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The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

Part 10 out of 10

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to pay a visit to the village where I had been at school. Here
we were received by the principal inhabitants, who entertained us
in the church, where Mr. Syntax the schoolmaster (my tyrant being
dead) pronounced a Latin oration in honour of our family. And none
exerted themselves more than Strap's father and relations, who
looked upon the honest valet as the first gentleman of their race,
and honoured his benefactors accordingly. Having received the homage
of this place, we retired, leaving forty pounds for the benefit of
the poor of the parish; and that very night, Strap being a little
elevated with the regard that had been shown to him, and to me on
his account, ventured to tell me, that he had a sneaking kindness for
Miss Williams, and that, if his lady and I would use our interest
in his behalf, he did not doubt that she would listen to his addresses.
Surprised at this proposal, I asked if he knew the story of that
unfortunate young gentlewoman; upon which he replied, "Yes, yes,
I know what you mean--she has been unhappy, I grant you--but what
of that? I am convinced of her reformation; or else you and my good
lady would not treat her with such respect. As for the censure of
the world, I value it not a fig's end--besides, the world knows
nothing of the matter." I commended his philosophy, and interested
Narcissa in his cause; who interceded so effectually, that in a
little time Miss Williams yielded her consent, and they were marred
at the approbation of Don Rodrigo, who gave him five hundred pounds
to stock a farm, and made him overseer of his estate. My generous
bedfellow gave her maid the same sum; so that they live in great
peace and plenty within half-a-mile of us, and daily put up prayers
for our preservation.

If there be such a thing as true happiness on earth, I enjoy it.
The impetuous transports of my passion are now settled and mellowed
into endearing fondness and tranquillity of love, rooted by that
intimate connection and interchange of hearts which nought but
virtuous wedlock can produce. Fortune seems determined to make
ample amends for her former cruelty, for my proctor writes that,
notwithstanding the clause in my father-in-law's will, on which
the squire founds his claim, I shall certainly recover my wife's
fortune, in consequence of a codicil annexed, which explains that
clause, and limits her restriction to the age of nineteen, after
which she was at her own disposal. I would have set out for London
immediately after receiving this piece of intelligence, but my
dear angel has been qualmish of late, and begins to grow remarkably
round in the waist; so that I cannot leave her in such an interesting
situation, which I hope will produce something to crown my felicity.

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