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Partridge had scarce seen his master since the happy discovery. The poor fellow was unable either to contain or express his transports. He behaved like one frantic, and made almost as many mistakes while he was dressing Jones, as I have seen made by Harlequin in dressing himself on the stage.
This memory, however, was not in the least deficient. He recollected now many omens and presages of this happy event, some of which he had remarked at the time, but many more he now remembered; nor did he omit the dreams he had dreamt that evening before his meeting with Jones; and concluded with saying, 'I always told your ' honour something boded in my mind, that you
would one time or other have it in your power 'to make my fortune.' Jones assured him, that this boding should as certainly be verified with regard to him, as all the other omens had been to bimself; which did not a little add to all the raptures which the poor fellow had already conceived on account of his master.
CHAP. XII. Approaching still nearer to the End. JONES being now completely dressed, attended his uncle to Mr. Western's. He was, indeed, one of the finest figures ever beheld, and his person alone would have charmed the greater part of womankind; but we hope it hath already appeared in this history, that nature, when she formed him, did not totally rely, -as she sometimes doth, on this merit only, to recommend her work.
Sophia, who, angry as she was, was likewise set forth to the best advantage, for which I leave my female readers to account, appeared so extremely beautiful, that even Allworthy, when he saw her, could not forbear whispering Western, that he believed she was the finest creature in the world. To which Western answered, in a whisper overheard by all present, 'So much the better for Tom;---• for d-n me if he shan't ha the tousling her.' Sophia was all over scarlet at these words, while Tom's countenance was altogether as pale, and he was almost ready to sink from his chair.
The tea-table was scarce removed, before Wes. tern lugged Allworthy out of the room, telling him, he had business of consequence to impart, and must speak to him that instant in private, before he forgot it.
The lovers were now alone, and it will, I question not, appear strange to many readers, that those who had so much to say to one another when dlanger and difficulty attended their conversation; and who seemed so eager to rush into each other's arms, when so many bars lay in their way, now that with safety they were at liberty to say or do whatever they pleased, should both remain for some time silent and motionless; insomuch that a stranger of moderate sagacity might have well concluded, they were mutually indifferent; but so it was, however strange it may seem; both sat with their eyes cast downwards on the ground, and for some minutes continued in perfect silence. Nir. Jones, during this interval
, attempted once or twice to speak, but was absolutely incapable, inuttering only, or rather sighing out some broken words; when Sophia at length, partly out of pity to him, and partly to turn the discourse from the subject which she knew well enough he was endeavouring to open, said;
Sure, Sir, you are the most fortunate man in the world in this discovery.' 'And can you
really, Madam, think me so fortunate,' said Jones, sighing, 'while I have incurred your displeasure?"
- Niy, Sir,' says she, “as to that, you best know ' whether you have deserved it.' Indeed, Ma
* dam,' answered he, 'you yourself are as well ap
prized of all my demerits. Mrs. Miller liath ac
quainted you with the whole truth. O! my So'phia, am I never to hope for forgiveness?'--'I
i think, Mr. Jones,' said she, I may almost depend on your own justice, and leave it to your‘self to pass sentence on your own conduct.' " Alas! Nadam,' answered he, “it is mercy, and not justice, which I implore at your hands. Justice I know must condemn me. -Yet not for the letter I sent to lady Bellaston. Of that I * most solemnly declare you have had a true ac
count.' He then insisted much on the security given him by Nightingale, of a fair pretence for breaking off, if, contrary to their expectations, her ladyship should have accepted his offer; but confest, that he had been guilty of a great indiscretion, to put such a letter as that into her power, * which' said he, “I have dearly paid for, in the • effect it has upon you.' 'I do not, I cannot,' says she, “believe otherwise of that letter than you
would have me. My conduct, I think, she's 'you clearly I do not believe there is much in that. And yet, Mr. Jones, have I not enough to resent? After what past at Uptoi, so soon to engage in a new amour with another woman, * while I fancied, and you pretended, your heart
was bleeding for me? - Indeed, you have acted strangely. Can I believe the passion you have profest to me to be sincere? Or, if I can, what happiness can I assure myself of with a man capable of so much inconstancy?' “O! my Sophia,' cries he, 'do not doubt the sincerity of " the purest passion that ever inflamed a human 'breast. Think, most adorable creature, of my unhappy situation, of my despair.-- Could I, my Sophia, bave flattered myself with the most 'distant hopes of being ever permitted to throw • myself at your feet in the manner I do now, it . would not have been in the
' woman to have inspired a thought which the 'severest chastity could have condemned. Inconstancy to you! O Sophia! if you can have goodness enough to pardon what is past, do not ' let any cruel future apprehensions shut your
mercy against me. No repentance was ever more sincere. 0! let it reconcile me to my • heaven in this dear bosom.'
