BOOK V. CONTAINING A PORTION OF TIME SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN HALF A YEAR.
12. Chapter xii. In which is seen a more moving spectacle...
But such reformations are rather to be wished than hoped for: I shall
content myself, therefore, with this short hint, and return to my
Western began now to inquire into the original rise of this quarrel.
To which neither Blifil nor Jones gave any answer; but Thwackum said
surlily, "I believe the cause is not far off; if you beat the bushes
well you may find her."--"Find her?" replied Western: "what! have you
been fighting for a wench?"--"Ask the gentleman in his waistcoat
there," said Thwackum: "he best knows." "Nay then," cries Western, "it
is a wench certainly.--Ah, Tom, Tom, thou art a liquorish dog. But
come, gentlemen, be all friends, and go home with me, and make final
peace over a bottle." "I ask your pardon, sir," says Thwackum: "it is
no such slight matter for a man of my character to be thus injuriously
treated, and buffeted by a boy, only because I would have done my
duty, in endeavouring to detect and bring to justice a wanton harlot;
but, indeed, the principal fault lies in Mr Allworthy and yourself;
for if you put the laws in execution, as you ought to do, you will
soon rid the country of these vermin."
"I would as soon rid the country of foxes," cries Western. "I think we
ought to encourage the recruiting those numbers which we are every day
losing in the war.--But where is she? Prithee, Tom, show me." He then
began to beat about, in the same language and in the same manner as if
he had been beating for a hare; and at last cried out, "Soho! Puss is
not far off. Here's her form, upon my soul; I believe I may cry stole
away." And indeed so he might; for he had now discovered the place
whence the poor girl had, at the beginning of the fray, stolen away,
upon as many feet as a hare generally uses in travelling.
Sophia now desired her father to return home; saying she found herself
very faint, and apprehended a relapse. The squire immediately complied
with his daughter's request (for he was the fondest of parents). He
earnestly endeavoured to prevail with the whole company to go and sup
with him: but Blifil and Thwackum absolutely refused; the former
saying, there were more reasons than he could then mention, why he
must decline this honour; and the latter declaring (perhaps rightly)
that it was not proper for a person of his function to be seen at any
place in his present condition.