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and that my niece should have behaved herself in a manner so unbecoming her family; but it is all your own doings, and you have nobody to thank but yourself. You know she hath been educated always in a manner directly contrary to my advice, and now you see the consequence. Have I not a thousand times argued with you about giving my niece her own will? But you know I never could prevail upon you; and when I had taken so much pains to eradicate her headstrong opinions, and to rectify your errors in policy, you kvow she was taken out of my hands; so that I have nothing to answer for. Had I been trusted entirely with the care of her education, no such accident as this had ever befallen you; so that you must comfort your. self by thinking it was all your own doing; and in. deed, what else could be expected from such indulgence?
• Zounds! sister,' answered he, you are enough to make one mad. Have I indulged her? Have I given her her will!--...It was no longer ago than Jast night that I threatened, if she disobeyed me, to confine her to her chamber upon bread and water, as long as she lived.--.You would provoke the pa. tience of Job.'
• Did ever mortal hear the like replied she. • Brother, if I had not the patience of fifty Jobs, you would make me forget all decency and decorum. Why would you interfere? Did I not beg you, did I not entreat you, to leave the whole conduct to me? You have defeated all the operations of the campaigo by one false step. Would any man in his senses have provoked a daughter by such threats as these? How often have I told you, that English women are not to be treated like Ciraces. siano slaves. We have the protection of the world : we are to be won by gentle means only, and not to be hectored, and bullied, and beat into compliance.
* Possibly Circassian.
I thank Heaven, no Salique law governs here. Brother, you have a roughness in your mayner which no woman but myself would bear. I do not wonder my niece was frightened and terrified into taking this measure; and to speak honestly, I think my niece will be justified to the world for what she bath done. I repeat it to you again, brother, you must comfort yourself, by remembering that it is all your own fault. How often have I advised...' Here Western rose hastily from his chair, and, venting two or three horrid imprecations, ran out of the
When he was departed, his sister expressed more bitterness (if possible) against him, than she had done while he was present; for the truth of which she appealed to Mr. Blifil, who, with great com. placence, acquiesced entirely in all she said; but ex. cused all the faults of Mr. Western, as they must be considered,' he said, “to have proceeded from the too inordinate fondness of a father, which must be allowed the name of an amiable weakness.'.... * So much the more inexcusable,' answered the lady; ' for whom doth he ruin by his foudness, but his own child?" "To which Blifil immediately agreed.
Mrs. Western then began to express great confusion on the account of Mr. Blifil, and of the usage which he had received from a family to which he intended so much honour. On this subject she treated the folly of her niece with great severity; but concluded with throwing the whole on her brother, who, she said, was inexcusable to have proceeded so far without better assurances of his daughter's consent. • But he was (says she) al. ways of a violent headstrong temper; and I can scarce forgive myself for all the advice I have thrown away upon him.'
After much of this kind of conversation, which,
rhaps, would not greatly entertain the reader, was ït here particularly related, Mr. Blifil took his leave, and returned home, pot highly pleased with his disappointment; which, however, the philosophy which he had acquired from Square, and the religion infused into him by Thwackum, together with somewhat else, taught bim to bear rather betten than more passionate lovers bear, these kinds of evils.
IT is now time to look after Sophia; whom the
reader, if he loves her balf so well as I do, will rejoice to find escaped from the clutches of her passionate father, and from those of her dispassionate lover.
Twelve times did the iron register of time beat on the sonorous bell-metal, summoning the ghosts to rise, and
all their wightly round.o. In plainer language, it was twelve o'clock, and all the fa. mily, as we have said, lay buried in drink and sleep, except only Mrs. Western, who was deeply engaged in reading a political pamphlet; and except qur heroine, who now softly stole down stairs, and having unbarred and unlocked one of the housedoors, sallied forth, and hastened to the place of ap. pointment.
Notwithstanding the many pretty arts which ladies sometimes practise, to display their fears ou every little occasion (almost as many as the other sex use to conceal theirs), certainly there is a degree of courage, which not only becomes a woman, but is often necessary to enable her to discharge her duty. It is, indeed, the idea of fierceness, and not of bravery, which destroys the female character; for who can read the story of the jastly celebrated Arria, without conceiva ing as high an opinion of her gentleness and ten. derness as of her fortitude? At the same time, perhaps, many a woman, who shrieks at a mouse
or a råt, máy be capable of poisoning a husband; or, what is worse, driving him to poison himself.
Sophia, with all the gentleness which a woman can have, had all the spirit which she ought to have. When, therefore, she came to the place of appointment, and, instead of meeting her maid, as was agreed, saw a man ride directly up to her, she neither screamed out, nor fainted away: not that her pulse then beat with its usual regularity; for she was, at first, under some surprise and apprehension : but these were relieved almost as soon as raised, when the man, pulling off his hat, asked her, in a very submissive manner, If her ladyship did not expect to meet another lady?' And then proceeded to inform her, that he was sent to conduct her to that lady.
Sophia could have no possible suspicion of any falsehood in this account: she therefore mounted resolutely behind the fellow, who conveyed her safe to a town about five miles distant, where she had the satisfaction of finding the good Mrs. Honour: for as the soul of the waiting-woman was wrapt up in those very habiliments which used to enwrap her body, she could by no means bring herself to trust them out of her sight. Upon these, therefore, she kept guard in person, while she detached the aforesaid fellow after her mistress, having given him all proper instructions.
They now debated what course to take, in order to avoid the pursuit of Mr. Western, who they knew would send after them in a few hours. The London road had such charms for Honour, that she was desirous of going on directly; alleging, that, as Sophia could not be missed till eight or nine the next morning, her pursuers would not be able to overtake her, even though they knew which way she had gone. But Sophia had too much at stake to venture any thing to chance; 'nor did she dare trust too much to her tender limbs, in a contest which was to be decided only by swiftness. She resolved, therefore, to travel across the country, for at least twenty or thirty miles, and then to take the direct road to London. So, having hired horses to go twenty miles one way, when she intended to go twenty miles the other, she set forward with the same guide, behind whom she had ridden from her father's house; the guide having now taken up be. hind him, in the room of Sophia, a much heavier, as well as much less lovely, burden; being, indeed, a huge portmanteau, well stuffed with those outside ornaments, by means of which the fair Honour hoped to gain many conquests, and, finally, to make her fortune in London city.
When they had gone about two hundred paces from the inn, on the London road, Sophia rode up to the guide, and with a voice much fuller of honey than was ever that of Plato, though his mouth is supposed to have been a bee-hive, begged him to take the first turning which led towards Bristol.
Reader, I am not superstitious, nor any great. believer of modern miracles. I do not, therefore, deliver the following as a certain truth; for indeed, I can scarce credit it myself: hut the fidelity of a historian obliges me to relate what hath been confie dently asserted. The horse, then, on which the guide rode, is reported to have been so charmed by Sophia's voice, that he made a full stop, and expressed an unwillingness to proceed any farther. »
Perhaps, however, the fact may be true, and less miraculous than it hath been represented; since the natural cause seems adequate to the effect: for as the guide at that moment desisted from a constant application of his armed right heel (for, like Hudin: bras, he wore but one spur), it is more than possible, that this omission alone might occasion the beast to stop, especially as this was very frequent with him at other times.
But if the voice of Sophia had really an effect on