Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

3. Chapter iii. A project of Mrs Fitzpatrick... (continued)

The lady pondered a little upon this, and thus answered--"Why, no, madam, I think not. Di Western hath described her brother to me to be such a brute, that I cannot consent to put any woman under his power who hath escaped from it. I have heard he behaved like a monster to his own wife, for he is one of those wretches who think they have a right to tyrannise over us, and from such I shall ever esteem it the cause of my sex to rescue any woman who is so unfortunate to be under their power.--The business, dear cousin, will be only to keep Miss Western from seeing this young fellow, till the good company, which she will have an opportunity of meeting here, give her a properer turn."

"If he should find her out, madam," answered the other, "your ladyship may be assured he will leave nothing unattempted to come at her."

"But, madam," replied the lady, "it is impossible he should come here--though indeed it is possible he may get some intelligence where she is, and then may lurk about the house--I wish therefore I knew his person.

"Is there no way, madam, by which I could have a sight of him? for, otherwise, you know, cousin, she may contrive to see him here without my knowledge." Mrs Fitzpatrick answered, "That he had threatened her with another visit that afternoon, and that, if her ladyship pleased to do her the honour of calling upon her then, she would hardly fail of seeing him between six and seven; and if he came earlier she would, by some means or other, detain him till her ladyship's arrival."--Lady Bellaston replied, "She would come the moment she could get from dinner, which she supposed would be by seven at farthest; for that it was absolutely necessary she should be acquainted with his person. Upon my word, madam," says she, "it was very good to take this care of Miss Western; but common humanity, as well as regard to our family, requires it of us both; for it would be a dreadful match indeed."

Mrs Fitzpatrick failed not to make a proper return to the compliment which Lady Bellaston had bestowed on her cousin, and, after some little immaterial conversation, withdrew; and, getting as fast as she could into her chair, unseen by Sophia or Honour, returned home.

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