Page images
PDF
EPUB

tlemen in this kingdom. He was, literally speaking, drunk; which circumstance, together with his natural impetuosity, could produce no other effect, than his running immediately up to his daughter, upon whom he fell foul with his tongue in the most inveterate manner; nay, he had probably committed violence with his hands, had not the parson interposed, saying, 'For Heaven's sake, sir, animadvert that you are in the house of a great lady. Let me beg you to mitigate your wrath: it should minister a fulness of satisfaction that you have found your daughter; for as to revenge, it belongeth not unto us. I discern great contrition in the countenance of the young lady. I stand assured, if you will forgive her, she will repent her of all past offences, and return unto her duty.'

The strength of the parson's arms had at first been of more service than the strength of his rhetoric. However, his last words wrought some effect; and the squire answered, 'I'll forgee her if she wull ha' un. If wot ha' un, Sophy, I'll forgee thee all. Why dost un speak? Shat ha' un! D-n me, shat ha' un! Why dost unt answer? Was ever such a stubborn tuoad?'

'Let me entreat you, sir, to be a little more moderate,' said the parson; you frighten the young lady so, that you deprive her of all power of utterance."'

'Power of mine a-e!' answered the squire. You take her part, then, do you? A pretty parson truly, to side with an undutiful child. Yes, yes, I will gee you a living with a pox. I'll gee thee unto the devil sooner.'

'I humbly crave your pardon,' said the parson: I assure your worship I meant no such matter.'

My Lady Bellaston now entered the room, and came up to the squire; who no sooner saw her, than, resolving to follow the instructions of his sister, he made her a very civil bow, in the rural manner, and paid her some of his best compliments. He then immediately proceeded to his complaints, and said, There, my lady cousin! there stands the most undutiful child in the world; she hankers after a beggarly rascal, and won't marry one of the greatest matches in all England, that we have provided for her.'

'Indeed, cousin Western,' answered the lady, I am persuaded you wrong my cousin. I am sure she hath a better understanding. I am convinced she will not refuse what she must be sensible is so much to her advantage.'

This was a wilful mistake in Lady Bellaston; for she well knew whom Mr. Western meant; though perhaps she thought he would easily be reconciled to his lordship's proposals.

'Do you hear there,' quoth the squire, 'what her ladyship says? All your family are for the match. Come, Sophy, be a good girl, and be dutiful, and make your father happy.'

"If my death will make you happy, sir,' answered Sophia, 'you will shortly be so.' 'It's a lie, Sophy; it's a d-n'd lie, and you know it,' said the squire.

'Indeed, Miss Western,' said Lady Bellaston, you injure your father: he hath nothing in view but your interest in this match; and I and all your friends must acknowledge the highest honour done to your family in the proposal.'

Ay, all of us,' quoth the squire; 'nay, it was no proposal of mine. She knows it was her aunt proposed it to me first. Come, Sophy, once more let me beg you to be a good girl, and gee me your consent before your cousin.'

'Let me give him your hand, cousin, said the lady. It is the fashion now-a-days to dispense with time and long courtships.'

'Pugh,' said the squire, 'what signifies time; won't they have time enough to court afterwards? People may court well very after they have been a-bed together."

As Lord Fellamar was very well assured, that he was meant by Lady Bellaston, so, never having heard nor suspected a word of Blifil, he made no doubt of his being meant by the father. Coming up therefore to the squire, he said, "Though I have not the honour, sir, of being personally known to you; yet, as I find I have the happiness to have my proposals accepted, let me intercede in behalf of the young lady, that she may not be more solicited at this time.'

'You intercede, sir!' said the squire; 'why who the devil are you?"

'Sir, I am Lord Fellamar,' answered he; and am the happy man, whom I hope you have done the honour of accepting for a son-in-law.'

'You are a son of a b-,' replied the squire, for all your laced coat. You my son-in-law, and be d-n'd to you!'

'I shall take more from you, sir, than from any man,' answered the lord; but I must inform you, that I am not used to hear such language without resentment.'

Resent my a-e,' quoth the squire. 'Don't think I am afraid of such a fellow as thee art! because hast got a spit there dangling at thy side. Lay by your spit, and I'll give thee enough of meddling with what doth not belong to thee. I'll teach you to father-in-law me. I'll lick thy jacket.'

'It's very well, sir,' said my lord; 'I shall make no disturbance before the ladies. I am very well satisfied. Your humble servant, sir. Lady Bellaston, your most obedient.'

