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The History of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding

Part 6 out of 18

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scruples about it before, which were actually got over by my thinking
it highly agreeable to your own inclinations; but now I regard it as
the most eligible thing in the world: nor shall there be, if I can
prevent it, a moment of time lost on the occasion."

Sophia replied, "Delay at least, madam, I may expect from both your
goodness and my father's. Surely you will give me time to endeavour to
get the better of so strong a disinclination as I have at present to
this person."

The aunt answered, "She knew too much of the world to be so deceived;
that as she was sensible another man had her affections, she should
persuade Mr Western to hasten the match as much as possible. It would
be bad politics, indeed," added she, "to protract a siege when the
enemy's army is at hand, and in danger of relieving it. No, no,
Sophy," said she, "as I am convinced you have a violent passion which
you can never satisfy with honour, I will do all I can to put your
honour out of the care of your family: for when you are married those
matters will belong only to the consideration of your husband. I hope,
child, you will always have prudence enough to act as becomes you; but
if you should not, marriage hath saved many a woman from ruin."

Sophia well understood what her aunt meant; but did not think proper
to make her an answer. However, she took a resolution to see Mr
Blifil, and to behave to him as civilly as she could, for on that
condition only she obtained a promise from her aunt to keep secret the
liking which her ill fortune, rather than any scheme of Mrs Western,
had unhappily drawn from her.

Chapter vi.

Containing a dialogue between Sophia and Mrs Honour, which may a
little relieve those tender affections which the foregoing scene may
have raised in the mind of a good-natured reader.

Mrs Western having obtained that promise from her niece which we have
seen in the last chapter, withdrew; and presently after arrived Mrs
Honour. She was at work in a neighbouring apartment, and had been
summoned to the keyhole by some vociferation in the preceding
dialogue, where she had continued during the remaining part of it. At
her entry into the room, she found Sophia standing motionless, with
the tears trickling from her eyes. Upon which she immediately ordered
a proper quantity of tears into her own eyes, and then began, "O
Gemini, my dear lady, what is the matter?"--"Nothing," cries Sophia.
"Nothing! O dear Madam!" answers Honour, "you must not tell me that,
when your ladyship is in this taking, and when there hath been such a
preamble between your ladyship and Madam Western."--"Don't teaze me,"
cries Sophia; "I tell you nothing is the matter. Good heavens! why was
I born?"--"Nay, madam," says Mrs Honour, "you shall never persuade me
that your la'ship can lament yourself so for nothing. To be sure I am
but a servant; but to be sure I have been always faithful to your
la'ship, and to be sure I would serve your la'ship with my life."--"My
dear Honour," says Sophia, "'tis not in thy power to be of any service
to me. I am irretrievably undone."--"Heaven forbid!" answered the
waiting-woman; "but if I can't be of any service to you, pray tell me,
madam--it will be some comfort to me to know--pray, dear ma'am, tell
me what's the matter."--"My father," cries Sophia, "is going to marry
me to a man I both despise and hate."--"O dear, ma'am," answered the
other, "who is this wicked man? for to be sure he is very bad, or your
la'ship would not despise him."--"His name is poison to my tongue,"
replied Sophia: "thou wilt know it too soon." Indeed, to confess the
truth, she knew it already, and therefore was not very inquisitive as
to that point. She then proceeded thus: "I don't pretend to give your
la'ship advice, whereof your la'ship knows much better than I can
pretend to, being but a servant; but, i-fackins! no father in England
should marry me against my consent. And, to be sure, the 'squire is so
good, that if he did but know your la'ship despises and hates the
young man, to be sure he would not desire you to marry him. And if
your la'ship would but give me leave to tell my master so. To be sure,
it would be more properer to come from your own mouth; but as your
la'ship doth not care to foul your tongue with his nasty name--"--"You
are mistaken, Honour," says Sophia; "my father was determined before
he ever thought fit to mention it to me."--"More shame for him," cries
Honour: "you are to go to bed to him, and not master: and thof a man
may be a very proper man, yet every woman mayn't think him handsome
alike. I am sure my master would never act in this manner of his own
head. I wish some people would trouble themselves only with what
belongs to them; they would not, I believe, like to be served so, if
it was their own case; for though I am a maid, I can easily believe as
how all men are not equally agreeable. And what signifies your la'ship
having so great a fortune, if you can't please yourself with the man
you think most handsomest? Well, I say nothing; but to be sure it is a
pity some folks had not been better born; nay, as for that matter, I
should not mind it myself; but then there is not so much money; and
what of that? your la'ship hath money enough for both; and where can
your la'ship bestow your fortune better? for to be sure every one must
allow that he is the most handsomest, charmingest, finest, tallest,
properest man in the world."--"What do you mean by running on in this
manner to me?" cries Sophia, with a very grave countenance. "Have I
ever given any encouragement for these liberties?"--"Nay, ma'am, I ask
pardon; I meant no harm," answered she; "but to be sure the poor
gentleman hath run in my head ever since I saw him this morning. To be
sure, if your la'ship had but seen him just now, you must have pitied
him. Poor gentleman! I wishes some misfortune hath not happened to
him; for he hath been walking about with his arms across, and looking
so melancholy, all this morning: I vow and protest it made me almost
cry to see him."--"To see whom?" says Sophia. "Poor Mr Jones,"
answered Honour. "See him! why, where did you see him?" cries Sophia.
"By the canal, ma'am," says Honour. "There he hath been walking all
this morning, and at last there he laid himself down: I believe he
lies there still. To be sure, if it had not been for my modesty, being
a maid, as I am, I should have gone and spoke to him. Do, ma'am, let
me go and see, only for a fancy, whether he is there still."--"Pugh!"
says Sophia. "There! no, no: what should he do there? He is gone
before this time, to be sure. Besides, why--what--why should you go to
see? besides, I want you for something else. Go, fetch me my hat and
gloves. I shall walk with my aunt in the grove before dinner." Honour
did immediately as she was bid, and Sophia put her hat on; when,
looking in the glass, she fancied the ribbon with which her hat was
tied did not become her, and so sent her maid back again for a ribbon
of a different colour; and then giving Mrs Honour repeated charges not
to leave her work on any account, as she said it was in violent haste,
and must be finished that very day, she muttered something more about
going to the grove, and then sallied out the contrary way, and walked,
as fast as her tender trembling limbs could carry her, directly
towards the canal.

Jones had been there as Mrs Honour had told her; he had indeed spent
two hours there that morning in melancholy contemplation on his
Sophia, and had gone out from the garden at one door the moment she
entered it at another. So that those unlucky minutes which had been
spent in changing the ribbons, had prevented the lovers from meeting
at this time;--a most unfortunate accident, from which my fair readers
will not fail to draw a very wholesome lesson. And here I strictly
forbid all male critics to intermeddle with a circumstance which I
have recounted only for the sake of the ladies, and upon which they
only are at liberty to comment.

Chapter vii.

A picture of formal courtship in miniature, as it always ought to be
drawn, and a scene of a tenderer kind painted at full length.

It was well remarked by one (and perhaps by more), that misfortunes do
not come single. This wise maxim was now verified by Sophia, who was
not only disappointed of seeing the man she loved, but had the
vexation of being obliged to dress herself out, in order to receive a
visit from the man she hated.

That afternoon Mr Western, for the first time, acquainted his daughter
with his intention; telling her, he knew very well that she had heard
it before from her aunt. Sophia looked very grave upon this, nor could
she prevent a few pearls from stealing into her eyes. "Come, come,"
says Western, "none of your maidenish airs; I know all; I assure you
sister hath told me all."

"Is it possible," says Sophia, "that my aunt can have betrayed me
already?"--"Ay, ay," says Western; "betrayed you! ay. Why, you
betrayed yourself yesterday at dinner. You showed your fancy very
plainly, I think. But you young girls never know what you would be at.
So you cry because I am going to marry you to the man you are in love
with! Your mother, I remember, whimpered and whined just in the same
manner; but it was all over within twenty-four hours after we were
married: Mr Blifil is a brisk young man, and will soon put an end to
your squeamishness. Come, chear up, chear up; I expect un every

Sophia was now convinced that her aunt had behaved honourably to her:
and she determined to go through that disagreeable afternoon with as
much resolution as possible, and without giving the least suspicion in
the world to her father.

Mr Blifil soon arrived; and Mr Western soon after withdrawing, left
the young couple together.

Here a long silence of near a quarter of an hour ensued; for the
gentleman who was to begin the conversation had all the unbecoming
modesty which consists in bashfulness. He often attempted to speak,
and as often suppressed his words just at the very point of utterance.
At last out they broke in a torrent of far-fetched and high-strained
compliments, which were answered on her side by downcast looks, half
bows, and civil monosyllables. Blifil, from his inexperience in the
ways of women, and from his conceit of himself, took this behaviour
for a modest assent to his courtship; and when, to shorten a scene
which she could no longer support, Sophia rose up and left the room,
he imputed that, too, merely to bashfulness, and comforted himself
that he should soon have enough of her company.

He was indeed perfectly well satisfied with his prospect of success;
for as to that entire and absolute possession of the heart of his
mistress which romantic lovers require, the very idea of it never
entered his head. Her fortune and her person were the sole objects of
his wishes, of which he made no doubt soon to obtain the absolute
property; as Mr Western's mind was so earnestly bent on the match; and
as he well knew the strict obedience which Sophia was always ready to
pay to her father's will, and the greater still which her father would
exact, if there was occasion. This authority, therefore, together with
the charms which he fancied in his own person and conversation, could
not fail, he thought, of succeeding with a young lady, whose
inclinations were, he doubted not, entirely disengaged.

Of Jones he certainly had not even the least jealousy; and I have
often thought it wonderful that he had not. Perhaps he imagined the
character which Jones bore all over the country (how justly, let the
reader determine), of being one of the wildest fellows in England,
might render him odious to a lady of the most exemplary modesty.
Perhaps his suspicions might be laid asleep by the behaviour of
Sophia, and of Jones himself, when they were all in company together.
Lastly, and indeed principally, he was well assured there was not
another self in the case. He fancied that he knew Jones to the bottom,
and had in reality a great contempt for his understanding, for not
being more attached to his own interest. He had no apprehension that
Jones was in love with Sophia; and as for any lucrative motives, he
imagined they would sway very little with so silly a fellow. Blifil,
moreover, thought the affair of Molly Seagrim still went on, and
indeed believed it would end in marriage; for Jones really loved him
from his childhood, and had kept no secret from him, till his
behaviour on the sickness of Mr Allworthy had entirely alienated his
heart; and it was by means of the quarrel which had ensued on this
occasion, and which was not yet reconciled, that Mr Blifil knew
nothing of the alteration which had happened in the affection which
Jones had formerly borne towards Molly.

From these reasons, therefore, Mr Blifil saw no bar to his success
with Sophia. He concluded her behaviour was like that of all other
young ladies on a first visit from a lover, and it had indeed entirely
answered his expectations.

Mr Western took care to way-lay the lover at his exit from his
mistress. He found him so elevated with his success, so enamoured with
his daughter, and so satisfied with her reception of him, that the old
gentleman began to caper and dance about his hall, and by many other
antic actions to express the extravagance of his joy; for he had not
the least command over any of his passions; and that which had at any
time the ascendant in his mind hurried him to the wildest excesses.

