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The History of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding

Part 14 out of 18

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notwithstanding all she had said against him, was now so well bred to
behave with great civility. This meeting proved indeed a lucky
circumstance, as he communicated to her the house where he lodged,
with which Sophia was unacquainted.

Chapter xii.

In which the thirteenth book is concluded.

The elegant Lord Shaftesbury somewhere objects to telling too much
truth: by which it may be fairly inferred, that, in some cases, to lie
is not only excusable but commendable.

And surely there are no persons who may so properly challenge a right
to this commendable deviation from truth, as young women in the affair
of love; for which they may plead precept, education, and above all,
the sanction, nay, I may say the necessity of custom, by which they
are restrained, not from submitting to the honest impulses of nature
(for that would be a foolish prohibition), but from owning them.

We are not, therefore, ashamed to say, that our heroine now pursued
the dictates of the above-mentioned right honourable philosopher. As
she was perfectly satisfied then, that Lady Bellaston was ignorant of
the person of Jones, so she determined to keep her in that ignorance,
though at the expense of a little fibbing.

Jones had not been long gone, before Lady Bellaston cryed, "Upon my
word, a good pretty young fellow; I wonder who he is; for I don't
remember ever to have seen his face before."

"Nor I neither, madam," cries Sophia. "I must say he behaved very
handsomely in relation to my note."

"Yes; and he is a very handsome fellow," said the lady: "don't you
think so?"

"I did not take much notice of him," answered Sophia, "but I thought
he seemed rather awkward, and ungenteel than otherwise."

"You are extremely right," cries Lady Bellaston: "you may see, by his
manner, that he hath not kept good company. Nay, notwithstanding his
returning your note, and refusing the reward, I almost question
whether he is a gentleman.----I have always observed there is a
something in persons well born, which others can never acquire.----I
think I will give orders not to be at home to him."

"Nay, sure, madam," answered Sophia, "one can't suspect after what he
hath done;--besides, if your ladyship observed him, there was an
elegance in his discourse, a delicacy, a prettiness of expression
that, that----"

"I confess," said Lady Bellaston, "the fellow hath words----And
indeed, Sophia, you must forgive me, indeed you must."

"I forgive your ladyship!" said Sophia.

"Yes, indeed you must," answered she, laughing; "for I had a horrible
suspicion when I first came into the room----I vow you must forgive
it; but I suspected it was Mr Jones himself."

"Did your ladyship, indeed?" cries Sophia, blushing, and affecting a

"Yes, I vow I did," answered she. "I can't imagine what put it into my
head: for, give the fellow his due, he was genteely drest; which, I
think, dear Sophy, is not commonly the case with your friend."

"This raillery," cries Sophia, "is a little cruel, Lady Bellaston,
after my promise to your ladyship."

"Not at all, child," said the lady;----"It would have been cruel
before; but after you have promised me never to marry without your
father's consent, in which you know is implied your giving up Jones,
sure you can bear a little raillery on a passion which was pardonable
enough in a young girl in the country, and of which you tell me you
have so entirely got the better. What must I think, my dear Sophy, if
you cannot bear a little ridicule even on his dress? I shall begin to
fear you are very far gone indeed; and almost question whether you
have dealt ingenuously with me."

"Indeed, madam," cries Sophia, "your ladyship mistakes me, if you
imagine I had any concern on his account."

"On his account!" answered the lady: "You must have mistaken me; I
went no farther than his dress;----for I would not injure your taste
by any other comparison--I don't imagine, my dear Sophy, if your Mr
Jones had been such a fellow as this--"

"I thought," says Sophia, "your ladyship had allowed him to be

"Whom, pray?" cried the lady hastily.

"Mr Jones," answered Sophia;--and immediately recollecting herself,
"Mr Jones!--no, no; I ask your pardon;--I mean the gentleman who was
just now here."

"O Sophy! Sophy!" cries the lady; "this Mr Jones, I am afraid, still
runs in your head."

"Then, upon my honour, madam," said Sophia, "Mr Jones is as entirely
indifferent to me, as the gentleman who just now left us."

"Upon my honour," said Lady Bellaston, "I believe it. Forgive me,
therefore, a little innocent raillery; but I promise you I will never
mention his name any more."

And now the two ladies separated, infinitely more to the delight of
Sophia than of Lady Bellaston, who would willingly have tormented her
rival a little longer, had not business of more importance called her
away. As for Sophia, her mind was not perfectly easy under this first
practice of deceit; upon which, when she retired to her chamber, she
reflected with the highest uneasiness and conscious shame. Nor could
the peculiar hardship of her situation, and the necessity of the case,
at all reconcile her mind to her conduct; for the frame of her mind
was too delicate to bear the thought of having been guilty of a
falsehood, however qualified by circumstances. Nor did this thought
once suffer her to close her eyes during the whole succeeding night.



Chapter i.

An essay to prove that an author will write the better for having some
knowledge of the subject on which he writes.

As several gentlemen in these times, by the wonderful force of genius
only, without the least assistance of learning, perhaps, without being
well able to read, have made a considerable figure in the republic of
letters; the modern critics, I am told, have lately begun to assert,
that all kind of learning is entirely useless to a writer; and,
indeed, no other than a kind of fetters on the natural sprightliness
and activity of the imagination, which is thus weighed down, and
prevented from soaring to those high flights which otherwise it would
be able to reach.

This doctrine, I am afraid, is at present carried much too far: for
why should writing differ so much from all other arts? The nimbleness
of a dancing-master is not at all prejudiced by being taught to move;
nor doth any mechanic, I believe, exercise his tools the worse by
having learnt to use them. For my own part, I cannot conceive that
Homer or Virgil would have writ with more fire, if instead of being
masters of all the learning of their times, they had been as ignorant
as most of the authors of the present age. Nor do I believe that all
the imagination, fire, and judgment of Pitt, could have produced those
orations that have made the senate of England, in these our times, a
rival in eloquence to Greece and Rome, if he had not been so well read
in the writings of Demosthenes and Cicero, as to have transferred
their whole spirit into his speeches, and, with their spirit, their
knowledge too.

I would not here be understood to insist on the same fund of learning
in any of my brethren, as Cicero persuades us is necessary to the
composition of an orator. On the contrary, very little reading is, I
conceive, necessary to the poet, less to the critic, and the least of
all to the politician. For the first, perhaps, Byshe's Art of Poetry,
and a few of our modern poets, may suffice; for the second, a moderate
heap of plays; and, for the last, an indifferent collection of
political journals.

To say the truth, I require no more than that a man should have some
little knowledge of the subject on which he treats, according to the
old maxim of law, _Quam quisque nrit artem in e se exerceat_. With
this alone a writer may sometimes do tolerably well; and, indeed,
without this, all the other learning in the world will stand him in
little stead.

For instance, let us suppose that Homer and Virgil, Aristotle and
Cicero, Thucydides and Livy, could have met all together, and have
clubbed their several talents to have composed a treatise on the art
of dancing: I believe it will be readily agreed they could not have
equalled the excellent treatise which Mr Essex hath given us on that
subject, entitled, The Rudiments of Genteel Education. And, indeed,
should the excellent Mr Broughton be prevailed on to set fist to
paper, and to complete the above-said rudiments, by delivering down
the true principles of athletics, I question whether the world will
have any cause to lament, that none of the great writers, either
antient or modern, have ever treated about that noble and useful art.

To avoid a multiplicity of examples in so plain a case, and to come at
once to my point, I am apt to conceive, that one reason why many
English writers have totally failed in describing the manners of upper
life, may possibly be, that in reality they know nothing of it.

This is a knowledge unhappily not in the power of many authors to
arrive at. Books will give us a very imperfect idea of it; nor will
the stage a much better: the fine gentleman formed upon reading the
former will almost always turn out a pedant, and he who forms himself
upon the latter, a coxcomb.

Nor are the characters drawn from these models better supported.
Vanbrugh and Congreve copied nature; but they who copy them draw as
unlike the present age as Hogarth would do if he was to paint a rout
or a drum in the dresses of Titian and of Vandyke. In short, imitation
here will not do the business. The picture must be after Nature
herself. A true knowledge of the world is gained only by conversation,
and the manners of every rank must be seen in order to be known.

Now it happens that this higher order of mortals is not to be seen,
like all the rest of the human species, for nothing, in the streets,
shops, and coffee-houses; nor are they shown, like the upper rank of
animals, for so much a-piece. In short, this is a sight to which no
persons are admitted without one or other of these qualifications,
viz., either birth or fortune, or, what is equivalent to both, the
honourable profession of a gamester. And, very unluckily for the
world, persons so qualified very seldom care to take upon themselves
the bad trade of writing; which is generally entered upon by the lower
and poorer sort, as it is a trade which many think requires no kind of
stock to set up with.

Hence those strange monsters in lace and embroidery, in silks and
brocades, with vast wigs and hoops; which, under the name of lords and
ladies, strut the stage, to the great delight of attorneys and their
clerks in the pit, and of the citizens and their apprentices in the
galleries; and which are no more to be found in real life than the
centaur, the chimera, or any other creature of mere fiction. But to
let my reader into a secret, this knowledge of upper life, though very
necessary for preventing mistakes, is no very great resource to a
writer whose province is comedy, or that kind of novels which, like
this I am writing, is of the comic class.

What Mr Pope says of women is very applicable to most in this station,
who are, indeed, so entirely made up of form and affectation, that
they have no character at all, at least none which appears. I will
venture to say the highest life is much the dullest, and affords very
little humour or entertainment. The various callings in lower spheres
produce the great variety of humorous characters; whereas here, except
among the few who are engaged in the pursuit of ambition, and the
fewer still who have a relish for pleasure, all is vanity and servile
imitation. Dressing and cards, eating and drinking, bowing and
courtesying, make up the business of their lives.

Some there are, however, of this rank upon whom passion exercises its
tyranny, and hurries them far beyond the bounds which decorum
prescribes; of these the ladies are as much distinguished by their
noble intrepidity, and a certain superior contempt of reputation, from
the frail ones of meaner degree, as a virtuous woman of quality is by
the elegance and delicacy of her sentiments from the honest wife of a
yeoman and shopkeeper. Lady Bellaston was of this intrepid character;
but let not my country readers conclude from her, that this is the
general conduct of women of fashion, or that we mean to represent them
as such. They might as well suppose that every clergyman was
represented by Thwackum, or every soldier by ensign Northerton.

There is not, indeed, a greater error than that which universally
prevails among the vulgar, who, borrowing their opinion from some
ignorant satirists, have affixed the character of lewdness to these
times. On the contrary, I am convinced there never was less of love
intrigue carried on among persons of condition than now. Our present
women have been taught by their mothers to fix their thoughts only on
ambition and vanity, and to despise the pleasures of love as unworthy
their regard; and being afterwards, by the care of such mothers,
married without having husbands, they seem pretty well confirmed in
the justness of those sentiments; whence they content themselves, for
the dull remainder of life, with the pursuit of more innocent, but I
am afraid more childish amusements, the bare mention of which would
ill suit with the dignity of this history. In my humble opinion, the
true characteristic of the present beau monde is rather folly than
vice, and the only epithet which it deserves is that of frivolous.

Chapter ii.

Containing letters and other matters which attend amours.

Jones had not been long at home before he received the following

"I was never more surprized than when I found you was gone. When you
left the room I little imagined you intended to have left the house
without seeing me again. Your behaviour is all of a piece, and
convinces me how much I ought to despise a heart which can doat upon
an idiot; though I know not whether I should not admire her cunning
more than her simplicity: wonderful both! For though she understood
not a word of what passed between us, yet she had the skill, the
assurance, the----what shall I call it? to deny to my face that she
knows you, or ever saw you before.----Was this a scheme laid between
you, and have you been base enough to betray me?----O how I despise
her, you, and all the world, but chiefly myself! for----I dare not
write what I should afterwards run mad to read; but remember, I can
detest as violently as I have loved."

