Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)

The Vicar of Wakefield
(Chapter 10 )

The poor Miss Flamboroughs, their former gay companions, were cast off as mean acquaintance, and the whole conversation ran upon high life and high-lived company, with pictures, taste, Shakespeare, and the musical glasses.
But we could have borne all this, had not a fortunetelling gypsy come to raise us into perfect sublimity. The tawny sibyl no sooner appeared than my girls came running to me for a shilling apiece, to cross her hand with silver. To say the truth, I was tired of being always wise, and could not help gratifying their request, because I loved to see them happy. I gave each of them a shilling, though, for the honor of the family, it must be observed that hey never went without money themselves, as my wife always generously let them have a guinea each to keep in their pockets, but with strict injunctions never to change it. After they had been closeted up with the fortune-teller for some time, I knew by their looks, upon their returning, that they had been promised something great. "Well, my girls, how have you sped? Tell me, Livy, has the fortune-teller given thee a pennyworth?"
"I protest papa," says the girl, "I believe she deals with somebody that is not right, for she positively declared that I am to be married to a 'squire in less than a twelvemonth!"
"Well, now, Sophy, my child," said I, "and what sort of a husband are you to have?"Sir," replied she, "I am to have a lord soon after my sister 'has married the ' squire."
"How," cried I, "is that all you are to have for your two shillings! Only a lord and a 'squire for two shillings! You fools, I could have promised you a prince and a nabob for half the money!"
This curiosity of theirs, however, was attended with very serious effects; we now began to think ourselves designed by the stars to something exalted, and already anticipated our future grandeur. It has been a thousand times observed, and I must observe it once more, that the hours we pass with happy prospects in view are more pleasing than those crowned with fruition. In the first case, we cook the dish to our own appetite; in the latter, nature cooks it for us. It is impossible to repeat the train of agreeable reveries we called up for our entertainment.