As soon as Blifil was departed, which was not till after many hearty
kisses and embraces bestowed on him by Western, the good squire went
instantly in quest of his daughter, whom he no sooner found than he
poured forth the most extravagant raptures, bidding her chuse what
clothes and jewels she pleased; and declaring that he had no other use
for fortune but to make her happy. He then caressed her again and
again with the utmost profusion of fondness, called her by the most
endearing names, and protested she was his only joy on earth.

Sophia perceiving her father in this fit of affection, which she did
not absolutely know the reason of (for fits of fondness were not
unusual to him, though this was rather more violent than ordinary),
thought she should never have a better opportunity of disclosing
herself than at present, as far at least as regarded Mr Blifil; and
she too well foresaw the necessity which she should soon be under of
coming to a full explanation. After having thanked the squire,
therefore, for all his professions of kindness, she added, with a look
full of inexpressible softness, "And is it possible my papa can be so
good to place all his joy in his Sophy's happiness?" which Western
having confirmed by a great oath, and a kiss; she then laid hold of
his hand, and, falling on her knees, after many warm and passionate
declarations of affection and duty, she begged him "not to make her
the most miserable creature on earth by forcing her to marry a man
whom she detested. This I entreat of you, dear sir," said she, "for
your sake, as well as my own, since you are so very kind to tell me
your happiness depends on mine."--"How! what!" says Western, staring
wildly. "Oh! sir," continued she, "not only your poor Sophy's
happiness; her very life, her being, depends upon your granting her
request. I cannot live with Mr Blifil. To force me into this marriage
would be killing me."--"You can't live with Mr Blifil?" says Western.
"No, upon my soul I can't," answered Sophia. "Then die and be d--d,"
cries he, spurning her from him. "Oh! sir," cries Sophia, catching
hold of the skirt of his coat, "take pity on me, I beseech you. Don't
look and say such cruel--Can you be unmoved while you see your Sophy
in this dreadful condition? Can the best of fathers break my heart?
Will he kill me by the most painful, cruel, lingering death?"--"Pooh!
pooh!" cries the squire; "all stuff and nonsense; all maidenish
tricks. Kill you, indeed! Will marriage kill you?"--"Oh! sir,"
answered Sophia, "such a marriage is worse than death. He is not even
indifferent; I hate and detest him."--"If you detest un never so
much," cries Western, "you shall ha'un." This he bound by an oath too
shocking to repeat; and after many violent asseverations, concluded in
these words: "I am resolved upon the match, and unless you consent to
it I will not give you a groat, not a single farthing; no, though I
saw you expiring with famine in the street, I would not relieve you
with a morsel of bread. This is my fixed resolution, and so I leave
you to consider on it." He then broke from her with such violence,
that her face dashed against the floor; and he burst directly out of
the room, leaving poor Sophia prostrate on the ground.

When Western came into the hall, he there found Jones; who seeing his
friend looking wild, pale, and almost breathless, could not forbear
enquiring the reason of all these melancholy appearances. Upon which
the squire immediately acquainted him with the whole matter,
concluding with bitter denunciations against Sophia, and very pathetic
lamentations of the misery of all fathers who are so unfortunate to
have daughters.

Jones, to whom all the resolutions which had been taken in favour of
Blifil were yet a secret, was at first almost struck dead with this
relation; but recovering his spirits a little, mere despair, as he
afterwards said, inspired him to mention a matter to Mr Western, which
seemed to require more impudence than a human forehead was ever gifted
with. He desired leave to go to Sophia, that he might endeavour to
obtain her concurrence with her father's inclinations.

If the squire had been as quicksighted as he was remarkable for the
contrary, passion might at present very well have blinded him. He
thanked Jones for offering to undertake the office, and said, "Go, go,
prithee, try what canst do;" and then swore many execrable oaths that
he would turn her out of doors unless she consented to the match.

Chapter viii.

The meeting between Jones and Sophia.

Jones departed instantly in quest of Sophia, whom he found just risen
from the ground, where her father had left her, with the tears
trickling from her eyes, and the blood running from her lips. He
presently ran to her, and with a voice full at once of tenderness and
terrour, cried, "O my Sophia, what means this dreadful sight?" She
looked softly at him for a moment before she spoke, and then said, "Mr
Jones, for Heaven's sake how came you here?--Leave me, I beseech you,
this moment."--"Do not," says he, "impose so harsh a command upon
me--my heart bleeds faster than those lips. O Sophia, how easily could
I drain my veins to preserve one drop of that dear blood."--"I have
too many obligations to you already," answered she, "for sure you
meant them such." Here she looked at him tenderly almost a minute, and
then bursting into an agony, cried, "Oh, Mr Jones, why did you save my
life? my death would have been happier for us both."--"Happier for us
both!" cried he. "Could racks or wheels kill me so painfully as
Sophia's--I cannot bear the dreadful sound. Do I live but for her?"
Both his voice and looks were full of inexpressible tenderness when he
spoke these words; and at the same time he laid gently hold on her
hand, which she did not withdraw from him; to say the truth, she
hardly knew what she did or suffered. A few moments now passed in
silence between these lovers, while his eyes were eagerly fixed on
Sophia, and hers declining towards the ground: at last she recovered
strength enough to desire him again to leave her, for that her certain
ruin would be the consequence of their being found together; adding,
"Oh, Mr Jones, you know not, you know not what hath passed this cruel
afternoon."--"I know all, my Sophia," answered he; "your cruel father
hath told me all, and he himself hath sent me hither to you."--"My
father sent you to me!" replied she: "sure you dream."--"Would to
Heaven," cries he, "it was but a dream! Oh, Sophia, your father hath
sent me to you, to be an advocate for my odious rival, to solicit you
in his favour. I took any means to get access to you. O speak to me,
Sophia! comfort my bleeding heart. Sure no one ever loved, ever doated
like me. Do not unkindly withhold this dear, this soft, this gentle
hand--one moment, perhaps, tears you for ever from me--nothing less
than this cruel occasion could, I believe, have ever conquered the
respect and awe with which you have inspired me." She stood a moment
silent, and covered with confusion; then lifting up her eyes gently
towards him, she cried, "What would Mr Jones have me say?"--"O do but
promise," cries he, "that you never will give yourself to
Blifil."--"Name not," answered she, "the detested sound. Be assured I
never will give him what is in my power to withhold from him."--"Now
then," cries he, "while you are so perfectly kind, go a little
farther, and add that I may hope."--"Alas!" says she, "Mr Jones,
whither will you drive me? What hope have I to bestow? You know my
father's intentions."--"But I know," answered he, "your compliance
with them cannot be compelled."--"What," says she, "must be the
dreadful consequence of my disobedience? My own ruin is my least
concern. I cannot bear the thoughts of being the cause of my father's
misery."--"He is himself the cause," cries Jones, "by exacting a power
over you which Nature hath not given him. Think on the misery which I
am to suffer if I am to lose you, and see on which side pity will turn
the balance."--"Think of it!" replied she: "can you imagine I do not
feel the ruin which I must bring on you, should I comply with your
desire? It is that thought which gives me resolution to bid you fly
from me for ever, and avoid your own destruction."--"I fear no
destruction," cries he, "but the loss of Sophia. If you would save me
from the most bitter agonies, recall that cruel sentence. Indeed, I
can never part with you, indeed I cannot."

The lovers now stood both silent and trembling, Sophia being unable to
withdraw her hand from Jones, and he almost as unable to hold it; when
the scene, which I believe some of my readers will think had lasted
long enough, was interrupted by one of so different a nature, that we
shall reserve the relation of it for a different chapter.

Chapter ix.

Being of a much more tempestuous kind than the former.

Before we proceed with what now happened to our lovers, it may be
proper to recount what had past in the hall during their tender

Soon after Jones had left Mr Western in the manner above mentioned,
his sister came to him, and was presently informed of all that had
passed between her brother and Sophia relating to Blifil.

This behaviour in her niece the good lady construed to be an absolute
breach of the condition on which she had engaged to keep her love for
Mr Jones a secret. She considered herself, therefore, at full liberty
to reveal all she knew to the squire, which she immediately did in the
most explicit terms, and without any ceremony or preface.

The idea of a marriage between Jones and his daughter, had never once
entered into the squire's head, either in the warmest minutes of his
affection towards that young man, or from suspicion, or on any other
occasion. He did indeed consider a parity of fortune and circumstances
to be physically as necessary an ingredient in marriage, as difference
of sexes, or any other essential; and had no more apprehension of his
daughter's falling in love with a poor man, than with any animal of a
different species.

He became, therefore, like one thunderstruck at his sister's relation.
He was, at first, incapable of making any answer, having been almost
deprived of his breath by the violence of the surprize. This, however,
soon returned, and, as is usual in other cases after an intermission,
with redoubled force and fury.

The first use he made of the power of speech, after his recovery from
the sudden effects of his astonishment, was to discharge a round
volley of oaths and imprecations. After which he proceeded hastily to
the apartment where he expected to find the lovers, and murmured, or
rather indeed roared forth, intentions of revenge every step he went.

As when two doves, or two wood-pigeons, or as when Strephon and
Phyllis (for that comes nearest to the mark) are retired into some
pleasant solitary grove, to enjoy the delightful conversation of Love,
that bashful boy, who cannot speak in public, and is never a good
companion to more than two at a time; here, while every object is
serene, should hoarse thunder burst suddenly through the shattered
clouds, and rumbling roll along the sky, the frightened maid starts
from the mossy bank or verdant turf, the pale livery of death succeeds
the red regimentals in which Love had before drest her cheeks, fear
shakes her whole frame, and her lover scarce supports her trembling
tottering limbs.

Or as when two gentlemen, strangers to the wondrous wit of the place,
are cracking a bottle together at some inn or tavern at Salisbury, if
the great Dowdy, who acts the part of a madman as well as some of his
setters-on do that of a fool, should rattle his chains, and dreadfully
hum forth the grumbling catch along the gallery; the frighted
strangers stand aghast; scared at the horrid sound, they seek some
place of shelter from the approaching danger; and if the well-barred
windows did admit their exit, would venture their necks to escape the
threatening fury now coming upon them.

So trembled poor Sophia, so turned she pale at the noise of her
father, who, in a voice most dreadful to hear, came on swearing,
cursing, and vowing the destruction of Jones. To say the truth, I
believe the youth himself would, from some prudent considerations,
have preferred another place of abode at this time, had his terror on
Sophia's account given him liberty to reflect a moment on what any
otherways concerned himself, than as his love made him partake
whatever affected her.

And now the squire, having burst open the door, beheld an object which
instantly suspended all his fury against Jones; this was the ghastly
appearance of Sophia, who had fainted away in her lover's arms. This
tragical sight Mr Western no sooner beheld, than all his rage forsook
him; he roared for help with his utmost violence; ran first to his
daughter, then back to the door calling for water, and then back again
to Sophia, never considering in whose arms she then was, nor perhaps
once recollecting that there was such a person in the world as Jones;
for indeed I believe the present circumstances of his daughter were
now the sole consideration which employed his thoughts.

Mrs Western and a great number of servants soon came to the assistance
of Sophia with water, cordials, and everything necessary on those
occasions. These were applied with such success, that Sophia in a very
few minutes began to recover, and all the symptoms of life to return.
Upon which she was presently led off by her own maid and Mrs Western:
nor did that good lady depart without leaving some wholesome
admonitions with her brother, on the dreadful effects of his passion,
or, as she pleased to call it, madness.

