« PreviousContinue »
an offence he had been guilty of towards him, occa. sioned, he said, entirely by his ignorance who he
Now the reality of the case, with which Jones was not acquainted till afterwards, was this :--The lieutenant whom Lord Fellamar had employed, accord. ing to the advice of Lady Bellaston, to press Jones, as a vagabond, into the sea-service, when he came to report to his lordship the event which we have before seen, spoke very favourably of the behaviour of Mr. Jones on all accounts, and strongly assured that lord, that he must have mistaken the person, for that Jones was certainly a gentleman; insomuch that his lordship, who was strictly a man of honour, and would by no means have been guilty of an ac tion which the world in general would have condemned, began to be much concerned for the advice which he had taken.
Within a day or two after this, Lord Fellamar happened to dine with the Irish peer, who, in a conversation upon the duel, acquainted his compa. ny with the character of Fitzpatrick; to which indeed he did not do strict justice, especially in what related to his lady. He said she was the most innocent, the most injured woman alive, and that from compassion alone he had undertaken her cause. He then declared an intention of going the next morning to Fitzpatrick's lodgings, in order to prevail with him, if possible, to consent to a separation from his wife, who, the peer said, was in apprehen sions for her life, if she should ever return to be under the power of her husband. Lord Fellamar
agreed to go with him, that he might satisfy himself more concerning Jones, and the circumstances of the duel; for he was by no means easy concerning the part he had acted. The moment his lordship gave a hint of his readiness to assist in the delivery of the lady, it was eagerly embraced by the other nobleman, who depended much on the authority of Lord Fellamar, as he thought it would greatly con
tribute to awe Fitzpatrick into a compliance; and perhaps he was in the right; for the poor Irishman no sooner saw these noble peers had undertaken the cause of his wife, than he submitted, and articles of separation were soon drawn up and signed between the parties.
Fitzpatrick had been so well satisfied by Mrs. Waters concerning the innocence of his wife with Jones at Upton, or perhaps, from some other reasons, was now become so indifferent to that matter, that he spoke highly in favour of Jones to Lord FelJamar, took all the blame upon himself, and said the other had behaved very much like a gentleman, and a man of honour; and upon that lord's further inquiry concerning Mr. Jones, Fitzpatrick told him, he was nephew to a gentleman of very great fashion and fortune, which was the account he had just received from Mrs. Waters, after her interview with Dowling.
Lord Fellamar now thought it behoved him to do every thing in his power to make satisfaction to a gentleman whom he had so grossly injured; and, without any consideration of rivalship (for he had now given over all thoughts of Sophia), determined to procure Mr. Jones's liberty, being satisfied, as well from Fitzpatrick as his surgeon, that the wound was not mortal. He therefore prevailed with the Irish peer to accompany him to the place where Jones was confined, to whom he behaved as we have already related.
When Allworthy returned to his lodgings, he immediately carried Jones into his room, and then acquainted him with the whole matter, as well what he had heard from Mrs. Waters, as what he had discovered from Mr. Dowling.
Jones expressed great astonishment and no less concern at this account; but without making any comment or observation upon it. And now a message was brought from Mr. Blifil, desiring to know if his uncle was at leisure, that he might wait upon VOL. II.
him. Allworthy started and turned pale, and then, in a more passionate tone than I believe he had ever used before, bid the servant tell Blifil he knew him not. Consider, dear sir,' cries Jones in a trembling voice. I have considered,' answered Allworthy; and you yourself shall carry my message to the villain. No one can carry him the sen tence of his own ruin so properly as the man whose ruin he hath so villanously contrived. Pardon me, dear sir,' said Jones; a moment's reflection will, I am sure, convince you of the contrary. What might perhaps be but justice from another tongue, would from mine be insult; and to whom? --my own brother, and your nephew. Nor did he use me so barbarously. Indeed that would have been more inexcusable than any thing he hath done. Fortune may tempt men of no very bad dispositions to injustice; but insults proceed only from black and rancorous minds, and have no temptations to excuse them. Let me beseech you, sir, to do nothing by him in the present height of your anger. Consi der, my dear uncle, I was not myself condemned unheard. Allworthy stood silent a moment, and then embracing Jones, he said, with tears gushing from his eyes, O my child! to what goodness have I been so long blind!'