His lordship was no sooner gone, than Lady Bellaston, coming up to Mr. Wes

[ocr errors]

tern, said, 'Bless me, sir! what have you done? You know not whom you have affronted he is a nobleman of the first rank and fortune, and yesterday made proposals to your daughter; and such as I am sure you must accept with the highest pleasure.' Answer for yourself, lady cousin,' said the squire: 'I will have nothing to do with any of your lords. My daughter shall have an honest country gentleman: I have pitched upon one for her, and she shall ha' un. I am sorry for the trouble she hath given your ladyship, with all my heart.' Lady Bellaston made a civil speech upon the word trouble; to which the squire answered, 'Why, that's kind! and I would do as much for your ladyship. To be sure, relations should do for one another. So I

wish your ladyship a good night. Come, madam, you must go along with me by fair means, or I'll have you carried down to the coach.'

Sophia said, she would attend him without force; but begged to go in a chair, for she said she should not be able to ride any

other way.

thither, he suffered Sophia to be quiet, and entertained himself with reading a lecture to the parson on good manners, and a proper behaviour to his betters.

It is possible he might not so easily have carried off his daughter from Lady Bellaston, had that good lady desired to have detained her; but, in reality, she was not a little pleased with the confinement into which Sophia was going; and, as her project with Lord Fellamar had failed of success, she was well contented that other violent methods were now going to be used in favour of another man.

CHAPTER VI.

By what means the squire came to discover his daughter.

THOUGH the reader, in many histories, is obliged to digest much more unaccountable appearances than this of Mr. Western, without any satisfaction at all; yet, as we dearly love to oblige him whenever it is in our power, we shall now proceed to show by what method the squire discovered where his daughter was.

where her cousin was, and accordingly she writ the following letter, which we shall give the reader at length, for more reasons

than one.

"HONOURED MADAM,

'Prithee,' cries the squire, 'won't unt persuade me canst not ride in a coach, wouldst? That's a pretty thing, surely. In the third chapter, then, of the precedNo, no, I'll never let thee out of my sighting book, we gave a hint, (for it is not our any more till art married, that I promise custom to unfold at any time more than is thee.' Sophia told him, she saw he was necessary for the occasion,) that Mrs. resolved to break her heart. O break thy Fitzpatrick, who was very desirous of reheart, and be d-n'd,' quoth he, ‘if a good conciling herself to her uncle and aunt husband will break it. I don't value a brass Western, thought she had a probable opvarden, not an halfpenny of any undutiful portunity, by the service of preserving Sob- upon earth.' He then took violently phia from committing the same crime which hold of her hand; upon which the parson had drawn on herself the anger of her once more interfered, begging him to use family. After much deliberation, therefore, gentle methods. At that the squire thun- she resolved to inform her aunt Western dered out a curse, and bid the parson hold his tongue, saying, 'At'n't in pulpit now! When art got up there, I never mind what dost say; but I won't be priest-ridden, nor taught how to behave myself by thee. I wish your ladyship a good night. Come along, Sophy; be a good girl, all shall be well. Shat ha' un, d-n me, shat ha' un.' Mrs. Honour appeared below stairs, and, with a low courtesy to the squire, offered to attend her mistress; but he pushed her "Without more apology, as I was comaway, saying, 'Hold, madam, hold; you ing to throw my unhappy self at your feet, come no more near my house.'—' And will I met, by the strangest accident in the you take my maid away from me?' said world, my cousin Sophy, whose history Sophia. Yes, indeed, madam, will I,' you are better acquainted with than myself; cries the squire: 'you need not fear being though, alas! I know infinitely too much; without a servant; I will get you another enough, indeed, to satisfy me, that, unless maid, and a better maid than this, who, I'd she is immediately prevented, she is in danlay five pounds to a crown, is no more ager of running into the same fatal mischief, maid than my grannum. No, no, Sophy; she shall contrive no more escapes, I promise you.' He then packed up his daughter and the parson into the hackney-coach; after which he mounted himself, and ordered it to drive to his lodgings. In the way

"The occasion of my writing this will perhaps make a letter of mine agreeable to my dear aunt, for the sake of one of her nieces; though I have little reason to hope it will be so on the account of another.

which, by foolishly and ignorantly refusing your most wise and prudent advice, I have unfortunately brought on myself.