The squire, perhaps, did not understand this good advice, as it was
delivered in obscure hints, shrugs, and notes of admiration: at least,
if he did understand it, he profited very little by it; for no sooner
was he cured of his immediate fears for his daughter, than he relapsed
into his former frenzy, which must have produced an immediate battle
with Jones, had not parson Supple, who was a very strong man, been
present, and by mere force restrained the squire from acts of

The moment Sophia was departed, Jones advanced in a very suppliant
manner to Mr Western, whom the parson held in his arms, and begged him
to be pacified; for that, while he continued in such a passion, it
would be impossible to give him any satisfaction.

"I wull have satisfaction o' thee," answered the squire; "so doff thy
clothes. _At unt_ half a man, and I'll lick thee as well as wast ever
licked in thy life." He then bespattered the youth with abundance of
that language which passes between country gentlemen who embrace
opposite sides of the question; with frequent applications to him to
salute that part which is generally introduced into all controversies
that arise among the lower orders of the English gentry at
horse-races, cock-matches, and other public places. Allusions to this
part are likewise often made for the sake of the jest. And here, I
believe, the wit is generally misunderstood. In reality, it lies in
desiring another to kiss your a-- for having just before threatened to
kick his; for I have observed very accurately, that no one ever
desires you to kick that which belongs to himself, nor offers to kiss
this part in another.

It may likewise seem surprizing that in the many thousand kind
invitations of this sort, which every one who hath conversed with
country gentlemen must have heard, no one, I believe, hath ever seen a
single instance where the desire hath been complied with;--a great
instance of their want of politeness; for in town nothing can be more
common than for the finest gentlemen to perform this ceremony every
day to their superiors, without having that favour once requested of

To all such wit, Jones very calmly answered, "Sir, this usage may
perhaps cancel every other obligation you have conferred on me; but
there is one you can never cancel; nor will I be provoked by your
abuse to lift my hand against the father of Sophia."

At these words the squire grew still more outrageous than before; so
that the parson begged Jones to retire; saying, "You behold, sir, how
he waxeth wrath at your abode here; therefore let me pray you not to
tarry any longer. His anger is too much kindled for you to commune
with him at present. You had better, therefore, conclude your visit,
and refer what matters you have to urge in your behalf to some other

Jones accepted this advice with thanks, and immediately departed. The
squire now regained the liberty of his hands, and so much temper as to
express some satisfaction in the restraint which had been laid upon
him; declaring that he should certainly have beat his brains out; and
adding, "It would have vexed one confoundedly to have been hanged for
such a rascal."

The parson now began to triumph in the success of his peace-making
endeavours, and proceeded to read a lecture against anger, which might
perhaps rather have tended to raise than to quiet that passion in some
hasty minds. This lecture he enriched with many valuable quotations
from the antients, particularly from Seneca; who hath indeed so well
handled this passion, that none but a very angry man can read him
without great pleasure and profit. The doctor concluded this harangue
with the famous story of Alexander and Clitus; but as I find that
entered in my common-place under title Drunkenness, I shall not insert
it here.

The squire took no notice of this story, nor perhaps of anything he
said; for he interrupted him before he had finished, by calling for a
tankard of beer; observing (which is perhaps as true as any
observation on this fever of the mind) that anger makes a man dry.

No sooner had the squire swallowed a large draught than he renewed the
discourse on Jones, and declared a resolution of going the next
morning early to acquaint Mr Allworthy. His friend would have
dissuaded him from this, from the mere motive of good-nature; but his
dissuasion had no other effect than to produce a large volley of oaths
and curses, which greatly shocked the pious ears of Supple; but he did
not dare to remonstrate against a privilege which the squire claimed
as a freeborn Englishman. To say truth, the parson submitted to please
his palate at the squire's table, at the expense of suffering now and
then this violence to his ears. He contented himself with thinking he
did not promote this evil practice, and that the squire would not
swear an oath the less, if he never entered within his gates. However,
though he was not guilty of ill manners by rebuking a gentleman in his
own house, he paid him off obliquely in the pulpit: which had not,
indeed, the good effect of working a reformation in the squire
himself; yet it so far operated on his conscience, that he put the
laws very severely in execution against others, and the magistrate was
the only person in the parish who could swear with impunity.

Chapter x.

In which Mr Western visits Mr Allworthy.

Mr Allworthy was now retired from breakfast with his nephew, well
satisfied with the report of the young gentleman's successful visit to
Sophia (for he greatly desired the match, more on account of the young
lady's character than of her riches), when Mr Western broke abruptly
in upon them, and without any ceremony began as follows:--

"There, you have done a fine piece of work truly! You have brought up
your bastard to a fine purpose; not that I believe you have had any
hand in it neither, that is, as a man may say, designedly: but there
is a fine kettle-of-fish made on't up at our house." "What can be the
matter, Mr Western?" said Allworthy. "O, matter enow of all
conscience: my daughter hath fallen in love with your bastard, that's
all; but I won't ge her a hapeny, not the twentieth part of a brass
varden. I always thought what would come o' breeding up a bastard like
a gentleman, and letting un come about to vok's houses. It's well vor
un I could not get at un: I'd a lick'd un; I'd a spoil'd his
caterwauling; I'd a taught the son of a whore to meddle with meat for
his master. He shan't ever have a morsel of meat of mine, or a varden
to buy it: if she will ha un, one smock shall be her portion. I'd
sooner ge my esteate to the zinking fund, that it may be sent to
Hanover to corrupt our nation with." "I am heartily sorry," cries
Allworthy. "Pox o' your sorrow," says Western; "it will do me
abundance of good when I have lost my only child, my poor Sophy, that
was the joy of my heart, and all the hope and comfort of my age; but I
am resolved I will turn her out o' doors; she shall beg, and starve,
and rot in the streets. Not one hapeny, not a hapeny shall she ever
hae o' mine. The son of a bitch was always good at finding a hare
sitting, an be rotted to'n: I little thought what puss he was looking
after; but it shall be the worst he ever vound in his life. She shall
be no better than carrion: the skin o'er is all he shall ha, and zu
you may tell un." "I am in amazement," cries Allworthy, "at what you
tell me, after what passed between my nephew and the young lady no
longer ago than yesterday." "Yes, sir," answered Western, "it was
after what passed between your nephew and she that the whole matter
came out. Mr Blifil there was no sooner gone than the son of a whore
came lurching about the house. Little did I think when I used to love
him for a sportsman that he was all the while a poaching after my
daughter." "Why truly," says Allworthy, "I could wish you had not
given him so many opportunities with her; and you will do me the
justice to acknowledge that I have always been averse to his staying
so much at your house, though I own I had no suspicion of this kind."
"Why, zounds," cries Western, "who could have thought it? What the
devil had she to do wi'n? He did not come there a courting to her; he
came there a hunting with me." "But was it possible," says Allworthy,
"that you should never discern any symptoms of love between them, when
you have seen them so often together?" "Never in my life, as I hope to
be saved," cries Western: "I never so much as zeed him kiss her in all
my life; and so far from courting her, he used rather to be more
silent when she was in company than at any other time; and as for the
girl, she was always less civil to'n than to any young man that came
to the house. As to that matter, I am not more easy to be deceived
than another; I would not have you think I am, neighbour." Allworthy
could scarce refrain laughter at this; but he resolved to do a
violence to himself; for he perfectly well knew mankind, and had too
much good-breeding and good-nature to offend the squire in his present
circumstances. He then asked Western what he would have him do upon
this occasion. To which the other answered, "That he would have him
keep the rascal away from his house, and that he would go and lock up
the wench; for he was resolved to make her marry Mr Blifil in spite of
her teeth." He then shook Blifil by the hand, and swore he would have
no other son-in-law. Presently after which he took his leave; saying
his house was in such disorder that it was necessary for him to make
haste home, to take care his daughter did not give him the slip; and
as for Jones, he swore if he caught him at his house, he would qualify
him to run for the geldings' plate.

When Allworthy and Blifil were again left together, a long silence
ensued between them; all which interval the young gentleman filled up
with sighs, which proceeded partly from disappointment, but more from
hatred; for the success of Jones was much more grievous to him than
the loss of Sophia.

At length his uncle asked him what he was determined to do, and he
answered in the following words:--"Alas! sir, can it be a question
what step a lover will take, when reason and passion point different
ways? I am afraid it is too certain he will, in that dilemma, always
follow the latter. Reason dictates to me, to quit all thoughts of a
woman who places her affections on another; my passion bids me hope
she may in time change her inclinations in my favour. Here, however, I
conceive an objection may be raised, which, if it could not fully be
answered, would totally deter me from any further pursuit. I mean the
injustice of endeavouring to supplant another in a heart of which he
seems already in possession; but the determined resolution of Mr
Western shows that, in this case, I shall, by so doing, promote the
happiness of every party; not only that of the parent, who will thus
be preserved from the highest degree of misery, but of both the
others, who must be undone by this match. The lady, I am sure, will be
undone in every sense; for, besides the loss of most part of her own
fortune, she will be not only married to a beggar, but the little
fortune which her father cannot withhold from her will be squandered
on that wench with whom I know he yet converses. Nay, that is a
trifle; for I know him to be one of the worst men in the world; for
had my dear uncle known what I have hitherto endeavoured to conceal,
he must have long since abandoned so profligate a wretch." "How!" said
Allworthy; "hath he done anything worse than I already know? Tell me,
I beseech you?" "No," replied Blifil; "it is now past, and perhaps he
may have repented of it." "I command you, on your duty," said
Allworthy, "to tell me what you mean." "You know, sir," says Blifil,
"I never disobeyed you; but I am sorry I mentioned it, since it may
now look like revenge, whereas, I thank Heaven, no such motive ever
entered my heart; and if you oblige me to discover it, I must be his
petitioner to you for your forgiveness." "I will have no conditions,"
answered Allworthy; "I think I have shown tenderness enough towards
him, and more perhaps than you ought to thank me for." "More, indeed,
I fear, than he deserved," cries Blifil; "for in the very day of your
utmost danger, when myself and all the family were in tears, he filled
the house with riot and debauchery. He drank, and sung, and roared;
and when I gave him a gentle hint of the indecency of his actions, he
fell into a violent passion, swore many oaths, called me rascal, and
struck me." "How!" cries Allworthy; "did he dare to strike you?" "I am
sure," cries Blifil, "I have forgiven him that long ago. I wish I
could so easily forget his ingratitude to the best of benefactors; and
yet even that I hope you will forgive him, since he must have
certainly been possessed with the devil: for that very evening, as Mr
Thwackum and myself were taking the air in the fields, and exulting in
the good symptoms which then first began to discover themselves, we
unluckily saw him engaged with a wench in a manner not fit to be
mentioned. Mr Thwackum, with more boldness than prudence, advanced to
rebuke him, when (I am sorry to say it) he fell upon the worthy man,
and beat him so outrageously that I wish he may have yet recovered the
bruises. Nor was I without my share of the effects of his malice,
while I endeavoured to protect my tutor; but that I have long
forgiven; nay, I prevailed with Mr Thwackum to forgive him too, and
not to inform you of a secret which I feared might be fatal to him.
And now, sir, since I have unadvisedly dropped a hint of this matter,
and your commands have obliged me to discover the whole, let me
intercede with you for him." "O child!" said Allworthy, "I know not
whether I should blame or applaud your goodness, in concealing such
villany a moment: but where is Mr Thwackum? Not that I want any
confirmation of what you say; but I will examine all the evidence of
this matter, to justify to the world the example I am resolved to make
of such a monster."

