« PreviousContinue »
self did by no means approve; but he was at the same time an excellent scholar, and most indefatigable in teaching the two lads. Add to this, the strict severity of his life and manners, an unimpeached honesty, and a most devout attachment to religion. So that upon the whole, though Allworthy did not esteem nor love the man, yet he could never bring himself to part with a tutor to the boys, who was, both by learning and industry, extremely well qualified for his office; and he hoped, that as they were bred up in his own house, and under his own eye, he should be able to correct whatever was wrong in Thwackum's instructions.
In which the History is continued. MR. Allworthy, in his last speech, had recollected some tender ideas concerning Jones, which had brought tears into the good man's eyes. This Mrs. Miller observing, said, “Yes, yes, Sir, your 'goodness to this poor young man is known, not
withstanding all your care to conceal it; but 'there is not a single syllable of truth in what those 'villains said. Mr. Nightingale hath now dis
covered the whole matter. It seems these fellows were employed by a lord, who is a rival of
poor • Mr. Jones, to have pressed him on board a ship. 'I assure them I don't know who they will press next. Mr. Nightingale here hath seen the officer himself, who is a very pretty gentleman, and hath told him all, and is very sorry for what ' he undertook, which he would never have done, • had he known Mr. Jones to have been a gentle
man; but he was told that he was a common 'strolling vagabond.'
Allworthy stared at all this, and declared he was a stranger to every word she said. "Yes, Sir,'
answered she, “I believe you are. ---It is a very ' different story, I believe, from what those fel· lows told the lawyer.'
What lawyer, Madam? what is it you mean? said Allworthy. 'Nay, nay,' said she, “this is so
like you to deny your own goodness; but Mr. • Nightingale here saw him.” “Saw whom, Madam?' answered he. “Why, your lawyer, Sir,' said she, ' that you so kindly sent to inquire into the affair.' 'I am still in the dark, upon my honour,' said Allworthy. Why then do you tell him, my dear
“ Sir,' cries she. Indeed, Sir,' said Nightingale, 'F did see that very lawyer who went from you
when I came into the room, at an alebouse in * Aldersgate, in company with two of the fellows 'who were employed by lord Fellamar to press
Mr. Jones, and who were by that means present ' at the unhappy rencounter between him and Mr. * Fitzpatrick.' 'I own, Sir,' said Mrs. Miller, ‘when
I saw this gentleman come into the room to you, * I told Mr. Nightingale that I apprehended you
had sent him thither to inquire into the affair.' Allworthy shewed marks of astonishment in his countenance at this news, and was indeed for two or three minutes struck dumb by it. At last, addressing himself to Mr. Nightingale, he said, “I
must confess myself, Sir, more surprised at what 'you tell me, than I have ever been before at any
thing in my whole lifc. Are you certain this was 'the gentleman?' 'I am most certain,' answered Nightingale. “At Aldersgate:' cries Allworthy. • Aud was you in company with this lawyer and 'the two fellows?' - I was, Sir,' said the other,
very near half an hour.- --'Well, Sir,' said Allworthy, and in what manner did the lawyer be* havedid you hear all that passed between him fand the fellows?' 'No, Sir,' answered Nightingale, they had been together before I came.-
In my presence the lawyer said little; but after I had several times examined the fellows, who
* persisted in a story directly contrary to what I had heard from Mr. Jones, and which I find by Mr. Fitzpatrick was a rank falsehood; the lawyer then desired the fellows to say nothing but what was the truth, and seemed to speak so much • in favour of Mr. Jones, that when I saw the same person
I concluded your goodness had prompted you to send him thither.'— And did you not send him thither?' says Mrs. Miller.--• Indeed I did not,' answered Allworthy ; 'nor
did I know he had gone on such an errand till this moment.'—'I see it all!' said Mrs. Miller,
upon my soul, I see it all! No wonder they have • been closeted so close lately. Son Nightingale, let me beg you run for these fellows immediately
---find them out if they are above ground. I s will go myself.'—Dear Madam,' said Allworthy, be patient, and do me the favour to send a
servant up stairs to call Mr. Dowling hither, if he I be in the house, or if not, Mr. Blifil.' Mrs. Miller went out muttering something to herself, and presently returned with an answer, “That Mr. Dowl
ing was gone ; but that the t'other,' as she called him, was coming.'
