BOOK XVII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
2. Chapter ii. The generous and grateful behaviour of Mrs Miller.
The generous and grateful behaviour of Mrs Miller.
Mr Allworthy and Mrs Miller were just sat down to breakfast, when
Blifil, who had gone out very early that morning, returned to make one
of the company.
He had not been long seated before he began as follows: "Good Lord! my
dear uncle, what do you think hath happened? I vow I am afraid of
telling it you, for fear of shocking you with the remembrance of ever
having shewn any kindness to such a villain." "What is the matter,
child?" said the uncle. "I fear I have shewn kindness in my life to
the unworthy more than once. But charity doth not adopt the vices of
its objects." "O, sir!" returned Blifil, "it is not without the secret
direction of Providence that you mention the word adoption. Your
adopted son, sir, that Jones, that wretch whom you nourished in your
bosom, hath proved one of the greatest villains upon earth." "By all
that's sacred 'tis false," cries Mrs Miller. "Mr Jones is no villain.
He is one of the worthiest creatures breathing; and if any other
person had called him villain, I would have thrown all this boiling
water in his face." Mr Allworthy looked very much amazed at this
behaviour. But she did not give him leave to speak, before, turning to
him, she cried, "I hope you will not be angry with me; I would not
offend you, sir, for the world; but, indeed, I could not bear to hear
him called so." "I must own, madam," said Allworthy, very gravely, "I
am a little surprized to hear you so warmly defend a fellow you do not
know." "O! I do know him, Mr Allworthy," said she, "indeed I do; I
should be the most ungrateful of all wretches if I denied it. O! he
hath preserved me and my little family; we have all reason to bless
him while we live.--And I pray Heaven to bless him, and turn the
hearts of his malicious enemies. I know, I find, I see, he hath such."
"You surprize me, madam, still more," said Allworthy; "sure you must
mean some other. It is impossible you should have any such obligations
to the man my nephew mentions." "Too surely," answered she, "I have
obligations to him of the greatest and tenderest kind. He hath been
the preserver of me and mine. Believe me, sir, he hath been abused,
grossly abused to you; I know he hath, or you, whom I know to be all
goodness and honour, would not, after the many kind and tender things
I have heard you say of this poor helpless child, have so disdainfully
called him fellow.--Indeed, my best of friends, he deserves a kinder
appellation from you, had you heard the good, the kind, the grateful
things which I have heard him utter of you. He never mentions your
name but with a sort of adoration. In this very room I have seen him
on his knees, imploring all the blessings of heaven upon your head. I
do not love that child there better than he loves you."