Thwackum was now sent for, and presently appeared. He corroborated
every circumstance which the other had deposed; nay, he produced the
record upon his breast, where the handwriting of Mr Jones remained
very legible in black and blue. He concluded with declaring to Mr
Allworthy, that he should have long since informed him of this matter,
had not Mr Blifil, by the most earnest interpositions, prevented him.
"He is," says he, "an excellent youth: though such forgiveness of
enemies is carrying the matter too far."

In reality, Blifil had taken some pains to prevail with the parson,
and to prevent the discovery at that time; for which he had many
reasons. He knew that the minds of men are apt to be softened and
relaxed from their usual severity by sickness. Besides, he imagined
that if the story was told when the fact was so recent, and the
physician about the house, who might have unravelled the real truth,
he should never be able to give it the malicious turn which he
intended. Again, he resolved to hoard up this business, till the
indiscretion of Jones should afford some additional complaints; for he
thought the joint weight of many facts falling upon him together,
would be the most likely to crush him; and he watched, therefore, some
such opportunity as that with which fortune had now kindly presented
him. Lastly, by prevailing with Thwackum to conceal the matter for a
time, he knew he should confirm an opinion of his friendship to Jones,
which he had greatly laboured to establish in Mr Allworthy.

Chapter xi.

A short chapter; but which contains sufficient matter to affect the
good-natured reader.

It was Mr Allworthy's custom never to punish any one, not even to turn
away a servant, in a passion. He resolved therefore to delay passing
sentence on Jones till the afternoon.

The poor young man attended at dinner, as usual; but his heart was too
much loaded to suffer him to eat. His grief too was a good deal
aggravated by the unkind looks of Mr Allworthy; whence he concluded
that Western had discovered the whole affair between him and Sophia;
but as to Mr Blifil's story, he had not the least apprehension; for of
much the greater part he was entirely innocent; and for the residue,
as he had forgiven and forgotten it himself, so he suspected no
remembrance on the other side. When dinner was over, and the servants
departed, Mr Allworthy began to harangue. He set forth, in a long
speech, the many iniquities of which Jones had been guilty,
particularly those which this day had brought to light; and concluded
by telling him, "That unless he could clear himself of the charge, he
was resolved to banish him his sight for ever."

Many disadvantages attended poor Jones in making his defence; nay,
indeed, he hardly knew his accusation; for as Mr Allworthy, in
recounting the drunkenness, &c., while he lay ill, out of modesty sunk
everything that related particularly to himself, which indeed
principally constituted the crime; Jones could not deny the charge.
His heart was, besides, almost broken already; and his spirits were so
sunk, that he could say nothing for himself; but acknowledged the
whole, and, like a criminal in despair, threw himself upon mercy;
concluding, "That though he must own himself guilty of many follies
and inadvertencies, he hoped he had done nothing to deserve what would
be to him the greatest punishment in the world."

Allworthy answered, "That he had forgiven him too often already, in
compassion to his youth, and in hopes of his amendment: that he now
found he was an abandoned reprobate, and such as it would be criminal
in any one to support and encourage. Nay," said Mr Allworthy to him,
"your audacious attempt to steal away the young lady, calls upon me to
justify my own character in punishing you. The world who have already
censured the regard I have shown for you may think, with some colour
at least of justice, that I connive at so base and barbarous an
action--an action of which you must have known my abhorrence: and
which, had you had any concern for my ease and honour, as well as for
my friendship, you would never have thought of undertaking. Fie upon
it, young man! indeed there is scarce any punishment equal to your
crimes, and I can scarce think myself justifiable in what I am now
going to bestow on you. However, as I have educated you like a child
of my own, I will not turn you naked into the world. When you open
this paper, therefore, you will find something which may enable you,
with industry, to get an honest livelihood; but if you employ it to
worse purposes, I shall not think myself obliged to supply you
farther, being resolved, from this day forward, to converse no more
with you on any account. I cannot avoid saying, there is no part of
your conduct which I resent more than your ill-treatment of that good
young man (meaning Blifil) who hath behaved with so much tenderness
and honour towards you."

These last words were a dose almost too bitter to be swallowed. A
flood of tears now gushed from the eyes of Jones, and every faculty of
speech and motion seemed to have deserted him. It was some time before
he was able to obey Allworthy's peremptory commands of departing;
which he at length did, having first kissed his hands with a passion
difficult to be affected, and as difficult to be described.

The reader must be very weak, if, when he considers the light in which
Jones then appeared to Mr Allworthy, he should blame the rigour of his
sentence. And yet all the neighbourhood, either from this weakness, or
from some worse motive, condemned this justice and severity as the
highest cruelty. Nay, the very persons who had before censured the
good man for the kindness and tenderness shown to a bastard (his own,
according to the general opinion), now cried out as loudly against
turning his own child out of doors. The women especially were
unanimous in taking the part of Jones, and raised more stories on the
occasion than I have room, in this chapter, to set down.

One thing must not be omitted, that, in their censures on this
occasion, none ever mentioned the sum contained in the paper which
Allworthy gave Jones, which was no less than five hundred pounds; but
all agreed that he was sent away penniless, and some said naked, from
the house of his inhuman father.

Chapter xii.

Containing love-letters, &c.

Jones was commanded to leave the house immediately, and told, that his
clothes and everything else should be sent to him whithersoever he
should order them.

He accordingly set out, and walked above a mile, not regarding, and
indeed scarce knowing, whither he went. At length a little brook
obstructing his passage, he threw himself down by the side of it; nor
could he help muttering with some little indignation, "Sure my father
will not deny me this place to rest in!"

Here he presently fell into the most violent agonies, tearing his hair
from his head, and using most other actions which generally accompany
fits of madness, rage, and despair.

When he had in this manner vented the first emotions of passion, he
began to come a little to himself. His grief now took another turn,
and discharged itself in a gentler way, till he became at last cool
enough to reason with his passion, and to consider what steps were
proper to be taken in his deplorable condition.

And now the great doubt was, how to act with regard to Sophia. The
thoughts of leaving her almost rent his heart asunder; but the
consideration of reducing her to ruin and beggary still racked him, if
possible, more; and if the violent desire of possessing her person
could have induced him to listen one moment to this alternative, still
he was by no means certain of her resolution to indulge his wishes at
so high an expense. The resentment of Mr Allworthy, and the injury he
must do to his quiet, argued strongly against this latter; and lastly,
the apparent impossibility of his success, even if he would sacrifice
all these considerations to it, came to his assistance; and thus
honour at last backed with despair, with gratitude to his benefactor,
and with real love to his mistress, got the better of burning desire,
and he resolved rather to quit Sophia, than pursue her to her ruin.

It is difficult for any who have not felt it, to conceive the glowing
warmth which filled his breast on the first contemplation of this
victory over his passion. Pride flattered him so agreeably, that his
mind perhaps enjoyed perfect happiness; but this was only momentary:
Sophia soon returned to his imagination, and allayed the joy of his
triumph with no less bitter pangs than a good-natured general must
feel, when he surveys the bleeding heaps, at the price of whose blood
he hath purchased his laurels; for thousands of tender ideas lay
murdered before our conqueror.

Being resolved, however, to pursue the paths of this giant honour, as
the gigantic poet Lee calls it, he determined to write a farewel
letter to Sophia; and accordingly proceeded to a house not far off,
where, being furnished with proper materials, he wrote as follows:--


"When you reflect on the situation in which I write, I am sure your
good-nature will pardon any inconsistency or absurdity which my
letter contains; for everything here flows from a heart so full,
that no language can express its dictates.

"I have resolved, madam, to obey your commands, in flying for ever
from your dear, your lovely sight. Cruel indeed those commands are;
but it is a cruelty which proceeds from fortune, not from my Sophia.
Fortune hath made it necessary, necessary to your preservation, to
forget there ever was such a wretch as I am.

"Believe me, I would not hint all my sufferings to you, if I
imagined they could possibly escape your ears. I know the goodness
and tenderness of your heart, and would avoid giving you any of
those pains which you always feel for the miserable. O let nothing,
which you shall hear of my hard fortune, cause a moment's concern;
for, after the loss of you, everything is to me a trifle.

"O Sophia! it is hard to leave you; it is harder still to desire you
to forget me; yet the sincerest love obliges me to both. Pardon my
conceiving that any remembrance of me can give you disquiet; but if
I am so gloriously wretched, sacrifice me every way to your relief.
Think I never loved you; or think truly how little I deserve you;
and learn to scorn me for a presumption which can never be too
severely punished.--I am unable to say more.--May guardian angels
protect you for ever!"

He was now searching his pockets for his wax, but found none, nor
indeed anything else, therein; for in truth he had, in his frantic
disposition, tossed everything from him, and amongst the rest, his
pocket-book, which he had received from Mr Allworthy, which he had
never opened, and which now first occurred to his memory.

The house supplied him with a wafer for his present purpose, with
which, having sealed his letter, he returned hastily towards the brook
side, in order to search for the things which he had there lost. In
his way he met his old friend Black George, who heartily condoled with
him on his misfortune; for this had already reached his ears, and
indeed those of all the neighbourhood.

Jones acquainted the gamekeeper with his loss, and he as readily went
back with him to the brook, where they searched every tuft of grass in
the meadow, as well where Jones had not been as where he had been; but
all to no purpose, for they found nothing; for, indeed, though the
things were then in the meadow, they omitted to search the only place
where they were deposited; to wit, in the pockets of the said George;
for he had just before found them, and being luckily apprized of their
value, had very carefully put them up for his own use.

The gamekeeper having exerted as much diligence in quest of the lost
goods, as if he had hoped to find them, desired Mr Jones to recollect
if he had been in no other place: "For sure," said he, "if you had
lost them here so lately, the things must have been here still; for
this is a very unlikely place for any one to pass by." And indeed it
was by great accident that he himself had passed through that field,
in order to lay wires for hares, with which he was to supply a
poulterer at Bath the next morning.

Jones now gave over all hopes of recovering his loss, and almost all
thoughts concerning it, and turning to Black George, asked him
earnestly if he would do him the greatest favour in the world?

George answered with some hesitation, "Sir, you know you may command
me whatever is in my power, and I heartily wish it was in my power to
do you any service." In fact, the question staggered him; for he had,
by selling game, amassed a pretty good sum of money in Mr Western's
service, and was afraid that Jones wanted to borrow some small matter
of him; but he was presently relieved from his anxiety, by being
desired to convey a letter to Sophia, which with great pleasure he
promised to do. And indeed I believe there are few favours which he
would not have gladly conferred on Mr Jones; for he bore as much
gratitude towards him as he could, and was as honest as men who love
money better than any other thing in the universe, generally are.

Mrs Honour was agreed by both to be the proper means by which this
letter should pass to Sophia. They then separated; the gamekeeper
returned home to Mr Western's, and Jones walked to an alehouse at half
a mile's distance, to wait for his messenger's return.

George no sooner came home to his master's house than he met with Mrs
Honour; to whom, having first sounded her with a few previous
questions, he delivered the letter for her mistress, and received at
the same time another from her, for Mr Jones; which Honour told him
she had carried all that day in her bosom, and began to despair of
finding any means of delivering it.

The gamekeeper returned hastily and joyfully to Jones, who, having
received Sophia's letter from him, instantly withdrew, and eagerly
breaking it open, read as follows:--


"It is impossible to express what I have felt since I saw you. Your
submitting, on my account, to such cruel insults from my father,
lays me under an obligation I shall ever own. As you know his
temper, I beg you will, for my sake, avoid him. I wish I had any
comfort to send you; but believe this, that nothing but the last
violence shall ever give my hand or heart where you would be sorry
to see them bestowed."