Jones had but little time given him to reflect on this letter, before
a second was brought him from the same hand; and this, likewise, we
shall set down in the precise words.

"When you consider the hurry of spirits in which I must have writ,
you cannot be surprized at any expressions in my former note.--Yet,
perhaps, on reflection, they were rather too warm. At least I would,
if possible, think all owing to the odious playhouse, and to the
impertinence of a fool, which detained me beyond my
appointment.----How easy is it to think well of those we
love!----Perhaps you desire I should think so. I have resolved to
see you to-night; so come to me immediately.

"_P.S._--I have ordered to be at home to none but yourself.

"_P.S._--Mr Jones will imagine I shall assist him in his defence;
for I believe he cannot desire to impose on me more than I desire to
impose on myself.

"_P.S._--Come immediately."

To the men of intrigue I refer the determination, whether the angry or
the tender letter gave the greatest uneasiness to Jones. Certain it
is, he had no violent inclination to pay any more visits that evening,
unless to one single person. However, he thought his honour engaged,
and had not this been motive sufficient, he would not have ventured to
blow the temper of Lady Bellaston into that flame of which he had
reason to think it susceptible, and of which he feared the consequence
might be a discovery to Sophia, which he dreaded. After some
discontented walks therefore about the room, he was preparing to
depart, when the lady kindly prevented him, not by another letter, but
by her own presence. She entered the room very disordered in her
dress, and very discomposed in her looks, and threw herself into a
chair, where, having recovered her breath, she said--"You see, sir,
when women have gone one length too far, they will stop at none. If
any person would have sworn this to me a week ago, I would not have
believed it of myself." "I hope, madam," said Jones, "my charming Lady
Bellaston will be as difficult to believe anything against one who is
so sensible of the many obligations she hath conferred upon him."
"Indeed!" says she, "sensible of obligations! Did I expect to hear
such cold language from Mr Jones?" "Pardon me, my dear angel," said
he, "if, after the letters I have received, the terrors of your anger,
though I know not how I have deserved it."--"And have I then," says
she, with a smile, "so angry a countenance?--Have I really brought a
chiding face with me?"--"If there be honour in man," said he, "I have
done nothing to merit your anger.--You remember the appointment you
sent me; I went in pursuance."--"I beseech you," cried she, "do not
run through the odious recital.--Answer me but one question, and I
shall be easy. Have you not betrayed my honour to her?"--Jones fell
upon his knees, and began to utter the most violent protestations,
when Partridge came dancing and capering into the room, like one drunk
with joy, crying out, "She's found! she's found!--Here, sir, here,
she's here--Mrs Honour is upon the stairs." "Stop her a moment," cries
Jones--"Here, madam, step behind the bed, I have no other room nor
closet, nor place on earth to hide you in; sure never was so damned an
accident."--"D--n'd indeed!" said the lady, as she went to her place
of concealment; and presently afterwards in came Mrs Honour.
"Hey-day!" says she, "Mr Jones, what's the matter?--That impudent
rascal your servant would scarce let me come upstairs. I hope he hath
not the same reason to keep me from you as he had at Upton.--I suppose
you hardly expected to see me; but you have certainly bewitched my
lady. Poor dear young lady! To be sure, I loves her as tenderly as if
she was my own sister. Lord have mercy upon you, if you don't make her
a good husband! and to be sure, if you do not, nothing can be bad
enough for you." Jones begged her only to whisper, for that there was
a lady dying in the next room. "A lady!" cries she; "ay, I suppose one
of your ladies.--O Mr Jones, there are too many of them in the world;
I believe we are got into the house of one, for my Lady Bellaston I
darst to say is no better than she should be."--"Hush! hush!" cries
Jones, "every word is overheard in the next room." "I don't care a
farthing," cries Honour, "I speaks no scandal of any one; but to be
sure the servants make no scruple of saying as how her ladyship meets
men at another place--where the house goes under the name of a poor
gentlewoman; but her ladyship pays the rent, and many's the good thing
besides, they say, she hath of her."--Here Jones, after expressing the
utmost uneasiness, offered to stop her mouth:--"Hey-day! why sure, Mr
Jones, you will let me speak; I speaks no scandal, for I only says
what I heard from others--and thinks I to myself, much good may it do
the gentlewoman with her riches, if she comes by it in such a wicked
manner. To be sure it is better to be poor and honest." "The servants
are villains," cries Jones, "and abuse their lady unjustly."--"Ay, to
be sure, servants are always villains, and so my lady says, and won't
hear a word of it."--"No, I am convinced," says Jones, "my Sophia is
above listening to such base scandal." "Nay, I believe it is no
scandal, neither," cries Honour, "for why should she meet men at
another house?--It can never be for any good: for if she had a lawful
design of being courted, as to be sure any lady may lawfully give her
company to men upon that account: why, where can be the sense?"--"I
protest," cries Jones, "I can't hear all this of a lady of such
honour, and a relation of Sophia; besides, you will distract the poor
lady in the next room.--Let me entreat you to walk with me down
stairs."--"Nay, sir, if you won't let me speak, I have done.--Here,
sir, is a letter from my young lady--what would some men give to have
this? But, Mr Jones, I think you are not over and above generous, and
yet I have heard some servants say----but I am sure you will do me the
justice to own I never saw the colour of your money." Here Jones
hastily took the letter, and presently after slipped five pieces into
her hand. He then returned a thousand thanks to his dear Sophia in a
whisper, and begged her to leave him to read her letter: she presently
departed, not without expressing much grateful sense of his

Lady Bellaston now came from behind the curtain. How shall I describe
her rage? Her tongue was at first incapable of utterance; but streams
of fire darted from her eyes, and well indeed they might, for her
heart was all in a flame. And now as soon as her voice found way,
instead of expressing any indignation against Honour or her own
servants, she began to attack poor Jones. "You see," said she, "what I
have sacrificed to you; my reputation, my honour--gone for ever! And
what return have I found? Neglected, slighted for a country girl, for
an idiot."--"What neglect, madam, or what slight," cries Jones, "have
I been guilty of?"--"Mr Jones," said she, "it is in vain to dissemble;
if you will make me easy, you must entirely give her up; and as a
proof of your intention, show me the letter."--"What letter, madam?"
said Jones. "Nay, surely," said she, "you cannot have the confidence
to deny your having received a letter by the hands of that
trollop."--"And can your ladyship," cries he, "ask of me what I must
part with my honour before I grant? Have I acted in such a manner by
your ladyship? Could I be guilty of betraying this poor innocent girl
to you, what security could you have that I should not act the same
part by yourself? A moment's reflection will, I am sure, convince you
that a man with whom the secrets of a lady are not safe must be the
most contemptible of wretches."--"Very well," said she--"I need not
insist on your becoming this contemptible wretch in your own opinion;
for the inside of the letter could inform me of nothing more than I
know already. I see the footing you are upon."--Here ensued a long
conversation, which the reader, who is not too curious, will thank me
for not inserting at length. It shall suffice, therefore, to inform
him, that Lady Bellaston grew more and more pacified, and at length
believed, or affected to believe, his protestations, that his meeting
with Sophia that evening was merely accidental, and every other matter
which the reader already knows, and which, as Jones set before her in
the strongest light, it is plain that she had in reality no reason to
be angry with him.

She was not, however, in her heart perfectly satisfied with his
refusal to show her the letter; so deaf are we to the clearest reason,
when it argues against our prevailing passions. She was, indeed, well
convinced that Sophia possessed the first place in Jones's affections;
and yet, haughty and amorous as this lady was, she submitted at last
to bear the second place; or, to express it more properly in a legal
phrase, was contented with the possession of that of which another
woman had the reversion.

It was at length agreed that Jones should for the future visit at the
house: for that Sophia, her maid, and all the servants, would place
these visits to the account of Sophia; and that she herself would be
considered as the person imposed upon.

This scheme was contrived by the lady, and highly relished by Jones,
who was indeed glad to have a prospect of seeing his Sophia at any
rate; and the lady herself was not a little pleased with the
imposition on Sophia, which Jones, she thought, could not possibly
discover to her for his own sake.

The next day was appointed for the first visit, and then, after proper
ceremonials, the Lady Bellaston returned home.

Chapter iii.

Containing various matters.

Jones was no sooner alone than he eagerly broke open his letter, and
read as follows:--

"Sir, it is impossible to express what I have suffered since you
left this house; and as I have reason to think you intend coming
here again, I have sent Honour, though so late at night, as she
tells me she knows your lodgings, to prevent you. I charge you, by
all the regard you have for me, not to think of visiting here; for
it will certainly be discovered; nay, I almost doubt, from some
things which have dropt from her ladyship, that she is not already
without some suspicion. Something favourable perhaps may happen; we
must wait with patience; but I once more entreat you, if you have
any concern for my ease, do not think of returning hither."

This letter administered the same kind of consolation to poor Jones,
which Job formerly received from his friends. Besides disappointing
all the hopes which he promised to himself from seeing Sophia, he was
reduced to an unhappy dilemma, with regard to Lady Bellaston; for
there are some certain engagements, which, as he well knew, do very
difficultly admit of any excuse for the failure; and to go, after the
strict prohibition from Sophia, he was not to be forced by any human
power. At length, after much deliberation, which during that night
supplied the place of sleep, he determined to feign himself sick: for
this suggested itself as the only means of failing the appointed
visit, without incensing Lady Bellaston, which he had more than one
reason of desiring to avoid.

The first thing, however, which he did in the morning, was, to write
an answer to Sophia, which he inclosed in one to Honour. He then
despatched another to Lady Bellaston, containing the above-mentioned
excuse; and to this he soon received the following answer:--

"I am vexed that I cannot see you here this afternoon, but more
concerned for the occasion; take great care of yourself, and have
the best advice, and I hope there will be no danger.--I am so
tormented all this morning with fools, that I have scarce a moment's
time to write to you. Adieu.

"_P.S._--I will endeavour to call on you this evening, at nine.--Be
sure to be alone."

Mr Jones now received a visit from Mrs Miller, who, after some formal
introduction, began the following speech:--"I am very sorry, sir, to
wait upon you on such an occasion; but I hope you will consider the
ill consequence which it must be to the reputation of my poor girls,
if my house should once be talked of as a house of ill-fame. I hope
you won't think me, therefore, guilty of impertinence, if I beg you
not to bring any more ladies in at that time of night. The clock had
struck two before one of them went away."--"I do assure you, madam,"
said Jones, "the lady who was here last night, and who staid the
latest (for the other only brought me a letter), is a woman of very
great fashion, and my near relation."--"I don't know what fashion she
is of," answered Mrs Miller; "but I am sure no woman of virtue, unless
a very near relation indeed, would visit a young gentleman at ten at
night, and stay four hours in his room with him alone; besides, sir,
the behaviour of her chairmen shows what she was; for they did nothing
but make jests all the evening in the entry, and asked Mr Partridge,
in the hearing of my own maid, if madam intended to stay with his
master all night; with a great deal of stuff not proper to be
repeated. I have really a great respect for you, Mr Jones, upon your
own account; nay, I have a very high obligation to you for your
generosity to my cousin. Indeed, I did not know how very good you had
been till lately. Little did I imagine to what dreadful courses the
poor man's distress had driven him. Little did I think, when you gave
me the ten guineas, that you had given them to a highwayman! O
heavens! what goodness have you shown! How have you preserved this
family!--The character which Mr Allworthy hath formerly given me of
you was, I find, strictly true.--And indeed, if I had no obligation to
you, my obligations to him are such, that, on his account, I should
shew you the utmost respect in my power.--Nay, believe me, dear Mr
Jones, if my daughters' and my own reputation were out of the case, I
should, for your own sake, be sorry that so pretty a young gentleman
should converse with these women; but if you are resolved to do it, I
must beg you to take another lodging; for I do not myself like to have
such things carried on under my roof; but more especially upon the
account of my girls, who have little, heaven knows, besides their
characters, to recommend them." Jones started and changed colour at
the name of Allworthy. "Indeed, Mrs Miller," answered he, a little
warmly, "I do not take this at all kind. I will never bring any
slander on your house; but I must insist on seeing what company I
please in my own room; and if that gives you any offence, I shall, as
soon as I am able, look for another lodging."--"I am sorry we must
part then, sir," said she; "but I am convinced Mr Allworthy himself
would never come within my doors, if he had the least suspicion of my
keeping an ill house."--"Very well, madam," said Jones.--"I hope,
sir," said she, "you are not angry; for I would not for the world
offend any of Mr Allworthy's family. I have not slept a wink all night
about this matter."--"I am sorry I have disturbed your rest, madam,"
said Jones, "but I beg you will send Partridge up to me immediately;"
which she promised to do, and then with a very low courtesy retired.

