Part 10 out of 18
though he hardly spent a shilling a day in the house, and suffered his
men to roast cabbages at the kitchen fire, because I would not give
them a dinner on a Sunday. Every good Christian must desire there
should be a devil for the punishment of such wretches."--"Harkee,
landlord," said the serjeant, "don't abuse the cloth, for I won't take
it."--"D--n the cloth!" answered the landlord, "I have suffered enough
by them."--"Bear witness, gentlemen," says the serjeant, "he curses the
king, and that's high treason."--"I curse the king! you villain," said
the landlord. "Yes, you did," cries the serjeant; "you cursed the
cloth, and that's cursing the king. It's all one and the same; for
every man who curses the cloth would curse the king if he durst; so for
matter o' that, it's all one and the same thing."--"Excuse me there, Mr
Serjeant," quoth Partridge, "that's a _non sequitur_."--"None of your
outlandish linguo," answered the serjeant, leaping from his seat; "I
will not sit still and hear the cloth abused."--"You mistake me,
friend," cries Partridge. "I did not mean to abuse the cloth; I only
said your conclusion was a _non sequitur_.[*]"--"You
are another," cries the serjeant," an you come to that. No more a
_sequitur_ than yourself. You are a pack of rascals, and I'll prove it;
for I will fight the best man of you all for twenty pound." This
challenge effectually silenced Partridge, whose stomach for drubbing
did not so soon return after the hearty meal which he had lately been
treated with; but the coachman, whose bones were less sore, and whose
appetite for fighting was somewhat sharper, did not so easily brook the
affront, of which he conceived some part at least fell to his share. He
started therefore from his seat, and, advancing to the serjeant, swore
he looked on himself to be as good a man as any in the army, and
offered to box for a guinea. The military man accepted the combat, but
refused the wager; upon which both immediately stript and engaged, till
the driver of horses was so well mauled by the leader of men, that he
was obliged to exhaust his small remainder of breath in begging for
[*] This word, which the serjeant unhappily mistook for an affront,
is a term in logic, and means that the conclusion does not follow
from the premises.
The young lady was now desirous to depart, and had given orders for
her coach to be prepared; but all in vain, for the coachman was
disabled from performing his office for that evening. An antient
heathen would perhaps have imputed this disability to the god of
drink, no less than to the god of war; for, in reality, both the
combatants had sacrificed as well to the former deity as to the
latter. To speak plainly, they were both dead drunk, nor was Partridge
in a much better situation. As for my landlord, drinking was his
trade; and the liquor had no more effect on him than it had on any
other vessel in his house.
The mistress of the inn, being summoned to attend Mr Jones and his
companion at their tea, gave a full relation of the latter part of the
foregoing scene; and at the same time expressed great concern for the
young lady, "who," she said, "was under the utmost uneasiness at being
prevented from pursuing her journey. She is a sweet pretty creature,"
added she, "and I am certain I have seen her face before. I fancy she
is in love, and running away from her friends. Who knows but some
young gentleman or other may be expecting her, with a heart as heavy
as her own?"
Jones fetched a heavy sigh at those words; of which, though Mrs Waters
observed it, she took no notice while the landlady continued in the
room; but, after the departure of that good woman, she could not
forbear giving our heroe certain hints on her suspecting some very
dangerous rival in his affections. The aukward behaviour of Mr Jones
on this occasion convinced her of the truth, without his giving her a
direct answer to any of her questions; but she was not nice enough in
her amours to be greatly concerned at the discovery. The beauty of
Jones highly charmed her eye; but as she could not see his heart, she
gave herself no concern about it. She could feast heartily at the
table of love, without reflecting that some other already had been, or
hereafter might be, feasted with the same repast. A sentiment which,
if it deals but little in refinement, deals, however, much in
substance; and is less capricious, and perhaps less ill-natured and
selfish, than the desires of those females who can be contented enough
to abstain from the possession of their lovers, provided they are
sufficiently satisfied that no one else possesses them.
Containing a fuller account of Mrs Waters, and by what means she came
into that distressful situation from which she was rescued by Jones.
Though Nature hath by no means mixed up an equal share either of
curiosity or vanity in every human composition, there is perhaps no
individual to whom she hath not allotted such a proportion of both as
requires much arts, and pains too, to subdue and keep under;--a
conquest, however, absolutely necessary to every one who would in any
degree deserve the characters of wisdom or good breeding.
As Jones, therefore, might very justly be called a well-bred man, he
had stifled all that curiosity which the extraordinary manner in which
he had found Mrs Waters must be supposed to have occasioned. He had,
indeed, at first thrown out some few hints to the lady; but, when he
perceived her industriously avoiding any explanation, he was contented
to remain in ignorance, the rather as he was not without suspicion
that there were some circumstances which must have raised her blushes,
had she related the whole truth.
Now since it is possible that some of our readers may not so easily
acquiesce under the same ignorance, and as we are very desirous to
satisfy them all, we have taken uncommon pains to inform ourselves of
the real fact, with the relation of which we shall conclude this book.
This lady, then, had lived some years with one Captain Waters, who was
a captain in the same regiment to which Mr Northerton belonged. She
past for that gentleman's wife, and went by his name; and yet, as the
serjeant said, there were some doubts concerning the reality of their
marriage, which we shall not at present take upon us to resolve.
Mrs Waters, I am sorry to say it, had for some time contracted an
intimacy with the above-mentioned ensign, which did no great credit to
her reputation. That she had a remarkable fondness for that young
fellow is most certain; but whether she indulged this to any very
criminal lengths is not so extremely clear, unless we will suppose
that women never grant every favour to a man but one, without granting
him that one also.
The division of the regiment to which Captain Waters belonged had two
days preceded the march of that company to which Mr Northerton was the
ensign; so that the former had reached Worcester the very day after
the unfortunate re-encounter between Jones and Northerton which we
have before recorded.
Now, it had been agreed between Mrs Waters and the captain that she
would accompany him in his march as far as Worcester, where they were
to take their leave of each other, and she was thence to return to
Bath, where she was to stay till the end of the winter's campaign
against the rebels.
With this agreement Mr Northerton was made acquainted. To say the
truth, the lady had made him an assignation at this very place, and
promised to stay at Worcester till his division came thither; with
what view, and for what purpose, must be left to the reader's
divination; for, though we are obliged to relate facts, we are not
obliged to do a violence to our nature by any comments to the
disadvantage of the loveliest part of the creation.
Northerton no sooner obtained a release from his captivity, as we have
seen, than he hasted away to overtake Mrs Waters; which, as he was a
very active nimble fellow, he did at the last-mentioned city, some few
hours after Captain Waters had left her. At his first arrival he made
no scruple of acquainting her with the unfortunate accident; which he
made appear very unfortunate indeed, for he totally extracted every
particle of what could be called fault, at least in a court of honour,
though he left some circumstances which might be questionable in a
court of law.
Women, to their glory be it spoken, are more generally capable of that
violent and apparently disinterested passion of love, which seeks only
the good of its object, than men. Mrs Waters, therefore, was no sooner
apprized of the danger to which her lover was exposed, than she lost
every consideration besides that of his safety; and this being a
matter equally agreeable to the gentleman, it became the immediate
subject of debate between them.
After much consultation on this matter, it was at length agreed that
the ensign should go across the country to Hereford, whence he might
find some conveyance to one of the sea-ports in Wales, and thence
might make his escape abroad. In all which expedition Mrs Waters
declared she would bear him company; and for which she was able to
furnish him with money, a very material article to Mr Northerton, she
having then in her pocket three bank-notes to the amount of £90,
besides some cash, and a diamond ring of pretty considerable value on
her finger. All which she, with the utmost confidence, revealed to
this wicked man, little suspecting she should by these means inspire
him with a design of robbing her. Now, as they must, by taking horses
from Worcester, have furnished any pursuers with the means of
hereafter discovering their route, the ensign proposed, and the lady
presently agreed, to make their first stage on foot; for which purpose
the hardness of the frost was very seasonable.
The main part of the lady's baggage was already at Bath, and she had
nothing with her at present besides a very small quantity of linen,
which the gallant undertook to carry in his own pockets. All things,
therefore, being settled in the evening, they arose early the next
morning, and at five o'clock departed from Worcester, it being then
above two hours before day, but the moon, which was then at the full,
gave them all the light she was capable of affording.
Mrs Waters was not of that delicate race of women who are obliged to
the invention of vehicles for the capacity of removing themselves from
one place to another, and with whom consequently a coach is reckoned
among the necessaries of life. Her limbs were indeed full of strength
and agility, and, as her mind was no less animated with spirit, she
was perfectly able to keep pace with her nimble lover.
Having travelled on for some miles in a high road, which Northerton
said he was informed led to Hereford, they came at the break of day to
the side of a large wood, where he suddenly stopped, and, affecting to
meditate a moment with himself, expressed some apprehensions from
travelling any longer in so public a way. Upon which he easily
persuaded his fair companion to strike with him into a path which
seemed to lead directly through the wood, and which at length brought
them both to the bottom of Mazard Hill.
Whether the execrable scheme which he now attempted to execute was the
effect of previous deliberation, or whether it now first came into his
head, I cannot determine. But being arrived in this lonely place,
where it was very improbable he should meet with any interruption, he
suddenly slipped his garter from his leg, and, laying violent hands on
the poor woman, endeavoured to perpetrate that dreadful and detestable
fact which we have before commemorated, and which the providential
appearance of Jones did so fortunately prevent.
Happy was it for Mrs Waters that she was not of the weakest order of
females; for no sooner did she perceive, by his tying a knot in his
garter, and by his declarations, what his hellish intentions were,
than she stood stoutly to her defence, and so strongly struggled with
her enemy, screaming all the while for assistance, that she delayed
the execution of the villain's purpose several minutes, by which means
Mr Jones came to her relief at that very instant when her strength
failed and she was totally overpowered, and delivered her from the
ruffian's hands, with no other loss than that of her cloaths, which
were torn from her back, and of the diamond ring, which during the
contention either dropped from her finger, or was wrenched from it by
Thus, reader, we have given thee the fruits of a very painful enquiry
which for thy satisfaction we have made into this matter. And here we
have opened to thee a scene of folly as well as villany, which we
could scarce have believed a human creature capable of being guilty
of, had we not remembered that this fellow was at that time firmly
persuaded that he had already committed a murder, and had forfeited
his life to the law. As he concluded therefore that his only safety
lay in flight, he thought the possessing himself of this poor woman's
money and ring would make him amends for the additional burthen he was
to lay on his conscience.
And here, reader, we must strictly caution thee that thou dost not
take any occasion, from the misbehaviour of such a wretch as this, to
reflect on so worthy and honourable a body of men as are the officers
of our army in general. Thou wilt be pleased to consider that this
fellow, as we have already informed thee, had neither the birth nor
education of a gentleman, nor was a proper person to be enrolled among
the number of such. If, therefore, his baseness can justly reflect on
any besides himself, it must be only on those who gave him his
IN WHICH THE HISTORY GOES FORWARD ABOUT TWELVE HOURS.
