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The History of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding

Part 17 out of 18

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I warrant all shall be well, and I shall yet see you happy with the
most charming young lady in the world; for I so hear from every one
she is."

"Believe me, madam," said he, "I do not speak the common cant of one
in my unhappy situation. Before this dreadful accident happened, I had
resolved to quit a life of which I was become sensible of the
wickedness as well as folly. I do assure you, notwithstanding the
disturbances I have unfortunately occasioned in your house, for which
I heartily ask your pardon, I am not an abandoned profligate. Though I
have been hurried into vices, I do not approve a vicious character,
nor will I ever, from this moment, deserve it."

Mrs Miller expressed great satisfaction in these declarations, in the
sincerity of which she averred she had an entire faith; and now the
remainder of the conversation past in the joint attempts of that good
woman and Mr Nightingale to cheer the dejected spirits of Mr Jones, in
which they so far succeeded as to leave him much better comforted and
satisfied than they found him; to which happy alteration nothing so
much contributed as the kind undertaking of Mrs Miller to deliver his
letter to Sophia, which he despaired of finding any means to
accomplish; for when Black George produced the last from Sophia, he
informed Partridge that she had strictly charged him, on pain of
having it communicated to her father, not to bring her any answer. He
was, moreover, not a little pleased to find he had so warm an advocate
to Mr Allworthy himself in this good woman, who was, in reality, one
of the worthiest creatures in the world.

After about an hour's visit from the lady (for Nightingale had been
with him much longer), they both took their leave, promising to return
to him soon; during which Mrs Miller said she hoped to bring him some
good news from his mistress, and Mr Nightingale promised to enquire
into the state of Mr Fitzpatrick's wound, and likewise to find out
some of the persons who were present at the rencounter.

The former of these went directly in quest of Sophia, whither we
likewise shall now attend her.

Chapter vi.

In which Mrs Miller pays a visit to Sophia.

Access to the young lady was by no means difficult; for, as she lived
now on a perfect friendly footing with her aunt, she was at full
liberty to receive what visitants she pleased.

Sophia was dressing when she was acquainted that there was a
gentlewoman below to wait on her. As she was neither afraid, nor
ashamed, to see any of her own sex, Mrs Miller was immediately

Curtsies and the usual ceremonials between women who are strangers to
each other, being past, Sophia said, "I have not the pleasure to know
you, madam." "No, madam," answered Mrs Miller, "and I must beg pardon
for intruding upon you. But when you know what has induced me to give
you this trouble, I hope----" "Pray, what is your business, madam?"
said Sophia, with a little emotion. "Madam, we are not alone," replied
Mrs Miller, in a low voice. "Go out, Betty," said Sophia.

When Betty was departed, Mrs Miller said, "I was desired, madam, by a
very unhappy young gentleman, to deliver you this letter." Sophia
changed colour when she saw the direction, well knowing the hand, and
after some hesitation, said--"I could not conceive, madam, from your
appearance, that your business had been of such a nature.--Whomever
you brought this letter from, I shall not open it. I should be sorry
to entertain an unjust suspicion of any one; but you are an utter
stranger to me."

"If you will have patience, madam," answered Mrs Miller, "I will
acquaint you who I am, and how I came by that letter." "I have no
curiosity, madam, to know anything," cries Sophia; "but I must insist
on your delivering that letter back to the person who gave it you."

Mrs Miller then fell upon her knees, and in the most passionate terms
implored her compassion; to which Sophia answered: "Sure, madam, it is
surprizing you should be so very strongly interested in the behalf of
this person. I would not think, madam"--"No, madam," says Mrs Miller,
"you shall not think anything but the truth. I will tell you all, and
you will not wonder that I am interested. He is the best-natured
creature that ever was born."--She then began and related the story of
Mr Anderson.--After this she cried, "This, madam, this is his
goodness; but I have much more tender obligations to him. He hath
preserved my child."--Here, after shedding some tears, she related
everything concerning that fact, suppressing only those circumstances
which would have most reflected on her daughter, and concluded with
saying, "Now, madam, you shall judge whether I can ever do enough for
so kind, so good, so generous a young man; and sure he is the best and
worthiest of all human beings."

The alterations in the countenance of Sophia had hitherto been chiefly
to her disadvantage, and had inclined her complexion to too great
paleness; but she now waxed redder, if possible, than vermilion, and
cried, "I know not what to say; certainly what arises from gratitude
cannot be blamed--But what service can my reading this letter do your
friend, since I am resolved never----" Mrs Miller fell again to her
entreaties, and begged to be forgiven, but she could not, she said,
carry it back. "Well, madam," says Sophia, "I cannot help it, if you
will force it upon me.--Certainly you may leave it whether I will or
no." What Sophia meant, or whether she meant anything, I will not
presume to determine; but Mrs Miller actually understood this as a
hint, and presently laying the letter down on the table, took her
leave, having first begged permission to wait again on Sophia; which
request had neither assent nor denial.

The letter lay upon the table no longer than till Mrs Miller was out
of sight; for then Sophia opened and read it.

This letter did very little service to his cause; for it consisted of
little more than confessions of his own unworthiness, and bitter
lamentations of despair, together with the most solemn protestations
of his unalterable fidelity to Sophia, of which, he said, he hoped to
convince her, if he had ever more the honour of being admitted to her
presence; and that he could account for the letter to Lady Bellaston
in such a manner, that, though it would not entitle him to her
forgiveness, he hoped at least to obtain it from her mercy. And
concluded with vowing that nothing was ever less in his thoughts than
to marry Lady Bellaston.

Though Sophia read the letter twice over with great attention, his
meaning still remained a riddle to her; nor could her invention
suggest to her any means to excuse Jones. She certainly remained very
angry with him, though indeed Lady Bellaston took up so much of her
resentment, that her gentle mind had but little left to bestow on any
other person.

That lady was most unluckily to dine this very day with her aunt
Western, and in the afternoon they were all three, by appointment, to
go together to the opera, and thence to Lady Thomas Hatchet's drum.
Sophia would have gladly been excused from all, but would not
disoblige her aunt; and as to the arts of counterfeiting illness, she
was so entirely a stranger to them, that it never once entered into
her head. When she was drest, therefore, down she went, resolved to
encounter all the horrors of the day, and a most disagreeable one it
proved; for Lady Bellaston took every opportunity very civilly and
slily to insult her; to all which her dejection of spirits disabled
her from making any return; and, indeed, to confess the truth, she was
at the very best but an indifferent mistress of repartee.

Another misfortune which befel poor Sophia was the company of Lord
Fellamar, whom she met at the opera, and who attended her to the drum.
And though both places were too publick to admit of any
particularities, and she was farther relieved by the musick at the one
place, and by the cards at the other, she could not, however, enjoy
herself in his company; for there is something of delicacy in women,
which will not suffer them to be even easy in the presence of a man
whom they know to have pretensions to them which they are disinclined
to favour.

Having in this chapter twice mentioned a drum, a word which our
posterity, it is hoped, will not understand in the sense it is here
applied, we shall, notwithstanding our present haste, stop a moment to
describe the entertainment here meant, and the rather as we can in a
moment describe it.

A drum, then, is an assembly of well-dressed persons of both sexes,
most of whom play at cards, and the rest do nothing at all; while the
mistress of the house performs the part of the landlady at an inn, and
like the landlady of an inn prides herself in the number of her
guests, though she doth not always, like her, get anything by it.

No wonder then, as so much spirits must be required to support any
vivacity in these scenes of dulness, that we hear persons of fashion
eternally complaining of the want of them; a complaint confined
entirely to upper life. How insupportable must we imagine this round
of impertinence to have been to Sophia at this time; how difficult
must she have found it to force the appearance of gaiety into her
looks, when her mind dictated nothing but the tenderest sorrow, and
when every thought was charged with tormenting ideas!

Night, however, at last restored her to her pillow, where we will
leave her to soothe her melancholy at least, though incapable we fear
of rest, and shall pursue our history, which, something whispers us,
is now arrived at the eve of some great event.

Chapter vii.

A pathetic scene between Mr Allworthy and Mrs Miller.

Mrs Miller had a long discourse with Mr Allworthy, at his return from
dinner, in which she acquainted him with Jones's having unfortunately
lost all which he was pleased to bestow on him at their separation;
and with the distresses to which that loss had subjected him; of all
which she had received a full account from the faithful retailer
Partridge. She then explained the obligations she had to Jones; not
that she was entirely explicit with regard to her daughter; for though
she had the utmost confidence in Mr Allworthy, and though there could
be no hopes of keeping an affair secret which was unhappily known to
more than half a dozen, yet she could not prevail with herself to
mention those circumstances which reflected most on the chastity of
poor Nancy, but smothered that part of her evidence as cautiously as
if she had been before a judge, and the girl was now on her trial for
the murder of a bastard.

Allworthy said, there were few characters so absolutely vicious as not
to have the least mixture of good in them. "However," says he, "I
cannot deny but that you have some obligations to the fellow, bad as
he is, and I shall therefore excuse what hath past already, but must
insist you never mention his name to me more; for, I promise you, it
was upon the fullest and plainest evidence that I resolved to take the
measures I have taken." "Well, sir," says she, "I make not the least
doubt but time will shew all matters in their true and natural
colours, and that you will be convinced this poor young man deserves
better of you than some other folks that shall be nameless."

"Madam," cries Allworthy, a little ruffled, "I will not hear any
reflections on my nephew; and if ever you say a word more of that
kind, I will depart from your house that instant. He is the worthiest
and best of men; and I once more repeat it to you, he hath carried his
friendship to this man to a blameable length, by too long concealing
facts of the blackest die. The ingratitude of the wretch to this good
young man is what I most resent; for, madam, I have the greatest
reason to imagine he had laid a plot to supplant my nephew in my
favour, and to have disinherited him."

"I am sure, sir," answered Mrs Miller, a little frightened (for,
though Mr Allworthy had the utmost sweetness and benevolence in his
smiles, he had great terror in his frowns), "I shall never speak
against any gentleman you are pleased to think well of. I am sure,
sir, such behaviour would very little become me, especially when the
gentleman is your nearest relation; but, sir, you must not be angry
with me, you must not indeed, for my good wishes to this poor wretch.
Sure I may call him so now, though once you would have been angry with
me if I had spoke of him with the least disrespect. How often have I
heard you call him your son? How often have you prattled to me of him
with all the fondness of a parent? Nay, sir, I cannot forget the many
tender expressions, the many good things you have told me of his
beauty, and his parts, and his virtues; of his good-nature and
generosity. I am sure, sir, I cannot forget them, for I find them all
true. I have experienced them in my own cause. They have preserved my
family. You must pardon my tears, sir, indeed you must. When I
consider the cruel reverse of fortune which this poor youth, to whom I
am so much obliged, hath suffered; when I consider the loss of your
favour, which I know he valued more than his life, I must, I must
lament him. If you had a dagger in your hand, ready to plunge into my
heart, I must lament the misery of one whom you have loved, and I
shall ever love."

Allworthy was pretty much moved with this speech, but it seemed not to
be with anger; for, after a short silence, taking Mrs Miller by the
hand, he said very affectionately to her, "Come, madam, let us
consider a little about your daughter. I cannot blame you for
rejoicing in a match which promises to be advantageous to her, but you
know this advantage, in a great measure, depends on the father's
reconciliation. I know Mr Nightingale very well, and have formerly had
concerns with him; I will make him a visit, and endeavour to serve you
in this matter. I believe he is a worldly man; but as this is an only
son, and the thing is now irretrievable, perhaps he may in time be
brought to reason. I promise you I will do all I can for you."