Jones read this letter a hundred times over, and kissed it a hundred
times as often. His passion now brought all tender desires back into
his mind. He repented that he had writ to Sophia in the manner we have
seen above; but he repented more that he had made use of the interval
of his messenger's absence to write and dispatch a letter to Mr
Allworthy, in which he had faithfully promised and bound himself to
quit all thoughts of his love. However, when his cool reflections
returned, he plainly perceived that his case was neither mended nor
altered by Sophia's billet, unless to give him some little glimpse of
hope, from her constancy, of some favourable accident hereafter. He
therefore resumed his resolution, and taking leave of Black George,
set forward to a town about five miles distant, whither he had desired
Mr Allworthy, unless he pleased to revoke his sentence, to send his
things after him.

Chapter xiii.

The behaviour of Sophia on the present occasion; which none of her sex
will blame, who are capable of behaving in the same manner. And the
discussion of a knotty point in the court of conscience.

Sophia had passed the last twenty-four hours in no very desirable
manner. During a large part of them she had been entertained by her
aunt with lectures of prudence, recommending to her the example of the
polite world, where love (so the good lady said) is at present
entirely laughed at, and where women consider matrimony, as men do
offices of public trust, only as the means of making their fortunes,
and of advancing themselves in the world. In commenting on which text
Mrs Western had displayed her eloquence during several hours.

These sagacious lectures, though little suited either to the taste or
inclination of Sophia, were, however, less irksome to her than her own
thoughts, that formed the entertainment of the night, during which she
never once closed her eyes.

But though she could neither sleep nor rest in her bed, yet, having no
avocation from it, she was found there by her father at his return
from Allworthy's, which was not till past ten o'clock in the morning.
He went directly up to her apartment, opened the door, and seeing she
was not up, cried, "Oh! you are safe then, and I am resolved to keep
you so." He then locked the door, and delivered the key to Honour,
having first given her the strictest charge, with great promises of
rewards for her fidelity, and most dreadful menaces of punishment in
case she should betray her trust.

Honour's orders were, not to suffer her mistress to come out of her
room without the authority of the squire himself, and to admit none to
her but him and her aunt; but she was herself to attend her with
whatever Sophia pleased, except only pen, ink, and paper, of which she
was forbidden the use.

The squire ordered his daughter to dress herself and attend him at
dinner; which she obeyed; and having sat the usual time, was again
conducted to her prison.

In the evening the gaoler Honour brought her the letter which she
received from the gamekeeper. Sophia read it very attentively twice or
thrice over, and then threw herself upon the bed, and burst into a
flood of tears. Mrs Honour expressed great astonishment at this
behaviour in her mistress; nor could she forbear very eagerly begging
to know the cause of this passion. Sophia made her no answer for some
time, and then, starting suddenly up, caught her maid by the hand, and
cried, "O Honour! I am undone." "Marry forbid," cries Honour: "I wish
the letter had been burnt before I had brought it to your la'ship. I'm
sure I thought it would have comforted your la'ship, or I would have
seen it at the devil before I would have touched it." "Honour," says
Sophia, "you are a good girl, and it is vain to attempt concealing
longer my weakness from you; I have thrown away my heart on a man who
hath forsaken me." "And is Mr Jones," answered the maid, "such a
perfidy man?" "He hath taken his leave of me," says Sophia, "for ever
in that letter. Nay, he hath desired me to forget him. Could he have
desired that if he had loved me? Could he have borne such a thought?
Could he have written such a word?" "No, certainly, ma'am," cries
Honour; "and to be sure, if the best man in England was to desire me
to forget him, I'd take him at his word. Marry, come up! I am sure
your la'ship hath done him too much honour ever to think on him;--a
young lady who may take her choice of all the young men in the
country. And to be sure, if I may be so presumptuous as to offer my
poor opinion, there is young Mr Blifil, who, besides that he is come
of honest parents, and will be one of the greatest squires all
hereabouts, he is to be sure, in my poor opinion, a more handsomer and
a more politer man by half; and besides, he is a young gentleman of a
sober character, and who may defy any of the neighbours to say black
is his eye; he follows no dirty trollops, nor can any bastards be laid
at his door. Forget him, indeed! I thank Heaven I myself am not so
much at my last prayers as to suffer any man to bid me forget him
twice. If the best he that wears a head was for to go for to offer to
say such an affronting word to me, I would never give him my company
afterwards, if there was another young man in the kingdom. And as I
was a saying, to be sure, there is young Mr Blifil." "Name not his
detested name," cries Sophia. "Nay, ma'am," says Honour, "if your
la'ship doth not like him, there be more jolly handsome young men that
would court your la'ship, if they had but the least encouragement. I
don't believe there is arrow young gentleman in this county, or in the
next to it, that if your la'ship was but to look as if you had a mind
to him, would not come about to make his offers directly." "What a
wretch dost thou imagine me," cries Sophia, "by affronting my ears
with such stuff! I detest all mankind." "Nay, to be sure, ma'am,"
answered Honour, "your la'ship hath had enough to give you a surfeit
of them. To be used ill by such a poor, beggarly, bastardly
fellow."--"Hold your blasphemous tongue," cries Sophia: "how dare you
mention his name with disrespect before me? He use me ill? No, his
poor bleeding heart suffered more when he writ the cruel words than
mine from reading them. O! he is all heroic virtue and angelic
goodness. I am ashamed of the weakness of my own passion, for blaming
what I ought to admire. O, Honour! it is my good only which he
consults. To my interest he sacrifices both himself and me. The
apprehension of ruining me hath driven him to despair." "I am very
glad," says Honour, "to hear your la'ship takes that into your
consideration; for to be sure, it must be nothing less than ruin to
give your mind to one that is turned out of doors, and is not worth a
farthing in the world." "Turned out of doors!" cries Sophia hastily:
"how! what dost thou mean?" "Why, to be sure, ma'am, my master no
sooner told Squire Allworthy about Mr Jones having offered to make
love to your la'ship than the squire stripped him stark naked, and
turned him out of doors!" "Ha!" says Sophia, "I have been the cursed,
wretched cause of his destruction! Turned naked out of doors! Here,
Honour, take all the money I have; take the rings from my fingers.
Here, my watch: carry him all. Go find him immediately." "For Heaven's
sake, ma'am," answered Mrs Honour, "do but consider, if my master
should miss any of these things, I should be made to answer for them.
Therefore let me beg your la'ship not to part with your watch and
jewels. Besides, the money, I think, is enough of all conscience; and
as for that, my master can never know anything of the matter." "Here,
then," cries Sophia, "take every farthing I am worth, find him out
immediately, and give it him. Go, go, lose not a moment."

Mrs Honour departed according to orders, and finding Black George
below-stairs, delivered him the purse, which contained sixteen
guineas, being, indeed, the whole stock of Sophia; for though her
father was very liberal to her, she was much too generous to be rich.

Black George having received the purse, set forward towards the
alehouse; but in the way a thought occurred to him, whether he should
not detain this money likewise. His conscience, however, immediately
started at this suggestion, and began to upbraid him with ingratitude
to his benefactor. To this his avarice answered, That his conscience
should have considered the matter before, when he deprived poor Jones
of his 500. That having quietly acquiesced in what was of so much
greater importance, it was absurd, if not downright hypocrisy, to
affect any qualms at this trifle. In return to which, Conscience, like
a good lawyer, attempted to distinguish between an absolute breach of
trust, as here, where the goods were delivered, and a bare concealment
of what was found, as in the former case. Avarice presently treated
this with ridicule, called it a distinction without a difference, and
absolutely insisted that when once all pretensions of honour and
virtue were given up in any one instance, that there was no precedent
for resorting to them upon a second occasion. In short, poor
Conscience had certainly been defeated in the argument, had not Fear
stept in to her assistance, and very strenuously urged that the real
distinction between the two actions, did not lie in the different
degrees of honour but of safety: for that the secreting the 500 was a
matter of very little hazard; whereas the detaining the sixteen
guineas was liable to the utmost danger of discovery.

By this friendly aid of Fear, Conscience obtained a compleat victory
in the mind of Black George, and, after making him a few compliments
on his honesty, forced him to deliver the money to Jones.

Chapter xiv.

A short chapter, containing a short dialogue between Squire Western
and his sister.

Mrs Western had been engaged abroad all that day. The squire met her
at her return home; and when she enquired after Sophia, he acquainted
her that he had secured her safe enough. "She is locked up in
chamber," cries he, "and Honour keeps the key." As his looks were full
of prodigious wisdom and sagacity when he gave his sister this
information, it is probable he expected much applause from her for
what he had done; but how was he disappointed when, with a most
disdainful aspect, she cried, "Sure, brother, you are the weakest of
all men. Why will you not confide in me for the management of my
niece? Why will you interpose? You have now undone all that I have
been spending my breath in order to bring about. While I have been
endeavouring to fill her mind with maxims of prudence, you have been
provoking her to reject them. English women, brother, I thank heaven,
are no slaves. We are not to be locked up like the Spanish and Italian
wives. We have as good a right to liberty as yourselves. We are to be
convinced by reason and persuasion only, and not governed by force. I
have seen the world, brother, and know what arguments to make use of;
and if your folly had not prevented me, should have prevailed with her
to form her conduct by those rules of prudence and discretion which I
formerly taught her." "To be sure," said the squire, "I am always in
the wrong." "Brother," answered the lady, "you are not in the wrong,
unless when you meddle with matters beyond your knowledge. You must
agree that I have seen most of the world; and happy had it been for my
niece if she had not been taken from under my care. It is by living at
home with you that she hath learnt romantic notions of love and
nonsense." "You don't imagine, I hope," cries the squire, "that I have
taught her any such things." "Your ignorance, brother," returned she,
"as the great Milton says, almost subdues my patience."[*] "D--n
Milton!" answered the squire: "if he had the impudence to say so to my
face, I'd lend him a douse, thof he was never so great a man.
Patience! An you come to that, sister, I have more occasion of
patience, to be used like an overgrown schoolboy, as I am by you. Do
you think no one hath any understanding, unless he hath been about at
court. Pox! the world is come to a fine pass indeed, if we are all
fools, except a parcel of round-heads and Hanover rats. Pox! I hope
the times are a coming when we shall make fools of them, and every man
shall enjoy his own. That's all, sister; and every man shall enjoy his
own. I hope to zee it, sister, before the Hanover rats have eat up all
our corn, and left us nothing but turneps to feed upon."--"I protest,
brother," cries she, "you are now got beyond my understanding. Your
jargon of turneps and Hanover rats is to me perfectly
unintelligible."--"I believe," cries he, "you don't care to hear o'em;
but the country interest may succeed one day or other for all
that."--"I wish," answered the lady, "you would think a little of your
daughter's interest; for, believe me, she is in greater danger than
the nation."--"Just now," said he, "you chid me for thinking on her,
and would ha' her left to you."--"And if you will promise to interpose
no more," answered she, "I will, out of my regard to my niece,
undertake the charge."--"Well, do then," said the squire, "for you
know I always agreed, that women are the properest to manage women."

[*] The reader may, perhaps, subdue his own patience, if he searches
for this in Milton.]

Mrs Western then departed, muttering something with an air of disdain,
concerning women and management of the nation. She immediately
repaired to Sophia's apartment, who was now, after a day's
confinement, released again from her captivity.



Chapter i.

A comparison between the world and the stage.

