BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
9. Chapter ix. The wise demeanour of Mr Western...
But this offence was not of quite so high a nature, nor so dangerous
to the society. Here, therefore, the justice behaved with some
attention to the advice of his clerk; for, in fact, he had already had
two informations exhibited against him in the King's Bench, and had no
curiosity to try a third.
The squire, therefore, putting on a most wise and significant
countenance, after a preface of several hums and hahs, told his
sister, that upon more mature deliberation, he was of opinion, that
"as there was no breaking up of the peace, such as the law," says he,
"calls breaking open a door, or breaking a hedge, or breaking a head,
or any such sort of breaking, the matter did not amount to a felonious
kind of a thing, nor trespasses, nor damages, and, therefore, there
was no punishment in the law for it."
Mrs Western said, "she knew the law much better; that she had known
servants very severely punished for affronting their masters;" and
then named a certain justice of the peace in London, "who," she said,
"would commit a servant to Bridewell at any time when a master or
mistress desired it."
"Like enough," cries the squire; "it may be so in London; but the law
is different in the country." Here followed a very learned dispute
between the brother and sister concerning the law, which we would
insert, if we imagined many of our readers could understand it. This
was, however, at length referred by both parties to the clerk, who
decided it in favour of the magistrate; and Mrs Western was, in the
end, obliged to content herself with the satisfaction of having Honour
turned away; to which Sophia herself very readily and cheerfully
Thus Fortune, after having diverted herself, according to custom, with
two or three frolicks, at last disposed all matters to the advantage
of our heroine; who indeed succeeded admirably well in her deceit,
considering it was the first she had ever practised. And, to say the
truth, I have often concluded, that the honest part of mankind would
be much too hard for the knavish, if they could bring themselves to
incur the guilt, or thought it worth their while to take the trouble.