Many were the acknowledgments which the poor woman made to Allworthy
for this kind and generous offer, nor could she refrain from taking
this occasion again to express her gratitude towards Jones, "to whom,"
said she, "I owe the opportunity of giving you, sir, this present
trouble." Allworthy gently stopped her; but he was too good a man to
be really offended with the effects of so noble a principle as now
actuated Mrs Miller; and indeed, had not this new affair inflamed his
former anger against Jones, it is possible he might have been a little
softened towards him, by the report of an action which malice itself
could not have derived from an evil motive.

Mr Allworthy and Mrs Miller had been above an hour together, when
their conversation was put an end to by the arrival of Blifil and
another person, which other person was no less than Mr Dowling, the
attorney, who was now become a great favourite with Mr Blifil, and
whom Mr Allworthy, at the desire of his nephew, had made his steward;
and had likewise recommended him to Mr Western, from whom the attorney
received a promise of being promoted to the same office upon the first
vacancy; and, in the meantime, was employed in transacting some
affairs which the squire then had in London in relation to a mortgage.

This was the principal affair which then brought Mr Dowling to town;
therefore he took the same opportunity to charge himself with some
money for Mr Allworthy, and to make a report to him of some other
business; in all which, as it was of much too dull a nature to find
any place in this history, we will leave the uncle, nephew, and their
lawyer concerned, and resort to other matters.

Chapter viii.

Containing various matters.

Before we return to Mr Jones, we will take one more view of Sophia.

Though that young lady had brought her aunt into great good humour by
those soothing methods which we have before related, she had not
brought her in the least to abate of her zeal for the match with Lord
Fellamar. This zeal was now inflamed by Lady Bellaston, who had told
her the preceding evening, that she was well satisfied from the
conduct of Sophia, and from her carriage to his lordship, that all
delays would be dangerous, and that the only way to succeed was to
press the match forward with such rapidity that the young lady should
have no time to reflect, and be obliged to consent while she scarce
knew what she did; in which manner, she said, one-half of the
marriages among people of condition were brought about. A fact very
probably true, and to which, I suppose, is owing the mutual tenderness
which afterwards exists among so many happy couples.

A hint of the same kind was given by the same lady to Lord Fellamar;
and both these so readily embraced the advice that the very next day
was, at his lordship's request, appointed by Mrs Western for a private
interview between the young parties. This was communicated to Sophia
by her aunt, and insisted upon in such high terms, that, after having
urged everything she possibly could invent against it without the
least effect, she at last agreed to give the highest instance of
complacence which any young lady can give, and consented to see his

As conversations of this kind afford no great entertainment, we shall
be excused from reciting the whole that past at this interview; in
which, after his lordship had made many declarations of the most pure
and ardent passion to the silent blushing Sophia, she at last
collected all the spirits she could raise, and with a trembling low
voice said, "My lord, you must be yourself conscious whether your
former behaviour to me hath been consistent with the professions you
now make." "Is there," answered he, "no way by which I can atone for
madness? what I did I am afraid must have too plainly convinced you,
that the violence of love had deprived me of my senses." "Indeed, my
lord," said she, "it is in your power to give me a proof of an
affection which I much rather wish to encourage, and to which I should
think myself more beholden." "Name it, madam," said my lord, very
warmly. "My lord," says she, looking down upon her fan, "I know you
must be sensible how uneasy this pretended passion of yours hath made
me." "Can you be so cruel to call it pretended?" says he. "Yes, my
lord," answered Sophia, "all professions of love to those whom we
persecute are most insulting pretences. This pursuit of yours is to me
a most cruel persecution: nay, it is taking a most ungenerous
advantage of my unhappy situation." "Most lovely, most adorable
charmer, do not accuse me," cries he, "of taking an ungenerous
advantage, while I have no thoughts but what are directed to your
honour and interest, and while I have no view, no hope, no ambition,
but to throw myself, honour, fortune, everything at your feet." "My
lord," says she, "it is that fortune and those honours which gave you
the advantage of which I complain. These are the charms which have
seduced my relations, but to me they are things indifferent. If your
lordship will merit my gratitude, there is but one way." "Pardon me,
divine creature," said he, "there can be none. All I can do for you is
so much your due, and will give me so much pleasure, that there is no
room for your gratitude." "Indeed, my lord," answered she, "you may
obtain my gratitude, my good opinion, every kind thought and wish
which it is in my power to bestow; nay, you may obtain them with ease,
for sure to a generous mind it must be easy to grant my request. Let
me beseech you, then, to cease a pursuit in which you can never have
any success. For your own sake as well as mine I entreat this favour;
for sure you are too noble to have any pleasure in tormenting an
unhappy creature. What can your lordship propose but uneasiness to
yourself, by a perseverance, which, upon my honour, upon my soul,
cannot, shall not prevail with me, whatever distresses you may drive
me to." Here my lord fetched a deep sigh, and then said--"Is it then,
madam, that I am so unhappy to be the object of your dislike and
scorn; or will you pardon me if I suspect there is some other?" Here
he hesitated, and Sophia answered with some spirit, "My lord, I shall
not be accountable to you for the reasons of my conduct. I am obliged
to your lordship for the generous offer you have made; I own it is
beyond either my deserts or expectations; yet I hope, my lord, you
will not insist on my reasons, when I declare I cannot accept it."
Lord Fellamar returned much to this, which we do not perfectly
understand, and perhaps it could not all be strictly reconciled either
to sense or grammar; but he concluded his ranting speech with saying,
"That if she had pre-engaged herself to any gentleman, however unhappy
it would make him, he should think himself bound in honour to desist."
Perhaps my lord laid too much emphasis on the word gentleman; for we
cannot else well account for the indignation with which he inspired
Sophia, who, in her answer, seemed greatly to resent some affront he
had given her.

While she was speaking, with her voice more raised than usual, Mrs
Western came into the room, the fire glaring in her cheeks, and the
flames bursting from her eyes. "I am ashamed," says she, "my lord, of
the reception which you have met with. I assure your lordship we are
all sensible of the honour done us; and I must tell you, Miss Western,
the family expect a different behaviour from you." Here my lord
interfered on behalf of the young lady, but to no purpose; the aunt
proceeded till Sophia pulled out her handkerchief, threw herself into
a chair, and burst into a violent fit of tears.

The remainder of the conversation between Mrs Western and his
lordship, till the latter withdrew, consisted of bitter lamentations
on his side, and on hers of the strongest assurances that her niece
should and would consent to all he wished. "Indeed, my lord," says
she, "the girl hath had a foolish education, neither adapted to her
fortune nor her family. Her father, I am sorry to say it, is to blame
for everything. The girl hath silly country notions of bashfulness.
Nothing else, my lord, upon my honour; I am convinced she hath a good
understanding at the bottom, and will be brought to reason."

This last speech was made in the absence of Sophia; for she had some
time before left the room, with more appearance of passion than she
had ever shown on any occasion; and now his lordship, after many
expressions of thanks to Mrs Western, many ardent professions of
passion which nothing could conquer, and many assurances of
perseverance, which Mrs Western highly encouraged, took his leave for
this time.

Before we relate what now passed between Mrs Western and Sophia, it
may be proper to mention an unfortunate accident which had happened,
and which had occasioned the return of Mrs Western with so much fury,
as we have seen.

The reader then must know that the maid who at present attended on
Sophia was recommended by Lady Bellaston, with whom she had lived for
some time in the capacity of a comb-brush: she was a very sensible
girl, and had received the strictest instructions to watch her young
lady very carefully. These instructions, we are sorry to say, were
communicated to her by Mrs Honour, into whose favour Lady Bellaston
had now so ingratiated herself, that the violent affection which the
good waiting-woman had formerly borne to Sophia was entirely
obliterated by that great attachment which she had to her new

Now, when Mrs Miller was departed, Betty (for that was the name of the
girl), returning to her young lady, found her very attentively engaged
in reading a long letter, and the visible emotions which she betrayed
on that occasion might have well accounted for some suspicions which
the girl entertained; but indeed they had yet a stronger foundation,
for she had overheard the whole scene which passed between Sophia and
Mrs Miller.

Mrs Western was acquainted with all this matter by Betty, who, after
receiving many commendations and some rewards for her fidelity, was
ordered, that, if the woman who brought the letter came again, she
should introduce her to Mrs Western herself.

Unluckily, Mrs Miller returned at the very time when Sophia was
engaged with his lordship. Betty, according to order, sent her
directly to the aunt; who, being mistress of so many circumstances
relating to what had past the day before, easily imposed upon the poor
woman to believe that Sophia had communicated the whole affair; and so
pumped everything out of her which she knew relating to the letter and
relating to Jones.

This poor creature might, indeed, be called simplicity itself. She was
one of that order of mortals who are apt to believe everything which
is said to them; to whom nature hath neither indulged the offensive
nor defensive weapons of deceit, and who are consequently liable to be
imposed upon by any one who will only be at the expense of a little
falshood for that purpose. Mrs Western, having drained Mrs Miller of
all she knew, which, indeed, was but little, but which was sufficient
to make the aunt suspect a great deal, dismissed her with assurances
that Sophia would not see her, that she would send no answer to the
letter, nor ever receive another; nor did she suffer her to depart
without a handsome lecture on the merits of an office to which she
could afford no better name than that of procuress.--This discovery
had greatly discomposed her temper, when, coming into the apartment
next to that in which the lovers were, she overheard Sophia very
warmly protesting against his lordship's addresses. At which the rage
already kindled burst forth, and she rushed in upon her niece in a
most furious manner, as we have already described, together with what
past at that time till his lordship's departure.

No sooner was Lord Fellamar gone than Mrs Western returned to Sophia,
whom she upbraided in the most bitter terms for the ill use she had
made of the confidence reposed in her; and for her treachery in
conversing with a man with whom she had offered but the day before to
bind herself in the most solemn oath never more to have any
conversation. Sophia protested she had maintained no such
conversation. "How, how! Miss Western," said the aunt; "will you deny
your receiving a letter from him yesterday?" "A letter, madam!"
answered Sophia, somewhat surprized. "It is not very well bred, miss,"
replies the aunt, "to repeat my words. I say a letter, and I insist
upon your showing it me immediately." "I scorn a lie, madam," said
Sophia; "I did receive a letter, but it was without my desire, and,
indeed, I may say, against my consent." "Indeed, indeed, miss," cries
the aunt, "you ought to be ashamed of owning you had received it at
all; but where is the letter? for I will see it."

To this peremptory demand, Sophia paused some time before she returned
an answer; and at last only excused herself by declaring she had not
the letter in her pocket, which was, indeed, true; upon which her
aunt, losing all manner of patience, asked her niece this short
question, whether she would resolve to marry Lord Fellamar, or no? to
which she received the strongest negative. Mrs Western then replied
with an oath, or something very like one, that she would early the
next morning deliver her back into her father's hand.

Sophia then began to reason with her aunt in the following
manner:--"Why, madam, must I of necessity be forced to marry at all?
Consider how cruel you would have thought it in your own case, and how
much kinder your parents were in leaving you to your liberty. What
have I done to forfeit this liberty? I will never marry contrary to my
father's consent, nor without asking yours----And when I ask the
consent of either improperly, it will be then time enough to force
some other marriage upon me." "Can I bear to hear this," cries Mrs
Western, "from a girl who hath now a letter from a murderer in her
pocket?" "I have no such letter, I promise you," answered Sophia;
"and, if he be a murderer, he will soon be in no condition to give you
any further disturbance." "How, Miss Western!" said the aunt, "have
you the assurance to speak of him in this manner; to own your
affection for such a villain to my face?" "Sure, madam," said Sophia,
"you put a very strange construction on my words." "Indeed, Miss
Western," cries the lady, "I shall not bear this usage; you have
learnt of your father this manner of treating me; he hath taught you
to give me the lie. He hath totally ruined you by this false system of
education; and, please heaven, he shall have the comfort of its
fruits; for once more I declare to you, that to-morrow morning I will
carry you back. I will withdraw all my forces from the field, and
remain henceforth, like the wise king of Prussia, in a state of
perfect neutrality. You are both too wise to be regulated by my
measures; so prepare yourself, for to-morrow morning you shall
evacuate this house."