The world hath been often compared to the theatre; and many grave
writers, as well as the poets, have considered human life as a great
drama, resembling, in almost every particular, those scenical
representations which Thespis is first reported to have invented, and
which have been since received with so much approbation and delight in
all polite countries.

This thought hath been carried so far, and is become so general, that
some words proper to the theatre, and which were at first
metaphorically applied to the world, are now indiscriminately and
literally spoken of both; thus stage and scene are by common use grown
as familiar to us, when we speak of life in general, as when we
confine ourselves to dramatic performances: and when transactions
behind the curtain are mentioned, St James's is more likely to occur
to our thoughts than Drury-lane.

It may seem easy enough to account for all this, by reflecting that
the theatrical stage is nothing more than a representation, or, as
Aristotle calls it, an imitation of what really exists; and hence,
perhaps, we might fairly pay a very high compliment to those who by
their writings or actions have been so capable of imitating life, as
to have their pictures in a manner confounded with, or mistaken for,
the originals.

But, in reality, we are not so fond of paying compliments to these
people, whom we use as children frequently do the instruments of their
amusement; and have much more pleasure in hissing and buffeting them,
than in admiring their excellence. There are many other reasons which
have induced us to see this analogy between the world and the stage.

Some have considered the larger part of mankind in the light of
actors, as personating characters no more their own, and to which in
fact they have no better title, than the player hath to be in earnest
thought the king or emperor whom he represents. Thus the hypocrite may
be said to be a player; and indeed the Greeks called them both by one
and the same name.

The brevity of life hath likewise given occasion to this comparison.
So the immortal Shakespear--

--Life's a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.

For which hackneyed quotation I will make the reader amends by a very
noble one, which few, I believe, have read. It is taken from a poem
called the Deity, published about nine years ago, and long since
buried in oblivion; a proof that good books, no more than good men, do
always survive the bad.

From Thee[*] all human actions take their springs,
The rise of empires and the fall of kings!
See the vast Theatre of Time display'd,
While o'er the scene succeeding heroes tread!
With pomp the shining images succeed,
What leaders triumph, and what monarchs bleed!
Perform the parts thy providence assign'd,
Their pride, their passions, to thy ends inclin'd:
Awhile they glitter in the face of day,
Then at thy nod the phantoms pass away;
No traces left of all the busy scene,
But that remembrance says--_The things have been!_

[*] The Deity.

In all these, however, and in every other similitude of life to the
theatre, the resemblance hath been always taken from the stage only.
None, as I remember, have at all considered the audience at this great

But as Nature often exhibits some of her best performances to a very
full house, so will the behaviour of her spectators no less admit the
above-mentioned comparison than that of her actors. In this vast
theatre of time are seated the friend and the critic; here are claps
and shouts, hisses and groans; in short, everything which was ever
seen or heard at the Theatre-Royal.

Let us examine this in one example; for instance, in the behaviour of
the great audience on that scene which Nature was pleased to exhibit
in the twelfth chapter of the preceding book, where she introduced
Black George running away with the 500 from his friend and

Those who sat in the world's upper gallery treated that incident, I am
well convinced, with their usual vociferation; and every term of
scurrilous reproach was most probably vented on that occasion.

If we had descended to the next order of spectators, we should have
found an equal degree of abhorrence, though less of noise and
scurrility; yet here the good women gave Black George to the devil,
and many of them expected every minute that the cloven-footed
gentleman would fetch his own.

The pit, as usual, was no doubt divided; those who delight in heroic
virtue and perfect character objected to the producing such instances
of villany, without punishing them very severely for the sake of
example. Some of the author's friends cryed, "Look'e, gentlemen, the
man is a villain, but it is nature for all that." And all the young
critics of the age, the clerks, apprentices, &c., called it low, and
fell a groaning.

As for the boxes, they behaved with their accustomed politeness. Most
of them were attending to something else. Some of those few who
regarded the scene at all, declared he was a bad kind of man; while
others refused to give their opinion, till they had heard that of the
best judges.

Now we, who are admitted behind the scenes of this great theatre of
Nature (and no author ought to write anything besides dictionaries and
spelling-books who hath not this privilege), can censure the action,
without conceiving any absolute detestation of the person, whom
perhaps Nature may not have designed to act an ill part in all her
dramas; for in this instance life most exactly resembles the stage,
since it is often the same person who represents the villain and the
heroe; and he who engages your admiration to-day will probably attract
your contempt to-morrow. As Garrick, whom I regard in tragedy to be
the greatest genius the world hath ever produced, sometimes
condescends to play the fool; so did Scipio the Great, and Laelius the
Wise, according to Horace, many years ago; nay, Cicero reports them to
have been "incredibly childish." These, it is true, played the fool,
like my friend Garrick, in jest only; but several eminent characters
have, in numberless instances of their lives, played the fool
egregiously in earnest; so far as to render it a matter of some doubt
whether their wisdom or folly was predominant; or whether they were
better intitled to the applause or censure, the admiration or
contempt, the love or hatred, of mankind.

Those persons, indeed, who have passed any time behind the scenes of
this great theatre, and are thoroughly acquainted not only with the
several disguises which are there put on, but also with the fantastic
and capricious behaviour of the Passions, who are the managers and
directors of this theatre (for as to Reason, the patentee, he is known
to be a very idle fellow and seldom to exert himself), may most
probably have learned to understand the famous _nil admirari_ of
Horace, or in the English phrase, to stare at nothing.

A single bad act no more constitutes a villain in life, than a single
bad part on the stage. The passions, like the managers of a playhouse,
often force men upon parts without consulting their judgment, and
sometimes without any regard to their talents. Thus the man, as well
as the player, may condemn what he himself acts; nay, it is common to
see vice sit as awkwardly on some men, as the character of Iago would
on the honest face of Mr William Mills.

Upon the whole, then, the man of candour and of true understanding is
never hasty to condemn. He can censure an imperfection, or even a
vice, without rage against the guilty party. In a word, they are the
same folly, the same childishness, the same ill-breeding, and the same
ill-nature, which raise all the clamours and uproars both in life and
on the stage. The worst of men generally have the words rogue and
villain most in their mouths, as the lowest of all wretches are the
aptest to cry out low in the pit.

Chapter ii.

Containing a conversation which Mr Jones had with himself.

Jones received his effects from Mr Allworthy's early in the morning,
with the following answer to his letter:--


"I am commanded by my uncle to acquaint you, that as he did not
proceed to those measures he had taken with you, without the
greatest deliberation, and after the fullest evidence of your
unworthiness, so will it be always out of your power to cause the
least alteration in his resolution. He expresses great surprize at
your presumption in saying you have resigned all pretensions to a
young lady, to whom it is impossible you should ever have had any,
her birth and fortune having made her so infinitely your superior.
Lastly, I am commanded to tell you, that the only instance of your
compliance with my uncle's inclinations which he requires, is, your
immediately quitting this country. I cannot conclude this without
offering you my advice, as a Christian, that you would seriously
think of amending your life. That you may be assisted with grace so
to do, will be always the prayer of

"Your humble servant,


Many contending passions were raised in our heroe's mind by this
letter; but the tender prevailed at last over the indignant and
irascible, and a flood of tears came seasonably to his assistance, and
possibly prevented his misfortunes from either turning his head, or
bursting his heart.

He grew, however, soon ashamed of indulging this remedy; and starting
up, he cried, "Well, then, I will give Mr Allworthy the only instance
he requires of my obedience. I will go this moment--but whither?--why,
let Fortune direct; since there is no other who thinks it of any
consequence what becomes of this wretched person, it shall be a matter
of equal indifference to myself. Shall I alone regard what no
other--Ha! have I not reason to think there is another?--one whose
value is above that of the whole world!--I may, I must imagine my
Sophia is not indifferent to what becomes of me. Shall I then leave
this only friend--and such a friend? Shall I not stay with
her?--Where--how can I stay with her? Have I any hopes of ever seeing
her, though she was as desirous as myself, without exposing her to the
wrath of her father, and to what purpose? Can I think of soliciting
such a creature to consent to her own ruin? Shall I indulge any
passion of mine at such a price? Shall I lurk about this country like
a thief, with such intentions?--No, I disdain, I detest the thought.
Farewel, Sophia; farewel, most lovely, most beloved--" Here passion
stopped his mouth, and found a vent at his eyes.

And now having taken a resolution to leave the country, he began to
debate with himself whither he should go. The world, as Milton phrases
it, lay all before him; and Jones, no more than Adam, had any man to
whom he might resort for comfort or assistance. All his acquaintance
were the acquaintance of Mr Allworthy; and he had no reason to expect
any countenance from them, as that gentleman had withdrawn his favour
from him. Men of great and good characters should indeed be very
cautious how they discard their dependents; for the consequence to the
unhappy sufferer is being discarded by all others.

What course of life to pursue, or to what business to apply himself,
was a second consideration: and here the prospect was all a melancholy
void. Every profession, and every trade, required length of time, and
what was worse, money; for matters are so constituted, that "nothing
out of nothing" is not a truer maxim in physics than in politics; and
every man who is greatly destitute of money, is on that account
entirely excluded from all means of acquiring it.

At last the Ocean, that hospitable friend to the wretched, opened her
capacious arms to receive him; and he instantly resolved to accept her
kind invitation. To express myself less figuratively, he determined to
go to sea.

This thought indeed no sooner suggested itself, than he eagerly
embraced it; and having presently hired horses, he set out for Bristol
to put it in execution.

But before we attend him on this expedition, we shall resort awhile to
Mr Western's, and see what further happened to the charming Sophia.

Chapter iii.

Containing several dialogues.

The morning in which Mr Jones departed, Mrs Western summoned Sophia
into her apartment; and having first acquainted her that she had
obtained her liberty of her father, she proceeded to read her a long
lecture on the subject of matrimony; which she treated not as a
romantic scheme of happiness arising from love, as it hath been
described by the poets; nor did she mention any of those purposes for
which we are taught by divines to regard it as instituted by sacred
authority; she considered it rather as a fund in which prudent women
deposit their fortunes to the best advantage, in order to receive a
larger interest for them than they could have elsewhere.

When Mrs Western had finished, Sophia answered, "That she was very
incapable of arguing with a lady of her aunt's superior knowledge and
experience, especially on a subject which she had so very little
considered, as this of matrimony."

"Argue with me, child!" replied the other; "I do not indeed expect it.
I should have seen the world to very little purpose truly, if I am to
argue with one of your years. I have taken this trouble, in order to
instruct you. The antient philosophers, such as Socrates, Alcibiades,
and others, did not use to argue with their scholars. You are to
consider me, child, as Socrates, not asking your opinion, but only
informing you of mine." From which last words the reader may possibly
imagine, that this lady had read no more of the philosophy of
Socrates, than she had of that of Alcibiades; and indeed we cannot
resolve his curiosity as to this point.

"Madam," cries Sophia, "I have never presumed to controvert any
opinion of yours; and this subject, as I said, I have never yet
thought of, and perhaps never may."

"Indeed, Sophy," replied the aunt, "this dissimulation with me is very
foolish. The French shall as soon persuade me that they take foreign
towns in defence only of their own country, as you can impose on me to
believe you have never yet thought seriously of matrimony. How can
you, child, affect to deny that you have considered of contracting an
alliance, when you so well know I am acquainted with the party with
whom you desire to contract it?--an alliance as unnatural, and
contrary to your interest, as a separate league with the French would
be to the interest of the Dutch! But however, if you have not hitherto
considered of this matter, I promise you it is now high time, for my
brother is resolved immediately to conclude the treaty with Mr Blifil;
and indeed I am a sort of guarantee in the affair, and have promised
your concurrence."

