BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
3. Chapter iii. Containing several dialogues.
Containing several dialogues.
The morning in which Mr Jones departed, Mrs Western summoned Sophia
into her apartment; and having first acquainted her that she had
obtained her liberty of her father, she proceeded to read her a long
lecture on the subject of matrimony; which she treated not as a
romantic scheme of happiness arising from love, as it hath been
described by the poets; nor did she mention any of those purposes for
which we are taught by divines to regard it as instituted by sacred
authority; she considered it rather as a fund in which prudent women
deposit their fortunes to the best advantage, in order to receive a
larger interest for them than they could have elsewhere.
When Mrs Western had finished, Sophia answered, "That she was very
incapable of arguing with a lady of her aunt's superior knowledge and
experience, especially on a subject which she had so very little
considered, as this of matrimony."
"Argue with me, child!" replied the other; "I do not indeed expect it.
I should have seen the world to very little purpose truly, if I am to
argue with one of your years. I have taken this trouble, in order to
instruct you. The antient philosophers, such as Socrates, Alcibiades,
and others, did not use to argue with their scholars. You are to
consider me, child, as Socrates, not asking your opinion, but only
informing you of mine." From which last words the reader may possibly
imagine, that this lady had read no more of the philosophy of
Socrates, than she had of that of Alcibiades; and indeed we cannot
resolve his curiosity as to this point.
"Madam," cries Sophia, "I have never presumed to controvert any
opinion of yours; and this subject, as I said, I have never yet
thought of, and perhaps never may."
"Indeed, Sophy," replied the aunt, "this dissimulation with me is very
foolish. The French shall as soon persuade me that they take foreign
towns in defence only of their own country, as you can impose on me to
believe you have never yet thought seriously of matrimony. How can
you, child, affect to deny that you have considered of contracting an
alliance, when you so well know I am acquainted with the party with
whom you desire to contract it?--an alliance as unnatural, and
contrary to your interest, as a separate league with the French would
be to the interest of the Dutch! But however, if you have not hitherto
considered of this matter, I promise you it is now high time, for my
brother is resolved immediately to conclude the treaty with Mr Blifil;
and indeed I am a sort of guarantee in the affair, and have promised