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'squire, 'I think they do well enough; it was land
lord recommended them. I thought as he knew most of the quality, he could best shew me where to get among um.' 'Well, and where's
niece? says the lady, ‘have you been to wait upon lady Bellaston yet?' “Ay, ay,' cries the 'squire, ‘your niece is safe enough; she is up
stairs in chamber.' ' How !' answered the lady, is my niece in this · house, and doth she not know of my being here?' * No, nobody can well get to her,' says the 'squire, ' for she is under lock and key. I have her safe ; 'I vetched her from my lady cousin the first night 'I came to town, and I have taken care o' her ever
since; she is as secure as a fox in a bag, I pro‘mise you.' 'Good heaven!' returned Mrs. Western, what do I hear! I thought what a fine piece of work would be the consequence of my consent to your coming to town yourself; nay, • it was indeed your own headstrong will, nor can ' I charge myself with having ever consented to ‘it. Did not you promise me, brother, that you * would take none of these headstrong measures ? • Was it not by these headstrong measures that
you forced my niece to run away from you in ' the country? Have you a mind to oblige hier to
take such another step?' 'z-ds and the * • devil!' cries the 'squire, dashing his pipe on the ground, did ever mortal hear the like when I
expected you would have commended me for al 'I have done, to be fallen upon in this manner ! I How ! brother,' said the lady, “ have I ever given you the least reason to imagine I should com'mend
you for locking up your daughter? Have ' I not often told you, that women in a free coun'try are not to be treated with such arbitrary
power? We are as free as the men, and I heartily 'wish I could not say we deserve that freedom ' better. If you expect I should stay a moment longer in this wretched house, or that I should ever own you again as my relation, or that I
' should ever trouble myself again with the affairs * of your family, I insisť upon it, that my niece be
set at liberty this instant.' This she spoke with so commanding an air, standing with her back to the fire, with one hand behind her, and a pinch of snuff in the other, that I question whether Thalestris, at the head of her Amazons ever made a more tremendous figure. It is no wonder, therefore, that the poor 'squire was not proof against the awe which she inspired. “There, he cried, throwing down the key, there it is, do what' ever you please. I intended only to have kept
I ' her up till Blifil came to town, which can't 'be long; and now if any harm happens in the 'mean time, remember who is to be blamed for it.'
‘I will answer it with my life,' cried Mrs. Western, but I shall not intermeddle at all, unless
upon one condition, and that is, that you will 'commit the whole entirely to my care, without
taking any one measure yourself, unless I shall 'eventually appoint you to act. If you ratify 'these preliminaries, brother, I yet will endeavour 'to preserve the honour of your family; if not, I shall continue in a neutral state.'
'I pray you, good Sir,' said the parson, per'mit yourseif this once to be admonished by her ‘ladyship; peradventure, by communing with young Madam Sophia, she will effect more than you have been able to perpetrate by more rigorous ! nieasures.'
What dost thee open upon me?' cries the 'squire: 'If thee (lost begin to babble, I shall 'whuip thee in presently.'
• Fie, brother,' answered the lady, is this language to a clergyman? Wr. Supple is a man of sense, and gives you the best advice; and the whole world, I believe, will concur in his opinion; but I must tell you I expect an imme
diate answer to my categorical proposals. Either ' cede your daughter to my disposal, or take her
wholly to your own surprising discretion, and then I here, before Mr. Supple, evacuate the garrison, and renounce you and your family for ever.' "I
pray you let me be a mediator,' cries the parson, let me supplicate you.'
* Why, there lies the key on the table,' cries the osquire. 'She may take un up, if she pleases; who hinders her?'
No, brother,' answered the lady, 'I insist on 'the formality of its being delivered me, with a * full ratification of all the concessions stipulated.'
Why then I will deliver it to you. There 'tis,' cries the 'squire. 'I am sure, sister, you can't ac
. cuse me of ever denying to trust my daughter to 'you. She hath a lived wi’ you a whole year and ' muore to a time, without my eyer zeeing her.'
