BOOK XVII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
7. Chapter vii. A pathetic scene...
A pathetic scene between Mr Allworthy and Mrs Miller.
Mrs Miller had a long discourse with Mr Allworthy, at his return from
dinner, in which she acquainted him with Jones's having unfortunately
lost all which he was pleased to bestow on him at their separation;
and with the distresses to which that loss had subjected him; of all
which she had received a full account from the faithful retailer
Partridge. She then explained the obligations she had to Jones; not
that she was entirely explicit with regard to her daughter; for though
she had the utmost confidence in Mr Allworthy, and though there could
be no hopes of keeping an affair secret which was unhappily known to
more than half a dozen, yet she could not prevail with herself to
mention those circumstances which reflected most on the chastity of
poor Nancy, but smothered that part of her evidence as cautiously as
if she had been before a judge, and the girl was now on her trial for
the murder of a bastard.
Allworthy said, there were few characters so absolutely vicious as not
to have the least mixture of good in them. "However," says he, "I
cannot deny but that you have some obligations to the fellow, bad as
he is, and I shall therefore excuse what hath past already, but must
insist you never mention his name to me more; for, I promise you, it
was upon the fullest and plainest evidence that I resolved to take the
measures I have taken." "Well, sir," says she, "I make not the least
doubt but time will shew all matters in their true and natural
colours, and that you will be convinced this poor young man deserves
better of you than some other folks that shall be nameless."
"Madam," cries Allworthy, a little ruffled, "I will not hear any
reflections on my nephew; and if ever you say a word more of that
kind, I will depart from your house that instant. He is the worthiest
and best of men; and I once more repeat it to you, he hath carried his
friendship to this man to a blameable length, by too long concealing
facts of the blackest die. The ingratitude of the wretch to this good
young man is what I most resent; for, madam, I have the greatest
reason to imagine he had laid a plot to supplant my nephew in my
favour, and to have disinherited him."