THE HISTORY OF TOM JONES
by Henry Fielding
CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY
OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY
Chapter 1 -
The introduction to the workor bill of fare to the feast -
An author ought to consider himselfnot as a gentleman who gives a privateor eleemosynary treatbut rather as one who keeps a public ordinaryat whichall persons are welcome for their money. In the former caseit is well knownthat the entertainer provides what fare he pleases; and though this should bevery indifferentand utterly disagreeable to the taste of his companytheymust not find any fault; nayon the contrarygood breeding forces themoutwardly to approve and to commend whatever is set before them. Now thecontrary of this happens to the master of an ordinary. Men who pay for what theyeat will insist on gratifying their palateshowever nice and whimsical thesemay prove; and if everything is not agreeable to their tastewill challenge aright to censureto abuseand to d--n their dinner without controul.
To preventthereforegiving offence to their customers by any suchdisappointmentit hath been usual with the honest and well-meaning host toprovide a bill of fare which all persons may peruse at their first entrance intothe house; and having thence acquainted themselves with the entertainment whichthey may expectmay either stay and regale with what is provided for themormay depart to some other ordinary better accommodated to their taste.
As we do not disdain to borrow wit or wisdom from any man who is capable oflending us eitherwe have condescended to take a hint from these honestvictuallersand shall prefix not only a general bill of fare to our wholeentertainmentbut shall likewise give the reader particular bills to everycourse which is to be served up in this and the ensuing volumes.
The provisionthenwhich we have here made is no other than Human Nature.Nor do I fear that my sensible readerthough most luxurious in his tastewillstartcavilor be offendedbecause I have named but one article. The tortise-as the alderman of Bristolwell learned in eatingknows by much experience-besides the delicious calipash and calipeecontains many different kinds offood; nor can the learned reader be ignorantthat in human naturethough herecollected under one general nameis such prodigious varietythat a cook willhave sooner gone through all the several species of animal and vegetable food inthe worldthan an author will be able to exhaust so extensive a subject.
An objection may perhaps be apprehended from the more delicatethat thisdish is too common and vulgar; for what else is the subject of all the romancesnovelsplaysand poemswith which the stalls abound? Many exquisite viandsmight be rejected by the epicureif it was a sufficient cause for hiscontemning of them as common and vulgarthat something was to be found in themost paltry alleys under the same name. In realitytrue nature is as difficultto be met with in authorsas the Bayonne hamor Bologna sausageis to befound in the shops.
But the wholeto continue the same metaphorconsists in the cookery of theauthor; foras Mr. Pope tells us- -
True wit is nature to advantage drest;
What oft was thoughtbut ne'er so well exprest. -
The same animal which hath the honour to have some part of his flesh eaten atthe table of a dukemay perhaps be degraded in another partand some of hislimbs gibbetedas it werein the vilest stall in town. Wherethenlies thedifference between the food of the nobleman and the porterif both are atdinner on the same ox or calfbut in the seasoningthe dressingthegarnishingand the setting forth? Hence the one provokes and incites the mostlanguid appetiteand the other turns and palls that which is the sharpest andkeenest.
In like mannerthe excellence of the mental entertainment consists less inthe subject than in the author's skill in well dressing it up. How pleasedthereforewill the reader be to find that we havein the following workadhered closely to one of the highest principles of the best cook which thepresent ageor perhaps that of Heliogabalushath produced. This great manasis well known to all lovers of polite eatingbegins at first by setting plainthings before his hungry guestsrising afterwards by degrees as their stomachsmay be supposed to decreaseto the very quintessence of sauce and spices. Inlike mannerwe shall represent human nature at first to the keen appetite ofour readerin that more plain and simple manner in which it is found in thecountryand shall hereafter hash and ragoo it with all the high French andItalian seasoning of affectation and vice which courts and cities afford. Bythese meanswe doubt not but our reader may be rendered desirous to read on foreveras the great person just above-mentioned is supposed to have made somepersons eat.
Having premised thus muchwe will now detain those who like our bill of fareno longer from their dietand shall proceed directly to serve up the firstcourse of our history for their entertainment.
Chapter 2 -
A short description of Squire Allworthyand a fuller account of Miss BridgetAllworthyhis sister -
In that part of the western division of this kingdom which is commonly calledSomersetshirethere lately livedand perhaps lives stilla gentleman whosename was Allworthyand who might well be called the favourite of both natureand fortune; for both of these seem to have contended which should bless andenrich him most. In this contentionnature may seem to some to have come offvictoriousas she bestowed on him many giftswhile fortune had only one giftin her power; but in pouring forth thisshe was so very profusethat othersperhaps may think this single endowment to have been more than equivalent to allthe various blessings which he enjoyed from nature. From the former of thesehederived an agreeable persona sound constitutiona solid understandingand abenevolent heart; by the latterhe was decreed to the inheritance of one of thelargest estates in the county.
This gentleman had in his youth married a very worthy and beautiful womanofwhom he had been extremely fond: by her he had three childrenall of whom diedin their infancy. He had likewise had the misfortune of burying this belovedwife herselfabout five years before the time in which this history chuses toset out. This losshowever greathe bore like a man of sense and constancythough it must be confest he would often talk a little whimsically on this head;for he sometimes said he looked on himself as still marriedand considered hiswife as only gone a little before hima journey which he should most certainlysooner or latertake after her; and that he had not the least doubt of meetingher again in a place where he should never part with her more- sentiments forwhich his sense was arraigned by one part of his neighbourshis religion by asecondand his sincerity by a third.
He now livedfor the most partretired in the countrywith one sisterforwhom he had a very tender affection. This lady was now somewhat past the age ofthirtyan aera at whichin the opinion of the maliciousthe title of old maidmay with no impropriety be assumed. She was of that species of women whom youcommend rather for good qualities than beautyand who are generally calledbytheir own sexvery good sort of women- as good a sort of womanmadamas youwould wish to know. Indeedshe was so far from regretting want of beautythatshe never mentioned that perfectionif it can be called onewithout contempt;and would often thank God she was not as handsome as Miss Such-a-onewhomperhaps beauty had led into errors which she might have otherwise avoided. MissBridget Allworthy (for that was the name of this lady) very rightly conceivedthe charms of person in a woman to be no better than snares for herselfas wellas for others; and yet so discreet was she in her conductthat her prudence wasas much on the guard as if she had all the snares to apprehend which were everlaid for her whole sex. IndeedI have observedthough it may seemunaccountable to the readerthat this guard of prudencelike the trained bandsis always readiest to go on duty where there is the least danger. It oftenbasely and cowardly deserts those paragons for whom the men are all wishingsighingdyingand spreading every net in their power; and constantly attendsat the heels of that higher order of women for whom the other sex have a moredistant and awful respectand whom (from despairI supposeof success) theynever venture to attack.