Containing instructions very necessary to be perused by modern
Reader, it is impossible we should know what sort of person thou wilt
be; for, perhaps, thou may'st be as learned in human nature as
Shakespear himself was, and, perhaps, thou may'st be no wiser than
some of his editors. Now, lest this latter should be the case, we
think proper, before we go any farther together, to give thee a few
wholesome admonitions; that thou may'st not as grossly misunderstand
and misrepresent us, as some of the said editors have misunderstood
and misrepresented their author.
First, then, we warn thee not too hastily to condemn any of the
incidents in this our history as impertinent and foreign to our main
design, because thou dost not immediately conceive in what manner such
incident may conduce to that design. This work may, indeed, be
considered as a great creation of our own; and for a little reptile of
a critic to presume to find fault with any of its parts, without
knowing the manner in which the whole is connected, and before he
comes to the final catastrophe, is a most presumptuous absurdity. The
allusion and metaphor we have here made use of, we must acknowledge to
be infinitely too great for our occasion; but there is, indeed, no
other, which is at all adequate to express the difference between an
author of the first rate and a critic of the lowest.
Another caution we would give thee, my good reptile, is, that thou
dost not find out too near a resemblance between certain characters
here introduced; as, for instance, between the landlady who appears in
the seventh book and her in the ninth. Thou art to know, friend, that
there are certain characteristics in which most individuals of every
profession and occupation agree. To be able to preserve these
characteristics, and at the same time to diversify their operations,
is one talent of a good writer. Again, to mark the nice distinction
between two persons actuated by the same vice or folly is another;
and, as this last talent is found in very few writers, so is the true
discernment of it found in as few readers; though, I believe, the
observation of this forms a very principal pleasure in those who are
capable of the discovery; every person, for instance, can distinguish
between Sir Epicure Mammon and Sir Fopling Flutter; but to note the
difference between Sir Fopling Flutter and Sir Courtly Nice requires a
more exquisite judgment: for want of which, vulgar spectators of plays
very often do great injustice in the theatre; where I have sometimes
known a poet in danger of being convicted as a thief, upon much worse
evidence than the resemblance of hands hath been held to be in the
law. In reality, I apprehend every amorous widow on the stage would
run the hazard of being condemned as a servile imitation of Dido, but
that happily very few of our play-house critics understand enough of
Latin to read Virgil.
In the next place, we must admonish thee, my worthy friend (for,
perhaps, thy heart may be better than thy head), not to condemn a
character as a bad one, because it is not perfectly a good one. If
thou dost delight in these models of perfection, there are books enow
written to gratify thy taste; but, as we have not, in the course of
our conversation, ever happened to meet with any such person, we have
not chosen to introduce any such here. To say the truth, I a little
question whether mere man ever arrived at this consummate degree of
excellence, as well as whether there hath ever existed a monster bad
enough to verify that
_----nulla virtute redemptum
[*] Whose vices are not allayed with a single virtue
in Juvenal; nor do I, indeed, conceive the good purposes served by
inserting characters of such angelic perfection, or such diabolical
depravity, in any work of invention; since, from contemplating either,
the mind of man is more likely to be overwhelmed with sorrow and shame
than to draw any good uses from such patterns; for in the former
instance he may be both concerned and ashamed to see a pattern of
excellence in his nature, which he may reasonably despair of ever
arriving at; and in contemplating the latter he may be no less
affected with those uneasy sensations, at seeing the nature of which
he is a partaker degraded into so odious and detestable a creature.
In fact, if there be enough of goodness in a character to engage the
admiration and affection of a well-disposed mind, though there should
appear some of those little blemishes _quas humana parum cavit
natura_, they will raise our compassion rather than our abhorrence.
Indeed, nothing can be of more moral use than the imperfections which
are seen in examples of this kind; since such form a kind of surprize,
more apt to affect and dwell upon our minds than the faults of very
vicious and wicked persons. The foibles and vices of men, in whom
there is great mixture of good, become more glaring objects from the
virtues which contrast them and shew their deformity; and when we find
such vices attended with their evil consequence to our favourite
characters, we are not only taught to shun them for our own sake, but
to hate them for the mischiefs they have already brought on those we
And now, my friend, having given you these few admonitions, we will,
if you please, once more set forward with our history.
Containing the arrival of an Irish gentleman, with very extraordinary
adventures which ensued at the inn.
Now the little trembling hare, which the dread of all her numerous
enemies, and chiefly of that cunning, cruel, carnivorous animal, man,
had confined all the day to her lurking-place, sports wantonly o'er
the lawns; now on some hollow tree the owl, shrill chorister of the
night, hoots forth notes which might charm the ears of some modern
connoisseurs in music; now, in the imagination of the half-drunk
clown, as he staggers through the churchyard, or rather charnelyard,
to his home, fear paints the bloody hobgoblin; now thieves and
ruffians are awake, and honest watchmen fast asleep; in plain English,
it was now midnight; and the company at the inn, as well those who
have been already mentioned in this history, as some others who
arrived in the evening, were all in bed. Only Susan Chambermaid was
now stirring, she being obliged to wash the kitchen before she retired
to the arms of the fond expecting hostler.
In this posture were affairs at the inn when a gentleman arrived there
post. He immediately alighted from his horse, and, coming up to Susan,
enquired of her, in a very abrupt and confused manner, being almost
out of breath with eagerness, Whether there was any lady in the house?
The hour of night, and the behaviour of the man, who stared very
wildly all the time, a little surprized Susan, so that she hesitated
before she made any answer; upon which the gentleman, with redoubled
eagerness, begged her to give him a true information, saying, He had
lost his wife, and was come in pursuit of her. "Upon my shoul," cries
he, "I have been near catching her already in two or three places, if
I had not found her gone just as I came up with her. If she be in the
house, do carry me up in the dark and show her to me; and if she be
gone away before me, do tell me which way I shall go after her to meet
her, and, upon my shoul, I will make you the richest poor woman in the
nation." He then pulled out a handful of guineas, a sight which would
have bribed persons of much greater consequence than this poor wench
to much worse purposes.
Susan, from the account she had received of Mrs Waters, made not the
least doubt but that she was the very identical stray whom the right
owner pursued. As she concluded, therefore, with great appearance of
reason, that she never could get money in an honester way than by
restoring a wife to her husband, she made no scruple of assuring the
gentleman that the lady he wanted was then in the house; and was
presently afterwards prevailed upon (by very liberal promises, and
some earnest paid into her hands) to conduct him to the bedchamber of
It hath been a custom long established in the polite world, and that
upon very solid and substantial reasons, that a husband shall never
enter his wife's apartment without first knocking at the door. The
many excellent uses of this custom need scarce be hinted to a reader
who hath any knowledge of the world; for by this means the lady hath
time to adjust herself, or to remove any disagreeable object out of
the way; for there are some situations in which nice and delicate
women would not be discovered by their husbands.
To say the truth, there are several ceremonies instituted among the
polished part of mankind, which, though they may, to coarser
judgments, appear as matters of mere form, are found to have much of
substance in them, by the more discerning; and lucky would it have
been had the custom above mentioned been observed by our gentleman in
the present instance. Knock, indeed, he did at the door, but not with
one of those gentle raps which is usual on such occasions. On the
contrary, when he found the door locked, he flew at it with such
violence, that the lock immediately gave way, the door burst open, and
he fell headlong into the room.
He had no sooner recovered his legs than forth from the bed, upon his
legs likewise, appeared--with shame and sorrow are we obliged to
proceed--our heroe himself, who, with a menacing voice, demanded of
the gentleman who he was, and what he meant by daring to burst open
his chamber in that outrageous manner.
The gentleman at first thought he had committed a mistake, and was
going to ask pardon and retreat, when, on a sudden, as the moon shone
very bright, he cast his eyes on stays, gowns, petticoats, caps,
ribbons, stockings, garters, shoes, clogs, &c., all which lay in a
disordered manner on the floor. All these, operating on the natural
jealousy of his temper, so enraged him, that he lost all power of
speech; and, without returning any answer to Jones, he endeavoured to
approach the bed.
Jones immediately interposing, a fierce contention arose, which soon
proceeded to blows on both sides. And now Mrs Waters (for we must
confess she was in the same bed), being, I suppose, awakened from her
sleep, and seeing two men fighting in her bedchamber, began to scream
in the most violent manner, crying out murder! robbery! and more
frequently rape! which last, some, perhaps, may wonder she should
mention, who do not consider that these words of exclamation are used
by ladies in a fright, as fa, la, la, ra, da, &c., are in music, only
as the vehicles of sound, and without any fixed ideas.
Next to the lady's chamber was deposited the body of an Irish
gentleman who arrived too late at the inn to have been mentioned
before. This gentleman was one of those whom the Irish call a
calabalaro, or cavalier. He was a younger brother of a good family,
and, having no fortune at home, was obliged to look abroad in order to
get one; for which purpose he was proceeding to the Bath, to try his
luck with cards and the women.
This young fellow lay in bed reading one of Mrs Behn's novels; for he
had been instructed by a friend that he would find no more effectual
method of recommending himself to the ladies than the improving his
understanding, and filling his mind with good literature. He no
sooner, therefore, heard the violent uproar in the next room, than he
leapt from his bolster, and, taking his sword in one hand, and the
candle which burnt by him in the other, he went directly to Mrs
If the sight of another man in his shirt at first added some shock to
the decency of the lady, it made her presently amends by considerably
abating her fears; for no sooner had the calabalaro entered the room
than he cried out, "Mr Fitzpatrick, what the devil is the maning of
this?" Upon which the other immediately answered, "O, Mr Maclachlan! I
am rejoiced you are here.--This villain hath debauched my wife, and is
got into bed with her."--"What wife?" cries Maclachlan; "do not I know
Mrs Fitzpatrick very well, and don't I see that the lady, whom the
gentleman who stands here in his shirt is lying in bed with, is none
Fitzpatrick, now perceiving, as well by the glimpse he had of the
lady, as by her voice, which might have been distinguished at a
greater distance than he now stood from her, that he had made a very
unfortunate mistake, began to ask many pardons of the lady; and then,
turning to Jones, he said, "I would have you take notice I do not ask
your pardon, for you have bate me; for which I am resolved to have
your blood in the morning."
Jones treated this menace with much contempt; and Mr Maclachlan
answered, "Indeed, Mr Fitzpatrick, you may be ashamed of your own
self, to disturb people at this time of night; if all the people in
the inn were not asleep, you would have awakened them as you have me.
The gentleman has served you very rightly. Upon my conscience, though
I have no wife, if you had treated her so, I would have cut your
Jones was so confounded with his fears for his lady's reputation, that
he knew neither what to say or do; but the invention of women is, as
hath been observed, much readier than that of men. She recollected
that there was a communication between her chamber and that of Mr
Jones; relying, therefore, on his honour and her own assurance, she
answered, "I know not what you mean, villains! I am wife to none of
you. Help! Rape! Murder! Rape!"--And now, the landlady coming into the
room, Mrs Waters fell upon her with the utmost virulence, saying, "She
thought herself in a sober inn, and not in a bawdy-house; but that a
set of villains had broke into her room, with an intent upon her
honour, if not upon her life; and both, she said, were equally dear to
The landlady now began to roar as loudly as the poor woman in bed had
done before. She cried, "She was undone, and that the reputation of
her house, which was never blown upon before, was utterly destroyed."
