BOOK X. IN WHICH THE HISTORY GOES FORWARD ABOUT TWELVE HOURS.
3. Chapter iii. A dialogue between the landlady and Susan...
Susan being thus silenced, her mistress proceeded to other matters.
"And so you tell me," continued she, "that the strange gentleman came
post, and there is a footman without with the horses; why, then, he is
certainly some of your great gentlefolks too. Why did not you ask him
whether he'd have any supper? I think he is in the other gentleman's
room; go up and ask whether he called. Perhaps he'll order something
when he finds anybody stirring in the house to dress it. Now don't
commit any of your usual blunders, by telling him the fire's out, and
the fowls alive. And if he should order mutton, don't blab out that we
have none. The butcher, I know, killed a sheep just before I went to
bed, and he never refuses to cut it up warm when I desire it. Go,
remember there's all sorts of mutton and fowls; go, open the door
with, Gentlemen, d'ye call? and if they say nothing, ask what his
honour will be pleased to have for supper? Don't forget his honour.
Go; if you don't mind all these matters better, you'll never come to
Susan departed, and soon returned with an account that the two
gentlemen were got both into the same bed. "Two gentlemen," says the
landlady, "in the same bed! that's impossible; they are two arrant
scrubs, I warrant them; and I believe young Squire Allworthy guessed
right, that the fellow intended to rob her ladyship; for, if he had
broke open the lady's door with any of the wicked designs of a
gentleman, he would never have sneaked away to another room to save
the expense of a supper and a bed to himself. They are certainly
thieves, and their searching after a wife is nothing but a pretence."
In these censures my landlady did Mr Fitzpatrick great injustice; for
he was really born a gentleman, though not worth a groat; and though,
perhaps, he had some few blemishes in his heart as well as in his
head, yet being a sneaking or a niggardly fellow was not one of them.
In reality, he was so generous a man, that, whereas he had received a
very handsome fortune with his wife, he had now spent every penny of
it, except some little pittance which was settled upon her; and, in
order to possess himself of this, he had used her with such cruelty,
that, together with his jealousy, which was of the bitterest kind, it
had forced the poor woman to run away from him.