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By Heaven, I will sooner part with my soul! You are, you must, you shall be only mine! My lord,' \says she, I entreat you to desist from a vain pursuit; for, upon my honour, I will never hear you on this subject. Let go my hand, my lord; for I am resolved to go from you this moment; nor will I ever see you more. Then, madam,' cries his lord
ship, I must make the best use of this moment; ⚫ for I cannot live, nor will I live, without you.'What do you mean, my lord?" said Sophia; I will raise the family. I have no fear, madam,' answered he, but of losing you, and that I am resolved to prevent, the only way which despair points to me.' He then caught her in his arms; upon which she screamed so loud, that she must have alarmed some one to her assistance, had not Lady Bellaston taken care to remove all.cars.
But a more lucky circumstance happened for poor Sophia: another noise now broke forth, which almost drowned her cries; for now the whole house rang with, Where is she? D-n me, I'll unkenuel -her this instant! Show me her chamber, I say. Where is my daughter? I know she's in the house, and I'll see her if she's above ground. Show me where she is.' At which last words the door flew open, and in came 'Squire Western, with his parson, -and a set of myrmidons at his heels.
How miserable must have been the condition of poor Sophia, when the enraged voice of her father was welcome to her ears! Welcome indeed it was; and luckily did he come for it was the only accident upon earth which could have preserved the -peace of her mind from being for ever destroyed..
Sophia, notwithstanding her fright, presently knew her father's voice; and his lordship, notwithstandling his passion, knew the voice of reason, which peremptorily assured him, it was not now a time for the perpetration of his villany. Hearing, therefore, the voice approach, and hearing likewise whose it was (for as the 'squire more than once roar
ed forth the word daughter, so Sophia, in the midst of her struggling, cried out upon her father), he thought proper to relinquish his prey, having only disordered her handkerchief, and with his rude lips committed violence on her lovely neck.
If the reader's imagination doth not assist me, I shall never be able to describe the situation of these two persons when Western came into the room. Sophia tottered into a chair, where she sat disordered, pale, breathless, bursting with indignation at Lord Fellamar, affrighted, and yet more rejoiced at the arrival of her father.
His lordship sat down near her, with the bag of his wig hanging over one of his shoulders, the rest of his dress being somewhat disordered, and rather a greater proportion of linen than is usual appearing at his bosom. As to the rest, he was amazed, affrighted, vexed, and ashamed.
As to 'Squire Western, he happened at this time to be overtaken by an enemy, which very frequently pursues, and seldom fails to overtake, most of the country gentlemen 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 bẹJongeth 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 will ha un. If wot ha' un, Sophy, I'll forgee thee all. Why dost unt 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, you do? A pretty parson truly, to side with an undutiful child. Yes, yes, I will gee you a living with a pox. I'll gee un to the devil sooner.'
I humbly crave your pardon,' said the parson: I assure your worship, I meant no such mat
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 sis ter, 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 uudutiful 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 duti ful, 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 very well after they have been abed 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, sir, 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 ho'nour of accepting for a son-in-law?
You are a son of a b,' replied the 'squire,
for all your laced coat. You my sou-in-law, and be d-mn'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 sa tisfied. Your humble servant, sir. Lady Bellaston, your most obedient.
His lordship was no sooner gone, than Lady Bel. laston, coming up to Mr. Western, 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 ac<<. cept with the highest pleasure.'
Answer for yourself, lady cousin,' said the 'squires 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 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..
Prithee,' cries the 'squire, wout unt persuade VOL. II. P