BOOK VIII. CONTAINING ABOUT TWO DAYS.
5. Chapter v. A dialogue between Mr Jones and the barber.
Not that Jones desired to conceal or to disguise the truth; nay, he
would have been more unwilling to have suffered any censure to fall on
Mr Allworthy for punishing him, than on his own actions for deserving
it; but, in reality, so it happened, and so it always will happen; for
let a man be never so honest, the account of his own conduct will, in
spite of himself, be so very favourable, that his vices will come
purified through his lips, and, like foul liquors well strained, will
leave all their foulness behind. For though the facts themselves may
appear, yet so different will be the motives, circumstances, and
consequences, when a man tells his own story, and when his enemy tells
it, that we scarce can recognise the facts to be one and the same.
Though the barber had drank down this story with greedy ears, he was
not yet satisfied. There was a circumstance behind which his
curiosity, cold as it was, most eagerly longed for. Jones had
mentioned the fact of his amour, and of his being the rival of Blifil,
but had cautiously concealed the name of the young lady. The barber,
therefore, after some hesitation, and many hums and hahs, at last
begged leave to crave the name of the lady, who appeared to be the
principal cause of all this mischief. Jones paused a moment, and then
said, "Since I have trusted you with so much, and since, I am afraid,
her name is become too publick already on this occasion, I will not
conceal it from you. Her name is Sophia Western."
"Proh deum atque hominum fidem! Squire Western hath a daughter grown
a woman!"--"Ay, and such a woman," cries Jones, "that the world cannot
match. No eye ever saw anything so beautiful; but that is her least
excellence. Such sense! such goodness! Oh, I could praise her for
ever, and yet should omit half her virtues!"--"Mr Western a daughter
grown up!" cries the barber: "I remember the father a boy; well,
Tempus edax rerum."