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No. 25. TUESDAY, April 20, 1779.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
Some time ago I troubled you with a letter, giving an account of a particular sort of grievance felt by the families of men of small fortunes, from their acquaintance with those of great ones. I am emboldened by the favourable reception of my first letter, to write you a second upon the same subject.
You will remember, Sir, my account of a visit which my daughters paid to a great lady in our neighbourhood, and of the effects which that visit had upon them. I was beginning to hope that time, and the sobriety of manners which home exhibited, would restore them to their for
mer situation, when, unfortunately, a circumstance happened, still more fatal to me than their expedition to
This, Sir, was the honour of a visit from the great lady in return.
I was just returning from the superintendance of my ploughs in a field I have lately inclosed, when I was met, on the
my door, by a gentleman (for such I took him to be) mounted upon a very handsome gelding, who asked me, by the appellation of honest friend, if this was not Mr Homespun's; and, in the same breath, whether the ladies were: at home? I told him, my name was Homespun, the house was mine, and my wife and daughters were, I believed, within. Upon this, the young man, pulling off his hat, and begging my pardon for calling me honest, said, he was dispatched by Lady
with her compliments to Mrs and Misses Homespun, and that, if convenient, she intended her,
self the honour of dining with them, on her return from B- Park (the seat of another great and rich lady in our neighbourhood.)
I confess, Mr Mirror, I was struck somewhat of an heap with the message; and it would not, in all probability, have received an immediate answer, had it not been overheard by my eldest daughter, who had come to the window on the appearance of a stranger.
“ Mr Papillot,” said she immediately, “ I rejoice to see you; I hope your lady and all the family are well.”
Very much at your service, Ma'am,” he replied, with a low
my lady sent me before, with the offer of her best compliments, and that, if convenient,” and so forth, repeating his words to me.
" She does us infinite honour,” said my young madam; “ let her ladyship know how happy her visit will make us; but, in the mean time, Mr Papillot, give your horse to one of
the servants, and come in and have a glass of something after your ride.” am afraid," answered he (pulling out his right-hand watch, for, would
believe it, Sir! the fellow had one in each fob,) “ I shall hardly have time to meet my lady at the place she appointed me." On a second invitation, however, he dismounted, and went into the house, leaving his horse to the care of the servants; but the servants, as my daughter very well knew, were all in the fields at work; so I, who have a liking for a good horse, and cannot bear to see him neglected, had the honour of putting Mr Papillot's in the stable myself.
After about an hour's stay, for the gentleman seemed to forget his hurry within doors, Mr Papillot departed. My daughters, I mean the two polite ones, observed how handsome he was; and added another observation, that it was only to particular friends my lady sent messages by
him, who was her own body servant, and not accustomed to such offices. My wife seemed highly pleased with this last remark: I was about to be angry; but on such occasions it is not my way to say much; I generally shrug up my shoulders in silence; yet, as I said before, Mr Mirror, I would not have you think me hen
By this time, every domestic about my house, male and female, were called from their several employments to assist in the preparations for her ladyship’s reception. It would tire you to enumerate the vari- . ous shifts that were made, by purchasing, borrowing, &c. to furnish out a dinner suitable to the occasion. My little grey poney, which I keep for sending to market, broke his wind in the cause, and has never been good for any thing since.
Nor was there less ado in making ourselves and our attendants fit to appear before such company. The female part of