Imagens das páginas

‘ violent passions, and I can't answer what she may ‘ do under their influence.” ‘You can't I" returned the father; and pray ‘ who hath been the occasion of putting her into ‘ those violent passions Nay, who hath actually “ put her into them : Was not you and she hard at “it before I came into the room Besides, was not ‘ all our quarrel about you ? I have not quarrelled ‘ with sister this many years but upon your account; ‘ and now you would throw the whole blame upon ‘me, as, thof I should be the occasion of her leaving ‘the esteate out o' the vamily. I could have ex‘pected no better indeed ; this is like the return “you make to all the rest of my fondness.’ * I beseech you then,' cries Sophia, ‘upon my “knees I beseech you, if I have been the unhappy ‘ occasion of this difference, that you will endea‘ vour to make it up with my aunt, and not suffer. * her to leave your house in this violent rage of ‘ anger: she is a very good-natured woman, and a ‘ few civil words will satisfy her.—Let me entreat “you, sir.’ - “So I must go and ask pardon for your fault, must * I ?” answered Western. “You have lost the hare, ‘ and I must draw every way to find her again? In‘deed, if I was certain'-Here he stopt, and Sophia throwing in more entreaties, at length prevailed upon him ; so that after venting two or three bitter sarcastical expressions against his daughter, he departed as fast as he could to recover his sister, before her equipage could be gotten ready. Sophia then returned to her chamber of o where she indulged herself (if the phrase may be allowed me) in all the luxury of tender grief. She read over more than once the letter which she had received from Jones; her must too was used on this occasion; and she bathed both these, as well as herself, with her tears. In this situation, the friendly Mrs. Honour cxorted her utmost abilities to consort

[ocr errors]

her afflicted mistress. She ran over the names of

many young gentlemen: and having greatly com

mended their parts and persons, assured Sophia that she might take her choice of any. These methods must have certainly been used with some success in disorders of the like kind, or so skilful a practitioner as Mrs. Honour would never have ventured to apply them; nay, I have heard that the college of chambermaids hold them to be as sovereign remedies as any in the female dispensary; but whether it was that Sophia's disease differed inwardly from those cases with which it agreed in external symptoms, I will not assert; but, in fact, the good waiting-woman did more harm than good, and at last so incensed her mistress (which was no easy matter), that with an angry voice she dismissed her from her presence.

Containing great variety of matter.

THE squire overtook his sister iust as she was to sq J stepping into the coach, and partly by force, and

partly by solicitations, prevailed upon her to order

her horses back into their quarters. He succeeded in this attempt without much difficulty; for the lady was, as we have already hinted, of a most placable disposition, and greatly loved her brother, though she despised his parts, or rather his little knowledge of the world. Poor Sophia, who had first set on foot this reconciliation, was now made the sacrifice to it. They both concurred in their censures on her conduct; jointly declared war against her, and directly proceeded to counsel, how to carry it on in the most vigorous manner. For this purpose, Mrs. Western proposed not only an immediate conclusion of the treaty with Allworthy, but as immediately to carry it into execution; saying, ‘That there was no other ‘way to succeed with her niece but by violent me‘ thods, which she was convinced Sophia had not * sufficient resolution to resist. By violent,” says she, * I mean rather, hasty measures; for as to confine“ment or absolute force, no such things must or can ‘ be attempted. Our plan must be concerted for a * surprise, and not for a storm. These matters were resolved on, when Mr. Blifil came to pay a visit to his mistress. The squire no sooner heard of his arrival, than he stept aside, by his sister's advice, to give his daughter orders for the proper reception of her lover; which he did with the most bitter exccrations and denunciations of judgement on her refusal. he impetuosity of the squire bore down all before him; and Sophia, as her aunt very wisely foresaw, was not able to resist him. She agreed, therefore, to see Blifil, though she had scarce spirits or strength sufficient to utter her assent. Indeed, to give a peremptory denial to a father whom she so tenderly loved, was no easy task. Had this circumstance been out of the case, much less resolution than what she was really mistress of, would, perhaps, have served her; but it is no unusual thing to ascribe those actions entirely to fear, which are in a great measure produced by love. In pursuance, therefore, of her father's peremptory command, Sophia now admitted Mr. Blifil's visit. Scenes like this, when painted at large, af. ford, as we have observed, very little entertainment to the reader. Here, therefore, we shall strictly adhere to a rule of Horace; by which writers are directed to pass over all those matters which they despair of placing in a shining light;-a rule, we conceive, of excellent use as well to the historian as to the poet; and which, if followed, must at least have this good effect, that many a great evil (for so all great books are called) would thus be reduced to a small one. - -

