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'I have told your honour the whole truth.' And then repeated a most solemn protestation, "That ' he was no more the father of Jones than of the pope of Rome; and imprecated the most bitter curses on his head, if he did not speak truth.'
• What am I to think of this matter?' cries Allworthy. “For what purpose should you so strongly • deny a fact, which I think it would be rather 'your.interest to own ??—Nay, Sir,' answered Partridge, (for he could hold no longer), ‘if your • honour will not believe me, you are like soon to have satisfaction enough. I wish you had mis
taken the mother of this young man, as well as 'you have his father.'- And now being asked what be meant, with all the symptoms of horror, both in his voice and countenance, he told Allworthy the whole story, which he had a little before expressed such desire to Mrs. Miller to conceal from him.
Allworthy was almost as much shocked at this discovery as Partridge himself had been while he related it. “Good heavens !' says he, ‘in what mia 'serable distresses do vice and imprudence involve 'men! How much beyond our designs are the ef
fects of wickedness sometimes carried !' He had scarce uttered these words, when Mrs. Waters came hastily and abruptly into the room. Partridge no sooner saw her, than he cried, “Here, Sir, here is
the very woman herself. This is the unfortunate i mother of Mr. Jones; I am sure she will acquit me before your honour.-Pray, Madam,
Mrs. Waters, without paying any regard to what Partridge said, and almost without taking any notice of him, advanced to Mr. Allworthy. 'I be
lieve, Sir, it is so long since I had the honour of * seeing you, that you do not recollect me.?
' '' • Indeed, answered Allworthy, you are so very ' much altered, on many accounts, that had not this man already acquainted me who you are,
I should not have immediately called you to my
* remembrance. Have you, Marlam, any particular ' business which brings you to me?'—Allworthy spoke this with great reserve; for the reader may easily believe he was not well pleased with the conduct of this lady; neither with what he had formerly heard, nor with what Partridge had now delivered.
Alrs. Waters answered, 'Indeed, Sir, I have very particular business with you; and it is such ' as I can impart only to yourself.--I must de'sire therefore the favour of a word with you alone; ' for I assure you what I have to tell you is of the 'utmost importance.'
Partridge was then ordered to withdraw, but before he went, he begged the lady to satisfy Mr. Allworthy that he was perfectly innocent. To which she answered, —‘You need be under no apprehension, Sir, I shall satisfy Mr. Allworthy very perfectly of that matter.'
Then Partridge withdrew, and that past between Mr. Allworthy and Mrs. Waters which is written in the next chapter.
Continuation of the Iristory. Mirs. Waters remaining a few moments silent, Mr. Allworthy could not refrain from saying, “I
am sorry, Nadam, to perceive, by what I have - since heard, that you have made so very ill a use
”Mr. Allworthy,' says she, interrupting him, * I know I have faults, but ingratitude to you
not one of them. I never can nor shall forget your goodness, which I own I have very little deserved; but be pleased to ware all upbraiding
me at present, as I have so important an affair * to communicate to you concerning this young man, to whom
you have given my maiden name of Jones.' • Have I then,” said Allworthy, “ignorantly pu
nished an innocent man, in the person of him who ' hath just left us? Was he not the father of the 'child?' - Indeed he was not,' said Mrs. Waters. * You may be pleased to remember, Sir, I formerly "told you, you should one day know; and I ac'knowledge myself to have been guilty of a cruel
neglect, in not having discovered it to you be'fore. Indeed, I little knew how necessary it was.' -- Well, Madam,' said Allworthy, 'be pleased to proceed.' “You must remember, Sir,' said she, a young fellow, whose name was Summer.' " Very well,' cries Allworthy, he was the son of a clergyman of great learning and virtue, for whom I ' had the highest friendship.’ ‘So it appeared, Sir,' answered she; for I believe you bred the young 'man up, and maintained him at the University; 'where, I think, he had finished his studies, when ' he came to reside at your house; a finer man, I 5
must say, the sun never shone upon; for, besides 'the handsomest person I ever saw, he was so gen
teel, and had so much wit and good breeding.' • Poor gentleman,' said Allworthy, he was indeed ' untimely snatched away; and little did I think ‘ he had any sins of this kind to answer for; for I ' plainly perceive you are going to tell me he was the father of your child.'
