« PreviousContinue »
plaint before him. The justice declined executing his office, as he said he had no clerk present, nor no book about justice business; and that he could not carry all the law in his head about stealing away daughters, and such sort of things.
Here Mr. Fitzpatrick offered to lend him his assistance, informing the company that he had been himself bred to the law. (And indeed he had served three years as clerk to an attorney in the north of Ireland, when, choosing a genteeler walk in life, he quitted his master, came over to England, and set up that business which requires no apprenticeship, namely, that of a gentleman, in which he had succeeded, as hath been already partly mentioned.)
Mr. Fitzpatrick declared that the law concerning daughters was out of the present case; that stealing a muff was undoubtedly felony, and the goods being found upon the person, were sufficient evidence of the fact.
The magistrate, upon the encouragement of so learned a coadjutor, and upon the violent intercession of the 'squire, was at length prevailed upon to seat himself in the chair of justice, where being placed, upon viewing the muff which Jones still held in his hand, and upon the parson's swearing it to be the property of Mr. Western, he desired Mr. Fitzpatrick to draw up a commitment, which he said he would sign.
Jones now desired to be heard, which was at last, with difficulty, granted him. He then produced the evidence of Mr. Partridge, as to the finding it; but what was still more, Susan deposed that Sophia herself had delivered the muff to her, and had ordered her to convey it into the chamber where Mr. Jones had found it.
Whether a natural love of justice, or the extraor.. dinary comeliness of Jones, had wrought on Susan to make the discovery, I will not determine; but
such were the effects of her evidence, that the magistrate, throwing himself back in his chair, declared that the matter was now altogether as clear on the side of the prisoner, as it had before been against him; with which the parson concurred, saying, 'The Lord forbid he should be instrumental in committing an innocent person to durance.' The justice then arose, acquitted the prisoner, and broke up the
Mr. Western now gave every one present a hearty curse, and immediately ordering his horses, departed in pursuit of his daughter, without taking the least notice of his nephew Fitzpatrick, or returning any answer to his claim of kindred, notwithstanding all the obligations he had just received from that gentleman. In the violence, moreover, of his hurry, and of his passion, he luckily forgot to demand the muff of Jones: I say luckily; for he would have died on the spot rather than have parted with it.
Jones likewise, with his friend Partridge, set forward the moment he had paid his reckoning, in quest of his lovely Sophia, whom he now resolved never more to abandon the pursuit of. Nor could he bring himself even to take leave of Mrs. Waters; of whom he detested the very thoughts, as she had been, though not designedly, the occasion of his missing the happiest interview with Sophia, to whom he now vowed eternal constancy.
As for Mrs. Waters, she took the opportunity of the coach which was going to Bath; for which place she set out in company with the two Irish gentlemen, the landlady kindly lending her her clothes; in return for which, she was contented only to receive about double their value, as a recompense for the loan. Upon the road she was perfectly reconciled to Mr. Fitzpatrick, who was a very handsome fellow, and indeed did all she could to console him in the absence of his wife.
Thus ended the many odd adventures which Mr.
Jones encountered at his inn at Upton, where they talk, to this day, of the beauty and lovely behaviour of the charming Sophia, by the name of the Somersetshire angel.
BEFORE we proceed any farther in our history,
it may be proper to look a little back, in order to account for the extraordinary appearance of Sophia and her father at the inn at Upton.
The reader may be pleased to remember, that, in the ninth chapter of the seventh book of our history, we left Sophia, after a long debate between love and duty, deciding the cause, as it usually, I believe, happens, in favour of the former..
This debate had arisen, as we have there shown, from a visit which her father had just before made. her, in order to force her consent to a marriage with Blifil; and which he had understood to be fully implied in her acknowledgement, that she neither must nor could refuse any absolute command of his."
Now from this visit the 'squire retired to his evening potation, overjoyed at the success he had gained with his daughter; and as he was of a social disposition, and willing to have partakers in his happiness, the beer was ordered to flow very liberally into the kitchen; so that before eleven in the evening, there was not a single person sober in the house, except only Mrs. Western herself, and the charming Sophia.
Early in the morning a messenger was dispatched to summon Mr. Blifil; for though the 'squire imagined that young gentleman had been much less. acquainted, than he really was, with the former aversion of his daughter; as he had not, however,
yet received her consent, he longed impatiently to 4. communicate it to him, not doubting but that the intended bride herself would confirm it with her lips. As to the wedding, it had the evening before been fixed, by the male parties, to be celebrated on the next morning save one.
Breakfast was now set forth in the parlour, where Mr. Blifil attended, and where the 'squire and his sister likewise were assembled; and now Sophia was ordered to be called.
O, Shakespeare! had I thy pen! O, Hogarth! had I thy pencil! then would I draw the picture of the poor serving-man, who, with pale countenance, staring eyes, chattering teeth, faltering tongue, and trembling limbs,
(Ev'n such a mau, so faint, so spiritless,
entered the room, and declared,--that Madam Sophia was not to be found.
Not to be found!' cries the squire, starting from his chair; Zounds and d---nation! Blood and fury! Where, when, how, what--Not to be found! Where?'
'La! brother,' says Mrs. Western, with true political coldness, you are always throwing yourself into such violent passions for nothing. My niece, 1 suppose, is only walked out into the garden. I protest you are grown so unreasonable, that it is impossible to live in the house with you.'
Nay, nay,' answered the 'squire, returning as suddenly to himself, as he had gone from him. self; if that be all the matter, it signifies not much; but, upon my soul, my mind misgave me, when the fellow said she was not to be found.' He then gave orders for the bell to be
rung in the garden, and sat himself contentedly
No two things could be more the reverse of each other than were the brother and sister, in most instances; particularly in this, that as the brother never foresaw any thing at a distance, but was most sagacious in immediately seeing every thing the moment it had happened; so the sister eternally foresaw at a distance, but was not so quick-sighted to objects before her eyes. Of both these the reader may have observed examples; and, indeed, both their several talents were excessive: for as the sister often foresaw what never came to pass, so the brother often saw much more than was actually the truth.
This was not however the case at present. The same report was brought from the garden, as before had been brought from the chamber, that Madam Sophia was not to be found.
The 'squire himself now sallied forth, and began to roar forth the name of Sophia as loudly, and in as hoarse a voice, as whilom did Hercules that of Hylas; and as the poet tells us, that the whole shore echoed back the name of that beautiful youth; so did the house, the garden, and all the neighbouring fields, resound nothing but the name of Sophia, in the hoarse voices of the men, and in the shrill pipes of the women; while Echo seemed so pleased to repeat the beloved sound, that if there is really such a person, I believe Ovid hath belied her
Nothing reigned for a long time but confusion; till at last the 'squire, having sufficiently spent his breath, returned to the parlour, where he found Mrs. Western and Mr. Blifil, and threw himself, with the utmost dejection in his countenance, into a great chair.
Here Mrs. Western began to apply the following consolation:
• Brother, I am sorry for what hath happened;