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you have heard the story which I shall tell you (for I will tell you all), you will be so far from being offended, that you will own (I know your
I justice so well) that I must have been the most
despicable and most ungrateful of wretches, if 'I had acted any other part than I have,'
* Well, Madam,' said Allworthy, 'I shall be very glad to hear any good excuse for a beha'viour which, I must confess, I think wants an
excuse. And now, Madam, will you be pleased 'to let my nephew proceed in his story without interruption. He would not have introduced a matter of slight consequence with such a pre! face. Perhaps even this story will cure you of your mistake. '
Mrs. Miller gave tokens of submission, and then Mr. Blifil began thus: 'I am sure, Sir, if you don't * think proper to resent the ill usage of Mrs. Miller, * I shall easily forgive what affects me only. I • think your goodness hath not deserved this indignity at her hands.' Well, child,' said Alworthy, but what is this new instance? What · hath he done of late? What!' cries Blifil, 'not' withstanding all Mrs. Miller hath said, I am very
sorry to relate, and what you should never have • heard from me, had it not been a matter impos'sible to conceal from the whole world. In short, : he hath killed a man; I will not say murdered,
—for perhaps it may not be so construed in law, * and I hope the best for his sake.”
Allworthy looked shocked, and blessed himself; and then turning to Mrs. Miller, he cried, “Well, ' Madam, what say you now?
' Why, I say, Sir,' answered she, that I never was more concerned at any thing in my life; but, if the fact be true, I am convinced the man, who
, ever he is, was in fault. Heaven knows there are many villains in this town, who make it their * business to provoke young gentlemen. Nothing * but the greatest provocation could have tempted
him; for of all the gentlemen I ever had in my • house, I never saw one so gentle, or so sweet• tempered. He was beloved by every one in the house, and every one who came near it.'
While she was thus running ou, a violent knocking at the door interrupted their conversation, and prevented her from proceeding further, or from receiving any answer: for as she concluded this was a visitor to Mr. Allworthy, she hastily retired, taking with her her little girl, whose eyes were all over blubbered at the melancholy news she heard of Jones, who used to call her his little wife, and not only gave her many playthings, but spent whole hours in playing with her hiniself.
Some readers may, perhaps, be pleased with these minute circumstances, in relating of which we follow the example of Plutarch, one of the best of our brother historians; and others, to whom they may appear trivial, will, we hope, at least pardon them, as we are never prolix on such occasions.
The Arrival of Mr. IVestern, with some Matters
concerning the paternal Authority. MRS. Miller bad not long left the room, whert Mr. Western entered; but not before a small wrangling bout had passed between him and his chairmen; for the fellows who had taken up their burden at the Hercules Pillars, had conceived no hopes of having any future good customer in the ’squire; and they were moreover farther encouraged by his generosity (for he had given them of his own accord sixpence more than their fare); they therefore very boldly demanded another shilling, which so provoked the 'squire, that he not only bestowed many hearty curses on them at the poor, but retained his anger after he came into
the room; swearing that all the Londoners were like the court, and thought of nothing but plundering country gentlemen. 'D-n me,' says he,
if I won't walk in the rain rather than get into one • of their hand-barrows again. They have jolted me more in a mile than Brown Bess would in a long fox chace. When his wrath on this occasion was a little
appeased, he resumed the same passionate tone on another. “There,' says he, there is tine business ' forwards now. The hounds have changed at last, ' and when we imagined we had a fox to deal with,
a • od-rat it, it turns out to be a badger at last.'
Pray, my good neighbour,' said Allworthy, drop your metaphors, and speak a little plainer. Why then,' says the 'squire, to tell you plainly, we have been all this time afraid of a son of a whore, of a bastard of somebody's, I don't know • who's, not 1 And now here is a confounded
son of a whore of a lord, who may be a bastard 'too for what I know or care, for he shall never * have a daughter of mine by my consent. They have beggared the nation, but they shall never beggar me. My land shall never be sent over to · Hanover.'
