BOOK IV. CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR.
8. Chapter viii. A battle sung by the muse...
A battle sung by the muse in the Homerican style, and which none but
the classical reader can taste.
Mr Western had an estate in this parish; and as his house stood at
little greater distance from this church than from his own, he very
often came to Divine Service here; and both he and the charming Sophia
happened to be present at this time.
Sophia was much pleased with the beauty of the girl, whom she pitied
for her simplicity in having dressed herself in that manner, as she
saw the envy which it had occasioned among her equals. She no sooner
came home than she sent for the gamekeeper, and ordered him to bring
his daughter to her; saying she would provide for her in the family,
and might possibly place the girl about her own person, when her own
maid, who was now going away, had left her.
Poor Seagrim was thunderstruck at this; for he was no stranger to the
fault in the shape of his daughter. He answered, in a stammering
voice, "That he was afraid Molly would be too awkward to wait on her
ladyship, as she had never been at service." "No matter for that,"
says Sophia; "she will soon improve. I am pleased with the girl, and
am resolved to try her."
Black George now repaired to his wife, on whose prudent counsel he
depended to extricate him out of this dilemma; but when he came
thither he found his house in some confusion. So great envy had this
sack occasioned, that when Mr Allworthy and the other gentry were gone
from church, the rage, which had hitherto been confined, burst into an
uproar; and, having vented itself at first in opprobrious words,
laughs, hisses, and gestures, betook itself at last to certain missile
weapons; which, though from their plastic nature they threatened
neither the loss of life or of limb, were however sufficiently
dreadful to a well-dressed lady. Molly had too much spirit to bear
this treatment tamely. Having therefore--but hold, as we are diffident
of our own abilities, let us here invite a superior power to our
Ye Muses, then, whoever ye are, who love to sing battles, and
principally thou who whilom didst recount the slaughter in those
fields where Hudibras and Trulla fought, if thou wert not starved with
thy friend Butler, assist me on this great occasion. All things are
not in the power of all.