Then, turning to the men, she cried, "What, in the devil's name, is
the reason of all this disturbance in the lady's room?" Fitzpatrick,
hanging down his head, repeated, "That he had committed a mistake, for
which he heartily asked pardon," and then retired with his countryman.
Jones, who was too ingenious to have missed the hint given him by his
fair one, boldly asserted, "That he had run to her assistance upon
hearing the door broke open, with what design he could not conceive,
unless of robbing the lady; which, if they intended, he said, he had
the good fortune to prevent." "I never had a robbery committed in my
house since I have kept it," cries the landlady; "I would have you to
know, sir, I harbour no highwaymen here; I scorn the word, thof I say
it. None but honest, good gentlefolks, are welcome to my house; and, I
thank good luck, I have always had enow of such customers; indeed as
many as I could entertain. Here hath been my lord--," and then she
repeated over a catalogue of names and titles, many of which we might,
perhaps, be guilty of a breach of privilege by inserting.
Jones, after much patience, at length interrupted her, by making an
apology to Mrs Waters, for having appeared before her in his shirt,
assuring her "That nothing but a concern for her safety could have
prevailed on him to do it." The reader may inform himself of her
answer, and, indeed, of her whole behaviour to the end of the scene,
by considering the situation which she affected, it being that of a
modest lady, who was awakened out of her sleep by three strange men in
her chamber. This was the part which she undertook to perform; and,
indeed, she executed it so well, that none of our theatrical actresses
could exceed her, in any of their performances, either on or off the
And hence, I think, we may very fairly draw an argument, to prove how
extremely natural virtue is to the fair sex; for, though there is not,
perhaps, one in ten thousand who is capable of making a good actress,
and even among these we rarely see two who are equally able to
personate the same character, yet this of virtue they can all
admirably well put on; and as well those individuals who have it not,
as those who possess it, can all act it to the utmost degree of
When the men were all departed, Mrs Waters, recovering from her fear,
recovered likewise from her anger, and spoke in much gentler accents
to the landlady, who did not so readily quit her concern for the
reputation of the house, in favour of which she began again to number
the many great persons who had slept under her roof; but the lady
stopt her short, and having absolutely acquitted her of having had any
share in the past disturbance, begged to be left to her repose, which,
she said, she hoped to enjoy unmolested during the remainder of the
night. Upon which the landlady, after much civility and many
courtsies, took her leave.
A dialogue between the landlady and Susan the chamber-maid, proper to
be read by all inn-keepers and their servants; with the arrival, and
affable behaviour of a beautiful young lady; which may teach persons
of condition how they may acquire the love of the whole world.
The landlady, remembering that Susan had been the only person out of
bed when the door was burst open, resorted presently to her, to
enquire into the first occasion of the disturbance, as well as who the
strange gentleman was, and when and how he arrived.
Susan related the whole story which the reader knows already, varying
the truth only in some circumstances, as she saw convenient, and
totally concealing the money which she had received. But whereas her
mistress had, in the preface to her enquiry, spoken much in compassion
for the fright which the lady had been in concerning any intended
depredations on her virtue, Susan could not help endeavouring to quiet
the concern which her mistress seemed to be under on that account, by
swearing heartily she saw Jones leap out from her bed.
The landlady fell into a violent rage at these words. "A likely story,
truly," cried she, "that a woman should cry out, and endeavour to
expose herself, if that was the case! I desire to know what better
proof any lady can give of her virtue than her crying out, which, I
believe, twenty people can witness for her she did? I beg, madam, you
would spread no such scandal of any of my guests; for it will not only
reflect on them, but upon the house; and I am sure no vagabonds, nor
wicked beggarly people, come here."
"Well," says Susan, "then I must not believe my own eyes." "No,
indeed, must you not always," answered her mistress; "I would not have
believed my own eyes against such good gentlefolks. I have not had a
better supper ordered this half-year than they ordered last night; and
so easy and good-humoured were they, that they found no fault with my
Worcestershire perry, which I sold them for champagne; and to be sure
it is as well tasted and as wholesome as the best champagne in the
kingdom, otherwise I would scorn to give it 'em; and they drank me two
bottles. No, no, I will never believe any harm of such sober good sort
Susan being thus silenced, her mistress proceeded to other matters.
"And so you tell me," continued she, "that the strange gentleman came
post, and there is a footman without with the horses; why, then, he is
certainly some of your great gentlefolks too. Why did not you ask him
whether he'd have any supper? I think he is in the other gentleman's
room; go up and ask whether he called. Perhaps he'll order something
when he finds anybody stirring in the house to dress it. Now don't
commit any of your usual blunders, by telling him the fire's out, and
the fowls alive. And if he should order mutton, don't blab out that we
have none. The butcher, I know, killed a sheep just before I went to
bed, and he never refuses to cut it up warm when I desire it. Go,
remember there's all sorts of mutton and fowls; go, open the door
with, Gentlemen, d'ye call? and if they say nothing, ask what his
honour will be pleased to have for supper? Don't forget his honour.
Go; if you don't mind all these matters better, you'll never come to
Susan departed, and soon returned with an account that the two
gentlemen were got both into the same bed. "Two gentlemen," says the
landlady, "in the same bed! that's impossible; they are two arrant
scrubs, I warrant them; and I believe young Squire Allworthy guessed
right, that the fellow intended to rob her ladyship; for, if he had
broke open the lady's door with any of the wicked designs of a
gentleman, he would never have sneaked away to another room to save
the expense of a supper and a bed to himself. They are certainly
thieves, and their searching after a wife is nothing but a pretence."
In these censures my landlady did Mr Fitzpatrick great injustice; for
he was really born a gentleman, though not worth a groat; and though,
perhaps, he had some few blemishes in his heart as well as in his
head, yet being a sneaking or a niggardly fellow was not one of them.
In reality, he was so generous a man, that, whereas he had received a
very handsome fortune with his wife, he had now spent every penny of
it, except some little pittance which was settled upon her; and, in
order to possess himself of this, he had used her with such cruelty,
that, together with his jealousy, which was of the bitterest kind, it
had forced the poor woman to run away from him.
This gentleman then being well tired with his long journey from
Chester in one day, with which, and some good dry blows he had
received in the scuffle, his bones were so sore, that, added to the
soreness of his mind, it had quite deprived him of any appetite for
eating. And being now so violently disappointed in the woman whom, at
the maid's instance, he had mistaken for his wife, it never once
entered into his head that she might nevertheless be in the house,
though he had erred in the first person he had attacked. He therefore
yielded to the dissuasions of his friend from searching any farther
after her that night, and accepted the kind offer of part of his bed.
The footman and post-boy were in a different disposition. They were
more ready to order than the landlady was to provide; however, after
being pretty well satisfied by them of the real truth of the case, and
that Mr Fitzpatrick was no thief, she was at length prevailed on to
set some cold meat before them, which they were devouring with great
greediness, when Partridge came into the kitchen. He had been first
awaked by the hurry which we have before seen; and while he was
endeavouring to compose himself again on his pillow, a screech-owl had
given him such a serenade at his window, that he leapt in a most
horrible affright from his bed, and, huddling on his cloaths with
great expedition, ran down to the protection of the company, whom he
heard talking below in the kitchen.
His arrival detained my landlady from returning to her rest; for she
was just about to leave the other two guests to the care of Susan; but
the friend of young Squire Allworthy was not to be so neglected,
especially as he called for a pint of wine to be mulled. She
immediately obeyed, by putting the same quantity of perry to the fire;
for this readily answered to the name of every kind of wine.
The Irish footman was retired to bed, and the post-boy was going to
follow; but Partridge invited him to stay and partake of his wine,
which the lad very thankfully accepted. The schoolmaster was indeed
afraid to return to bed by himself; and as he did not know how soon he
might lose the company of my landlady, he was resolved to secure that
of the boy, in whose presence he apprehended no danger from the devil
or any of his adherents.
And now arrived another post-boy at the gate; upon which Susan, being
ordered out, returned, introducing two young women in riding habits,
one of which was so very richly laced, that Partridge and the post-boy
instantly started from their chairs, and my landlady fell to her
courtsies, and her ladyships, with great eagerness.
The lady in the rich habit said, with a smile of great condescension,
"If you will give me leave, madam, I will warm myself a few minutes at
your kitchen fire, for it is really very cold; but I must insist on
disturbing no one from his seat." This was spoken on account of
Partridge, who had retreated to the other end of the room, struck with
the utmost awe and astonishment at the splendor of the lady's dress.
Indeed, she had a much better title to respect than this; for she was
one of the most beautiful creatures in the world.
The lady earnestly desired Partridge to return to his seat; but could
not prevail. She then pulled off her gloves, and displayed to the fire
two hands, which had every property of snow in them, except that of
melting. Her companion, who was indeed her maid, likewise pulled off
her gloves, and discovered what bore an exact resemblance, in cold and
colour, to a piece of frozen beef.
"I wish, madam," quoth the latter, "your ladyship would not think of
going any farther to-night. I am terribly afraid your ladyship will
not be able to bear the fatigue."
"Why sure," cries the landlady, "her ladyship's honour can never
intend it. O, bless me! farther to-night, indeed! let me beseech your
ladyship not to think on't----But, to be sure, your ladyship can't.
What will your honour be pleased to have for supper? I have mutton of
all kinds, and some nice chicken."
"I think, madam," said the lady, "it would be rather breakfast than
supper; but I can't eat anything; and, if I stay, shall only lie down
for an hour or two. However, if you please, madam, you may get me a
little sack whey, made very small and thin."
"Yes, madam," cries the mistress of the house, "I have some excellent
white wine."--"You have no sack, then?" says the lady. "Yes, an't
please your honour, I have; I may challenge the country for that--but
let me beg your ladyship to eat something."
"Upon my word, I can't eat a morsel," answered the lady; "and I shall
be much obliged to you if you will please to get my apartment ready as
soon as possible; for I am resolved to be on horseback again in three
"Why, Susan," cries the landlady, "is there a fire lit yet in the
Wild-goose? I am sorry, madam, all my best rooms are full. Several
people of the first quality are now in bed. Here's a great young
squire, and many other great gentlefolks of quality." Susan answered,
"That the Irish gentlemen were got into the Wild-goose."
"Was ever anything like it?" says the mistress; "why the devil would
you not keep some of the best rooms for the quality, when you know
scarce a day passes without some calling here?----If they be
gentlemen, I am certain, when they know it is for her ladyship, they
will get up again."
"Not upon my account," says the lady; "I will have no person disturbed
for me. If you have a room that is commonly decent, it will serve me
very well, though it be never so plain. I beg, madam, you will not
give yourself so much trouble on my account." "O, madam!" cries the
other, "I have several very good rooms for that matter, but none good
enough for your honour's ladyship. However, as you are so
condescending to take up with the best I have, do, Susan, get a fire
in the Rose this minute. Will your ladyship be pleased to go up now,
or stay till the fire is lighted?" "I think I have sufficiently warmed
myself," answered the lady; "so, if you please, I will go now; I am
afraid I have kept people, and particularly that gentleman (meaning
Partridge), too long in the cold already. Indeed, I cannot bear to
think of keeping any person from the fire this dreadful weather."--She
then departed with her maid, the landlady marching with two lighted
candles before her.