As soon as Partridge arrived, Jones fell upon him in the most
outrageous manner. "How often," said he, "am I to suffer for your
folly, or rather for my own in keeping you? is that tongue of yours
resolved upon my destruction?" "What have I done, sir?" answered
affrighted Partridge. "Who was it gave you authority to mention the
story of the robbery, or that the man you saw here was the person?"
"I, sir?" cries Partridge. "Now don't be guilty of a falsehood in
denying it," said Jones. "If I did mention such a matter," answers
Partridge, "I am sure I thought no harm; for I should not have opened
my lips, if it had not been to his own friends and relations, who, I
imagined, would have let it go no farther." "But I have a much heavier
charge against you," cries Jones, "than this. How durst you, after all
the precautions I gave you, mention the name of Mr Allworthy in this
house?" Partridge denied that he ever had, with many oaths. "How
else," said Jones, "should Mrs Miller be acquainted that there was any
connexion between him and me? And it is but this moment she told me
she respected me on his account." "O Lord, sir," said Partridge, "I
desire only to be heard out; and to be sure, never was anything so
unfortunate: hear me but out, and you will own how wrongfully you have
accused me. When Mrs Honour came downstairs last night she met me in
the entry, and asked me when my master had heard from Mr Allworthy;
and to be sure Mrs Miller heard the very words; and the moment Madam
Honour was gone, she called me into the parlour to her. `Mr
Partridge,' says she, `what Mr Allworthy is it that the gentlewoman
mentioned? is it the great Mr Allworthy of Somersetshire?' `Upon my
word, madam,' says I, `I know nothing of the matter.' `Sure,' says
she, `your master is not the Mr Jones I have heard Mr Allworthy talk
of?' `Upon my word, madam,' says I, `I know nothing of the matter.'
`Then,' says she, turning to her daughter Nancy, says she, `as sure as
tenpence this is the very young gentleman, and he agrees exactly with
the squire's description.' The Lord above knows who it was told her:
for I am the arrantest villain that ever walked upon two legs if ever
it came out of my mouth. I promise you, sir, I can keep a secret when
I am desired. Nay, sir, so far was I from telling her anything about
Mr Allworthy, that I told her the very direct contrary; for, though I
did not contradict it at that moment, yet, as second thoughts, they
say, are best, so when I came to consider that somebody must have
informed her, thinks I to myself, I will put an end to the story; and
so I went back again into the parlour some time afterwards, and says
I, upon my word, says I, whoever, says I, told you that this gentleman
was Mr Jones; that is, says I, that this Mr Jones was that Mr Jones,
told you a confounded lie: and I beg, says I, you will never mention
any such matter, says I; for my master, says I, will think I must have
told you so; and I defy anybody in the house ever to say I mentioned
any such word. To be certain, sir, it is a wonderful thing, and I have
been thinking with myself ever since, how it was she came to know it;
not but I saw an old woman here t'other day a begging at the door, who
looked as like her we saw in Warwickshire, that caused all that
mischief to us. To be sure it is never good to pass by an old woman
without giving her something, especially if she looks at you; for all
the world shall never persuade me but that they have a great power to
do mischief, and to be sure I shall never see an old woman again, but
I shall think to myself, _Infandum, regina, jubes renovare dolorem._"

The simplicity of Partridge set Jones a laughing, and put a final end
to his anger, which had indeed seldom any long duration in his mind;
and, instead of commenting on his defence, he told him he intended
presently to leave those lodgings, and ordered him to go and endeavour
to get him others.

Chapter iv.

Which we hope will be very attentively perused by young people of both

Partridge had no sooner left Mr Jones than Mr Nightingale, with whom
he had now contracted a great intimacy, came to him, and, after a
short salutation, said, "So, Tom, I hear you had company very late
last night. Upon my soul you are a happy fellow, who have not been in
town above a fortnight, and can keep chairs waiting at your door till
two in the morning." He then ran on with much commonplace raillery of
the same kind, till Jones at last interrupted him, saying, "I suppose
you have received all this information from Mrs Miller, who hath been
up here a little while ago to give me warning. The good woman is
afraid, it seems, of the reputation of her daughters." "Oh! she is
wonderfully nice," says Nightingale, "upon that account; if you
remember, she would not let Nancy go with us to the masquerade." "Nay,
upon my honour, I think she's in the right of it," says Jones:
"however, I have taken her at her word, and have sent Partridge to
look for another lodging." "If you will," says Nightingale, "we may, I
believe, be again together; for, to tell you a secret, which I desire
you won't mention in the family, I intend to quit the house to-day."
"What, hath Mrs Miller given you warning too, my friend?" cries Jones.
"No," answered the other; "but the rooms are not convenient enough.
Besides, I am grown weary of this part of the town. I want to be
nearer the places of diversion; so I am going to Pall-mall." "And do
you intend to make a secret of your going away?" said Jones. "I
promise you," answered Nightingale, "I don't intend to bilk my
lodgings; but I have a private reason for not taking a formal leave."
"Not so private," answered Jones; "I promise you, I have seen it ever
since the second day of my coming to the house. Here will be some wet
eyes on your departure. Poor Nancy, I pity her, faith! Indeed, Jack,
you have played the fool with that girl. You have given her a longing,
which I am afraid nothing will ever cure her of." Nightingale
answered, "What the devil would you have me do? would you have me
marry her to cure her?" "No," answered Jones, "I would not have had
you make love to her, as you have often done in my presence. I have
been astonished at the blindness of her mother in never seeing it."
"Pugh, see it!" cries Nightingale. "What, the devil should she see?"
"Why, see," said Jones, "that you have made her daughter distractedly
in love with you. The poor girl cannot conceal it a moment; her eyes
are never off from you, and she always colours every time you come
into the room. Indeed, I pity her heartily; for she seems to be one of
the best-natured and honestest of human creatures." "And so," answered
Nightingale, "according to your doctrine, one must not amuse oneself
by any common gallantries with women, for fear they should fall in
love with us." "Indeed, Jack," said Jones, "you wilfully misunderstand
me; I do not fancy women are so apt to fall in love; but you have gone
far beyond common gallantries." "What, do you suppose," says
Nightingale, "that we have been a-bed together?" "No, upon my honour,"
answered Jones, very seriously, "I do not suppose so ill of you; nay,
I will go farther, I do not imagine you have laid a regular
premeditated scheme for the destruction of the quiet of a poor little
creature, or have even foreseen the consequence: for I am sure thou
art a very good-natured fellow; and such a one can never be guilty of
a cruelty of that kind; but at the same time you have pleased your own
vanity, without considering that this poor girl was made a sacrifice
to it; and while you have had no design but of amusing an idle hour,
you have actually given her reason to flatter herself that you had the
most serious designs in her favour. Prithee, Jack, answer me honestly;
to what have tended all those elegant and luscious descriptions of
happiness arising from violent and mutual fondness? all those warm
professions of tenderness, and generous disinterested love? Did you
imagine she would not apply them? or, speak ingenuously, did not you
intend she should?" "Upon my soul, Tom," cries Nightingale, "I did not
think this was in thee. Thou wilt make an admirable parson. So I
suppose you would not go to bed to Nancy now, if she would let you?"
"No," cries Jones, "may I be d--n'd if I would." "Tom, Tom," answered
Nightingale, "last night; remember last night----

When every eye was closed, and the pale moon,
And silent stars, shone conscious of the theft."

"Lookee, Mr Nightingale," said Jones, "I am no canting hypocrite, nor
do I pretend to the gift of chastity, more than my neighbours. I have
been guilty with women, I own it; but am not conscious that I have
ever injured any.--Nor would I, to procure pleasure to myself, be
knowingly the cause of misery to any human being."

"Well, well," said Nightingale, "I believe you, and I am convinced you
acquit me of any such thing."

"I do, from my heart," answered Jones, "of having debauched the girl,
but not from having gained her affections."

"If I have," said Nightingale, "I am sorry for it; but time and
absence will soon wear off such impressions. It is a receipt I must
take myself; for, to confess the truth to you--I never liked any girl
half so much in my whole life; but I must let you into the whole
secret, Tom. My father hath provided a match for me with a woman I
never saw; and she is now coming to town, in order for me to make my
addresses to her."

At these words Jones burst into a loud fit of laughter; when
Nightingale cried--"Nay, prithee, don't turn me into ridicule. The
devil take me if I am not half mad about this matter! my poor Nancy!
Oh! Jones, Jones, I wish I had a fortune in my own possession."

"I heartily wish you had," cries Jones; "for, if this be the case, I
sincerely pity you both; but surely you don't intend to go away
without taking your leave of her?"

"I would not," answered Nightingale, "undergo the pain of taking
leave, for ten thousand pounds; besides, I am convinced, instead of
answering any good purpose, it would only serve to inflame my poor
Nancy the more. I beg, therefore, you would not mention a word of it
to-day, and in the evening, or to-morrow morning, I intend to depart."

Jones promised he would not; and said, upon reflection, he thought, as
he had determined and was obliged to leave her, he took the most
prudent method. He then told Nightingale he should be very glad to
lodge in the same house with him; and it was accordingly agreed
between them, that Nightingale should procure him either the ground
floor, or the two pair of stairs; for the young gentleman himself was
to occupy that which was between them.

This Nightingale, of whom we shall be presently obliged to say a
little more, was in the ordinary transactions of life a man of strict
honour, and, what is more rare among young gentlemen of the town, one
of strict honesty too; yet in affairs of love he was somewhat loose in
his morals; not that he was even here as void of principle as
gentlemen sometimes are, and oftener affect to be; but it is certain
he had been guilty of some indefensible treachery to women, and had,
in a certain mystery, called making love, practised many deceits,
which, if he had used in trade, he would have been counted the
greatest villain upon earth.

But as the world, I know not well for what reason, agree to see this
treachery in a better light, he was so far from being ashamed of his
iniquities of this kind, that he gloried in them, and would often
boast of his skill in gaining of women, and his triumphs over their
hearts, for which he had before this time received some rebukes from
Jones, who always exprest great bitterness against any misbehaviour to
the fair part of the species, who, if considered, he said, as they
ought to be, in the light of the dearest friends, were to be
cultivated, honoured, and caressed with the utmost love and
tenderness; but, if regarded as enemies, were a conquest of which a
man ought rather to be ashamed than to value himself upon it.

Chapter v.

A short account of the history of Mrs Miller.

