« PreviousContinue »
'tion, you have but the least suspicion of this ' kind, I am sure your own virtue and religion will
impel you to drive so vicious a passion from your "heart, and your good sense will soon enable
you • to do it without pain.'
The reader may pretty well guess Blifil's answer; but if he should be at a loss, we are not a present, at leisure to satisfy him, as our history now bastens on to matters of higher importance, and we can no longer bear to be absent from Sophia.
An extraordinary Scene between Sophia and her
Aunt. The lowing heifer, and the bleating ewe, in herds and flocks, may ramble safe and unregarded through the pastures. These are, indeed, hereafter doomed to be the prey of man; yet many years are they suffered to enjoy their liberty undisturbed. But if a plump doe be discovered to have cscaped from the forest, and to repose herself in some field or grove, the whole parish is presently alarmed, every man is ready to set his dogs after her; and if she is preserved from the rest by the good 'squire, it is only that he may secure her for his own eating
I have often considered a very fine young woman of fortune and fashion, when first found strayed from the pale of her nursery, to be in pretty much the same situation with this doe. The town is immediately in an uproar, she is hunted from perk to play, from court to asembly, from assembly to her own chamber, and rarely escapus a single season from the jaws of some devourer or other; for if her friends protect her from somc, it is only to deliver her over to one of their own chusing, often more disagreeable to her than any of the rest; while whole herds or flocks of other women se
curely, and scarce regarded, traverse the park, the play, the opera, and the assembly; and though, for the most part at least, they are at last devourul, yet for a long time do they wanton in liberty, without disturbance or control.
Of all these paracons, none ever tasted more of this persccution than poor Sophia. Tler ill stars were not contented with all that she had suffere ! on account of Blitil, they now raised her another pursuer, who seemed likely to torment her no less than the other had done. For thongh her aunt was less violent, she was no less assiduous in teazing her, than her father had been betöre.
The servants were no sooner departed after dinner, than Nirs. Western, who had opened the matter to Sophia, informed her, 'That she espect‘ed his lordship that very afteruicon, and intended 'to take the first opportunity of leaving her alone
with him.' 'If you do, Madam,' answered Sophia, with some spirit, “I shall take the first opportunity ‘of leaving him by himscif.' 'Tow! Madam! cries the aunt; “is this the return you make me ' for my kindness, in relieving you from your 'confinement at your father's? You know, Ma
dam,' said Sophia, 'the cause of that confine'ment was a refusal to comply with my father, in ' accepting a man I detested; and will my dear 'auut, who hath relieved me from that distress, 'involve me in another equally bad ?' ' And do
you think then, Vadam,' answered Virs. Western, that there is no difference between my lord Fel. " lanar and Mr. Blijl? Very little, in my opi• nion,' cries Sophia; cand it I must be condemned
to one, I would certainly have the merit of sacri' licing myself to my father's pleasure.' "Then my
? “ “pleasure, I find,' said the auiit, “hath very little
weight with you; but that consideration shall not more me. I act from nobler motives. The view sofaggraudizing my family, of ennobling yourself, is what I proceed upon. Have you no
of ambition? Are there no charms in the thoughts ' of having a coronet on your coach?' None, upon
my honom,' said Sophia. “A pincushion upon my coach would please me just as well. Never mention honour,' cries thaunt. 'It becomes not the mouth of such a wretch. I am sorry, niece, 'you force me to use these words; but I cannot
bear your groreling temper; you have none of 'the blood of the Westerns' in you. But, how'ever mean and base your own ideas are, you shall bring no imputation on mine. I will never suffer
the world to say of me, that I encouraged you ‘in refusing one of the best matches in England; 'a match which, besides its advantage in fortune, would do honour to almost any family, and 'batli
, indeed, in title, the advantage of ours. * Surely,' says Sophia, “I am born deficient, and s have not the senses with which other people are 'blessed; there must be certainly some sense which
can relish the delights of sound and show, which ' I have not; for surely mankind would not labour