Sophia remonstrated all she could; but her aunt was deaf to all she
said. In this resolution therefore we must at present leave her, as
there seems to be no hopes of bringing her to change it.

Chapter ix.

What happened to Mr Jones in the prison.

Mr Jones passed about twenty-four melancholy hours by himself, unless
when relieved by the company of Partridge, before Mr Nightingale
returned; not that this worthy young man had deserted or forgot his
friend; for, indeed, he had been much the greatest part of the time
employed in his service.

He had heard, upon enquiry, that the only persons who had seen the
beginning of the unfortunate rencounter were a crew belonging to a
man-of-war which then lay at Deptford. To Deptford therefore he went
in search of this crew, where he was informed that the men he sought
after were all gone ashore. He then traced them from place to place,
till at last he found two of them drinking together, with a third
person, at a hedge-tavern near Aldersgate.

Nightingale desired to speak with Jones by himself (for Partridge was
in the room when he came in). As soon as they were alone, Nightingale,
taking Jones by the hand, cried, "Come, my brave friend, be not too
much dejected at what I am going to tell you----I am sorry I am the
messenger of bad news; but I think it my duty to tell you." "I guess
already what that bad news is," cries Jones. "The poor gentleman then
is dead."--"I hope not," answered Nightingale. "He was alive this
morning; though I will not flatter you; I fear, from the accounts I
could get, that his wound is mortal. But if the affair be exactly as
you told it, your own remorse would be all you would have reason to
apprehend, let what would happen; but forgive me, my dear Tom, if I
entreat you to make the worst of your story to your friends. If you
disguise anything to us, you will only be an enemy to yourself."

"What reason, my dear Jack, have I ever given you," said Jones, "to
stab me with so cruel a suspicion?" "Have patience," cries
Nightingale, "and I will tell you all. After the most diligent enquiry
I could make, I at last met with two of the fellows who were present
at this unhappy accident, and I am sorry to say, they do not relate
the story so much in your favour as you yourself have told it." "Why,
what do they say?" cries Jones. "Indeed what I am sorry to repeat, as
I am afraid of the consequence of it to you. They say that they were
at too great a distance to overhear any words that passed between you:
but they both agree that the first blow was given by you." "Then, upon
my soul," answered Jones, "they injure me. He not only struck me
first, but struck me without the least provocation. What should induce
those villains to accuse me falsely?" "Nay, that I cannot guess," said
Nightingale, "and if you yourself, and I, who am so heartily your
friend, cannot conceive a reason why they should belie you, what
reason will an indifferent court of justice be able to assign why they
should not believe them? I repeated the question to them several
times, and so did another gentleman who was present, who, I believe,
is a seafaring man, and who really acted a very friendly part by you;
for he begged them often to consider that there was the life of a man
in the case; and asked them over and over, if they were certain; to
which they both answered, that they were, and would abide by their
evidence upon oath. For heaven's sake, my dear friend, recollect
yourself; for, if this should appear to be the fact, it will be your
business to think in time of making the best of your interest. I would
not shock you; but you know, I believe, the severity of the law,
whatever verbal provocations may have been given you." "Alas! my
friend," cries Jones, "what interest hath such a wretch as I? Besides,
do you think I would even wish to live with the reputation of a
murderer? If I had any friends (as, alas! I have none), could I have
the confidence to solicit them to speak in the behalf of a man
condemned for the blackest crime in human nature? Believe me, I have
no such hope; but I have some reliance on a throne still greatly
superior; which will, I am certain, afford me all the protection I

He then concluded with many solemn and vehement protestations of the
truth of what he had at first asserted.

The faith of Nightingale was now again staggered, and began to incline
to credit his friend, when Mrs Miller appeared, and made a sorrowful
report of the success of her embassy; which when Jones had heard, he
cried out most heroically, "Well, my friend, I am now indifferent as
to what shall happen, at least with regard to my life; and if it be
the will of Heaven that I shall make an atonement with that for the
blood I have spilt, I hope the Divine Goodness will one day suffer my
honour to be cleared, and that the words of a dying man, at least,
will be believed, so far as to justify his character."

A very mournful scene now past between the prisoner and his friends,
at which, as few readers would have been pleased to be present, so
few, I believe, will desire to hear it particularly related. We will,
therefore, pass on to the entrance of the turnkey, who acquainted
Jones that there was a lady without who desired to speak with him when
he was at leisure.

Jones declared his surprize at this message. He said, "He knew no lady
in the world whom he could possibly expect to see there." However, as
he saw no reason to decline seeing any person, Mrs Miller and Mr
Nightingale presently took their leave, and he gave orders to have the
lady admitted.

If Jones was surprized at the news of a visit from a lady, how greatly
was he astonished when he discovered this lady to be no other than Mrs
Waters! In this astonishment then we shall leave him awhile, in order
to cure the surprize of the reader, who will likewise, probably, not a
little wonder at the arrival of this lady.

Who this Mrs Waters was, the reader pretty well knows; what she was,
he must be perfectly satisfied. He will therefore be pleased to
remember that this lady departed from Upton in the same coach with Mr
Fitzpatrick and the other Irish gentleman, and in their company
travelled to Bath.

Now there was a certain office in the gift of Mr Fitzpatrick at that
time vacant, namely that of a wife: for the lady who had lately filled
that office had resigned, or at least deserted her duty. Mr
Fitzpatrick therefore, having thoroughly examined Mrs Waters on the
road, found her extremely fit for the place, which, on their arrival
at Bath, he presently conferred upon her, and she without any scruple
accepted. As husband and wife this gentleman and lady continued
together all the time they stayed at Bath, and as husband and wife
they arrived together in town.

Whether Mr Fitzpatrick was so wise a man as not to part with one good
thing till he had secured another, which he had at present only a
prospect of regaining; or whether Mrs Waters had so well discharged
her office, that he intended still to retain her as principal, and to
make his wife (as is often the case) only her deputy, I will not say;
but certain it is, he never mentioned his wife to her, never
communicated to her the letter given him by Mrs Western, nor ever once
hinted his purpose of repossessing his wife; much less did he ever
mention the name of Jones. For, though he intended to fight with him
wherever he met him, he did not imitate those prudent persons who
think a wife, a mother, a sister, or sometimes a whole family, the
safest seconds on these occasions. The first account therefore which
she had of all this was delivered to her from his lips, after he was
brought home from the tavern where his wound had been drest.

As Mr Fitzpatrick, however, had not the clearest way of telling a
story at any time, and was now, perhaps, a little more confused than
usual, it was some time before she discovered that the gentleman who
had given him this wound was the very same person from whom her heart
had received a wound, which, though not of a mortal kind, was yet so
deep that it had left a considerable scar behind it. But no sooner was
she acquainted that Mr Jones himself was the man who had been
committed to the Gatehouse for this supposed murder, than she took the
first opportunity of committing Mr Fitzpatrick to the care of his
nurse, and hastened away to visit the conqueror.

She now entered the room with an air of gaiety, which received an
immediate check from the melancholy aspect of poor Jones, who started
and blessed himself when he saw her. Upon which she said, "Nay, I do
not wonder at your surprize; I believe you did not expect to see me;
for few gentlemen are troubled here with visits from any lady, unless
a wife. You see the power you have over me, Mr Jones. Indeed, I little
thought, when we parted at Upton, that our next meeting would have
been in such a place." "Indeed, madam," says Jones, "I must look upon
this visit as kind; few will follow the miserable, especially to such
dismal habitations." "I protest, Mr Jones," says she, "I can hardly
persuade myself you are the same agreeable fellow I saw at Upton. Why,
your face is more miserable than any dungeon in the universe. What can
be the matter with you?" "I thought, madam," said Jones, "as you knew
of my being here, you knew the unhappy reason." "Pugh!" says she, "you
have pinked a man in a duel, that's all." Jones exprest some
indignation at this levity, and spoke with the utmost contrition for
what had happened. To which she answered, "Well, then, sir, if you
take it so much to heart, I will relieve you; the gentleman is not
dead, and, I am pretty confident, is in no danger of dying. The
surgeon, indeed, who first dressed him was a young fellow, and seemed
desirous of representing his case to be as bad as possible, that he
might have the more honour from curing him: but the king's surgeon
hath seen him since, and says, unless from a fever, of which there are
at present no symptoms, he apprehends not the least danger of life."
Jones shewed great satisfaction in his countenance at this report;
upon which she affirmed the truth of it, adding, "By the most
extraordinary accident in the world I lodge at the same house; and
have seen the gentleman, and I promise you he doth you justice, and
says, whatever be the consequence, that he was entirely the aggressor,
and that you was not in the least to blame."

Jones expressed the utmost satisfaction at the account which Mrs
Waters brought him. He then informed her of many things which she well
knew before, as who Mr Fitzpatrick was, the occasion of his
resentment, &c. He likewise told her several facts of which she was
ignorant, as the adventure of the muff, and other particulars,
concealing only the name of Sophia. He then lamented the follies and
vices of which he had been guilty; every one of which, he said, had
been attended with such ill consequences, that he should be
unpardonable if he did not take warning, and quit those vicious
courses for the future. He lastly concluded with assuring her of his
resolution to sin no more, lest a worse thing should happen to him.

Mrs Waters with great pleasantry ridiculed all this, as the effects of
low spirits and confinement. She repeated some witticisms about the
devil when he was sick, and told him, "She doubted not but shortly to
see him at liberty, and as lively a fellow as ever; and then," says
she, "I don't question but your conscience will be safely delivered of
all these qualms that it is now so sick in breeding."

Many more things of this kind she uttered, some of which it would do
her no great honour, in the opinion of some readers, to remember; nor
are we quite certain but that the answers made by Jones would be
treated with ridicule by others. We shall therefore suppress the rest
of this conversation, and only observe that it ended at last with
perfect innocence, and much more to the satisfaction of Jones than of
the lady; for the former was greatly transported with the news she had
brought him; but the latter was not altogether so pleased with the
penitential behaviour of a man whom she had, at her first interview,
conceived a very different opinion of from what she now entertained of

Thus the melancholy occasioned by the report of Mr Nightingale was
pretty well effaced; but the dejection into which Mrs Miller had
thrown him still continued. The account she gave so well tallied with
the words of Sophia herself in her letter, that he made not the least
doubt but that she had disclosed his letter to her aunt, and had taken
a fixed resolution to abandon him. The torments this thought gave him
were to be equalled only by a piece of news which fortune had yet in
store for him, and which we shall communicate in the second chapter of
the ensuing book.



Chapter i.

A farewel to the reader.

We are now, reader, arrived at the last stage of our long journey. As
we have, therefore, travelled together through so many pages, let us
behave to one another like fellow-travellers in a stage coach, who
have passed several days in the company of each other; and who,
notwithstanding any bickerings or little animosities which may have
occurred on the road, generally make all up at last, and mount, for
the last time, into their vehicle with chearfulness and good humour;
since after this one stage, it may possibly happen to us, as it
commonly happens to them, never to meet more.

As I have here taken up this simile, give me leave to carry it a
little farther. I intend, then, in this last book, to imitate the good
company I have mentioned in their last journey. Now, it is well known
that all jokes and raillery are at this time laid aside; whatever
characters any of the passengers have for the jest-sake personated on
the road are now thrown off, and the conversation is usually plain and

In the same manner, if I have now and then, in the course of this
work, indulged any pleasantry for thy entertainment, I shall here lay
it down. The variety of matter, indeed, which I shall be obliged to
cram into this book, will afford no room for any of those ludicrous
observations which I have elsewhere made, and which may sometimes,
perhaps, have prevented thee from taking a nap when it was beginning
to steal upon thee. In this last book thou wilt find nothing (or at
most very little) of that nature. All will be plain narrative only;
and, indeed, when thou hast perused the many great events which this
book will produce, thou wilt think the number of pages contained in it
scarce sufficient to tell the story.

