Chapter 2


Jones had not been long at home, before he received the following letter:—

“I was never more surprized than when I found you was gone. When you left the room, I little imagined you intended to have left the house without seeing me again. Your behaviour is all of a piece, and convinces me how much I ought to despise a heart which can doat upon an idiot; though I know not whether I should not admire her cunning more than her simplicity: wonderful both! For though she understood not a word of what passed between us, yet she had the skill, the assurance, the—— what shall I call it? to deny to my face that she knows you, or ever saw you before.——Was this a scheme laid between you, and have you been base enough to betray me?——O how I despise her, you, and all the world, but chiefly myself! for——I dare not write what I should afterwards run mad to read; but remember, I can detest as violently as I have loved.”

Jones had but little time given him to reflect on this letter, before a second was brought him from the same hand; and this, likewise, we shall set down in the precise words.

“When you consider the hurry of spirits in which I must have writ, you cannot be surprized at any expressions in my former note.—Yet, perhaps, on reflection, they were rather too warm. At least I would, if possible, think all owing to the odious playhouse, and to the impertinence of a fool, which detained me beyond my appointment.——How easy is it to think well of those we love!——Perhaps you desire I should think so. I have resolved to see you to-night; so come to me immediately.

“P.S.—I have ordered to be at home to none but yourself.

“P.S.—Mr. Jones will imagine I shall assist him in his defence; for I believe he cannot desire to impose on me more than I desire to impose on myself.

“P.S.—Come immediately.”

To the men of intrigue I refer the determination, whether the angry or the tender letter gave the greatest uneasiness to Jones. Certain it is, he had no violent inclination to pay any more visits that evening, unless to one single person. However, he thought his honour engaged, and had not this been motive sufficient, he would not have ventured to blow the temper of Lady Bellaston into that flame of which he had reason to think it susceptible, and of which he feared the consequence might be a discovery to Sophia, which he dreaded. After some discontented walks, therefore, about the room, he was preparing to depart, when the lady kindly prevented him, not by another letter, but by her own presence. She entered the room very disordered in her dress, and very discomposed in her looks, and threw herself into a chair, where, having recovered her breath, she said—“You see, sir, when women have gone one length too far, they will stop at none. If any person would have sworn this to me a week ago, I would not have believed it of myself.” “I hope, madam,” said Jones, “my charming Lady Bellaston will be as difficult to believe anything against one who is so sensible of the many obligations she hath conferred upon him.” “Indeed!” says she, “sensible of obligations! Did I expect to hear such cold language from Mr. Jones?” “Pardon me, my dear angel,” said he, “if, after the letters I have received, the terrors of your anger, though I know not how I have deserved it”——“And have I then,” says she, with a smile, “so angry a countenance?—Have I really brought a chiding face with me?”—“If there be honour in man,” said he, “I have done nothing to merit your anger.— You remember the appointment you sent me; I went in pursuance”—“I beseech you,” cried she, “do not run through the odious recital.—Answer me but one question, and I shall be easy. Have you not betrayed my honour to her?”—Jones fell upon his knees, and began to utter the most violent protestations, when Partridge came dancing and capering into the room, like one drunk with joy, crying out, “She’s found! she’s found!— Here, sir, here, she’s here—Mrs. Honour is upon the stairs.” “Stop her a moment,” cries Jones—“Here, madam, step behind the bed, I have no other room nor closet, nor place on earth to hide you in; sure never was so damned an accident.”—“D—n’d indeed!” said the lady, as she went to her place of concealment; and presently afterwards in came Mrs. Honour. “Hey-day!” says she, “Mr. Jones, what’s the matter?—That impudent rascal your servant would scarce

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