Jones this day eat a pretty good dinner for a sick man, that is to
say, the larger half of a shoulder of mutton. In the afternoon he
received an invitation from Mrs Miller to drink tea; for that good
woman, having learnt, either by means of Partridge, or by some other
means natural or supernatural, that he had a connexion with Mr
Allworthy, could not endure the thoughts of parting with him in an
angry manner.

Jones accepted the invitation; and no sooner was the tea-kettle
removed, and the girls sent out of the room, than the widow, without
much preface, began as follows: "Well, there are very surprizing
things happen in this world; but certainly it is a wonderful business
that I should have a relation of Mr Allworthy in my house, and never
know anything of the matter. Alas! sir, you little imagine what a
friend that best of gentlemen hath been to me and mine. Yes, sir, I am
not ashamed to own it; it is owing to his goodness that I did not long
since perish for want, and leave my poor little wretches, two
destitute, helpless, friendless orphans, to the care, or rather to the
cruelty, of the world.

"You must know, sir, though I am now reduced to get my living by
letting lodgings, I was born and bred a gentlewoman. My father was an
officer of the army, and died in a considerable rank: but he lived up
to his pay; and, as that expired with him, his family, at his death,
became beggars. We were three sisters. One of us had the good luck to
die soon after of the small-pox; a lady was so kind as to take the
second out of charity, as she said, to wait upon her. The mother of
this lady had been a servant to my grand-mother; and, having inherited
a vast fortune from her father, which he had got by pawnbroking, was
married to a gentleman of great estate and fashion. She used my sister
so barbarously, often upbraiding her with her birth and poverty,
calling her in derision a gentlewoman, that I believe she at length
broke the heart of the poor girl. In short, she likewise died within a
twelvemonth after my father. Fortune thought proper to provide better
for me, and within a month from his decease I was married to a
clergyman, who had been my lover a long time before, and who had been
very ill used by my father on that account: for though my poor father
could not give any of us a shilling, yet he bred us up as delicately,
considered us, and would have had us consider ourselves, as highly as
if we had been the richest heiresses. But my dear husband forgot all
this usage, and the moment we were become fatherless he immediately
renewed his addresses to me so warmly, that I, who always liked, and
now more than ever esteemed him, soon complied. Five years did I live
in a state of perfect happiness with that best of men, till at
last--Oh! cruel! cruel fortune, that ever separated us, that deprived
me of the kindest of husbands and my poor girls of the tenderest
parent.--O my poor girls! you never knew the blessing which ye
lost.--I am ashamed, Mr Jones, of this womanish weakness; but I shall
never mention him without tears." "I ought rather, madam," said Jones,
"to be ashamed that I do not accompany you." "Well, sir," continued
she, "I was now left a second time in a much worse condition than
before; besides the terrible affliction I was to encounter, I had now
two children to provide for; and was, if possible, more pennyless than
ever; when that great, that good, that glorious man, Mr Allworthy, who
had some little acquaintance with my husband, accidentally heard of my
distress, and immediately writ this letter to me. Here, sir, here it
is; I put it into my pocket to shew it you. This is the letter, sir; I
must and will read it to you.


"'I heartily condole with you on your late grievous loss, which your
own good sense, and the excellent lessons you must have learnt from
the worthiest of men, will better enable you to bear than any advice
which I am capable of giving. Nor have I any doubt that you, whom I
have heard to be the tenderest of mothers, will suffer any
immoderate indulgence of grief to prevent you from discharging your
duty to those poor infants, who now alone stand in need of your

"`However, as you must be supposed at present to be incapable of
much worldly consideration, you will pardon my having ordered a
person to wait on you, and to pay you twenty guineas, which I beg
you will accept till I have the pleasure of seeing you, and believe
me to be, madam, &c.'

"This letter, sir, I received within a fortnight after the irreparable
loss I have mentioned; and within a fortnight afterwards, Mr
Allworthy--the blessed Mr Allworthy, came to pay me a visit, when he
placed me in the house where you now see me, gave me a large sum of
money to furnish it, and settled an annuity of 50 a-year upon me,
which I have constantly received ever since. Judge, then, Mr Jones, in
what regard I must hold a benefactor, to whom I owe the preservation
of my life, and of those dear children, for whose sake alone my life
is valuable. Do not, therefore, think me impertinent, Mr Jones (since
I must esteem one for whom I know Mr Allworthy hath so much value), if
I beg you not to converse with these wicked women. You are a young
gentleman, and do not know half their artful wiles. Do not be angry
with me, sir, for what I said upon account of my house; you must be
sensible it would be the ruin of my poor dear girls. Besides, sir, you
cannot but be acquainted that Mr Allworthy himself would never forgive
my conniving at such matters, and particularly with you."

"Upon my word, madam," said Jones, "you need make no farther apology;
nor do I in the least take anything ill you have said; but give me
leave, as no one can have more value than myself for Mr Allworthy, to
deliver you from one mistake, which, perhaps, would not be altogether
for his honour; I do assure you, I am no relation of his."

"Alas! sir," answered she, "I know you are not, I know very well who
you are; for Mr Allworthy hath told me all; but I do assure you, had
you been twenty times his son, he could not have expressed more regard
for you than he hath often expressed in my presence. You need not be
ashamed, sir, of what you are; I promise you no good person will
esteem you the less on that account. No, Mr Jones, the words
`dishonourable birth' are nonsense, as my dear, dear husband used to
say, unless the word `dishonourable' be applied to the parents; for
the children can derive no real dishonour from an act of which they
are intirely innocent."

Here Jones heaved a deep sigh, and then said, "Since I perceive,
madam, you really do know me, and Mr Allworthy hath thought proper to
mention my name to you; and since you have been so explicit with me as
to your own affairs, I will acquaint you with some more circumstances
concerning myself." And these Mrs Miller having expressed great desire
and curiosity to hear, he began and related to her his whole history,
without once mentioning the name of Sophia.

There is a kind of sympathy in honest minds, by means of which they
give an easy credit to each other. Mrs Miller believed all which Jones
told her to be true, and exprest much pity and concern for him. She
was beginning to comment on the story, but Jones interrupted her; for,
as the hour of assignation now drew nigh, he began to stipulate for a
second interview with the lady that evening, which he promised should
be the last at her house; swearing, at the same time, that she was one
of great distinction, and that nothing but what was intirely innocent
was to pass between them; and I do firmly believe he intended to keep
his word.

Mrs Miller was at length prevailed on, and Jones departed to his
chamber, where he sat alone till twelve o'clock, but no Lady Bellaston

As we have said that this lady had a great affection for Jones, and as
it must have appeared that she really had so, the reader may perhaps
wonder at the first failure of her appointment, as she apprehended him
to be confined by sickness, a season when friendship seems most to
require such visits. This behaviour, therefore, in the lady, may, by
some, be condemned as unnatural; but that is not our fault; for our
business is only to record truth.

Chapter vi.

Containing a scene which we doubt not will affect all our readers.

Mr Jones closed not his eyes during all the former part of the night;
not owing to any uneasiness which he conceived at being disappointed
by Lady Bellaston; nor was Sophia herself, though most of his waking
hours were justly to be charged to her account, the present cause of
dispelling his slumbers. In fact, poor Jones was one of the
best-natured fellows alive, and had all that weakness which is called
compassion, and which distinguishes this imperfect character from that
noble firmness of mind, which rolls a man, as it were, within himself,
and like a polished bowl, enables him to run through the world without
being once stopped by the calamities which happen to others. He could
not help, therefore, compassionating the situation of poor Nancy,
whose love for Mr Nightingale seemed to him so apparent, that he was
astonished at the blindness of her mother, who had more than once, the
preceding evening, remarked to him the great change in the temper of
her daughter, "who from being," she said, "one of the liveliest,
merriest girls in the world, was, on a sudden, become all gloom and

Sleep, however, at length got the better of all resistance; and now,
as if he had already been a deity, as the antients imagined, and an
offended one too, he seemed to enjoy his dear-bought conquest.--To
speak simply, and without any metaphor, Mr Jones slept till eleven the
next morning, and would, perhaps, have continued in the same quiet
situation much longer, had not a violent uproar awakened him.

Partridge was now summoned, who, being asked what was the matter,
answered, "That there was a dreadful hurricane below-stairs; that
Miss Nancy was in fits; and that the other sister, and the mother,
were both crying and lamenting over her." Jones expressed much
concern at this news; which Partridge endeavoured to relieve, by
saying, with a smile, "he fancied the young lady was in no danger of
death; for that Susan" (which was the name of the maid) "had given
him to understand, it was nothing more than a common affair. In
short," said he, "Miss Nancy hath had a mind to be as wise as her
mother; that's all; she was a little hungry, it seems, and so sat
down to dinner before grace was said; and so there is a child coming
for the Foundling Hospital."----"Prithee, leave thy stupid jesting,"
cries Jones. "Is the misery of these poor wretches a subject of
mirth? Go immediately to Mrs Miller, and tell her I beg leave--Stay,
you will make some blunder; I will go myself; for she desired me to
breakfast with her." He then rose and dressed himself as fast as he
could; and while he was dressing, Partridge, notwithstanding many
severe rebukes, could not avoid throwing forth certain pieces of
brutality, commonly called jests, on this occasion. Jones was no
sooner dressed than he walked downstairs, and knocking at the door,
was presently admitted by the maid, into the outward parlour, which
was as empty of company as it was of any apparatus for eating. Mrs
Miller was in the inner room with her daughter, whence the maid
presently brought a message to Mr Jones, "That her mistress hoped he
would excuse the disappointment, but an accident had happened, which
made it impossible for her to have the pleasure of his company at
breakfast that day; and begged his pardon for not sending him up
notice sooner." Jones desired, "She would give herself no trouble
about anything so trifling as his disappointment; that he was
heartily sorry for the occasion; and that if he could be of any
service to her, she might command him."

He had scarce spoke these words, when Mrs Miller, who heard them all,
suddenly threw open the door, and coming out to him, in a flood of
tears, said, "O Mr Jones! you are certainly one of the best young men
alive. I give you a thousand thanks for your kind offer of your
service; but, alas! sir, it is out of your power to preserve my poor
girl.--O my child! my child! she is undone, she is ruined for ever!"
"I hope, madam," said Jones, "no villain"----"O Mr Jones!" said she,
"that villain who yesterday left my lodgings, hath betrayed my poor
girl; hath destroyed her.--I know you are a man of honour. You have a
good--a noble heart, Mr Jones. The actions to which I have been myself
a witness, could proceed from no other. I will tell you all: nay,
indeed, it is impossible, after what hath happened, to keep it a
secret. That Nightingale, that barbarous villain, hath undone my
daughter. She is--she is--oh! Mr Jones, my girl is with child by him;
and in that condition he hath deserted her. Here! here, sir, is his
cruel letter: read it, Mr Jones, and tell me if such another monster

The letter was as follows:


"As I found it impossible to mention to you what, I am afraid, will
be no less shocking to you, than it is to me, I have taken this
method to inform you, that my father insists upon my immediately
paying my addresses to a young lady of fortune, whom he hath
provided for my--I need not write the detested word. Your own good
understanding will make you sensible, how entirely I am obliged to
an obedience, by which I shall be for ever excluded from your dear
arms. The fondness of your mother may encourage you to trust her
with the unhappy consequence of our love, which may be easily kept a
secret from the world, and for which I will take care to provide, as
I will for you. I wish you may feel less on this account than I have
suffered; but summon all your fortitude to your assistance, and
forgive and forget the man, whom nothing but the prospect of certain
ruin could have forced to write this letter. I bid you forget me, I
mean only as a lover; but the best of friends you shall ever find in
your faithful, though unhappy,

"J. N."