And now, my friend, I take this opportunity (as I shall have no other)
of heartily wishing thee well. If I have been an entertaining
companion to thee, I promise thee it is what I have desired. If in
anything I have offended, it was really without any intention. Some
things, perhaps, here said, may have hit thee or thy friends; but I do
most solemnly declare they were not pointed at thee or them. I
question not but thou hast been told, among other stories of me, that
thou wast to travel with a very scurrilous fellow; but whoever told
thee so did me an injury. No man detests and despises scurrility more
than myself; nor hath any man more reason; for none hath ever been
treated with more; and what is a very severe fate, I have had some of
the abusive writings of those very men fathered upon me, who, in other
of their works, have abused me themselves with the utmost virulence.

All these works, however, I am well convinced, will be dead long
before this page shall offer itself to thy perusal; for however short
the period may be of my own performances, they will most probably
outlive their own infirm author, and the weakly productions of his
abusive contemporaries.

Chapter ii.

Containing a very tragical incident.

While Jones was employed in those unpleasant meditations, with which
we left him tormenting himself, Partridge came stumbling into the room
with his face paler than ashes, his eyes fixed in his head, his hair
standing an end, and every limb trembling. In short, he looked as
he would have done had he seen a spectre, or had he, indeed, been a
spectre himself.

Jones, who was little subject to fear, could not avoid being somewhat
shocked at this sudden appearance. He did, indeed, himself change
colour, and his voice a little faultered while he asked him, What was
the matter?

"I hope, sir," said Partridge, "you will not be angry with me. Indeed
I did not listen, but I was obliged to stay in the outward room. I am
sure I wish I had been a hundred miles off, rather than have heard
what I have heard." "Why, what is the matter?" said Jones. "The
matter, sir? O good Heaven!" answered Partridge, "was that woman who
is just gone out the woman who was with you at Upton?" "She was,
Partridge," cried Jones. "And did you really, sir, go to bed with that
woman?" said he, trembling.--"I am afraid what past between us is no
secret," said Jones.--"Nay, but pray, sir, for Heaven's sake, sir,
answer me," cries Partridge. "You know I did," cries Jones. "Why then,
the Lord have mercy upon your soul, and forgive you," cries Partridge;
"but as sure as I stand here alive, you have been a-bed with your own

Upon these words Jones became in a moment a greater picture of horror
than Partridge himself. He was, indeed, for some time struck dumb with
amazement, and both stood staring wildly at each other. At last his
words found way, and in an interrupted voice he said, "How! how!
what's this you tell me?" "Nay, sir," cries Partridge, "I have not
breath enough left to tell you now, but what I have said is most
certainly true.--That woman who now went out is your own mother. How
unlucky was it for you, sir, that I did not happen to see her at that
time, to have prevented it! Sure the devil himself must have contrived
to bring about this wickedness."

"Sure," cries Jones, "Fortune will never have done with me till she
hath driven me to distraction. But why do I blame Fortune? I am myself
the cause of all my misery. All the dreadful mischiefs which have
befallen me are the consequences only of my own folly and vice. What
thou hast told me, Partridge, hath almost deprived me of my senses!
And was Mrs Waters, then--but why do I ask? for thou must certainly
know her--If thou hast any affection for me, nay, if thou hast any
pity, let me beseech thee to fetch this miserable woman back again to
me. O good Heavens! incest----with a mother! To what am I reserved!"
He then fell into the most violent and frantic agonies of grief and
despair, in which Partridge declared he would not leave him; but at
last, having vented the first torrent of passion, he came a little to
himself; and then, having acquainted Partridge that he would find this
wretched woman in the same house where the wounded gentleman was
lodged, he despatched him in quest of her.

If the reader will please to refresh his memory, by turning to the
scene at Upton, in the ninth book, he will be apt to admire the many
strange accidents which unfortunately prevented any interview between
Partridge and Mrs Waters, when she spent a whole day there with Mr
Jones. Instances of this kind we may frequently observe in life, where
the greatest events are produced by a nice train of little
circumstances; and more than one example of this may be discovered by
the accurate eye, in this our history.

After a fruitless search of two or three hours, Partridge returned
back to his master, without having seen Mrs Waters. Jones, who was in
a state of desperation at his delay, was almost raving mad when he
brought him his account. He was not long, however, in this condition
before he received the following letter:


"Since I left you I have seen a gentleman, from whom I have learned
something concerning you which greatly surprizes and affects me; but
as I have not at present leisure to communicate a matter of such
high importance, you must suspend your curiosity till our next
meeting, which shall be the first moment I am able to see you. O, Mr
Jones, little did I think, when I past that happy day at Upton, the
reflection upon which is like to embitter all my future life, who it
was to whom I owed such perfect happiness. Believe me to be ever
sincerely your unfortunate


"P.S. I would have you comfort yourself as much as possible, for Mr
Fitzpatrick is in no manner of danger; so that whatever other
grievous crimes you may have to repent of, the guilt of blood is not
among the number."

Jones having read the letter, let it drop (for he was unable to hold
it, and indeed had scarce the use of any one of his faculties).
Partridge took it up, and having received consent by silence, read it
likewise; nor had it upon him a less sensible effect. The pencil, and
not the pen, should describe the horrors which appeared in both their
countenances. While they both remained speechless the turnkey entered
the room, and, without taking any notice of what sufficiently
discovered itself in the faces of them both, acquainted Jones that a
man without desired to speak with him. This person was presently
introduced, and was no other than Black George.

As sights of horror were not so usual to George as they were to the
turnkey, he instantly saw the great disorder which appeared in the
face of Jones. This he imputed to the accident that had happened,
which was reported in the very worst light in Mr Western's family; he
concluded, therefore, that the gentleman was dead, and that Mr Jones
was in a fair way of coming to a shameful end. A thought which gave
him much uneasiness; for George was of a compassionate disposition,
and notwithstanding a small breach of friendship which he had been
over-tempted to commit, was, in the main, not insensible of the
obligations he had formerly received from Mr Jones.

The poor fellow, therefore, scarce refrained from a tear at the
present sight. He told Jones he was heartily sorry for his
misfortunes, and begged him to consider if he could be of any manner
of service. "Perhaps, sir," said he, "you may want a little matter of
money upon this occasion; if you do, sir, what little I have is
heartily at your service."

Jones shook him very heartily by the hand, and gave him many thanks
for the kind offer he had made; but answered, "He had not the least
want of that kind." Upon which George began to press his services more
eagerly than before. Jones again thanked him, with assurances that he
wanted nothing which was in the power of any man living to give.
"Come, come, my good master," answered George, "do not take the matter
so much to heart. Things may end better than you imagine; to be sure
you an't the first gentleman who hath killed a man, and yet come off."
"You are wide of the matter, George," said Partridge, "the gentleman
is not dead, nor like to die. Don't disturb my master, at present, for
he is troubled about a matter in which it is not in your power to do
him any good." "You don't know what I may be able to do, Mr
Partridge," answered George; "if his concern is about my young lady, I
have some news to tell my master." "What do you say, Mr George?" cried
Jones. "Hath anything lately happened in which my Sophia is concerned?
My Sophia! how dares such a wretch as I mention her so profanely." "I
hope she will be yours yet," answered George. "Why yes, sir, I have
something to tell you about her. Madam Western hath just brought Madam
Sophia home, and there hath been a terrible to do. I could not
possibly learn the very right of it; but my master he hath been in a
vast big passion, and so was Madam Western, and I heard her say, as
she went out of doors into her chair, that she would never set her
foot in master's house again. I don't know what's the matter, not I,
but everything was very quiet when I came out; but Robin, who waited
at supper, said he had never seen the squire for a long while in such
good humour with young madam; that he kissed her several times, and
swore she should be her own mistress, and he never would think of
confining her any more. I thought this news would please you, and so I
slipped out, though it was so late, to inform you of it." Mr Jones
assured George that it did greatly please him; for though he should
never more presume to lift his eyes toward that incomparable creature,
nothing could so much relieve his misery as the satisfaction he should
always have in hearing of her welfare.

The rest of the conversation which passed at the visit is not
important enough to be here related. The reader will, therefore,
forgive us this abrupt breaking off, and be pleased to hear how this
great good-will of the squire towards his daughter was brought about.

Mrs Western, on her first arrival at her brother's lodging, began to
set forth the great honours and advantages which would accrue to the
family by the match with Lord Fellamar, which her niece had absolutely
refused; in which refusal, when the squire took the part of his
daughter, she fell immediately into the most violent passion, and so
irritated and provoked the squire, that neither his patience nor his
prudence could bear it any longer; upon which there ensued between
them both so warm a bout at altercation, that perhaps the regions of
Billingsgate never equalled it. In the heat of this scolding Mrs
Western departed, and had consequently no leisure to acquaint her
brother with the letter which Sophia received, which might have
possibly produced ill effects; but, to say truth, I believe it never
once occurred to her memory at this time.

When Mrs Western was gone, Sophia, who had been hitherto silent, as
well indeed from necessity as inclination, began to return the
compliment which her father had made her, in taking her part against
her aunt, by taking his likewise against the lady. This was the first
time of her so doing, and it was in the highest degree acceptable to
the squire. Again, he remembered that Mr Allworthy had insisted on an
entire relinquishment of all violent means; and, indeed, as he made no
doubt but that Jones would be hanged, he did not in the least question
succeeding with his daughter by fair means; he now, therefore, once
more gave a loose to his natural fondness for her, which had such an
effect on the dutiful, grateful, tender, and affectionate heart of
Sophia, that had her honour, given to Jones, and something else,
perhaps, in which he was concerned, been removed, I much doubt whether
she would not have sacrificed herself to a man she did not like, to
have obliged her father. She promised him she would make it the whole
business of her life to oblige him, and would never marry any man
against his consent; which brought the old man so near to his highest
happiness, that he was resolved to take the other step, and went to
bed completely drunk.

Chapter iii.

Allworthy visits old Nightingale; with a strange discovery that he
made on that occasion.

The morning after these things had happened, Mr Allworthy went,
according to his promise, to visit old Nightingale, with whom his
authority was so great, that, after having sat with him three hours,
he at last prevailed with him to consent to see his son.

Here an accident happened of a very extraordinary kind; one indeed of
those strange chances whence very good and grave men have concluded
that Providence often interposes in the discovery of the most secret
villany, in order to caution men from quitting the paths of honesty,
however warily they tread in those of vice.

Mr Allworthy, at his entrance into Mr Nightingale's, saw Black George;
he took no notice of him, nor did Black George imagine he had
perceived him.

However, when their conversation on the principal point was over,
Allworthy asked Nightingale, Whether he knew one George Seagrim, and
upon what business he came to his house? "Yes," answered Nightingale,
"I know him very well, and a most extraordinary fellow he is, who, in
these days, hath been able to hoard up 500 from renting a very small
estate of 30 a year." "And is this the story which he hath told you?"
cries Allworthy. "Nay, it is true, I promise you," said Nightingale,
"for I have the money now in my own hands, in five bank-bills, which I
am to lay out either in a mortgage, or in some purchase in the north
of England." The bank-bills were no sooner produced at Allworthy's
desire than he blessed himself at the strangeness of the discovery. He
presently told Nightingale that these bank-bills were formerly his,
and then acquainted him with the whole affair. As there are no men who
complain more of the frauds of business than highwaymen, gamesters,
and other thieves of that kind, so there are none who so bitterly
exclaim against the frauds of gamesters, &c., as usurers, brokers, and
other thieves of this kind; whether it be that the one way of cheating
is a discountenance or reflection upon the other, or that money, which
is the common mistress of all cheats, makes them regard each other in
the light of rivals; but Nightingale no sooner heard the story than he
exclaimed against the fellow in terms much severer than the justice
and honesty of Allworthy had bestowed on him.

