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I'd have you to know, woman, she is meat for ' his master.'— Nay, Honour,' said Sophia, interrupting her, don't be angry with the good wo
man; she intends no harm.' 'No, marry, don't 'I,' answered the landlady, emboldened by the soft accents of Sophia; and then launched into a long narrative too tedious to be here set down, in which some passages dropt, that gave a little offence to Sophia, and much more to her waitingwoman, who hence took occasion to abuse poor Jones to her mistress the moment they were alone together, saying, that he must be a very pitiful ' fellow, and could have no love for a lady, whose ' name he would thus prostitute in an alehouse.'
Sophia did not see his behaviour in so very disadvantageous a light, and was perhaps more pleased with the violeut raptures of his love (which the landlady exaggerated as much as she had done every other circumstance) than she was offended with the rest; and indeed she imputed the whole to the extravagance, or rather ebullience of his passion, and to the openness of his heart.
This incident, however, being afterwards revived in her mind, and placed in the most odious colours by Honour, served to heighten and give credit to those unlucky occurrences at Upton, and assisted the waiting-woman in her endeavours to make her mistress depart from that inn without seeing Jones.
The landlady finding Sophia intended to stay no longer than till her horses were ready, and that without either eating or drinking, soon withdrew; when Honour began to take her mistress to task, (for indeed she used great freedom) and after a long harangue, in which she reminded her of her intention to go to London, and gave frequent hints of the impropriety of pursuing a young fellow, she at last concluded with this scrious exhortation :
For heaven's sake, Madam, consider what you * are about, and whither you are going.”
This advice to a lady who had already rode near forty miles, and in no very agreeable season, may seem foolish enough. It may be supposed she had well considered and resolved this already; nay, Mrs. Honour, by the hints she threw out, seemed to think so; and this I doubt not is the opinion of many readers, who have, I make no doubt, been long since well convinced of the purpose of our heroine, and have heartily condemned her for it as a wanton baggage.
But in reality this was not the case. Sophia had been lately so distracted between hope and fear, her duty and love to her father, her hatred to Blifil, her compassion, and (why should we not confess the truth?) her love for Jones; which last the behaviour of her father, of her aunt, of every one else, and more particularly of Joues himself, had blown into a flame, that her mind was in that
a confused state, which may be truly said to make us ignorant of what we do, or whither we go, or rather, indeed, indifferent as to the consequence of either.
The prudent and sage advice of her maid produced, however, some cool reflection; and she at length determined to go to Gloucester, and thence to proceed directly to London.
But, unluckily, a few miles before she entered that town, she met the hack-attorney, who, as is before mentioned, had dined there with Mr. Jones. This fellow being well known to Mrs. Honour, stopt and spoke to her; of which Sophia at that time took little notice, more than to inquire who he was,
But having had a more particular account from Honour of this man afterwards at Gloucester, and hearing of the great expedition he usually made in travelling, for which (as hath been before observed)
he was particularly famous; recollecting likewise, that she had overheard Mrs. Honour inform him, that they were going to Gloucester, she began to fear lest her father might, by this fellow's means, be able to trace her to that city; wherefore if she should there strike into the London road, she apprehended he would certainly be able to overtake her. She therefore altered her resolution; and having hired horses to go a week's journey, a way which she did not intend to travel, she again set forward after a light refreshment, contrary to the desire and earnest entreaties of her maid, and to the no less vehement remonstrances of Mrs.Whitefield, who, from good-breeding, or perhaps from good-nature (for the poor young lady appeared much fatigued) press’d her very heartily to stay hat evening at Gloucester.
Having refreshed herself only with some tea, and with lying about two hours on the bed, while her horses were getting ready, she resolutely left Mrs. Whitefield's about eleven at night, and striking directly into the Worcester road, within less than four hours arrived at that very inn where we last saw her.
Having thus traced our heroine very particularly back from her departure, till her arrival at Upton, we shall in a very few words bring her father to the same place; who having received the first scent from the post-boy, who conducted his daughter to Hambrook, very easily traced her afterwards to Gloucester; whence he pursued her to Upton, as he had learned Mr. Jones had taken that route (for Partridge, to use the 'squire's expression, left every where a strong scent behind him), and he doubted not in the least but Sophia travelled, or, as he phrased it, ran the same way. He used indeed a very coarse expression, which need not be here inserted; as fox-hunters, who alone would understand it, will casily suggest it to themselves.
Containing about three Days,
A Crust for the Critics.
our last initial chapter, we may be supposed to have treated that formidable set of men, who are called Critics, with more freedom than becomes us; since they exact, and indeed generally receive, great condescension from Authors. We shall in this, therefore, give the reasons of our conduct to this august body; and here we shall, perhaps, place them in a light in which they have not hitherto been seen.
This word Critic is of Greek derivation, and signifies judgement. Hence I presume some per. sons who have not understood the original, and have seen the English translation of the primitive, have concluded that it meant judgement in the legal sense, in which it is frequently used as equivalent to condemnation.
I am the rather inclined to be of that opinion, as the greatest number of critics hath of late years been found amongst the lawyers. Many of these
. gentlemen, from despair, perhaps, of ever rising to the bench in Westminster-hall, have placed themselves on the benches at the playhouse, where they have exerted their judicial capacity, and have given judgement, i. e. condemned without mercy.
The gentlemen would, perhaps, be well enough pleased, if we were to leave them thus compared to one of the most important and honourable offices in the commonwealth, and if we intended to apply to their favour, we would do so; but as we design to deal very sincerely and plainly too with them, we must remind them of another officer of justice of a much lower rank; to whom, as they not only pronounce, but execute their own judgement, they bear likewise some remote resemblance.
But in reality there is another light, in which these modern critics may, with great justice and propriety, be seen; and this is that of a common slanderer. If a person who pries into the characters of others, with no other design but to discover their faults, and to publish them to the world, deserves the title of a slanderer of the reputations of men; why should not a critic, who reads with the same malevolent view, be as properly styled the slanderer of the reputation of books ?
Vice hath not, I believe, a more abject slave; society produces not a more odious vermin; nor can the devil receive a guest more worthy of him, nor possibly more welcome to him, than a slanderer. The world, I am afraid, regards not this monster with half the abhorrence which he de