BOOK VI. CONTAINING ABOUT THREE WEEKS.
13. Chapter xiii. The behaviour of Sophia on the present occasion...
The behaviour of Sophia on the present occasion; which none of her sex
will blame, who are capable of behaving in the same manner. And the
discussion of a knotty point in the court of conscience.
Sophia had passed the last twenty-four hours in no very desirable
manner. During a large part of them she had been entertained by her
aunt with lectures of prudence, recommending to her the example of the
polite world, where love (so the good lady said) is at present
entirely laughed at, and where women consider matrimony, as men do
offices of public trust, only as the means of making their fortunes,
and of advancing themselves in the world. In commenting on which text
Mrs Western had displayed her eloquence during several hours.
These sagacious lectures, though little suited either to the taste or
inclination of Sophia, were, however, less irksome to her than her own
thoughts, that formed the entertainment of the night, during which she
never once closed her eyes.
But though she could neither sleep nor rest in her bed, yet, having no
avocation from it, she was found there by her father at his return
from Allworthy's, which was not till past ten o'clock in the morning.
He went directly up to her apartment, opened the door, and seeing she
was not up, cried, "Oh! you are safe then, and I am resolved to keep
you so." He then locked the door, and delivered the key to Honour,
having first given her the strictest charge, with great promises of
rewards for her fidelity, and most dreadful menaces of punishment in
case she should betray her trust.
Honour's orders were, not to suffer her mistress to come out of her
room without the authority of the squire himself, and to admit none to
her but him and her aunt; but she was herself to attend her with
whatever Sophia pleased, except only pen, ink, and paper, of which she
was forbidden the use.
The squire ordered his daughter to dress herself and attend him at
dinner; which she obeyed; and having sat the usual time, was again
conducted to her prison.