When that good woman returned, the conversation in the kitchen was all
upon the charms of the young lady. There is indeed in perfect beauty a
power which none almost can withstand; for my landlady, though she was
not pleased at the negative given to the supper, declared she had
never seen so lovely a creature. Partridge ran out into the most
extravagant encomiums on her face, though he could not refrain from
paying some compliments to the gold lace on her habit; the post-boy
sung forth the praises of her goodness, which were likewise echoed by
the other post-boy, who was now come in. "She's a true good lady, I
warrant her," says he; "for she hath mercy upon dumb creatures; for
she asked me every now and tan upon the journey, if I did not think
she should hurt the horses by riding too fast? and when she came in
she charged me to give them as much corn as ever they would eat."
Such charms are there in affability, and so sure is it to attract the
praises of all kinds of people. It may indeed be compared to the
celebrated Mrs Hussey.[*] It is equally sure to set off every female
perfection to the highest advantage, and to palliate and conceal every
defect. A short reflection, which we could not forbear making in this
place, where my reader hath seen the loveliness of an affable
deportment; and truth will now oblige us to contrast it, by showing
[*] A celebrated mantua-maker in the Strand, famous for setting off
the shapes of women.
Containing infallible nostrums for procuring universal disesteem and
The lady had no sooner laid herself on her pillow than the
waiting-woman returned to the kitchen to regale with some of those
dainties which her mistress had refused.
The company, at her entrance, shewed her the same respect which they
had before paid to her mistress, by rising; but she forgot to imitate
her, by desiring them to sit down again. Indeed, it was scarce
possible they should have done so, for she placed her chair in such a
posture as to occupy almost the whole fire. She then ordered a chicken
to be broiled that instant, declaring, if it was not ready in a
quarter of an hour, she would not stay for it. Now, though the said
chicken was then at roost in the stable, and required the several
ceremonies of catching, killing, and picking, before it was brought to
the gridiron, my landlady would nevertheless have undertaken to do all
within the time; but the guest, being unfortunately admitted behind
the scenes, must have been witness to the _fourberie_; the poor woman
was therefore obliged to confess that she had none in the house; "but,
madam," said she, "I can get any kind of mutton in an instant from the
"Do you think, then," answered the waiting-gentlewoman, "that I have
the stomach of a horse, to eat mutton at this time of night? Sure you
people that keep inns imagine your betters are like yourselves.
Indeed, I expected to get nothing at this wretched place. I wonder my
lady would stop at it. I suppose none but tradesmen and grasiers ever
call here." The landlady fired at this indignity offered to her house;
however, she suppressed her temper, and contented herself with saying,
"Very good quality frequented it, she thanked heaven!" "Don't tell
me," cries the other, "of quality! I believe I know more of people of
quality than such as you.--But, prithee, without troubling me with any
of your impertinence, do tell me what I can have for supper; for,
though I cannot eat horse-flesh, I am really hungry." "Why, truly,
madam," answered the landlady, "you could not take me again at such a
disadvantage; for I must confess I have nothing in the house, unless a
cold piece of beef, which indeed a gentleman's footman and the
post-boy have almost cleared to the bone." "Woman," said Mrs Abigail
(so for shortness we will call her), "I entreat you not to make me
sick. If I had fasted a month, I could not eat what had been touched
by the fingers of such fellows. Is there nothing neat or decent to be
had in this horrid place?" "What think you of some eggs and bacon,
madam?" said the landlady. "Are your eggs new laid? are you certain
they were laid to-day? and let me have the bacon cut very nice and
thin; for I can't endure anything that's gross.--Prithee try if you
can do a little tolerably for once, and don't think you have a
farmer's wife, or some of those creatures, in the house."--The
landlady began then to handle her knife; but the other stopt her,
saying, "Good woman, I must insist upon your first washing your hands;
for I am extremely nice, and have been always used from my cradle to
have everything in the most elegant manner."
The landlady, who governed herself with much difficulty, began now the
necessary preparations; for as to Susan, she was utterly rejected, and
with such disdain, that the poor wench was as hard put to it to
restrain her hands from violence as her mistress had been to hold her
tongue. This indeed Susan did not entirely; for, though she literally
kept it within her teeth, yet there it muttered many "marry-come-ups,
as good flesh and blood as yourself;" with other such indignant
While the supper was preparing, Mrs Abigail began to lament she had
not ordered a fire in the parlour; but, she said, that was now too
late. "However," said she, "I have novelty to recommend a kitchen; for
I do not believe I ever eat in one before." Then, turning to the
post-boys, she asked them, "Why they were not in the stable with their
horses? If I must eat my hard fare here, madam," cries she to the
landlady, "I beg the kitchen may be kept clear, that I may not be
surrounded with all the blackguards in town: as for you, sir," says
she to Partridge, "you look somewhat like a gentleman, and may sit
still if you please; I don't desire to disturb anybody but mob."
"Yes, yes, madam," cries Partridge, "I am a gentleman, I do assure
you, and I am not so easily to be disturbed. _Non semper vox casualis
est verbo nominativus_." This Latin she took to be some affront, and
answered, "You may be a gentleman, sir; but you don't show yourself as
one to talk Latin to a woman." Partridge made a gentle reply, and
concluded with more Latin; upon which she tossed up her nose, and
contented herself by abusing him with the name of a great scholar.
The supper being now on the table, Mrs Abigail eat very heartily for
so delicate a person; and, while a second course of the same was by
her order preparing, she said, "And so, madam, you tell me your house
is frequented by people of great quality?"
The landlady answered in the affirmative, saying, "There were a great
many very good quality and gentlefolks in it now. There's young Squire
Allworthy, as that gentleman there knows."
"And pray who is this young gentleman of quality, this young Squire
Allworthy?" said Abigail.
"Who should he be," answered Partridge, "but the son and heir of the
great Squire Allworthy, of Somersetshire!"
"Upon my word," said she, "you tell me strange news; for I know Mr
Allworthy of Somersetshire very well, and I know he hath no son
The landlady pricked up her ears at this, and Partridge looked a
little confounded. However, after a short hesitation, he answered,
"Indeed, madam, it is true, everybody doth not know him to be Squire
Allworthy's son; for he was never married to his mother; but his son
he certainly is, and will be his heir too, as certainly as his name is
Jones." At that word, Abigail let drop the bacon which she was
conveying to her mouth, and cried out, "You surprize me, sir! Is it
possible Mr Jones should be now in the house?" "_Quare non?_" answered
Partridge, "it is possible, and it is certain."
Abigail now made haste to finish the remainder of her meal, and then
repaired back to her mistress, when the conversation passed which may
be read in the next chapter.
Showing who the amiable lady, and her unamiable maid, were.
As in the month of June, the damask rose, which chance hath planted
among the lilies, with their candid hue mixes his vermilion; or as
some playsome heifer in the pleasant month of May diffuses her
odoriferous breath over the flowery meadows; or as, in the blooming
month of April, the gentle, constant dove, perched on some fair bough,
sits meditating on her mate; so, looking a hundred charms and
breathing as many sweets, her thoughts being fixed on her Tommy, with
a heart as good and innocent as her face was beautiful, Sophia (for it
was she herself) lay reclining her lovely head on her hand, when her
maid entered the room, and, running directly to the bed, cried,
"Madam--madam--who doth your ladyship think is in the house?" Sophia,
starting up, cried, "I hope my father hath not overtaken us." "No,
madam, it is one worth a hundred fathers; Mr Jones himself is here at
this very instant." "Mr Jones!" says Sophia, "it is impossible! I
cannot be so fortunate." Her maid averred the fact, and was presently
detached by her mistress to order him to be called; for she said she
was resolved to see him immediately.
Mrs Honour had no sooner left the kitchen in the manner we have before
seen than the landlady fell severely upon her. The poor woman had
indeed been loading her heart with foul language for some time, and
now it scoured out of her mouth, as filth doth from a mud-cart, when
the board which confines it is removed. Partridge likewise shovelled
in his share of calumny, and (what may surprize the reader) not only
bespattered the maid, but attempted to sully the lily-white character
of Sophia herself. "Never a barrel the better herring," cries he,
"_Noscitur a socio_, is a true saying. It must be confessed, indeed,
that the lady in the fine garments is the civiller of the two; but I
warrant neither of them are a bit better than they should be. A couple
of Bath trulls, I'll answer for them; your quality don't ride about at
this time o' night without servants." "Sbodlikins, and that's true,"
cries the landlady, "you have certainly hit upon the very matter; for
quality don't come into a house without bespeaking a supper, whether
they eat or no."
While they were thus discoursing, Mrs Honour returned and discharged
her commission, by bidding the landlady immediately wake Mr Jones, and
tell him a lady wanted to speak with him. The landlady referred her to
Partridge, saying, "he was the squire's friend: but, for her part, she
never called men-folks, especially gentlemen," and then walked
sullenly out of the kitchen. Honour applied herself to Partridge; but
he refused, "for my friend," cries he, "went to bed very late, and he
would be very angry to be disturbed so soon." Mrs Honour insisted
still to have him called, saying, "she was sure, instead of being
angry, that he would be to the highest degree delighted when he knew
the occasion." "Another time, perhaps, he might," cries Partridge;
"but _non omnia possumus omnes_. One woman is enough at once for a
reasonable man." "What do you mean by one woman, fellow?" cries
Honour. "None of your fellow," answered Partridge. He then proceeded
to inform her plainly that Jones was in bed with a wench, and made use
of an expression too indelicate to be here inserted; which so enraged
Mrs Honour, that she called him jackanapes, and returned in a violent
hurry to her mistress, whom she acquainted with the success of her
errand, and with the account she had received; which, if possible, she
exaggerated, being as angry with Jones as if he had pronounced all the
words that came from the mouth of Partridge. She discharged a torrent
of abuse on the master, and advised her mistress to quit all thoughts
of a man who had never shown himself deserving of her. She then ripped
up the story of Molly Seagrim, and gave the most malicious turn to his
formerly quitting Sophia herself; which, I must confess, the present
incident not a little countenanced.
The spirits of Sophia were too much dissipated by concern to enable
her to stop the torrent of her maid. At last, however, she interrupted
her, saying, "I never can believe this; some villain hath belied him.
You say you had it from his friend; but surely it is not the office of
a friend to betray such secrets." "I suppose," cries Honour, "the
fellow is his pimp; for I never saw so ill-looked a villain. Besides,
such profligate rakes as Mr Jones are never ashamed of these matters."
To say the truth, this behaviour of Partridge was a little
inexcusable; but he had not slept off the effect of the dose which he
swallowed the evening before; which had, in the morning, received the
addition of above a pint of wine, or indeed rather of malt spirits;
for the perry was by no means pure. Now, that part of his head which
Nature designed for the reservoir of drink being very shallow, a small
quantity of liquor overflowed it, and opened the sluices of his heart;
so that all the secrets there deposited run out. These sluices were
indeed, naturally, very ill-secured. To give the best-natured turn we
can to his disposition, he was a very honest man; for, as he was the
most inquisitive of mortals, and eternally prying into the secrets of
others, so he very faithfully paid them by communicating, in return,
everything within his knowledge.
