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her face was on the floor, it was finally judged adviseable to let it pass in silence, and not create a danger by over-anxiety for preventing it. The alarm, however, had so disconcerted Lady Crowbery, that she had no resolution to renew the conference, much less to touch upon that interesting discovery she was on the point of making, when Bridget interrupted her; so that after a few words spent in recommending Henry to remain quiet and out of sight at the cottage, till he heard from her again, she hastened to her fair companion, who was waiting for her in the carriage, and departed.
no time in making her mistress acquainted with the cause of the disturbance and noise, she had heard in the Doctor's chamber, and also of what she had there discovered: as the could give no account of their conversation, which was carried on in too low a key to reach her ears on the outside of the door, Jemima was left to her own imagination
for finding out motives for a lady's embracing a handsome young man, whilst he was kneel. ing at her feet, and these, according to Jemima's notions, could be but of one fort ; The therefore set it down for certain in her own mind, that Lady Crowbery was defperately in love with Henry, that her house was made a house of assignation, and her husband pander to an intrigue of the most bare-faced nature.
These conclusions she had no sooner formed, than the discerned at a glance all the advantages they gave her in a certain project, which she had long meditated, without being able to bring it into any practicable shape. Henry, who seemed to have escaped out of her hands, was by this lucky circumstance more than ever at her mercy; and though she was sensibly piqued at the preference given to a rival yery little her junior in age, and, in her own opinion at least, not at all her superior in charms, yet The was well pleased to be paid for her mortification, by having poffeffion of a secret, the suppression of which no facrifice on his part could be too great for, whilst there was such a person in being as Lord Crowbery; neither was the sorry to find that Henry's
scruples scruples were not so general as she thought them, nor his virtue above price : the inference she drew from all this was, that the menace of a discovery fo fatal to both parties, could not fail to draw him into her" measures, as effectually as Lady Crowbery's money had bribed him into her's; and as delicacy was no part of Jemima's character, whose passions were as violent as her soul was mean, the heart of Henry was not her object; nor were any gratifications unacceptable to her, becau'e not granted with good will, for pleasure 3:5 pleasure in her calculation of it, though it were extorted by terror, or gained by artifice and trick.
Her first care, therefore, was to bind Brid-, get to strict secrecy for the present, that so the parties, being under no alarm, might continue their meetings, till proofs of a more decisive nature might be obtained against them: her next solicitude was to procure an interview with Henry, and for this purpose she dispatched the old woman to way-lay him before he left the house. This succeeded to her wish, for he no sooner received her summons than he obeyed it, prompted, as we may presume, by desire to ascertain, from her con
versation, whether any reports had been made to her, that might affect Lady Crowbery.'
Upon his presenting himself to Jemima, she received him with an air of joyful furprize, congratulating him on his good fortune, and praising Lady Crowbery to the skies for her charity: she assured him of the sincere pleasure she took in seeing him thus happily extricated out of all his trouble, and by the favour of his kind patroness rais'd to a situation, which so well became him; and as she was persuaded that his noble friend wou'd not fail to go through with the good work she had set her hend to, the cou'd not suppose that Goody May's cottage wou'd be any longer a fit residence for him, either on his own account or the lady's." Was it not better,” she asked, “ for him to abide where he was, where his good friend might see him as often as she thought fit, without drawing any body's eyes upon her, as she was in daily habits of consulting the Doctor, and of course her visits wou'd be pass’d to his account.”
Upon Henry's observing that Lady Crowbery's actions required no cover, she quickly replied, that nobody held that lady's character in higher esteem than herself; that she knew
well enough she had nothing to fear on the score of reputation, if the world wou'd report nothing but truth; but as such fair dealing was not to be expected, especially in her cafe, who had so many evil-minded spies upon her, and so morose a husband to deal with, she must think that too great caution cou'd not be taken to provide against consequences --« For alas! poor lady,” added she, “ I am afraid, that with all her virtues and all her charities, she is scarce credited for the one by her jealous ford; and ill rewarded for the ciher by her thankless neighbours.”
Jemiina carried on this hypocrisy with so much address, that Henry began to think she was fincere, at least he was persuaded that nothing had been said to her by Bridget, and of course nothing seen. As to his continuance at the cottage, he saw it nearly in the fame light with Jemima ; Lady Crowbery herself had stated objections to it, and his own refections suggested many more; what Jemima had observed with respect to the commodiousnefs of her own house was perfectly well founded, and as she betrayed no one symptom of her former propensity, but talked and looked with composure and fedateness, he was