14. Chapter xiv. The arrival of a surgeon.
Perhaps Sophia might have suffered her maid to run on in this manner,
from wanting sufficient spirits to stop her tongue, which the reader
may probably conjecture was no very easy task; for certainly there
were some passages in her speech which were far from being agreeable
to the lady. However, she now checked the torrent, as there seemed no
end of its flowing. "I wonder," says she, "at your assurance in daring
to talk thus of one of my father's friends. As to the wench, I order
you never to mention her name to me. And with regard to the young
gentleman's birth, those who can say nothing more to his disadvantage,
may as well be silent on that head, as I desire you will be for the
"I am sorry I have offended your ladyship," answered Mrs Honour. "I am
sure I hate Molly Seagrim as much as your ladyship can; and as for
abusing Squire Jones, I can call all the servants in the house to
witness, that whenever any talk hath been about bastards, I have
always taken his part; for which of you, says I to the footmen, would
not be a bastard, if he could, to be made a gentleman of? And, says I,
I am sure he is a very fine gentleman; and he hath one of the whitest
hands in the world; for to be sure so he hath: and, says I, one of the
sweetest temperedest, best naturedest men in the world he is; and,
says I, all the servants and neighbours all round the country loves
him. And, to be sure, I could tell your ladyship something, but that I
am afraid it would offend you."--"What could you tell me, Honour?"
says Sophia. "Nay, ma'am, to be sure he meant nothing by it, therefore
I would not have your ladyship be offended."--"Prithee tell me," says
Sophia; "I will know it this instant."--"Why, ma'am," answered Mrs
Honour, "he came into the room one day last week when I was at work,
and there lay your ladyship's muff on a chair, and to be sure he put
his hands into it; that very muff your ladyship gave me but yesterday.
La! says I, Mr Jones, you will stretch my lady's muff, and spoil it:
but he still kept his hands in it: and then he kissed it--to be sure I
hardly ever saw such a kiss in my life as he gave it."--"I suppose he
did not know it was mine," replied Sophia. "Your ladyship shall hear,
ma'am. He kissed it again and again, and said it was the prettiest
muff in the world. La! sir, says I, you have seen it a hundred times.
Yes, Mrs Honour, cried he; but who can see anything beautiful in the
presence of your lady but herself?--Nay, that's not all neither; but I
hope your ladyship won't be offended, for to be sure he meant nothing.
One day, as your ladyship was playing on the harpsichord to my master,
Mr Jones was sitting in the next room, and methought he looked
melancholy. La! says I, Mr Jones, what's the matter? a penny for your
thoughts, says I. Why, hussy, says he, starting up from a dream, what
can I be thinking of, when that angel your mistress is playing? And
then squeezing me by the hand, Oh! Mrs Honour, says he, how happy will
that man be!--and then he sighed. Upon my troth, his breath is as
sweet as a nosegay.--But to be sure he meant no harm by it. So I hope
your ladyship will not mention a word; for he gave me a crown never to
mention it, and made me swear upon a book, but I believe, indeed, it
was not the Bible."