While Sophia, tormented with anxiety, knew not what to believe, nor
what resolution to take, Susan arrived with the sack-whey. Mrs Honour
immediately advised her mistress, in a whisper, to pump this wench,
who probably could inform her of the truth. Sophia approved it, and
began as follows: "Come hither, child; now answer me truly what I am
going to ask you, and I promise you I will very well reward you. Is
there a young gentleman in this house, a handsome young gentleman,
that----." Here Sophia blushed and was confounded. "A young
gentleman," cries Honour, "that came hither in company with that saucy
rascal who is now in the kitchen?" Susan answered, "There was."--"Do
you know anything of any lady?" continues Sophia, "any lady? I don't
ask you whether she is handsome or no; perhaps she is not; that's
nothing to the purpose; but do you know of any lady?" "La, madam,"
cries Honour, "you will make a very bad examiner. Hark'ee, child,"
says she, "is not that very young gentleman now in bed with some nasty
trull or other?" Here Susan smiled, and was silent. "Answer the
question, child," says Sophia, "and here's a guinea for you."--"A
guinea! madam," cries Susan; "la, what's a guinea? If my mistress
should know it I shall certainly lose my place that very instant."
"Here's another for you," says Sophia, "and I promise you faithfully
your mistress shall never know it." Susan, after a very short
hesitation, took the money, and told the whole story, concluding with
saying, "If you have any great curiosity, madam, I can steal softly
into his room, and see whether he be in his own bed or no." She
accordingly did this by Sophia's desire, and returned with an answer
in the negative.
Sophia now trembled and turned pale. Mrs Honour begged her to be
comforted, and not to think any more of so worthless a fellow. "Why
there," says Susan, "I hope, madam, your ladyship won't be offended;
but pray, madam, is not your ladyship's name Madam Sophia Western?"
"How is it possible you should know me?" answered Sophia. "Why that
man, that the gentlewoman spoke of, who is in the kitchen, told about
you last night. But I hope your ladyship is not angry with me."
"Indeed, child," said she, "I am not; pray tell me all, and I promise
you I'll reward you." "Why, madam," continued Susan, "that man told us
all in the kitchen that Madam Sophia Western--indeed I don't know how
to bring it out."--Here she stopt, till, having received encouragement
from Sophia, and being vehemently pressed by Mrs Honour, she proceeded
thus:--"He told us, madam, though to be sure it is all a lie, that
your ladyship was dying for love of the young squire, and that he was
going to the wars to get rid of you. I thought to myself then he was a
false-hearted wretch; but, now, to see such a fine, rich, beautiful
lady as you be, forsaken for such an ordinary woman; for to be sure so
she is, and another man's wife into the bargain. It is such a strange
unnatural thing, in a manner."
Sophia gave her a third guinea, and, telling her she would certainly
be her friend if she mentioned nothing of what had passed, nor
informed any one who she was, dismissed the girl, with orders to the
post-boy to get the horses ready immediately.
Being now left alone with her maid, she told her trusty waiting-woman,
"That she never was more easy than at present. I am now convinced,"
said she, "he is not only a villain, but a low despicable wretch. I
can forgive all rather than his exposing my name in so barbarous a
manner. That renders him the object of my contempt. Yes, Honour, I am
now easy; I am indeed; I am very easy;" and then she burst into a
violent flood of tears.
After a short interval spent by Sophia, chiefly in crying, and
assuring her maid that she was perfectly easy, Susan arrived with an
account that the horses were ready, when a very extraordinary thought
suggested itself to our young heroine, by which Mr Jones would be
acquainted with her having been at the inn, in a way which, if any
sparks of affection for her remained in him, would be at least some
punishment for his faults.
The reader will be pleased to remember a little muff, which hath had
the honour of being more than once remembered already in this history.
This muff, ever since the departure of Mr Jones, had been the constant
companion of Sophia by day, and her bedfellow by night; and this muff
she had at this very instant upon her arm; whence she took it off with
great indignation, and, having writ her name with her pencil upon a
piece of paper which she pinned to it, she bribed the maid to convey
it into the empty bed of Mr Jones, in which, if he did not find it,
she charged her to take some method of conveying it before his eyes in
Then, having paid for what Mrs Honour had eaten, in which bill was
included an account for what she herself might have eaten, she mounted
her horse, and, once more assuring her companion that she was
perfectly easy, continued her journey.
Containing, among other things, the ingenuity of Partridge, the
madness of Jones, and the folly of Fitzpatrick.
It was now past five in the morning, and other company began to rise
and come to the kitchen, among whom were the serjeant and the
coachman, who, being thoroughly reconciled, made a libation, or, in
the English phrase, drank a hearty cup together.
In this drinking nothing more remarkable happened than the behaviour
of Partridge, who, when the serjeant drank a health to King George,
repeated only the word King; nor could he be brought to utter more;
for though he was going to fight against his own cause, yet he could
not be prevailed upon to drink against it.
Mr Jones, being now returned to his own bed (but from whence he
returned we must beg to be excused from relating), summoned Partridge
from this agreeable company, who, after a ceremonious preface, having
obtained leave to offer his advice, delivered himself as follows:--
"It is, sir, an old saying, and a true one, that a wise man may
sometimes learn counsel from a fool; I wish, therefore, I might be so
bold as to offer you my advice, which is to return home again, and
leave these _horrida bella_, these bloody wars, to fellows who are
contented to swallow gunpowder, because they have nothing else to eat.
Now, everybody knows your honour wants for nothing at home; when
that's the case, why should any man travel abroad?"
"Partridge," cries Jones, "thou art certainly a coward; I wish,
therefore, thou wouldst return home thyself, and trouble me no more."
"I ask your honour's pardon," cries Partridge; "I spoke on your
account more than my own; for as to me, Heaven knows my circumstances
are bad enough, and I am so far from being afraid, that I value a
pistol, or a blunderbuss, or any such thing, no more than a pop-gun.
Every man must die once, and what signifies the manner how? besides,
perhaps I may come off with the loss only of an arm or a leg. I assure
you, sir, I was never less afraid in my life; and so, if your honour
is resolved to go on, I am resolved to follow you. But, in that case,
I wish I might give my opinion. To be sure, it is a scandalous way of
travelling, for a great gentleman like you to walk afoot. Now here are
two or three good horses in the stable, which the landlord will
certainly make no scruple of trusting you with; but, if he should, I
can easily contrive to take them; and, let the worst come to the
worst, the king would certainly pardon you, as you are going to fight
in his cause."
Now, as the honesty of Partridge was equal to his understanding, and
both dealt only in small matters, he would never have attempted a
roguery of this kind, had he not imagined it altogether safe; for he
was one of those who have more consideration of the gallows than of
the fitness of things; but, in reality, he thought he might have
committed this felony without any danger; for, besides that he doubted
not but the name of Mr Allworthy would sufficiently quiet the
landlord, he conceived they should be altogether safe, whatever turn
affairs might take; as Jones, he imagined, would have friends enough
on one side, and as his friends would as well secure him on the other.
When Mr Jones found that Partridge was in earnest in this proposal, he
very severely rebuked him, and that in such bitter terms, that the
other attempted to laugh it off, and presently turned the discourse to
other matters; saying, he believed they were then in a bawdy house,
and that he had with much ado prevented two wenches from disturbing
his honour in the middle of the night. "Heyday!" says he, "I believe
they got into your chamber whether I would or no; for here lies the
muff of one of them on the ground." Indeed, as Jones returned to his
bed in the dark, he had never perceived the muff on the quilt, and, in
leaping into his bed, he had tumbled it on the floor. This Partridge
now took up, and was going to put into his pocket, when Jones desired
to see it. The muff was so very remarkable, that our heroe might
possibly have recollected it without the information annexed. But his
memory was not put to that hard office; for at the same instant he saw
and read the words Sophia Western upon the paper which was pinned to
it. His looks now grew frantic in a moment, and he eagerly cried out,
"Oh Heavens! how came this muff here?" "I know no more than your
honour," cried Partridge; "but I saw it upon the arm of one of the
women who would have disturbed you, if I would have suffered them."
"Where are they?" cries Jones, jumping out of bed, and laying hold of
his cloaths. "Many miles off, I believe, by this time," said
Partridge. And now Jones, upon further enquiry, was sufficiently
assured that the bearer of this muff was no other than the lovely
The behaviour of Jones on this occasion, his thoughts, his looks, his
words, his actions, were such as beggar all description. After many
bitter execrations on Partridge, and not fewer on himself, he ordered
the poor fellow, who was frightened out of his wits, to run down and
hire him horses at any rate; and a very few minutes afterwards, having
shuffled on his clothes, he hastened down-stairs to execute the orders
himself, which he had just before given.
But before we proceed to what passed on his arrival in the kitchen, it
will be necessary to recur to what had there happened since Partridge
had first left it on his master's summons.
The serjeant was just marched off with his party, when the two Irish
gentlemen arose, and came downstairs; both complaining that they had
been so often waked by the noises in the inn, that they had never once
been able to close their eyes all night.
The coach which had brought the young lady and her maid, and which,
perhaps, the reader may have hitherto concluded was her own, was,
indeed, a returned coach belonging to Mr King, of Bath, one of the
worthiest and honestest men that ever dealt in horse-flesh, and whose
coaches we heartily recommend to all our readers who travel that road.
By which means they may, perhaps, have the pleasure of riding in the
very coach, and being driven by the very coachman, that is recorded in
The coachman, having but two passengers, and hearing Mr Maclachlan was
going to Bath, offered to carry him thither at a very moderate price.
He was induced to this by the report of the hostler, who said that the
horse which Mr Maclachlan had hired from Worcester would be much more
pleased with returning to his friends there than to prosecute a long
journey; for that the said horse was rather a two-legged than a
Mr Maclachlan immediately closed with the proposal of the coachman,
and, at the same time, persuaded his friend Fitzpatrick to accept of
the fourth place in the coach. This conveyance the soreness of his
bones made more agreeable to him than a horse; and, being well assured
of meeting with his wife at Bath, he thought a little delay would be
of no consequence.
Maclachlan, who was much the sharper man of the two, no sooner heard
that this lady came from Chester, with the other circumstances which
he learned from the hostler, than it came into his head that she might
possibly be his friend's wife; and presently acquainted him with this
suspicion, which had never once occurred to Fitzpatrick himself. To
say the truth, he was one of those compositions which nature makes up
in too great a hurry, and forgets to put any brains into their head.
Now it happens to this sort of men, as to bad hounds, who never hit
off a fault themselves; but no sooner doth a dog of sagacity open his
mouth than they immediately do the same, and, without the guidance of
any scent, run directly forwards as fast as they are able. In the same
manner, the very moment Mr Maclachlan had mentioned his apprehension,
Mr Fitzpatrick instantly concurred, and flew directly up-stairs, to
surprize his wife, before he knew where she was; and unluckily (as
Fortune loves to play tricks with those gentlemen who put themselves
entirely under her conduct) ran his head against several doors and
posts to no purpose. Much kinder was she to me, when she suggested
that simile of the hounds, just before inserted; since the poor wife
may, on these occasions, be so justly compared to a hunted hare. Like
that little wretched animal, she pricks up her ears to listen after
the voice of her pursuer; like her, flies away trembling when she
hears it; and, like her, is generally overtaken and destroyed in the
This was not however the case at present; for after a long fruitless
search, Mr Fitzpatrick returned to the kitchen, where, as if this had
been a real chace, entered a gentleman hallowing as hunters do when
the hounds are at a fault. He was just alighted from his horse, and
had many attendants at his heels.
