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character, and had inclined too long to the same side, especially as it was the right side, hastily turned about : for now goody Brown, whom Zekiel Brown caressed in his arms; nor he alone, but half the parish besides; so famous was she in the fields of Venus, nor indeed less in those of Mars. The trophies of both these her husband always bore about on his head and face; for if ever human head did by its horns display the amorous glories of a wife, Zekiel's did ; nor did his well-scratched face less denote her talents (or rather talons) of a different kind. No longer bore this Amazon the shameful flight of her party. She stopt short, and, calling aloud to all who fled, spoke as follows: “Ye Somersetshire ‘men, or rather ye Somersetshire women, are ye not ‘ashamed thus to fly from a single woman But if * no other will oppose her, I myself and Joan Top “here will have the honour of the victory.” Having thus said, she flew at Molly Seagrim, and easily wrenched the thigh-bone from her hand, at the same time clawing off her cap from her head. Then laying hold of the hair of Molly with her left hand, she attacked her so furiously in the face with the right, that the blood soon began to trickle from her nose. Molly was not idle this while. She soon removed the clout from the head of goody Brown, and then fastening on her hair with one hand, with the other she caused another bloody stream to issue forth from the nostrils of the enemy. When each of the combatants had borne off sufficient spoils of hair from the head of her antagonist, the next rage was against the garments. In this attack they exerted so much violence, that in a very few minutes they were both naked to the middle. It is lucky for the women, that the seat of fistycuff war is not the same with them as among men ; but though they may seem a little to deviate from their sex, when they go forth to battle, yet I have observed, they never so far forget, as to assail the bosoms of each other; where a few blows would be fatal to most of them. This, I know, some derive from their being of a more bloody inclination than the males. On which account they apply to the nose, as to the part whence blood may most easily be drawn; but this seems a far-fetched as well as ill-natured supposition. Goody Brown had great advantage of Molly in this particular; for the former had indeed no breasts, her bosom (if it may be so called), as well in colour as in many other properties, exactly resembling an ancient piece of parchment, upon which any one might have drummed a considerable while without doing her any great damage. Molly, beside her present unhappy condition, was differently formed in those parts, and might, perhaps, have tempted the envy of Brown to give her a fatal blow, had not the lucky arrival of Tom Jones at this instant put an immediate end to the bloody scene. This accident was luckily owing to Mr. Square; for he, master Blifil, and Jones, had mounted their horses, after church, to take the air, and had ridden about a quarter of a mile, when Square, changing his mind (not idly, but for a reason which we shall unfold as soon as we have leisure), desired the young gentlemen to ride with him another way than they had at first purposed. This motion being complied with, brought them of necessity back again to the church-yard. Master Blifil, who rode first, seeing such a mob assembled, and two women in the posture in which we left the combatants, stopt his horse to inquire what was the matter. A country fellow, scratching his head, answered him : ‘I don't know, measter, ‘un't I; an’t please your honour, here hath been a * vight, I think, between goody Brown and Moll * Seagrim.”—“Who, who o' cries Tom ; but without waiting for an answer, having discovered the features of his Molly through all the discomposure in which they now were, he hastily alighted, turned his horse loose, and, leaping over the wall, ran to her. She now first bursting into tears, told him how barbarously she had been treated. Upon which, forgetting the sex of goody Brown, or perhaps not knowing it in his rage—for, in reality, she had no feminine appearance but a petticoat, which he might not observe—he gave her a lash or two with his horsewhip; and then flying at the mob, who were all accused by Moll, he dealt his blows so profusely on all sides, that unless I would again invoke the muse (which the good-natured reader may think a little too hard upon her, as she hath so lately been violently sweated), it would be impossible for me to recount the horse-whipping of that day. Having scoured the whole coast of the enemy, as well as any of Homer's heroes ever did, or as Don Quixote or any knight-errant in the world could have done, he returned to Molly, whom he found in a condition which must give both me and my reader pain, was it to be described here. Tom raved like a madman, beat his breast, tore his hair, stamped on the ground, and vowed the utmost vengeance on all who had been concerned. He then pulled off his coat, and buttoned it round her, put his hat upon her head, wiped the blood from her face as well as he could with his handkerchief, and called out to the servant to ride as fast as possible for a sidesaddle, or a pillion, that he might carry her safe home. Master Blifil objected to the sending away the servant, as they had only one with them; but as Square seconded the order of Jones, he was obliged to comply. The servant returned in a very short time with the pillion, and Molly, having collected her rags as well as she could, was placed behind him. In
which manner she was carried home, Square, Blifil, and Jones attending.
Here Jones having received his coat, given her a sly kiss, and whispered her, that he would return in the evening, quitted his Molly, and rode on after his companions.
Molly had no sooner apparelled herself in her accustomed rags, than her sisters began to fall violently upon her, particularly her eldest sister, who told her she was well enough served. “How “ had she the assurance to wear a gown which young “madam Western had given to mother | If one of ‘us was to wear it, I think,’ says she, ‘I myself ‘have the best right; but I warrant you think it ‘ belongs to your beauty. I suppose you think ‘yourself more handsomer than any of us.”—“Hand “her down the bit of glass from over the cupboard,’ cries another; ‘I’d wash the blood from my face ‘ before I talked of my beauty.”—“You’d better ‘ have minded what the parson says,’ cries the eldest, ‘ and not a hearkened after men voke.”— Indeed, ‘child, and so she had,” says the mother, sobbing: ‘she hath brought a disgrace upon us ali. She's “ the vurst of the vamily that ever was a whore."— ‘You need not upbraid me with that, mother,’ cries Molly; “you yourself was brought-to-bed of sister * there, within a week after you was married."— * Yes, hussy,' answered the enraged mother, “so I ‘ was, and what was the mighty matter of that P 1 ‘ was made an honest woman then; and if you was * to be made an honest woman, I should not be ‘ angry; but you must have to doing with a gen‘tleman, you nasty slut; you will have a bastard, * hussy, you will; and that Idefy anyone to say of me.’
In this situation Black George found his family,
VOL. VI. N
when he came home for the purpose before mentioned. As his wife and three daughters were all of them talking together, and most of them crying, it was some time before he could get an opportunity of being heard; but as soon as such an interval occurred, he acquainted the company with what Sophia had said to him. Goody Seagrim then began to revile her daughter afresh. “Here,' says she, “ you have brought us ‘ into a fine quandary indeed. What will madam “say to that big belly O that ever I should live ‘to see this day !’ Molly answered with great spirit, “And what is “this mighty place which you have got for me, ‘ father o' (for he had not well understood the phrase used by Sophia of being about her person). “I sup* pose it is to be under the cook; but I shan't wash “dishes for any body. My gentleman will provide * better for me. See what he hath given me this * afternoon. He hath promised I shall never want ‘ money; and you shan't want money neither, mo“ ther, if you will hold your tongue, and know when “you are well.' And so saying, she pulled out several guineas, and gave her mother one of them. The good woman no sooner felt the gold within her palm, than her temper began (such is the cssicacy of that panacea) to be mollified. “Why, husband,’ says she, “would any but such a blockhead as you * not have inquired what place this was before he “ had accepted it Perhaps, as Molly says, it may “be in the kitchen; and truly I don't care my ‘ daughter should be a scullion wench; for poor as * I am, I am a gentlewoman. And thof I was * obliged, as my father, who was a clergyman, died “worse than nothing, and so could not give me a ‘shilling of potion, to undervalue myself by mar‘rying a poor man; yet I would have you to ‘ know, I have a spirit above all them things. Marry ‘come up ! it would better become madam Western