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little circumstances; and more than one'example of this may be discovered, by the accurate eye, in this our history.
After a fruitless search of two or three hours, Partridge returned back to his master, without having seen Mrs. Waters. Jones, who was in a state of desperation at his delay, was almost raving mad when he brought him this account. He was not long, however, in this condition, before he received the following letter:
Since I left you, I have seen a gentleman, from whom I have learnt something concerning you, which greatly surprises and affects me; but as I have not, at present, leisure to communicate a matter of such high importance, you must suspend your curiosity till our next meeting which shall be the first moment I am able to see you. O Mr. Jones! little did I think, when I passed that happy day at Upton, the reflection upon which is like to embitter all my future life, who it was to whom I owed such perfect happiness. Believe me to be ever sincerely your unfortunate
'P. S. I would have you comfort yourself as much as possible; for Mr. Fitzpatrick is in no manner of danger, so that whatever other grievous crimes you may have to repent of, the guilt of blood is not among the number.'
Jones, having received the letter, let it drop (for he was unable to hold it, aud indeed had scarce the use of any one of his faculties). Partridge took it up, and having received consent by silence, read it likewise; nor had it upon him a less sensible effect. The pencil, and not the pen, should describe the hor rors which appeared in both their countenances. While they both remained speechless, the turnkey entered the room, and, without taking any notice of
what sufficiently discovered itself in the faces of them both, acquainted Jones that a man without desired to speak with him. This person was presently introduced, and was no other than Black George.
As sights of horror were not so usual to George as they were to the turnkey, he instantly saw the great disorder which appeared in the face of Jones. This he imputed to the accident that had happened, which was reported in the very worst light in Mr. Western's family: he concluded, therefore, that the gentleman was dead, and that Mr. Jones was in a fair way of coming to a shameful end, a thought which gave him much uneasiness: for George was of a compassionate disposition; and, notwithstanding a small breach of friendship which he had been over-tempted to commit, was, in the main, not insensible of the obligations he had formerly received from Mr. Jones.
The poor fellow, therefore, scarce refrained from a tear at the present sight. He told Jones he was heartily sorry for his misfortunes, and begged him to consider, if he could be of any mauner of service. Perhaps, sir,' said he, you may want a little mat. ter of money upon this occasion: if you do, sir, what little I have is heartily at your service.'
Jones shook him very heartily by the hand, and gave him many thanks for the kind offer he had made; but answered, He had not the least want of that kind. Upon which George began to press his services more eagerly than before. Jones again thanked him, with assurances that he wanted nothing which was in the power of any man living to give. Come, come, my good master,' answered George, 'do not take the matter so much to heart. Things may end better than you imagine: to be sure, you aut the first gentleman who hath killed a man, and yet come off. You are wide of the niatter, George,' said Partridge: the gentleman is not dead, nor like to die. Don't disturb my master, at present, for he is troubled about a matter, in which it is not in your
power to do him any good. You don't know what I may be able to do, Mr. Partridge,' answered George; if his concern is about my young lady, I have some news to tell my master.' What do you say, Mr. George?' cried Jones: Hath any thing lately happened in which my Sophia is concerned? My Sophia! How dares such a wretch as I mention her so profanely? I hope she will be yours yet,' answered George. Why yes, sir, I have something to tell you about her. Madam Western hath just brought Madam Sophia home, and there hath been a terrible to do. I could not possibly learn the very right of it; but my master he hath been in a vast big passion, and so was Madam Western, and I heard her say, as she went out of doors into her chair, that she would never set her foot in master's house again. I don't know what's the matter, not I; but every thing was very quiet when I came out but Robin, who waited at supper, said, he had never seen the 'squire, for a long while, in such a good humour with young madam; that he kissed her se. veral times, and swore she should be her own mistress, and he never would think of confining her any more. I thought this news would please you, and so I slipped out, though it was so late, to inform you of it.' Mr. Jones assured George that it did greatly please him; for though he should never more presume to lift his eyes towards that incomparable creature, nothing could so much relieve his misery, as the satisfaction he should always have in hearing of her welfare.
The rest of the conversation which passed at the visit is not important enough to be here related. The reader will therefore forgive us this abrupt breaking off, and be pleased to hear how this great good-will of the 'squird towards his daughter was brought about.
Mrs. Western, on her first arrival at her brother's lodging, began to set forth the great honours and advantages which would accrue to the family by
the match with Lord Fellamar, which her niece had absolutely refused; in which refusal when the 'squire took the part of his daughter, she fell imme. diately into the most violent passion, and so irritated and provoked the 'squire, that neither his patience nor his prudence could bear it any longer; upon which there ensued between them both so warm a bout at altercation, that perhaps the regions of Billingsgate never equalled it. In the heat of this scolding, Mrs. Western departed, and had cousequently no leisure to acquaint her brother with the letter which Sophia received, which might have possibly produced ill effects; but, to say the truth, I believe it never once occurred to her memory at this time.
When Mrs. Western was gone, Sophia, who had been hitherto silent, as well indeed from necessity as inclination, began to return the compliment which her father had made her, in taking her part against her aunt, by taking his likewise against the lady. This was the first time of her so doing, and it was in the highest degree acceptable to the 'squire. Again, he remembered that Mr. Allworthy had insisted on an entire relinquishment of all violent means; and indeed, as he made no doubt but that Jones would be hanged, he did not in the least question succeeding with his daughter by fair means; he now therefore once more gave a loose to his natural fondness for her, which had such an effect on the dutiful, grateful, tender, and affectionate heart of Sophia, that had her honour given to Jones, and something else perhaps in which he was concerned, been removed, I much doubt whether she would not have sacrificed herself to a man she did not like, to have obliged her father. She promised him, she would make it the whole business of her life to oblige him, and would never marry any man against his consent; which brouglit the old man so near to his highest happiness, that he was resolved to take the other step, and went to bed completely drunk.
THE morning after these things had happened, Mr. Allworthy went, according to his promise, to visit old Nightingale, with whom his authority was so great, that after having sat with him three hours, he at last prevailed with him to consent to see his
Here an accident happened of a very extraordinary kind; one, indeed, of those strange chances, whence very good and grave men have concluded that Providence often interposes in the discovery of the most secret villany, in order to caution men from quitting the paths of honesty, however warily they tread in those of vice.
Mr. Allworthy, at his entrance into Mr. Nightingale's, saw Black George: he took no notice of him, nor did Black George imagine he had perceiv ed him.
However, when their conversation on the principal point was over, Allworthy asked Nightingale, whether he knew one George Seagrim, and upon what business he came to his house? Yes,' answered Nightingale, I know him very well, and a most extraordinary fellow he is, who, in these days, hath been able to hoard up 5002. from renting a very small estate of 50l. a year. And is this the story which he hath told you?' cries Allworthy. Nay, it is true, I promise you,' said Nightingale; for I have the money now in my own hands, in five bankbills, which I am to lay out either in a mortgage, or in some purchase in the north of England.' The bank-bills were no sooner produced at Allworthy's desire, than he blessed himself at the strangeness of the discovery. He presently told Nightingale, that these bank-bills were formerly his; and then acquainted him with the whole affair. As there are