ReaderI think properbefore we proceed any farther togetherto acquaintthee that I intend to digressthrough this whole historyas often as I seeoccasionof which I am myself a better judge than any pitiful critic whatever;and here I must desire all those critics to mind their own businessand not tointermeddle with affairs or works which no ways concern them; for till theyproduce the authority by which they are constituted judgesI shall not plead totheir jurisdiction.
Chapter 3 -
An odd accident which befel Mr. Allworthy at his return home. The decentbehaviour of Mrs. Deborah Wilkinswith some proper animadversions on bastards -
I have told my readerin the preceding chapterthat Mr. Allworthy inheriteda large fortune; that he had a good heartand no family. Hencedoubtlessitwill be concluded by many that he lived like an honest manowed no one ashillingtook nothing but what was his ownkept a good houseentertained hisneighbours with a hearty welcome at his tableand was charitable to the poori.e.to those who had rather beg than workby giving them the offals from it;that he died immensely rich and built an hospital.
And true it is that he did many of these things; but had he done nothing moreI should have left him to have recorded his own merit on some fair freestoneover the door of that hospital. Matters of a much more extraordinary kind are tobe the subject of this historyor I should grossly mis-spend my time in writingso voluminous a work; and youmy sagacious friendmight with equal profit andpleasure travel through some pages which certain droll authors have beenfacetiously pleased to call The History of England.
Mr. Allworthy had been absent a full quarter of a year in Londonon somevery particular businessthough I know not what it was; but judge of itsimportance by its having detained him so long from homewhence he had not beenabsent a month at a time during the space of many years. He came to his housevery late in the eveningand after a short supper with his sisterretired muchfatigued to his chamber. Herehaving spent some minutes on his knees- a customwhich he never broke through on any account- he was preparing to step into bedwhenupon opening the cloathesto his great surprize he beheld an infantwrapt up in some coarse linenin a sweet and profound sleepbetween his sheets.He stood some time lost in astonishment at this sight; butas good nature hadalways the ascendant in his mindhe soon began to be touched with sentiments ofcompassion for the little wretch before him. He then rang his belland orderedan elderly woman-servant to rise immediatelyand come to him; and in themeantime was so eager in contemplating the beauty of innocenceappearing inthose lively colours with which infancy and sleep always display itthat histhoughts were too much engaged to reflect that he was in his shirt when thematron came in. She had indeed given her master sufficient time to dress himself;for out of respect to himand regard to decencyshe had spent many minutes inadjusting her hair at the looking-glassnotwithstanding all the hurry in whichshe had been summoned by the servantand though her masterfor aught she knewlay expiring in an apoplexyor in some other fit.
It will not be wondered at that a creature who had so strict a regard todecency in her own personshould be shocked at the least deviation from it inanother. She therefore no sooner opened the doorand saw her master standing bythe bedside in his shirtwith a candle in his handthan she started back in amost terrible frightand might perhaps have swooned awayhad he not nowrecollected his being undrestand put an end to her terrors by desiring her tostay without the door till he had thrown some cloathes over his backand wasbecome incapable of shocking the pure eyes of Mrs. Deborah Wilkinswhothoughin the fifty-second year of her agevowed she had never beheld a man withouthis coat. Sneerers and prophane wits may perhaps laugh at her first fright; yetmy graver readerwhen he considers the time of nightthe summons from her bedand the situation in which she found her masterwill highly justify and applaudher conductunless the prudence which must be supposed to attend maidens atthat period of life at which Mrs. Deborah had arrivedshould a little lessenhis admiration.
When Mrs. Deborah returned into the roomand was acquainted by her masterwith the finding the little infanther consternation was rather greater thanhis had been; nor could she refrain from crying outwith great horror of accentas well as look"My good sir! what's to be done?" Mr. Allworthyansweredshe must take care of the child that eveningand in the morning hewould give orders to provide it a nurse. "Yessir" says she;"and I hope your worship will send out your warrant to take up the hussyits motherfor she must be one of the neighbourhood; and I should be glad tosee her committed to Bridewelland whipt at the cart's tail. Indeedsuchwicked sluts cannot be too severely punished. I'll warrant 'tis not her firstby her impudence in laying it to your worship." "In laying it to meDeborah!" answered Allworthy: "I can't think she hath any such design.I suppose she hath only taken this method to provide for her child; and truly Iam glad she hath not done worse." "I don't know what is worse"cries Deborah"than for such wicked strumpets to lay their sins at honestmen's doors; and though your worship knows your own innocenceyet the world iscensorious; and it hath been many an honest man's hap to pass for the father ofchildren he never begot; and if your worship should provide for the childitmay make the people the apter to believe; besideswhy should your worshipprovide for what the parish is obliged to maintain? For my own partif it wasan honest man's childindeed- but for my own partit goes against me to touchthese misbegotten wretcheswhom I don't look upon as my fellow-creatures. Faugh!how it stinks! It doth not smell like a Christian. If I might be so bold to givemy adviceI would have it put in a basketand sent out and laid at thechurchwarden's door. It is a good nightonly a little rainy and windy; and ifit was well wrapt upand put in a warm basketit is two to one but it livestill it found in the morning. But if it should notwe have discharged our dutyin taking proper care of it; and it isperhapsbetter such creatures to die ina state of innocencethan to grow up and imitate their mothers; for nothingbetter can be expected of them."
There were some strokes in this speech which perhaps would have offended Mr.Allworthyhad he strictly attended to it; but he had now got one of his fingersinto the infant's handwhichby its gentle pressureseeming to implore hisassistancehad certainly outpleaded the eloquence of Mrs. Deborahhad it beenten times greater than it was. He now gave Mrs. Deborah positive orders to takethe child to her own bedand to call up a maidservant to provide it papandother thingsagainst it waked. He likewise ordered that proper cloathes shouldbe procured for it early in the morningand that it should be brought tohimself as soon as he was stirring.
Such was the discernment of Mrs. Wilkinsand such the respect she bore hermasterunder whom she enjoyed a most excellent placethat her scruples gaveway to his peremptory commands; and she took the child under her armswithoutany apparent disgust at the illegality of its birth; and declaring it was asweet little infantwalked off with it to her own chamber.