When Jones had read this letter, they both stood silent during a
minute, looking at each other; at last he began thus: "I cannot
express, madam, how much I am shocked at what I have read; yet let me
beg you, in one particular, to take the writer's advice. Consider the
reputation of your daughter."----"It is gone, it is lost, Mr Jones,"
cryed she, "as well as her innocence. She received the letter in a
room full of company, and immediately swooning away upon opening it,
the contents were known to every one present. But the loss of her
reputation, bad as it is, is not the worst; I shall lose my child; she
hath attempted twice to destroy herself already; and though she hath
been hitherto prevented, vows she will not outlive it; nor could I
myself outlive any accident of that nature.--What then will become of
my little Betsy, a helpless infant orphan? and the poor little wretch
will, I believe, break her heart at the miseries with which she sees
her sister and myself distracted, while she is ignorant of the cause.
O 'tis the most sensible, and best-natured little thing! The
barbarous, cruel----hath destroyed us all. O my poor children! Is this
the reward of all my cares? Is this the fruit of all my prospects?
Have I so chearfully undergone all the labours and duties of a mother?
Have I been so tender of their infancy, so careful of their education?
Have I been toiling so many years, denying myself even the
conveniences of life, to provide some little sustenance for them, to
lose one or both in such a manner?" "Indeed, madam," said Jones, with
tears in his eyes, "I pity you from my soul."--"O! Mr Jones," answered
she, "even you, though I know the goodness of your heart, can have no
idea of what I feel. The best, the kindest, the most dutiful of
children! O my poor Nancy, the darling of my soul! the delight of my
eyes! the pride of my heart! too much, indeed, my pride; for to those
foolish, ambitious hopes, arising from her beauty, I owe her ruin.
Alas! I saw with pleasure the liking which this young man had for her.
I thought it an honourable affection; and flattered my foolish vanity
with the thoughts of seeing her married to one so much her superior.
And a thousand times in my presence, nay, often in yours, he hath
endeavoured to soothe and encourage these hopes by the most generous
expressions of disinterested love, which he hath always directed to my
poor girl, and which I, as well as she, believed to be real. Could I
have believed that these were only snares laid to betray the innocence
of my child, and for the ruin of us all?"--At these words little Betsy
came running into the room, crying, "Dear mamma, for heaven's sake
come to my sister; for she is in another fit, and my cousin can't hold
her." Mrs Miller immediately obeyed the summons; but first ordered
Betsy to stay with Mr Jones, and begged him to entertain her a few
minutes, saying, in the most pathetic voice, "Good heaven! let me
preserve one of my children at least."

Jones, in compliance with this request, did all he could to comfort
the little girl, though he was, in reality, himself very highly
affected with Mrs Miller's story. He told her "Her sister would be
soon very well again; that by taking on in that manner she would not
only make her sister worse, but make her mother ill too." "Indeed,
sir," says she, "I would not do anything to hurt them for the world. I
would burst my heart rather than they should see me cry.--But my poor
sister can't see me cry.--I am afraid she will never be able to see me
cry any more. Indeed, I can't part with her; indeed, I can't.--And
then poor mamma too, what will become of her?--She says she will die
too, and leave me: but I am resolved I won't be left behind." "And are
you not afraid to die, my little Betsy?" said Jones. "Yes," answered
she, "I was always afraid to die; because I must have left my mamma,
and my sister; but I am not afraid of going anywhere with those I

Jones was so pleased with this answer, that he eagerly kissed the
child; and soon after Mrs Miller returned, saying, "She thanked heaven
Nancy was now come to herself. And now, Betsy," says she, "you may go
in, for your sister is better, and longs to see you." She then turned
to Jones, and began to renew her apologies for having disappointed him
of his breakfast.

"I hope, madam," said Jones, "I shall have a more exquisite repast
than any you could have provided for me. This, I assure you, will be
the case, if I can do any service to this little family of love. But
whatever success may attend my endeavours, I am resolved to attempt
it. I am very much deceived in Mr Nightingale, if, notwithstanding
what hath happened, he hath not much goodness of heart at the bottom,
as well as a very violent affection for your daughter. If this be the
case, I think the picture which I shall lay before him will affect
him. Endeavour, madam, to comfort yourself, and Miss Nancy, as well as
you can. I will go instantly in quest of Mr Nightingale; and I hope to
bring you good news."

Mrs Miller fell upon her knees and invoked all the blessings of heaven
upon Mr Jones; to which she afterwards added the most passionate
expressions of gratitude. He then departed to find Mr Nightingale, and
the good woman returned to comfort her daughter, who was somewhat
cheared at what her mother told her; and both joined in resounding the
praises of Mr Jones.

Chapter vii.

The interview between Mr Jones and Mr Nightingale.

The good or evil we confer on others very often, I believe, recoils on
ourselves. For as men of a benign disposition enjoy their own acts of
beneficence equally with those to whom they are done, so there are
scarce any natures so entirely diabolical, as to be capable of doing
injuries, without paying themselves some pangs for the ruin which they
bring on their fellow-creatures.

Mr Nightingale, at least, was not such a person. On the contrary,
Jones found him in his new lodgings, sitting melancholy by the fire,
and silently lamenting the unhappy situation in which he had placed
poor Nancy. He no sooner saw his friend appear than he arose hastily
to meet him; and after much congratulation said, "Nothing could be
more opportune than this kind visit; for I was never more in the
spleen in my life."

"I am sorry," answered Jones, "that I bring news very unlikely to
relieve you: nay, what I am convinced must, of all other, shock you
the most. However, it is necessary you should know it. Without further
preface, then, I come to you, Mr Nightingale, from a worthy family,
which you have involved in misery and ruin." Mr Nightingale changed
colour at these words; but Jones, without regarding it, proceeded, in
the liveliest manner, to paint the tragical story with which the
reader was acquainted in the last chapter.

Nightingale never once interrupted the narration, though he discovered
violent emotions at many parts of it. But when it was concluded, after
fetching a deep sigh, he said, "What you tell me, my friend, affects
me in the tenderest manner. Sure there never was so cursed an accident
as the poor girl's betraying my letter. Her reputation might otherwise
have been safe, and the affair might have remained a profound secret;
and then the girl might have gone off never the worse; for many such
things happen in this town: and if the husband should suspect a
little, when it is too late, it will be his wiser conduct to conceal
his suspicion both from his wife and the world."

"Indeed, my friend," answered Jones, "this could not have been the
case with your poor Nancy. You have so entirely gained her affections,
that it is the loss of you, and not of her reputation, which afflicts
her, and will end in the destruction of her and her family." "Nay, for
that matter, I promise you," cries Nightingale, "she hath my
affections so absolutely, that my wife, whoever she is to be, will
have very little share in them." "And is it possible then," said
Jones, "you can think of deserting her?" "Why, what can I do?"
answered the other. "Ask Miss Nancy," replied Jones warmly. "In the
condition to which you have reduced her, I sincerely think she ought
to determine what reparation you shall make her. Her interest alone,
and not yours, ought to be your sole consideration. But if you ask me
what you shall do, what can you do less," cries Jones, "than fulfil
the expectations of her family, and her own? Nay, I sincerely tell
you, they were mine too, ever since I first saw you together. You will
pardon me if I presume on the friendship you have favoured me with,
moved as I am with compassion for those poor creatures. But your own
heart will best suggest to you, whether you have never intended, by
your conduct, to persuade the mother, as well as the daughter, into an
opinion, that you designed honourably: and if so, though there may
have been no direct promise of marriage in the case, I will leave to
your own good understanding, how far you are bound to proceed."

"Nay, I must not only confess what you have hinted," said Nightingale;
"but I am afraid even that very promise you mention I have given."
"And can you, after owning that," said Jones, "hesitate a moment?"
"Consider, my friend," answered the other; "I know you are a man of
honour, and would advise no one to act contrary to its rules; if there
were no other objection, can I, after this publication of her
disgrace, think of such an alliance with honour?" "Undoubtedly,"
replied Jones, "and the very best and truest honour, which is
goodness, requires it of you. As you mention a scruple of this kind,
you will give me leave to examine it. Can you with honour be guilty of
having under false pretences deceived a young woman and her family,
and of having by these means treacherously robbed her of her
innocence? Can you, with honour, be the knowing, the wilful occasion,
nay, the artful contriver of the ruin of a human being? Can you, with
honour, destroy the fame, the peace, nay, probably, both the life and
soul too, of this creature? Can honour bear the thought, that this
creature is a tender, helpless, defenceless, young woman? A young
woman, who loves, who doats on you, who dies for you; who hath placed
the utmost confidence in your promises; and to that confidence hath
sacrificed everything which is dear to her? Can honour support such
contemplations as these a moment?"

"Common sense, indeed," said Nightingale, "warrants all you say; but
yet you well know the opinion of the world is so contrary to it, that,
was I to marry a whore, though my own, I should be ashamed of ever
showing my face again."

"Fie upon it, Mr Nightingale!" said Jones, "do not call her by so
ungenerous a name: when you promised to marry her she became your
wife; and she hath sinned more against prudence than virtue. And what
is this world which you would be ashamed to face but the vile, the
foolish, and the profligate? Forgive me if I say such a shame must
proceed from false modesty, which always attends false honour as its
shadow.--But I am well assured there is not a man of real sense and
goodness in the world who would not honour and applaud the action.
But, admit no other would, would not your own heart, my friend,
applaud it? And do not the warm, rapturous sensations, which we feel
from the consciousness of an honest, noble, generous, benevolent
action, convey more delight to the mind than the undeserved praise of
millions? Set the alternative fairly before your eyes. On the one
side, see this poor, unhappy, tender, believing girl, in the arms of
her wretched mother, breathing her last. Hear her breaking heart in
agonies, sighing out your name; and lamenting, rather than accusing,
the cruelty which weighs her down to destruction. Paint to your
imagination the circumstances of her fond despairing parent, driven to
madness, or, perhaps, to death, by the loss of her lovely daughter.
View the poor, helpless, orphan infant; and when your mind hath dwelt
a moment only on such ideas, consider yourself as the cause of all the
ruin of this poor, little, worthy, defenceless family. On the other
side, consider yourself as relieving them from their temporary
sufferings. Think with what joy, with what transports that lovely
creature will fly to your arms. See her blood returning to her pale
cheeks, her fire to her languid eyes, and raptures to her tortured
breast. Consider the exultations of her mother, the happiness of all.
Think of this little family made by one act of yours completely happy.
Think of this alternative, and sure I am mistaken in my friend if it
requires any long deliberation whether he will sink these wretches
down for ever, or, by one generous, noble resolution, raise them all
from the brink of misery and despair to the highest pitch of human
happiness. Add to this but one consideration more; the consideration
that it is your duty so to do--That the misery from which you will
relieve these poor people is the misery which you yourself have
wilfully brought upon them."

"O, my dear friend!" cries Nightingale, "I wanted not your eloquence
to rouse me. I pity poor Nancy from my soul, and would willingly give
anything in my power that no familiarities had ever passed between us.
Nay, believe me, I had many struggles with my passion before I could
prevail with myself to write that cruel letter, which hath caused all
the misery in that unhappy family. If I had no inclinations to consult
but my own, I would marry her to-morrow morning: I would, by heaven!
but you will easily imagine how impossible it would be to prevail on
my father to consent to such a match; besides, he hath provided
another for me; and to-morrow, by his express command, I am to wait on
the lady."

