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guilt which their children afterwards incur, and of course must, before a just judge, expect to partake of their punishment; but if they could avoid this, good Heaven! is there a soul who can bear the thought of having contributed to the damnation of his child?
"For these reasons, my best neighbour, as I see the inclinations of this young lady are most unhappily averse to my nephew, I must decline any further thoughts of the honour you intended him, tho' I assure you I shall always retain the most grateful sense of it."
"Well, sir," said Western, (the froth bursting forth from his lips the moment they were uncorked) "you cannot say but I have heard you out, and now I expect you'll hear me; and if I don't answer every word o't, why then I'll consent to gee the matter up. First then I desire you to answer me one question, did not I beget her? Did not I beget her? answer me that. They say indeed it is a wise father that knows his own child; but I am sure I have the best title to her, for I bred her up. But I believe you will allow me to be her father, and if I be, am I not to govern my own child? I ask you that, am I not to govern my own child? And if I am to govern her in other matters, surely I am to govern her in this which concerns her most. And what am I desiring all this while? Am I desiring her to do any thing for me? To give me any thing? -Zu much on t'other side, that I am only desiring her to take away half my estate now, and t'other half when I die. Well, and what is it all vor? Why is unt it to make her happy? It's enough to make one mad to hear volks talk; if I was going to marry myself, then she would ha reason to cry and to blubber; but, on the contrary, hant I offered to bind down my land in zuch a manner, that I could not marry if I woud, seeing as narro' woman upon
earth would ha me. What the devil in hell can I do more? I contribute to her damnation!-Zounds! I'd zee all the world d-d bevore her little vinger should be hurt. Indeed, Mr. Allworthy, you must excuse me, but I am surprized to hear you talk in zuch a manner, and I must say, take it how you will, that I thought you had more sense."
Allworthy resented this reflection only with a smile; nor could he, if he would have endeavoured it, have conveyed into that smile any mixture of malice or contempt. His smiles at folly were indeed such as we may suppose the angels bestow on the absurdities of mankind.
Blifil now desired to be permitted to speak a few words. "As to using any violence on the young lady, I am sure I shall never consent to it. My conscience will not permit me to use violence on any one, much less on a lady for whom, however cruel she is to me, I shall always preserve the purest and sincerest affection; but yet I have read, that women are seldom proof against perseverance. Why may I not hope then by such perseverance at last to gain those inclinations, in which for the future I shall, perhaps, have no rival; for as for this lord, Mr. Western is so kind to prefer me to him; and sure, sir, you will not deny but that a parent hath at least a negative voice in these matters; nay I have heard this very young lady herself say so more than once, and declare, that she thought children inexcuseable who married in direct opposition to the will of their parents. Besides, though the other ladies of the family seem to favour the pretensions of my lord, I do not find the lady herself is inclined to give him any countenance; alas! I am too well assured she is not; I am too sensible that wickedest of men remains uppermost in her heart."
"Ay, ay, so he does," cries Western.
"But surely," says Blifil, "when she hears of this murder which he hath committed, if the law should spare his life".
"What's that," cries Western, "murder! hath he committed a murder, and is there any hopes of seeing him hanged?-Tol de rol, tol lol de rol." Here he fell a singing and capering about the room.
'Child," says Allworthy, "this unhappy passion of yours distresses me beyond measure. I heartily pity you, and would do every fair thing to promote your success." "I desire no more," cries Blifil, "I am convinced my dear uncle hath a better opinion of me than to think that I myself wou'd accept of more.'
"Lookee," says Allworthy, "you have my leave to write, to visit, if she will permit it, but I insist on no thoughts of violence. I will have no confinement, nothing of that kind attempted."
"Well, well," cries the squire, “nothing of that kind shall be attempted; we will try a little longer what fair means will effect; and if this fellow be but hanged out of the way-Tol lol de rol. I never heard better news in my life; I warrant every thing goes to my mind.-Do, prithee, dear Allworthy, come and dine with me at the Hercules Pillars: I have bespoke a shoulder of mutton roasted, and a spare-rib of pork, and a fowl and eggsauce. There will be nobody but ourselves, unless we have a mind to have the landlord; for I have sent parson Supple down to Basingstoke after my tobacco box, which I left at an inn there, and I would not lose it for the world; for it is an old acquaintance of above twenty years standing. I can tell you landlord is a vast comical bitch, you will like un hugely."
Mr. Allworthy at last agreed to this invitation, and soon after the squire went off, singing and capering at the hopes of seeing the speedy tragical end of poor Jones.
When he was gone, Mr. Allworthy resumed the aforesaid subject with much gravity. He told his nephew, "he wished with all his heart he would endeavour to conquer a passion, in which I cannot," says he, "flatter you with any hopes of succeeding. It is certainly a vulgar error, that aversion in a woman may be conquered by perseverance. Indifference may, perhaps, sometimes yield to it; but the usual triumphs gained by perseverance in a lover, are over caprice, prudence, affectation, and often an exorbitant degree of levity, which excites women not over-warm in their constitutions, to indulge their vanity by prolonging the time of courtship, even when they are well-enough pleased with the object, and resolve (if they ever resolve at all) to make him a very pitiful amends in the end. But a fixed dislike, as I am afraid this is, will rather gather strength, than be conquered by time. Besides, my dear, I have another apprehension which you must excuse. I am afraid this passion which you have for this fine young creature, hath her beautiful person too much for its object, and is unworthy of the name of that love, which is the only foundation of matrimonial felicity. To admire, to like, and to long for the possession of a beautiful woman, without any regard to her sentiments towards us, is, I am afraid, too natural: but love, I believe, is the child of love only; at least, I am pretty confident, that to love the creature who we are assured hates us, is not in human nature. Examine your heart, therefore, thoroughly, my good boy, and if, upon examination, you have but the least suspicion of this
kind. I am sure your own virtue and religion will impel you to drive so vicious a passion from your heart, and your good sense will soon enable you to do it without pain.'
The reader may pretty well guess Blifil's answer; but if he should be at a loss, we are not, at present, at leisure to satisfy him, as our history now hastens on to matters of higher importance, and we can no longer bear to be absent from Sophia.
An extraordinary scene between Sophia and her aunt.
HE lowing heifer, and the bleating ewe in herds and flocks, mayramble safe and unregarded through the pastures. These are, indeed, hereafter doomed to be the prey of man; yet many years are they suffered to enjoy their liberty undisturbed. But if a plump doe be discovered to have escaped from the forest, and to repose herself in some field or grove, the whole parish is presently alarmed, every man is ready to set his dogs after her; and if she is preserved from the rest by the good squire, it is only that he may secure her for his own eating.
I have often considered a very fine young woman of fortune and fashion, when first found strayed from the pale of her nursery, to be in pretty much the same situation with this doe. The town is immediately in an uproar, she is hunted from park to play, from court to assembly, from assembly to her own chamber, and rarely escapes a single season from the jaws of some devourer or other: for if her friends protect her from some, it is only to deliver her over to one of their own chusing, often more disagreeable to her than any of the rest: while