Allworthy desired Nightingale to retain both the money and the secret
till he should hear farther from him; and, if he should in the
meantime see the fellow, that he would not take the least notice to
him of the discovery which he had made. He then returned to his
lodgings, where he found Mrs Miller in a very dejected condition, on
account of the information she had received from her son-in-law. Mr
Allworthy, with great chearfulness, told her that he had much good
news to communicate; and, with little further preface, acquainted her
that he had brought Mr Nightingale to consent to see his son, and did
not in the least doubt to effect a perfect reconciliation between
them; though he found the father more sowered by another accident of
the same kind which had happened in his family. He then mentioned the
running away of the uncle's daughter, which he had been told by the
old gentleman, and which Mrs Miller and her son-in-law did not yet

The reader may suppose Mrs Miller received this account with great
thankfulness, and no less pleasure; but so uncommon was her friendship
to Jones, that I am not certain whether the uneasiness she suffered
for his sake did not overbalance her satisfaction at hearing a piece
of news tending so much to the happiness of her own family; nor
whether even this very news, as it reminded her of the obligations she
had to Jones, did not hurt as well as please her; when her grateful
heart said to her, "While my own family is happy, how miserable is the
poor creature to whose generosity we owe the beginning of all this

Allworthy, having left her a little while to chew the cud (if I may
use that expression) on these first tidings, told her he had still
something more to impart, which he believed would give her pleasure.
"I think," said he, "I have discovered a pretty considerable treasure
belonging to the young gentleman, your friend; but perhaps, indeed,
his present situation may be such that it will be of no service to
him." The latter part of the speech gave Mrs Miller to understand who
was meant, and she answered with a sigh, "I hope not, sir." "I hope so
too," cries Allworthy, "with all my heart; but my nephew told me this
morning he had heard a very bad account of the affair."----"Good
Heaven! sir," said she--"Well, I must not speak, and yet it is
certainly very hard to be obliged to hold one's tongue when one
hears."--"Madam," said Allworthy, "you may say whatever you please,
you know me too well to think I have a prejudice against any one; and
as for that young man, I assure you I should be heartily pleased to
find he could acquit himself of everything, and particularly of this
sad affair. You can testify the affection I have formerly borne him.
The world, I know, censured me for loving him so much. I did not
withdraw that affection from him without thinking I had the justest
cause. Believe me, Mrs Miller, I should be glad to find I have been
mistaken." Mrs Miller was going eagerly to reply, when a servant
acquainted her that a gentleman without desired to speak with her
immediately. Allworthy then enquired for his nephew, and was told that
he had been for some time in his room with the gentleman who used to
come to him, and whom Mr Allworthy guessing rightly to be Mr Dowling,
he desired presently to speak with him.

When Dowling attended, Allworthy put the case of the bank-notes to
him, without mentioning any name, and asked in what manner such a
person might be punished. To which Dowling answered, "He thought he
might be indicted on the Black Act; but said, as it was a matter of
some nicety, it would be proper to go to counsel. He said he was to
attend counsel presently upon an affair of Mr Western's, and if Mr
Allworthy pleased he would lay the case before them." This was agreed
to; and then Mrs Miller, opening the door, cried, "I ask pardon, I did
not know you had company;" but Allworthy desired her to come in,
saying he had finished his business. Upon which Mr Dowling withdrew,
and Mrs Miller introduced Mr Nightingale the younger, to return thanks
for the great kindness done him by Allworthy: but she had scarce
patience to let the young gentleman finish his speech before she
interrupted him, saying, "O sir! Mr Nightingale brings great news
about poor Mr Jones: he hath been to see the wounded gentleman, who is
out of all danger of death, and, what is more, declares he fell upon
poor Mr Jones himself, and beat him. I am sure, sir, you would not
have Mr Jones be a coward. If I was a man myself, I am sure, if any
man was to strike me, I should draw my sword. Do pray, my dear, tell
Mr Allworthy, tell him all yourself." Nightingale then confirmed what
Mrs Miller had said; and concluded with many handsome things of Jones,
who was, he said, one of the best-natured fellows in the world, and
not in the least inclined to be quarrelsome. Here Nightingale was
going to cease, when Mrs Miller again begged him to relate all the
many dutiful expressions he had heard him make use of towards Mr
Allworthy. "To say the utmost good of Mr Allworthy," cries
Nightingale, "is doing no more than strict justice, and can have no
merit in it: but indeed, I must say, no man can be more sensible of
the obligations he hath to so good a man than is poor Jones. Indeed,
sir, I am convinced the weight of your displeasure is the heaviest
burthen he lies under. He hath often lamented it to me, and hath as
often protested in the most solemn manner he hath never been
intentionally guilty of any offence towards you; nay, he hath sworn he
would rather die a thousand deaths than he would have his conscience
upbraid him with one disrespectful, ungrateful, or undutiful thought
towards you. But I ask pardon, sir, I am afraid I presume to
intermeddle too far in so tender a point." "You have spoke no more
than what a Christian ought," cries Mrs Miller. "Indeed, Mr
Nightingale," answered Allworthy, "I applaud your generous friendship,
and I wish he may merit it of you. I confess I am glad to hear the
report you bring from this unfortunate gentleman; and, if that matter
should turn out to be as you represent it (and, indeed, I doubt
nothing of what you say), I may, perhaps, in time, be brought to think
better than lately I have of this young man; for this good gentlewoman
here, nay, all who know me, can witness that I loved him as dearly as
if he had been my own son. Indeed, I have considered him as a child
sent by fortune to my care. I still remember the innocent, the
helpless situation in which I found him. I feel the tender pressure of
his little hands at this moment. He was my darling, indeed he was." At
which words he ceased, and the tears stood in his eyes.

As the answer which Mrs Miller made may lead us into fresh matters, we
will here stop to account for the visible alteration in Mr Allworthy's
mind, and the abatement of his anger to Jones. Revolutions of this
kind, it is true, do frequently occur in histories and dramatic
writers, for no other reason than because the history or play draws to
a conclusion, and are justified by authority of authors; yet, though
we insist upon as much authority as any author whatever, we shall use
this power very sparingly, and never but when we are driven to it by
necessity, which we do not at present foresee will happen in this

This alteration then in the mind of Mr Allworthy was occasioned by a
letter he had just received from Mr Square, and which we shall give
the reader in the beginning of the next chapter.

Chapter iv.

Containing two letters in very different stiles.

"MY WORTHY FRIEND,--I informed you in my last that I was forbidden
the use of the waters, as they were found by experience rather to
increase than lessen the symptoms of my distemper. I must now
acquaint you with a piece of news, which, I believe, will afflict my
friends more than it hath afflicted me. Dr Harrington and Dr
Brewster have informed me that there is no hopes of my recovery.

"I have somewhere read, that the great use of philosophy is to learn
to die. I will not therefore so far disgrace mine as to shew any
surprize at receiving a lesson which I must be thought to have so
long studied. Yet, to say the truth, one page of the Gospel teaches
this lesson better than all the volumes of antient or modern
philosophers. The assurance it gives us of another life is a much
stronger support to a good mind than all the consolations that are
drawn from the necessity of nature, the emptiness or satiety of our
enjoyments here, or any other topic of those declamations which are
sometimes capable of arming our minds with a stubborn patience in
bearing the thoughts of death, but never of raising them to a real
contempt of it, and much less of making us think it is a real good.
I would not here be understood to throw the horrid censure of
atheism, or even the absolute denial of immortality, on all who are
called philosophers. Many of that sect, as well antient as modern,
have, from the light of reason, discovered some hopes of a future
state; but in reality, that light was so faint and glimmering, and
the hopes were so incertain and precarious, that it may be justly
doubted on which side their belief turned. Plato himself concludes
his Phaedon with declaring that his best arguments amount only to
raise a probability; and Cicero himself seems rather to profess an
inclination to believe, than any actual belief in the doctrines of
immortality. As to myself, to be very sincere with you, I never was
much in earnest in this faith till I was in earnest a Christian.

"You will perhaps wonder at the latter expression; but I assure you
it hath not been till very lately that I could, with truth, call
myself so. The pride of philosophy had intoxicated my reason, and
the sublimest of all wisdom appeared to me, as it did to the Greeks
of old, to be foolishness. God hath, however, been so gracious to
shew me my error in time, and to bring me into the way of truth,
before I sunk into utter darkness forever.

"I find myself beginning to grow weak, I shall therefore hasten to
the main purpose of this letter.

"When I reflect on the actions of my past life, I know of nothing
which sits heavier upon my conscience than the injustice I have been
guilty of to that poor wretch your adopted son. I have, indeed, not
only connived at the villany of others, but been myself active in
injustice towards him. Believe me, my dear friend, when I tell you,
on the word of a dying man, he hath been basely injured. As to the
principal fact, upon the misrepresentation of which you discarded
him, I solemnly assure you he is innocent. When you lay upon your
supposed deathbed, he was the only person in the house who testified
any real concern; and what happened afterwards arose from the
wildness of his joy on your recovery; and, I am sorry to say it,
from the baseness of another person (but it is my desire to justify
the innocent, and to accuse none). Believe me, my friend, this young
man hath the noblest generosity of heart, the most perfect capacity
for friendship, the highest integrity, and indeed every virtue which
can ennoble a man. He hath some faults, but among them is not to be
numbered the least want of duty or gratitude towards you. On the
contrary, I am satisfied, when you dismissed him from your house,
his heart bled for you more than for himself.

"Worldly motives were the wicked and base reasons of my concealing
this from you so long; to reveal it now I can have no inducement but
the desire of serving the cause of truth, of doing right to the
innocent, and of making all the amends in my power for a past
offence. I hope this declaration, therefore, will have the effect
desired, and will restore this deserving young man to your favour;
the hearing of which, while I am yet alive, will afford the utmost
consolation to,

Your most obliged,
obedient humble servant,

The reader will, after this, scarce wonder at the revolution so
visibly appearing in Mr Allworthy, notwithstanding he received from
Thwackum, by the same post, another letter of a very different kind,
which we shall here add, as it may possibly be the last time we shall
have occasion to mention the name of that gentleman.


"I am not at all surprized at hearing from your worthy nephew a
fresh instance of the villany of Mr Square the atheist's young
pupil. I shall not wonder at any murders he may commit; and I
heartily pray that your own blood may not seal up his final
commitment to the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

"Though you cannot want sufficient calls to repentance for the many
unwarrantable weaknesses exemplified in your behaviour to this
wretch, so much to the prejudice of your own lawful family, and of
your character; I say, though these may sufficiently be supposed to
prick and goad your conscience at this season, I should yet be
wanting to my duty, if I spared to give you some admonition in order
to bring you to a due sense of your errors. I therefore pray you
seriously to consider the judgment which is likely to overtake this
wicked villain; and let it serve at least as a warning to you, that
you may not for the future despise the advice of one who is so
indefatigable in his prayers for your welfare.

"Had not my hand been withheld from due correction, I had scourged
much of this diabolical spirit out of a boy, of whom from his
infancy I discovered the devil had taken such entire possession. But
reflections of this kind now come too late.

"I am sorry you have given away the living of Westerton so hastily.
I should have applied on that occasion earlier, had I thought you
would not have acquainted me previous to the disposition.----Your
objection to pluralities is being righteous over-much. If there were
any crime in the practice, so many godly men would not agree to it.
If the vicar of Aldergrove should die (as we hear he is in a
declining way), I hope you will think of me, since I am certain you
must be convinced of my most sincere attachment to your highest
welfare--a welfare to which all worldly considerations are as
trifling as the small tithes mentioned in Scripture are, when
compared to the weighty matters of the law.