Allworthy here betook himself to those pleasing slumbers which a heart thathungers after goodness is apt to enjoy when thoroughly satisfied. As these arepossibly sweeter than what are occasioned by any other hearty mealI shouldtake more pains to display them to the readerif I knew any air to recommendhim to for the procuring such an appetite.
Chapter 4 -
The reader's neck brought into danger by a description; his escape; and thegreat condescension of Miss Bridget Allworthy -
The Gothic stile of building could produce nothing nobler than Mr.Allworthy's house. There was an air of grandeur in it that struck you with aweand rivalled the beauties of the best Grecian architecture; and it was ascommodious within as venerable without.
It stood on the south-east side of a hillbut nearer the bottom than the topof itso as to be sheltered from the north-east by a grove of old oaks whichrose above it in a gradual ascent of near half a mileand yet high enough toenjoy a most charming prospect of the valley beneath.
In the midst of the grove was a fine lawnsloping down towards the housenear the summit of which rose a plentiful springgushing out of a rock coveredwith firsand forming a constant cascade of about thirty feetnot carried downa regular flight of stepsbut tumbling in a natural fall over the broken andmossy stones till it came to the bottom of the rockthen running off in a peblychannelthat with many lesser falls winded alongtill it fell into a lake atthe foot of the hillabout a quarter of a mile below the house on the southsideand which was seen from every room in the front. Out of this lakewhichfilled the center of a beautiful plainembellished with groups of beeches andelmsand fed with sheepissued a riverthat for several miles was seen tomeander through an amazing variety of meadows and woods till it emptied itselfinto the seawith a large arm of whichand an island beyond itthe prospectwas closed.
On the right of this valley opened another of less extentadorned withseveral villagesand terminated by one of the towers of an old ruined abbygrown over with ivyand part of the frontwhich remained still entire.
The left-hand scene presented the view of a very fine parkcomposed of veryunequal groundand agreeably varied with all the diversity that hillslawnswoodand waterlaid out with admirable tastebut owing less to art than tonaturecould give. Beyond thisthe country gradually rose into a ridge of wildmountainsthe tops of which were above the clouds.
It was now the middle of Mayand the morning was remarkably serenewhen Mr.Allworthy walked forth on the terracewhere the dawn opened every minute thatlovely prospect we have before described to his eye; and now having sent forthstreams of lightwhich ascended the blue firmament before himas harbingerspreceding his pompin the full blaze of his majesty rose the sunthan whichone object alone in this lower creation could be more gloriousand that Mr.Allworthy himself presented- a human being replete with benevolencemeditatingin what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creatorby doingmost good to his creatures.
Readertake care. I have unadvisedly led thee to the top of as high a hillas Mr. Allworthy and how to get thee down without breaking thy neckI do notwell know. Howeverlet us e'en venture to slide down together; for Miss Bridgetrings her belland Mr. Allworthy is summoned to breakfastwhere I must attendandif you pleaseshall be glad of your company.
The usual compliments having past between Mr. Allworthy and Miss Bridgetandthe tea being poured outhe summoned Mrs. Wilkinsand told his sister he had apresent for herfor which she thanked him- imaginingI supposeit had been agownor some ornament for her person. Indeedhe very often made her suchpresents; and shein complacence to himspent much time in adorning herself. Isay in complacence to himbecause she always exprest the greatest contempt fordressand for those ladies who made it their study.
But if such was her expectationhow was she disappointed when Mrs. Wilkinsaccording to the order she had received from her masterproduced the littleinfant? Great surprizesas hath been observedare apt to be silent; and so wasMiss Bridgettill her brother beganand told her the whole storywhichasthe reader knows it alreadywe shall not repeat.
Miss Bridget had always exprest so great a regard for what the ladies arepleased to call virtueand had herself maintained such a severity of characterthat it was expectedespecially by Wilkinsthat she would have vented muchbitterness on this occasionand would have voted for sending the childas akind of noxious animalimmediately out of the house; buton the contrarysherather took the good-natured side of the questionintimated some compassion forthe helpless little creatureand commended her brother's charity in what he haddone.
Perhaps the reader may account for this behaviour from her condescension toMr. Allworthywhen we have informed him that the good man had ended hisnarrative with owning a resolution to take care of the childand to breed himup as his own; forto acknowledge the truthshe was always ready to oblige herbrotherand very seldomif evercontradicted his sentiments. She wouldindeedsometimes make a few observationsas that men were headstrongand musthave their own wayand would wish she had been blest with an independentfortune; but these were always vented in a low voiceand at the most amountedonly to what is called muttering.
Howeverwhat she withheld from the infantshe bestowed with the utmostprofuseness on the poor unknown motherwhom she called an impudent slutawanton hussyan audacious harlota wicked jadea vile strumpetwith everyother appellation with which the tongue of virtue never fails to lash those whobring a disgrace on the sex.
A consultation was now entered into how to proceed in order to discover themother. A scrutiny was first made into the characters of the female servants ofthe housewho were all acquitted by Mrs. Wilkinsand with apparent merit; forshe had collected them herselfand perhaps it would be difficult to find suchanother set of scarecrows.
The next step was to examine among the inhabitants of the parish; and thiswas referred to Mrs. Wilkinswho was to enquire with all imaginable diligenceand to make her report in the afternoon.
Matters being thus settledMr. Allworthy withdrew to his studyas was hiscustomand left the child to his sisterwhoat his desirehad undertaken thecare of it.
Chapter 5 -
Containing a few common matterswith a very uncommon observation upon them -
When her master was departedMrs. Deborah stood silentexpecting her cuefrom Miss Bridget; for as to what had past before her masterthe prudenthousekeeper by no means relied upon itas she had often known the sentiments ofthe lady in her brother's absence to differ greatly from those which she hadexpressed in his presence. Miss Bridget did nothoweversuffer her to continuelong in this doubtful situation; for having looked some time earnestly at thechildas it lay asleep in the lap of Mrs. Deborahthe good lady could notforbear giving it a hearty kissat the same time declaring herself wonderfullypleased with its beauty and innocence. Mrs. Deborah no sooner observed this thanshe fell to squeezing and kissingwith as great raptures as sometimes inspirethe sage dame of forty and five towards a youthful and vigorous bridegroomcrying outin a shrill voice"Othe dear little creature!- The dearsweetpretty creature! WellI vow it is as fine a boy as ever was seen!"