* And it would have been happy for lier,' answered the lady, “if she had always lived with me. Nothing of this kind would have happened under my eye.'
Ay, certainly,' cries he, “I only am to blame.'
Why, you are to blame, brother,' answered she. 'I have been often obliged to tell you so, and shall always be obliged to tell you so. However, I hope you will now amend, and gather so much experience from past errors, as not to defeat my wisest machinations by your blunders. Indeed, ' brother, you are not qualified for these negocia' tions. All your whole scheme of politics is wrong: 'I once more, therefore, insist, that you do not intermeddle. Remember only what is past.”
'Z-ds and bl-d, sister,' cries the 'squire, · What would you have me say? You are enough to provoke the devil.'
• There now,' said she, just according to the old custom. I see, brother, there is no talking 'to you. I will appeal to Mr. Supple, who is a man of
sense, if I said any thing which could
put any human creature into a passion; but you are so wrong-headed every way.
'Let me beg you, Madam,' said the parson, 'not to irritate his worship.'
• Irritate him?' said the lady;'Sure, you are as great a fvol as himself. Well, brother, since 'you have promised not to interfere, I will once
more undertake the management of my niece. * Lord have mercy upon all affairs which are under " the directions of men ! The head of one woman
is worth a thousand of yours.' And now having summoned a servant to shew her to Sophia, she departed, bearing the key with her.
She was no sooner gone, than the 'squire (having first shut the door) ejaculated twenty bitches, and as many hearty curses against her, not sparing himself for having ever thought of her estate; but added, Now one hath been a slave so long, it
would be pity to lose it at last, for want of holding out a little longer. The bitch can't live for ever, and I know I am down for it upon the will.'
The parson greatly commended this resolution; and now the 'squire having ordered in another bottle, which was his usual method when any thing either pleased or vexed him, did, by drinking plentifully of this medicinal julap, so totally wash away his choler, that his temper was become perfectly placid and serene, when Mrs. Western returned with Sophia into the room. The young lady had on her bat and capuchin, and the aunt acquainted Mr. Western, 'that she intended to take her piece
with her to her own lodgings; for, indeed, brother,' says she, “these rooms are not fit to receive a christian soul in.'
* Very well, Madam,' quoth Western, 'whatever you please. The girl can never be in better hands than yours; and the parson here can do 'me the justice to say, that I have said fifty times
* behind your back, that you was one of the most sensible women in the world.'
• To this,' cries the parson, 'I am ready to bear testimony'
Nay, brother,' says Mrs. Western, 'I have always, I'm sure, given you as favourable a character. You must own you have a little too much ' hastiness in your temper; but when you will al'low yourself time to reflect, I never knew a man more reasonable.'
"Why then, sister, if you think so,' said the 'squire, here's your good health with all my heart. 'I am a little passionate sometimes, but I scorn 'to bear any malice. Sophy, do you be a good 'girl, and do every thing your aunt orders you.'
I have not the least doubt of her,' answered Mrs. Western. “She hath had already an example • before her eyes, in the behaviour of that wretch 'her cousin Harriet, who ruined herself by neglect‘ing my advice.-0 brother, what think you ? * You was hardly gone out of hearing, when you ' set out for London, when who should arrive but
that impudent fellow with the odious Irish name • --that Fitzpatrick. He broke in abruptly upon
me without notice, or I would not have seen him. · He ran on a long, unintelligible story about his
wife, to which he forced me to give him a hear‘ing; but I made him very little answer, and de' livered him the letter from his wife, which I bid ' him answer himself. I suppose the wretch will ' endeavour to find us out; but I beg you will not see her, for I am determined I will not.'
'I zee her,' answered the 'squire; ' you need not fear me. I'll ge no encouragement to such undutiful wenches. It is well for the fellow, her 'husband, I was not at huome. Od rabbit it, he
I should have taken a dance thru the horse-pond, I promise un. You zee, Soplıy, what undutifulness brings volks to. You have an example in your own family.'