Page images

the purpose; but do you know of any lady? La! madam,' cries Honour, you will make a very bad .examiner.'' Harkee, child,' says she, is not that very young gentleman now in bed with some nasty trull or other? Here Susan smiled, and was silent. Answer the question, child,' says Sophia, and here's a guinea for you.' A guinea! madam,' cries Susan: La, what's a guinea? If my mistress should know it, I shall certainly lose my place that very instant.' Here's another for you,' says Sophia, and 1 promise you faithfully your mistress shall never know it.' Susan after a very short hesitation, took the money, and told the whole story, concluding. with saying,If you have any great curiosity, madam, I can steal softly into his room, and see whether he be in his own bed or no.' She accordingly did this by Sophia's desire, and returned with an answer in the negative.

Sophia now trembled and turned pale. Mrs. Honour begged her to be comforted, and not to think any more of so worthless a fellow. Why there,' says Susan, I hope, madam, your lady. ship won't be offended; but pray, madam, is not your ladyship's name Madam Sophia Western?'---How is it possible you should know me?' answered Sophia. Why, that man that the gentlewoman spoke of, who is in the kitchen, told about you last night. But I hope your ladyship is not angry with me. Indeed, child,' said she, I am not; pray tell me all, and I promise you I'll reward you.'... Why, madam,' continued Susan, that man told us all in the kitchen, that Madam Sophia Western---Indeed, I don't know how to bring it out.' Here she stopped till having received encouragement from Sophia, and being vehemently pressed by Mrs. Honour, she proceeded thus: He told us, madam, though to be sure it is all a lie, that your lady. ship was dying for love of the young squire, and that he was going to the wars, to get rid of you. I thought to myself then he was a false-hearted

wretch; but now to see such a fine, rich, beautiful lady as you be, forsaken for such an ordinary woman; for to be sure so she is, and another man's wife into the bargain. It is such a strange, unnatural thing, in a manner.'

Sophia gave her a third guinea, and, telling her she would certainly be her friend, if she mentioned nothing of what had passed, nor informed any one who she was, dismissed the girl with orders to the post-boy to get the horses ready.immediately.

Being now left alone with her maid, she told her trusty waiting-woman, That she never was more easy than at present. I am now convinced,' said she, he is not only a villain, but a low despicable wretch. I can forgive all rather than his exposing my name in so barbarous a manner. That renders him the object of my coutempt. Yes, Honour, I am now easy; I am, indeed; I am very easy; and then she burst into a violent flood of tears.

After a short interval spent by Sophia, chiefly in crying, and assuring her maid that she was perfectly easy, Susan arrived with an account that the horses were ready, when a very extraordinary thought suggested itself to our young heroine, by which Mr. Jones would be acquainted with her having been at the inn, in a way, which, if any sparks of affection for her remained in him, would be at least some punishment for his faults.

The reader will be pleased to remember a little muff, which hath had the honour of being more than once remembered already in this history. This muff, ever since the departure of Mr. Jones, had been the constant companion of Sophia by day, and her bed-fellow by night; and this muff she had at this very instant upon her arm; whence she took it off with great indignation, and, having writ her name with her pencil upon a piece of paper VOL. II.


which she pinned to it, she bribed the maid to con-vey it into the empty bed of Mr. Jones, in which, if he did not find it, she charged her to take some method of conveying it before his eyes in the morning.

Then having paid for what Mrs. Honour had eaten, in which bill was included an account for what she herself might have eaten, she mounted her horse, and once more assuring her companion that she was perfectly easy, continued her journey.



was now past five in the morning, and other company began to rise and come to the kitchen, among whom were the serjeant and the coachman, who, being thoroughly reconciled, made a libation, or, in the English phrase, drank a hearty cup together.

In this drinking, nothing more remarkable happened than the behaviour of Partridge, who, when the serjeant drank a health to King George, repeated only the word King; nor could he be brought to utter more: for though he was going to fight against his own cause, yet he could not be prevailed upon to drink against it.

Mr. Jones, being now returned to his own bed (but from whence he returned we must beg to be excused from relating), summoned Partridge from this agreeable company, who, after a ceremonious preface, having obtained leave to offer his advice, delivered himself as follows:

It is, sir, an old saying, and a true one, that a wise man may sometimes learn counsel from a fool; I wish therefore I might be so bold as to offer you my advice, which is to return home again, and leave these horrida bella, these bloody wars, to fellows. who are contented to swallow gunpowder, because

they have nothing else to eat. Now every body knows your honour wants for nothing at home; when that's the case, why should any man travel abroad?'

'Partridge,' cries Jones, 'thou art certainly a coward: I wish therefore thou wouldst return home. thyself and trouble me no more.'

I ask your honour's pardon,' cries Partridge, "I spoke on your account more than on my own; for as to me, Heaven knows my circumstances are bad enough, and I am so far from being afraid, that I value a pistol, or a blunderbuss, or any such thing, no more than a pop-gun. Every man must die once, and what signifies the manner how; besides, perhaps, I may come off with the loss only of an arm or a leg. I assure you, sir, I was never less afraid in my life: and so if your honour is resolved to go on, I am resolved to follow you. But, in that case, I wish I might give my opinion. To be sure, it is a scandalous way of travelling, for a great gentleman like you to walk afoot. Now here are two or three good horses in the stable, which the landlord will certainly make no scruple of trusting you with; but if he should, I can easily contrive to take them: and let the worst come to the worst, the king would certainly pardon you, as you are going to fight in his


Now as the honesty of Partridge was equal to his understanding, and both dealt only in small matters, he would never have attempted a roguery of this kind, had he not imagined it altogether safe; for he was one of those who have more consideration of the gallows than of the fitness of things; but, in reality, he thought he might have committed this felony without any danger; for, besides that he doubted not but the name of Mr. Allworthy would sufficiently quiet the landlord, he conceived they should be altogether safe, whatever turn affairs might take; as Jones, he imagined, would have friends.

enough on one side, and as his friends would as well secure him on the other.

When Mr. Jones found that Partridge was in earnest in this proposal, he very severely rebuked him, and that in such bitter terms, that the other attempted to laugh it off, and presently turned the discourse to other matters; saying, he believed they were then in a bawdy-house, and that he had with much ado prevented two wenches from disturbing his honour in the middle of the night. Heyday? says he, 'I believe they got into your chamber whether I would or no; for here lies the muff of one of them on the ground.' Indeed, as Jones returned to his bed in the dark, he had never perceived the muff on the quilt, and in leaping into his bed, he had tumbled it on the floor. This Partridge now took up, and was going to put into his pocket, when Jones desired to see it. The muff was so very remarkable, that our hero might possibly have recollected it without the information annexed. But his memory was not put to that hard office; for at the same instant he saw and read the words Sophia Western' upon the paper which was pinned to it. His looks now grew frantic in a moment, and he eagerly cried out, "Oh! Heavens, how came this muff here?' I know no more than your honour,' cried Partridge; but I saw it upon the arm of one of the women who would have disturbed you, if I would have suffered them Where are they?' cries Jones, jumping out of bed, and laying hold of his clothes.

Many miles off, I believe, by this time,' said Partridge. And now Jones, upon further inquiry, was sufficiently assured that the bearer of this muff was no other than the lovely Sophia herself.

The behaviour of Jones on this occasion, his thoughts, his looks, his words, his actions, were such as beggar all description. After many bitter execrations on Partridge, and not fewer on himself, he ordered the poor fellow, who was frightened

« PreviousContinue »