BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
6. Chapter vi. Containing great variety of matter.
This excellent method of conveying a falsehood with the heart only,
without making the tongue guilty of an untruth, by the means of
equivocation and imposture, hath quieted the conscience of many a
notable deceiver; and yet, when we consider that it is Omniscience on
which these endeavour to impose, it may possibly seem capable of
affording only a very superficial comfort; and that this artful and
refined distinction between communicating a lie, and telling one, is
hardly worth the pains it costs them.
Allworthy was pretty well satisfied with what Mr Western and Mr Blifil
told him: and the treaty was now, at the end of two days, concluded.
Nothing then remained previous to the office of the priest, but the
office of the lawyers, which threatened to take up so much time, that
Western offered to bind himself by all manner of covenants, rather
than defer the happiness of the young couple. Indeed, he was so very
earnest and pressing, that an indifferent person might have concluded
he was more a principal in this match than he really was; but this
eagerness was natural to him on all occasions: and he conducted every
scheme he undertook in such a manner, as if the success of that alone
was sufficient to constitute the whole happiness of his life.
The joint importunities of both father and son-in-law would probably
have prevailed on Mr Allworthy, who brooked but ill any delay of
giving happiness to others, had not Sophia herself prevented it, and
taken measures to put a final end to the whole treaty, and to rob both
church and law of those taxes which these wise bodies have thought
proper to receive from the propagation of the human species in a
lawful manner. Of which in the next chapter.