Allworthy was of a cooler disposition than the good woman, whose spirits were all up in armis in the cause of her friend. He was not however without some suspicions which were near akin to hers. When Blifil came into the room, he asked him with a very serious countenance, and with a less friendly look than he had ever before given him, 'Whe'ther he knew any thing of Mr. Dowling's having seen any of the persons who were present at the duel between Jones and another gentleman?'
There is nothing so dangerous as a question which comes by surprise on a man, whose business it is to conceal truth, or to defend falsehood. For pyhich reason those worthy personages, whose noble office it is to save the lives of their fellow-crea
tures at the Old Bailey, take the utmost care, by frequent previous examination, to divine every question which may be asked their clients on the day of trial, that they may be supplied with proper and ready answers, which the most fertile invention canriot supply in an instant. Besides, the sudden and violent impulse on the blood, occasioned by these surprises, causes frequently such an alteration in the countenance, that the man is obliged to give evidence against himself. And such indeed were the alterations which the countenance of Blitil underwent from this sudilen question, that we can scarre blan:e the eagerness of Mrs. Viiler, v:ho immediately cried out, "Guilty, upon my • honour! guilty, upon my soul!'
Mr. Allworthy sharply rebuked ber for this impetuosity; and then turning to Blifil, who seemed sinking into the earth, he said, 'Why do you he“sitate, Sir, at giving me an answer: You cer‘tainly must have employed him; for he would 'not, of his own accord, I believe, have under'taken such an errand, and especially without acquainting me.
Blitil then answered, 'I own, Sir, I have been guilty of an offence, yet may I hope your par
don: -My pardon,' said Allworthy, very angrily -- Nay, Sir,' answered Blisil, “I knew you would be offended; yet surely my dear uncle will forgive the effects of the most amiable of human
weaknesses. Compassion for those who do not ' deserve it, I own is a crime; and yet it is a crime 'trom which you yourself are not entirely free. I • know I have been guilty of it in more than one • instance to this very person; and I will own I did • send Ir. Dowling, not on a vain and fruitless inquiry, but to discover the witnesses, and to * endeavour to soften their evidence. This, Sir, is 'the truth ; which, though I intended to conceal ' from you, I will not deny.'
"I confess,' said Nightingale, this is the light * in which it appeared to me from the gentleman's ' behaviour.'
• Now, Vadam,' said All worthy, 'I believe you ' will once in your life own you have entertained
a wrong suspicion, and are not so angry with my ' nephew as you was.'
Mrs. Miller was silent; for though she could not so hastily be pleased with Blilil, whom she looked upon to have been the rain of Jones, yet in this particular instance he had imposed upon her as well as upon the rest; so entirely had the devil stood his friend. And, indeed, I look upon the vulgar observation, “ That the devil often deserts “ his friends, and leaves them in the lurch,” to be a great abuse on that gentleman's character. Perhaps he may sometimes desert those who are only his cup acquaintance; or who, at most, are but half his; but he generally stands by those who are thoroughly his servants, and helps them off in all extremities, till their bargain expires.
As a conquered rebellion strengthens a government, or as health is more perfectly established by recovery from some diseases; so anger, when removed, often gives new life to affection. This was the case of Mr. Allworthy; for Blifil having wiped off the greater suspicion, the lesser, which had been raised by Square's letter, sunk of course, and was forgotten; and Thwackum, with whom he was greatly offended, bore alone all the reflections which Square had cast on the enemies of Jones.
As for that young man, the resentment of Mr. Allworthy began more and more to abate towards him. He told Blifil, “He did not only forgive “the extraordinary efforts of his good-nature, but 'would give him the pleasure of following his ex'ample. Then turning to Mrs. Miller, with a smile which would have become an angel, he cried, * What say you, Madam? shall we take a hackney• coach, and all of us together pay a visit to your