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see Mr. Blifil at a proper time.'The devil she won't,' answered the 'squire. Odsbud !---Don't we know, I say nothing; but some volk are wiser than all the world. If I might have had my will, she had not run away before: and now I expect to hear every moment she is guone again. For as great a fool as some volk think me, I know very well she hates-' No matter, brother,' replied Mrs. Western, I will not hear my niece abused. It is a reflection on my family. She is an honour to it; and she will be an honour to it, I promise you. I will pawn my whole reputation in the world on her conduct. I shall be glad to see you, brother, in the afternoou; for I have somewhat of importance to mention to you. At present, Mr. Blifil, as well as you, must excuse me; for I am in haste to dress. Well, but,' said the 'squire, do appoint a time.'-'Indeed,' said she, I can appoint no time. I tell you I will see you in the afternoon. What the devil would you have me do?" cries the 'squire, turning to Blifil; I can no more turn her, than a beagle can turn an old hare. Perhaps she will be in a better humour in the afternoon.'.' I am condemned, I see, sir, to misfortune,' answered Blifil; but I shall always own my obligations to you.' He then took a ceremonious leave of Mrs. Western, who was altogether as ceremonious on her part; and then they departed, the 'squire muttering to himself with an oath, that Blifil should see his daughter in the afternoon.
If Mr. Western was little pleased with this interview, Blifil was less. As to the former, he imputed the whole behaviour of his sister to her humour only, and to her dissatisfaction at the. omission of ceremony in the visit; but Blifil saw a little deeper into things. He suspected somewhat of more consequence, from two or three words which dropped from the lady; and, to say the truth, he suspected right, as will appear when I have unfolded the several matters which will be contained in the follow. ing chapter.
OVE had taken too deep a root in the mind of Lord Fellamar, to be plucked up by the rude hands of Mr. Western. In the heat of resentment he had indeed given a commission to Captain Eg. lane, which the captain had far exceeded in the execution; nor had it been executed at all, had his lordship been able to find the captain after he had seen Lady Bellaston, which was in the afternoon of the day after he had received the affront; but so industrious was the captain in the discharge of his duty, that having, after long inquiry, found out the 'squire's lodgings very late in the evening, he sat up all night at a tavern, that he might not miss the 'squire in the morning, and by that meaus missed the revocation which my lord had sent to his lodgings.
In the afternoon then next after the intended rape of Sophia, his lordship, as we have said, made a visit to Lady Bellaston, who laid open so much of the character of the 'squire, that his lordship plainly saw the absurdity he had been guilty of in taking any offence at his words, especially as he had those honourable designs on his daughter. He then unbosomed the violence of his passion to Lady Bellaston, who readily undertook the cause, and encouraged him with certain assurance of a most favourable reception from all the elders of the family, and from the father himself when he should be sober, and should be made acquainted with the nature of the offer made to his daughter. The only danger, she said, lay in the fellow she had formerly mentioned; who, though a beggar and a vagabond, had, by some means or other, she knew not what, procured himself tolerable clothes, and passed for a gentleman. Now,' says she, as I have, for the VOL. II. S
sake of my cousin, made it my business to inquire after this fellow, I have luckily found out his lodg ings; with which she then acquainted his lordship. 'I am thinking, my lord,' added she, (for this fellow is too mean for your personal resentment), whether it would not be possible for your lordship to contrive some method of having him pressed, and sent on board a ship. Neither law nor conscience forbid this project; for the fellow, I promise you, however well dressed, is but a vagabond, and as proper as any fellow in the streets to be pressed into the service; and as for the conscientious part, surely the preservation of a young lady from such ruin is a most meritorious act; nay, with regard to the fellow himself, unless he could succeed (which Heaven forbid) with my cousin, it may probably be the means of preserving him from the gallows, and perhaps may make his fortune in an honest way.'