It is possible, the great art used by Blifil at this interview, would have prevailed on Sophia to have made another man in his circumstances her confideut, and to have revealed the whole secret of her heart to him; but she had contracted so ill an opinion of this young gentleman, that she was resolved to place no confidence in him; for simplicity, when set on its guard, is often a match for cunning. Her behaviour to him, therefore, was entirely forced; and indeed such as is generally prescribed to virgins upon the second formal visit from one who is appointed for their husband.

But though Blifil declared himself to the squire perfectly satisfied with his reception; yet that gentleman, who, in company with his sister, had overheard all, was not so well pleased. He resolved, in pursuance of the advice of the sage lady, to push amatters as forward as possible; and addressing himself to his intended son-in-law in the hunting phrase, he cried, after a loud holloa, “ Follow her, boy, fol‘ low her; run in, run in ; that's it, honeys. Dead, ‘dead, dead. Never be bashful, nor stand shall I, ‘shall I ? Allworthy and I can finish all matters ‘ between us this afternoon, and let us ha' the wed‘ding to-morrow.’

Blifil having conveyed the utmost satisfaction into his countenance, answered, “As there is nothing, “sir, in this world which I so eagerly desire as an ‘ alliance with your family, except my union with “ the most amiable and deserving Sophia, you may ‘ easily imagine how impatient I must be to see “myself in possession of my two highest wishes. If “I have not therefore importuned you on this head, “you will impute it only to my fear of offending ‘the lady, by endeavouring to hurry on so blessed. ‘ an event, faster than a strict compliance with all ‘the rules of decency and decorum will permit. “But if by your interest, sir, she might be induced “to dispense with any formalities.'— .

“Formalities' with a pox' answered the squire, * Pooh, all stuff and nonsense. I tell thee, she shall * ha' thee to-morrow ; you will know the world bet“ter hereafter, when you come to my age. Women * never gi’ their consent, man, if they can help it, * 'tis not the fashion. If I had staid for her mother's * consent, I might have been a bachelor to this ‘ day. To her, to her, co to her, that's it, you “jolly dog. I tell thee shat ha' her to-morrow * morning.’ Blifil suffered himself to be overpowered by the forcible rhetoric of the squire; and it being agreed that Western should close with Allworthy that very afternoon, the lover departed home, having first earnestly begged that no violence might be offered to the lady by this haste, in the same manner as a popish inquisitor begs the lay power to do no violence to the heretic delivered over to it, and against whom the church hath passed sentence. And, to say the truth, Blifil had passed sentence against Sophia; for however pleased he had declared himself to Western with his reception, he was by no means satisfied, unless it was that he was convinced of the hatred and scorn of his mistress; and this had produced no less reciprocal hatred and scorn in him. It may, perhaps, be asked, Why then did he not put an immediate end to all further courtship I answer, for that very reason, as well as for several others equally good, which we shall now proceed to open to the reader. Though Mr. Blifil was not of the complexion of Jones, nor ready to eat every woman he saw ; yet he was far from being destitute of that appetite which is said to be the common property of all animals. With this, he had likewise that distinguishing taste, which serves to direct men in their choice of the object or food of their several appetites; and this taught him to consider Sophia as a most delicious morsel, indeed to regard her with the same

« AnteriorContinuar »