'Indeed, Sir,' answered slic, 'he was not.' 'How?' said Allworthy, to what then tends all this pre' face?' *To a story, Sir,' said she, which I am 'concerned falls to my lot to unfold to you.--0, Sir!
prepare to hear something which will surprise you, will grieve you.' 'Speak,' said Allworthy, 'I am conscious of no crime, and cannot be
afraid to hear.'-'Sir,' said she, “that Mr. Summer, the son of your friend, educated at your expense, who, after living a year in the house as if ' he had been your own son, died there of the smallpox, was tenderly lamented by you, and buried as if he had bekal your own; that Summer, Sir, was the father of this child.'-'How!' said Alle
worthy; 'you contradict yourself.”—' That I do
not,' answered she, he was indeed the father of
this child, but not by me.' "Take care, Madam,' said Allworthy, do not, to shun the imputation
' ' of any crime, be guilty of falsehood. Remember ' there is one from whom you can conceal nothing, * and before whose tribunal falsehood will only ag
gravate your guilt.' 'Indeed, Sir,' says shie, I am not his mother; nor would I now think myself
so for the world. “I know your reason,' said Allworthy, and shall rejoice as much as you to ' find it otherwise; yet you must remember, you
yourself confest it before me.'—“So far what I 'confest,' said she, 'was true, that these hands 'conveyed the infant to your bed ; conveyed it . thither at the command of its mother; at her 'commands I afterwards owned it, and thought
myself, by her generosity, nobly rewarded, both ' for my secrecy and my shame.' " Who could this
woman be?' said Allworthy. 'Indeed, I tremble • 'to name her,' answered Mrs. Waters. • By all this preparation I am to guess that she was a relation of mine,' cried he. 'Indeed, she was a near one.' At which words Allworthy started, and she continued-'You had a sister, Sir.'-'A sister !' repeated he, looking aghast.-_As there is truth
in heaven,' cries she, “your sister was the mother ' of that child you found between your sheets.' · Can it be possible ?' cries he, ‘Good heavens!* Have patience, Sir,' said Mrs. Waters, and I will "unfold to you the whole story. Just after your
departure for London, Miss Bridget came one • day to the house of my mother. She was pleased 'to say, she had heard an extraordinary character
of me, for my learning and superior understanding to all the young women there, so she was . pleased to say. She then bid me come to her to the great house ; where when I attended, she employed me to read to her. She expressed great satisfaction in my reading, shewed great kindness
to me, and made me many presents. At last she began to catechise me on the subject of secrecy, 'to which I gave her such satisfactory answers, ' that, at last, having locked the door of her room, 'she took me into her closet, and then locking 'that door likewise, she said, she should convince me of the vast reliance she had on my integrity, by communicating a secret in which her honour, and consequently her life, was concerned. She ' then stopt, and after a silence of a few minutes, 'during which she often wiped her eyes, she in
quired of me, if I thought my mother might safely be confided in. I answered, I would stake my life on her fidelity. She then imparted to me ' the great secret which laboured in her breast, and which, I believe, was delivered with more pains than she afterwards suffered in child-birth. It was then contrived, that my mother and myself only should attend at the time, and that Mrs. • Wilkins should be sent out of the way, as she ' accordingly was, to the very furthest part of Dor'setshire, to inquire the character of a servant ; ' for the lady had turned away her own maid near 'three months before; during all which time I 'officiated about her person upon trial, as she said,
though, as she afterwards declared, I was not ' sufficiently handy for the place. This, and many ‘other such things which she used to say of me, were all thrown out to prevent any suspicion which Wilkins might hereafter have, when I was 'to own the child; for she thought it could never • be believed she would venture to hurt a young woman with whom she had intrusted such a secret. You
may be assured, Sir, I was well paid • for all these affronts, which, together with being • informed with the occasion of them, very well "contented me. Indeed, the lady had a greater suspicion of Mrs. Wilkins than of
person; not that she had the least aversion to the gentlewoman, but she thought her incapable of