These exclamations continued till they were interrupted by the ladywho nowproceeded to execute the commission given her by her brotherand gave ordersfor providing all necessaries for the childappointing a very good room in thehouse for his nursery. Her orders were indeed so liberalthathad it been achild of her ownshe could not have exceeded them; butlest the virtuousreader may condemn her for showing too great regard to a base-born infanttowhich all charity is condemned by law as irreligiouswe think proper to observethat she concluded the whole with saying"Since it was her brother's whimto adopt the little bratshe supposed little master must be treated with greattenderness. For her partshe could not help thinking it was an encouragement tovice; but that she knew too much of the obstinacy of mankind to oppose any oftheir ridiculous humours."
With reflections of this nature she usuallyas has been hintedaccompaniedevery act of compliance with her brother's inclinations; and surely nothingcould more contribute to heighten the merit of this compliance than adeclaration that she knewat the same timethe folly and unreasonableness ofthose inclinations to which she submitted. Tacit obedience implies no force uponthe willand consequently may be easilyand without any painspreserved; butwhen a wifea childa relationor a friendperforms what we desirewithgrumbling and reluctancewith expressions of dislike and dissatisfactionthemanifest difficulty which they undergo must greatly enhance the obligation.
As this is one of those deep observations which very few readers can besupposed capable of making themselvesI have thought proper to lend them myassistance; but this is a favour rarely to be expected in the course of my work;IndeedI shall seldom or never so indulge himunless in such instances asthiswhere nothing but the inspiration with which we writers are giftedcanpossibly enable any one to make the discovery.
Chapter 6 -
Mrs. Deborah is introduced into the parish with a simile. A short account ofJenny Joneswith the difficulties and discouragements which may attend youngwomen in the pursuit of learning -
Mrs. Deborahhaving disposed of the child according to the will of hermasternow prepared to visit those habitations which were supposed to concealits mother.
Not otherwise than when a kitetremendous birdis beheld by the featheredgeneration soaring aloftand hovering over their headsthe amorous doveandevery innocent little birdspread wide the alarmand fly trembling to theirhiding-places. He proudly beats the airconscious of his dignityand meditatesintended mischief.
So when the approach of Mrs. Deborah was proclaimed through the streetallthe inhabitants ran trembling into their houseseach matron dreading lest thevisit should fall to her lot. She with stately steps proudly advances over thefield: aloft she bears her towering headfilled with conceit of her ownpreeminenceand schemes to effect her intended discovery.
The sagacious reader will not from this simile imagine these poor people hadany apprehension of the design with which Mrs. Wilkins was now coming towardsthem; but as the great beauty of the simile may possibly sleep these hundredyearstill some future commentator shall take this work in handI think properto lend the reader a little assistance in this place.
It is my intentionthereforeto signifythatas it is the nature
of a kite to devour little birdsso is it the nature of such persons as Mrs.Wilkins to insult and tyrannize over little people. This being indeed the meanswhich they use to recompense to themselves their extreme servility andcondescension to their superiors; for nothing can be more reasonablethan thatslaves and flatterers should exact the same taxes on all below themwhich theythemselves pay to all above them.
Whenever Mrs. Deborah had occasion to exert any extraordinary condescensionto Miss Bridgetand by that means had a little soured her natural dispositionit was usual with her to walk forth among these peoplein order to refine hertemperby ventingandas it werepurging off all ill humours; on whichaccount she was by no means a welcome visitant: to say the truthshe wasuniversally dreaded and hated by them all.
On her arrival in this placeshe went immediately to the habitation of anelderly matron; to whomas this matron had the good fortune to resemble herselfin the comeliness of her personas well as in her ageshe had generally beenmore favourable than to any of the rest. To this woman she imparted what hadhappenedand the design upon which she was come thither that morning. These twobegan presently to scrutinize the characters of the several young girls wholived in any of those housesand at last fixed their strongest suspicion on oneJenny Joneswhothey both agreedwas the likeliest person to have committedthis fact.
This Jenny Jones was no very comely girleither in her face or person; butnature had somewhat compensated the want of beauty with what is generally moreesteemed by those ladies whose judgment is arrived at years of perfect maturityfor she had given her a very uncommon share of understanding. This gift Jennyhad a good deal improved by erudition. She had lived several years a servantwith a schoolmasterwhodiscovering a great quickness of parts in the girland an extraordinary desire of learning- for every leisure hour she was alwaysfound reading in the books of the scholars- had the good-natureor folly- justas the reader pleases to call it- to instruct her so farthat she obtained acompetent skill in the Latin languageand wasperhapsas good a scholar asmost of the young men of quality of the age. This advantagehoweverlike mostothers of an extraordinary kindwas attended with some small inconveniences:for as it is not to be wondered atthat a young woman so well accomplishedshould have little relish for the society of those whom fortune had made herequalsbut whom education had rendered so much her inferiors; so it is matterof no greater astonishmentthat this superiority in Jennytogether with thatbehaviour which is its certain consequenceshould produce among the rest somelittle envy and ill-will towards her; and these hadperhapssecretly burnt inthe bosoms of her neighbours ever since her return from her service.
Their envy did nothoweverdisplay itself openlytill poor Jennyto thesurprize of everybodyand to the vexation of all the young women in thesepartshad publickly shone forth on a Sunday in a new silk gownwith a lacedcapand other proper appendages to these.
The flamewhich had before lain in embryonow burst forth. Jenny hadbyher learningincreased her own pridewhich none of her neighbours were kindenough to feed with the honour she seemed to demand; and nowinstead of respectand adorationshe gained nothing but hatred and abuse by her finery. The wholeparish declared she could not come honestly by such things; and parentsinsteadof wishing their daughters the samefelicitated themselves that their childrenhad them not.
Henceperhapsit wasthat the good woman first mentioned the name of thispoor girl to Mrs. Wilkins; but there was another circumstance that confirmed thelatter in her suspicion; for Jenny had lately been often at Mr. Allworthy'shouse. She had officiated as nurse to Miss Bridgetin a violent fit of illnessand had sat up many nights with that lady; besides whichshe had been seenthere the very day before Mr. Allworthy's returnby Mrs. Wilkins herselfthough that sagacious person had not at first conceived any suspicion of her onthat account; foras she herself said"She had always esteemed Jenny as avery sober girl (though indeed she knew very little of her)and had rathersuspected some of those wanton trollopswho gave themselves airsbecauseforsooththey thought themselves handsome."
Jenny was now summoned to appear in person before Mrs. Deborahwhich sheimmediately did. When Mrs. Deborahputting on the gravity of a judgewithsomewhat more than his austeritybegan an oration with the words"Youaudacious strumpet!" in which she proceeded rather to pass sentence on theprisoner than to accuse her.
