Book XI - Chapter III
A very short chapter, in which however is a sun, a moon, a star, and an angel.
The sun (for he keeps very good hours at this time of the year) had been some time retired to rest when Sophia arose greatly refreshed by her sleep; which, short as it was, nothing but her extreme fatigue could have occasioned; for, though she had told her maid, and perhaps herself too, that she was perfectly easy when she left Upton, yet it is certain her mind was a little affected with that malady which is attended with all the restless symptoms of a fever, and is perhaps the very distemper which physicians mean (if they mean anything) by the fever on the spirits.
Mrs Fitzpatrick likewise left her bed at the same time; and, having summoned her maid, immediately dressed herself. She was really a very pretty woman, and, had she been in any other company but that of Sophia, might have been thought beautiful; but when Mrs Honour of her own accord attended (for her mistress would not suffer her to be waked), and had equipped our heroine, the charms of Mrs Fitzpatrick, who had performed the office of the morning-star, and had preceded greater glories, shared the fate of that star, and were totally eclipsed the moment those glories shone forth.
Perhaps Sophia never looked more beautiful than she did at this instant. We ought not, therefore, to condemn the maid of the inn for her hyperbole, who, when she descended, after having lighted the fire, declared, and ratified it with an oath, that if ever there was an angel upon earth, she was now above-stairs.
Sophia had acquainted her cousin with her design to go to London; and Mrs Fitzpatrick had agreed to accompany her; for the arrival of her husband at Upton had put an end to her design of going to Bath, or to her aunt Western. They had therefore no sooner finished their tea than Sophia proposed to set out, the moon then shining extremely bright, and as for the frost she defied it; nor had she any of those apprehensions which many young ladies would have felt at travelling by night; for she had, as we have before observed, some little degree of natural courage; and this, her present sensations, which bordered somewhat on despair, greatly encreased. Besides, as she had already travelled twice with safety by the light of the moon, she was the better emboldened to trust to it a third time.
The disposition of Mrs Fitzpatrick was more timorous; for, though the greater terrors had conquered the less, and the presence of her husband had driven her away at so unseasonable an hour from Upton, yet, being now arrived at a place where she thought herself safe from his pursuit, these lesser terrors of I know not what operated so strongly, that she earnestly entreated her cousin to stay till the next morning, and not expose herself to the dangers of travelling by night.
Sophia, who was yielding to an excess, when she could neither laugh nor reason her cousin out of these apprehensions, at last gave way to them. Perhaps, indeed, had she known of her father's arrival at Upton, it might have been more difficult to have persuaded her; for as to Jones, she had, I am afraid, no great horror at the thoughts of being overtaken by him; nay, to confess the truth, I believe she rather wished than feared it; though I might honestly enough have concealed this wish from the reader, as it was one of those secret spontaneous emotions of the soul to which the reason is often a stranger.
When our young ladies had determined to remain all that evening in their inn they were attended by the landlady, who desired to know what their ladyships would be pleased to eat. Such charms were there in the voice, in the manner, and in the affable deportment of Sophia, that she ravished the landlady to the highest degree; and that good woman, concluding that she had attended Jenny Cameron, became in a moment a stanch Jacobite, and wished heartily well to the young Pretender's cause, from the great sweetness and affability with which she had been treated by his supposed mistress.
The two cousins began now to impart to each other their reciprocal curiosity to know what extraordinary accidents on both sides occasioned this so strange and unexpected meeting. At last Mrs Fitzpatrick, having obtained of Sophia a promise of communicating likewise in her turn, began to relate what the reader, if he is desirous to know her history, may read in the ensuing chapter.Next