"Indeed, madam," cries Sophia, "this is the only instance in which I
must disobey both yourself and my father. For this is a match which
requires very little consideration in me to refuse."

"If I was not as great a philosopher as Socrates himself," returned
Mrs Western, "you would overcome my patience. What objection can you
have to the young gentleman?"

"A very solid objection, in my opinion," says Sophia--"I hate him."

"Will you never learn a proper use of words?" answered the aunt.
"Indeed, child, you should consult Bailey's Dictionary. It is
impossible you should hate a man from whom you have received no
injury. By hatred, therefore, you mean no more than dislike, which is
no sufficient objection against your marrying of him. I have known
many couples, who have entirely disliked each other, lead very
comfortable genteel lives. Believe me, child, I know these things
better than you. You will allow me, I think, to have seen the world,
in which I have not an acquaintance who would not rather be thought to
dislike her husband than to like him. The contrary is such
out-of-fashion romantic nonsense, that the very imagination of it is

"Indeed, madam," replied Sophia, "I shall never marry a man I dislike.
If I promise my father never to consent to any marriage contrary to
his inclinations, I think I may hope he will never force me into that
state contrary to my own."

"Inclinations!" cries the aunt, with some warmth. "Inclinations! I am
astonished at your assurance. A young woman of your age, and
unmarried, to talk of inclinations! But whatever your inclinations may
be, my brother is resolved; nay, since you talk of inclinations, I
shall advise him to hasten the treaty. Inclinations!"

Sophia then flung herself upon her knees, and tears began to trickle
from her shining eyes. She entreated her aunt, "to have mercy upon
her, and not to resent so cruelly her unwillingness to make herself
miserable;" often urging, "that she alone was concerned, and that her
happiness only was at stake."

As a bailiff, when well authorized by his writ, having possessed
himself of the person of some unhappy debtor, views all his tears
without concern; in vain the wretched captive attempts to raise
compassion; in vain the tender wife bereft of her companion, the
little prattling boy, or frighted girl, are mentioned as inducements
to reluctance. The noble bumtrap, blind and deaf to every circumstance
of distress, greatly rises above all the motives to humanity, and into
the hands of the gaoler resolves to deliver his miserable prey.

Not less blind to the tears, or less deaf to every entreaty of Sophia
was the politic aunt, nor less determined was she to deliver over the
trembling maid into the arms of the gaoler Blifil. She answered with
great impetuosity, "So far, madam, from your being concerned alone,
your concern is the least, or surely the least important. It is the
honour of your family which is concerned in this alliance; you are
only the instrument. Do you conceive, mistress, that in an
intermarriage between kingdoms, as when a daughter of France is
married into Spain, the princess herself is alone considered in the
match? No! it is a match between two kingdoms, rather than between two
persons. The same happens in great families such as ours. The alliance
between the families is the principal matter. You ought to have a
greater regard for the honour of your family than for your own person;
and if the example of a princess cannot inspire you with these noble
thoughts, you cannot surely complain at being used no worse than all
princesses are used."

"I hope, madam," cries Sophia, with a little elevation of voice, "I
shall never do anything to dishonour my family; but as for Mr Blifil,
whatever may be the consequence, I am resolved against him, and no
force shall prevail in his favour."

Western, who had been within hearing during the greater part of the
preceding dialogue, had now exhausted all his patience; he therefore
entered the room in a violent passion, crying, "D--n me then if
shatunt ha'un, d--n me if shatunt, that's all--that's all; d--n me if

Mrs Western had collected a sufficient quantity of wrath for the use
of Sophia; but she now transferred it all to the squire. "Brother,"
said she, "it is astonishing that you will interfere in a matter
which you had totally left to my negotiation. Regard to my family
hath made me take upon myself to be the mediating power, in order to
rectify those mistakes in policy which you have committed in your
daughter's education. For, brother, it is you--it is your
preposterous conduct which hath eradicated all the seeds that I had
formerly sown in her tender mind. It is you yourself who have taught
her disobedience."--"Blood!" cries the squire, foaming at the mouth,
"you are enough to conquer the patience of the devil! Have I ever
taught my daughter disobedience?--Here she stands; speak honestly,
girl, did ever I bid you be disobedient to me? Have not I done
everything to humour and to gratify you, and to make you obedient to
me? And very obedient to me she was when a little child, before you
took her in hand and spoiled her, by filling her head with a pack of
court notions. Why--why--why--did I not overhear you telling her she
must behave like a princess? You have made a Whig of the girl; and how
should her father, or anybody else, expect any obedience from
her?"--"Brother," answered Mrs Western, with an air of great disdain,
"I cannot express the contempt I have for your politics of all kinds;
but I will appeal likewise to the young lady herself, whether I have
ever taught her any principles of disobedience. On the contrary,
niece, have I not endeavoured to inspire you with a true idea of the
several relations in which a human creature stands in society? Have I
not taken infinite pains to show you, that the law of nature hath
enjoined a duty on children to their parents? Have I not told you what
Plato says on that subject?--a subject on which you was so notoriously
ignorant when you came first under my care, that I verily believe you
did not know the relation between a daughter and a father."--"'Tis a
lie," answered Western. "The girl is no such fool, as to live to
eleven years old without knowing that she was her father's
relation."--"O! more than Gothic ignorance," answered the lady. "And
as for your manners, brother, I must tell you, they deserve a
cane."--"Why then you may gi' it me, if you think you are able," cries
the squire; "nay, I suppose your niece there will be ready enough to
help you."--"Brother," said Mrs Western, "though I despise you beyond
expression, yet I shall endure your insolence no longer; so I desire
my coach may be got ready immediately, for I am resolved to leave your
house this very morning."--"And a good riddance too," answered he; "I
can bear your insolence no longer, an you come to that. Blood! it is
almost enough of itself to make my daughter undervalue my sense, when
she hears you telling me every minute you despise me."--"It is
impossible, it is impossible," cries the aunt; "no one can undervalue
such a boor."--"Boar," answered the squire, "I am no boar; no, nor
ass; no, nor rat neither, madam. Remember that--I am no rat. I am a
true Englishman, and not of your Hanover breed, that have eat up the
nation."--"Thou art one of those wise men," cries she, "whose
nonsensical principles have undone the nation; by weakening the hands
of our government at home, and by discouraging our friends and
encouraging our enemies abroad."--"Ho! are you come back to your
politics?" cries the squire: "as for those I despise them as much as I
do a f--t." Which last words he accompanied and graced with the very
action, which, of all others, was the most proper to it. And whether
it was this word or the contempt exprest for her politics, which most
affected Mrs Western, I will not determine; but she flew into the most
violent rage, uttered phrases improper to be here related, and
instantly burst out of the house. Nor did her brother or her niece
think proper either to stop or to follow her; for the one was so much
possessed by concern, and the other by anger, that they were rendered
almost motionless.

The squire, however, sent after his sister the same holloa which
attends the departure of a hare, when she is first started before the
hounds. He was indeed a great master of this kind of vociferation, and
had a holla proper for most occasions in life.

Women who, like Mrs Western, know the world, and have applied
themselves to philosophy and politics, would have immediately availed
themselves of the present disposition of Mr Western's mind, by
throwing in a few artful compliments to his understanding at the
expense of his absent adversary; but poor Sophia was all simplicity.
By which word we do not intend to insinuate to the reader, that she
was silly, which is generally understood as a synonymous term with
simple; for she was indeed a most sensible girl, and her understanding
was of the first rate; but she wanted all that useful art which
females convert to so many good purposes in life, and which, as it
rather arises from the heart than from the head, is often the property
of the silliest of women.

Chapter iv.

A picture of a country gentlewoman taken from the life.

Mr Western having finished his holla, and taken a little breath, began
to lament, in very pathetic terms, the unfortunate condition of men,
who are, says he, "always whipt in by the humours of some d--n'd b--
or other. I think I was hard run enough by your mother for one man;
but after giving her a dodge, here's another b-- follows me upon the
foil; but curse my jacket if I will be run down in this manner by any

Sophia never had a single dispute with her father, till this unlucky
affair of Blifil, on any account, except in defence of her mother,
whom she had loved most tenderly, though she lost her in the eleventh
year of her age. The squire, to whom that poor woman had been a
faithful upper-servant all the time of their marriage, had returned
that behaviour by making what the world calls a good husband. He very
seldom swore at her (perhaps not above once a week) and never beat
her; she had not the least occasion for jealousy, and was perfect
mistress of her time; for she was never interrupted by her husband,
who was engaged all the morning in his field exercises, and all the
evening with bottle companions. She scarce indeed ever saw him but at
meals; where she had the pleasure of carving those dishes which she
had before attended at the dressing. From these meals she retired
about five minutes after the other servants, having only stayed to
drink "the king over the water." Such were, it seems, Mr Western's
orders; for it was a maxim with him, that women should come in with
the first dish, and go out after the first glass. Obedience to these
orders was perhaps no difficult task; for the conversation (if it may
be called so) was seldom such as could entertain a lady. It consisted
chiefly of hallowing, singing, relations of sporting adventures,
b--d--y, and abuse of women, and of the government.

These, however, were the only seasons when Mr Western saw his wife;
for when he repaired to her bed, he was generally so drunk that he
could not see; and in the sporting season he always rose from her
before it was light. Thus was she perfect mistress of her time, and
had besides a coach and four usually at her command; though unhappily,
indeed, the badness of the neighbourhood, and of the roads, made this
of little use; for none who had set much value on their necks would
have passed through the one, or who had set any value on their hours,
would have visited the other. Now to deal honestly with the reader,
she did not make all the return expected to so much indulgence; for
she had been married against her will by a fond father, the match
having been rather advantageous on her side; for the squire's estate
was upward of 3000 a year, and her fortune no more than a bare 8000.
Hence perhaps she had contracted a little gloominess of temper, for
she was rather a good servant than a good wife; nor had she always the
gratitude to return the extraordinary degree of roaring mirth, with
which the squire received her, even with a good-humoured smile. She
would, moreover, sometimes interfere with matters which did not
concern her, as the violent drinking of her husband, which in the
gentlest terms she would take some of the few opportunities he gave
her of remonstrating against. And once in her life she very earnestly
entreated him to carry her for two months to London, which he
peremptorily denied; nay, was angry with his wife for the request ever
after, being well assured that all the husbands in London are

For this last, and many other good reasons, Western at length heartily
hated his wife; and as he never concealed this hatred before her
death, so he never forgot it afterwards; but when anything in the
least soured him, as a bad scenting day, or a distemper among his
hounds, or any other such misfortune, he constantly vented his spleen
by invectives against the deceased, saying, "If my wife was alive now,
she would be glad of this."

These invectives he was especially desirous of throwing forth before
Sophia; for as he loved her more than he did any other, so he was
really jealous that she had loved her mother better than him. And this
jealousy Sophia seldom failed of heightening on these occasions; for
he was not contented with violating her ears with the abuse of her
mother, but endeavoured to force an explicit approbation of all this
abuse; with which desire he never could prevail upon her by any
promise or threats to comply.