"I have not the honour to know your father," said Jones; "but, suppose
he could be persuaded, would you yourself consent to the only means of
preserving these poor people?" "As eagerly as I would pursue my
happiness," answered Nightingale: "for I never shall find it in any
other woman.--O, my dear friend! could you imagine what I have felt
within these twelve hours for my poor girl, I am convinced she would
not engross all your pity. Passion leads me only to her; and, if I had
any foolish scruples of honour, you have fully satisfied them: could
my father be induced to comply with my desires, nothing would be
wanting to compleat my own happiness or that of my Nancy."

"Then I am resolved to undertake it," said Jones. "You must not be
angry with me, in whatever light it may be necessary to set this
affair, which, you may depend on it, could not otherwise be long hid
from him: for things of this nature make a quick progress when once
they get abroad, as this unhappily hath already. Besides, should any
fatal accident follow, as upon my soul I am afraid will, unless
immediately prevented, the public would ring of your name in a manner
which, if your father hath common humanity, must offend him. If you
will therefore tell me where I may find the old gentleman, I will not
lose a moment in the business; which, while I pursue, you cannot do a
more generous action than by paying a visit to the poor girl. You will
find I have not exaggerated in the account I have given of the
wretchedness of the family."

Nightingale immediately consented to the proposal; and now, having
acquainted Jones with his father's lodging, and the coffee-house where
he would most probably find him, he hesitated a moment, and then said,
"My dear Tom, you are going to undertake an impossibility. If you knew
my father you would never think of obtaining his consent.----Stay,
there is one way--suppose you told him I was already married, it might
be easier to reconcile him to the fact after it was done; and, upon my
honour, I am so affected with what you have said, and I love my Nancy
so passionately, I almost wish it was done, whatever might be the

Jones greatly approved the hint, and promised to pursue it. They then
separated, Nightingale to visit his Nancy, and Jones in quest of the
old gentleman.

Chapter viii.

What passed between Jones and old Mr Nightingale; with the arrival of
a person not yet mentioned in this history.

Notwithstanding the sentiment of the Roman satirist, which denies the
divinity of fortune, and the opinion of Seneca to the same purpose;
Cicero, who was, I believe, a wiser man than either of them, expressly
holds the contrary; and certain it is, there are some incidents in
life so very strange and unaccountable, that it seems to require more
than human skill and foresight in producing them.

Of this kind was what now happened to Jones, who found Mr Nightingale
the elder in so critical a minute, that Fortune, if she was really
worthy all the worship she received at Rome, could not have contrived
such another. In short, the old gentleman, and the father of the young
lady whom he intended for his son, had been hard at it for many hours;
and the latter was just now gone, and had left the former delighted
with the thoughts that he had succeeded in a long contention, which
had been between the two fathers of the future bride and bridegroom;
in which both endeavoured to overreach the other, and, as it not
rarely happens in such cases, both had retreated fully satisfied of
having obtained the victory.

This gentleman, whom Mr Jones now visited, was what they call a man of
the world; that is to say, a man who directs his conduct in this world
as one who, being fully persuaded there is no other, is resolved to
make the most of this. In his early years he had been bred to trade;
but, having acquired a very good fortune, he had lately declined his
business; or, to speak more properly, had changed it from dealing in
goods, to dealing only in money, of which he had always a plentiful
fund at command, and of which he knew very well how to make a very
plentiful advantage, sometimes of the necessities of private men, and
sometimes of those of the public. He had indeed conversed so entirely
with money, that it may be almost doubted whether he imagined there
was any other thing really existing in the world; this at least may be
certainly averred, that he firmly believed nothing else to have any
real value.

The reader will, I fancy, allow that Fortune could not have culled out
a more improper person for Mr Jones to attack with any probability of
success; nor could the whimsical lady have directed this attack at a
more unseasonable time.

As money then was always uppermost in this gentleman's thoughts, so
the moment he saw a stranger within his doors it immediately occurred
to his imagination, that such stranger was either come to bring him
money, or to fetch it from him. And according as one or other of these
thoughts prevailed, he conceived a favourable or unfavourable idea of
the person who approached him.

Unluckily for Jones, the latter of these was the ascendant at present;
for as a young gentleman had visited him the day before, with a bill
from his son for a play debt, he apprehended, at the first sight of
Jones, that he was come on such another errand. Jones therefore had no
sooner told him that he was come on his son's account than the old
gentleman, being confirmed in his suspicion, burst forth into an
exclamation, "That he would lose his labour." "Is it then possible,
sir," answered Jones, "that you can guess my business?" "If I do guess
it," replied the other, "I repeat again to you, you will lose your
labour. What, I suppose you are one of those sparks who lead my son
into all those scenes of riot and debauchery, which will be his
destruction? but I shall pay no more of his bills, I promise you. I
expect he will quit all such company for the future. If I had imagined
otherwise, I should not have provided a wife for him; for I would be
instrumental in the ruin of nobody." "How, sir," said Jones, "and was
this lady of your providing?" "Pray, sir," answered the old gentleman,
"how comes it to be any concern of yours?"--"Nay, dear sir," replied
Jones, "be not offended that I interest myself in what regards your
son's happiness, for whom I have so great an honour and value. It was
upon that very account I came to wait upon you. I can't express the
satisfaction you have given me by what you say; for I do assure you
your son is a person for whom I have the highest honour.--Nay, sir, it
is not easy to express the esteem I have for you; who could be so
generous, so good, so kind, so indulgent to provide such a match for
your son; a woman, who, I dare swear, will make him one of the
happiest men upon earth."

There is scarce anything which so happily introduces men to our good
liking, as having conceived some alarm at their first appearance; when
once those apprehensions begin to vanish we soon forget the fears
which they occasioned, and look on ourselves as indebted for our
present ease to those very persons who at first raised our fears.

Thus it happened to Nightingale, who no sooner found that Jones had no
demand on him, as he suspected, than he began to be pleased with his
presence. "Pray, good sir," said he, "be pleased to sit down. I do not
remember to have ever had the pleasure of seeing you before; but if
you are a friend of my son, and have anything to say concerning this
young lady, I shall be glad to hear you. As to her making him happy,
it will be his own fault if she doth not. I have discharged my duty,
in taking care of the main article. She will bring him a fortune
capable of making any reasonable, prudent, sober man, happy."
"Undoubtedly," cries Jones, "for she is in herself a fortune; so
beautiful, so genteel, so sweet-tempered, and so well-educated; she is
indeed a most accomplished young lady; sings admirably well, and hath
a most delicate hand at the harpsichord." "I did not know any of these
matters," answered the old gentleman, "for I never saw the lady: but I
do not like her the worse for what you tell me; and I am the better
pleased with her father for not laying any stress on these
qualifications in our bargain. I shall always think it a proof of his
understanding. A silly fellow would have brought in these articles as
an addition to her fortune; but, to give him his due, he never
mentioned any such matter; though to be sure they are no
disparagements to a woman." "I do assure you, sir," cries Jones, "she
hath them all in the most eminent degree: for my part, I own I was
afraid you might have been a little backward, a little less inclined
to the match; for your son told me you had never seen the lady;
therefore I came, sir, in that case, to entreat you, to conjure you,
as you value the happiness of your son, not to be averse to his match
with a woman who hath not only all the good qualities I have
mentioned, but many more."--"If that was your business, sir," said the
old gentleman, "we are both obliged to you; and you may be perfectly
easy; for I give you my word I was very well satisfied with her
fortune." "Sir," answered Jones, "I honour you every moment more and
more. To be so easily satisfied, so very moderate on that account, is
a proof of the soundness of your understanding, as well as the
nobleness of your mind."----"Not so very moderate, young gentleman,
not so very moderate," answered the father.--"Still more and more
noble," replied Jones; "and give me leave to add, sensible: for sure
it is little less than madness to consider money as the sole
foundation of happiness. Such a woman as this with her little, her
nothing of a fortune"--"I find," cries the old gentleman, "you have a
pretty just opinion of money, my friend, or else you are better
acquainted with the person of the lady than with her circumstances.
Why, pray, what fortune do you imagine this lady to have?" "What
fortune?" cries Jones, "why, too contemptible a one to be named for
your son."--"Well, well, well," said the other, "perhaps he might have
done better."--"That I deny," said Jones, "for she is one of the best
of women."--"Ay, ay, but in point of fortune I mean," answered the
other. "And yet, as to that now, how much do you imagine your friend
is to have?"--"How much?" cries Jones, "how much? Why, at the utmost,
perhaps 200." "Do you mean to banter me, young gentleman?" said the
father, a little angry. "No, upon my soul," answered Jones, "I am in
earnest: nay, I believe I have gone to the utmost farthing. If I do
the lady an injury, I ask her pardon." "Indeed you do," cries the
father; "I am certain she hath fifty times that sum, and she shall
produce fifty to that before I consent that she shall marry my son."
"Nay," said Jones, "it is too late to talk of consent now; if she had
not fifty farthings your son is married."--"My son married!" answered
the old gentleman, with surprize. "Nay," said Jones, "I thought you
was unacquainted with it." "My son married to Miss Harris!" answered
he again. "To Miss Harris!" said Jones; "no, sir; to Miss Nancy
Miller, the daughter of Mrs Miller, at whose house he lodged; a young
lady, who, though her mother is reduced to let lodgings--"--"Are you
bantering, or are you in earnest?" cries the father, with a most
solemn voice. "Indeed, sir," answered Jones, "I scorn the character of
a banterer. I came to you in most serious earnest, imagining, as I
find true, that your son had never dared acquaint you with a match so
much inferior to him in point of fortune, though the reputation of the
lady will suffer it no longer to remain a secret."

While the father stood like one struck suddenly dumb at this news, a
gentleman came into the room, and saluted him by the name of brother.

But though these two were in consanguinity so nearly related, they
were in their dispositions almost the opposites to each other. The
brother who now arrived had likewise been bred to trade, in which he
no sooner saw himself worth 6000 than he purchased a small estate
with the greatest part of it, and retired into the country; where he
married the daughter of an unbeneficed clergyman; a young lady, who,
though she had neither beauty nor fortune, had recommended herself to
his choice entirely by her good humour, of which she possessed a very
large share.

With this woman he had, during twenty-five years, lived a life more
resembling the model which certain poets ascribe to the golden age,
than any of those patterns which are furnished by the present times.
By her he had four children, but none of them arrived at maturity,
except only one daughter, whom, in vulgar language, he and his wife
had spoiled; that is, had educated with the utmost tenderness and
fondness, which she returned to such a degree, that she had actually
refused a very extraordinary match with a gentleman a little turned of
forty, because she could not bring herself to part with her parents.

The young lady whom Mr Nightingale had intended for his son was a near
neighbour of his brother, and an acquaintance of his niece; and in
reality it was upon the account of his projected match that he was now
come to town; not, indeed, to forward, but to dissuade his brother
from a purpose which he conceived would inevitably ruin his nephew;
for he foresaw no other event from a union with Miss Harris,
notwithstanding the largeness of her fortune, as neither her person
nor mind seemed to him to promise any kind of matrimonial felicity:
for she was very tall, very thin, very ugly, very affected, very
silly, and very ill-natured.

His brother, therefore, no sooner mentioned the marriage of his nephew
with Miss Miller, than he exprest the utmost satisfaction; and when
the father had very bitterly reviled his son, and pronounced sentence
of beggary upon him, the uncle began in the following manner:

"If you was a little cooler, brother, I would ask you whether you love
your son for his sake or for your own. You would answer, I suppose,
and so I suppose you think, for his sake; and doubtless it is his
happiness which you intended in the marriage you proposed for him.

"Now, brother, to prescribe rules of happiness to others hath always
appeared to me very absurd, and to insist on doing this, very
tyrannical. It is a vulgar error, I know; but it is, nevertheless, an
error. And if this be absurd in other things, it is mostly so in the
affair of marriage, the happiness of which depends entirely on the
affection which subsists between the parties.

