BOOK XVIII. CONTAINING ABOUT SIX DAYS.
12. Chapter xii. Approaching still nearer to the end.
Approaching still nearer to the end.
Jones, being now completely dressed, attended his uncle to Mr
Western's. He was, indeed, one of the finest figures ever beheld, and
his person alone would have charmed the greater part of womankind; but
we hope it hath already appeared in this history that Nature, when she
formed him, did not totally rely, as she sometimes doth, on this merit
only, to recommend her work.
Sophia, who, angry as she was, was likewise set forth to the best
advantage, for which I leave my female readers to account, appeared so
extremely beautiful, that even Allworthy, when he saw her, could not
forbear whispering Western, that he believed she was the finest
creature in the world. To which Western answered, in a whisper,
overheard by all present, "So much the better for Tom;--for d--n me if
he shan't ha the tousling her." Sophia was all over scarlet at these
words, while Tom's countenance was altogether as pale, and he was
almost ready to sink from his chair.
The tea-table was scarce removed before Western lugged Allworthy out
of the room, telling him he had business of consequence to impart, and
must speak to him that instant in private, before he forgot it.
The lovers were now alone, and it will, I question not, appear strange
to many readers, that those who had so much to say to one another when
danger and difficulty attended their conversation, and who seemed so
eager to rush into each other's arms when so many bars lay in their
way, now that with safety they were at liberty to say or do whatever
they pleased, should both remain for some time silent and motionless;
insomuch that a stranger of moderate sagacity might have well
concluded they were mutually indifferent; but so it was, however
strange it may seem; both sat with their eyes cast downwards on the
ground, and for some minutes continued in perfect silence.
Mr Jones during this interval attempted once or twice to speak, but
was absolutely incapable, muttering only, or rather sighing out, some
broken words; when Sophia at length, partly out of pity to him, and
partly to turn the discourse from the subject which she knew well
enough he was endeavouring to open, said--