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length, after much deliberation, which during that night supplied the place of sleep, he determined to feigu himself sick: for this suggested itself as the only means of failing the appointed visit, without incensing Lady Bellaston, which he had more than one reason of desiring to avoid.
The first thing, however, which he did in the morning, was, to write an answer to Sophia, which he enclosed in one to Honour. He then dispatched another to Lady Beliaston, containing the abovementioned excuse; and to this he soon received the following answer:
I am vexed that I cannot see you here this afternoon, but more concerned for the occasion: take great care of yourself, and have the best advice; and I hope there will be no danger. I am so tor mented all this morning with fools, that I have scarce. a moment's time to write to you. Adieu.
'P. S. I will endeavour to call on you this evening, at nine.Be sure to be alone.'
Mr. Jones now received a visit from Mrs. Miller, who, after some formal introduction, began the following speech: I am very sorry, sir, to wait upon you on such an occasion; but I hope you will consi der the ill consequence which it must be to the repu tation of my poor girls, if my house shonld once be talked of as a house of ill faine. I hope you won't think me, therefore, guilty of impertinence, if I beg you not to bring any more ladies in at that time of night. The clock had struck two before one of them went away.' I do assure you, madam,' said Jones, 'the lady who was here last night, and who staid the latest (for the other only brought me a letter), is a woman of very great fashion, and my near relation.'
I don't know what fashion she is of,' answered Mrs. Miller, but I am sure no woman of virtue, unless a very near relation indeed, would visit a young gentleman at ten at night, and stay four hours in his room with him alone; besides, sir, the
behaviour of her chairmen shows what she was; for they did nothing but make jests all the evening in the entry, and asked Mr. Partridge, in the hearing of my own maid, if madam intended to stay with his master all night; with a great deal of stuff not proper to be repeated. I have really a great respect for you, Mr. Jones, upon your own account; nay, I have a very high obligation to you for your generosity to my cousin. Indeed, I did not know how very good you had been till lately. Little did I think, when you gave me the ten guineas, that you had given them to a highwayman! O Heavens ! What goodness have you shown! How have you preserved this family! The character which Mr. Allworthy hath formerly given me of you, was, I find, strictly true. And, indeed, if I had no obliga. tion to you, my obligations to him are such, that, on his account, I should show you the utmost respect in my power. Nay, believe me, dear Mr. Jones, if my daughters' and my own reputation were out of the case, I should, for your own sake, be sorry that so pretty a young gentleman should converse with these women; but if you are resolved to do it, I must beg you to take another lodging; for I do not myself like to have such things carried on under my roof; but more especially upon the account of my girls, who have little, Heaven knows, besides their characters to recommend them.'-Jones started and changed colour at the name of Allworthy, Indeed, Mrs. Miller,' answered he, a little warmly, I do not take this at all kind. I will never bring any slander on your house; but I must insist on seeing what company I please in my own room; and if that gives you any offence, I shall, as soon as I am able, look for another lodging.'' I am sorry we must part then, sir,' said she; but I am convinced Mr. Allworthy himself would never come within my doors, if he had the least suspicion of my keeping an ill house. Very well, madam,' said Jones. I hope, sir,' said she, you are not
angry; for I would not for the world offend any of Mr. Allworthy's family. I have not slept a wink all night about this matter...I am sorry I have disturbed your rest, madam,' said Jones; but I beg you will send Partridge up to me immediatly;' which she promised to do; and then, with a very low curtsy, retired.
As soon as Partridge arrived, Jones fell upon him in the most outrageous manner. How often,' said he, am I to suffer for your folly, or rather for my own in keeping you? Is that tongue of yours resolved upon my destruction? What have I done, sir? answered affrighted Partridge. Who was it gave you authority to mention the story of the robbery, or that the man you saw here was the person?"
