Chapter 11


Mr. Jones was rather earlier than the time appointed, and earlier than the lady; whose arrival was hindered, not only by the distance of the place where she dined, but by some other cross accidents very vexatious to one in her situation of mind. He was accordingly shown into the drawing-room, where he had not been many minutes before the door opened, and in came——no other than Sophia herself, who had left the play before the end of the first act; for this, as we have already said, being a new play, at which two large parties met, the one to damn, and the other to applaud, a violent uproar, and an engagement between the two parties, had so terrified our heroine, that she was glad to put herself under the protection of a young gentleman, who safely conveyed her to her chair.

As Lady Bellaston had acquainted her that she should not be at home till late, Sophia, expecting to find no one in the room, came hastily in, and went directly to a glass which almost fronted her, without once looking towards the upper end of the room, where the statue of Jones now stood motionless.—In this glass it was, after contemplating her own lovely face, that she first discovered the said statue; when, instantly turning about, she perceived the reality of the vision: upon which she gave a violent scream, and scarce preserved herself from fainting, till Jones was able to move to her, and support her in his arms.

To paint the looks or thoughts of either of these lovers, is beyond my power. As their sensations, from their mutual silence, may be judged to have been too big for their own utterance, it cannot be supposed that I should be able to express them: and the misfortune is, that few of my readers have been enough in love to feel by their own hearts what past at this time in theirs.

After a short pause, Jones, with faultering accents, said— “I see, madam, you are surprized.”—“Surprized!” answered she; “Oh heavens! Indeed, I am surprized. I almost doubt whether you are the person you seem.”—“Indeed,” cries he, “my Sophia, pardon me, madam, for this once calling you so, I am that very wretched Jones, whom fortune, after so many disappointments, hath, at last, kindly conducted to you. Oh! my Sophia, did you know the thousand torments I have suffered in this long, fruitless pursuit.”—“Pursuit of whom?” said Sophia, a little recollecting herself, and assuming a reserved air. —“Can you be so cruel to ask that question?” cries Jones; “Need I say, of you?” “Of me!” answered Sophia: “Hath Mr. Jones, then, any such important business with me?”— “To some, madam,” cries Jones, “this might seem an important business” (giving her the pocket-book), “I hope, madam, you will find it of the same value as when it was lost.” Sophia took the pocket-book, and was going to speak, when he interrupted her thus:—“Let us not, I beseech you, lose one of these precious moments which fortune hath so kindly sent us. O, my Sophia! I have business of a much superior kind. Thus, on my knees, let me ask your pardon.”—“My pardon!” cries she; “Sure, sir, after what is past, you cannot expect, after what I have heard.” —“I scarce know what I say,” answered Jones. “By heavens! I scarce wish you should pardon me. O my Sophia! henceforth never cast away a thought on such a wretch as I am. If any remembrance of me should ever intrude to give a moment’s uneasiness to that tender bosom, think of my unworthiness; and let the remembrance of what passed at Upton blot me for ever from your mind.”

Sophia stood trembling all this while. Her face was whiter than snow, and her heart was throbbing through her stays. But at the mention of Upton, a blush arose in her cheeks, and her eyes, which before she had scarce lifted up, were turned upon Jones with a glance of disdain. He understood this silent reproach, and replied to it thus: “O my Sophia! my only love! you cannot hate or despise me more for what happened there, than I do myself; but yet do me the justice to think, that my heart was never unfaithful to you. That had no share in the folly I was guilty of; it was even then unalterably yours. Though I despaired of possessing you, nay, almost of ever seeing you more, I doated still on your charming idea, and could seriously love no other woman. But if my heart had not been engaged, she, into company I accidently fell at that cursed place, was not an object of serious love. Believe me, my angel, I never have seen her from that day to this; and never intend or desire to see her again.” Sophia, in her heart, was very glad to hear this; but forcing into her face an air of more coldness than she had yet assumed, “Why,” said she, “Mr. Jones, do you take the trouble to make a defence where you are not accused? If I thought it worth while to accuse

  By PanEris using Melati.

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