BOOK XIV. CONTAINING TWO DAYS.
7. Chapter vii. The interview...
The interview between Mr Jones and Mr Nightingale.
The good or evil we confer on others very often, I believe, recoils on
ourselves. For as men of a benign disposition enjoy their own acts of
beneficence equally with those to whom they are done, so there are
scarce any natures so entirely diabolical, as to be capable of doing
injuries, without paying themselves some pangs for the ruin which they
bring on their fellow-creatures.
Mr Nightingale, at least, was not such a person. On the contrary,
Jones found him in his new lodgings, sitting melancholy by the fire,
and silently lamenting the unhappy situation in which he had placed
poor Nancy. He no sooner saw his friend appear than he arose hastily
to meet him; and after much congratulation said, "Nothing could be
more opportune than this kind visit; for I was never more in the
spleen in my life."
"I am sorry," answered Jones, "that I bring news very unlikely to
relieve you: nay, what I am convinced must, of all other, shock you
the most. However, it is necessary you should know it. Without further
preface, then, I come to you, Mr Nightingale, from a worthy family,
which you have involved in misery and ruin." Mr Nightingale changed
colour at these words; but Jones, without regarding it, proceeded, in
the liveliest manner, to paint the tragical story with which the
reader was acquainted in the last chapter.
Nightingale never once interrupted the narration, though he discovered
violent emotions at many parts of it. But when it was concluded, after
fetching a deep sigh, he said, "What you tell me, my friend, affects
me in the tenderest manner. Sure there never was so cursed an accident
as the poor girl's betraying my letter. Her reputation might otherwise
have been safe, and the affair might have remained a profound secret;
and then the girl might have gone off never the worse; for many such
things happen in this town: and if the husband should suspect a
little, when it is too late, it will be his wiser conduct to conceal
his suspicion both from his wife and the world."