Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

6. Chapter vi. Containing, among other things... (continued)

Now, as the honesty of Partridge was equal to his understanding, and both dealt only in small matters, he would never have attempted a roguery of this kind, had he not imagined it altogether safe; for he was one of those who have more consideration of the gallows than of the fitness of things; but, in reality, he thought he might have committed this felony without any danger; for, besides that he doubted not but the name of Mr Allworthy would sufficiently quiet the landlord, he conceived they should be altogether safe, whatever turn affairs might take; as Jones, he imagined, would have friends enough on one side, and as his friends would as well secure him on the other.

When Mr Jones found that Partridge was in earnest in this proposal, he very severely rebuked him, and that in such bitter terms, that the other attempted to laugh it off, and presently turned the discourse to other matters; saying, he believed they were then in a bawdy house, and that he had with much ado prevented two wenches from disturbing his honour in the middle of the night. "Heyday!" says he, "I believe they got into your chamber whether I would or no; for here lies the muff of one of them on the ground." Indeed, as Jones returned to his bed in the dark, he had never perceived the muff on the quilt, and, in leaping into his bed, he had tumbled it on the floor. This Partridge now took up, and was going to put into his pocket, when Jones desired to see it. The muff was so very remarkable, that our heroe might possibly have recollected it without the information annexed. But his memory was not put to that hard office; for at the same instant he saw and read the words Sophia Western upon the paper which was pinned to it. His looks now grew frantic in a moment, and he eagerly cried out, "Oh Heavens! how came this muff here?" "I know no more than your honour," cried Partridge; "but I saw it upon the arm of one of the women who would have disturbed you, if I would have suffered them." "Where are they?" cries Jones, jumping out of bed, and laying hold of his cloaths. "Many miles off, I believe, by this time," said Partridge. And now Jones, upon further enquiry, was sufficiently assured that the bearer of this muff was no other than the lovely Sophia herself.

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