Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

2. Chapter ii. The character of Mrs Western. (continued)

The squire, though perhaps he had never read Machiavel, was, however, in many points, a perfect politician. He strongly held all those wise tenets, which are so well inculcated in that Politico-Peripatetic school of Exchange-alley. He knew the just value and only use of money, viz., to lay it up. He was likewise well skilled in the exact value of reversions, expectations, &c., and had often considered the amount of his sister's fortune, and the chance which he or his posterity had of inheriting it. This he was infinitely too wise to sacrifice to a trifling resentment. When he found, therefore, he had carried matters too far, he began to think of reconciling them; which was no very difficult task, as the lady had great affection for her brother, and still greater for her niece; and though too susceptible of an affront offered to her skill in politics, on which she much valued herself, was a woman of a very extraordinary good and sweet disposition.

Having first, therefore, laid violent hands on the horses, for whose escape from the stable no place but the window was left open, he next applied himself to his sister; softened and soothed her, by unsaying all he had said, and by assertions directly contrary to those which had incensed her. Lastly, he summoned the eloquence of Sophia to his assistance, who, besides a most graceful and winning address, had the advantage of being heard with great favour and partiality by her aunt.

The result of the whole was a kind smile from Mrs Western, who said, "Brother, you are absolutely a perfect Croat; but as those have their use in the army of the empress queen, so you likewise have some good in you. I will therefore once more sign a treaty of peace with you, and see that you do not infringe it on your side; at least, as you are so excellent a politician, I may expect you will keep your leagues, like the French, till your interest calls upon you to break them."

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