BOOK XVI. CONTAINING THE SPACE OF FIVE DAYS.
8. Chapter viii. Schemes of Lady Bellaston...
Schemes of Lady Bellaston for the ruin of Jones.
Love had taken too deep a root in the mind of Lord Fellamar to be
plucked up by the rude hands of Mr Western. In the heat of resentment
he had, indeed, given a commission to Captain Egglane, which the
captain had far exceeded in the execution; nor had it been executed at
all, had his lordship been able to find the captain after he had seen
Lady Bellaston, which was in the afternoon of the day after he had
received the affront; but so industrious was the captain in the
discharge of his duty, that, having after long enquiry found out the
squire's lodgings very late in the evening, he sat up all night at a
tavern, that he might not miss the squire in the morning, and by that
means missed the revocation which my lord had sent to his lodgings.
In the afternoon then next after the intended rape of Sophia, his
lordship, as we have said, made a visit to Lady Bellaston, who laid
open so much of the character of the squire, that his lordship plainly
saw the absurdity he had been guilty of in taking any offence at his
words, especially as he had those honourable designs on his daughter.
He then unbosomed the violence of his passion to Lady Bellaston, who
readily undertook the cause, and encouraged him with certain assurance
of a most favourable reception from all the elders of the family, and
from the father himself when he should be sober, and should be made
acquainted with the nature of the offer made to his daughter. The only
danger, she said, lay in the fellow she had formerly mentioned, who,
though a beggar and a vagabond, had, by some means or other, she knew
not what, procured himself tolerable cloaths, and past for a
gentleman. "Now," says she, "as I have, for the sake of my cousin,
made it my business to enquire after this fellow, I have luckily found
out his lodgings;" with which she then acquainted his lordship. "I am
thinking, my lord," added she "(for this fellow is too mean for your
personal resentment), whether it would not be possible for your
lordship to contrive some method of having him pressed and sent on
board a ship. Neither law nor conscience forbid this project: for the
fellow, I promise you, however well drest, is but a vagabond, and as
proper as any fellow in the streets to be pressed into the service;
and as for the conscientious part, surely the preservation of a young
lady from such ruin is a most meritorious act; nay, with regard to the
fellow himself, unless he could succeed (which Heaven forbid) with my
cousin, it may probably be the means of preserving him from the
gallows, and perhaps may make his fortune in an honest way."