Hence some of my readers will, perhaps, wonder that the squire had not
hated Sophia as much as he had hated her mother; but I must inform
them, that hatred is not the effect of love, even through the medium
of jealousy. It is, indeed, very possible for jealous persons to kill
the objects of their jealousy, but not to hate them. Which sentiment
being a pretty hard morsel, and bearing something of the air of a
paradox, we shall leave the reader to chew the cud upon it to the end
of the chapter.

Chapter v.

The generous behaviour of Sophia towards her aunt.

Sophia kept silence during the foregoing speech of her father, nor did
she once answer otherwise than with a sigh; but as he understood none
of the language, or, as he called it, lingo of the eyes, so he was not
satisfied without some further approbation of his sentiments, which he
now demanded of his daughter; telling her, in the usual way, "he
expected she was ready to take the part of everybody against him, as
she had always done that of the b-- her mother." Sophia remaining
still silent, he cryed out, "What, art dumb? why dost unt speak? Was
not thy mother a d--d b-- to me? answer me that. What, I suppose you
despise your father too, and don't think him good enough to speak to?"

"For Heaven's sake, sir," answered Sophia, "do not give so cruel a
turn to my silence. I am sure I would sooner die than be guilty of any
disrespect towards you; but how can I venture to speak, when every
word must either offend my dear papa, or convict me of the blackest
ingratitude as well as impiety to the memory of the best of mothers;
for such, I am certain, my mamma was always to me?"

"And your aunt, I suppose, is the best of sisters too!" replied the
squire. "Will you be so kind as to allow that she is a b--? I may
fairly insist upon that, I think?"

"Indeed, sir," says Sophia, "I have great obligations to my aunt. She
hath been a second mother to me."

"And a second wife to me too," returned Western; "so you will take her
part too! You won't confess that she hath acted the part of the vilest
sister in the world?"

"Upon my word, sir," cries Sophia, "I must belie my heart wickedly if
I did. I know my aunt and you differ very much in your ways of
thinking; but I have heard her a thousand times express the greatest
affection for you; and I am convinced, so far from her being the worst
sister in the world, there are very few who love a brother better."

"The English of all which is," answered the squire, "that I am in the
wrong. Ay, certainly. Ay, to be sure the woman is in the right, and
the man in the wrong always."

"Pardon me, sir," cries Sophia. "I do not say so."

"What don't you say?" answered the father: "you have the impudence to
say she's in the right: doth it not follow then of course that I am in
the wrong? And perhaps I am in the wrong to suffer such a Presbyterian
Hanoverian b-- to come into my house. She may 'dite me of a plot for
anything I know, and give my estate to the government."

"So far, sir, from injuring you or your estate," says Sophia, "if my
aunt had died yesterday, I am convinced she would have left you her
whole fortune."

Whether Sophia intended it or no, I shall not presume to assert; but
certain it is, these last words penetrated very deep into the ears of
her father, and produced a much more sensible effect than all she had
said before. He received the sound with much the same action as a man
receives a bullet in his head. He started, staggered, and turned pale.
After which he remained silent above a minute, and then began in the
following hesitating manner: "Yesterday! she would have left me her
esteate yesterday! would she? Why yesterday, of all the days in the
year? I suppose if she dies to-morrow, she will leave it to somebody
else, and perhaps out of the vamily."--"My aunt, sir," cries Sophia,
"hath very violent passions, and I can't answer what she may do under
their influence."

"You can't!" returned the father: "and pray who hath been the occasion
of putting her into those violent passions? Nay, who hath actually put
her into them? Was not you and she hard at it before I came into the
room? Besides, was not all our quarrel about you? I have not
quarrelled with sister this many years but upon your account; and now
you would throw the whole blame upon me, as thof I should be the
occasion of her leaving the esteate out o' the vamily. I could have
expected no better indeed; this is like the return you make to all the
rest of my fondness."

"I beseech you then," cries Sophia, "upon my knees I beseech you, if I
have been the unhappy occasion of this difference, that you will
endeavour to make it up with my aunt, and not suffer her to leave your
house in this violent rage of anger: she is a very good-natured woman,
and a few civil words will satisfy her. Let me entreat you, sir."

"So I must go and ask pardon for your fault, must I?" answered
Western. "You have lost the hare, and I must draw every way to find
her again? Indeed, if I was certain"--Here he stopt, and Sophia
throwing in more entreaties, at length prevailed upon him; so that
after venting two or three bitter sarcastical expressions against his
daughter, he departed as fast as he could to recover his sister,
before her equipage could be gotten ready.

Sophia then returned to her chamber of mourning, where she indulged
herself (if the phrase may be allowed me) in all the luxury of tender
grief. She read over more than once the letter which she had received
from Jones; her muff too was used on this occasion; and she bathed
both these, as well as herself, with her tears. In this situation the
friendly Mrs Honour exerted her utmost abilities to comfort her
afflicted mistress. She ran over the names of many young gentlemen:
and having greatly commended their parts and persons, assured Sophia
that she might take her choice of any. These methods must have
certainly been used with some success in disorders of the like kind,
or so skilful a practitioner as Mrs Honour would never have ventured
to apply them; nay, I have heard that the college of chambermaids hold
them to be as sovereign remedies as any in the female dispensary; but
whether it was that Sophia's disease differed inwardly from those
cases with which it agreed in external symptoms, I will not assert;
but, in fact, the good waiting-woman did more harm than good, and at
last so incensed her mistress (which was no easy matter) that with an
angry voice she dismissed her from her presence.

Chapter vi.

Containing great variety of matter.

The squire overtook his sister just as she was stepping into the
coach, and partly by force, and partly by solicitations, prevailed
upon her to order her horses back into their quarters. He succeeded in
this attempt without much difficulty; for the lady was, as we have
already hinted, of a most placable disposition, and greatly loved her
brother, though she despised his parts, or rather his little knowledge
of the world.

Poor Sophia, who had first set on foot this reconciliation, was now
made the sacrifice to it. They both concurred in their censures on her
conduct; jointly declared war against her, and directly proceeded to
counsel, how to carry it on in the most vigorous manner. For this
purpose, Mrs Western proposed not only an immediate conclusion of the
treaty with Allworthy, but as immediately to carry it into execution;
saying, "That there was no other way to succeed with her niece, but by
violent methods, which she was convinced Sophia had not sufficient
resolution to resist. By violent," says she, "I mean rather, hasty
measures; for as to confinement or absolute force, no such things must
or can be attempted. Our plan must be concerted for a surprize, and
not for a storm."

These matters were resolved on, when Mr Blifil came to pay a visit to
his mistress. The squire no sooner heard of his arrival, than he stept
aside, by his sister's advice, to give his daughter orders for the
proper reception of her lover: which he did with the most bitter
execrations and denunciations of judgment on her refusal.

The impetuosity of the squire bore down all before him; and Sophia, as
her aunt very wisely foresaw, was not able to resist him. She agreed,
therefore, to see Blifil, though she had scarce spirits or strength
sufficient to utter her assent. Indeed, to give a peremptory denial to
a father whom she so tenderly loved, was no easy task. Had this
circumstance been out of the case, much less resolution than what she
was really mistress of, would, perhaps, have served her; but it is no
unusual thing to ascribe those actions entirely to fear, which are in
a great measure produced by love.

In pursuance, therefore, of her father's peremptory command, Sophia
now admitted Mr Blifil's visit. Scenes like this, when painted at
large, afford, as we have observed, very little entertainment to the
reader. Here, therefore, we shall strictly adhere to a rule of Horace;
by which writers are directed to pass over all those matters which
they despair of placing in a shining light;--a rule, we conceive, of
excellent use as well to the historian as to the poet; and which, if
followed, must at least have this good effect, that many a great evil
(for so all great books are called) would thus be reduced to a small

It is possible the great art used by Blifil at this interview would
have prevailed on Sophia to have made another man in his circumstances
her confident, and to have revealed the whole secret of her heart to
him; but she had contracted so ill an opinion of this young gentleman,
that she was resolved to place no confidence in him; for simplicity,
when set on its guard, is often a match for cunning. Her behaviour to
him, therefore, was entirely forced, and indeed such as is generally
prescribed to virgins upon the second formal visit from one who is
appointed for their husband.

But though Blifil declared himself to the squire perfectly satisfied
with his reception; yet that gentleman, who, in company with his
sister, had overheard all, was not so well pleased. He resolved, in
pursuance of the advice of the sage lady, to push matters as forward
as possible; and addressing himself to his intended son-in-law in the
hunting phrase, he cried, after a loud holla, "Follow her, boy, follow
her; run in, run in; that's it, honeys. Dead, dead, dead. Never be
bashful, nor stand shall I, shall I? Allworthy and I can finish all
matters between us this afternoon, and let us ha' the wedding

Blifil having conveyed the utmost satisfaction into his countenance,
answered, "As there is nothing, sir, in this world which I so eagerly
desire as an alliance with your family, except my union with the most
amiable and deserving Sophia, you may easily imagine how impatient I
must be to see myself in possession of my two highest wishes. If I
have not therefore importuned you on this head, you will impute it
only to my fear of offending the lady, by endeavouring to hurry on so
blessed an event faster than a strict compliance with all the rules of
decency and decorum will permit. But if, by your interest, sir, she
might be induced to dispense with any formalities--"

"Formalities! with a pox!" answered the squire. "Pooh, all stuff and
nonsense! I tell thee, she shall ha' thee to-morrow: you will know the
world better hereafter, when you come to my age. Women never gi' their
consent, man, if they can help it, 'tis not the fashion. If I had
stayed for her mother's consent, I might have been a batchelor to this
day.--To her, to her, co to her, that's it, you jolly dog. I tell thee
shat ha' her to-morrow morning."

Blifil suffered himself to be overpowered by the forcible rhetoric of
the squire; and it being agreed that Western should close with
Allworthy that very afternoon, the lover departed home, having first
earnestly begged that no violence might be offered to the lady by this
haste, in the same manner as a popish inquisitor begs the lay power to
do no violence to the heretic delivered over to it, and against whom
the church hath passed sentence.

And, to say the truth, Blifil had passed sentence against Sophia; for,
however pleased he had declared himself to Western with his reception,
he was by no means satisfied, unless it was that he was convinced of
the hatred and scorn of his mistress: and this had produced no less
reciprocal hatred and scorn in him. It may, perhaps, be asked, Why
then did he not put an immediate end to all further courtship? I
answer, for that very reason, as well as for several others equally
good, which we shall now proceed to open to the reader.

Though Mr Blifil was not of the complexion of Jones, nor ready to eat
every woman he saw; yet he was far from being destitute of that
appetite which is said to be the common property of all animals. With
this, he had likewise that distinguishing taste, which serves to
direct men in their choice of the object or food of their several
appetites; and this taught him to consider Sophia as a most delicious
morsel, indeed to regard her with the same desires which an ortolan
inspires into the soul of an epicure. Now the agonies which affected
the mind of Sophia, rather augmented than impaired her beauty; for her
tears added brightness to her eyes, and her breasts rose higher with
her sighs. Indeed, no one hath seen beauty in its highest lustre who
hath never seen it in distress. Blifil therefore looked on this human
ortolan with greater desire than when he viewed her last; nor was his
desire at all lessened by the aversion which he discovered in her to
himself. On the contrary, this served rather to heighten the pleasure
he proposed in rifling her charms, as it added triumph to lust; nay,
he had some further views, from obtaining the absolute possession of
her person, which we detest too much even to mention; and revenge
itself was not without its share in the gratifications which he
promised himself. The rivalling poor Jones, and supplanting him in her
affections, added another spur to his pursuit, and promised another
additional rapture to his enjoyment.

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