"In short, I have seen the man; nay, I was most part of yesterday in his company, and a charming young fellow, I promise

you, he is. By what accident he came ac- | politicians, who see to the bottom, discover quainted with me is too tedious to tell you often a very different aspect of affairs, from now; but I have this morning changed my what swims on the surface. It is true, inlodgings to avoid him, lest he should by deed, things do look rather less desperate my means discover my cousin; for he doth than they did formerly in Holland, when not yet know where she is, and it is advis- Lewis the Fourteenth was at the gates of able he should not, till my uncle hath se- Amsterdam; but there is a delicacy recured her. No time, therefore, is to be quired in this matter, which you will parlost; and I need only inform you, that she don me, brother, if I suspect you want. is now with Lady Bellaston, whom I have There is a decorum to be used with a woseen, and who hath, I find, a design of con- man of figure, such as Lady Bellaston, cealing her from her family. You know, brother, which requires a knowledge of the madam, she is a strange woman; but no-world superior, I am afraid, to yours.' thing could misbecome me more than to presume to give any hint to one of your great understanding and great knowledge of the world, besides barely informing you of the matter of fact.

"I hope, madam, the care which I have shown on this occasion for the good of my family, will recommend me again to the favour of a lady who hath always exerted so much zeal for the honour and true interest of us all; and that it may be a means of restoring me to your friendship, which hath made so great a part of my former, and is so necessary to my future happiness. I am, with the utmost respect, honoured madam,

"Your most dutiful obliged niece,

" and most obedient humble servant,
"HARRIET FITZPATRICK."

Mrs. Western was now at her brother's house, where she had resided ever since the flight of Sophia, in order to administer comfort to the poor squire in his affliction. Of this comfort, which she doled out to him in daily portions, we have formerly given a specimen.

She was now standing with her back to the fire, and, with a pinch of snuff in her hand, was dealing forth this daily allowance of comfort to the squire, while he smoked his afternoon pipe, when she received the above letter; which she had no sooner read, than she delivered it to him, saying, "There, sir, there is an account of your lost sheep. Fortune hath again restored her to you; and if you will be governed by my advice, it is possible you may yet preserve her.'

'Sister,' cries the squire, 'I know you have no opinion of my parts; but I'll show you on this occasion who is a fool. Knowledge, quotha! I have not been in the country so long without having some knowledge of warrants, and law of the land. I know I may take my own wherever I can find it. Show me my own daughter, and if I don't know how to come at her, I'll suffer you to call me a fool as long as I live. There be justices of the peace in London, as well as in other places.'

'I protest,' cries she, you make me tremble for the event of this matter, which, if you will proceed by my advice, you may bring to so good an issue. Do you really imagine, brother, that the house of a woman of figure is to be attacked by warrants and brutal justices of the peace! I will inform you how to proceed. As soon as you arrive in town, and have got yourself into a decent dress, (for indeed, brother, you have none at present fit to appear in,) you must send your compliments to Lady Bellaston, and desire leave to wait on her. When you are admitted to her presence, as you certainly will be, and have told her your story, and have made proper use of my name, (for I think you just know one another only by sight, though you are relations,) I am confident she will withdraw her protection from my niece, who hath certainly imposed upon her. This is the only method.-Justices of the peace, indeed! do you imagine any such event can arrive to a woman of figure in a civilized nation?'

'D-n their figures,' cries the squire; a pretty civilized nation, truly, where woThe squire had no sooner read the let- men are above the law. And what must I ter, than he leaped from his chair, threw stand sending a parcel of compliments to his pipe into the fire, and gave a loud huzza a confounded whore, that keeps away a for joy. He then summoned his servants, daughter from her own natural father? I called for his boots, and ordered the Cheva- tell you, sister, I am not so ignorant as you lier and several other horses to be saddled, think me. I know you would have women and that Parson Supple should be imme-above the law; but it is all a lie; I heard diately sent for. Having done this, he his lordship say at size, that no one is above turned to his sister, caught her in his arms, the law. But this of yours is Hanover and gave her a close embrace, saying, law, I suppose.' Zounds! you don't seem pleased; one would imagine you was sorry I have found the girl.'

[ocr errors][merged small]

'Mr. Western,' said she, I think you daily improve in ignorance. I protest you are grown an arrant bear.'

