Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

2. Chapter ii. Containing a very tragical incident. (continued)

Jones shook him very heartily by the hand, and gave him many thanks for the kind offer he had made; but answered, "He had not the least want of that kind." Upon which George began to press his services more eagerly than before. Jones again thanked him, with assurances that he wanted nothing which was in the power of any man living to give. "Come, come, my good master," answered George, "do not take the matter so much to heart. Things may end better than you imagine; to be sure you an't the first gentleman who hath killed a man, and yet come off." "You are wide of the matter, George," said Partridge, "the gentleman is not dead, nor like to die. Don't disturb my master, at present, for he is troubled about a matter in which it is not in your power to do him any good." "You don't know what I may be able to do, Mr Partridge," answered George; "if his concern is about my young lady, I have some news to tell my master." "What do you say, Mr George?" cried Jones. "Hath anything lately happened in which my Sophia is concerned? My Sophia! how dares such a wretch as I mention her so profanely." "I hope she will be yours yet," answered George. "Why yes, sir, I have something to tell you about her. Madam Western hath just brought Madam Sophia home, and there hath been a terrible to do. I could not possibly learn the very right of it; but my master he hath been in a vast big passion, and so was Madam Western, and I heard her say, as she went out of doors into her chair, that she would never set her foot in master's house again. I don't know what's the matter, not I, but everything was very quiet when I came out; but Robin, who waited at supper, said he had never seen the squire for a long while in such good humour with young madam; that he kissed her several times, and swore she should be her own mistress, and he never would think of confining her any more. I thought this news would please you, and so I slipped out, though it was so late, to inform you of it." Mr Jones assured George that it did greatly please him; for though he should never more presume to lift his eyes toward that incomparable creature, nothing could so much relieve his misery as the satisfaction he should always have in hearing of her welfare.

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