• Sincere repentance, Mr. Jones,' answered she will obtain the partion of a sinner, but it is from one who is a perfect judge of that sincerity. A human mind may be imposed on; nor is there any infallible method to prevent it. You must expect however, ' that if I can be prevailed on by your repentance 'to pardon you, I will at least insist on the strong* est proof of its sincerity -Name any proof ‘in my power,' answered Jones eagerly. "Time,' replied she; “Time alone, Mr. Jones, can convince 'me that you are a true penitent, and have resolved 'to abandon these vicious courses, which I should • detest you for, if I imagined you capable of persevering in them.''Do not imagine it,' cries Jones. On my knees I entreat, I implore your 'confidence, a confidence which it shall be the .business of my life to deserve.' Let it then,' said
" she, “ be the business of some part of your life to shew me you deserve it. I think I have been ex
plicit enough in assuring you, that when I see you 'merit my confidence, you will obtain it. After what is past, Sir, can you expect I should take you upon your word?
He replied, “Don't believe me upon my word; I have a better security, a pledge for my con
stancy, which it is impossible to see and to 'doubt.' "What is that? said Sophia, a little surprised. “I will shew you, my charming angel,' cries Jones, seizing her hand, and carrying her to the glass. “There, behold it there in that lovely figure; in that face, that shape, those eyes, that mind • which shines through these eyes; can the man
' who shall be in possession of these be inconstant? Impossible! my Sophia; they would fix a Dorimant, a lord Rochester. You could not doubt ' it, if you could see yourself with any eyes but 'your own.' Sophia blushed, and lialf smiled; but forcing again her brow into a frown-If I am to ‘judge,' said she, of the future by the past, my
image will no more remain in your heart when I 'am out of your sight, than it will in this glass
when I am out of the room.'' By lieaven, by all • that is sacred !' said Jones, 'it never was out of my heart. The delicacy of your sex cannot conceive the grossness of ours, nor how little one sort of amour has to do with the heart.' 'I will never marry a man,' replied Sophia, very gravely,
who shall not learn refinement enough to be as ' incapable as I am myself of making such a disa 'tinction.' 'I will learn it,' said Jones. 'I have ' learnt it already. The first moment of hope that my Sophia might be my wife, taught it me at
once; and all the rest of her sex from that mo* ment became as little the objects of desire to my
sense, as of passion to my heart.' 'Well,' said Sophia, “the proof of this must be from time. Your
situation, Mr. Jones, is now altered, and I assure 'you I have great satisfaction in the alteration.
You will now want no opportunity of being near 'me, and convincing me that your mind is altered ' too. O! my angel,' cries Jones, “how shall I * thank thy goodness? And are you so good to 'own, that you have a satisfaction in my prospe,
rity ?---Believe me, believe me, Madam, it is 'you alone have given a relish to that prosperity, 'since I owe to it the dear hope- O! my So'phia, let it not be a distant one.--I will be all obedience to your commands. I will not dare to
press any thing further than you permit me. 'Yet let me entreat you to appoint a short trial.
O! tell me, when I may expect you will be con'vinced of what is most solemnly true.' 'When I