Though Mrs. Deborah was fully satisfied of the guilt of Jennyfrom thereasons above shownit is possible Mr. Allworthy might have required somestronger evidence to have convicted her; but she saved her accusers any suchtroubleby freely confessing the whole fact with which she was charged.
This confessionthough delivered rather in terms of contritionas itappeareddid not at all mollify Mrs. Deborahwho now pronounced a secondjudgment against herin more opprobrious language than before; nor had it anybetter success with the bystanderswho were now grown very numerous. Many ofthem cried out"They thought what madam's silk gown would end in";others spoke sarcastically of her learning. Not a single female was present butfound some means of expressing her abhorrence of poor Jennywho bore all verypatientlyexcept the malice of one womanwho reflected upon her personandtossing up her nosesaid"The man must have a good stomach who would givesilk gowns for such sort of trumpery!" Jenny replied to this with abitterness which might have surprized a judicious personwho had observed thetranquillity with which she bore all the affronts to her chastity; but herpatience was perhaps tired outfor this is a virtue which is very apt to befatigued by exercise.
Mrs. Deborah having succeeded beyond her hopes in her inquiryreturned withmuch triumphandat the appointed hourmade a faithful report to Mr.Allworthywho was much surprized at the relation; for he had heard of theextraordinary parts and improvements of this girlwhom he intended to havegiven in marriagetogether with a small livingto a neighbouring curate. Hisconcernthereforeon this occasionwas at least equal to the satisfactionwhich appeared in Mrs. Deborahand to many readers may seem much morereasonable.
Miss Bridget blessed herselfand said"For her partshe should neverhereafter entertain a good opinion of any woman." For Jenny before this hadthe happiness of being much in her good graces also.
The prudent housekeeper was again dispatched to bring the unhappy culpritbefore Mr. Allworthyin ordernot as it was hoped by someand expected byallto be sent to the House of Correctionbut to receive wholesome admonitionand reproof; which those who relish that kind of instructive writing may perusein the next chapter.
Chapter 7 -
Containing such grave matterthat the reader cannot laugh once through thewhole chapterunless peradventure he should laugh at the author -
When Jenny appearedMr. Allworthy took her into his studyand spoke to heras follows: "You knowchildit is in my power as a magistrateto punishyou very rigorously for what you have done; and you willperhapsbe the moreapt to fear I should execute that powerbecause you have in a manner laid yoursins at my door.
"Butperhapsthis is one reason which hath determined me to act in amilder manner with you: foras no private resentment should ever influence amagistrateI will be so far from considering your having deposited the infantin my house as an aggravation of your offencethat I will supposein yourfavourthis to have proceeded from a natural affection to your childsince youmight have some hopes to see it thus better provided for than was in the powerof yourselfor its wicked fatherto provide for it. I should indeed have beenhighly offended with you had you exposed the little wretch in the manner of someinhuman motherswho seem no less to have abandoned their humanitythan to haveparted with their chastity. It is the other part of your offencethereforeupon which I intend to admonish youI mean the violation of your chastity;- acrimehowever lightly it may be treated by debauched personsvery heinous initselfand very dreadful in its consequences.
"The heinous nature of this offence must be sufficiently apparent toevery Christianinasmuch as it is committed in defiance of the laws of ourreligionand of the express commands of Him who founded that religion.
"And here its consequences may well be argued to be dreadful; for whatcan be more sothan to incur the divine displeasureby the breach of thedivine commands; and that in an instance against which the highest vengeance isspecifically denounced?
"But these thingsthough too littleI am afraidregardedare soplainthat mankindhowever they may want to be remindedcan never needinformation on this head. A hintthereforeto awaken your sense of thismattershall suffice; for I would inspire you with repentanceand not driveyou to desperation.
"There are other consequencesnot indeed so dreadful or replete withhorror as this; and yet suchasif attentively consideredmustone wouldthinkdeter all of your sex at least from the commission of this crime.
"For by it you are rendered infamousand drivenlike lepers of oldout of society; at leastfrom the society of all but wicked and reprobatepersons; for no others will associate with you.
"If you have fortunesyou are hereby rendered incapable of enjoyingthem; if you have noneyou are disabled from acquiring anynay almost ofprocuring your sustenance; for no persons of character will receive you intotheir houses. Thus you are often driven by necessity itself into a state ofshame and miserywhich unavoidably ends in the destruction of both body andsoul.
"Can any pleasure compensate these evils? Can any temptation havesophistry and delusion strong enough to persuade you to so simple a bargain? Orcan any carnal appetite so overpower your reasonor so totally lay it asleepas to prevent your flying with affright and terror from a crime which carriessuch punishment always with it?
"How base and mean must that woman behow void of that dignity of mindand decent pridewithout which we are not worthy the name of human creatureswho can bear to level herself with the lowest animaland to sacrifice all thatis great and noble in herall her heavenly partto an appetite which she hathin common with the vilest branch of the creation! For no womansurewill pleadthe passion of love for an excuse. This would be to own herself the mere tooland bubble of the man. Lovehowever barbarously we may corrupt and pervert itsmeaningas it is a laudableis a rational passionand can never be violentbut when reciprocal; for though the Scripture bids us love our enemiesit meansnot with that fervent love which we naturally beat towards our friends; muchless that we should sacrifice to them our livesand what ought to be dearer tousour innocence. Now in what lightbut that of an enemycan a reasonablewoman regard the man who solicits her to entail on herself all the misery I havedescribed to youand who would purchase to himself a shorttrivialcontemptible pleasureso greatly at her expense! Forby the laws of customthe whole shamewith all its dreadful consequencesfalls intirely upon her.Can lovewhich always seeks the good of its objectattempt to betray a womaninto a bargain where she is so greatly to be the loser? If such corrupterthereforeshould have the impudence to pretend a real affection for heroughtnot the woman to regard him not only as an enemybut as the worst of allenemiesa falsedesigningtreacherouspretended friendwho intends not onlyto debauch her bodybut her understanding at the same time?"
Here Jenny expressing great concernAllworthy paused a momentand thenproceeded: "I have talked thus to youchildnot to insult you for what ispast and irrevocablebut to caution and strengthen you for the future. Norshould I have taken this troublebut from some opinion of your good sensenotwithstanding the dreadful slip you have made; and from some hopes of yourhearty repentancewhich are founded on the openness and sincerity of yourconfession. If these do not deceive meI will take care to convey you from thisscene of your shamewhere you shallby being unknownavoid the punishmentwhichas I have saidis allotted to your crime in this world; and I hopebyrepentanceyou will avoid the much heavier sentence denounced against it in theother. Be a good girl the rest of your daysand want shall be no motive to yourgoing astray; andbelieve methere is more pleasureeven in this worldin aninnocent and virtuous lifethan in one debauched and vicious.