I am, sir,
Your faithful humble servant,

This was the first time Thwackum ever wrote in this authoritative
stile to Allworthy, and of this he had afterwards sufficient reason to
repent, as in the case of those who mistake the highest degree of
goodness for the lowest degree of weakness. Allworthy had indeed never
liked this man. He knew him to be proud and ill-natured; he also knew
that his divinity itself was tinctured with his temper, and such as in
many respects he himself did by no means approve; but he was at the
same time an excellent scholar, and most indefatigable in teaching the
two lads. Add to this, the strict severity of his life and manners, an
unimpeached honesty, and a most devout attachment to religion. So
that, upon the whole, though Allworthy did not esteem nor love the
man, yet he could never bring himself to part with a tutor to the
boys, who was, both by learning and industry, extremely well qualified
for his office; and he hoped, that as they were bred up in his own
house, and under his own eye, he should be able to correct whatever
was wrong in Thwackum's instructions.

Chapter v.

In which the history is continued.

Mr Allworthy, in his last speech, had recollected some tender ideas
concerning Jones, which had brought tears into the good man's eyes.
This Mrs Miller observing, said, "Yes, yes, sir, your goodness to this
poor young man is known, notwithstanding all your care to conceal it;
but there is not a single syllable of truth in what those villains
said. Mr Nightingale hath now discovered the whole matter. It seems
these fellows were employed by a lord, who is a rival of poor Mr
Jones, to have pressed him on board a ship.--I assure them I don't
know who they will press next. Mr Nightingale here hath seen the
officer himself, who is a very pretty gentleman, and hath told him
all, and is very sorry for what he undertook, which he would never
have done, had he known Mr Jones to have been a gentleman; but he was
told that he was a common strolling vagabond."

Allworthy stared at all this, and declared he was a stranger to every
word she said. "Yes, sir," answered she, "I believe you are.----It is
a very different story, I believe, from what those fellows told this

"What lawyer, madam? what is it you mean?" said Allworthy. "Nay, nay,"
said she, "this is so like you to deny your own goodness: but Mr
Nightingale here saw him." "Saw whom, madam?" answered he. "Why, your
lawyer, sir," said she, "that you so kindly sent to enquire into the
affair." "I am still in the dark, upon my honour," said Allworthy.
"Why then do you tell him, my dear sir," cries she. "Indeed, sir,"
said Nightingale, "I did see that very lawyer who went from you when I
came into the room, at an alehouse in Aldersgate, in company with two
of the fellows who were employed by Lord Fellamar to press Mr Jones,
and who were by that means present at the unhappy rencounter between
him and Mr Fitzpatrick." "I own, sir," said Mrs Miller, "when I saw
this gentleman come into the room to you, I told Mr Nightingale that I
apprehended you had sent him thither to inquire into the affair."
Allworthy shewed marks of astonishment in his countenance at this
news, and was indeed for two or three minutes struck dumb by it. At
last, addressing himself to Mr Nightingale, he said, "I must confess
myself, sir, more surprized at what you tell me than I have ever been
before at anything in my whole life. Are you certain this was the
gentleman?" "I am most certain," answered Nightingale. "At
Aldersgate?" cries Allworthy. "And was you in company with this lawyer
and the two fellows?"--"I was, sir," said the other, "very near half
an hour." "Well, sir," said Allworthy, "and in what manner did the
lawyer behave? did you hear all that past between him and the
fellows?" "No, sir," answered Nightingale, "they had been together
before I came.--In my presence the lawyer said little; but, after I
had several times examined the fellows, who persisted in a story
directly contrary to what I had heard from Mr Jones, and which I find
by Mr Fitzpatrick was a rank falshood, the lawyer then desired the
fellows to say nothing but what was the truth, and seemed to speak so
much in favour of Mr Jones, that, when I saw the same person with you,
I concluded your goodness had prompted you to send him thither."--"And
did you not send him thither?" says Mrs Miller.--"Indeed I did not,"
answered Allworthy; "nor did I know he had gone on such an errand till
this moment."--"I see it all!" said Mrs Miller, "upon my soul, I see
it all! No wonder they have been closeted so close lately. Son
Nightingale, let me beg you run for these fellows immediately----find
them out if they are above-ground. I will go myself"--"Dear madam,"
said Allworthy, "be patient, and do me the favour to send a servant
upstairs to call Mr Dowling hither, if he be in the house, or, if not,
Mr Blifil." Mrs Miller went out muttering something to herself, and
presently returned with an answer, "That Mr Dowling was gone; but that
the t'other," as she called him, "was coming."

Allworthy was of a cooler disposition than the good woman, whose
spirits were all up in arms in the cause of her friend. He was not
however without some suspicions which were near akin to hers. When
Blifil came into the room, he asked him with a very serious
countenance, and with a less friendly look than he had ever before
given him, "Whether he knew anything of Mr Dowling's having seen any
of the persons who were present at the duel between Jones and another

There is nothing so dangerous as a question which comes by surprize on
a man whose business it is to conceal truth, or to defend falshood.
For which reason those worthy personages, whose noble office it is to
save the lives of their fellow-creatures at the Old Bailey, take the
utmost care, by frequent previous examination, to divine every
question which may be asked their clients on the day of tryal, that
they may be supplyed with proper and ready answers, which the most
fertile invention cannot supply in an instant. Besides, the sudden and
violent impulse on the blood, occasioned by these surprizes, causes
frequently such an alteration in the countenance, that the man is
obliged to give evidence against himself. And such indeed were the
alterations which the countenance of Blifil underwent from this sudden
question, that we can scarce blame the eagerness of Mrs Miller, who
immediately cryed out, "Guilty, upon my honour! guilty, upon my soul!"

Mr Allworthy sharply rebuked her for this impetuosity; and then
turning to Blifil, who seemed sinking into the earth, he said, "Why do
you hesitate, sir, at giving me an answer? You certainly must have
employed him; for he would not, of his own accord, I believe, have
undertaken such an errand, and especially without acquainting me."

Blifil then answered, "I own, sir, I have been guilty of an offence,
yet may I hope your pardon?"--"My pardon," said Allworthy, very
angrily.--"Nay, sir," answered Blifil, "I knew you would be offended;
yet surely my dear uncle will forgive the effects of the most amiable
of human weaknesses. Compassion for those who do not deserve it, I own
is a crime; and yet it is a crime from which you yourself are not
entirely free. I know I have been guilty of it in more than one
instance to this very person; and I will own I did send Mr Dowling,
not on a vain and fruitless enquiry, but to discover the witnesses,
and to endeavour to soften their evidence. This, sir, is the truth;
which, though I intended to conceal from you, I will not deny."

"I confess," said Nightingale, "this is the light in which it appeared
to me from the gentleman's behaviour."

"Now, madam," said Allworthy, "I believe you will once in your life
own you have entertained a wrong suspicion, and are not so angry with
my nephew as you was."

Mrs Miller was silent; for, though she could not so hastily be pleased
with Blifil, whom she looked upon to have been the ruin of Jones, yet
in this particular instance he had imposed upon her as well as upon
the rest; so entirely had the devil stood his friend. And, indeed, I
look upon the vulgar observation, "That the devil often deserts his
friends, and leaves them in the lurch," to be a great abuse on that
gentleman's character. Perhaps he may sometimes desert those who are
only his cup acquaintance; or who, at most, are but half his; but he
generally stands by those who are thoroughly his servants, and helps
them off in all extremities, till their bargain expires.

As a conquered rebellion strengthens a government, or as health is
more perfectly established by recovery from some diseases; so anger,
when removed, often gives new life to affection. This was the case of
Mr Allworthy; for Blifil having wiped off the greater suspicion, the
lesser, which had been raised by Square's letter, sunk of course, and
was forgotten; and Thwackum, with whom he was greatly offended, bore
alone all the reflections which Square had cast on the enemies of

As for that young man, the resentment of Mr Allworthy began more and
more to abate towards him. He told Blifil, "He did not only forgive
the extraordinary efforts of his good-nature, but would give him the
pleasure of following his example." Then, turning to Mrs Miller with a
smile which would have become an angel, he cryed, "What say you,
madam? shall we take a hackney-coach, and all of us together pay a
visit to your friend? I promise you it is not the first visit I have
made in a prison."

Every reader, I believe, will be able to answer for the worthy woman;
but they must have a great deal of good-nature, and be well acquainted
with friendship, who can feel what she felt on this occasion. Few, I
hope, are capable of feeling what now passed in the mind of Blifil;
but those who are will acknowledge that it was impossible for him to
raise any objection to this visit. Fortune, however, or the gentleman
lately mentioned above, stood his friend, and prevented his undergoing
so great a shock; for at the very instant when the coach was sent for,
Partridge arrived, and, having called Mrs Miller from the company,
acquainted her with the dreadful accident lately come to light; and
hearing Mr Allworthy's intention, begged her to find some means of
stopping him: "For," says he, "the matter must at all hazards be kept
a secret from him; and if he should now go, he will find Mr Jones and
his mother, who arrived just as I left him, lamenting over one another
the horrid crime they have ignorantly committed."

The poor woman, who was almost deprived of her senses at his dreadful
news, was never less capable of invention than at present. However, as
women are much readier at this than men, she bethought herself of an
excuse, and, returning to Allworthy, said, "I am sure, sir, you will
be surprized at hearing any objection from me to the kind proposal you
just now made; and yet I am afraid of the consequence of it, if
carried immediately into execution. You must imagine, sir, that all
the calamities which have lately befallen this poor young fellow must
have thrown him into the lowest dejection of spirits; and now, sir,
should we all on a sudden fling him into such a violent fit of joy, as
I know your presence will occasion, it may, I am afraid, produce some
fatal mischief, especially as his servant, who is without, tells me he
is very far from being well."

"Is his servant without?" cries Allworthy; "pray call him hither. I
will ask him some questions concerning his master."

Partridge was at first afraid to appear before Mr Allworthy; but was
at length persuaded, after Mrs Miller, who had often heard his whole
story from his own mouth, had promised to introduce him.

Allworthy recollected Partridge the moment he came into the room,
though many years had passed since he had seen him. Mrs Miller,
therefore, might have spared here a formal oration, in which, indeed,
she was something prolix; for the reader, I believe, may have observed
already that the good woman, among other things, had a tongue always
ready for the service of her friends.

"And are you," said Allworthy to Partridge, "the servant of Mr Jones?"
"I can't say, sir," answered he, "that I am regularly a servant, but I
live with him, an't please your honour, at present. _Non sum qualis
eram_, as your honour very well knows."

Mr Allworthy then asked him many questions concerning Jones, as to his
health, and other matters; to all which Partridge answered, without
having the least regard to what was, but considered only what he would
have things appear; for a strict adherence to truth was not among the
articles of this honest fellow's morality or his religion.

During this dialogue Mr Nightingale took his leave, and presently
after Mrs Miller left the room, when Allworthy likewise despatched
Blifil; for he imagined that Partridge when alone with him would be
more explicit than before company. They were no sooner left in private
together than Allworthy began, as in the following chapter.

Chapter vi.

In which the history is farther continued

"Sure, friend," said the good man, "you are the strangest of all human
beings. Not only to have suffered as you have formerly for obstinately
persisting in a falshood, but to persist in it thus to the last, and
to pass thus upon the world for a servant of your own son! What
interest can you have in all this? What can be your motive?"

"I see, sir," said Partridge, falling down upon his knees, "that your
honour is prepossessed against me, and resolved not to believe
anything I say, and, therefore, what signifies my protestations? but
yet there is one above who knows that I am not the father of this
young man."

"How!" said Allworthy, "will you yet deny what you was formerly
convicted of upon such unanswerable, such manifest evidence? Nay, what
a confirmation is your being now found with this very man, of all
which twenty years ago appeared against you! I thought you had left
the country! nay, I thought you had been long since dead.--In what
manner did you know anything of this young man? Where did you meet
with him, unless you had kept some correspondence together? Do not
deny this; for I promise you it will greatly raise your son in my
opinion, to find that he hath such a sense of filial duty as privately
to support his father for so many years."

