BOOK I. CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY.
8. Chapter viii. A dialogue between Mesdames Bridget and Deborah...
With such a smile then, and with a voice sweet as the evening breeze
of Boreas in the pleasant month of November, Mrs Bridget gently
reproved the curiosity of Mrs Deborah; a vice with which it seems the
latter was too much tainted, and which the former inveighed against
with great bitterness, adding, "That, among all her faults, she
thanked Heaven her enemies could not accuse her of prying into the
affairs of other people."
She then proceeded to commend the honour and spirit with which Jenny
had acted. She said, she could not help agreeing with her brother,
that there was some merit in the sincerity of her confession, and in
her integrity to her lover: that she had always thought her a very
good girl, and doubted not but she had been seduced by some rascal,
who had been infinitely more to blame than herself, and very probably
had prevailed with her by a promise of marriage, or some other
This behaviour of Mrs Bridget greatly surprised Mrs Deborah; for this
well-bred woman seldom opened her lips, either to her master or his
sister, till she had first sounded their inclinations, with which her
sentiments were always consonant. Here, however, she thought she might
have launched forth with safety; and the sagacious reader will not
perhaps accuse her of want of sufficient forecast in so doing, but
will rather admire with what wonderful celerity she tacked about, when
she found herself steering a wrong course.
"Nay, madam," said this able woman, and truly great politician, "I
must own I cannot help admiring the girl's spirit, as well as your
ladyship. And, as your ladyship says, if she was deceived by some
wicked man, the poor wretch is to be pitied. And to be sure, as your
ladyship says, the girl hath always appeared like a good, honest,
plain girl, and not vain of her face, forsooth, as some wanton husseys
in the neighbourhood are."
"You say true, Deborah," said Miss Bridget. "If the girl had been one
of those vain trollops, of which we have too many in the parish, I
should have condemned my brother for his lenity towards her. I saw two
farmers' daughters at church, the other day, with bare necks. I
protest they shocked me. If wenches will hang out lures for fellows,
it is no matter what they suffer. I detest such creatures; and it
would be much better for them that their faces had been seamed with
the smallpox; but I must confess, I never saw any of this wanton
behaviour in poor Jenny: some artful villain, I am convinced, hath
betrayed, nay perhaps forced her; and I pity the poor wretch with all