Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

9. Chapter ix. Containing love-letters of several sorts.

Containing love-letters of several sorts.

Mr Jones, at his return home, found the following letters lying on his table, which he luckily opened in the order they were sent.


"Surely I am under some strange infatuation; I cannot keep my resolutions a moment, however strongly made or justly founded. Last night I resolved never to see you more; this morning I am willing to hear if you can, as you say, clear up this affair. And yet I know that to be impossible. I have said everything to myself which you can invent.----Perhaps not. Perhaps your invention is stronger. Come to me, therefore, the moment you receive this. If you can forge an excuse I almost promise you to believe it. Betrayed too----I will think no more.----Come to me directly.----This is the third letter I have writ, the two former are burnt----I am almost inclined to burn this too----I wish I may preserve my senses.----Come to me presently."


"If you ever expect to be forgiven, or even suffered within my doors, come to me this instant."


"I now find you was not at home when my notes came to your lodgings. The moment you receive this let me see you;--I shall not stir out; nor shall anybody be let in but yourself. Sure nothing can detain you long."

Jones had just read over these three billets when Mr Nightingale came into the room. "Well, Tom," said he, "any news from Lady Bellaston, after last night's adventure?" (for it was now no secret to any one in that house who the lady was). "The Lady Bellaston?" answered Jones very gravely.----"Nay, dear Tom," cries Nightingale, "don't be so reserved to your friends. Though I was too drunk to see her last night, I saw her at the masquerade. Do you think I am ignorant who the queen of the fairies is?" "And did you really then know the lady at the masquerade?" said Jones. "Yes, upon my soul, did I," said Nightingale, "and have given you twenty hints of it since, though you seemed always so tender on that point, that I would not speak plainly. I fancy, my friend, by your extreme nicety in this matter, you are not so well acquainted with the character of the lady as with her person. Don't be angry, Tom, but upon my honour, you are not the first young fellow she hath debauched. Her reputation is in no danger, believe me."

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