Chapter 6


Mr. Jones closed not his eyes during all the former part of the night; not owing to any uneasiness which he conceived at being disappointed by Lady Bellaston; nor was Sophia herself, though most of his waking hours were justly to be charged to her account, the present cause of dispelling his slumbers. In fact, poor Jones was one of the best-natured fellows alive, and had all that weakness which is called compassion, and which distinguishes this imperfect character from that noble firmness of mind, which rolls a man, as it were, within himself, and like a polished bowl, enables him to run through the world without being once stopped by the calamities which happen to others. He could not help, therefore, compassionating the situation of poor Nancy, whose love for Mr. Nightingale seemed to him so apparent, that he was astonished at the blindness of her mother, who had more than once, the preceding evening, remarked to him the great change in the temper of her daughter, “who from being,” she said, “one of the liveliest, merriest girls in the world, was, on a sudden, become all gloom and melancholy.”

Sleep, however, at length got the better of all resistance; and now, as if he had already been a deity, as the antients imagined, and an offended one too, he seemed to enjoy his dear-bought conquest.—To speak simply, and without any metaphor, Mr. Jones slept till eleven the next morning, and would, perhaps, have continued in the same quiet situation much longer, had not a violent uproar awakened him.

Partridge was now summoned, who, being asked what was the matter, answered, “That there was a dreadul hurricane below-stairs; that Miss Nancy was in fits; and that the other sister, and the mother, were both crying and lamenting over her.” Jones expressed much concern at this news; which Partridge endeavoured to relieve, by saying, with a smile, He fancied the young lady was in no danger of death; for that Susan” (which was the name of the maid) “had given him to understand, it was nothing more than a common affair. In short,” said he, “Miss Nancy hath had a mind to be as wise as her mother; that’s all; she was a little hungry, it seems, and so sat down to dinner before grace was said; and so there is a child coming for the Foundling Hospital.”—“Prithee, leave thy stupid jesting,” cries Jones. “Is the misery of these poor wretches a subject of mirth? Go immediately to Mrs. Miller, and tell her I beg leave—Stay, you will make some blunder; I will go myself; for she desired me to breakfast with her.” He then rose and dressed himself as fast as he could; and while he was dressing, Partridge, notwithstanding many severe rebukes, could not avoid throwing forth certain pieces of brutality, commonly called jests, on this occasion. Jones was no sooner dressed than he walked downstairs, and knocking at the door, was presently admitted by the maid, into the outward parlour, which was as empty of company as it was of any apparatus for eating. Mrs. Miller was in the inner room with her daughter, whence the maid presently brought a message to Mr. Jones, “That her mistress hoped he would excuse the disappointment, but an accident had happened, which made it impossible for her to have the pleasure of his company at breakfast that day; and begged his pardon for not sending him up notice sooner.” Jones desired, “She would give herself no trouble about anything so trifling as his disappointment; that he was heartily sorry for the occasion; and that if he could be of any service to her, she might command him.”

He had scarce spoke these words, when Mrs. Miller, who heard them all, suddenly threw open the door, and coming out to him, in a flood of tears, said, “O Mr. Jones! you are certainly one of the best young men alive. I give you a thousand thanks for your kind offer of your service; but, alas! sir, it is out of your power to preserve my poor girl.—O my child! my child! she is undone, she is ruined for ever!” “I hope, madam,” said Jones, “no villain”—“O Mr. Jones!” said she, “that villain who yesterday left my lodgings, hath betrayed my poor girl; hatch destroyed her.—I know you are a man of honour. You have a good—a noble heart, Mr. Jones. The actions to which I have been myself a witness, could proceed from no other. I will tell you all: nay, indeed, it is impossible, after what hath happened, to keep it a secret. That Nightingale, that barbarous villain, hath undone my daughter. She is—she is—oh! Mr. Jones, my girl is with child by him; and in that condition he hath deserted her. Here! here, sir, is his cruel letter: read it, Mr. Jones, and tell me if such another monster lives.”

The letter was as follows:

  By PanEris using Melati.

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