BOOK VI. CONTAINING ABOUT THREE WEEKS.
4. Chapter iv. Containing sundry curious matters.
Containing sundry curious matters.
As soon as Mr Allworthy returned home, he took Mr Blifil apart, and
after some preface, communicated to him the proposal which had been
made by Mr Western, and at the same time informed him how agreeable
this match would be to himself.
The charms of Sophia had not made the least impression on Blifil; not
that his heart was pre-engaged; neither was he totally insensible of
beauty, or had any aversion to women; but his appetites were by nature
so moderate, that he was able, by philosophy, or by study, or by some
other method, easily to subdue them: and as to that passion which we
have treated of in the first chapter of this book, he had not the
least tincture of it in his whole composition.
But though he was so entirely free from that mixed passion, of which
we there treated, and of which the virtues and beauty of Sophia formed
so notable an object; yet was he altogether as well furnished with
some other passions, that promised themselves very full gratification
in the young lady's fortune. Such were avarice and ambition, which
divided the dominion of his mind between them. He had more than once
considered the possession of this fortune as a very desirable thing,
and had entertained some distant views concerning it; but his own
youth, and that of the young lady, and indeed principally a reflection
that Mr Western might marry again, and have more children, had
restrained him from too hasty or eager a pursuit.
This last and most material objection was now in great measure
removed, as the proposal came from Mr Western himself. Blifil,
therefore, after a very short hesitation, answered Mr Allworthy, that
matrimony was a subject on which he had not yet thought; but that he
was so sensible of his friendly and fatherly care, that he should in
all things submit himself to his pleasure.
Allworthy was naturally a man of spirit, and his present gravity arose
from true wisdom and philosophy, not from any original phlegm in his
disposition; for he had possessed much fire in his youth, and had
married a beautiful woman for love. He was not therefore greatly
pleased with this cold answer of his nephew; nor could he help
launching forth into the praises of Sophia, and expressing some wonder
that the heart of a young man could be impregnable to the force of
such charms, unless it was guarded by some prior affection.