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only, and to her dissatisfaction at the omission of ceremony in the visit; but Blifil saw a little deeper into things. He suspected somewhat of more consequence, from two or three words which dropt from the lady; and, to say the truth, he suspected right, as will appear when I have unfolded the several matters which will be contained in the following chapter.
Schemes of Lady Bellaston for the Ruin of Jones. LOVE had taken too deep a root in the mind of lord Fellamar, to be plucked up by the rude hands of Mr. Western. In the heat of resentment he had indeed given a commission to captain Egglane, which the captain had far exceeded in the execution; nor had it been executed at all, had his lordship been able to find the captain after he had seen lady Bellaston, which was in the afternoon of the day after he had received the affront; but so industrious was the captain in the discharge of his duty, that having after long inquiry found out the 'squire's lodgings very late in the evening, he sat up all night at a tavern, that he might not miss the 'squire in the morning, and by that means missed the revocation which my lord had sent to his lodgings:
In the afternoon then next after the intended rape of Sophia, his lordship, as we have said, made a visit to lady Bellaston, who laid open so much of the character of the 'squire, that his lordship plainly saw the absurdity he had been guilty of in taking any offence at his words, especially as he had those honourable designs on his daughter. He then unbosomed the violence of his passion to lady Bellaston, who readily undertook the cause, and encouraged him with certain assurance of a most favourable reception from all the elders of
the family, and from the father himself when he should be sober, and should be made acquainted with the nature of the offer made to his daughter. The only danger, she said, lay in the fellow she had formerly mentioned, who, though a beggar and a vagabond, had, by some means or other, she knew not what, procured himself tolerable clothes, and passed for a gentleman. Now,' says she, 'as I ' have, for the sake of my cousin, made it my bu'siness to inquire after this fellow, I have luckily ' found out his lodgings;' with which she then acquaintedliis lordship. I am thinking, my lord,' added she “(for this tellow is too mean for your personal resentment), whether it would not be possible for your lordship to contrive some me• thod of having him pressed and sent on board a slip. Neither law nor conscience forbid this
pro'jeci: for the fellow, I promise you, however well
dre:t, is but a vagabond, and as proper as any • fellow in the streets to be pressed into the ser
vice; and as for the conscientious part, surely 'the preservation of a young lady from such ruin ‘is a most meritorious act; nay, with regard to the fellow liimself, unless he could succeed ' (which heaven forbid) with my cousin, it may probabily be tlie means of preserving him from the gallows, and perhaps may make his fortune 'in an honest way.
Lord Fellamar very heartily thanked her ladyship, for the part which she was pleased to take in the affair, upon the success of which his whole future happiness entirely depended. He said, he saw at present no objection to the pressing scheme, avd would consider of putting it in execution. He then most carnestly recommended to her ladyship, to do him the honour of immediately mentioning his proposals to the family; to whom, he said, he offered a carte blanche, and would settle his fortune in alnost any manner they should require. And after uttering many ecstacies and raptures concerning
Sophia, he took his leave and departed, but not before he had received the strongest charge to beware of Jones, and to lose no time in securing his person where he should no longer be in a capacity of making any attempts to the ruin of the young lady.
The moment Mrs. Western was arrived at her lodgmgs, a card was dispatched with her compliments to lady Bellaston; who no sooner received it, than with the impatience of a lover, she flew to her cousiu, rejoiced at this fair opportunity, which beyond her hopes offered itself, for she was much better pleased with the prospect of making the proposals to a woman of sense, and who knew the world, than to a gentleman whom she honoured with the appellation of Hottentot; though indeed from him she apprehended no danger of a refusal.
The two ladies being met, after very short previous ceremonials, fell to business, which was indeed almost as soon concluded as begun; for Mrs. Western no sooner heard the name of lord Fellamar than her cheeks glowed with pleasure; but when she was acquainted with the eagerness of his passion, the earnestness of his proposals, and the generosity of his offer, she declared her full satisfaction in the most explicit terms.
In the progress of their conversation, their discourse turned to Jones, and both cousins very pathetically lamented the unfortunate attachment which both agreed Sophia had to that young fellow; and Mrs. Western entirely attributed it to the folly of her brother's management. She concluded however at last, with declaring her confidence in the good understanding of her
niece, who, though she would not give up her affection in favour of Blitil, will, I doubt not, says she, soon be prevailed upon to sacrifice a simple inclination to the addresses of a fine gentleman, who brings her both a title and a large estate: ‘For, indeed,' added she, “I must do Sophy the justice to confess, this
• Blifil is but a hideous kind of fellow, as you know, * Bellaston, all country gentlemen are, and hath ‘nothing but his fortune to recommend him.'
Nay,' said lady Bellaston, I don't then so ' much wonder at my cousin; for I promise you, 'this Jones is a very agreeable fellow, and hath one 'virtue, which the men say is a great recommen
dation to us. What do you think, Mrs. Western .--I shall certainly make you laugh; nay, I can
hardly tell you myself for laughing-Will you • believe that the fellow hath had the assurance to
make love to me? But if you should be inclined 'to disbelieve it, here is evidence enough, his own • hand-writing, I assure you.' She then delivered her cousin the letter with the proposals of marriage, which, if the reader hath a desire to see, he will find already on record in the XVth book of this history.
Upon my word, I'am astonished,' said Mrs. Western; 'this is indeed a master-piece of assu‘rance. With your leave, I may possibly make some * use of this letter.' “You have my full liberty, cries lady Bellaston, 'to apply it to what purpose you please. However, I would not have it shewn
to any but Miss Western, nor to her unless you ' '
find occasion. Well, and how did you use the • fellow?' returned Mrs. Western. Not as a hus
band,' said the lady, 'I am not married, I promise you, my dear. You know, Mrs. Western, I have
tried the comforts once already; and once ! *think is enough for any reasonable woman.'
This letter lady Bellaston thought would cer, tainly turn the balance against Jones in the mind of Sophia, and she was emboldened to give it up, partly by her hopes of having him instantly dispatched out of the way, and partly by having secured the evidence of Honour, who, upon sound. ing her, she saw sufficient reason to imagine, was prepared to testify whatever she pleased.
B. t perhaps the reader may wonder why lady
Bellaston, who in her heart hated Sophia, should be so desirous of promoting a match, which was so much to the interest of the young lady. Now, I would desire such readers to look carefully into human nature, page almost the last, and there he will find in scarce legible characters, that women, notwithstanding the preposterous behaviour of mothers, aunts, &c. in matrimonial matters, do in reality think it so great a misfortune to have their inclinations in love thwarted, that they imagine, they ought never to carry enmity higher than upon these disappointments; again he will find it written much about the same place, that a woman who hath once been pleased with the possession of a man, will go above half way to the devil, to prevent any other woman from enjoying the same.
If he will not be contented with these reasons, I freely confess I see no other motive to the actions of that lady, unless we will conceive she was bribed by lord Fellamar, which for my own part I see no cause to suspect.
Now this was the affair which Mrs. Western was preparing to introduce to Sophia, by some prefatory discourse on the folly of love, and on the wisdom of legal prostitution for hire, when her brother and Blitil broke abruptly in upon her; and hence arose all that coldness in her behaviour to Blifil, which, though the 'squire, as was usual with him, imputed to a wrong cause, infused into Blifil himself (he being a much more cunning man) a suspicion of the real truth.
In which Jones pays a Visit to Mrs. Fitzpatrick. The reader may now, perhaps, be pleased to return with us to Mr. Jones, who, at the appointed hour, attended on Mrs. Fitzpatrick; but before