happened from that day to this; frequently interlarding his story with panegyrics on Jones, and not forgetting to insinuate the great love and respect which he had for Allworthy. He concluded with saying, “Now, sir, I have told your honour the whole truth.” And then repeated a most solemn protestation, “That he was no more the father of Jones than of the Pope of Rome;” and imprecated the most bitter curses on his head, if he did not speak truth.

“What am I to think of this matter?” cries Allworthy. “For what purpose should you so strongly deny a fact which I think it would be rather your interest to own?” “Nay, sir,” answered Partridge (for he could hold no longer), “if your honour will not believe me, you are like soon to have satisfaction enough. I wish you had mistaken the mother of this young man, as well as you have his father.”—And now being asked what he meant, with all the symptoms of horror, both in his voice and countenance, he told Allworthy the whole story, which he had a little before expressed such desire to Mrs. Miller to conceal from him.

Allworthy was almost as much shocked at this discovery as Partridge himself had been while he related it. “Good heavens!” says he, “in what miserable distresses do vice and imprudence involve men! How much beyond our designs are the effects of wickedness sometimes carried!” He had scarce uttered these words, when Mrs. Waters came hastily and abruptly into the room. Partridge no sooner saw her than he cried, “Here, sir, here is the very woman herself. This is the unfortunate mother of Mr. Jones. I am sure she will acquit me before your honour. Pray, madam—”

Mrs. Waters, without paying any regard to what Partridge said, and almost without taking any notice of him, advanced to Mr. Allworthy. “I believe, sir, it is so long since I had the honour of seeing you, that you do not recollect me.” “Indeed,” answered Allworthy, “you are so very much altered, on many accounts, that had not this man already acquainted me who you are, I should not have immediately called you to my remembrance. Have you, madam, any particular business which brings you to me?” Allworthy spoke this with great reserve; for the reader may easily believe he was not well pleased with the conduct of this lady; neither with what he had formerly heard, nor with what Partridge had now delivered.

Mrs. Waters answered—“Indeed, sir, I have very particular business with you; and it is such as I can impart only to yourself. I must desire, therefore, the favour of a word with you alone: for I assure you what I have to tell you is of the utmost importance.”

Partridge was then ordered to withdraw, but before he went, he begged the lady to satisfy Mr. Allworthy that he was perfectly innocent. To which she answered, “You need be under no apprehension, sir; I shall satisfy Mr. Allworthy very perfectly of that matter.”

Then Partridge withdrew, and that past between Mr. Allworthy and Mrs. Waters which is written in the next chapter.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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