Mrs. Miller entering the room at that moment, after a gentle rap, which was not perceived, and seeing Jones in the arms of his uncle, the poor woman, in an agony of joy, fell upon her knees, and burst forth into the most ecstatic thanksgivings to Heaven for what had happened. Then running to Jones, she embraced him eagerly, crying, My dearest friend, I wish you joy a thousand and a thousand times of this blessed day.' And next Mr. Allworthy himself received the same congratulations. To which he answered, Indeed, indeed, Mrs. Miller, 1 am beyond expression happy.' Some few more raptures having passed on all sides, Mrs. Miller desired them both to walk down to dinner in
the parlour, where she said there were a very happy set of people assembled; being indeed no other than Mr. Nightingale and his bride, and his cousin Harris with her bridegroom.
Allworthy excused himself from dining with the company, saying he had ordered some little thing for him and his nephew in his own apartment; for that they had much private business to discourse of, but could not resist promising the good woman, that both he and Jones would make part of her society at supper.
Mrs. Miller then asked what was to be done with Blifil? For indeed,' says she, I cannot be easy while such a villain is in my honse.' Allworthy answered, He was as uneasy as herself on the same account.' O!' cries she, if that be the case, leave the matter to me; I'll soon show him the outside of my doors, I warrant you. Here are two or three lusty fellows below stairs.' There will be no need of any violence,' cries Allworthy; if you will carry him a message from me, he will, I am convinced, depart of his own accord.' Will I ?" said Mrs. Miller; I never did any thing in my life with a better will.' Here Jones interfered, and said, he had considered the matter better, and would, if Mr. Allworthy pleased, be himself the messenger.
I know,' says he, already enough of your pleasure, sir, and I beg leave to acquaint him with it in my own words. Let me beseech you, sir,' added he, to reflect on the dreadful consequences of driving him to violent and sudden despair. How unfit, alas! is this poor man to die in his present situation.' This suggestion had not the least effect on Mrs. Miller. She left the room, cry. ing, You are too good, Mr. Joues, infinitely ton good to live in this world.' But it made a deeper impression on Allworthy. My good child,' said he, I am equally astonished at the goodness of your heart, and the quickness of your understanding. Heaven indeed forbid that this wretch should
be deprived of any means or time for repentance. That would be a shocking consideration indeed. Go to him, therefore, and use your own discretion; yet do not flatter him with any hopes of my forgive. ness; for I shall never forgive villany farther than my religion obliges me, and that extends not either to our bounty or our conversation.'
Jones went up to Blifil's room, whom he found in a situation which moved his pity, thongh it would have raised a less amiable passion in many beholders. He had cast himself on his bed, where he lay abandoning himself to despair, and drowned in tears; not in such tears as flow from contrition, and wash away guilt from minds which have been seduced or surprised into it unawares, against the bent of their natural dispositions, as will sometimes happen from human frailty, even to the good; no, these tears were such as the frighted thief sheds in his cart, and are indeed the effects of that concern which the most savage natures are seldom deficient in feeling for themselves.
It would be unpleasant and tedious to paint this scene in full length. Let it suffice to say, that the behaviour of Jones was kind' to excess. He omitted nothing which his invention could supply, to raise and comfort the drooping spirits of Blifil, before he communicated to him the resolution of his uncle, that he must quit the house that evening. He of fered to furnish him with any money he wanted, assured him of his hearty forgiveness of all he had done against him, that he would endeavour to livewith him hereafter as a brother, and would leave nothing unattempted to effectuate a reconciliation
with his uncle.
Blifil was at first sullen and silent, balancing in his mind whether he should yet deny all; but finding at last the evidence too strong against him, be betook himself at last to confession. He then asked pardon of his brother in the most vehement manner,