'No more a bear than yourself, sister

Western,' said the squire. Pox! you may | ler's, and called Jones out from the comtalk of your civility an you will; I am sure pany, as we have before seen; with whom, you never show any to me. I am no bear; when she found herself alone, she began as no, nor no dog neither, though I know some- follows: body, that is something begins with a b—; but, pox! I will show you I have got more good manners than some folks.'

'Mr. Western,' answered the lady, you may say what you please, Je vous mesprise de tout mon cœur. I shall not therefore be angry. Besides, as my cousin with that odious Irish name justly says, I have that regard for the honour and true interest of my family, and that concern for my niece, who is a part of it, that I have resolved to go to town myself upon this occasion; for indeed, indeed, brother, you are not a fit minister to be employed at a polite court. Greenland! Greenland! should always be the scene of the tramontane negotiation.'

[ocr errors]

O my dear sir! how shall I get spirits to tell you; you are undone, sir! and my poor lady's undone, and I am undone!'Hath any thing happened to Sophia?" cries Jones, staring like a madman. All that is bad,' cries Honour; O, I shall never get such another lady! O, that I should ever live to see this day!" At these words, Jones turned pale as ashes, trembled and stammered; but Honour went on, O! Mr. Jones, I have lost my lady for ever!'How! what? for Heaven's sake tell me. O, my dear Sophia!'-You may well call her so,' said Honour; 'she was the dearest lady to me. I shall never have such another place.'-D-n your place,' cries 'I thank Heaven,' cries the squire, 'I Jones; where is she? what, what has bedon't understand you now. You are got come of my Sophia?-Ay, to be sure,' to your Hanoverian linguo. However, I'll cries she, servants may be d-n'd. It sigshow you I scorn to be behind-hand in ci- nifies nothing what becomes of them, though vility with you; and as you are not angry they are turned away, and ruined ever so for what I have said, so I am not angry for much. To be sure, they are not flesh and what you have said. Indeed, I have al-blood like other people. No, to be sure, it ways thought it folly for relations to quar-signifies nothing what becomes of them."rel; and if they do now and then give a 'If you have any pity, any compassion,' hasty word, why people should give and cries Jones, 'I beg you will instantly tell take; for my part, I never bear malice; me what hath happened to Sophia?' and I take it very kind of you to go up to London; for I never was there but twice in my life, and then I did not stay above a fortnight at a time; and to be sure I can't be expected to know much of the streets and volks in that time. I never denied that you know'd all these matters better than I. For me to dispute that, would be all as one, as for you to dispute the management of a pack of dogs, or the finding a hare sitting, with me. Which I promise you,' says she, I never will.'—'Well, and I promise you,' returned he, 'that I never will dispute t'other.'

To be sure, I have more pity for you than you have for me,' answered Honour. 'I don't d-n you because you have lost the sweetest lady in the world. To be sure, you are worthy to be pitied, and I am worthy to be pitied too: for to be sure, if ever there was a good mistress 'What hath happened?" cries Jones, in almost a raving fit. 'What?-What?' said Honour: why, the worst that could have happened both for you and me. Her father is come to town, and hath carried her away from us both.' Here Jones fell on his knees in thanksgiving that it was no worse. 'No worse! repeated Honour; what could be worse for either of us? He carried her off, swearing she should marry Mr. Blifil: that's for your comfort; and for poor me, I am turned out of doors.'-'Indeed Mrs. Honour,' answered Jones, you frightened me out of my wits. I imagined some most dreadful sudden accident had happened to Sophia; something, compared to which, even the seeing her married to Blifil would be a trifle; but while there is life, there are hopes, my dear Honour. Women in this land of liberty cannot be married by actual brutal force.-To be sure, sir,' said she, 'that's true. There may be some hopes for you; but lack-a-day! what hopes are there for poor me? And to be sure, sir, you In which various misfortunes befel poor Jones. must be sensible I suffer all this upon your AFFAIRS were in the aforesaid situation, account. All the quarrel the squire hath to when Mrs. Honour arrived at Mrs. Mil-me is for taking your part, as I have done,

Here then a league was struck, (to borrow a phrase from the lady,) between the contending parties; and now the parson arriving, and the horses being ready, the squire departed, having promised his sister to follow her advice, and she prepared to follow him the next day.

But having communicated these matters to the parson on the road, they both agreed that the prescribed formalities might very well be dispensed with; and the squire, having changed his mind, proceeded in the manner we have already seen.

