BOOK XVII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
3. Chapter iii. The arrival of Mr Western...
"You surprize me much, my good friend," said Allworthy. "Why, zounds!
I am surprized myself," answered the squire. "I went to zee sister
Western last night, according to her own appointment, and there I was
had into a whole room full of women. There was my lady cousin
Bellaston, and my Lady Betty, and my Lady Catherine, and my lady I
don't know who; d--n me, if ever you catch me among such a kennel of
hoop-petticoat b--s! D--n me, I'd rather be run by my own dogs, as one
Acton was, that the story-book says was turned into a hare, and his
own dogs killed un and eat un. Od-rabbit it, no mortal was ever run in
such a manner; if I dodged one way, one had me; if I offered to clap
back, another snapped me. `O! certainly one of the greatest matches in
England,' says one cousin (here he attempted to mimic them); `A very
advantageous offer indeed,' cries another cousin (for you must know
they be all my cousins, thof I never zeed half o' um before).
`Surely,' says that fat a--se b--, my Lady Bellaston, `cousin, you
must be out of your wits to think of refusing such an offer.'"
"Now I begin to understand," says Allworthy; "some person hath made
proposals to Miss Western, which the ladies of the family approve, but
is not to your liking."
"My liking!" said Western, "how the devil should it? I tell you it is
a lord, and those are always volks whom you know I always resolved to
have nothing to do with. Did unt I refuse a matter of vorty years'
purchase now for a bit of land, which one o' um had a mind to put into
a park, only because I would have no dealings with lords, and dost
think I would marry my daughter zu? Besides, ben't I engaged to you,
and did I ever go off any bargain when I had promised?"
"As to that point, neighbour," said Allworthy, "I entirely release you
from any engagement. No contract can be binding between parties who
have not a full power to make it at the time, nor ever afterwards
acquire the power of fulfilling it."