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that I hope the reader will allow me the same excuse, from the superiority of her character.
This extraordinary tenderness which I have for my heroine, never suffers me to quit her any long time without the utmost reluctance. I could now, therefore, return impatiently to inquire what hath happened to this lovely creature since her departure from her father's, but that I am obliged first to pay a short visit to Mr. Blifil..
Mr. Western, in the first confusion into which his mind was cast, upon the sudden news he received of his daughter, and in his first hurry to go after her, had not once thought of sending any account of the discovery to Blifil. He had not gone far, however, before he recollected himself, and accordingly stopped at the very first inn he came to, and dispatched away a messenger to acquaint Blifil with his having found Sophia, and with his firm resolution to marry her to him immediately, if he would come up after him to town.
As the love which Blifil had for Sophia was of that violent kind, which nothing but the loss of her fortune, or some such accident, could lessen, his inclination to the match was not at all altered by her having run away, though he was obliged to lay this to his own account. He very readily, therefore, embraced this offer. Indeed, he now proposed the gratification of a very strong passion besides avarice, by marrying this young lady, and this was, hatred: for he concluded that matrimony afforded an equal opportunity of satisfying either hatred or love; and this opinion is very probably verified by much experience. To say the truth, if we are to judge by the ordinary behaviour of married persons to each other, we shall perhaps be apt to conclude, that the generality seek the indulgence of the for mer passion only, in their union of every thing but of hearts.
There was one difficulty, however, in his way, and this arose from Mr. All worthy. That good man,
when he found, by the departure of Sophia (for neither that, nor the cause of it, could be concealed from him), the great aversion which she had for his nephew, began to be seriously concerned that he had been deceived into carrying matters so far. He by no means concurred with the opinion of those parents, who think it as immaterial to consult the inclinations of their children in the affair of marriage, as to solicit the good pleasure of their servants when they intend to take a journey; and who are, by law, or decency at least, withheld often from using absolute force. On the contrary, as he esteemed the institution to be of the most sacred kind, he thought every preparatory caution necessary, to preserve it holy and inviolate; and very wisely concluded, that the surest way to effect this, was by laying the foundation in previous af fection.
Blifil indeed soon cured his uncle of all anger on the score of deceit, by many vows and protestations that he had been deceived himself, with which the many declarations of Western very well tallied; but how to persuade Allworthy to consent to the renewing his addresses, was a matter of such apparent difficulty, that the very appearance was sufficient to have deterred a less enterprising genius; but this young gentleman so well knew his own talents, that nothing within the province of cunning seemed to him hard to be achieved.
Here then he represented the violence of his own affection, and the hopes of subduing aversion in the lady by perseverance. He begged that, in an affair on which depended all his future repose, he might at least be at liberty to try all fair means for success. Heaven forbid, he said, that he should ever think of prevailing by any other than the most gentle methods! Besides, sir,' said he, if they fail, you may then (which will be surely time enough) deny your consent.' He urged the great and eager de. sire which Mr. Western had for the match: and,
Jastly, he made great use of the name of Jones, to whom he imputed all that had happened; and from whom, he said, to preserve so valuable a young lady, was even an act of charity.
All these arguments were well seconded by Thwackum, who dwelt a little stronger on the authority of parents than Mr. Blifil himself had done. He ascribed the measures which Mr. Blifil was desirous to take, to Christian motives: And though,' says he, the good young gentleman hath mentioned charity last, I am almost convinced, it is his first and principal consideration.'
Square, possibly, had he been present, would have sung to the same tune, though in a different key, and would have discovered much moral fitness in the proceeding; but he was now gone to Bath for the recovery of his health.
Allworthy, though not without reluctance, at last yielded to the desire of his nephew. He said, he would accompany him to London, where he might be at liberty to use every honest endeavour to gain the lady: But I declare,' said he, I will never give my consent to any absolute force being put on her inclinations; nor shall you ever have her, unless she can be brought freely to compliance.'
Thus did the affection of Mr. Allworthy for his nephew betray the superior understanding to be triumphed over by the inferior; and thus is the prudence of the best of heads often defeated by the tenderness of the best of hearts.
Blifil having obtained this unhoped-for acquiescence in his uncle, rested not till he carried his purpose into execution. And as no immediate business required Mr. Allworthy's presence in the country, and little preparation is necessary to men for a journey, they set out the very next day, and arriv ed in town that evening, when Mr. Jones, as we have seen, was diverting himself with Partridge, at the play.
The morning after his arrival, Mr. Blifil waited on
Mr. Western, by whom he was most kindly and graciously received, and from whom he had every possible assurance (perhaps more than was possible) that he should very shortly be as happy as Sophia could make him; nor would the 'squire suffer the young gentleman to return to his uncle, till he had, almost against his will, carried him to his sister.
RS. Western was reading a lecture ou prudence, and matrimonial politics, to her niece, when her brother and Blifil broke in with less ceremony than the laws of visiting require. Sophia no sooner saw Blifil, than she turned pale, and almost lost the use of all her faculties; but her aunt, on the contrary, waxed red, and having all her faculties at command, began to exert her tongue on the 'squire.
'Brother,' said she, I am astonished at your behaviour will you never learn any regard to decorum? Will you still look upon every apartment as your own, or as belonging to one of your country tenants? Do you think yourself at liberty to invade the privacies of women of condition, without the least decency or notice?
Why, what a pox is 'squire; one would None of your brutal
the matter now?' quoth the think I had caught you at ity, sir, I beseech you,' answered she. You have surprised my poor niece so, that she can hardly, I see, support herself. Go, my dear, retire, and endeavour to recruit your spirits; for I see you have occasion.' At which words, Sophia, who never received a more welcome command, hastily withdrew.
To be sure, sister,' cries the 'squire, you are mad, when I have brought Mr. Blifil here to court her, to force her away.'
Sure, brother,' says she, you are worse than mad, when you know in what situation affairs are, to---I am sure, I ask Mr. Blifil pardon; but he knows very well to whom to impute so disagreeable a reception. For my own part, I am sure, I shall always be very glad to see Mr. Blifil; but his own good sense would not have suffered him to proceed so abruptly, had you not compelled him to do it.'
Blifil bowed and stammered, and looked like a fool; but Western, without giving him time to form a speech for the purpose, answered, Well, well, I am to blame, if you will; I always am, certainly; but come, let the girl be fetched back again, or let Mr. Blifil go to her--He's come up on purpose, and there is no time to be lost."
'Brother,' cries Mrs. Western, Mr. Blifil, I am confident, understands himself better than to think of seeing my niece any more this morning, after what hath happened. Women are of a nice contexture; and our spirits, when disordered, are not to be recomposed in a moment. Had you suffered Mr. Blifil to have sent his compliments to my niece, and to have desired the favour of waiting on her in the afternoon, I should possibly have prevailed on her to have seen him; but now I despair of bringing about any such matter.'
I am very sorry, madam,' cried Blifil, that Mr. Western's extraordinary kindness to me, which I can never enough acknowledge, should have occa sioned. Indeed, sir,' said she, interrupting him, ⚫ you need make no apologies, we all know my brother so well.'
'I don't care what any body knows of me,' answered the 'squire; but when must he come to see her? for, consider, I tell you he is come up on pur. pose, and so is Allworthy.' Brother,' said she, whatever message Mr. Blifil thinks proper to send to my niece, shall be delivered to her; and I suppose she will want no instructions to make a proper answer. I am convinced she will not refuse to