"As to your childlet no thoughts concerning it molest you; I willprovide for it in a better manner than you can ever hope. And now nothingremains but that you inform me who was the wicked man that seduced you; for myanger against him will be much greater than you have experienced on thisoccasion."
Jenny now lifted her eyes from the groundand with a modest look and decentvoice thus began:-
"To know yousirand not love your goodnesswould be an argument oftotal want of sense or goodness in any one. In me it would amount to the highestingratitudenot to feelin the most sensible mannerthe great degree ofgoodness you have been pleased to exert on this occasion. As to my concern forwhat is pastI know you will spare my blushes the repetition. My future conductwill much better declare my sentiments than any professions I can now make. Ibeg leave to assure yousirthat I take your advice much kinder than yourgenerous offer with which you concluded it; foras you are pleased to saysirit is an instance of your opinion of my understanding."- Here her tearsflowing apaceshe stopped a few momentsand then proceeded thus:-"Indeedsiryour kindness overcomes me; but I will endeavour to deservethis good opinion: for if I have the understanding you are so kindly pleased toallow mesuch advice cannot be thrown away upon me. I thank yousirheartilyfor your intended kindness to my poor helpless child: he is innocentand I hopewill live to be grateful for all the favours you shall show him. But nowsirImust on my knees entreat you not to persist in asking me to declare the fatherof my infant. I promise you faithfully you shall one day know; but I am underthe most solemn ties and engagements of honouras well as the most religiousvows and protestationsto conceal his name at this time. And I know you toowellto think you would desire I should sacrifice either my honour or
Mr. Allworthywhom the least mention of those sacred words was sufficient tostaggerhesitated a moment before he repliedand then told hershe had donewrong to enter into such engagements to a villain; but since she hadhe couldnot insist on her breaking them. He saidit was not from a motive of vaincuriosity he had inquiredbut in order to punish the fellow; at leastthat hemight not ignorantly confer favours on the undeserving.
As to these pointsJenny satisfied him by the most solemn assurancesthatthe man was entirely out of his reach; and was neither subject to his powernorin any probability of becoming an object of his goodness.
The ingenuity of this behaviour had gained Jenny so much credit with thisworthy manthat he easily believed what she told him; for as she had disdainedto excuse herself by a lieand had hazarded his further displeasure in herpresent situationrather than she would forfeit her honour or integrity bybetraying anotherhe had but little apprehensions that she would be guilty offalsehood towards himself.
He therefore dismissed her with assurances that he would very soon remove herout of the reach of that obloquy she had incurred; concluding with someadditional documentsin which he recommended repentancesaying"Considerchildthere is One still to reconcile yourself towhose favouris of much greater importance to you than mine."
Chapter 8 -
A dialogue between Mesdames Bridget and Deborah; containing more amusementbut less instructionthan the former -
When Mr. Allworthy had retired to his study with Jenny Jonesas hath beenseenMrs. Bridgetwith the good housekeeperhad betaken themselves to a postnext adjoining to the said study; whencethrough the conveyance of a keyholethey sucked in at their ears the instructive lecture delivered by Mr. Allworthytogether with the answers of Jennyand indeed every other particular whichpassed in the last chapter.
This hole in her brother's study-door was indeed as well known to Mrs.Bridgetand had been as frequently applied to by heras the famous hole in thewall was by Thisbe of old. This served to many good purposes. For by such meansMrs. Bridget became often acquainted with her brother's inclinationswithoutgiving him the trouble of repeating them to her. It is truesome inconveniencesattended this intercourseand she had sometimes reason to cry out with Thisbein Shakespear"Owickedwicked wall!" For as Mr. Allworthy was ajustice of peacecertain things occurred in examinations concerning bastardsand such likewhich are apt to give great offence to the chaste ears ofvirginsespecially when they approach the age of fortyas was the case of MissBridget. Howevershe hadon such occasionsthe advantage of concealing herblushes from the eyes of men; and De non apparentibuset non existentibus eademest ratio*- in English"When a woman is not seen to blushshe doth notblush at all." -
*Things which do not appear are to be treated the same as those which do notexist.- COKE -
Both the good women kept strict silence during the whole scene between Mr.Allworthy and the girl; but as soon as it was endedand that gentleman was outof hearingMrs. Deborah could not help exclaiming against the clemency of hermasterand especially against his suffering her to conceal the father of thechildwhich she swore she would have out of her before the sun set.
At these words Miss Bridget discomposed her features with a smile (a thingvery unusual to her). Not that I would have my reader imaginethat this was oneof those wanton smiles which Homer would have you conceive came from Venuswhenhe calls her the laughter-loving goddess; nor was it one of those smiles whichLady Seraphina shoots from the stage-boxand which Venus would quit herimmortality to be able to equal. Nothis was rather one of those smiles whichmight be supposed to have come from the dimpled cheeks of the august Tisiphoneor from one of the missesher sisters.
With such a smile thenand with a voice sweet as the evening breeze ofBoreas in the pleasant month of NovemberMiss Bridget gently reproved thecuriosity of Mrs. Deborah; a vice with which it seems the latter was too muchtaintedand which the former inveighed against with great bitternessadding"Thatamong all her faultsshe thanked Heaven her enemies could notaccuse her of prying into the affairs of other people."
She then proceeded to commend the honour and spirit with which Jenny hadacted. She saidshe could not help agreeing with her brotherthat there wassome merit in the sincerity of her confessionand in her integrity to herlover: that she had always thought her a very good girland doubted not but shehad been seduced by some rascalwho had been infinitely more to blame thanherselfand very probably had prevailed with her by a promise of marriageorsome other treacherous proceeding.
This behaviour of Miss Bridget greatly surprised Mrs. Deborah; for thiswell-bred woman seldom opened her lipseither to her master or his sistertillshe had first sounded their inclinationswith which her sentiments were alwaysconsonant. Herehowevershe thought she might have launched forth with safety;and the sagacious reader will not perhaps accuse her of want of sufficientforecast in so doingbut will rather admire with what wonderful celerity shetacked aboutwhen she found herself steering a wrong course.
