BOOK XVII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
1. Chapter i. Containing a portion of introductory writing.
Containing a portion of introductory writing.
When a comic writer hath made his principal characters as happy as he
can, or when a tragic writer hath brought them to the highest pitch of
human misery, they both conclude their business to be done, and that
their work is come to a period.
Had we been of the tragic complexion, the reader must now allow we
were very nearly arrived at this period, since it would be difficult
for the devil, or any of his representatives on earth, to have
contrived much greater torments for poor Jones than those in which we
left him in the last chapter; and as for Sophia, a good-natured woman
would hardly wish more uneasiness to a rival than what she must at
present be supposed to feel. What then remains to complete the tragedy
but a murder or two and a few moral sentences!
But to bring our favourites out of their present anguish and distress,
and to land them at last on the shore of happiness, seems a much
harder task; a task indeed so hard that we do not undertake to execute
it. In regard to Sophia, it is more than probable that we shall
somewhere or other provide a good husband for her in the end--either
Blifil, or my lord, or somebody else; but as to poor Jones, such are
the calamities in which he is at present involved, owing to his
imprudence, by which if a man doth not become felon to the world, he
is at least a felo de se; so destitute is he now of friends, and so
persecuted by enemies, that we almost despair of bringing him to any
good; and if our reader delights in seeing executions, I think he
ought not to lose any time in taking a first row at Tyburn.
This I faithfully promise, that, notwithstanding any affection which
we may be supposed to have for this rogue, whom we have unfortunately
made our heroe, we will lend him none of that supernatural assistance
with which we are entrusted, upon condition that we use it only on
very important occasions. If he doth not therefore find some natural
means of fairly extricating himself from all his distresses, we will
do no violence to the truth and dignity of history for his sake; for
we had rather relate that he was hanged at Tyburn (which may very
probably be the case) than forfeit our integrity, or shock the faith
of our reader.