Here, reader, it may be necessary to acquaint thee with some matters,
which, if thou dost know already, thou art wiser than I take thee to
be. And this information thou shalt receive in the next chapter.
In which are concluded the adventures that happened at the inn at
In the first place, then, this gentleman just arrived was no other
person than Squire Western himself, who was come hither in pursuit of
his daughter; and, had he fortunately been two hours earlier, he had
not only found her, but his niece into the bargain; for such was the
wife of Mr Fitzpatrick, who had run away with her five years before,
out of the custody of that sage lady, Madam Western.
Now this lady had departed from the inn much about the same time with
Sophia; for, having been waked by the voice of her husband, she had
sent up for the landlady, and being by her apprized of the matter, had
bribed the good woman, at an extravagant price, to furnish her with
horses for her escape. Such prevalence had money in this family; and
though the mistress would have turned away her maid for a corrupt
hussy, if she had known as much as the reader, yet she was no more
proof against corruption herself than poor Susan had been.
Mr Western and his nephew were not known to one another; nor indeed
would the former have taken any notice of the latter if he had known
him; for, this being a stolen match, and consequently an unnatural one
in the opinion of the good squire, he had, from the time of her
committing it, abandoned the poor young creature, who was then no more
than eighteen, as a monster, and had never since suffered her to be
named in his presence.
The kitchen was now a scene of universal confusion, Western enquiring
after his daughter, and Fitzpatrick as eagerly after his wife, when
Jones entered the room, unfortunately having Sophia's muff in his
As soon as Western saw Jones, he set up the same holla as is used by
sportsmen when their game is in view. He then immediately run up and
laid hold of Jones, crying, "We have got the dog fox, I warrant the
bitch is not far off." The jargon which followed for some minutes,
where many spoke different things at the same time, as it would be
very difficult to describe, so would it be no less unpleasant to read.
Jones having, at length, shaken Mr Western off, and some of the
company having interfered between them, our heroe protested his
innocence as to knowing anything of the lady; when Parson Supple
stepped up, and said, "It is folly to deny it; for why, the marks of
guilt are in thy hands. I will myself asseverate and bind it by an
oath, that the muff thou bearest in thy hand belongeth unto Madam
Sophia; for I have frequently observed her, of later days, to bear it
about her." "My daughter's muff!" cries the squire in a rage. "Hath he
got my daughter's muff? bear witness the goods are found upon him.
I'll have him before a justice of peace this instant. Where is my
daughter, villain?" "Sir," said Jones, "I beg you would be pacified.
The muff, I acknowledge, is the young lady's; but, upon my honour, I
have never seen her." At these words Western lost all patience, and
grew inarticulate with rage.
Some of the servants had acquainted Fitzpatrick who Mr Western was.
The good Irishman, therefore, thinking he had now an opportunity to do
an act of service to his uncle, and by that means might possibly
obtain his favour, stept up to Jones, and cried out, "Upon my
conscience, sir, you may be ashamed of denying your having seen the
gentleman's daughter before my face, when you know I found you there
upon the bed together." Then, turning to Western, he offered to
conduct him immediately to the room where his daughter was; which
offer being accepted, he, the squire, the parson, and some others,
ascended directly to Mrs Waters's chamber, which they entered with no
less violence than Mr Fitzpatrick had done before.
The poor lady started from her sleep with as much amazement as terror,
and beheld at her bedside a figure which might very well be supposed
to have escaped out of Bedlam. Such wildness and confusion were in the
looks of Mr Western; who no sooner saw the lady than he started back,
shewing sufficiently by his manner, before he spoke, that this was not
the person sought after.
So much more tenderly do women value their reputation than their
persons, that, though the latter seemed now in more danger than
before, yet, as the former was secure, the lady screamed not with such
violence as she had done on the other occasion. However, she no sooner
found herself alone than she abandoned all thoughts of further repose;
and, as she had sufficient reason to be dissatisfied with her present
lodging, she dressed herself with all possible expedition.
Mr Western now proceeded to search the whole house, but to as little
purpose as he had disturbed poor Mrs Waters. He then returned
disconsolate into the kitchen, where he found Jones in the custody of
This violent uproar had raised all the people in the house, though it
was yet scarcely daylight. Among these was a grave gentleman, who had
the honour to be in the commission of the peace for the county of
Worcester. Of which Mr Western was no sooner informed than he offered
to lay his complaint before him. The justice declined executing his
office, as he said he had no clerk present, nor no book about justice
business; and that he could not carry all the law in his head about
stealing away daughters, and such sort of things.
Here Mr Fitzpatrick offered to lend him his assistance, informing the
company that he had been himself bred to the law. (And indeed he had
served three years as clerk to an attorney in the north of Ireland,
when, chusing a genteeler walk in life, he quitted his master, came
over to England, and set up that business which requires no
apprenticeship, namely, that of a gentleman, in which he had
succeeded, as hath been already partly mentioned.)
Mr Fitzpatrick declared that the law concerning daughters was out of
the present case; that stealing a muff was undoubtedly felony, and the
goods being found upon the person, were sufficient evidence of the
The magistrate, upon the encouragement of so learned a coadjutor, and
upon the violent intercession of the squire, was at length prevailed
upon to seat himself in the chair of justice, where being placed, upon
viewing the muff which Jones still held in his hand, and upon the
parson's swearing it to be the property of Mr Western, he desired Mr
Fitzpatrick to draw up a commitment, which he said he would sign.
Jones now desired to be heard, which was at last, with difficulty,
granted him. He then produced the evidence of Mr Partridge, as to the
finding it; but, what was still more, Susan deposed that Sophia
herself had delivered the muff to her, and had ordered her to convey
it into the chamber where Mr Jones had found it.
Whether a natural love of justice, or the extraordinary comeliness of
Jones, had wrought on Susan to make the discovery, I will not
determine; but such were the effects of her evidence, that the
magistrate, throwing himself back in his chair, declared that the
matter was now altogether as clear on the side of the prisoner as it
had before been against him: with which the parson concurred, saying,
the Lord forbid he should be instrumental in committing an innocent
person to durance. The justice then arose, acquitted the prisoner, and
broke up the court.
Mr Western now gave every one present a hearty curse, and, immediately
ordering his horses, departed in pursuit of his daughter, without
taking the least notice of his nephew Fitzpatrick, or returning any
answer to his claim of kindred, notwithstanding all the obligations he
had just received from that gentleman. In the violence, moreover, of
his hurry, and of his passion, he luckily forgot to demand the muff of
Jones: I say luckily; for he would have died on the spot rather than
have parted with it.
Jones likewise, with his friend Partridge, set forward the moment he
had paid his reckoning, in quest of his lovely Sophia, whom he now
resolved never more to abandon the pursuit of. Nor could he bring
himself even to take leave of Mrs Waters; of whom he detested the very
thoughts, as she had been, though not designedly, the occasion of his
missing the happiest interview with Sophia, to whom he now vowed
As for Mrs Waters, she took the opportunity of the coach which was
going to Bath; for which place she set out in company with the two
Irish gentlemen, the landlady kindly lending her her cloaths; in
return for which she was contented only to receive about double their
value, as a recompence for the loan. Upon the road she was perfectly
reconciled to Mr Fitzpatrick, who was a very handsome fellow, and
indeed did all she could to console him in the absence of his wife.
Thus ended the many odd adventures which Mr Jones encountered at his
inn at Upton, where they talk, to this day, of the beauty and lovely
behaviour of the charming Sophia, by the name of the Somersetshire
In which the history goes backward.
Before we proceed any farther in our history, it may be proper to look
a little back, in order to account for the extraordinary appearance of
Sophia and her father at the inn at Upton.
The reader may be pleased to remember that, in the ninth chapter of
the seventh book of our history, we left Sophia, after a long debate
between love and duty, deciding the cause, as it usually, I believe,
happens, in favour of the former.
This debate had arisen, as we have there shown, from a visit which her
father had just before made her, in order to force her consent to a
marriage with Blifil; and which he had understood to be fully implied
in her acknowledgment "that she neither must nor could refuse any
absolute command of his."
Now from this visit the squire retired to his evening potation,
overjoyed at the success he had gained with his daughter; and, as he
was of a social disposition, and willing to have partakers in his
happiness, the beer was ordered to flow very liberally into the
kitchen; so that before eleven in the evening there was not a single
person sober in the house except only Mrs Western herself and the
Early in the morning a messenger was despatched to summon Mr Blifil;
for, though the squire imagined that young gentleman had been much
less acquainted than he really was with the former aversion of his
daughter, as he had not, however, yet received her consent, he longed
impatiently to communicate it to him, not doubting but that the
intended bride herself would confirm it with her lips. As to the
wedding, it had the evening before been fixed, by the male parties, to
be celebrated on the next morning save one.
Breakfast was now set forth in the parlour, where Mr Blifil attended,
and where the squire and his sister likewise were assembled; and now
Sophia was ordered to be called.
O, Shakespear! had I thy pen! O, Hogarth! had I thy pencil! then would
I draw the picture of the poor serving-man, who, with pale
countenance, staring eyes, chattering teeth, faultering tongue, and
(E'en such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtains in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd)
entered the room, and declared--That Madam Sophia was not to be found.
"Not to be found!" cries the squire, starting from his chair; "Zounds
and d--nation! Blood and fury! Where, when, how, what--Not to be
"La! brother," said Mrs Western, with true political coldness, "you
are always throwing yourself into such violent passions for nothing.
My niece, I suppose, is only walked out into the garden. I protest you
are grown so unreasonable, that it is impossible to live in the house
"Nay, nay," answered the squire, returning as suddenly to himself, as
he had gone from himself; "if that be all the matter, it signifies not
much; but, upon my soul, my mind misgave me when the fellow said she
was not to be found." He then gave orders for the bell to be rung in
the garden, and sat himself contentedly down.
No two things could be more the reverse of each other than were the
brother and sister in most instances; particularly in this, That as
the brother never foresaw anything at a distance, but was most
sagacious in immediately seeing everything the moment it had happened;
so the sister eternally foresaw at a distance, but was not so
quick-sighted to objects before her eyes. Of both these the reader may
have observed examples: and, indeed, both their several talents were
excessive; for, as the sister often foresaw what never came to pass,
so the brother often saw much more than was actually the truth.
This was not however the case at present. The same report was brought
from the garden as before had been brought from the chamber, that
Madam Sophia was not to be found.
The squire himself now sallied forth, and began to roar forth the name
of Sophia as loudly, and in as hoarse a voice, as whilome did Hercules
that of Hylas; and, as the poet tells us that the whole shore echoed
back the name of that beautiful youth, so did the house, the garden,
and all the neighbouring fields resound nothing but the name of
Sophia, in the hoarse voices of the men, and in the shrill pipes of
the women; while echo seemed so pleased to repeat the beloved sound,
that, if there is really such a person, I believe Ovid hath belied her
Nothing reigned for a long time but confusion; till at last the
squire, having sufficiently spent his breath, returned to the parlour,
where he found Mrs Western and Mr Blifil, and threw himself, with the
utmost dejection in his countenance, into a great chair.
