Mrs. Egerton, was a fashionable man in his customs and manners, but possessed of all the warm and ardent affections of the heart: while another gentleman was at hand, he never could bear the idea of being his wife's escort; and, though in private they were like the most fond and constant lovers, yet they took no more notice of each other in public, than if they were absolute stranr gers: thus Mrs. Brereton had always a train of danglers to attend her in her walks, either in the morning or the eventing: and at balls, had been engaged to partners twelve deep, had disappointed half of them, caused discontent among the rest, and some eclattby such thoughtless conduct; and thus set the tongues of the malevolent, (particularly of the old and ugly) at work, on her unguarded and apparent partiality.
By degrees, she observed a visible change in the manners of her female She quizzes and writes Epigrams.
acquaintance towards her; at length they almost entirely fell off; and her husband, by the few prudent men who are sometimes found in the army, was treated with distance and coldness.
Mrs. Brereton was possessed of brilliant talents; she quizzed, with mortifying severity, some eccentric characters of high military rank, in little pasquinades and witty epigrams: they were handed round amongst her friends; her enemies, it should rather have been said: for they exposed them, and exposed them to those very persons, for whom they were so palpably intended: this, therefore, was imagined by the Major and his wife to be the cause of the present coolness: she desisted from her quizzings; thought the breeze would soon blow over, and laughed, walked and danced, as usual, with the gay, mala throng who now, alone, frequented the Major's quarters.
Acquires new Acquaintances.
At length the curtain was undrawn. A lady of high rank came from a distant quarter: she was the female friend and patroness of a learned physician, who truly admired Mrs. Brereton's unaffected, intellectual merit; was amused and delighted by the happy flow of spirits she united to a depth of erudition, and was her sincere friend and adviser: He was determined to raise the consequence of Mrs. Brereton by introducing his noble friend to her; for when she should be seen in her elegant and correct society, he knew how much it would raise her to dignity and respect; and how sure it Would establish it; that her female acquaintance would then return to, and seek her company with eagerness.
His true knowledge of the world, made him well know, that, though the society of such women as compose the greatest part of the fashionable world, is often such as it would be much more agreeThe Army a dangerous place for a young Female.
able to dispense with, yet, that, a young female, possessed of that liveliness for which Mrs. Brereton was remarkable, is in a dangerous situation, in the army,, in point of character, if divested of companions of- her own sex, especially if her acquaintance with the opposite sex isnumerous*
The wish of his heart was about to herealised. The lady arrived in the garrison; they all met at a ball: she entreated the Doctor with an energy which rather surprised him, not then to introduce her to Mrs. Brereton; carefully shunned her, and sat as far from her as possible at supper.
The Marchioness of Adingbroke, though arrived at a certain age, was yet a fine woman, and her rank, more than that, made her the object of general attention: the gentlemen all crowded round the il* lustrious guest, and though they did not