BOOK XV. IN WHICH THE HISTORY ADVANCES ABOUT TWO DAYS.
2. Chapter ii. In which is opened...
In which is opened a very black design against Sophia.
I remember a wise old gentleman who used to say, "When children are
doing nothing, they are doing mischief." I will not enlarge this
quaint saying to the most beautiful part of the creation in general;
but so far I may be allowed, that when the effects of female jealousy
do not appear openly in their proper colours of rage and fury, we may
suspect that mischievous passion to be at work privately, and
attempting to undermine, what it doth not attack above-ground.
This was exemplified in the conduct of Lady Bellaston, who, under all
the smiles which she wore in her countenance, concealed much
indignation against Sophia; and as she plainly saw that this young
lady stood between her and the full indulgence of her desires, she
resolved to get rid of her by some means or other; nor was it long
before a very favourable opportunity of accomplishing this presented
itself to her.
The reader may be pleased to remember, that when Sophia was thrown
into that consternation at the playhouse, by the wit and humour of a
set of young gentlemen who call themselves the town, we informed him,
that she had put herself under the protection of a young nobleman, who
had very safely conducted her to her chair.
This nobleman, who frequently visited Lady Bellaston, had more than
once seen Sophia there, since her arrival in town, and had conceived a
very great liking to her; which liking, as beauty never looks more
amiable than in distress, Sophia had in this fright so encreased, that
he might now, without any great impropriety, be said to be actually in
love with her.
It may easily be believed, that he would not suffer so handsome an
occasion of improving his acquaintance with the beloved object as now
offered itself to elapse, when even good breeding alone might have
prompted him to pay her a visit.
The next morning therefore, after this accident, he waited on Sophia,
with the usual compliments, and hopes that she had received no harm
from her last night's adventure.