Susan Duncombe

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Miss Susan Duncombe was the daughter of a Lady Duncombe, and at some time around the year 1806 the question arose of her marriage. Now, although her mamma had set her heart upon the girl marrying a certain Mr Watts, with nine hundred a year, she herself had set her heart upon marrying the gallant Captain Hurst of the Dragoons. Captains in the Dragoons are generally not the recipients of nine hundred a year. In despair at her daughter's wilful perseverance in her own heedless choice Lady Duncombe turned to her friend Mr Drawlight, who begged her to be easy on the matter: he had a plan that would answer admirably. Mr Drawlight first took the young lady herself to a fashionable jeweller, where he laid before her the most costly and elegant adornments, urging her to try them on and to admire the effect they had on her beauty. Then he represented to her that, should she marry Captain Hurst, all hope of ever possessing such jewels must be given up. Next, he invited the Captain to a gambling club where in a friendly way he encouraged the unfortunate young man to make wagers, lending him the money to do so. (This money was not his own of course - we allow Mr Drawlight a little more common sense than to do that - Lady Duncombe furnished him on this occasion). As it is well known how quickly the gambling fever grips an impetuous man, the outcome might easily be predicted. A mountain of debt was soon incurred! Mr Drawlight then intimated to the Captain that, as a man of honour, he could not hold a young lady to an engagement when his future income was so uncertain. There was an immediate wrathful response from the unfortunate Captain, but the ultimate success of Mr Drawlight's little scheme was assured. Captain Hurst was ruined, and Miss Dunscombe's mind thoroughly corrupted.

Drawlight boasts of his achievement to a lady at a party at Mrs Godesdone's, but he has mistook his listener: the lady, too polite to comment, silently moves away[4].