THE STRANGER. I understand the owner to be a Mr. Crotchet. He has a
handsome daughter, I am told.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. He has, sir. Her eyes are like the fish-pools of Heshbon,
by the gate of Bethrabbim; and she is to have a handsome fortune, to which
divers disinterested gentlemen are paying their addresses. Perhaps you design
to be one of them?
THE STRANGER. No, sir; I beg pardon if my questions seem impertinent; I have
no such design. There is a son too, I believe, sir, a great and successful blower
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. A hero, sir, in his line. Never did angler in September hook
THE STRANGER. To say the truth, two very amiable young people, with whom I
have some little acquaintance, Lord Bossnowl, and his sister, Lady Clarinda, are
reported to be on the point of concluding a double marriage with Miss Crotchet
and her brother; by way of putting a new varnish on old nobility. Lord Foolincourt,
their father, is terribly poor for a lord who owns a borough.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Well, sir, the Crotchets have plenty of money, and the old
gentleman's weak point is a hankering after high blood. I saw your acquaintance,
Lord Bossnowl, this morning, but I did not see his sister. She may be there,
nevertheless, and doing fashionable justice to this fine May morning, by lying in
bed till noon.
THE STRANGER. Young Mr. Crotchet, sir, has been, like his father, the architect
of his own fortune, has he not? An illustrious example of the reward of honesty
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. As to honesty, sir, he made his fortune in the city of
London, and if that commodity be of any value there, you will find it in the price
current. I believe it is below par, like the shares of young Crotchet's fifty
companies. But his progress has not been exactly like his father's. It has been
more rapid, and he started with more advantages. He began with a fine capital
from his father. The old gentleman divided his fortune into three not exactly equal
portions; one for himself, one for his daughter, and one for his son, which he
handed over to him, saying, "Take it once for all, and make the most of it; if you
lose it where I won it, not another stiver do you get from me during my life." But,
sir, young Crotchet doubled, and trebled, and quadrupled it, and is, as you say, a
striking example of the reward of industry; not that I think his labour has been so
great as his luck.
THE STRANGER. But, sir, is all this solid? is there no danger of reaction? no day
of reckoning to cut down in an hour prosperity that has grown up like a
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Nay, sir, I know not. I do not pry into these matters. I am,
for my own part, very well satisfied with the young gentleman. Let those who are
not so look to themselves. It is quite enough for me that he came down last night
from London, and that he had the good sense to bring with him a basket of
lobsters. Sir, I wish you a good morning.