Chapter 5


Mr. Allworthy, in his last speech, had recollected some tender ideas concerning Jones, which had brought tears into the good man’s eyes. This Mrs. Miller observing, said, “Yes, yes, sir, your goodness to this poor young man is known, notwithstanding all your care to conceal it; but there is not a single syllable of truth in what those villains said. Mr. Nightingale hath now discovered the whole matter. It seems these fellows were employed by a lord, who is a rival of poor Mr. Jones, to have pressed him on board a ship.—I assure them I don’t know who they will press next. Mr. Nightingale here hath seen the officer himself, who is a very pretty gentleman, and hath told him all, and is very sorry for what he undertook, which he would never have done, had he known Mr. Jones to have been a gentleman; but he was told that he was a common strolling vagabond.”

Allworthy stared at all this, and declared he was a stranger to every word she said. “Yes, sir,” answered she, “I believe you are.—It is a very different story, I believe, from what those fellows told the lawyer.”

“What lawyer, madam? what is it you mean?” said Allworthy. “Nay, nay,” said she, “this is so like you to deny your own goodness: but Mr. Nightingale here saw him.” “Saw whom, madam?” answered he. “Why, your lawyer, sir,” said she, “that you so kindly sent to inquire into the affair.” “I am still in the dark, upon my honour,” said Allworthy. “Why then do you tell him, my dear sir,” cries she. “Indeed, sir,” said Nightingale, “I did see that very lawyer who went from you when I came into the room, at an alehouse in Aldersgate, in company with two of the fellows who were employed by Lord Fellamar to press Mr. Jones, and who were by that means present at the unhappy rencounter between him and Mr. Fitzpatrick.” “I own, sir,” said Mrs. Miller, “when I saw this gentleman come into the room to you, I told Mr. Nightingale that I apprehended you had sent him thither to inquire into the affair.” Allworthy shewed marks of astonishment in his countenance at this news, and was indeed for two or three minutes struck dumb by it. At last, addressing himself to Mr. Nightingale, he said, “I must confess myself, sir, more surprized at what you tell me than I have ever been before at anything in my whole life. Are you certain this was the gentleman?” “I am most certain,” answered Nightingale. “At Aldersgate?” cries Allworthy. “And was you in company with this lawyer and the two fellows?”—“I was, sir,” said the other, “very near half an hour.” “Well, sir,” said Allworthy, “and in what manner did the lawyer behave? did you hear all that past between him and the fellows?” “No, sir,” answered Nightingale, “they had been together before I came. —In my presence the lawyer said little; but, after I had several times examined the fellows, who persisted in a story directly contrary to what I had heard from Mr. Jones, and which I find by Mr. Fitzpatrick was a rank falshood, the lawyer then desired the fellows to say nothing but what was the truth, and seemed to speak so much in favour of Mr. Jones, that, when I saw the same person with you, I concluded your goodness had prompted you to send him thither.”—“And did you not send him thither?” says Mrs. Miller.—“Indeed I did not,” answered Allworthy; “nor did I know he had gone on such an errand till this moment.” —“I see it all!” said Mrs. Miller, “upon my soul, I see it all! No wonder they have been closeted so close lately. Son Nightingale, let me beg you run for these fellows immediately—find them out if they are above- ground. I will go myself”—“Dear madam,” said Allworthy, “be patient, and do me the favour to send a servant upstairs to call Mr. Dowling hither, if he be in the house, or, if not, Mr. Blifil.” Mrs. Miller went out muttering something to herself, and presently returned with an answer, “That Mr. Dowling was gone; but that the t’other,” as she called him, “was coming.”

Allworthy was of a cooler disposition than the good woman, whose spirits were all up in arms in the cause of her friend. He was not however without some suspicions which were near akin to hers. When Blifil came into the room, he asked him with a very serious countenance, and with a less friendly look than he had ever before given him, “Whether he knew anything of Mr. Dowling’s having seen any of the persons who were present at the duel between Jones and another gentleman?”

There is nothing so dangerous as a question which comes by surprize on a man whose business it is to conceal truth, or to defend falshood. For which reason those worthy personages, whose noble office it is to save the lives of their fellow-creatures at the Old Bailey, take the utmost care, by frequent previous examination, to divine every question which may be asked their clients on the day of tryal, that they may

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