Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

4. Chapter iv. An extraordinary scene... (continued)

The servants were no sooner departed after dinner than Mrs Western, who had opened the matter to Sophia, informed her, "That she expected his lordship that very afternoon, and intended to take the first opportunity of leaving her alone with him." "If you do, madam," answered Sophia, with some spirit, "I shall take the first opportunity of leaving him by himself." "How! madam!" cries the aunt; "is this the return you make me for my kindness in relieving you from your confinement at your father's?" "You know, madam," said Sophia, "the cause of that confinement was a refusal to comply with my father in accepting a man I detested; and will my dear aunt, who hath relieved me from that distress, involve me in another equally bad?" "And do you think then, madam," answered Mrs Western, "that there is no difference between my Lord Fellamar and Mr Blifil?" "Very little, in my opinion," cries Sophia; "and, if I must be condemned to one, I would certainly have the merit of sacrificing myself to my father's pleasure." "Then my pleasure, I find," said the aunt, "hath very little weight with you; but that consideration shall not move me. I act from nobler motives. The view of aggrandizing my family, of ennobling yourself, is what I proceed upon. Have you no sense of ambition? Are there no charms in the thoughts of having a coronet on your coach?" "None, upon my honour," said Sophia. "A pincushion upon my coach would please me just as well." "Never mention honour," cries the aunt. "It becomes not the mouth of such a wretch. I am sorry, niece, you force me to use these words, but I cannot bear your groveling temper; you have none of the blood of the Westerns in you. But, however mean and base your own ideas are, you shall bring no imputation on mine. I will never suffer the world to say of me that I encouraged you in refusing one of the best matches in England; a match which, besides its advantage in fortune, would do honour to almost any family, and hath, indeed, in title, the advantage of ours." "Surely," says Sophia, "I am born deficient, and have not the senses with which other people are blessed; there must be certainly some sense which can relish the delights of sound and show, which I have not; for surely mankind would not labour so much, nor sacrifice so much for the obtaining, nor would they be so elate and proud with possessing, what appeared to them, as it doth to me, the most insignificant of all trifles."

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