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my soul, I shall die if dost refuse me; I shall break my heart; I shall, upon my soul.'---' Is it possible,' says she, you can have such a desire to make me miserable ?'-..' I tell thee noa,' answered he loudly; my whole desire is to make thee happy. Me! d---p me if there is a thing upon earth I would not do to see thee happy.'...' And will not my dear papa allow me to have the least knowledge of what will make me so? If it be true that happiness consists in opinion, what must be my condition, when I shall think my. self the most miserable of all the wretches upon earth ?... Better think yourself so,' said he, 'than know it by being married to a poor bastardly vaga. bond.'--. If it will content you, sir,' said Sophia, 'I will give you the most solemn promise never to mar. ry him, nor any other, while my papa lives, without his consent. Let me dedicate my whole life to your service; let me be again your poor Sophy, and my whole business and pleasure be, as it hath been, to please and divert you.'-' Lookee, Sophy,' answered the 'squire, 'I am not to be choused in this manner. Your aunt Western would then have reason to think me the fool she doth. No, no, Sophy, I'd have you to know I have got more wisdom, and know more of the world, than to take the word of a woman in a matter where a man is concerned.'--How, sir, have I deserved this want of confidence?' said she: ‘have I ever broke a single promise to you? or have I ever been found guilty of a falsehood from my cradle ?--• Lookee, Sophy,' cries he, that's neither here nor there. I am determined upon this match, and have him you shall, d-on me if shat unt. D...n me if shat unt, though dost hang thyself the next morn. ing.'. At repeating which words he clinched his fist, knit his brows, bit his lips, and thundered so loud, that the poor afflicted, terrified Sophia sunk trem. bling into her chair; and had not a flood of tears come immediately to her relief, perhaps worse had followed.

Western beheld the deplorable condition of his daughter with no more contrition or remorse, than the turnkey of Newgate feels at viewing the ago. nies of a tender wife, when taking her last farewel of her condemned husband; or rather he looked down on her with the same emotions which arise in an honest fair tradesman, who sees his debtor drag. ged to prison for 101. which, though a just debt, the wretch is wickedly unable to pay. Or, to hit the case still more nearly, he felt the same compunction with a bawd, when some poor innocent, whom she hath ensnared into her hands, falls into fits at the first proposal of what is called seeing company. In. deed, this resemblance would be exact, was it not that the bawd hath an interest in what she doth; and the father, though perhaps he may blindly think otherwise, can, in reality, have none in urging his daughter to almost an equal prostitution.

In this condition he left his poor Sopbia; and de parting with a very vulgar observation on the effect of tears, he locked the room, and returned to the parson, who said every thing he durst in behalf of the young lady; which, though perhaps it was not quite so much as his duty required, yet was it suffi. cient to throw the 'squire into a violent rage, and into many indecent reflections on the whole body of the clergy, which we have too great an honour for that sacred function to commit to paper.

CHAP. III.

THE landlady of the house where the 'squire

lodged, had begun very early to entertain a strange opinion of her guests. However, as she was informed that the 'squire was a man of vast for. tune, and as she had taken care to exact a very extraordinary price for her rooms, she did not think proper to give any offence; for though she was not without some concern for the coufinement of poor Sophia, of whose great sweetness of temper and af. fability the maid of the house had made so favour. able a report, which was confirmed by all the'squire's servants; yet she had much more concern for her own interest, than to provoke one, whom, as she said, she perceived to be a very hastish kind of a gentleman.

Though Sophia eat but little, yet she was regularly served with her meals; indeed, I believe, if she had liked any one rarity, that the 'squire, however angry, would have spared neither pains por cost to have procured it for her; since, however strange it may appear to some of my readers, he really doated on his daughter, and to give her any kind of pleasure was the highest satisfaction of his life.

