BOOK XV. IN WHICH THE HISTORY ADVANCES ABOUT TWO DAYS.
10. Chapter x. Consisting partly of facts...
Consisting partly of facts, and partly of observations upon them.
The letter then which arrived at the end of the preceding chapter was
from Mr Allworthy, and the purport of it was, his intention to come
immediately to town, with his nephew Blifil, and a desire to be
accommodated with his usual lodgings, which were the first floor for
himself, and the second for his nephew.
The chearfulness which had before displayed itself in the countenance
of the poor woman was a little clouded on this occasion. This news did
indeed a good deal disconcert her. To requite so disinterested a match
with her daughter, by presently turning her new son-in-law out of
doors, appeared to her very unjustifiable on the one hand; and on the
other, she could scarce bear the thoughts of making any excuse to Mr
Allworthy, after all the obligations received from him, for depriving
him of lodgings which were indeed strictly his due; for that
gentleman, in conferring all his numberless benefits on others, acted
by a rule diametrically opposite to what is practised by most generous
people. He contrived, on all occasions, to hide his beneficence, not
only from the world, but even from the object of it. He constantly
used the words Lend and Pay, instead of Give; and by every other
method he could invent, always lessened with his tongue the favours he
conferred, while he was heaping them with both his hands. When he
settled the annuity of L50 a year therefore on Mrs Miller, he told
her, "it was in consideration of always having her first-floor when he
was in town (which he scarce ever intended to be), but that she might
let it at any other time, for that he would always send her a month's
warning." He was now, however, hurried to town so suddenly, that he
had no opportunity of giving such notice; and this hurry probably
prevented him, when he wrote for his lodgings, adding, if they were
then empty; for he would most certainly have been well satisfied to
have relinquished them, on a less sufficient excuse than what Mrs
Miller could now have made.
But there are a sort of persons, who, as Prior excellently well
remarks, direct their conduct by something
Beyond the fix'd and settled rules
Of vice and virtue in the schools,
Beyond the letter of the law.