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CHAP. IX.

ALLWORTHY took an opportunity, whilst he was in the chair, of reading the letter from Jones to Sophia, which Western delivered him; and there were some expressions in it concerning himself, which drew tears from his eyes. At length he arrived at Mr. Western's, and was introduced to Sophia.

When the first ceremonies were passed, and the gentleman and lady had taken their chairs, a silence of some minutes ensued; during which the latter, who had been prepared for the visit by her father, sat playing with her fan, and had every mark of confusion both in her countenance and behaviour. At length Allworthy, who was himself a little disconcerted, began thus: I am afraid, Miss Western, my family hath been the occasion of giving you some uneasiness; to which, I fear, I have innocently become more instrumental than I intended. Be assured, madam, bad I at first known how disagreeable the proposals had been, I should not have suf fered you to have been so long persecuted. I hope, therefore, you will not think the design of this visit is to trouble you with any further solicitations of that kind, but entirely to relieve you from them.'

Sir,' said Sophia, with a little modest hesitation; this behaviour is most kind and generous, and such as I could expect only from Mr. Allworthy; but as you have been so kind to mention this matter, you will pardon me for saying, it hath, indeed, given me great uneasiness, and hath been the occasion of my suffering much cruel treatment from a father, who was, till that unhappy affair, the tenderest and fondest of all parents. I am convinced, sir, you are too good and generous to resent my refusal of your nephew. Our inclinations are not in our own

power; and whatever may be his merit, I cannot force them in his favour.'-I assure you, most amiable young lady,' said Allworthy, I am capable of no such resentment, had the person been my own son, and had I entertained the highest esteem for him. For you say truly, madam, we cannot force our inclinations, much less can they be directed by another.'-Oh! sir,' answered Sophia, 'every word you speak proves you to deserve that good, that great, that benevolent character the whole world allows you. I assure you, sir, nothing less than the certain prospect of future misery could have made me resist the commands of my father.'

I sincerely believe you, madam,' replied Allwor thy; and I heartily congratulate you on your prodent foresight, since by so justifiable a resistance you have avoided misery indeed!' You speak now, Mr. Allworthy,' cries she, with a delicacy which few men are capable of feeling; but surely, in my opinion, to lead our lives with one to whom we are indifferent, must be a state of wretchedness.

Perhaps that wretchedness would be even increased by a sense of the merits of an object to whom we cannot give our affections. If I had married Mr. Blifil Pardon my interrupting you, madam,' answered Allworthy, but I cannot bear the supposition. Believe me, Miss Western, I rejoice from my heart, I rejoice in your escape. I have discovered the wretch, for whom you have suffered all this cruel violence from your father, to be a vil lain. How, sir!' cries Sophia; you must believe this surprises me.' It hath surprised me, madam,' answered Allworthy, and so it will the world: but I have acquainted you with the real truth.'

Nothing but truth,' says Sophia, can, I am convinced, come from the lips of Mr. Allworthy. Yet, sir, such sudden, such unexpected news---Discover. ed, you say--may villanybe ever so ! You will soon enough hear the story,' cries Allworthy; 'at present, let us not mention so detested a name. I

have another matter of a very serious nature to propose. O! Miss Western, I know your vast worth, nor can I so easily part with the ambition of being allied to it. I have a near relation, madam, a young man whose character is, I am convinced, the very opposite to that of this wretch, and whose fortune I will make equal to what his was to have been. Could I, madam, hope you would admit a visit from him? Sophia, after a minute's silence, answered,

