Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

12. Chapter xii. Relates that Mr Jones continued his journey...

Relates that Mr Jones continued his journey, contrary to the advice of Partridge, with what happened on that occasion.

They now discovered a light at some distance, to the great pleasure of Jones, and to the no small terror of Partridge, who firmly believed himself to be bewitched, and that this light was a Jack-with-a-lantern, or somewhat more mischievous.

But how were these fears increased, when, as they approached nearer to this light (or lights as they now appeared), they heard a confused sound of human voices; of singing, laughing, and hallowing, together with a strange noise that seemed to proceed from some instruments; but could hardly be allowed the name of music! indeed, to favour a little the opinion of Partridge, it might very well be called music bewitched.

It is impossible to conceive a much greater degree of horror than what now seized on Partridge; the contagion of which had reached the post-boy, who had been very attentive to many things that the other had uttered. He now, therefore, joined in petitioning Jones to return; saying he firmly believed what Partridge had just before said, that though the horses seemed to go on, they had not moved a step forwards during at least the last half-hour.

Jones could not help smiling in the midst of his vexation, at the fears of these poor fellows. "Either we advance," says he, "towards the lights, or the lights have advanced towards us; for we are now at a very little distance from them; but how can either of you be afraid of a set of people who appear only to be merry-making?"

"Merry-making, sir!" cries Partridge; "who could be merry-making at this time of night, and in such a place, and such weather? They can be nothing but ghosts or witches, or some evil spirits or other, that's certain."

"Let them be what they will," cries Jones, "I am resolved to go up to them, and enquire the way to Coventry. All witches, Partridge, are not such ill-natured hags as that we had the misfortune to meet with last."

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