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'friend? I promise you it is not the first visit I · have made in a prison.'
Every reader, I believe, will be able to answer for the worthy woman; but they must have a great deal of good-nature, and be well acquainted with friendship, who can feel what she felt on this occasion. Few, I hope, are capable of feeling what now past in the mind of Blifil; but those who are, will acknowledge, that it was impossible for him to raise any objection to this visit. Fortune, however, or the gentleman lately mentioned above, stood his friend, and prevented his undergoing so great a shock; for at the very instant when the coach was sent for, Partridge arrived, and having called Mrs. Miller from the company, acquainted her with the dreadful accident lately come to light; and hearing Mr. Allworthy's intention, begged her to find some means of stopping him: ‘For,' says he, 'the matter must at all hazards be kept a secret ' from him; and if he should now go, he will find * Mr. Jones, and his mother, who arrived just as I “ left him, lamenting over one another the horrid 'crime they have ignorantly committed.'
The poor woman, who was almost deprived of her senses at his dreadful news, was never less capable of invention than at present. However, as women are much readier at this than men, she bethought herself of an excuse, and returning to Allworthy, said, 'I am sure, Sir, you will be sur'prised at hearing any objection from me to the • kind proposal you just now made; and yet I am afraid of the consequence of it, if carried immediately into execution. You must imagine, Sir, • that all the calamities which have lately befallen 'this poor young fellow, must have thrown him • into the lowest dejection of spirits; and now, Sir, * should we all on a sudden fling him into such a * violent fit of joy, as I know your presence will occasion, it
may, I am afraid, produce some fatal
'mischief, especially as his servant, who is without, * tells me he is very far from being well.'
• Is his servant without?' cries Allworthy; 'pray ' call him hither. I will ask him some questions * concerning his master.'
Partridge was at first afraid to appear before Mr. Allworthy; but was at length persuaded, after Jrs. Miller, who had often heard his whole story from his own mouth, had promised to introduce him.
Allworthy recollected Partridge the moment he came into the room, though many years had passed since he had seen him. Mrs. Miller, therefore, might have spared here a formal oration, in which, indeed, she was something prolix; for the reader, I believe, may have observed already, that the good woman, anong other things, had a tongue always ready for the service of her friends.
• And are you,' said Allworthy to Partridge, *the servant of Mr. Jones?' 'I can't say, Sir,' answered he, that I am regularly a servant, but I • live with him, an't please your honour at present. Non sum qualis eram, as your honour very well knows.'
Mr. Allworthy then asked him many questions concerning Jones, as to his health, and other matters; to all which Partridge answered, without having the least regard to what was, but considered only what he would have things appear; for a strict adherence to truth was not among the articles of this honest fellow's morality, or his religion.
During this dialogue, Mr. Nightingale took his leave, and presently after, Mrs. Miller left the room, when Allworthy likewise dispatched Blifil; for he imagined that Partridge, when alone with him, would be more explicit than before company. They were no sooner left in private together, than Allworthy began as in the following chapter,
In which the History is farther continued. 'SURE, friend," said the good man, "you are
the strangest of all human beings. Not only to ' have suffered as you have formerly, for ob‘stinately persisting in a falsehood; but to persist
in it thus to the last, and to pass thus upon the ' world for a servant of your own son? What interest can you have in all this? What can be your motive?
I see, Sir,' said Partridge, falling down upon his knees, 'that your honour is prepossessed against
me; and resolved not to believe any thing I say, and, therefore, what signifies my protestations; 'but yet there is one above who knows that I am * not the father of this young man.'
* How?' said Allworthy, will you yet deny ' what you was formerly convicted of upon such
unanswerable, such manifest evidence? Nay, what a confirmation is your being now found with this very man, of all which twenty years
ago appeared against you. I thought you had ' left the country; nay, I thought you had been
I long since dead.-In what manner did any thing of this young man? Where did
you 'meet with him, unless you had kept some cor' respondence together? Do not deny this; for I ' promise you it will greatly raise your son in my opinion, to find that he hath such a sense of filial duty, as privately to support his father for so many years.'
* If your honour will have patience to hear me,' said Partridge, “I will tell
all.?-Being bid go on, he proceeded thus: “When your honour con
, ceived that displeasure against me, it ended in my. ruin soon after; for I lost my little school; and * the minister, thinking I suppose it would be agree
able to your honour, turned me out from the of'fice of clerk; so that I had nothing to trust to 'but the barber's shop, which, in a country place ' like that, is a poor livelihood; and when my wife ' died (for till that time I received a pension of ' 121. a year from an unknown hand, which indeed
I believe was your honour's own, for nobody that ever I heard of doth these things besides) but as 'I was saying, when she died, this pension forsook 'me; so that now as I owed two or three small . debts, which began to be troublesome to me, par'ticularly * one which an attorney brought up by
law-charges from 15$. to near 301. and as I found * all my usual means of living had forsook me, - packed up my little all as well as I could, and went off.
* The first place I came to was Salisbury, where I got into the service of a gentleman belonging to ' the law, and one of the best gentleman that ever I knew, for he was not only good to me, but I
know a thousand good and charitable acts which 'he did while I staid with him; and I have known * him often refuse business, because it was paltry * and oppressive.'--'You need not be so particular, said Allworthy; 'I know this gentleman, and a
very worthy man he is, and an honour to his pro'fession.' "Well, Sir,' continued Partridge, 'from hence I removed to Lymington, where I was
above three years in the service of another law‘yer, who was likewise a very good sort of a man,
and to be sure one of the merriest gentlemen in • England. Well, Sir, at the end of the three years * I set up a little school, and was likely to do well
* This is a fact which I knew happen to a poor clergyman in Dorsetshire, by the villany of an attorney, who not contented with the exorbitant cosis to which the poor man was pit by a single action, brought afterwards another action on the judgement, as it was called. A method frequently used to oppress the poor, and bring money into the pochets of attornies, to the great scandal of the law, of the nation, of christianity, and even of human nature itself.
again, had it not been for a most unlucky acci* dent. Here I kept a pig; and one day, as ill for'tune would have it, this pig broke out, and did
a trespass, I think they call it, in a garden be' longing to one of my neighbours, who was a ' proud, revengeful man, and employed a lawyer,
one-one-I can't think of his name; but he sent 'for a writ against me, and had me to Size. When 'I came there, Lord of mercy upon me—to hear
what the counsellors said. There was one that ' told my lord a parcel of the confoundedest lies
about me; he said, that I used to drive my hog's ' into other folks gardens, and a great deal more; ' and at last, he said, He hoped I had at last brought my hogs to a fair market. To be sure, one would have thought, that instead of being owner only of one poor little pig, I had been the
greatest hog-merchant in England. Well· Pray,' said Allworthy, do not be so particular. 'I have heard nothing of your son yet.'' O it was
a great many years,' answered Partridge, “before 'I saw my son, as you are pleased to call him.'I went over to Ireland after this, and taught 'school at Cork, (for that one suit ruined me again,
and I lay seven years in Winchester jail.)• Well,' said Allworthy, ‘pass that over till your re'turn to England.'-' Then, Sir,' said he, it was 'about half a year ago that I landed at Bristol,
where I staid some time, and not finding it do 'there, and hearing of a place between that and 'Gloucester, where the barber was just dead, I
went thither, and there I had been about two * months, when Mr. Jones came thither.' He then gave Allworthy a very particular account of their first meeting, and of every thing as well as he could remember, which had happened from that day to this; frequently interlarding his story with panegyrics on Jones, and not forgetting to insinuate the great love and respect which he had for Allworthy. He concluded with saying, 'Now, Sir,