Here Mrs Western began to apply the following consolation:
"Brother, I am sorry for what hath happened; and that my niece should
have behaved herself in a manner so unbecoming her family; but it is
all your own doings, and you have nobody to thank but yourself. You
know she hath been educated always in a manner directly contrary to my
advice, and now you see the consequence. Have I not a thousand times
argued with you about giving my niece her own will? But you know I
never could prevail upon you; and when I had taken so much pains to
eradicate her headstrong opinions, and to rectify your errors in
policy, you know she was taken out of my hands; so that I have nothing
to answer for. Had I been trusted entirely with the care of her
education, no such accident as this had ever befallen you; so that you
must comfort yourself by thinking it was all your own doing; and,
indeed, what else could be expected from such indulgence?"
"Zounds! sister," answered he, "you are enough to make one mad. Have I
indulged her? Have I given her her will?----It was no longer ago than
last night that I threatened, if she disobeyed me, to confine her to
her chamber upon bread and water as long as she lived.----You would
provoke the patience of Job."
"Did ever mortal hear the like?" replied she. "Brother, if I had not
the patience of fifty Jobs, you would make me forget all decency and
decorum. Why would you interfere? Did I not beg you, did I not intreat
you, to leave the whole conduct to me? You have defeated all the
operations of the campaign by one false step. Would any man in his
senses have provoked a daughter by such threats as these? How often
have I told you that English women are not to be treated like
Ciracessian[*] slaves. We have the protection of the world; we are to
be won by gentle means only, and not to be hectored, and bullied, and
beat into compliance. I thank Heaven no Salique law governs here.
Brother, you have a roughness in your manner which no woman but myself
would bear. I do not wonder my niece was frightened and terrified into
taking this measure; and, to speak honestly, I think my niece will be
justified to the world for what she hath done. I repeat it to you
again, brother, you must comfort yourself by rememb'ring that it is
all your own fault. How often have I advised--" Here Western rose
hastily from his chair, and, venting two or three horrid imprecations,
ran out of the room.
[*] Possibly Circassian.
When he was departed, his sister expressed more bitterness (if
possible) against him than she had done while he was present; for the
truth of which she appealed to Mr Blifil, who, with great complacence,
acquiesced entirely in all she said; but excused all the faults of Mr
Western, "as they must be considered," he said, "to have proceeded
from the too inordinate fondness of a father, which must be allowed
the name of an amiable weakness." "So much the more inexcuseable,"
answered the lady; "for whom doth he ruin by his fondness but his own
child?" To which Blifil immediately agreed.
Mrs Western then began to express great confusion on the account of Mr
Blifil, and of the usage which he had received from a family to which
he intended so much honour. On this subject she treated the folly of
her niece with great severity; but concluded with throwing the whole
on her brother, who, she said, was inexcuseable to have proceeded so
far without better assurances of his daughter's consent: "But he was
(says she) always of a violent, headstrong temper; and I can scarce
forgive myself for all the advice I have thrown away upon him."
After much of this kind of conversation, which, perhaps, would not
greatly entertain the reader, was it here particularly related, Mr
Blifil took his leave and returned home, not highly pleased with his
disappointment: which, however, the philosophy which he had acquired
from Square, and the religion infused into him by Thwackum, together
with somewhat else, taught him to bear rather better than more
passionate lovers bear these kinds of evils.
The escape of Sophia.
It is now time to look after Sophia; whom the reader, if he loves her
half so well as I do, will rejoice to find escaped from the clutches
of her passionate father, and from those of her dispassionate lover.
Twelve times did the iron register of time beat on the sonorous
bell-metal, summoning the ghosts to rise and walk their nightly
round.----In plainer language, it was twelve o'clock, and all the
family, as we have said, lay buried in drink and sleep, except only
Mrs Western, who was deeply engaged in reading a political pamphlet,
and except our heroine, who now softly stole down-stairs, and, having
unbarred and unlocked one of the house-doors, sallied forth, and
hastened to the place of appointment.
Notwithstanding the many pretty arts which ladies sometimes practise,
to display their fears on every little occasion (almost as many as the
other sex uses to conceal theirs), certainly there is a degree of
courage which not only becomes a woman, but is often necessary to
enable her to discharge her duty. It is, indeed, the idea of
fierceness, and not of bravery, which destroys the female character;
for who can read the story of the justly celebrated Arria without
conceiving as high an opinion of her gentleness and tenderness as of
her fortitude? At the same time, perhaps, many a woman who shrieks at
a mouse, or a rat, may be capable of poisoning a husband; or, what is
worse, of driving him to poison himself.
Sophia, with all the gentleness which a woman can have, had all the
spirit which she ought to have. When, therefore, she came to the place
of appointment, and, instead of meeting her maid, as was agreed, saw a
man ride directly up to her, she neither screamed out nor fainted
away: not that her pulse then beat with its usual regularity; for she
was, at first, under some surprize and apprehension: but these were
relieved almost as soon as raised, when the man, pulling off his hat,
asked her, in a very submissive manner, "If her ladyship did not
expect to meet another lady?" and then proceeded to inform her that he
was sent to conduct her to that lady.
Sophia could have no possible suspicion of any falsehood in this
account: she therefore mounted resolutely behind the fellow, who
conveyed her safe to a town about five miles distant, where she had
the satisfaction of finding the good Mrs Honour: for, as the soul of
the waiting-woman was wrapt up in those very habiliments which used to
enwrap her body, she could by no means bring herself to trust them out
of her sight. Upon these, therefore, she kept guard in person, while
she detached the aforesaid fellow after her mistress, having given him
all proper instructions.
They now debated what course to take, in order to avoid the pursuit of
Mr Western, who they knew would send after them in a few hours. The
London road had such charms for Honour, that she was desirous of going
on directly; alleging that, as Sophia could not be missed till eight
or nine the next morning, her pursuers would not be able to overtake
her, even though they knew which way she had gone. But Sophia had too
much at stake to venture anything to chance; nor did she dare trust
too much to her tender limbs, in a contest which was to be decided
only by swiftness. She resolved, therefore, to travel across the
country, for at least twenty or thirty miles, and then to take the
direct road to London. So, having hired horses to go twenty miles one
way, when she intended to go twenty miles the other, she set forward
with the same guide behind whom she had ridden from her father's
house; the guide having now taken up behind him, in the room of
Sophia, a much heavier, as well as much less lovely burden; being,
indeed, a huge portmanteau, well stuffed with those outside ornaments,
by means of which the fair Honour hoped to gain many conquests, and,
finally, to make her fortune in London city.
When they had gone about two hundred paces from the inn on the London
road, Sophia rode up to the guide, and, with a voice much fuller of
honey than was ever that of Plato, though his mouth is supposed to
have been a bee-hive, begged him to take the first turning which led
Reader, I am not superstitious, nor any great believer of modern
miracles. I do not, therefore, deliver the following as a certain
truth; for, indeed, I can scarce credit it myself: but the fidelity of
an historian obliges me to relate what hath been confidently asserted.
The horse, then, on which the guide rode, is reported to have been so
charmed by Sophia's voice, that he made a full stop, and expressed an
unwillingness to proceed any farther.
Perhaps, however, the fact may be true, and less miraculous than it
hath been represented; since the natural cause seems adequate to the
effect: for, as the guide at that moment desisted from a constant
application of his armed right heel (for, like Hudibras, he wore but
one spur), it is more than possible that this omission alone might
occasion the beast to stop, especially as this was very frequent with
him at other times.
But if the voice of Sophia had really an effect on the horse, it had
very little on the rider. He answered somewhat surlily, "That measter
had ordered him to go a different way, and that he should lose his
place if he went any other than that he was ordered."
Sophia, finding all her persuasions had no effect, began now to add
irresistible charms to her voice; charms which, according to the
proverb, makes the old mare trot, instead of standing still; charms!
to which modern ages have attributed all that irresistible force which
the antients imputed to perfect oratory. In a word, she promised she
would reward him to his utmost expectation.
The lad was not totally deaf to these promises; but he disliked their
being indefinite; for, though perhaps he had never heard that word,
yet that, in fact, was his objection. He said, "Gentlevolks did not
consider the case of poor volks; that he had like to have been turned
away the other day, for riding about the country with a gentleman from
Squire Allworthy's, who did not reward him as he should have done."
"With whom?" says Sophia eagerly. "With a gentleman from Squire
Allworthy's," repeated the lad; "the squire's son, I think they call
'un."--"Whither? which way did he go?" says Sophia.--"Why, a little o'
one side o' Bristol, about twenty miles off," answered the
lad.--"Guide me," says Sophia, "to the same place, and I'll give thee
a guinea, or two, if one is not sufficient."--"To be certain," said
the boy, "it is honestly worth two, when your ladyship considers what
a risk I run; but, however, if your ladyship will promise me the two
guineas, I'll e'en venture: to be certain it is a sinful thing to ride
about my measter's horses; but one comfort is, I can only be turned
away, and two guineas will partly make me amends."
The bargain being thus struck, the lad turned aside into the Bristol
road, and Sophia set forward in pursuit of Jones, highly contrary to
the remonstrances of Mrs Honour, who had much more desire to see London
than to see Mr Jones: for indeed she was not his friend with her
mistress, as he had been guilty of some neglect in certain pecuniary
civilities, which are by custom due to the waiting-gentlewoman in all
love affairs, and more especially in those of a clandestine kind. This
we impute rather to the carelessness of his temper than to any want of
generosity; but perhaps she derived it from the latter motive. Certain
it is that she hated him very bitterly on that account, and resolved to
take every opportunity of injuring him with her mistress. It was
therefore highly unlucky for her, that she had gone to the very same
town and inn whence Jones had started, and still more unlucky was she
in having stumbled on the same guide, and on this accidental discovery
which Sophia had made.
Our travellers arrived at Hambrook[*] at the break of day, where
Honour was against her will charged to enquire the route which Mr
Jones had taken. Of this, indeed, the guide himself could have
informed them; but Sophia, I know not for what reason, never asked him
[*] This was the village where Jones met the Quaker.
When Mrs Honour had made her report from the landlord, Sophia, with
much difficulty, procured some indifferent horses, which brought her
to the inn where Jones had been confined rather by the misfortune of
meeting with a surgeon than by having met with a broken head.
Here Honour, being again charged with a commission of enquiry, had no
sooner applied herself to the landlady, and had described the person
of Mr Jones, than that sagacious woman began, in the vulgar phrase, to
smell a rat. When Sophia therefore entered the room, instead of
answering the maid, the landlady, addressing herself to the mistress,
began the following speech: "Good lack-a-day! why there now, who would
have thought it? I protest the loveliest couple that ever eye beheld.
