to have been so charmed by Sophia’s voice, that he made a full stop, and expressed an unwillingness to proceed any farther.

Perhaps, however, the fact may be true, and less miraculous than it hath been represented; since the natural cause seems adequate to the effect: for, as the guide at that moment desisted from a constant application of his armed right heel (for, like Hudibras, he wore but one spur), it is more than possible that this omission alone might occasion the beast to stop, especially as this was very frequent with him at other times.

But if the voice of Sophia had really an effect on the horse, it had very little on the rider. He answered somewhat surlily, “That measter had ordered him to go a different way, and that he should lose his place if he went any other than that he was ordered.”

Sophia, finding all her persuasions had no effect, began now to add irresistible charms to her voice; charms which, according to the proverb, makes the old mare trot, instead of standing still; charms to which modern ages have attributed all that irresistible force which the antients imputed to perfect oratory. In a word, she promised she would reward him to his utmost expectation.

The lad was not totally deaf to these promises; but he disliked their being indefinite; for, though perhaps he had never heard that word, yet that, in fact, was his objection. He said, “Gentlevolks did not consider the case of poor volks; that he had like to have been turned away the other day, for riding about the country with a gentleman from Squire Allworthy’s, who did not reward him as he should have done.”

“With whom?” says Sophia eagerly. “With a gentleman from Squire Allworthy’s,” repeated the lad; “the squire’s son, I think they call’un.”—“Whither? which way did he go?” says Sophia.—“Why, a little o’ one side o’ Bristol, about twenty miles off,” answered the lad.—“Guide me,” says Sophia, “to the same place, and I’ll give thee a guinea, or two, if one is not sufficient.”—“To be certain,” said the boy, “it is honestly worth two, when your ladyship considers what a risk I run; but, however, if your ladyship will promise me the two guineas, I’ll e’en venture: to be certain it is a sinful thing to ride about my measter’s horses; but one comfort is, I can only be turned away, and two guineas will partly make me amends.”

The bargain being thus struck, the lad turned aside into the Bristol road, and Sophia set forward in pursuit of Jones, highly contrary to the remonstrances of Mrs. Honour, who had much more desire to see London than to see Mr. Jones: for indeed she was not his friend with her mistress, as he had been guilty of some neglect in certain pecuniary civilities, which are by custom due to the waiting-gentlewoman in all love affairs, and more especially in those of a clandestine kind. This we impute rather to the carelessness of his temper than to any want of generosity; but perhaps she derived it from the latter motive. Certain it is that she hated him very bitterly on that account, and resolved to take every opportunity of injuring him with her mistress. It was therefore highly unlucky for her, that she had gone to the very same town and inn whence Jones had started, and still more unlucky was she in having stumbled on the same guide, and on this accidental discovery which Sophia had made.

Our travellers arrived at Hambrook1

at the break of day, where Honour was against her will charged to enquire the route which Mr. Jones had taken. Of this, indeed, the guide himself could have informed them; but Sophia, I know not for what reason, never asked him the question.

When Mrs. Honour had made her report from the landlord, Sophia, with much difficulty, procured some indifferent horses, which brought her to the inn where Jones had been confined rather by the misfortune of meeting with a surgeon than by having met with a broken head.

Here Honour, being again charged with a commission of enquiry, had no sooner applied herself to the landlady, and had described the person of Mr. Jones, than that sagacious woman began, in the vulgar phrase, to smell a rat. When Sophia therefore entered the room, instead of answering the maid, the landlady, addressing herself to the mistress, began the following speech: “Good lack-a-day! why there now, who would have thought it? I protest the loveliest couple that ever eye beheld. I-fackins, madam,

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.