"If your honour will have patience to hear me," said Partridge, "I
will tell you all."--Being bid go on, he proceeded thus: "When your
honour conceived that displeasure against me, it ended in my ruin soon
after; for I lost my little school; and the minister, thinking I
suppose it would be agreeable to your honour, turned me out from the
office of clerk; so that I had nothing to trust to but the barber's
shop, which, in a country place like that, is a poor livelihood; and
when my wife died (for till that time I received a pension of 12 a
year from an unknown hand, which indeed I believe was your honour's
own, for nobody that ever I heard of doth these things besides)--but,
as I was saying, when she died, this pension forsook me; so that now,
as I owed two or three small debts, which began to be troublesome to
me, particularly one[*] which an attorney brought up by law-charges
from 15s. to near 30, and as I found all my usual means of living had
forsook me, I packed up my little all as well as I could, and went

[*] This is a fact which I knew happen to a poor clergyman in
Dorsetshire, by the villany of an attorney who, not contented with
the exorbitant costs to which the poor man was put by a single
action, brought afterwards another action on the judgment, as it was
called. A method frequently used to oppress the poor, and bring
money into the pockets of attorneys, to the great scandal of the
law, of the nation, of Christianity, and even of human nature

"The first place I came to was Salisbury, where I got into the service
of a gentleman belonging to the law, and one of the best gentlemen
that ever I knew, for he was not only good to me, but I know a
thousand good and charitable acts which he did while I staid with him;
and I have known him often refuse business because it was paultry and
oppressive." "You need not be so particular," said Allworthy; "I know
this gentleman, and a very worthy man he is, and an honour to his
profession."--"Well, sir," continued Partridge, "from hence I removed
to Lymington, where I was above three years in the service of another
lawyer, who was likewise a very good sort of a man, and to be sure one
of the merriest gentlemen in England. Well, sir, at the end of the
three years I set up a little school, and was likely to do well again,
had it not been for a most unlucky accident. Here I kept a pig; and
one day, as ill fortune would have it, this pig broke out, and did a
trespass, I think they call it, in a garden belonging to one of my
neighbours, who was a proud, revengeful man, and employed a lawyer,
one--one--I can't think of his name; but he sent for a writ against
me, and had me to size. When I came there, Lord have mercy upon me--to
hear what the counsellors said! There was one that told my lord a
parcel of the confoundedest lies about me; he said that I used to
drive my hogs into other folk's gardens, and a great deal more; and at
last he said, he hoped I had at last brought my hogs to a fair market.
To be sure, one would have thought that, instead of being owner only
of one poor little pig, I had been the greatest hog-merchant in
England. Well--" "Pray," said Allworthy, "do not be so particular, I
have heard nothing of your son yet." "O it was a great many years,"
answered Partridge, "before I saw my son, as you are pleased to call
him.----I went over to Ireland after this, and taught school at Cork
(for that one suit ruined me again, and I lay seven years in
Winchester jail)."--"Well," said Allworthy, "pass that over till your
return to England."--"Then, sir," said he, "it was about half a year
ago that I landed at Bristol, where I staid some time, and not finding
it do there, and hearing of a place between that and Gloucester where
the barber was just dead, I went thither, and there I had been about
two months when Mr Jones came thither." He then gave Allworthy a very
particular account of their first meeting, and of everything, as well
as he could remember, which had happened from that day to this;
frequently interlarding his story with panegyrics on Jones, and not
forgetting to insinuate the great love and respect which he had for
Allworthy. He concluded with saying, "Now, sir, I have told your
honour the whole truth." And then repeated a most solemn protestation,
"That he was no more the father of Jones than of the Pope of Rome;"
and imprecated the most bitter curses on his head, if he did not speak

"What am I to think of this matter?" cries Allworthy. "For what
purpose should you so strongly deny a fact which I think it would be
rather your interest to own?" "Nay, sir," answered Partridge (for he
could hold no longer), "if your honour will not believe me, you are
like soon to have satisfaction enough. I wish you had mistaken the
mother of this young man, as well as you have his father."--And now
being asked what he meant, with all the symptoms of horror, both in
his voice and countenance, he told Allworthy the whole story, which he
had a little before expressed such desire to Mrs Miller to conceal
from him.

Allworthy was almost as much shocked at this discovery as Partridge
himself had been while he related it. "Good heavens!" says he, "in
what miserable distresses do vice and imprudence involve men! How much
beyond our designs are the effects of wickedness sometimes carried!"
He had scarce uttered these words, when Mrs Waters came hastily and
abruptly into the room. Partridge no sooner saw her than he cried,
"Here, sir, here is the very woman herself. This is the unfortunate
mother of Mr Jones. I am sure she will acquit me before your honour.
Pray, madam----"

Mrs Waters, without paying any regard to what Partridge said, and
almost without taking any notice of him, advanced to Mr Allworthy. "I
believe, sir, it is so long since I had the honour of seeing you, that
you do not recollect me." "Indeed," answered Allworthy, "you are so
very much altered, on many accounts, that had not this man already
acquainted me who you are, I should not have immediately called you to
my remembrance. Have you, madam, any particular business which brings
you to me?" Allworthy spoke this with great reserve; for the reader
may easily believe he was not well pleased with the conduct of this
lady; neither with what he had formerly heard, nor with what Partridge
had now delivered.

Mrs Waters answered--"Indeed, sir, I have very particular business
with you; and it is such as I can impart only to yourself. I must
desire, therefore, the favour of a word with you alone: for I assure
you what I have to tell you is of the utmost importance."

Partridge was then ordered to withdraw, but before he went, he begged
the lady to satisfy Mr Allworthy that he was perfectly innocent. To
which she answered, "You need be under no apprehension, sir; I shall
satisfy Mr Allworthy very perfectly of that matter."

Then Partridge withdrew, and that past between Mr Allworthy and Mrs
Waters which is written in the next chapter.

Chapter vii.

Continuation of the history.

Mrs Waters remaining a few moments silent, Mr Allworthy could not
refrain from saying, "I am sorry, madam, to perceive, by what I have
since heard, that you have made so very ill a use----" "Mr Allworthy,"
says she, interrupting him, "I know I have faults, but ingratitude to
you is not one of them. I never can nor shall forget your goodness,
which I own I have very little deserved; but be pleased to wave all
upbraiding me at present, as I have so important an affair to
communicate to you concerning this young man, to whom you have given
my maiden name of Jones."

"Have I then," said Allworthy, "ignorantly punished an innocent man,
in the person of him who hath just left us? Was he not the father of
the child?" "Indeed he was not," said Mrs Waters. "You may be pleased
to remember, sir, I formerly told you, you should one day know; and I
acknowledge myself to have been guilty of a cruel neglect, in not
having discovered it to you before. Indeed, I little knew how
necessary it was." "Well, madam," said Allworthy, "be pleased to
proceed." "You must remember, sir," said she, "a young fellow, whose
name was Summer." "Very well," cries Allworthy, "he was the son of a
clergyman of great learning and virtue, for whom I had the highest
friendship." "So it appeared, sir," answered she; "for I believe you
bred the young man up, and maintained him at the university; where, I
think, he had finished his studies, when he came to reside at your
house; a finer man, I must say, the sun never shone upon; for, besides
the handsomest person I ever saw, he was so genteel, and had so much
wit and good breeding." "Poor gentleman," said Allworthy, "he was
indeed untimely snatched away; and little did I think he had any sins
of this kind to answer for; for I plainly perceive you are going to
tell me he was the father of your child."

"Indeed, sir," answered she, "he was not." "How!" said Allworthy, "to
what then tends all this preface?" "To a story," said she, "which I am
concerned falls to my lot to unfold to you. O, sir! prepare to hear
something which will surprize you, will grieve you." "Speak," said
Allworthy, "I am conscious of no crime, and cannot be afraid to hear."
"Sir," said she, "that Mr Summer, the son of your friend, educated at
your expense, who, after living a year in the house as if he had been
your own son, died there of the small-pox, was tenderly lamented by
you, and buried as if he had been your own; that Summer, sir, was the
father of this child." "How!" said Allworthy; "you contradict
yourself." "That I do not," answered she; "he was indeed the father of
this child, but not by me." "Take care, madam," said Allworthy, "do
not, to shun the imputation of any crime, be guilty of falshood.
Remember there is One from whom you can conceal nothing, and before
whose tribunal falshood will only aggravate your guilt." "Indeed,
sir," says she, "I am not his mother; nor would I now think myself so
for the world." "I know your reason," said Allworthy, "and shall
rejoice as much as you to find it otherwise; yet you must remember,
you yourself confest it before me." "So far what I confest," said she,
"was true, that these hands conveyed the infant to your bed; conveyed
it thither at the command of its mother; at her commands I afterwards
owned it, and thought myself, by her generosity, nobly rewarded, both
for my secrecy and my shame." "Who could this woman be?" said
Allworthy. "Indeed, I tremble to name her," answered Mrs Waters. "By
all this preparation I am to guess that she was a relation of mine,"
cried he. "Indeed she was a near one." At which words Allworthy
started, and she continued--"You had a sister, sir." "A sister!"
repeated he, looking aghast.--"As there is truth in heaven," cries
she, "your sister was the mother of that child you found between your
sheets." "Can it be possible?" cries he, "Good heavens!" "Have
patience, sir," said Mrs Waters, "and I will unfold to you the whole
story. Just after your departure for London, Miss Bridget came one day
to the house of my mother. She was pleased to say she had heard an
extraordinary character of me, for my learning and superior
understanding to all the young women there, so she was pleased to say.
She then bid me come to her to the great house; where, when I
attended, she employed me to read to her. She expressed great
satisfaction in my reading, shewed great kindness to me, and made me
many presents. At last she began to catechise me on the subject of
secrecy, to which I gave her such satisfactory answers, that, at last,
having locked the door of her room, she took me into her closet, and
then locking that door likewise, she said she should convince me of
the vast reliance she had on my integrity, by communicating a secret
in which her honour, and consequently her life, was concerned. She
then stopt, and after a silence of a few minutes, during which she
often wiped her eyes, she enquired of me if I thought my mother might
safely be confided in. I answered, I would stake my life on her
fidelity. She then imparted to me the great secret which laboured in
her breast, and which, I believe, was delivered with more pains than
she afterwards suffered in child-birth. It was then contrived that my
mother and myself only should attend at the time, and that Mrs Wilkins
should be sent out of the way, as she accordingly was, to the very
furthest part of Dorsetshire, to enquire the character of a servant;
for the lady had turned away her own maid near three months before;
during all which time I officiated about her person upon trial, as she
said, though, as she afterwards declared, I was not sufficiently handy
for the place. This, and many other such things which she used to say
of me, were all thrown out to prevent any suspicion which Wilkins
might hereafter have, when I was to own the child; for she thought it
could never be believed she would venture to hurt a young woman with
whom she had intrusted such a secret. You may be assured, sir, I was
well paid for all these affronts, which, together with being informed
with the occasion of them, very well contented me. Indeed, the lady
had a greater suspicion of Mrs Wilkins than of any other person; not
that she had the least aversion to the gentlewoman, but she thought
her incapable of keeping a secret, especially from you, sir; for I
have often heard Miss Bridget say, that, if Mrs Wilkins had committed
a murder, she believed she would acquaint you with it. At last the
expected day came, and Mrs Wilkins, who had been kept a week in
readiness, and put off from time to time, upon some pretence or other,
that she might not return too soon, was dispatched. Then the child was
born, in the presence only of myself and my mother, and was by my
mother conveyed to her own house, where it was privately kept by her
till the evening of your return, when I, by the command of Miss
Bridget, conveyed it into the bed where you found it. And all
suspicions were afterwards laid asleep by the artful conduct of your
sister, in pretending ill-will to the boy, and that any regard she
shewed him was out of meer complacence to you."