You surprise me much, my good friend,' said Allworthy. Why, zounds! I am surprised myself, answered the 'squire. 'I went to zee sister Western • last night, according to herown appointment, and " there I was had into a whole rooin full of women, ' – There was my lady cousin Bellaston, and my lady Betty, and my lady Catharine, and my lady I don't know who; d-n me, if ever you catci 'me among such a kennel of hoop-petticoat b--s. D-n me, I rather be run by my own dogs, 'as one Acton was, that the story book says was turned into a hare; and his own dogs killed un, and eat un. Od-rabbet it, no mortal was ever run in such a manner; if I dogged one way, one had me, if I offered to clap back, another snapped
me. O! certainly one of the greatest matches ' in England, says one cousin' (here he attempted to mimic them); “A very advantageous offer in• deed, cries another cousin, (for you must know
they be all my cousins, thof I never zeed half 'oum before.) Surely, says that fat a-se b—, my lady Bellaston, “ Cousin, you must be out
your wits to think of refusing such an offer.
Now I begin to understand,' says Allworthy, some person hath made proposals to Miss Western, which the ladies of the family approve, but * is not to your liking.'
• My liking !' said Western, how the devil should it? I tell you it is a lord, and those are always volks whom you know I always resolved to ' have nothing to do with. Did unt I refuse a 'matter of vorty years purchase now for a bit of * land, which one oum had a mind to put into a 'park, only because I would have no dealings with • Iords, and dost think I would marry my daughter ‘zu? Besides, ben't I engaged to you, and did I ever go off any bargain when I had promised?'
As to that point, neighbour,' said Allworthy, * I entirely release you from any engagement. No ' 'contract can be binding between parties who ' have not a full power to make it at the time, nor · ever afterwards acquire the power of fulfilling it. Slud ! then,' answered Western, I tell you
I * have power, and I will fulfil it. Come along with
, 'me directly to Doctors Commons, I will get a • license; and I will go to sister and take away • the wench by force, and she shall ha un, or I will * lock her up, and keep her upon bread and water as long as she lives,'
• Mr. Western,' said Allworthy, 'shall I beg you will hear my full sentiments on this matter?' Hear thee! ay, to be sure I will,' answered he. Why, then, Sir,' cries Allworthy, 'I can truly say,
without a compliment either to you or the young * lady, that when this match was proposed, I em.
braced it very readily and heartily, from my regard to you both. An alliance between two firmilies so nearly neighbours, and between whom 'there had always existed so mutualanintercourse ' and good harmony, I thought a most desirable
I event; and with regard to the young lady, not only the concurrent opinion ofail who knew her, 'but my own observation assured me, that she 'would be an inestimable treasure to a good hus'band. I shall say nothing of her personal quali'fications, which certainly are admirable; her good-nature, her charitable disposition, her modesty, are too well known to need any panegyric: but she hath one quality which existed in a high degree in that best of women, who is now one of 'the first of angels, which, as it is not of a glaring
kind, more commonly escapes observation; so ' little indeed it is remarked, that I want a word to
express it. I must use negatives on this occasion. "I never heard any thing of pertness, or what is called repartee out of her mouth; no pretence to wit, much less to that kind of wisdom which ' is the result only of great learning and experi
ence; the affectation of which, in a young woman, ' is as absurd as any of the affectations of an ape. "No dictatorial sentiments, no judicial opinions, ‘no profound criticisms. Whenever I have seen
her in the company of men, she hath been all attention, with the modesty of a learner, not the ' forwardness of a teacher. You'll pardop me for ' it, but I once, to try her only, desired her opinion on a point which was controverted between Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square. To which she ' answered with much sweetness, “ You will par“ don me, good Mr. Allworthy, I am sure you
cannot in earnest think me capable of deciding any point in which two such gentlemen disagrec.” · Thwackum and Square, who both alike thought
themselves sure of a favourable decision, seconded my request. She answered with the same good