BOOK XVIII. CONTAINING ABOUT SIX DAYS.
2. Chapter ii. Containing a very tragical incident.
The rest of the conversation which passed at the visit is not
important enough to be here related. The reader will, therefore,
forgive us this abrupt breaking off, and be pleased to hear how this
great good-will of the squire towards his daughter was brought about.
Mrs Western, on her first arrival at her brother's lodging, began to
set forth the great honours and advantages which would accrue to the
family by the match with Lord Fellamar, which her niece had absolutely
refused; in which refusal, when the squire took the part of his
daughter, she fell immediately into the most violent passion, and so
irritated and provoked the squire, that neither his patience nor his
prudence could bear it any longer; upon which there ensued between
them both so warm a bout at altercation, that perhaps the regions of
Billingsgate never equalled it. In the heat of this scolding Mrs
Western departed, and had consequently no leisure to acquaint her
brother with the letter which Sophia received, which might have
possibly produced ill effects; but, to say truth, I believe it never
once occurred to her memory at this time.
When Mrs Western was gone, Sophia, who had been hitherto silent, as
well indeed from necessity as inclination, began to return the
compliment which her father had made her, in taking her part against
her aunt, by taking his likewise against the lady. This was the first
time of her so doing, and it was in the highest degree acceptable to
the squire. Again, he remembered that Mr Allworthy had insisted on an
entire relinquishment of all violent means; and, indeed, as he made no
doubt but that Jones would be hanged, he did not in the least question
succeeding with his daughter by fair means; he now, therefore, once
more gave a loose to his natural fondness for her, which had such an
effect on the dutiful, grateful, tender, and affectionate heart of
Sophia, that had her honour, given to Jones, and something else,
perhaps, in which he was concerned, been removed, I much doubt whether
she would not have sacrificed herself to a man she did not like, to
have obliged her father. She promised him she would make it the whole
business of her life to oblige him, and would never marry any man
against his consent; which brought the old man so near to his highest
happiness, that he was resolved to take the other step, and went to
bed completely drunk.