BOOK XVIII. CONTAINING ABOUT SIX DAYS.
10. Chapter x. Wherein the history begins to draw...
A servant now acquainted them that Mr Western was below-stairs; for
his eagerness to see Jones could not wait till the afternoon. Upon
which Jones, whose eyes were full of tears, begged his uncle to
entertain Western a few minutes, till he a little recovered himself;
to which the good man consented, and, having ordered Mr Western to be
shewn into a parlour, went down to him.
Mrs Miller no sooner heard that Jones was alone (for she had not yet
seen him since his release from prison) than she came eagerly into the
room, and, advancing towards Jones, wished him heartily joy of his
new-found uncle and his happy reconciliation; adding, "I wish I could
give you joy on another account, my dear child; but anything so
inexorable I never saw."
Jones, with some appearance of surprize, asked her what she meant.
"Why then," says she, "I have been with your young lady, and have
explained all matters to her, as they were told to me by my son
Nightingale. She can have no longer any doubt about the letter; of
that I am certain; for I told her my son Nightingale was ready to take
his oath, if she pleased, that it was all his own invention, and the
letter of his inditing. I told her the very reason of sending the
letter ought to recommend you to her the more, as it was all upon her
account, and a plain proof that you was resolved to quit all your
profligacy for the future; that you had never been guilty of a single
instance of infidelity to her since your seeing her in town: I am
afraid I went too far there; but Heaven forgive me! I hope your future
behaviour will be my justification. I am sure I have said all I can;
but all to no purpose. She remains inflexible. She says, she had
forgiven many faults on account of youth; but expressed such
detestation of the character of a libertine, that she absolutely
silenced me. I often attempted to excuse you; but the justness of her
accusation flew in my face. Upon my honour, she is a lovely woman, and
one of the sweetest and most sensible creatures I ever saw. I could
have almost kissed her for one expression she made use of. It was a
sentiment worthy of Seneca, or of a bishop. `I once fancied madam.'
and she, `I had discovered great goodness of heart in Mr Jones; and
for that I own I had a sincere esteem; but an entire profligacy of
manners will corrupt the best heart in the world; and all which a
good-natured libertine can expect is, that we should mix some grains
of pity with our contempt and abhorrence.' She is an angelic creature,
that is the truth on't." "O, Mrs Miller!" answered Jones, "can I bear
to think that I have lost such an angel?" "Lost! no," cries Mrs
Miller; "I hope you have not lost her yet. Resolve to leave such
vicious courses, and you may yet have hopes, nay, if she would remain
inexorable, there is another young lady, a sweet pretty young lady,
and a swinging fortune, who is absolutely dying for love of you. I
heard of it this very morning, and I told it to Miss Western; nay, I
went a little beyond the truth again; for I told her you had refused
her; but indeed I knew you would refuse her. And here I must give you
a little comfort; when I mentioned the young lady's name, who is no
other than the pretty widow Hunt, I thought she turned pale; but when
I said you had refused her, I will be sworn her face was all over
scarlet in an instant; and these were her very words: `I will not deny
but that I believe he has some affection for me.'"