My son’s account was too long to be delivered at once, the first part of it was begun that night, and he was concluding the rest after dinner the next day, when the appearance of Mr Thornhill’s equipage at the door seemed to make a pause in the general satisfaction. The butler, who was now become my friend in the family, informed me with a whisper, that the ‘Squire had already made some overtures to Miss Wilmot, and that her aunt and uncle seemed highly to approve the match. Upon Mr Thornhill’s entering, he seemed, at seeing my son and me, to start back; but I readily imputed that to surprize, and not displeasure. However, upon our advancing to salute him, he returned our greeting with the most apparent candour; and after a short time, his presence served only to encrease the general good humour.
After tea he called me aside, to enquire after my daughter; but upon my informing him that my enquiry was unsuccessful, he seemed greatly surprised; adding, that he had been since frequently at my house, in order to comfort the rest of my family, whom he left perfectly well. He then asked if I had communicated her misfortune to Miss Wilmot, or my son; and upon my replying that I had not told them as yet, he greatly approved my prudence and precaution, desiring me by all means to keep it a secret: ‘For at best,’ cried he, ‘it is but divulging one’s own infamy; and perhaps Miss Livy may not be so guilty as we all imagine.’ We were here interrupted by a servant, who came to ask the ‘Squire in, to stand up at country