"Naymadam" said this able womanand truly great politician"I must own I cannot help admiring the girl's spiritas well as yourladyship. Andas your ladyship saysif she was deceived by some wicked manthe poor wretch is to be pitied. And to be sureas your ladyship saysthe girlhath always appeared like a goodhonestplain girland not vain of her faceforsoothas some wanton husseys in the neighbourhood are."
"You say trueDeborah" said Miss Bridget. "If the girl hadbeen one of those vain trollopsof which we have too many in the parishIshould have condemned my brother for his lenity towards her. I saw two farmers'daughters at churchthe other daywith bare necks. I protest they shocked me.If wenches will hang out lures for fellowsit is no matter what they suffer. Idetest such creatures; and it would be much better for them that their faces hadbeen seamed with the smallpox; but I must confessI never saw any of thiswanton behaviour in poor Jenny: some artful villainI am convincedhathbetrayednay perhaps forced her; and I pity the poor wretch with all myheart."
Mrs. Deborah approved all these sentimentsand the dialogue concluded with ageneral and bitter invective against beautyand with many compassionateconsiderations for all honestplain girls who are deluded by the wicked arts ofdeceitful men.
Chapter 9 -
Containing matters which will surprize the reader
Jenny returned home well pleased with the reception she had met with from Mr.Allworthywhose indulgence to her she industriously made public; partly perhapsas a sacrifice to her own prideand partly from the more prudent motive ofreconciling her neighbours to herand silencing their clamours.
But though this latter viewif she indeed had itmay appear reasonableenoughyet the event did not answer her expectation; for when she was convenedbefore the justiceand it was universally apprehended that the House ofCorrection would have been her fatethough some of the young women cryed out"It was good enough for her" and diverted themselves with thethoughts of her beating hemp in a silk gown; yet there were many others whobegan to pity her condition: but when it was known in what manner Mr. Allworthyhad behavedthe tide turned against her. One said"I'll assure youmadamhath had good luck." A second cryed"See what it is to be afavourite!" A third"Aythis comes of her learning." Everyperson made some malicious comment or other on the occasionand reflected onthe partiality of the justice.
The behaviour of these people may appear impolitic and ungrateful to thereaderwho considers the power and benevolence of Mr. Allworthy. But as to hispowerhe never used it; and as to his benevolencehe exerted so muchthat hehad thereby disobliged all his neighbours; for it is a secret well known togreat menthatby conferring an obligationthey do not always procure afriendbut are certain of creating many enemies.
Jenny washoweverby the care and goodness of Mr. Allworthysoon removedout of the reach of reproach; when malice being no longer able to vent its rageon herbegan to seek another object of its bitternessand this was no lessthan Mr. Allworthyhimself; for a whisper soon went abroadthat he himself wasthe father of the foundling child.
This supposition so well reconciled his conduct to the general opinionthatit met with universal assent; and the outcry against his lenity soon began totake another turnand was changed into an invective against his cruelty to thepoor girl. Very grave and good women exclaimed against men who begot childrenand then disowned them. Nor were there wanting somewhoafter the departure ofJennyinsinuated that she was spirited away with a design too black to bementionedand who gave frequent hints that a legal inquiry ought to be madeinto the whole matterand that some people should be forced to produce thegirl.
These calumnies might have probably produced ill consequencesat the leastmight gave occasioned some troubleto a person of a more doubtful andsuspicious character than Mr. Allworthy was blessed with; but in his case theyhad no such effect; andbeing heartily despised by himthey served only toafford an innocent amusement to the good gossips of the neighbourhood.
But as we cannot possibly divine what complection our reader may be ofandas it will be some time before he will hear any more of Jennywe think properto give him a very early intimationthat Mr. Allworthy wasand will hereafterappear to beabsolutely innocent of any criminal intention whatever. He hadindeed committed no other than an error in politicsby tempering justice withmercyand by refusing to gratify the good-natured disposition of the mob* withan object for their compassion to work on in the person of poor Jennywhominorder to pitythey desired to have seen sacrificed to ruin and infamyby ashameful correction in Bridewell. -
*Whenever this word occurs in our writingsit intends persons without virtueor sensein all stations; and many of the highest rank are often meant by it. -
So far from complying with this their inclinationby which all hopes ofreformation would have been abolishedand even the gate shut against her if herown inclinations should ever hereafter lead her to chuse the road of virtueMr.Allworthy rather chose to encourage the girl to return thither by the onlypossible means; for too true I am afraid it isthat many women have becomeabandonedand have sunk to the last degree of viceby being unable to retrievethe first slip. This will beI am afraidalways the case while they remainamong their former acquaintance; it was therefore wisely done by Mr. Allworthyto remove Jenny to a place where she might enjoy the pleasure of reputationafter having tasted the ill consequences of losing it.
To this place thereforewherever it waswe will wish her a good journeyand for the present take leave of herand of the little foundling her childhaving matters of much higher importance to communicate to the reader.
Chapter 10 -
The hospitality of Allworthy; with a short sketch of the characters of twobrothersa doctor and a captainwho were entertained by that gentleman -
Neither Mr. Allworthy's housenor his heartwere shut against any part ofmankindbut they were both more particularly open to men of merit. To say thetruththis was the only house in the kingdom where you was sure to gain adinner by deserving it.
Above all othersmen of genius and learning shared the principal place inhis favour; and in these he had much discernment: for though he had missed theadvantage of a learned educationyetbeing blest with vast natural abilitieshe had so well profited by a vigorous though late application to lettersand bymuch conversation with men of eminence in this waythat he was himself a verycompetent judge in most kinds of literature.
It is no wonder that in an age when this kind of merit is so little infashionand so slenderly provided forpersons possessed of it should veryeagerly flock to a place where they were sure of being received with greatcomplaisance; indeedwhere they might enjoy almost the same advantages of aliberal fortune as if they were entitled to it in their own right; for Mr.Allworthy was not one of those generous persons who are ready most bountifullyto bestow meatdrinkand lodging on men of wit and learningfor which theyexpect no other return but entertainmentinstructionflatteryandsubserviency; in a wordthat such persons should be enrolled in the number ofdomesticswithout wearing their master's cloathesor receiving wages.
On the contraryevery person in this house was perfect master of his owntime: and as he might at his pleasure satisfy all his appetites within therestrictions only of lawvirtueand religion; so he mightif his healthrequiredor his inclination prompted him to temperanceor even to abstinenceabsent himself from any mealsor retire from themwhenever he was so disposedwithout even a sollicitation to the contrary: forindeedsuch sollicitationsfrom superiors always savour very strongly of commands. But all here were freefrom such impertinencenot only those whose company is in all other placesesteemed a favour from their equality of fortunebut even those whose indigentcircumstances make such an eleemosynary abode convenient to themand who aretherefore less welcome to a
great man's table because they stand in need of it.
