Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

7. Chapter vii. In which Mr Western pays a visit... (continued)

"Brother," cries Mrs Western, "Mr Blifil, I am confident, understands himself better than to think of seeing my niece any more this morning, after what hath happened. Women are of a nice contexture; and our spirits, when disordered, are not to be recomposed in a moment. Had you suffered Mr Blifil to have sent his compliments to my niece, and to have desired the favour of waiting on her in the afternoon, I should possibly have prevailed on her to have seen him; but now I despair of bringing about any such matter."

"I am very sorry, madam," cried Blifil, "that Mr Western's extraordinary kindness to me, which I can never enough acknowledge, should have occasioned--" "Indeed, sir," said she, interrupting him, "you need make no apologies, we all know my brother so well."

"I don't care what anybody knows of me," answered the squire;----"but when must he come to see her? for, consider, I tell you, he is come up on purpose, and so is Allworthy."--"Brother," said she, "whatever message Mr Blifil thinks proper to send to my niece shall be delivered to her; and I suppose she will want no instructions to make a proper answer. I am convinced she will not refuse to see Mr Blifil at a proper time."--"The devil she won't!" answered the squire.--"Odsbud!--Don't we know--I say nothing, but some volk are wiser than all the world.----If I might have had my will, she had not run away before: and now I expect to hear every moment she is guone again. For as great a fool as some volk think me, I know very well she hates----" "No matter, brother," replied Mrs Western, "I will not hear my niece abused. It is a reflection on my family. She is an honour to it; and she will be an honour to it, I promise you. I will pawn my whole reputation in the world on her conduct.----I shall be glad to see you, brother, in the afternoon; for I have somewhat of importance to mention to you.--At present, Mr Blifil, as well as you, must excuse me; for I am in haste to dress." "Well, but," said the squire, "do appoint a time." "Indeed," said she, "I can appoint no time. I tell you I will see you in the afternoon."--"What the devil would you have me do?" cries the squire, turning to Blifil; "I can no more turn her, than a beagle can turn an old hare. Perhaps she will be in a better humour in the afternoon."--"I am condemned, I see, sir, to misfortune," answered Blifil; "but I shall always own my obligations to you." He then took a ceremonious leave of Mrs Western, who was altogether as ceremonious on her part; and then they departed, the squire muttering to himself with an oath, that Blifil should see his daughter in the afternoon.

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