Mrs Waters then made many protestations of the truth of this story,
and concluded by saying, "Thus, sir, you have at last discovered your
nephew; for so I am sure you will hereafter think him, and I question
not but he will be both an honour and a comfort to you under that

"I need not, madam," said Allworthy, "express my astonishment at what
you have told me; and yet surely you would not, and could not, have
put together so many circumstances to evidence an untruth. I confess I
recollect some passages relating to that Summer, which formerly gave
me a conceit that my sister had some liking to him. I mentioned it to
her; for I had such a regard to the young man, as well on his own
account as on his father's, that I should willingly have consented to
a match between them; but she exprest the highest disdain of my unkind
suspicion, as she called it; so that I never spoke more on the
subject. Good heavens! Well! the Lord disposeth all things.--Yet sure
it was a most unjustifiable conduct in my sister to carry this secret
with her out of the world." "I promise you, sir," said Mrs Waters,
"she always profest a contrary intention, and frequently told me she
intended one day to communicate it to you. She said, indeed, she was
highly rejoiced that her plot had succeeded so well, and that you had
of your own accord taken such a fancy to the child, that it was yet
unnecessary to make any express declaration. Oh! sir, had that lady
lived to have seen this poor young man turned like a vagabond from
your house: nay, sir, could she have lived to hear that you had
yourself employed a lawyer to prosecute him for a murder of which he
was not guilty----Forgive me, Mr Allworthy, I must say it was
unkind.--Indeed, you have been abused, he never deserved it of you."
"Indeed, madam," said Allworthy, "I have been abused by the person,
whoever he was, that told you so." "Nay, sir," said she, "I would not
be mistaken, I did not presume to say you were guilty of any wrong.
The gentleman who came to me proposed no such matter; he only said,
taking me for Mr Fitzpatrick's wife, that, if Mr Jones had murdered my
husband, I should be assisted with any money I wanted to carry on the
prosecution, by a very worthy gentleman, who, he said, was well
apprized what a villain I had to deal with. It was by this man I found
out who Mr Jones was; and this man, whose name is Dowling, Mr Jones
tells me is your steward. I discovered his name by a very odd
accident; for he himself refused to tell it me; but Partridge, who met
him at my lodgings the second time he came, knew him formerly at

"And did this Mr Dowling," says Allworthy, with great astonishment
in his countenance, "tell you that I would assist in the
prosecution?"--"No, sir," answered she, "I will not charge him
wrongfully. He said I should be assisted, but he mentioned no name.
Yet you must pardon me, sir, if from circumstances I thought it could
be no other."--"Indeed, madam," says Allworthy, "from circumstances I
am too well convinced it was another. Good Heaven! by what wonderful
means is the blackest and deepest villany sometimes discovered!--Shall
I beg you, madam, to stay till the person you have mentioned comes,
for I expect him every minute? nay, he may be, perhaps, already in the

Allworthy then stept to the door, in order to call a servant, when in
came, not Mr Dowling, but the gentleman who will be seen in the next

Chapter viii.

Further continuation.

The gentleman who now arrived was no other than Mr Western. He no
sooner saw Allworthy, than, without considering in the least the
presence of Mrs Waters, he began to vociferate in the following
manner: "Fine doings at my house! A rare kettle of fish I have
discovered at last! who the devil would be plagued with a daughter?"
"What's the matter, neighbour?" said Allworthy. "Matter enough,"
answered Western: "when I thought she was just a coming to; nay, when
she had in a manner promised me to do as I would ha her, and when I
was a hoped to have had nothing more to do than to have sent for the
lawyer, and finished all; what do you think I have found out? that the
little b-- hath bin playing tricks with me all the while, and carrying
on a correspondence with that bastard of yours. Sister Western, whom I
have quarrelled with upon her account, sent me word o't, and I ordered
her pockets to be searched when she was asleep, and here I have got un
signed with the son of a whore's own name. I have not had patience to
read half o't, for 'tis longer than one of parson Supple's sermons;
but I find plainly it is all about love; and indeed what should it be
else? I have packed her up in chamber again, and to-morrow morning
down she goes into the country, unless she consents to be married
directly, and there she shall live in a garret upon bread and water
all her days; and the sooner such a b-- breaks her heart the better,
though, d--n her, that I believe is too tough. She will live long
enough to plague me." "Mr Western," answered Allworthy, "you know I
have always protested against force, and you yourself consented that
none should be used." "Ay," cries he, "that was only upon condition
that she would consent without. What the devil and doctor Faustus!
shan't I do what I will with my own daughter, especially when I desire
nothing but her own good?" "Well, neighbour," answered Allworthy, "if
you will give me leave, I will undertake once to argue with the young
lady." "Will you?" said Western; "why that is kind now, and
neighbourly, and mayhap you will do more than I have been able to do
with her; for I promise you she hath a very good opinion of you."
"Well, sir," said Allworthy, "if you will go home, and release the
young lady from her captivity, I will wait upon her within this
half-hour." "But suppose," said Western, "she should run away with un
in the meantime? For lawyer Dowling tells me there is no hopes of
hanging the fellow at last; for that the man is alive, and like to do
well, and that he thinks Jones will be out of prison again presently."
"How!" said Allworthy; "what, did you employ him then to enquire or to
do anything in that matter?" "Not I," answered Western, "he mentioned
it to me just now of his own accord." "Just now!" cries Allworthy,
"why, where did you see him then? I want much to see Mr Dowling."
"Why, you may see un an you will presently at my lodgings; for there
is to be a meeting of lawyers there this morning about a mortgage.
'Icod! I shall lose two or dree thousand pounds, I believe, by that
honest gentleman, Mr Nightingale." "Well, sir," said Allworthy, "I
will be with you within the half-hour." "And do for once," cries the
squire, "take a fool's advice; never think of dealing with her by
gentle methods, take my word for it those will never do. I have tried
'um long enough. She must be frightened into it, there is no other
way. Tell her I'm her father; and of the horrid sin of disobedience,
and of the dreadful punishment of it in t'other world, and then tell
her about being locked up all her life in a garret in this, and being
kept only on bread and water." "I will do all I can," said Allworthy;
"for I promise you there is nothing I wish for more than an alliance
with this amiable creature." "Nay, the girl is well enough for matter
o' that," cries the squire; "a man may go farther and meet with worse
meat; that I may declare o'her, thof she be my own daughter. And if
she will but be obedient to me, there is narrow a father within a
hundred miles o' the place, that loves a daughter better than I do;
but I see you are busy with the lady here, so I will go huome and
expect you; and so your humble servant."

As soon as Mr Western was gone Mrs Waters said, "I see, sir, the
squire hath not the least remembrance of my face. I believe, Mr
Allworthy, you would not have known me neither. I am very considerably
altered since that day when you so kindly gave me that advice, which I
had been happy had I followed." "Indeed, madam," cries Allworthy, "it
gave me great concern when I first heard the contrary." "Indeed, sir,"
says she, "I was ruined by a very deep scheme of villany, which if you
knew, though I pretend not to think it would justify me in your
opinion, it would at least mitigate my offence, and induce you to pity
me: you are not now at leisure to hear my whole story; but this I
assure you, I was betrayed by the most solemn promises of marriage;
nay, in the eye of heaven I was married to him; for, after much
reading on the subject, I am convinced that particular ceremonies are
only requisite to give a legal sanction to marriage, and have only a
worldly use in giving a woman the privileges of a wife; but that she
who lives constant to one man, after a solemn private affiance,
whatever the world may call her, hath little to charge on her own
conscience." "I am sorry, madam," said Allworthy, "you made so ill a
use of your learning. Indeed, it would have been well that you had
been possessed of much more, or had remained in a state of ignorance.
And yet, madam, I am afraid you have more than this sin to answer
for." "During his life," answered she, "which was above a dozen years,
I most solemnly assure you I had not. And consider, sir, on my behalf,
what is in the power of a woman stript of her reputation and left
destitute; whether the good-natured world will suffer such a stray
sheep to return to the road of virtue, even if she was never so
desirous. I protest, then, I would have chose it had it been in my
power; but necessity drove me into the arms of Captain Waters, with
whom, though still unmarried, I lived as a wife for many years, and
went by his name. I parted with this gentleman at Worcester, on his
march against the rebels, and it was then I accidentally met with Mr
Jones, who rescued me from the hands of a villain. Indeed, he is the
worthiest of men. No young gentleman of his age is, I believe, freer
from vice, and few have the twentieth part of his virtues; nay,
whatever vices he hath had, I am firmly persuaded he hath now taken a
resolution to abandon them." "I hope he hath," cries Allworthy, "and I
hope he will preserve that resolution. I must say, I have still the
same hopes with regard to yourself. The world, I do agree, are apt to
be too unmerciful on these occasions; yet time and perseverance will
get the better of this their disinclination, as I may call it, to
pity; for though they are not, like heaven, ready to receive a
penitent sinner; yet a continued repentance will at length obtain
mercy even with the world. This you may be assured of, Mrs Waters,
that whenever I find you are sincere in such good intentions, you
shall want no assistance in my power to make them effectual."

Mrs Waters fell now upon her knees before him, and, in a flood of
tears, made him many most passionate acknowledgments of his goodness,
which, as she truly said, savoured more of the divine than human

Allworthy raised her up, and spoke in the most tender manner, making
use of every expression which his invention could suggest to comfort
her, when he was interrupted by the arrival of Mr Dowling, who, upon
his first entrance, seeing Mrs Waters, started, and appeared in some
confusion; from which he soon recovered himself as well as he could,
and then said he was in the utmost haste to attend counsel at Mr
Western's lodgings; but, however, thought it his duty to call and
acquaint him with the opinion of counsel upon the case which he had
before told him, which was that the conversion of the moneys in that
case could not be questioned in a criminal cause, but that an action
of trover might be brought, and if it appeared to the jury to be the
moneys of plaintiff, that plaintiff would recover a verdict for the

Allworthy, without making any answer to this, bolted the door, and
then, advancing with a stern look to Dowling, he said, "Whatever be
your haste, sir, I must first receive an answer to some questions. Do
you know this lady?"--"That lady, sir!" answered Dowling, with great
hesitation. Allworthy then, with the most solemn voice, said, "Look
you, Mr Dowling, as you value my favour, or your continuance a moment
longer in my service, do not hesitate nor prevaricate; but answer
faithfully and truly to every question I ask.----Do you know this
lady?"--"Yes, sir," said Dowling, "I have seen the lady." "Where,
sir?" "At her own lodgings."--"Upon what business did you go thither,
sir; and who sent you?" "I went, sir, to enquire, sir, about Mr
Jones." "And who sent you to enquire about him?" "Who, sir? why, sir,
Mr Blifil sent me." "And what did you say to the lady concerning that
matter?" "Nay, sir, it is impossible to recollect every word." "Will
you please, madam, to assist the gentleman's memory?" "He told me,
sir," said Mrs Waters, "that if Mr Jones had murdered my husband, I
should be assisted by any money I wanted to carry on the prosecution,
by a very worthy gentleman, who was well apprized what a villain I had
to deal with. These, I can safely swear, were the very words he
spoke."--"Were these the words, sir?" said Allworthy. "I cannot charge
my memory exactly," cries Dowling, "but I believe I did speak to that
purpose."--"And did Mr Blifil order you to say so?" "I am sure, sir, I
should not have gone on my own accord, nor have willingly exceeded my
authority in matters of this kind. If I said so, I must have so
understood Mr Blifil's instructions." "Look you, Mr Dowling," said
Allworthy; "I promise you before this lady, that whatever you have
done in this affair by Mr Blifil's order I will forgive, provided you
now tell me strictly the truth; for I believe what you say, that you
would not have acted of your own accord and without authority in this
matter.----Mr Blifil then likewise sent you to examine the two fellows
at Aldersgate?"--"He did, sir." "Well, and what instructions did he
then give you? Recollect as well as you can, and tell me, as near as

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