I will deal with the utmost sincerity with Mr. Allworthy. His character, and the obligation I have just received from him, demand it. I have determined at present to listen to no such propo sals from any person. My only desire is to be restored to the affection of my father, and to be again the mistress of his family. This, sir, I hope to owe to your good offices. Let me beseech you, let me conjure you, by all the goodness which I, and all who know you, have experienced; do not, the very moment when you have released me from one persecution, do not engage me in another as miserable and as fruitless. Indeed, Miss Western,' replied Allworthy, I am capable of no such conduct; and if this be your resolution, he must submit to the disappointment, whatever torments he may suffer under it. I must smile now, Mr. Allworthy,' answered Sophia, when you mention the torments of a man whom I do not know, and who can consequently have so little acquaintance with me.'... Pardon me, dear young lady,' cries Allworthy; • I begin now to be afraid he hath had too much ac quaintance for the repose of his future days; since if ever man was capable of a sincere, violent, and noble passion, such, I am convinced, is my unhap. py nephew's for Miss Western. A nephew of yours, Mr. Allworthy!' answered Sophia. It is surely strange I never heard of him before.' Indeed, madam,' cries Allworthy, it is only the cir cumstance of his being my nephew to which you are a stranger, and which till this day was a secret

to me. Mr. Jones, who has long loved you, he! he is my nephew! Mr. Jones your nephew, sir!' cries Sophia; can it be possible !' He is, indeed, madam,' answered Allworthy: "he is my own sis ter's son--as such I shall always own him; nor am I ashamed to own him. I am much more ashamed of my past behaviour to him; but I was as ignorant of his merit as of his birth. Indeed, Miss Western, I have used him cruelly--indeed I have.' Here the good man wiped his eyes, and after a short pause proceeded. I never shall be able to reward him for his sufferings without your assistance. Believe me, most amiable young lady, I must have à great esteem of that offering which I make to your worth. I know he hath been guilty of faults; but there is great goodness of heart at the bottom. Believe me, madam, there is.' Here he stopped seeming to expect an answer, which he presently received from Sophia, after she had a little recovered her. self from the hurry of spirits into which so strange and sudden information had thrown her; I sin. cerely wish you joy, sir, of a discovery in which you seem to have such satisfaction. I doubt not but you will have all the comfort you can promise yourself from it. The young gentleman hath certainly a thousand good qualities, which makes it impossible he should not behave well to such an uncle.'... I hope, madam,' said Allworthy, he hath those good qualities which must make him a good husband. He must, I am sure, be of all men the most abandoned, if a lady of your merit should condescend-You must pardon me, Mr. Allworthy,' answered Sophia; I cannot listen to a proposal of this kind. Mr. Jones, I am convinced, hath much merit; but I shall never receive Mr. Jones as one who is to be my husband-Upon my honour I never will. Pardon me, madam,' cries Allworthy, if I am a little surprised, after what I have heard from Mr. Western. I hope the unhappy young man hath done nothing to forfeit your good opinion, if

he had ever the honour to enjoy it. Perhaps he may have been misrepresented to you, as he was to me. The same villany may have injured him every where. He is no murderer, I assure you, as he hath been called. Mr. Allworthy,' answered Sophia, I have told you my resolution. I wonder not at what my father hath told you; but whatever his ap prehensions or fears have been, if I know my heart, I have given no occasion for them; since it hath always been a fixed principle with me, never to have married without his consent. This is, I think, the duty of a child to a parent; and this, I hope, nothing could ever have prevailed with nie to me swerve from. I do not indeed conceive, that the authority of any parent can oblige us to marry in direct opposition to our inclinations. To avoid a force of this kind, which I had reason to suspect, I left my father's house, and sought protection else. where. This is the truth of my story; and if the world, or my father, carry my intentions any farther, my own conscience will acquit me.'... I hear you, Miss Western,' cries Allworthy, with admira. tion. I admire the justness of your sentiments; but surely there is more in this. I am cautious of offending you, young lady; but am I to look on all which I have hitherto heard or seen as a dream only? And have you suffered so much cruelty from your father on the account of a man to whom you have been always absolutely indifferent? I beg, Mr. Allworthy,' answered Sophia, you will not insist on my reasons-Yes, I have suffered indeed: I will not, Mr. Allworthy, conceal-I will be very sincere with you-I own 1 had a great opinion of Mr. Jones-I believe I know I have suffered for my opinion.I have been treated cruelly by my aunt, as well as by my father; but that is now past

I beg I may not be farther pressed; for whatever hath been, my resolution is now fixed. Your ne phew, sir, hath many virtues--he hath great virtues, Mr. Allworthy. I question not but he will do you

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