BOOK X. IN WHICH THE HISTORY GOES FORWARD ABOUT TWELVE HOURS.
8. Chapter viii. In which the history goes backward.
In which the history goes backward.
Before we proceed any farther in our history, it may be proper to look
a little back, in order to account for the extraordinary appearance of
Sophia and her father at the inn at Upton.
The reader may be pleased to remember that, in the ninth chapter of
the seventh book of our history, we left Sophia, after a long debate
between love and duty, deciding the cause, as it usually, I believe,
happens, in favour of the former.
This debate had arisen, as we have there shown, from a visit which her
father had just before made her, in order to force her consent to a
marriage with Blifil; and which he had understood to be fully implied
in her acknowledgment "that she neither must nor could refuse any
absolute command of his."
Now from this visit the squire retired to his evening potation,
overjoyed at the success he had gained with his daughter; and, as he
was of a social disposition, and willing to have partakers in his
happiness, the beer was ordered to flow very liberally into the
kitchen; so that before eleven in the evening there was not a single
person sober in the house except only Mrs Western herself and the
Early in the morning a messenger was despatched to summon Mr Blifil;
for, though the squire imagined that young gentleman had been much
less acquainted than he really was with the former aversion of his
daughter, as he had not, however, yet received her consent, he longed
impatiently to communicate it to him, not doubting but that the
intended bride herself would confirm it with her lips. As to the
wedding, it had the evening before been fixed, by the male parties, to
be celebrated on the next morning save one.
Breakfast was now set forth in the parlour, where Mr Blifil attended,
and where the squire and his sister likewise were assembled; and now
Sophia was ordered to be called.
O, Shakespear! had I thy pen! O, Hogarth! had I thy pencil! then would
I draw the picture of the poor serving-man, who, with pale
countenance, staring eyes, chattering teeth, faultering tongue, and