Lord Fellamar very heartily thanked her ladyship for the part which she was pleased to take in the affair, upon the success of which his whole future happiness entirely depended. He said, he saw at present no objection to the pressing-scheme, and would consider of putting it in execution. He then most earnestly recommended to her ladyship, to do him the honour of immediately mentioning his proposals to the family; to whom, he said, he offered a carte blanche, and would settle his fortune in almost any manner they should require: and after uttering many ecstasies and raptures concerning Sophia, he took his leave and departed; but not before he had received the strongest charge to beware of Jones, and to lose no time in securing his person where he should no longer be in a capacity of making any attempts to the ruin of the young lady.
The moment Mrs. Western was arrived at her lodgings, a card was dispatched with her compli ments to Lady Bellaston; who no sooner received it, than, with the impatience of a lover, she flew
to her cousin; rejoicing at this fair opportunity, which, beyond her hopes offered itself; for she was much better pleased with the prospect of making the proposals to a woman of sense, and who knew the world, than to a gentleman whom she honoured with the appellation of Hottentot; though indeed from him she apprehended no danger of a refusal.
The two ladies being met, after very short previous ceremonials, fell to business, which was indeed almost as soon concluded as begun; for Mrs. Western no sooner heard the name of Lord Fellamar, than her cheeks glowed with pleasure; but when she was acquainted with the eagerness of his passion, the earnestness of his proposals, and the generosity of his offer, she declared her full satis faction in the most explicit terms.
In the progress of their conversation, their dis course turned on Jones, and both cousins very pa. thetically lamented the unfortunate attachment which both agreed Sophia had to that young fellow; and Mrs. Western entirely attributed it to the folly of her brother's management. She concluded Jaowever at last, with declaring her confidence in the good understanding of her niece, who, though ahe would not give up her affection in favour of Blifil, will, I doubt not,' says she, 'soon be prevailed upon to sacrifice a simple inclination to the address. es of a fine gentleman, who brings her both a title and a large estate: for, indeed,' added she, '1 must do Sophy the justice to coufess, this Blifil is but a hideous kind of fellow; as you know, Bellaston, all country gentlemen are: and hath nothing but his fortune to recommend him.'
Nay,' said Lady Bellaston, I don't then so much wonder at my cousin; for I promise you, this Jones is a very agreeable fellow, and hath one. virtue, which the men say is a great recommenda tion to us. What do you think, Mrs. Western ?---I shall certainly make you laugh; nay, I can hardly tell you myself for laughing-Will you believe that
the fellow hath had the assurance to make love to me? But if you should be inclined to disbelieve it, here is evidence enough, his own hand-writing, I assure you.' She then delivered her cousin the letter with the proposals of marriage, which, if the reader hath a desire to see, he will find already on record in the fifteenth book of this history.
Upon my word, I am astonished,' said Mrs. Western: this is indeed a master-piece of assurance. With your leave, I may possibly make some use of this letter. You have my full liberty,' cries Lady Bellaston, to apply it to what purpose you please. However, I would not have it shown to any but Miss Western, nor to her unless you find occasion.'. Well, and how did you use the fellow? returned Mrs. Western. Not as a husband,' said the lady: I am not married, I promise you, my dear. You know, Mrs. Western, I have tried the comforts once already; and once I think is enough for any reasonable woman."
This letter Lady Bellaston thought would certainly turn the balance against Jones in the mind of Sophia; and she was emboldened to give it up, partly by her hopes of having him instantly dispatched out of the way, and partly by having secured the evidence of Honour; who, upon sounding her, she saw sufficient reason to imagine, was prepared to testify whatever she pleased.
But perhaps the reader may wonder why Lady Bellaston, who in her heart hated Sophia, should be so desirous of promoting a match, which was so much to the interest of the young lady. Now, I would desire such readers to look carefully into human nature, page almost the last, and there he will find in scarce legible characters, that women, notwithstanding the preposterous behaviour of mothers, aunts, &c. in matrimonial matters, do in reality think it so great a misfortune to have their inclinations in love thwarted, that they imagine they ought never to carry enmity higher than upon