« PreviousContinue »
was gone ;
which ended very little to the satisfaction of poor Jones. For though Mrs. Fitzpatrick soon discovered the lover (as all women have the eyes of hawks in those matters), yet she still thought it was such a lover, as a generous friend of the lady should not betray her to. In short, she suspected this was the very Mr. Blifil, from whom Sophia had flown; and all the answers which she artfully drew from Jones, concerning Mr. Allworthy's family, confirmed her in this opinion. She therefore strictly denied any knowlege concerning the place whither Sophia
nor could Jones obtain more than a permission to wait on her again the next evening.
When Jones was departed, Mrs. Fitzpatrick communicated her suspicion concerning Mr. Blifil to her maid; who answered, 'Sure, Madam, he is 'too pretty a man, in my opinion, for any woman ' in the world to run away from. I had rather
fancy it is Mr. Jones.—“Mr. Jones,' said the lady, what Jones?' For Sophia had not given the least hint of any such person in all their conversation; but Mrs. Honour had been much more communicative, and had acquainted her sister Abigail with the whole history of Jones, which this now again related to her mistress.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick no sooner received this inforination, than she immediately agreed with the opinion of her maid; and, what is very unaccountable, saw charms in the gallant, happy lover, which she had overlooked in the slighted 'squire. ' Betty,' says she, you are certainly in the right: he is a ' very pretty fellow, and I don't wonder that my 'cousin's maid should tell you so many women are ' fond of him. I am sorry now I did not inform ‘him where my cousin was; and yet, if he be so ' terrible a rake as you tell me, it is a pity she should ever see him any more; for what but her ruin can happen from marrying a rake and a beggar against her father's consent. I protest, if he .be such a man as the wench described him to
you, it is but an office of charity to keep her from him; and, I am sure, it would be unpardonable in me to do otherwise, who have tasted so bitterly of the misfortunes attending such marriages.
Here she was interrupted by the arrival of a visitor, which was no other than his lordship; and as nothing passed at this visit either new or extraordinary, or any ways material to this history, we shall here put an end to this chapter.
A Project of Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and her Visit to
Lady Bellaston. WHEN Mrs. Fitzpatrick retired to rest, her thoughts were entirely taken up by her cousin Sophia and Mr. Jones. She was, indeed, a little offended with the former, for the disingenuity which she now discovered. In which mediation she had not long exercised her imagination, before the following conceit suggested itself: that could she possibly become the means of preserving Sophia from this man, and of restoring her to her father, she should, in all human probability, by so great a service to the family, reconcile to herself both her uncle and her aunt Western.
As this was one of her most favourite wishes, so the hope of success seemed so reasonable, that nothing remained but to consider of proper methods to accomplish her scheme. To attempt to reason the case with Sophia, did not appear to her one of those methods : for as Betty had reported from Mrs. Honour, that Sophia had a violent inclination to Jones, she conceived, that to dissuade her from the match, was an endeavour of the same kind, as it would be very heartily and earnestly to entreat a moth not to fly into a candle.
If the reader will please to remember, that the acquaintance which Sophia had with lady Bellaston, was contracted at the house of Mrs. Western, and must have grown at the very time when Mrs. Fitzpatrick lived with this latter lady, he will want no information, that Mrs. Fitzpatrick must have been acquainted with her likewise. They were, besides, both equally her distant relations.
After much consideration, therefore, she resolved to go early in the morning to that lady, and endeavour to see her, unknown to Sophia, and to acquaint her with the whole affair. For she did not in the least doubt, but that the prudent lady, who had often ridiculed romantic love, and indiscreet marriages, in her conversation, would very readily concur in her sentiments concerning this match, and would lend her utmost assistance to prevent it.
This resolution she accordingly executed; and the next morning before the sun, she huddled on her clothes, and at a very unfashionable, unseasonable, unvisitable hour, went to lady Bellaston, to whom she got access, without the least knowledge or suspicion of Sopliia, who, though not asleep, lay at that time awake in her bed, with Honour snoring by her side.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick made many apologies for an early, abrupt visit, at an hour when she said she * should not have thought of disturbing her lady
ship, but upon business of the utmost consequence.' She then opened the whole affair, told all she had heard from Betty; and did not forget the visit which
; Jones had paid to herself the preceding evening.
Lady Bellaston answered with a smile, ‘Then you • have seen this terrible man, Madam ; pray, is he
so very fine a figure as he is represented for · Etoff entertained me last night almost two hours . with him. The wench I believe is in love with
him by reputation. Here the reader will be apt to wonder ; but the truth is, that Mirs. Etoff, who had the honour to pin and unpin the lady Bellaston, had received, complete information concerning the
said Mr. Jones, and had faithfully conveyed the same to her lady last night (or rather that morning) while she was undressing; on which accounts she had been detained in her oflice above the space of an hour and half.
The lady indeed, though generally well enough pleased with the narratives of Mrs. Etoff at those seasons, gave an extraordinary attention to her account of Jones; for Honour had described him as a very handsome fellow, and Mrs. Etoff in her hurry added so much to the beauty of his person to her report, that lady Bellaston began to conceive him to be a kind of miracle in nature.
The curiosity which her woman had inspired, was now greatly increased by Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who spoke as much in favour of the person of Jones, as she had before spoken in dispraise of his birth, character, and fortune.
When lady Bellaston had heard the whole, she answered gravely, “Indeed, Madam, this is a mat' ter of great consequence. Nothing can certainly
be more commendable than the part you act; and • I shall be very glad to have my share in the pre'servation of a young lady of so much merit, and · for whom I have so much esteem.'
‘Doth not your ladyship think,' says Mrs. Fitzpatrick eagerly, that it would be the best way to
• write immediately to my uncle, and acquaint him where my cousin is?'
The lady pondered a little upon this, and thus answered, —- Why, no, Madam, I think not. Di
Western hath described her brother to me to be 'such a brute, that I cannot consent to put any
woman under his power who hath escaped from 'it. I have heard he behaved like a monster to his 'own wife, for heis one of those wretches who think they have a right to tyrannize over us, and from such I shall ever esteem it the cause of my sex to
rescue any woman who is so unfortunate to be ' under their power. The business, dear cousin,
will be only to keep Miss Western from seeing • this young fellow, tiil the good company, which ' she will liave an opportunity of meeting here, give her a properer turn.'
If he should find her out, Madam,' answered the other, your ladyship may be assured lie will ' leave nothing unattempted to come at her.'
* But, Madam,' replied the lady, it is impossible he should come here--thongh indeed it is possible he may get some intelligence where she is, and then may lurk about the house-I wish • therefore I knew his person.
'Is there no way, Madam, by which I could * have a sight of him ? for otherwise you know,
cousin, she may contrive to see him here without 'my knowledge.' Mrs. Fitzpatrick answered, "That he had threatened her with another visit " that afternoon, and that if her ladyship pleased 'to do her the honour of calling upon her then, * she would hardly tail of seeing him between six ' and seven; and if he came earlier she would, by some means or other, detain him till her lady,
ship's arrival.'-- Lady Bellaston replied, 'She 'would come the moment she could get from din. ner, which she supposed would be by seven at farthest; for that it was absolutely necessary she should be acquainted with his person. Upon my
word, Madam,' says she, it was very good to take this care of Miss Western ; but common humanity, as well as regard to our family, re'quires it of us both; for it would be a dreadful ' match indeed.'
Mrs. Fitzpatrick failed not to make a proper return to the compliment which lady Bellaston had bestowed on her cousin, and after some little immaterial conversation withdrew; and getting as fast as she could into her chair, unseen by Sophia or Honour, returned home,