Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

mad passion to hurry me, only by neglecting to summon the aids of reason to my assistance ? Reason, which hath now set before me my desires in their proper colours, and immediately helped me to expel them. · Yes, I thank Heaven and my pride, I have now per"fectly conquered this unworthy passion; and if there + was no obstacle in its way, my pride would disdain 6 any pleasures which could be the consequence of so

base, so mean, so vulgar—'Slipslop returned at this instant in a violent hurry, and with the utmost eagerness cried out, “O, Madam! I have strange news. Tom the • footman is just come from the George; where it seems • Joseph and the rest of them are a jinketting; and he says, there is a strange man, who hath discovered that Fanny and Joseph are brother and sister.'— How, Slipslop!' cries the lady in a surprise.— I had not time, Madam, cries Slipslop, to inquire about particles, but Tom says it is most certainly true.'

This unexpected account entirely obliterated all those admirable reflections which the supreme power of reason had so wisely made just before. In short, when despair, which had more share in producing the resolutions of hatred we have seen taken, began to retreat, the lady hesitated a moment, and then, forgetting all the purport of her soliloquy, dismissed her woman again, with orders to bid Tom attend her in the parlour, whither she now hastened to acquaint Pamela with the news. Pamela said, She could not believe it; for she had never heard that her mother had lost any child, or that she had ever had any more than Joseph and herself. The lady flew into a violent rage with her, and talked of upstarts and disowning relations who had so lately been on a level with her. Pamela made no answer; but her husband, taking up her cause, severely reprimanded his aunt for her behaviour to his wife: he told her, If it had been earlier in the evening she should not have staid a moment longer in her house; that he was convinced, if this young woman could be proved her sister, she would readily embrace her as such; and he himself would do the same. He then desired the fellow might be sent for, and the young woman with him; which Lady Booby immediately ordered; and, thinking proper to make some apology to Pamela for what she had said, it was readily accepted, and all things reconciled. The pedlar now attended, as did Fanny and Joseph, who would not quit her: the parson likewise was induced, not only by curiosity, of which he had no small portion, but his duty, as he apprehended it, to follow them; for he continued all the way to exhort them, who were now breaking their hearts, to offer up thanksgivings, and be joyful for so miraculous an escape. When they arrived at Booby-Hall, they were presently called into the parlour, where the pedlar repeated the same story he had told before, and insisted on the truth of every circumstance; so that all who heard him were extremely well satisfied of the truth, except Pamela, who imagined, as she had never heard either of her parents mention such an accident, that it must be certainly false: and except the Lady Booby, who suspected the falsehood of the story from her ardent desire that it should be true; and Joseph, who feared its truth, from his earnest wishes that it might prove false. Mr. Booby now desired them all to suspend their curiosity and absolute belief or disbelief, till the next morning, when he expected old Mr. Andrews and his wife to fetch himself and Pamela home in his coach, and then they might be certain of certainly knowing the truth or falsehood of this relation; in which, he said, as there were many strong circumstances to induce their credit, so he could not perceive any interest the pedlar could have in

[graphic]

inventing it, or in endeavouring to impose such a falsehood on them.

The Lady Booby, who was very little used to such company, entertained them all-viz. her nephew, his wife, her brother and sister, the beau, and the parson, with great good-humour at her own table. As to the pedlar, she ordered him to be made as welcome as possible by her servants. All the company in the parlour, except the disappointed lovers, who sat sullen and silent, were full of mirth; for Mr. Booby had prevailed on Joseph to ask Mr. Didapper's pardon, with which he was perfectly satisfied. Many jokes passed between the beau and the parson, chiefly on each other's dress; these afforded much diversion to the company. Pamela chid her brother Joseph for the concern which he expressed at discovering a new sister. She said, If he loved Fanny as he ought, with a pure affection, he had no reason to lament being related to her.—Upon which Adams began to discourse on Platonic love; whence he made a quick transition to the joys in the next world, and concluded with strongly asserting, that there was no such thing as pleasure in this. At which Pamela and her husband smiled on one another. This happy pair proposing to retire (for no other person gave the least symptom of desiring rest), they all repaired to several beds provided for them in the same house; nor was Adams himself suffered to go home, it being a stormy night. Fanny indeed often begged she might go home with the parson; but her stay was so strongly insisted on, that she at last, by Joseph's advice, consented.

CHAPTER XIV. Containing several curious night-adventures, in which Mr.

Adams fell into many hair-breadth 'scapes, partly owing

to his goodness, and partly to his inadvertency. About an hour after they had all separated (it being now past three in the morning) beau Didapper, whose passion for Fanny permitted him not to close his eyes, but had employed his imagination in contrivances how to satisfy his desires, at last hit on a method by which he hoped to effect it. He had ordered his servant to bring him word where Fanny lay, and had received his information; he therefore arose, put on his breeches and nightgown, and stole softly along the gallery which led to her apartment; and being come to the door, as he imagined it, he opened it with the least noise possible, and entered the chamber. A savour now invaded his nostrils, which he did not expect in the room of so sweet a young creature, and which might have probably had no good effect on a cooler lover. However, he groped out the bed with difficulty, for there was not a glimpse of light, and opening the curtains, he whispered in Joseph's voice (for he was an excellent mimic), 'Fanny, my angel ! I am come to inform thee, " that I have discovered the falsehood of the story we

last night heard. I am no longer thy brother, but thy lover; nor will I be delayed the enjoyment of thee one moment longer. You have sufficient assurances of my constancy not to doubt my marrying you, and it would be want of love to deny me the possession of thy

charms.'-So saying, he disencumbered himself from the little clothes he had on, and leaping into bed, embraced his angel, as he conceived her, with great rapture. If he was surprised at receiving no answer, he was

no less pleased to find his hug returned with equal ardour. He remained not long in this sweet confusion for both he and his paramour presently discovered their error. Indeed it was no other than the accomplished Slipslop whom he had engaged; but though she immediately knew the person, whom she had mistaken for Joseph, he was at a loss to guess at the representative of Fanny. He had so little seen or taken notice of this gentlewoman, that light itself would have afforded him no assistance in his conjecture. Beau Didapper no sooner had perceived his mistake, than he attempted to escape from the bed with much greater haste than he had made to it: but the watchful Slipslop prevented him. For that prudent woman being disappointed of those delicious offerings which her fancy had promised her pleasure, resolved to make an immediate sacrifice to her virtue. Indeed, she wanted an opportunity to heal some wounds, which her late conduct had, she feared, given her reputation; and as she had a wonderful presence of mind, she conceived the person of the unfortunate beau to be luckily thrown in her way to restore her lady's opinion of her impregnable chastity. At that instant, therefore, when he offered to leap from the bed, she caught fast hold of his shirt, at the same time roaring out, “O thou villain !

who hast attacked my chastity, and, I believe, ruined me in my sleep; I will swear a rape against thee, I will • prosecute thee with the utmost vengeance. The beau attempted to get loose, but she held him fast, and when he struggled, she cried out, “Murder! murder ! rape!

robbery ! ruin !' At which words, parson Adams, who lay in the next chamber, wakeful, and meditating on the pedlar's discovery, jumped out of bed, and without staying to put a rag of clothes on, hastened into the apartment whence the cries proceeded. He made directly to the bed in the dark, where laying hold of the beau's skin

« AnteriorContinuar »