I sir!' cries Partridge. Now don't be guilty of a falsehood in denying it,' said Jones. If I did mention such a matter,' answers Partridge, I am sure, I thought no harm: for I should not have opened my lips, if it had not been to his own friends and relations, who, I imagined, would have let it go no farther. But I have a much heavier charge against you,' cries Jones, 'than this. How durst you, after all the precautions 1 gave you, mention the name of Mr. Allworthy in this house? Partridge denied that he ever had, with many oaths. How else,' says Jones, 'should Mrs. Miller be acquainted that there was any connexion between him and me? And it is but this moment she told me, she respected me on his account.' O Lord, sir,' said Partridge, • I desire only to be heard out and to be sure, never was any thing so unfortunate; hear me but out, and you will own how wrongfully you have accused me. When Mrs. Honour came down stairs last night, she met me in the entry, and asked me, when my master had heard from Mr. Allworthy; and to be sure Mrs. Miller heard the very words; and the moment Madam Honour was gone, she called me, into the parlour to her. "Mr. Partridge," says she, "what Mr. Allworthy is that the gentlewoman men
tioned? Is it the great Mr. Allworthy of Somerset. shire?". Upon my word, madam, says I, I know nothing of the matter. Sure," says she, " your master is not that Mr. Jones I have heard Mr. Allworthy talk of "Upon my word, madam, says I, I know nothing of the matter."Then," says she, turning to her daughter Nancy, says she," as sure as ten-pence this is the very young gentleman, and he agrees exactly with the 'squire's description." The Lord above knows who it was told her: for I am the arrantest villain that ever walked upon two legs, if ever it came out of my mouth. I promise. you, sir, I can keep a secret when 1 am desired. Nay, sir, so far was I from telling her any thing about. Mr. Allworthy, that I told her the very direct contrary; for though I did not contradict it at that moment, yet, as second thoughts, they say, are best; so when I came to consider that somebody must have informed her, thinks I to myself, I will put an end to the story; and so I went back again into the par, lour, some time afterwards, and says I, upon my word, says I, whoever, says I, told you that this gentleman was Mr. Jones; that is, says I, that this Mr. Jones was that Mr. Jones, told you a confounded lie and I beg, says I, you will never mention any such matter, says I; for my master, says I, will think I must have told you so; and I defy any body in the house ever to say I mentioned any such word. To be certain, sir, it is a wonderful thing; and I have been thinking with myself ever since, how it was she came to know it; not but I saw an old wo. man here t'other day a begging at the door, who looked as like her we saw in Warwickshire, that caused all that mischief to us. To be sure it is ne ver good to pass by an old woman without giving her something, especially if she looks at you: for all the world shall never persuade me but that they have a great power to do mischief; and to be sure I shall never see an old woman again, but I shall
think to myself, Infandum, regina, jubes renovare dolorem"
The simplicity of Partridge set Jones a laughing, and put a final end to his anger, which had, indeed, seldom any long duration in his mind; and instead of commenting on his defence, he told him, he intended presently to leave those lodgings, and or dered him to go and endeavour to get him others.
PARTRIDGE had no sooner left Mr. Jones, than
Mr. Nightingale, with whom he had now contracted a great intimacy, came to him, and, after a short salutation, said, 'So, Tom, I hear you had company very late last night. Upon my soul, you are a happy fellow, who have not been in town above a fortnight, and can keep chairs waiting at your door till two in the morning.' He then ran on with much common-place raillery of the same kind, till Jones at last interrupted him, saying, 'I suppose you have received all this information from Mrs. Miller, who hath been up here a little while ago to give me warning. The good woman is afraid, it seems, of the reputation of her daughters.'---' O! she is wonderfully nice,' says Nightingale, upon that account; if you remember, she would not let Nancy go with us to the masquerade.' 'Nay, upon my honour, I think she's in the right of it,' says Jones; however, I have taken her at her word, and have sent Partridge to look for another lodging.'. If you will,' says Nightingale,' we may, I believe, be again together; for, to tell you a secret, which I desire you won't mention in the family, I intend to quit the house to-day.' What, hath Mrs. Miller given you warning too, my friend?" eries Jones. No,' answered the other;