had but the least encouragement. I don’t believe there is arrow young gentleman in this county, or in the next to it, that if your la’ship was but to look as if you had a mind to him, would not come about to make his offers directly.” “What a wretch dost thou imagine me,” cries Sophia, “by affronting my ears with such stuff! I detest all mankind.” “Nay, to be sure, ma’am,” answered Honour, “your la’ship hath had enough to give you a surfeit of them. To be used ill by such a poor, beggarly, bastardly fellow.”—“Hold your blasphemous tongue,” cries Sophia: “how dare you mention his name with disrespect before me? He use me ill? No, his poor bleeding heart suffered more when he writ the cruel words than mine from reading them. O! he is all heroic virtue and angelic goodness. I am ashamed of the weakness of my own passion, for blaming what I ought to admire. O, Honour! it is my good only which he consults. To my interest he sacrifices both himself and me. The apprehension of ruining me hath driven him to despair.” “I am very glad,” says Honour, “to hear your la’ship takes that into your consideration; for to be sure, it must be nothing less than ruin to give your mind to one that is turned out of doors, and is not worth a farthing in the world.” “Turned out of doors!” cries Sophia hastily: “how! what dost thou mean?” “Why, to be sure, ma’am, my master no sooner told Squire Allworthy about Mr. Jones having offered to make love to your la’ship than the squire stripped him stark naked, and turned him out of doors!” “Ha!” says Sophia, “I have been the cursed, wretched cause of his destruction! Turned naked out of doors! Here, Honour, take all the money I have; take the rings from my fingers. Here, my watch: carry him all. Go find him immediately.” “For Heaven’s sake, ma’am,” answered Mrs. Honour, “do but consider, if my master should miss any of these things, I should be made to answer for them. Therefore let me beg your la’ship not to part with your watch and jewels. Besides, the money, I think, is enough of all conscience; and as for that, my master can never know anything of the matter.” “Here, then,” cries Sophia, “take every farthing I am worth, find him out immediately, and give it him. Go, go, lose not a moment.”

Mrs. Honour departed according to orders, and finding Black George below-stairs, delivered him the purse, which contained sixteen guineas, being, indeed, the whole stock of Sophia; for though her father was very liberal to her, she was much too generous to be rich.

Black George having received the purse, set forward towards the alehouse; but in the way a thought occurred to him, whether he should not detain this money likewise. His conscience, however, immediately started at this suggestion, and began to upbraid him with ingratitude to his benefactor. To this his avarice answered, That his conscience should have considered the matter before, when he deprived poor Jones of his £500. That having quietly acquiesced in what was of so much greater importance, it was absurd, if not downright hypocrisy, to affect any qualms at this trifle. In return to which, Conscience, like a good lawyer, attempted to distinguish between an absolute breach of trust, as here, where the goods were delivered, and a bare concealment of what was found, as in the former case. Avarice presently treated this with ridicule, called it a distinction without a difference, and absolutely insisted that when once all pretensions of honour and virtue were given up in any one instance, that there was no precedent for resorting to them upon a second occasion. In short, poor Conscience had certainly been defeated in the argument, had not Fear stept in to her assistance, and very strenuously urged that the real distinction between the two actions, did not lie in the different degrees of honour but of safety: for that the secreting the £500 was a matter of very little hazard; whereas the detaining the sixteen guineas was liable to the utmost danger of discovery.

By this friendly aid of Fear, Conscience obtained a compleat victory in the mind of Black George, and, after making him a few compliments on his honesty, forced him to deliver the money to Jones.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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