The dinner hour being arrived, Black George car. ried her up a pullet, the 'squire himself (for he had sworn not to part with the key) attending the door. As George deposited the dish, some compliments passed between him and Sophia (for he had not seen her since she left the country, and she treated every servant with more respect than some persons show to those who are in a very slight degree their inferiors). Sophia would have had him take the pullet back, saying, she could not eat; but George begged her to try, and particularly recommended to her the eggs, of which he said it was full.

All this time the 'squire was waiting at the door ; but George was a great favourite with his master, as his employment was in concerns of the highest nature, namely, about the game, and was accus. tomed to take many liberties. He had officiously carried up the dinner, being, as he said, very de sirous to see his young lady: he made, therefore, no scruple of keeping his master standing above ter miputes, while civilities were passing between him and Sophia, for which he received only a good-hu. moured rebuke at the door when he returned.

The eggs of pullets, partridges, pheasants, &c. were, as George well knew, the most favourite dainVOL.II.

R

ties of Sophia. It was, therefore, no wonder that he, who was a very good-natured fellow, should take care to supply her with this kind of delicacy, at a time when all the servants in the house were afraid she would be starved; for she had scaree swallowed a single morsel in the last forty hours.

Though vexation hath not the same effect on all persons as it usually hath on a widow, whose appetite it often renders sharper than it can be rendered by the air on Bansted Downs, or Salisbury Plain; yet the sublimest grief, notwithstanding what some people may say to the contrary, will eat at last : and Sophia herself, after some little consideration, began to dissect the fowl, which she found to be as full of eggs as George had reported it.

But if she was pleased with these, it contained something which would have delighted the Royal Society much more; for if a fowl with three legs be so invaluable a curiosity, when, perhaps, time has produced a thousand such; at what price shall we esteem a bird which so totally contradicts all the laws of animal economy, as to contain a letter in its belly? Ovid tells us of a flower into which Hyacinthus was metamorphosed, that bears letters on its leaves, which Virgil recommended as a miracle to the Royal Society of his day; but no age nor nation hath ever recorded a bird with a letter in its maw.

But though a miracle of this kind inight have engaged all the Academies des Sciences in Europe, and, perhaps, in a fruitless inquiry; yet the reader, by barely recollecting the last dialogue which passed between Messieurs Jones and Partridge, will be very easily satisfied from whence this letter came, and how it found its passage into the fowl.

Sophia, notwithstanding her long fast, and notwithstanding her favourite dish was there before her, no sooner saw the letter than she immediately snatched it up, tore it open, and read as follows:

"MADAM, • Was I not sensible to whom I have the honour of writing, I should endeavour, however difficult, to paint the horrors of my mind, at the account brought me by Mrs. Honour; but as tenderness alone can have any true idea of the pangs which tenderness is capable of feeling, so can this most amiable quality which my Sophia possesses in the most eminent degree, sufficiently inform her what her Jones must have suffered on this melancholy occasion. Is there a circumstance in the world which can heighten my agonies, when I hear of any misfortune which hath befallen you? Surely there is one only, and with that I am accursed. It is, my Sophia, the dreadful consideration that I am myself the wretched cause. Perhaps I here do myself too much honour; but none will envy me an honour which costs me so extreme. ly dear. Pardon me this presumption, and pardon me a greater still, if I ask you whether my advice, my assistance, my presence, my absence, my death, or my tortures, can bring you any relief ? Can the most perfect admiration, the most watchful obser. vance, the most ardent love, the most melting ten. derness, the most resigned submission to your will, make you amends for what you are to sacrifice to my happiness? If they can, Ay, my lovely angel, to those arms which are ever open to receive and protect you; and to which, whether you bring yourself alone, or the riches of the world with you, is, in my opinion, an alternative not worth regarding. If, on the contrary, wisdom shall predominate, and, on the most mature reflection, inform you, that the sacrifice is too great ; and if there be no way left to reconcile your father, and restore the peace of your dear mind, but by abandoning me, I conjure you, drive me for ever from your thoughts, exert your resolution, and let no compassion for my sufferings bear the least weight in that tender bosom. Believe

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