Jones, and not Mr. Blifil, who is the object of your affection?” “Mr. Blifil!” repeated Sophia. “Sure it is impossible you can be in earnest; if you are, I am the most miserable woman alive.” Mrs. Western now stood a few moments silent, while sparks of fiery rage flashed from her eyes. At length, collecting all her force of voice, she thundered forth in the following articulate sounds:

“And is it possible you can think of disgracing your family by allying yourself to a bastard? Can the blood of the Westerns submit to such contamination? If you have not sense sufficient to restrain such monstrous inclinations, I thought the pride of our family would have prevented you from giving the least encouragement to so base an affection; much less did I imagine you would ever have had the assurance to own it to my face.”

“Madam,” answered Sophia, trembling, “what I have said you have extorted from me. I do not remember to have ever mentioned the name of Mr. Jones with approbation to any one before; nor should I now had I not conceived he had your approbation. Whatever were my thoughts of that poor, unhappy young man, I intended to have carried them with me to my grave —to that grave where only now, I find, I am to seek repose.” Here she sunk down in her chair, drowned in her tears, and, in all the moving silence of unutterable grief, presented a spectacle which must have affected almost the hardest heart.

All this tender sorrow, however, raised no compassion in her aunt. On the contrary, she now fell into the most violent rage.—“And I would rather,” she cried, in a most vehement voice, “follow you to your grave, than I would see you disgrace yourself and your family by such a match. O Heavens! could I have ever suspected that I should live to hear a niece of mine declare a passion for such a fellow? You are the first—yes, Miss Western, you are the first of your name who ever entertained so grovelling a thought. A family so noted for the prudence of its women”—here she ran on a full quarter of an hour, till, having exhausted her breath rather than her rage, she concluded with threatening to go immediately and acquaint her brother.

Sophia then threw herself at her feet, and laying hold of her hands, begged her with tears to conceal what she had drawn from her; urging the violence of her father’s temper, and protesting that no inclinations of hers should ever prevail with her to do anything which might offend him.

Mrs. Western stood a moment looking at her, and then, having recollected herself, said, “That on one consideration only she would keep the secret from her brother; and this was, that Sophia should promise to entertain Mr. Blifil that very afternoon as her lover, and to regard him as the person who was to be her husband.”

Poor Sophia was too much in her aunt’s power to deny her anything positively; she was obliged to promise that she would see Mr. Blifil, and be as civil to him as possible; but begged her aunt that the match might not be hurried on. She said, “Mr. Blifil was by no means agreeable to her, and she hoped her father would be prevailed on not to make her the most wretched of women.”

Mrs. Western assured her, “That the match was entirely agreed upon, and that nothing could or should prevent it. I must own,” said she, “I looked on it as on a matter of indifference; nay, perhaps, had some scruples about it before, which were actually got over by my thinking it highly agreeable to your own inclinations; but now I regard it as the most eligible thing in the world: nor shall there be, if I can prevent it, a moment of time lost on the occasion.”

Sophia replied, “Delay at least, madam, I may expect from both your goodness and my father’s. Surely you will give me time to endeavour to get the better of so strong a disinclination as I have at present to this person.”

The aunt answered, “She knew too much of the world to be so deceived; that as she was sensible another man had her affections, she should persuade Mr. Western to hasten the match as much as possible. It would be bad politics, indeed,” added she, “to protract a siege when the enemy’s army is at hand, and in danger of relieving it. No, no, Sophy,” said she, “as I am convinced you have a violent passion which

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