CHAPTER VII.

once attempted to answer, nor did she once stop, till Partridge came running into the room, and informed him that the great lady was upon the stairs.

Nothing could equal the dilemma to which Jones was now reduced. Honour knew nothing of any acquaintance that subsisted between him and Lady Bellaston; and she was almost the last person in the world to whom he would have communicated it. In this hurry and distress, he took, (as is common enough,) the worst course; and, instead of exposing her to the lady, which would have been of little consequence, he chose to expose the lady to her: he therefore resolved to hide Honour, whom he had but just time to convey behind the bed, and to draw the curtains.

The hurry in which Jones had been all day engaged on account of his poor landlady and her family, the terrors occasioned by Mrs. Honour, and the confusion into which he was thrown by the sudden arrival of Lady Bellaston, had altogether driven former thoughts out of his head; so that it never once occurred to his memory to act the part of a sick man; which, indeed, neither the gayety of his dress, nor the freshness of his countenance, would have at all supported.

against Mr. Blifil.'-'Indeed, Mrs. Honour,' | all the foregoing harangue, or whether it answered he, 'I am sensible of my obliga- was for want of any vacancy in the distions to you, and will leave nothing in my course, I cannot determine; but he never power undone to make you amends.'Alas! sir,' said she, 'what can make a servant amends for the loss of one place, but the getting another altogether as good?' Do not despair, Mrs. Honour,' said Jones: I hope to reinstate you again in the same.' --Alack-a-day, sir,' said she, 'how can I flatter myself with such hopes, when I know it is a thing impossible; for the squire is so set against me; and yet if you should ever have my lady, as to be sure I now hopes heartily you will; for you are a generous, good-natured gentleman, and I am sure you loves her, and to be sure she loves you dearly as her own soul; it is a matter in vain to deny it; because as why, every body, that is in the least acquainted with my lady, must see it; for, poor dear lady, she can't dissemble; and if two people who loves one another a'n't happy, why, who should be so? Happiness don't always depend upon what people has; besides, my lady has enough for both. To be sure, therefore, as one may say, it would be all the pity in the world to keep two such loviers asunder; nay, I am convinced, for my part, you will meet together at last; for if it is to be, there is no preventing it. If a marriage is made in Heaven, all the justices of the peace upon earth can't break it off. To be sure, I wishes that Parson Supple had but a little more spirit to tell the squire of his wickedness in endeavouring to force his daughter contrary to her liking; but then his whole dependence is on the squire, and so the poor gentleman, though he is a very religious good sort of man, and talks of the badness of such doings behind the squire's back, yet he dares not say his soul is his own to his face. To be sure, I never saw him make so bold as just now: I was afeard the squire would have struck him. I would not have your honour be melancholy, sir, nor despair; things may go better, as long as you are sure of my lady, and that I am certain you may be; for she never will be brought to consent to marry any other man. Indeed, I am terribly afeard the squire will do her a mischief in his passion; for he is a prodigious passionate gentleman; and I am afeard too the poor lady will be brought to break her heart; for she is as tender-hearted as a chicken: it is a pity, methinks, she had not a little of my courage. If I was in love with a young man, and my father offered to lock me up, I'd tear his eyes out, but I'd come at him; but then there's a great fortune in the case, which it is in her father's power either to give her or not; that, to be sure, may make some difference.'

Whether Jones gave strict attention to

He received her ladyship therefore rather agreeably to her desires, than to her expectations, with all the good humour he could muster in his countenance, and without any real or affected appearance of the least disorder.

Lady Bellaston no sooner entered the room, than she squatted herself down on the bed: So, my dear Jones,' said she, 'you find nothing can detain me long from you. Perhaps I ought to be angry with you, that I have neither seen nor heard from you all day; for I perceive your distemper would have suffered you to come abroad: nay, I suppose you have not sat in your chamber all day, dressed up like a fine lady to see company after a lying-in; but, however, don't think I intend to scold you; for I never will give you an excuse for the cold behaviour of a husband, by putting on the ill-humour of a wife.'

'Nay, Lady Bellaston,' said Jones, "I am sure your ladyship will not upbraid me with neglect of duty, when I only waited for orders. Who, my dear creature, hath reason to complain? Who missed an appointment last night, and left an unhappy man to expect, and wish, and sigh, and languish?'

Do not mention it, my dear Jones,' cried she. If you knew the occasion, you would pity me. In short, it is impos

« PreviousContinue »