BOOK VI. CONTAINING ABOUT THREE WEEKS.
7. Chapter vii. A picture of formal courtship in miniature...
Sophia perceiving her father in this fit of affection, which she did
not absolutely know the reason of (for fits of fondness were not
unusual to him, though this was rather more violent than ordinary),
thought she should never have a better opportunity of disclosing
herself than at present, as far at least as regarded Mr Blifil; and
she too well foresaw the necessity which she should soon be under of
coming to a full explanation. After having thanked the squire,
therefore, for all his professions of kindness, she added, with a look
full of inexpressible softness, "And is it possible my papa can be so
good to place all his joy in his Sophy's happiness?" which Western
having confirmed by a great oath, and a kiss; she then laid hold of
his hand, and, falling on her knees, after many warm and passionate
declarations of affection and duty, she begged him "not to make her
the most miserable creature on earth by forcing her to marry a man
whom she detested. This I entreat of you, dear sir," said she, "for
your sake, as well as my own, since you are so very kind to tell me
your happiness depends on mine."--"How! what!" says Western, staring
wildly. "Oh! sir," continued she, "not only your poor Sophy's
happiness; her very life, her being, depends upon your granting her
request. I cannot live with Mr Blifil. To force me into this marriage
would be killing me."--"You can't live with Mr Blifil?" says Western.
"No, upon my soul I can't," answered Sophia. "Then die and be d--d,"
cries he, spurning her from him. "Oh! sir," cries Sophia, catching
hold of the skirt of his coat, "take pity on me, I beseech you. Don't
look and say such cruel--Can you be unmoved while you see your Sophy
in this dreadful condition? Can the best of fathers break my heart?
Will he kill me by the most painful, cruel, lingering death?"--"Pooh!
pooh!" cries the squire; "all stuff and nonsense; all maidenish
tricks. Kill you, indeed! Will marriage kill you?"--"Oh! sir,"
answered Sophia, "such a marriage is worse than death. He is not even
indifferent; I hate and detest him."--"If you detest un never so
much," cries Western, "you shall ha'un." This he bound by an oath too
shocking to repeat; and after many violent asseverations, concluded in
these words: "I am resolved upon the match, and unless you consent to
it I will not give you a groat, not a single farthing; no, though I
saw you expiring with famine in the street, I would not relieve you
with a morsel of bread. This is my fixed resolution, and so I leave
you to consider on it." He then broke from her with such violence,
that her face dashed against the floor; and he burst directly out of
the room, leaving poor Sophia prostrate on the ground.