"I have therefore always thought it unreasonable in parents to desire
to chuse for their children on this occasion; since to force affection
is an impossible attempt; nay, so much doth love abhor force, that I
know not whether, through an unfortunate but uncurable perverseness in
our natures, it may not be even impatient of persuasion.

"It is, however, true that, though a parent will not, I think, wisely
prescribe, he ought to be consulted on this occasion; and, in
strictness, perhaps, should at least have a negative voice. My nephew,
therefore, I own, in marrying, without asking your advice, hath been
guilty of a fault. But, honestly speaking, brother, have you not a
little promoted this fault? Have not your frequent declarations on
this subject given him a moral certainty of your refusal, where there
was any deficiency in point of fortune? Nay, doth not your present
anger arise solely from that deficiency? And if he hath failed in his
duty here, did you not as much exceed that authority when you
absolutely bargained with him for a woman, without his knowledge, whom
you yourself never saw, and whom, if you had seen and known as well as
I, it must have been madness in you to have ever thought of bringing
her into your family?

"Still I own my nephew in a fault; but surely it is not an
unpardonable fault. He hath acted indeed without your consent, in a
matter in which he ought to have asked it, but it is in a matter in
which his interest is principally concerned; you yourself must and
will acknowledge that you consulted his interest only, and if he
unfortunately differed from you, and hath been mistaken in his notion
of happiness, will you, brother, if you love your son, carry him still
wider from the point? Will you increase the ill consequences of his
simple choice? Will you endeavour to make an event certain misery to
him, which may accidentally prove so? In a word, brother, because he
hath put it out of your power to make his circumstances as affluent as
you would, will you distress them as much as you can?"

By the force of the true Catholic faith St Anthony won upon the
fishes. Orpheus and Amphion went a little farther, and by the charms
of music enchanted things merely inanimate. Wonderful, both! but
neither history nor fable have ever yet ventured to record an instance
of any one, who, by force of argument and reason, hath triumphed over
habitual avarice.

Mr Nightingale, the father, instead of attempting to answer his
brother, contented himself with only observing, that they had always
differed in their sentiments concerning the education of their
children. "I wish," said he, "brother, you would have confined your
care to your own daughter, and never have troubled yourself with my
son, who hath, I believe, as little profited by your precepts, as by
your example." For young Nightingale was his uncle's godson, and had
lived more with him than with his father. So that the uncle had often
declared he loved his nephew almost equally with his own child.

Jones fell into raptures with this good gentleman; and when, after
much persuasion, they found the father grew still more and more
irritated, instead of appeased, Jones conducted the uncle to his
nephew at the house of Mrs Miller.

Chapter ix.

Containing strange matters.

At his return to his lodgings, Jones found the situation of affairs
greatly altered from what they had been in at his departure. The
mother, the two daughters, and young Mr Nightingale, were now sat down
to supper together, when the uncle was, at his own desire, introduced
without any ceremony into the company, to all of whom he was well
known; for he had several times visited his nephew at that house.

The old gentleman immediately walked up to Miss Nancy, saluted and
wished her joy, as he did afterwards the mother and the other sister;
and lastly, he paid the proper compliments to his nephew, with the
same good humour and courtesy, as if his nephew had married his equal
or superior in fortune, with all the previous requisites first

Miss Nancy and her supposed husband both turned pale, and looked
rather foolish than otherwise upon the occasion; but Mrs Miller took
the first opportunity of withdrawing; and, having sent for Jones into
the dining-room, she threw herself at his feet, and in a most
passionate flood of tears, called him her good angel, the preserver of
her poor little family, with many other respectful and endearing
appellations, and made him every acknowledgment which the highest
benefit can extract from the most grateful heart.

After the first gust of her passion was a little over, which she
declared, if she had not vented, would have burst her, she proceeded
to inform Mr Jones that all matters were settled between Mr
Nightingale and her daughter, and that they were to be married the
next morning; at which Mr Jones having expressed much pleasure, the
poor woman fell again into a fit of joy and thanksgiving, which he at
length with difficulty silenced, and prevailed on her to return with
him back to the company, whom they found in the same good humour in
which they had left them.

This little society now past two or three very agreeable hours
together, in which the uncle, who was a very great lover of his
bottle, had so well plyed his nephew, that this latter, though not
drunk, began to be somewhat flustered; and now Mr Nightingale, taking
the old gentleman with him upstairs into the apartment he had lately
occupied, unbosomed himself as follows:--

"As you have been always the best and kindest of uncles to me, and as
you have shown such unparalleled goodness in forgiving this match,
which to be sure may be thought a little improvident, I should never
forgive myself if I attempted to deceive you in anything." He then
confessed the truth, and opened the whole affair.

"How, Jack?" said the old gentleman, "and are you really then not
married to this young woman?" "No, upon my honour," answered
Nightingale, "I have told you the simple truth." "My dear boy," cries
the uncle, kissing him, "I am heartily glad to hear it. I never was
better pleased in my life. If you had been married I should have
assisted you as much as was in my power to have made the best of a bad
matter; but there is a great difference between considering a thing
which is already done and irrecoverable, and that which is yet to do.
Let your reason have fair play, Jack, and you will see this match in
so foolish and preposterous a light, that there will be no need of any
dissuasive arguments." "How, sir?" replies young Nightingale, "is
there this difference between having already done an act, and being in
honour engaged to do it?" "Pugh!" said the uncle, "honour is a
creature of the world's making, and the world hath the power of a
creator over it, and may govern and direct it as they please. Now you
well know how trivial these breaches of contract are thought; even the
grossest make but the wonder and conversation of a day. Is there a man
who afterwards will be more backward in giving you his sister, or
daughter? or is there any sister or daughter who would be more
backward to receive you? Honour is not concerned in these
engagements." "Pardon me, dear sir," cries Nightingale, "I can never
think so; and not only honour, but conscience and humanity, are
concerned. I am well satisfied, that, was I now to disappoint the
young creature, her death would be the consequence, and I should look
upon myself as her murderer; nay, as her murderer by the cruellest of
all methods, by breaking her heart." "Break her heart, indeed! no, no,
Jack," cries the uncle, "the hearts of women are not so soon broke;
they are tough, boy, they are tough." "But, sir," answered
Nightingale, "my own affections are engaged, and I never could be
happy with any other woman. How often have I heard you say, that
children should be always suffered to chuse for themselves, and that
you would let my cousin Harriet do so?" "Why, ay," replied the old
gentleman, "so I would have them; but then I would have them chuse
wisely.--Indeed, Jack, you must and shall leave the girl."----"Indeed,
uncle," cries the other, "I must and will have her." "You will, young
gentleman;" said the uncle; "I did not expect such a word from you. I
should not wonder if you had used such language to your father, who
hath always treated you like a dog, and kept you at the distance which
a tyrant preserves over his subjects; but I, who have lived with you
upon an equal footing, might surely expect better usage: but I know
how to account for it all: it is all owing to your preposterous
education, in which I have had too little share. There is my daughter,
now, whom I have brought up as my friend, never doth anything without
my advice, nor ever refuses to take it when I give it her." "You have
never yet given her advice in an affair of this kind," said
Nightingale; "for I am greatly mistaken in my cousin, if she would be
very ready to obey even your most positive commands in abandoning her
inclinations." "Don't abuse my girl," answered the old gentleman with
some emotion; "don't abuse my Harriet. I have brought her up to have
no inclinations contrary to my own. By suffering her to do whatever
she pleases, I have enured her to a habit of being pleased to do
whatever I like." "Pardon, me, sir," said Nightingale, "I have not the
least design to reflect on my cousin, for whom I have the greatest
esteem; and indeed I am convinced you will never put her to so severe
a tryal, or lay such hard commands on her as you would do on me.--But,
dear sir, let us return to the company; for they will begin to be
uneasy at our long absence. I must beg one favour of my dear uncle,
which is that he would not say anything to shock the poor girl or her
mother." "Oh! you need not fear me," answered he, "I understand myself
too well to affront women; so I will readily grant you that favour;
and in return I must expect another of you." "There are but few of
your commands, sir," said Nightingale, "which I shall not very
chearfully obey." "Nay, sir, I ask nothing," said the uncle, "but the
honour of your company home to my lodging, that I may reason the case
a little more fully with you; for I would, if possible, have the
satisfaction of preserving my family, notwithstanding the headstrong
folly of my brother, who, in his own opinion, is the wisest man in the

Nightingale, who well knew his uncle to be as headstrong as his
father, submitted to attend him home, and then they both returned back
into the room, where the old gentleman promised to carry himself with
the same decorum which he had before maintained.

Chapter x.

A short chapter, which concludes the book.

The long absence of the uncle and nephew had occasioned some disquiet
in the minds of all whom they had left behind them; and the more, as,
during the preceding dialogue, the uncle had more than once elevated
his voice, so as to be heard downstairs; which, though they could not
distinguish what he said, had caused some evil foreboding in Nancy and
her mother, and, indeed, even in Jones himself.

When the good company, therefore, again assembled, there was a visible
alteration in all their faces; and the good-humour which, at their
last meeting, universally shone forth in every countenance, was now
changed into a much less agreeable aspect. It was a change, indeed,
common enough to the weather in this climate, from sunshine to clouds,
from June to December.

This alteration was not, however, greatly remarked by any present; for
as they were all now endeavouring to conceal their own thoughts, and
to act a part, they became all too busily engaged in the scene to be
spectators of it. Thus neither the uncle nor nephew saw any symptoms
of suspicion in the mother or daughter; nor did the mother or daughter
remark the overacted complacence of the old man, nor the counterfeit
satisfaction which grinned in the features of the young one.

Something like this, I believe, frequently happens, where the whole
attention of two friends being engaged in the part which each is to
act, in order to impose on the other, neither sees nor suspects the
arts practised against himself; and thus the thrust of both (to borrow
no improper metaphor on the occasion) alike takes place.

From the same reason it is no unusual thing for both parties to be
overreached in a bargain, though the one must be always the greater
loser; as was he who sold a blind horse, and received a bad note in

Our company in about half an hour broke up, and the uncle carried off
his nephew; but not before the latter had assured Miss Nancy, in a
whisper, that he would attend her early in the morning, and fulfil all
his engagements.

Jones, who was the least concerned in this scene, saw the most. He did
indeed suspect the very fact; for, besides observing the great
alteration in the behaviour of the uncle, the distance he assumed, and
his overstrained civility to Miss Nancy; the carrying off a bridegroom
from his bride at that time of night was so extraordinary a proceeding
that it could be accounted for only by imagining that young
Nightingale had revealed the whole truth, which the apparent openness
of his temper, and his being flustered with liquor, made too probable.

While he was reasoning with himself, whether he should acquaint these
poor people with his suspicion, the maid of the house informed him
that a gentlewoman desired to speak with him.----He went immediately
out, and, taking the candle from the maid, ushered his visitant
upstairs, who, in the person of Mrs Honour, acquainted him with such
dreadful news concerning his Sophia, that he immediately lost all
consideration for every other person; and his whole stock of
compassion was entirely swallowed up in reflections on his own misery,
and on that of his unfortunate angel.

What this dreadful matter was, the reader will be informed, after we
have first related the many preceding steps which produced it, and
those will be the subject of the following book.



Chapter i.

Too short to need a preface.

There are a set of religious, or rather moral writers, who teach that
virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery, in this
world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have
but one objection, namely, that it is not true.

