BOOK XVI. CONTAINING THE SPACE OF FIVE DAYS.
4. Chapter iv. In which Sophia is delivered...
"I will answer it with my life," cried Mrs Western, "but I shall not
intermeddle at all, unless upon one condition, and that is, that you
will commit the whole entirely to my care, without taking any one
measure yourself, unless I shall eventually appoint you to act. If you
ratify these preliminaries, brother, I yet will endeavour to preserve
the honour of your family; if not, I shall continue in a neutral
"I pray you, good sir," said the parson, "permit yourself this once to
be admonished by her ladyship: peradventure, by communing with young
Madam Sophia, she will effect more than you have been able to
perpetrate by more rigorous measures."
"What, dost thee open upon me?" cries the squire: "if thee dost begin
to babble, I shall whip thee in presently."
"Fie, brother," answered the lady, "is this language to a clergyman?
Mr Supple is a man of sense, and gives you the best advice; and the
whole world, I believe, will concur in his opinion; but I must tell
you I expect an immediate answer to my categorical proposals. Either
cede your daughter to my disposal, or take her wholly to your own
surprizing discretion, and then I here, before Mr Supple, evacuate the
garrison, and renounce you and your family for ever."
"I pray you let me be a mediator," cries the parson, "let me
"Why, there lies the key on the table," cries the squire. "She may
take un up, if she pleases: who hinders her?"
"No, brother," answered the lady, "I insist on the formality of its
being delivered me, with a full ratification of all the concessions
"Why then I will deliver it to you.--There 'tis," cries the squire. "I
am sure, sister, you can't accuse me of ever denying to trust my
daughter to you. She hath a-lived wi' you a whole year and muore to a
time, without my ever zeeing her."
"And it would have been happy for her," answered the lady, "if she had
always lived with me. Nothing of this kind would have happened under