I-fackins, madam, it is no wonder the squire run on so about your
ladyship. He told me indeed you was the finest lady in the world, and
to be sure so you be. Mercy on him, poor heart! I bepitied him, so I
did, when he used to hug his pillow, and call it his dear Madam
Sophia. I did all I could to dissuade him from going to the wars: I
told him there were men enow that were good for nothing else but to be
killed, that had not the love of such fine ladies." "Sure," says
Sophia, "the good woman is distracted." "No, no," cries the landlady,
"I am not distracted. What, doth your ladyship think I don't know
then? I assure you he told me all." "What saucy fellow," cries Honour,
"told you anything of my lady?" "No saucy fellow," answered the
landlady, "but the young gentleman you enquired after, and a very
pretty young gentleman he is, and he loves Madam Sophia Western to the
bottom of his soul." "He love my lady! I'd have you to know, woman,
she is meat for his master."--"Nay, Honour," said Sophia, interrupting
her, "don't be angry with the good woman; she intends no harm." "No,
marry, don't I," answered the landlady, emboldened by the soft accents
of Sophia; and then launched into a long narrative too tedious to be
here set down, in which some passages dropt that gave a little offence
to Sophia, and much more to her waiting-woman, who hence took occasion
to abuse poor Jones to her mistress the moment they were alone
together, saying, "that he must be a very pitiful fellow, and could
have no love for a lady, whose name he would thus prostitute in an
Sophia did not see his behaviour in so very disadvantageous a light,
and was perhaps more pleased with the violent raptures of his love
(which the landlady exaggerated as much as she had done every other
circumstance) than she was offended with the rest; and indeed she
imputed the whole to the extravagance, or rather ebullience, of his
passion, and to the openness of his heart.
This incident, however, being afterwards revived in her mind, and
placed in the most odious colours by Honour, served to heighten and
give credit to those unlucky occurrences at Upton, and assisted the
waiting-woman in her endeavours to make her mistress depart from that
inn without seeing Jones.
The landlady finding Sophia intended to stay no longer than till her
horses were ready, and that without either eating or drinking, soon
withdrew; when Honour began to take her mistress to task (for indeed
she used great freedom), and after a long harangue, in which she
reminded her of her intention to go to London, and gave frequent hints
of the impropriety of pursuing a young fellow, she at last concluded
with this serious exhortation: "For heaven's sake, madam, consider
what you are about, and whither you are going."
This advice to a lady who had already rode near forty miles, and in no
very agreeable season, may seem foolish enough. It may be supposed she
had well considered and resolved this already; nay, Mrs Honour, by the
hints she threw out, seemed to think so; and this I doubt not is the
opinion of many readers, who have, I make no doubt, been long since
well convinced of the purpose of our heroine, and have heartily
condemned her for it as a wanton baggage.
But in reality this was not the case. Sophia had been lately so
distracted between hope and fear, her duty and love to her father, her
hatred to Blifil, her compassion, and (why should we not confess the
truth?) her love for Jones; which last the behaviour of her father, of
her aunt, of every one else, and more particularly of Jones himself,
had blown into a flame, that her mind was in that confused state which
may be truly said to make us ignorant of what we do, or whither we go,
or rather, indeed, indifferent as to the consequence of either.
The prudent and sage advice of her maid produced, however, some cool
reflection; and she at length determined to go to Gloucester, and
thence to proceed directly to London.
But, unluckily, a few miles before she entered that town, she met the
hack-attorney, who, as is before mentioned, had dined there with Mr
Jones. This fellow, being well known to Mrs Honour, stopt and spoke to
her; of which Sophia at that time took little notice, more than to
enquire who he was.
But, having had a more particular account from Honour of this man
afterwards at Gloucester, and hearing of the great expedition he
usually made in travelling, for which (as hath been before observed)
he was particularly famous; recollecting, likewise, that she had
overheard Mrs Honour inform him that they were going to Gloucester,
she began to fear lest her father might, by this fellow's means, be
able to trace her to that city; wherefore, if she should there strike
into the London road, she apprehended he would certainly be able to
overtake her. She therefore altered her resolution; and, having hired
horses to go a week's journey a way which she did not intend to
travel, she again set forward after a light refreshment, contrary to
the desire and earnest entreaties of her maid, and to the no less
vehement remonstrances of Mrs Whitefield, who, from good breeding, or
perhaps from good nature (for the poor young lady appeared much
fatigued), pressed her very heartily to stay that evening at
Having refreshed herself only with some tea, and with lying about two
hours on the bed, while her horses were getting ready, she resolutely
left Mrs Whitefield's about eleven at night, and, striking directly
into the Worcester road, within less than four hours arrived at that
very inn where we last saw her.
Having thus traced our heroine very particularly back from her
departure, till her arrival at Upton, we shall in a very few words
bring her father to the same place; who, having received the first
scent from the post-boy, who conducted his daughter to Hambrook, very
easily traced her afterwards to Gloucester; whence he pursued her to
Upton, as he had learned Mr Jones had taken that route (for Partridge,
to use the squire's expression, left everywhere a strong scent behind
him), and he doubted not in the least but Sophia travelled, or, as he
phrased it, ran, the same way. He used indeed a very coarse
expression, which need not be here inserted; as fox-hunters, who alone
will understand it, will easily suggest it to themselves.
CONTAINING ABOUT THREE DAYS.
A crust for the critics.
In our last initial chapter we may be supposed to have treated that
formidable set of men who are called critics with more freedom than
becomes us; since they exact, and indeed generally receive, great
condescension from authors. We shall in this, therefore, give the
reasons of our conduct to this august body; and here we shall,
perhaps, place them in a light in which they have not hitherto been
This word critic is of Greek derivation, and signifies judgment. Hence
I presume some persons who have not understood the original, and have
seen the English translation of the primitive, have concluded that it
meant judgment in the legal sense, in which it is frequently used as
equivalent to condemnation.
I am the rather inclined to be of that opinion, as the greatest number
of critics hath of late years been found amongst the lawyers. Many of
these gentlemen, from despair, perhaps, of ever rising to the bench in
Westminster-hall, have placed themselves on the benches at the
playhouse, where they have exerted their judicial capacity, and have
given judgment, _i.e._, condemned without mercy.
The gentlemen would, perhaps, be well enough pleased, if we were to
leave them thus compared to one of the most important and honourable
offices in the commonwealth, and, if we intended to apply to their
favour, we would do so; but, as we design to deal very sincerely and
plainly too with them, we must remind them of another officer of
justice of a much lower rank; to whom, as they not only pronounce, but
execute, their own judgment, they bear likewise some remote
But in reality there is another light, in which these modern critics
may, with great justice and propriety, be seen; and this is that of a
common slanderer. If a person who prys into the characters of others,
with no other design but to discover their faults, and to publish them
to the world, deserves the title of a slanderer of the reputations of
men, why should not a critic, who reads with the same malevolent view,
be as properly stiled the slanderer of the reputation of books?
Vice hath not, I believe, a more abject slave; society produces not a
more odious vermin; nor can the devil receive a guest more worthy of
him, nor possibly more welcome to him, than a slanderer. The world, I
am afraid, regards not this monster with half the abhorrence which he
deserves; and I am more afraid to assign the reason of this criminal
lenity shown towards him; yet it is certain that the thief looks
innocent in the comparison; nay, the murderer himself can seldom stand
in competition with his guilt: for slander is a more cruel weapon than
a sword, as the wounds which the former gives are always incurable.
One method, indeed, there is of killing, and that the basest and most
execrable of all, which bears an exact analogy to the vice here
disclaimed against, and that is poison: a means of revenge so base,
and yet so horrible, that it was once wisely distinguished by our laws
from all other murders, in the peculiar severity of the punishment.
Besides the dreadful mischiefs done by slander, and the baseness of
the means by which they are effected, there are other circumstances
that highly aggravate its atrocious quality; for it often proceeds
from no provocation, and seldom promises itself any reward, unless
some black and infernal mind may propose a reward in the thoughts of
having procured the ruin and misery of another.
Shakespear hath nobly touched this vice, when he says--
"Who steals my purse steals trash; 't is something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and hath been slave to thousands:
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that WHICH NOT ENRICHES HIM,
BUT MAKES ME POOR INDEED."
With all this my good reader will doubtless agree; but much of it will
probably seem too severe, when applied to the slanderer of books. But
let it here be considered that both proceed from the same wicked
disposition of mind, and are alike void of the excuse of temptation.
Nor shall we conclude the injury done this way to be very slight, when
we consider a book as the author's offspring, and indeed as the child
of his brain.
The reader who hath suffered his muse to continue hitherto in a virgin
state can have but a very inadequate idea of this kind of paternal
fondness. To such we may parody the tender exclamation of Macduff,
"Alas! Thou hast written no book." But the author whose muse hath
brought forth will feel the pathetic strain, perhaps will accompany me
with tears (especially if his darling be already no more), while I
mention the uneasiness with which the big muse bears about her burden,
the painful labour with which she produces it, and, lastly, the care,
the fondness, with which the tender father nourishes his favourite,
till it be brought to maturity, and produced into the world.
Nor is there any paternal fondness which seems less to savour of
absolute instinct, and which may so well be reconciled to worldly
wisdom, as this. These children may most truly be called the riches of
their father; and many of them have with true filial piety fed their
parent in his old age: so that not only the affection, but the
interest, of the author may be highly injured by these slanderers,
whose poisonous breath brings his book to an untimely end.
Lastly, the slander of a book is, in truth, the slander of the author:
for, as no one can call another bastard, without calling the mother a
whore, so neither can any one give the names of sad stuff, horrid
nonsense, &c., to a book, without calling the author a blockhead;
which, though in a moral sense it is a preferable appellation to that
of villain, is perhaps rather more injurious to his worldly interest.
Now, however ludicrous all this may appear to some, others, I doubt
not, will feel and acknowledge the truth of it; nay, may, perhaps,
think I have not treated the subject with decent solemnity; but surely
a man may speak truth with a smiling countenance. In reality, to
depreciate a book maliciously, or even wantonly, is at least a very
ill-natured office; and a morose snarling critic may, I believe, be
suspected to be a bad man.
I will therefore endeavour, in the remaining part of this chapter, to
explain the marks of this character, and to show what criticism I here
intend to obviate: for I can never be understood, unless by the very
persons here meant, to insinuate that there are no proper judges of
writing, or to endeavour to exclude from the commonwealth of
literature any of those noble critics to whose labours the learned
world are so greatly indebted. Such were Aristotle, Horace, and
Longinus, among the antients, Dacier and Bossu among the French, and
some perhaps among us; who have certainly been duly authorised to
execute at least a judicial authority _in foro literario_.
But without ascertaining all the proper qualifications of a critic,
which I have touched on elsewhere, I think I may very boldly object to
the censures of any one past upon works which he hath not himself
read. Such censurers as these, whether they speak from their own guess
or suspicion, or from the report and opinion of others, may properly
be said to slander the reputation of the book they condemn.
Such may likewise be suspected of deserving this character, who,
without assigning any particular faults, condemn the whole in general
defamatory terms; such as vile, dull, d--d stuff, &c., and
particularly by the use of the monosyllable low; a word which becomes
the mouth of no critic who is not RIGHT HONOURABLE.
Again, though there may be some faults justly assigned in the work,
yet, if those are not in the most essential parts, or if they are
compensated by greater beauties, it will savour rather of the malice
of a slanderer than of the judgment of a true critic to pass a severe
sentence upon the whole, merely on account of some vicious part. This
is directly contrary to the sentiments of Horace:
_Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendor maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura----_
But where the beauties, more in number, shine,
I am not angry, when a casual line
(That with some trivial faults unequal flows)
A careless hand or human frailty shows.--MR FRANCIS.