Indeed, if by virtue these writers mean the exercise of those cardinal
virtues, which like good housewives stay at home, and mind only the
business of their own family, I shall very readily concede the point;
for so surely do all these contribute and lead to happiness, that I
could almost wish, in violation of all the antient and modern sages,
to call them rather by the name of wisdom, than by that of virtue;
for, with regard to this life, no system, I conceive, was ever wiser
than that of the antient Epicureans, who held this wisdom to
constitute the chief good; nor foolisher than that of their opposites,
those modern epicures, who place all felicity in the abundant
gratification of every sensual appetite.

But if by virtue is meant (as I almost think it ought) a certain
relative quality, which is always busying itself without-doors, and
seems as much interested in pursuing the good of others as its own; I
cannot so easily agree that this is the surest way to human happiness;
because I am afraid we must then include poverty and contempt, with
all the mischiefs which backbiting, envy, and ingratitude, can bring
on mankind, in our idea of happiness; nay, sometimes perhaps we shall
be obliged to wait upon the said happiness to a jail; since many by
the above virtue have brought themselves thither.

I have not now leisure to enter upon so large a field of speculation,
as here seems opening upon me; my design was to wipe off a doctrine
that lay in my way; since, while Mr Jones was acting the most virtuous
part imaginable in labouring to preserve his fellow-creatures from
destruction, the devil, or some other evil spirit, one perhaps
cloathed in human flesh, was hard at work to make him completely
miserable in the ruin of his Sophia.

This therefore would seem an exception to the above rule, if indeed it
was a rule; but as we have in our voyage through life seen so many
other exceptions to it, we chuse to dispute the doctrine on which it
is founded, which we don't apprehend to be Christian, which we are
convinced is not true, and which is indeed destructive of one of the
noblest arguments that reason alone can furnish for the belief of

But as the reader's curiosity (if he hath any) must be now awake, and
hungry, we shall provide to feed it as fast as we can.

Chapter ii.

In which is opened a very black design against Sophia.

I remember a wise old gentleman who used to say, "When children are
doing nothing, they are doing mischief." I will not enlarge this
quaint saying to the most beautiful part of the creation in general;
but so far I may be allowed, that when the effects of female jealousy
do not appear openly in their proper colours of rage and fury, we may
suspect that mischievous passion to be at work privately, and
attempting to undermine, what it doth not attack above-ground.

This was exemplified in the conduct of Lady Bellaston, who, under all
the smiles which she wore in her countenance, concealed much
indignation against Sophia; and as she plainly saw that this young
lady stood between her and the full indulgence of her desires, she
resolved to get rid of her by some means or other; nor was it long
before a very favourable opportunity of accomplishing this presented
itself to her.

The reader may be pleased to remember, that when Sophia was thrown
into that consternation at the playhouse, by the wit and humour of a
set of young gentlemen who call themselves the town, we informed him,
that she had put herself under the protection of a young nobleman, who
had very safely conducted her to her chair.

This nobleman, who frequently visited Lady Bellaston, had more than
once seen Sophia there, since her arrival in town, and had conceived a
very great liking to her; which liking, as beauty never looks more
amiable than in distress, Sophia had in this fright so encreased, that
he might now, without any great impropriety, be said to be actually in
love with her.

It may easily be believed, that he would not suffer so handsome an
occasion of improving his acquaintance with the beloved object as now
offered itself to elapse, when even good breeding alone might have
prompted him to pay her a visit.

The next morning therefore, after this accident, he waited on Sophia,
with the usual compliments, and hopes that she had received no harm
from her last night's adventure.

As love, like fire, when once thoroughly kindled, is soon blown into a
flame, Sophia in a very short time compleated her conquest. Time now
flew away unperceived, and the noble lord had been two hours in
company with the lady, before it entered into his head that he had
made too long a visit. Though this circumstance alone would have
alarmed Sophia, who was somewhat more a mistress of computation at
present; she had indeed much more pregnant evidence from the eyes of
her lover of what past within his bosom; nay, though he did not make
any open declaration of his passion, yet many of his expressions were
rather too warm, and too tender, to have been imputed to complacence,
even in the age when such complacence was in fashion; the very reverse
of which is well known to be the reigning mode at present.

Lady Bellaston had been apprized of his lordship's visit at his first
arrival; and the length of it very well satisfied her, that things
went as she wished, and as indeed she had suspected the second time
she saw this young couple together. This business, she rightly I think
concluded, that she should by no means forward by mixing in the
company while they were together; she therefore ordered her servants,
that when my lord was going, they should tell him she desired to speak
with him; and employed the intermediate time in meditating how best to
accomplish a scheme, which she made no doubt but his lordship would
very readily embrace the execution of.

Lord Fellamar (for that was the title of this young nobleman) was no
sooner introduced to her ladyship, than she attacked him in the
following strain: "Bless me, my lord, are you here yet? I thought my
servants had made a mistake, and let you go away; and I wanted to see
you about an affair of some importance."----"Indeed, Lady Bellaston,"
said he, "I don't wonder you are astonished at the length of my
visit; for I have staid above two hours, and I did not think I had
staid above half-a-one."----"What am I to conclude from thence, my
lord?" said she. "The company must be very agreeable which can make
time slide away so very deceitfully."----"Upon my honour," said he,
"the most agreeable I ever saw. Pray tell me, Lady Bellaston, who is
this blazing star which you have produced among us all of a
sudden?"----"What blazing star, my lord?" said she, affecting a
surprize. "I mean," said he, "the lady I saw here the other day, whom
I had last night in my arms at the playhouse, and to whom I have been
making that unreasonable visit."----"O, my cousin Western!" said she;
"why, that blazing star, my lord, is the daughter of a country booby
squire, and hath been in town about a fortnight, for the first
time."----"Upon my soul," said he, "I should swear she had been bred
up in a court; for besides her beauty, I never saw anything so
genteel, so sensible, so polite."----"O brave!" cries the lady, "my
cousin hath you, I find."----"Upon my honour," answered he, "I wish
she had; for I am in love with her to distraction."----"Nay, my
lord," said she, "it is not wishing yourself very ill neither, for
she is a very great fortune: I assure you she is an only child, and
her father's estate is a good 3000 a-year." "Then I can assure you,
madam," answered the lord, "I think her the best match in England."
"Indeed, my lord," replied she, "if you like her, I heartily wish you
had her." "If you think so kindly of me, madam," said he, "as she is
a relation of yours, will you do me the honour to propose it to her
father?" "And are you really then in earnest?" cries the lady, with
an affected gravity. "I hope, madam," answered he, "you have a better
opinion of me, than to imagine I would jest with your ladyship in an
affair of this kind." "Indeed, then," said the lady, "I will most
readily propose your lordship to her father; and I can, I believe,
assure you of his joyful acceptance of the proposal; but there is a
bar, which I am almost ashamed to mention; and yet it is one you will
never be able to conquer. You have a rival, my lord, and a rival who,
though I blush to name him, neither you, nor all the world, will ever
be able to conquer." "Upon my word, Lady Bellaston," cries he, "you
have struck a damp to my heart, which hath almost deprived me of
being." "Fie, my lord," said she, "I should rather hope I had struck
fire into you. A lover, and talk of damps in your heart! I rather
imagined you would have asked your rival's name, that you might have
immediately entered the lists with him." "I promise you, madam,"
answered he, "there are very few things I would not undertake for
your charming cousin; but pray, who is this happy man?"--"Why, he
is," said she, "what I am sorry to say most happy men with us are,
one of the lowest fellows in the world. He is a beggar, a bastard, a
foundling, a fellow in meaner circumstances than one of your
lordship's footmen." "And is it possible," cried he, "that a young
creature with such perfections should think of bestowing herself so
unworthily?" "Alas! my lord," answered she, "consider the
country--the bane of all young women is the country. There they learn
a set of romantic notions of love, and I know not what folly, which
this town and good company can scarce eradicate in a whole winter."
"Indeed, madam," replied my lord, "your cousin is of too immense a
value to be thrown away; such ruin as this must be prevented."
"Alas!" cries she, "my lord, how can it be prevented? The family have
already done all in their power; but the girl is, I think,
intoxicated, and nothing less than ruin will content her. And to deal
more openly with you, I expect every day to hear she is run away with
him." "What you tell me, Lady Bellaston," answered his lordship,
"affects me most tenderly, and only raises my compassion, instead of
lessening my adoration of your cousin. Some means must be found to
preserve so inestimable a jewel. Hath your ladyship endeavoured to
reason with her?" Here the lady affected a laugh, and cried, "My dear
lord, sure you know us better than to talk of reasoning a young woman
out of her inclinations? These inestimable jewels are as deaf as the
jewels they wear: time, my lord, time is the only medicine to cure
their folly; but this is a medicine which I am certain she will not
take; nay, I live in hourly horrors on her account. In short, nothing
but violent methods will do." "What is to be done?" cries my lord;
"what methods are to be taken?--Is there any method upon earth?--Oh!
Lady Bellaston! there is nothing which I would not undertake for such
a reward."----"I really know not," answered the lady, after a pause;
and then pausing again, she cried out--"Upon my soul, I am at my
wit's end on this girl's account.--If she can be preserved, something
must be done immediately; and, as I say, nothing but violent methods
will do.----If your lordship hath really this attachment to my cousin
(and to do her justice, except in this silly inclination, of which
she will soon see her folly, she is every way deserving), I think
there may be one way, indeed, it is a very disagreeable one, and what
I am almost afraid to think of.--It requires a great spirit, I
promise you." "I am not conscious, madam," said he, "of any defect
there; nor am I, I hope, suspected of any such. It must be an
egregious defect indeed, which could make me backward on this
occasion." "Nay, my lord," answered she, "I am so far from doubting
you, I am much more inclined to doubt my own courage; for I must run
a monstrous risque. In short, I must place such a confidence in your
honour as a wise woman will scarce ever place in a man on any
consideration." In this point likewise my lord very well satisfied
her; for his reputation was extremely clear, and common fame did him
no more than justice, in speaking well of him. "Well, then," said
she, "my lord,--I--I vow, I can't bear the apprehension of it.--No,
it must not be.----At least every other method shall be tried. Can
you get rid of your engagements, and dine here to-day? Your lordship
will have an opportunity of seeing a little more of Miss Western.--I
promise you we have no time to lose. Here will be nobody but Lady
Betty, and Miss Eagle, and Colonel Hampsted, and Tom Edwards; they
will all go soon--and I shall be at home to nobody. Then your
lordship may be a little more explicit. Nay, I will contrive some
method to convince you of her attachment to this fellow." My lord
made proper compliments, accepted the invitation, and then they
parted to dress, it being now past three in the morning, or to reckon
by the old style, in the afternoon.

Chapter iii.

A further explanation of the foregoing design.

Though the reader may have long since concluded Lady Bellaston to be a
member (and no inconsiderable one) of the great world; she was in
reality a very considerable member of the little world; by which
appellation was distinguished a very worthy and honourable society
which not long since flourished in this kingdom.

Among other good principles upon which this society was founded, there
was one very remarkable; for, as it was a rule of an honourable club
of heroes, who assembled at the close of the late war, that all the
members should every day fight once at least; so 'twas in this, that
every member should, within the twenty-four hours, tell at least one
merry fib, which was to be propagated by all the brethren and

Many idle stories were told about this society, which from a certain
quality may be, perhaps not unjustly, supposed to have come from the
society themselves. As, that the devil was the president; and that he
sat in person in an elbow-chair at the upper end of the table; but,
upon very strict enquiry, I find there is not the least truth in any
of those tales, and that the assembly consisted in reality of a set of
very good sort of people, and the fibs which they propagated were of a
harmless kind, and tended only to produce mirth and good humour.

Edwards was likewise a member of this comical society. To him
therefore Lady Bellaston applied as a proper instrument for her
purpose, and furnished him with a fib, which he was to vent whenever

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