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' would you have me say?' "Why, I only beg 'that I may not be left alone, at least this even‘ing; grant me that, and I will submit, if you
think, after what is past, I ought to see him in 'your company. Well, I will grant it,' cries the aunt. 'Sophy, you know I love you, and can
. * deny you nothing. You know the easiness of my nature; I have not always been so easy. I
have been formerly thought cruel; by the men, "I mean. I was called the crucl Parthenissa. I ' have broke many a window that has had verses 'to the cruel Parthenissa on it. Sophy, I was • never so handsome as you, and yet I had something of you formerly. I am a little altered. Kingdoms and states, as Tully Cicero says in his epistles, undergo alterations, and so must the human form.' Thus run she on for near half an hour upon herself, and her conquests, and her cruelty, till the arrival of my lord, who, after a most tedious visit, during which Mrs. Western never once offered to leave the room, retired, not much more satisfied with the aunt than with the niece. For Sophia had brought her aunt into so excellent a temper, that she consented to almost every thing her niece said; and agreed, that a little distant behaviour might not be improper to so forward a lover.
Thus Sophia, by a little well directed flattery, for which surely none will blame her, obtained a little case for herself, and, at least, put off the evil day. And now we have seen our heroine in a better situation than she hath been for a long time before, we will look a little after Mr. Jones, whom we left in the most deplorable situation that cau well be imagined
MIrs. Miller and Mr. Nightingale risit Jores in
the Prison. WHEN Mr. Allworthy and his nephew went to meet Mr. Western, Mrs. Miller set forwards to her son-in-law's lodgings, in order to acquaint him with the accident which had befallen his friend Jones; but he had known it long before from Partridge (for Jones, when he leit Mrs. Jiller, had been furnished with a room in the same house with Jr. Nightingale). The good woman found her daughter under great afiliction on account of Mr. Jones, whom having comforted as well as she could, she set forwards to the Gatelouse, where she heard he was, and where Mr. Nightingale was arrived before her.
The firmness and constancy of a true friend is a circumstance so extremely delightful to persons in any kind of distress, that the distress itself, if it be only temporary, and admits of reliet, is more than compensated by bringing this comfort with it. Nor are instances of this kind so rare, as some superficial and inaccurate observers have reported. To say the truth, want of compassion is not to be numbered among our general faults. The black ingredient which fouls our disposition is envy. Hence our eye is seldom, I am afraid, turned upward to those who are manifestly greater, better, wiser
, or happier than ourselves, without some degree of malignity; while we commonly look downwards on the mean and iniserable with sufficient benevolence and pity. In fact, I have remarked, that most of the defects which have discovered themselves in the friendships within my observation, have arisen from envy only; a hellish vice; and yet one from which I have known
very few absolutely exempt. But enough of a subject which, if pursued, would lead me too far.
Whether it was that fortune was apprehensive lest Jones should sink under the weight of his adversity, and that she might thus lose any future opportunity of tormenting him; or whether she really abated somewhat of her severity towards him, she seemed a little to relax her persccution, by sending him the company of two such faithful friends, and what is, perhaps, more rare, a faithful servant. For Partridge, though he had many imperfections, wanted not fidelity; and though fear would not suífer him to be hanged for his master, yet the world, I believe, could not have bribed him to desert his cause.
While Jones was expressing great satisfaction in the presence of his friends, Partridge brouglıt an account, that Mr. Fitzpatrick was still alive, though the surgeon declared that he had very little hopes. Upon which, Jones, fetching a deep sigh, Nightingale said to him; My dear Tom, 'why should you afilict yourself so upon an acci
dent, which, whatever be the consequence, can 'be attended with no danger to you, and in which your conscience cannot accuse you of having been in the least to blame. If the fellow should
. die, what have you done more than taken away the life of a ruffian in your own defence ? So will the 'coroner's inquest certainly find it; and then you ' will be easily admitted to bail; and though you 'must undergo the form of a trial, yet it is a trial ' which many men would stand for you for a shil
. ling.' Come, come, Mr. Jones,' says Mrs. Miller, cheer yourself up. I knew you could not * be the aggressor, and so I told Mr. Allworthy, ' and so he shall acknowledge too, before I have done with him.'
Jones gravely answered, “That whatever might • be his fate, he should always lament the having shed the blood of one of his fellow-creatures, as
'one of the highest misfortunes which could have
befallen him. But I have another misfortune of 'the tenderest kind.-O! Mrs. Miller, I have ' lost what I held most dear upon earth. “That 'must be a mistress,' said Mrs. Miller; “but come,
come; I know more than you imagine;' (for indeed Partridge had blabbed all) 'and I have heard
more than you know. Matters go better, I pro‘mise you, than you think; and I would not give ' * Blifil sixpence for all the chance which he hath of the lady.'
'Indeed, my dear friend, indeed,' answered Jones, you are an entire stranger to the cause of 'my griet. If you was acquainted with the story, ' you would allow my case admitted of no com'fort. I apprehend no danger from Blifil. I have ‘undone myself.' 'Don't despair,' replied Mrs. Miller; 'you know not what a woman can do, ' and if any thing be in my power, I promise you I will do it to serve you. It is my duty. My son, my dear Mr. Nightingale, who is so kind to tell me he hath obligations to you on the same account, knows it is my duty. Shall I go to the
lady myself? I will say any thing to her you " would have me say.'
'Thou best of women, cries Jones, taking her by the hand, “talk not of obligations to me; 'but, as you have been so kind to mention it, there is a favour which, perhaps, may be in your power. I see you are acquainted with the lady (how you came by your information I know not), who sits, indeed, very near my heart. If you could contrive to deliver this' (giving her a paper from his pocket), 'I shall for ever acknowledge 'your goodness.
* Give it me,' said Mrs. Miller. If I see it not in her own possession before I sleep, may my next sleep be my last. Comfort yourself, my 'good young man! be wise enough to take warning from past follies, and I warrant all shall be
well, and I shall yet see you happy with the most charming young lady in the world; for I so hear ' from every one she is.'
'Believe me, Vladam,' said he, 'I do not speak 'the common caut of one in my unhappy situation. · Before this dreadful accident happened, I had re'solved to quit a life of which I was become sensible
of the wickedness as well as folly. I do assure you, 'notwithstanding the disturbances I have unfortu
nately occasioned in your house, for which I hear'tily ask your pardon, I am not an abandoned
profligate. Though I have been hurried into 'vices, I do not approve a vicious character; nor will I ever, from this moment, deserve it.'
Mrs. Aliller expressed great satisfaction in these declarations, in the sincerity of which she averred she had an entire faith ; and now, the remainder of the conversation past in the joint attempts of that good woman and Mr. Nightingale to cheer the dejected spirits of Mr. Jones, in which they so far succeeded, as to leave him much better comforted and satisfied than they found him; to which happy alteration nothing so much contributed as the kind undertaking of Mrs. Miller to deliver his letter to Sophia, which he despaire<l of finding any means to accomplish; for when Black George produced the last from Sophia, he informed Partridge, that she had strictly charged him, on pain of having it communicated to her father, not to bring her any answer. He was, morcover, not a little pleased, to find he had so warm an advocate to Ir. Tillworthy himself in this good woman, who was, in reality, one of the worthiest creatures in the world.
After about an hour's visit from the lady (for Nightingale had been with him much longer), they both took their leave, promising to return to him soon; during which, Virs. Miller said, she hoped to bring him some good news from his mistress, and Mr. Nightingale promised to inquire into the state of Mr. Fitzpatrick's wound, and likewise to