"Thus my Thoughts play'd at Racket, and seldom minded the Line of Reason"

— Barker, Jane (1675-1743)

Place of Publication
Printed for E. Curll
1713, 1719
"Thus my Thoughts play'd at Racket, and seldom minded the Line of Reason"
Metaphor in Context
After two or three Days, the News came that Bosvil was sick of a violent Fever, even so bad that all despair'd of his Life. This was a new Stroke of Fortune, and she was arm'd with a Weapon against which I had never contended; I griev'd, and at the same Time was angry with myself for grieving: Ah, foolish Galesia, (said I to myself) Ah, silly Girl, to grieve for him who deserves thy Scorn and Hatred, for him that has robb'd thee of thy Quiet three whole Years, for him that swore to love thee, that languish'd and dy'd at thy Feet, expressly to make thee miserable; for him that obstructed the Amours of the first and second Brafort, that thy Ruin might be the more compleat; for him that was treated by thy hospitable Parents, more like their own Child than an adventitious Guest, by which Means the Traitor had Opportunity to steal away the Heart of their only Daughter! And is it possible that thou should'st grieve for such a Wretch as him? One that Heaven has now mark'd with its just Vengeance, and has sent this Sickness as a Scourge to his Falshood. But notwithstanding all this, I must grieve and pray for him: Which I am sure I did with more Earnestness than ever I did for my own Soul; in which I did but pay a Devotion which he had advanc'd; [page 56] for he has often assur'd me, that he offer'd me daily in his Prayers; the Consideration of which holy Kindness made me redouble my Request to Heaven to spare his Life, tho', at the same Time, I had much rather he should have dy'd, than not live mine. However, I did not pretend to capitulate with the Almighty, but ask'd his Life in general Terms, without including or excluding his Person, which, by Intervals, I hop'd might yet one Day be mine; for I still sooth'd my Fancy that he lov'd me, and that the Sight of me, after so long an Absence, was the sole Cause of this his Illness; and then made wild Resolutions to visit him, fancy'd myself there, figur'd to myself the Transports of Joy he would be in to see me so kind, imagin'd his Father and Mother embracing me as their own Child; then immediately drawing the Curtain, beheld myself rejected by them, as the Plague of their Family, perhaps refus'd and slighted by him, rebuk'd and wonder'd at for my coming, scorn'd and laugh'd at by all the World, severely treated by my Parents, or perhaps put out of Hopes of ever seeing them again; for I very well believ'd there was no Medium after such an Exploit, between being receiv'd by his Parents, and abandon'd by my own: And for me to [page 57] have propes'd this Visit to them, I knew was vain, having no Pretence to justify the Request; the whole Amour having been a continu'd Act of Folly on the one Side, and Treachery on the other; and the last Scene a Declaration of Scorn instead of Kindness, he having own'd in the Presence of my Mother and other Friends, his Design of marrying another; and then repeat in my Thoughts all his Crimes, and with my best Malice enlarge upon his Treachery, Falshood, and Cruelty; look upon him dead by the Hand of Heaven, just and good in taking him away from a Possibility of accomplishing his Perjury in this his pretended Marriage; then in an Instant turn over the Leaf, and read him dead; dead as my faithful Lover, recount all our tender Words and Actions that had pass'd in our three Years Conversation; blame all my feign'd Indifferency and forc'd Coldness towards him; fancy'd he thought on me in his Agony, and nam'd me with his dying Breath; believe I saw his much-griev'd Parents cursing me as the Author of their Affliction, and after a Thousand of these Tragical Notions, which presented themselves to my distracted Imagination, my Fancy wou'd open another Scene, and make me think I saw him alive, and happy in the Arms of his London Mistress, living in all the [page 58] Felicity that a happy Espousal could procure. Thus my Thoughts play'd at Racket, and seldom minded the Line of Reason; my Mind labour'd under a perpetual shaking Palsy of Hope and Fear; my whole Interiour was nothing but Distraction and Uncertainty. At last I resolv'd to send a Messenger secretly, to know how he did; in which I did a great Penance for all the proud Actions of my Life, not only in shewing that kind Concern for him, but a greater Difficulty yet, which was, to be oblig'd to a Servant, in making him the Confidant of this Secret. However, this Occasion made me do Violence to my Nature, and engag'd one of my Father's Men to go secretly on this Errand: But first I order'd him to go to Bosvil's own Dwelling, which was near us, and there enquire after his Health; and if there he heard of his being better, then to go no farther, otherwise, to make the best of his Way to his Father's. The Man perform'd my Orders exactly, and hearing at this Place that he was something better, went no farther; with which I remain'd satisfy'd, 'till Time brought him to our House perfectly recover'd. But, ah, this Recovery was a Death to all my Hopes; for the first Use he made of his new-restor'd Health, was to go marry his Mistress at [page 59] London; making our House in his Way, and me the Auditor of that horrid News; which at first shock'd me, but I had been so often put upon by false Alarms, that I was now grown like the Country-men to the Shepherds in the Fable, who, when the Wolf really came, stirr'd not, having been often deluded by the Shepherds, and call'd without Occasion; for I thought it impossible that he could come to tell me such News to my Face. But what is most astonishing, I have been told since, that in his Sickness he gave all he had to me, and recommended me to his Parents as their own Child, and they promis'd him to receive me as such. Now, after all this, to go, directly after his Sickness, and be marry'd to another, is a Transaction most unaccountable. But I knew nothing of this at that Time, for I was told it afterwards, and that he had been extreamly concern'd on my Account in this his Sickness. However, ignorant as I was of these Circumstances, I did not in the least believe that his going to London, when he pass'd by our House, was to be marry'd, but look'd upon it as a meer Jest or Banter, such as was that of Mrs. Lowland, and others; wherefore, I could not pass over this Subject of Frolick or Mirth, without adding to the Jest, and as I had sent him a [page 60] Willow Garland, on the Marriage of Mrs.Lowland, so now I sent him a pretty Pair of Horns, neatly made of Bugles, by which I meant to joke and banter him on his pretended Marriage; but, alas, it prov'd more than a Pretence, and the Horns came to him just upon his Wedding-Day, in the Presence of his Bride and all the Company; as also several Emblems and Mottos on that Subject, the Horns being fasten'd on a Head-band, as a sovereign Remedy for the Head-ach, to which marry'd Men are often very subject, especially those who marry Town-Coquets; all which, I protest, was without any malicious Intent, not thinking in the least that he was really about Marriage, but only design'd to render Jest for Jest, believing his Discourse of Marriage had only been a Banter, such as that of Mrs. Lowland, and the rest beforemention'd.
(pp. 55-6)
Searching in "mind" and "line" in HDIS (Prose)
At least 4 entries in the ESTC (1713, 1719, 1736, 1743) [Final three dates for The Entertaining Novels].

Text from The Entertaining Novels of Mrs. Jane Barker, 2nd edition, 2 vols. (London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, in Pater-Noster-Row, and E. Curll, in Fleet-Street, 1719). [Titled "The Amours of Bosvil and Galesia."] <Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO>

See also Love Intrigues: or, the History of the Amours of Bosvil and Galesia As Related to Lucasia, in St. Germains Garden. A Novel. Written by a Young Lady. (London: Printed for E. Curll, at the Dial and Bible against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleetstreet; and C. Crownfield, at Cambridge, 1713). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.