BOOK XIV. CONTAINING TWO DAYS.
7. Chapter vii. The interview...
"O, my dear friend!" cries Nightingale, "I wanted not your eloquence
to rouse me. I pity poor Nancy from my soul, and would willingly give
anything in my power that no familiarities had ever passed between us.
Nay, believe me, I had many struggles with my passion before I could
prevail with myself to write that cruel letter, which hath caused all
the misery in that unhappy family. If I had no inclinations to consult
but my own, I would marry her to-morrow morning: I would, by heaven!
but you will easily imagine how impossible it would be to prevail on
my father to consent to such a match; besides, he hath provided
another for me; and to-morrow, by his express command, I am to wait on
"I have not the honour to know your father," said Jones; "but, suppose
he could be persuaded, would you yourself consent to the only means of
preserving these poor people?" "As eagerly as I would pursue my
happiness," answered Nightingale: "for I never shall find it in any
other woman.--O, my dear friend! could you imagine what I have felt
within these twelve hours for my poor girl, I am convinced she would
not engross all your pity. Passion leads me only to her; and, if I had
any foolish scruples of honour, you have fully satisfied them: could
my father be induced to comply with my desires, nothing would be
wanting to compleat my own happiness or that of my Nancy."
"Then I am resolved to undertake it," said Jones. "You must not be
angry with me, in whatever light it may be necessary to set this
affair, which, you may depend on it, could not otherwise be long hid
from him: for things of this nature make a quick progress when once
they get abroad, as this unhappily hath already. Besides, should any
fatal accident follow, as upon my soul I am afraid will, unless
immediately prevented, the public would ring of your name in a manner
which, if your father hath common humanity, must offend him. If you
will therefore tell me where I may find the old gentleman, I will not
lose a moment in the business; which, while I pursue, you cannot do a
more generous action than by paying a visit to the poor girl. You will
find I have not exaggerated in the account I have given of the
wretchedness of the family."