BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
9. Chapter ix. The wise demeanour of Mr Western...
Instances of this behaviour in parents are so common, that the reader,
I doubt not, will be very little astonished at the whole conduct of Mr
Western. If he should, I own I am not able to account for it; since
that he loved his daughter most tenderly, is, I think, beyond dispute.
So indeed have many others, who have rendered their children most
completely miserable by the same conduct; which, though it is almost
universal in parents, hath always appeared to me to be the most
unaccountable of all the absurdities which ever entered into the brain
of that strange prodigious creature man.
The latter part of Mr Western's behaviour had so strong an effect on
the tender heart of Sophia, that it suggested a thought to her, which
not all the sophistry of her politic aunt, nor all the menaces of her
father, had ever once brought into her head. She reverenced her father
so piously, and loved him so passionately, that she had scarce ever
felt more pleasing sensations, than what arose from the share she
frequently had of contributing to his amusement, and sometimes,
perhaps, to higher gratifications; for he never could contain the
delight of hearing her commended, which he had the satisfaction of
hearing almost every day of her life. The idea, therefore, of the
immense happiness she should convey to her father by her consent to
this match, made a strong impression on her mind. Again, the extreme
piety of such an act of obedience worked very forcibly, as she had a
very deep sense of religion. Lastly, when she reflected how much she
herself was to suffer, being indeed to become little less than a
sacrifice, or a martyr, to filial love and duty, she felt an agreeable
tickling in a certain little passion, which though it bears no
immediate affinity either to religion or virtue, is often so kind as
to lend great assistance in executing the purposes of both.
Sophia was charmed with the contemplation of so heroic an action, and
began to compliment herself with much premature flattery, when Cupid,
who lay hid in her muff, suddenly crept out, and like Punchinello in a
puppet-show, kicked all out before him. In truth (for we scorn to
deceive our reader, or to vindicate the character of our heroine by
ascribing her actions to supernatural impulse) the thoughts of her
beloved Jones, and some hopes (however distant) in which he was very
particularly concerned, immediately destroyed all which filial love,
piety, and pride had, with their joint endeavours, been labouring to