so much, nor sacrifice so much for the obtaining, * nor would they be so elate and proud with pos'sessing, what appeared to them, as it doth to me, the most insignificant of all trifles.' “No, no, Miss;' cries the aunt; 'you are born
, ' with as many senses as other people; but I assure ' you, you are not born with a suflicient understanding to make a fool of me, or to expose my conduct to the world, so I declare thus to you upon my word, and you know, I believe, how • fixed my resolutions are, unless you agree to see 'lis lordship this afternoon, I will, with my own hands, deliver you to-morrow morning to my
brother, and will never henceforth interfere with you, nor see your face again.' Sophia stood a few moments silent after this speech, which was uttered in a most angry and peremptory tone; and then bursting into tears, she cried, “Do with me,
Madam, whatever you please; I am the most mi
'serable undone wretch upon earth; if my dear * aunt forsakes me, where shall I look for a pro
tector??—“My dear niece,' cries she, you will ' have a very good protector in his lordship; a
protector, whom nothing but a hankering after • that vile fellow Jones can make you decline.' • Indeed, Madam,' said Sophia, ‘you wrong me. • How can you imagine, after what you have ‘shewn me, if I had ever any such thoughts, that
, ' I should not banish thein for ever. If it will satisfy you, I will receive the sacrament upon
it, never to see his face again.'—' But, child, dear child,' said the aunt,' be reasonable; can you 'invent a single objection?'-—I have already,
a ' I think, told you a sufficient objection,' answered
у Sophia. What,' cries the aunt; I remember 'none.' Sure, Madam,' said Sophia, 'I told you "he had used me in the rudest and vilest manner.' 'Indeed, child,' answered she, ' I never heard you, 'or did not understand you:- But what do you ' mean by this rude, vile manner?' 'Indeed, Madam,' said Sopliia, “I am almost ashamed to tell you. Ile caught me in his arms, pulled me down upon the settee, and thrust his hand into my bosom, and kissed it with such violence, that I ' have the mark upon my left breast at this mo'ment.'--'Indeed!' said Mrs. Western. 'Yes, in'deed, Madam,' auswered Sophia; “my father
luckily came in at that instant, or heaven knows 'what rudeness he intended to have proceeded to.' "I am astonished and confounded,' cries the aunt. : No woman of the name of Western hath been
ever treated so, since we were a family. I would ' have torn the eyes of a prince out, it' he had attempted such freedoms with me.
It is impossible; sure, Sophia, you must invent this to raise my indignation against him.' I hope, Madam, said Sophia, “you have too good an opinion of
me, to imagine me capable of telling an untruth, ! Upon my soul, it is true.' 'I should have stabbed
him to the heart, had I been present,' returned the aunt.
Yet surely he could have no disho'nourable design; it is impossible! he durst not: 'besides, bis proposals shew he had not; for they
are not only honourable but generous. I don't 'know; the age allows too great freedoms. A distant salute is all I would have allowed before the ceremony. I have had lovers formerly, not so long ago neither; several lovers, though I never 'would consent to marriage, and I never encouraged the least freedom. It is a foolish custom, and what I never would agree to. No man * kissed more of me than my cheek. It is as much
as one can bring one's self to give lips up to a • husband; and, indeed, could I ever have been 'persuaded to marry, I believe I should not have • soon been brought to endure so much. You will pardon me, dear Madam,' said Sophia, if
I make one observation: You own you have had many lovers, and the world knows it, even if you 'should deny it. You refused them all, and, I am 'convinced, one coronet at least among them.' * You say true, dear Sophy,' answered she; • I had once the offer of a title.
' Why, then,' said Sophia, “will
' will you not suffer me to refuse this once?' It is true, child,' said she, 'I have refused the 'offer of a title; but it was not so good an offer; that is, not so very, very good an offer. * Yes, Madam,' said Sophia; “but you have had very great proposals from men of vast fortunes. It was not the first, nor the second, nor the third “advantageous match that offered itself.' 'I own
it was not,' said she. “Well, Madam,' continued Sophia, and why may not I expect to have a ' second, perhaps, better than this? You are now but a young woman, and I am convinced would not promise to yield to the first lover of fortune, nay, or of title too. I am a very young woman, and sure I need not despair.
Well, ? my dear, dear Sophy,' cries the aunt, 'what