BOOK XVI. CONTAINING THE SPACE OF FIVE DAYS.
2. Chapter ii. A whimsical adventure...
The second morning after his arrival, while he and the parson were at
breakfast together on a toast and tankard, he was informed that a
gentleman was below to wait on him.
"A gentleman!" quoth the squire, "who the devil can he be? Do, doctor,
go down and see who 'tis. Mr Blifil can hardly be come to town
yet.--Go down, do, and know what his business is."
The doctor returned with an account that it was a very well-drest man,
and by the ribbon in his hat he took him for an officer of the army;
that he said he had some particular business, which he could deliver
to none but Mr Western himself.
"An officer!" cries the squire; "what can any such fellow have to do
with me? If he wants an order for baggage-waggons, I am no justice of
peace here, nor can I grant a warrant.--Let un come up then, if he
must speak to me."
A very genteel man now entered the room; who, having made his
compliments to the squire, and desired the favour of being alone with
him, delivered himself as follows:--
"Sir, I come to wait upon you by the command of my Lord Fellamar; but
with a very different message from what I suppose you expect, after
what past the other night."
"My lord who?" cries the squire; "I never heard the name o'un."
"His lordship," said the gentleman, "is willing to impute everything
to the effect of liquor, and the most trifling acknowledgment of that
kind will set everything right; for as he hath the most violent
attachment to your daughter, you, sir, are the last person upon earth
from whom he would resent an affront; and happy is it for you both
that he hath given such public demonstrations of his courage as to be
able to put up an affair of this kind without danger of any imputation
on his honour. All he desires, therefore, is, that you will before me
make some acknowledgment; the slightest in the world will be
sufficient; and he intends this afternoon to pay his respects to you,
in order to obtain your leave of visiting the young lady on the
footing of a lover."