Among others of this kind was Dr. Blifila gentleman who had the misfortuneof losing the advantage of great talents by the obstinacy of a fatherwho wouldbreed him to a profession he disliked. In obedience to this obstinacy the doctorhad in his youth been obliged to study physicor rather to say he studied it;for in reality books of this kind were almost the only ones with which he wasunacquainted; and unfortunately for himthe doctor was master of almost everyother science but that by which he was to get his bread; the consequence ofwhich wasthat the doctor at the age of forty had no bread to eat.
Such a person as this was certain to find a welcome at Mr. Allworthy's tableto whom misfortunes were ever a recommendationwhen they were derived from thefolly or villany of othersand not of the unfortunate person himself. Besidesthis negative meritthe doctor had one positive recommendation;- this was agreat appearance of religion. Whether his religion was realor consisted onlyin appearanceI shall not presume to sayas I am not possessed of anytouchstone which can distinguish the true from the false.
If this part of his character pleased Mr. Allworthyit delighted MissBridget. She engaged him in many religious controversies; on which occasions sheconstantly expressed great satisfaction in the doctor's knowledgeand not muchless in the compliments which he frequently bestowed on her own. To say thetruthshe had read much English divinityand had puzzled more than one of theneighbouring curates. Indeedher conversation was so pureher looks so sageand her whole deportment so grave and solemnthat she seemed to deserve thename of saint equally with her namesakeor with any other female in the Romankalendar.
As sympathies of all kinds are apt to beget loveso experience teaches usthat none have a more direct tendency this way than those of a religious kindbetween persons of different sexes. The doctor found himself so agreeable toMiss Bridgetthat he now began to lament an unfortunate accident which hadhappened to him about ten years before; namelyhis marriage with another womanwho was not only still alivebutwhat was worseknown to be so by Mr.Allworthy. This was a fatal bar to that happiness which he otherwise sawsufficient probability of obtaining with this young lady; for as to criminalindulgenceshe certainly never thought of them. This was owing either to hisreligionas is most probableor to the purity of his passionwhich was fixedon those things which matrimony onlyand not criminal correspondencecould puthim in possession ofor could give him any title to.
He had not long ruminated on these mattersbefore it occurred to his memorythat he had a brother who was under no such unhappy incapacity. This brother hemade no doubt would succeed; for he discernedas he thoughtan inclination tomarriage in the lady; and the reader perhapswhen he hears the brother'squalificationswill not blame the confidence which he entertained of hissuccess.
This gentleman was about thirty-five years of age. He was of a middle sizeand what is called well-built. He had a scar on his foreheadwhich did not somuch injure his beauty as it denoted his valour (for he was a half-pay officer).He had good teethand something affablewhen he pleasedin his smile; thoughnaturally his countenanceas well as his air and voicehad much of roughnessin it: yet he could at any time deposit thisand appear all gentleness and goodhumour. He was not ungenteelnor entirely devoid of witand in his youth hadabounded in sprightlinesswhichthough he had lately put on a more seriouscharacterhe couldwhen he pleasedresume.
He hadas well as the doctoran academic education; for his father hadwith the same paternal authority we have mentioned beforedecreed him for holyorders; but as the old gentleman died before he was ordainedhe chose thechurch militaryand preferred the king's commission to the bishop's.
He had purchased the post of lieutenant of dragoonsand afterwards came tobe a captain; but having quarrelled with his colonelwas by his interestobliged to sell; from which time he had entirely rusticated himselfhad betakenhimself to studying the Scripturesand was not a little suspected of aninclination to methodism.
It seemedthereforenot unlikely that such a person should succeed with alady of so saint-like a dispositionand whose inclinations were no otherwiseengaged than to the marriage state in general; but why the doctorwho certainlyhad no great friendship for his brothershould for his sake think of making soill a return to the hospitality of Allworthyis a matter not so easy to beaccounted for.
Is it that some natures delight in evilas others are thought to delight invirtue? Or is there a pleasure in being accessory to a theft when we cannotcommit it ourselves? Or lastly (which experience seems to make probable)havewe a satisfaction in aggrandizing our familieseven though we have not theleast love or respect for them?
Whether any of these motives operated on the doctorwe will not determine;but so the fact was. He sent for his brotherand easily found means tointroduce him at Allworthy's as a person who intended only a short visit tohimself.
The captain had not been in the house a week before the doctor had reason tofelicitate himself on his discernment. The captain was indeed as great a masterof the art of love as Ovid was formerly. He had besides received proper hintsfrom his brotherwhich he failed not to improve to the best advantage.
Chapter 11 -
Containing many rulesand some examplesconcerning falling in love:descriptions of beautyand other more prudential inducements to matrimony -
It hath been observedby wise men or womenI forget whichthat all personsare doomed to be in love once in their lives. No particular season isas Irememberassigned for this; but the age at which Miss Bridget was arrivedseems to me as proper a period as any to be fixed on for this purpose: it oftenindeedhappens much earlier; but when it doth notI have observed it seldom ornever fails about this time. Moreoverwe may remark that at this season love isof a more serious and steady nature than what sometimes shows itself in theyounger parts of life. The love of girls is uncertaincapriciousand sofoolish that we cannot always discover what the young lady would be at; nayitmay almost be doubted whether she always knows this herself.
Now we are never at a loss to discern this in women about forty; for as suchgraveseriousand experienced ladies well know their own meaningso it isalways very easy for a man of the least sagacity to discover it with the utmostcertainty.
Miss Bridget is an example of all these observations. She had not been manytimes in the captain's company before she was seized with this passion. Nor didshe go pining and moping about the houselike a punyfoolish girlignorant ofher distemper: she feltshe knewand she enjoyedthe pleasing sensationofwhichas she was certain it was not only innocent but laudableshe was neitherafraid nor ashamed.
And to say the truththere isin all pointsgreat difference between thereasonable passion which women at this age conceive towards menand the idleand childish liking of a girl to a boywhich is often fixed on the outsideonlyand on things of little value and no duration; as on cherry-cheekssmalllily-white handssloe-black eyesflowing locksdowny chinsdapper shapes;naysometimes on charms more worthless than theseand less the party's own;such are the outward ornaments of the personfor which men are beholden to thetaylorthe lacemanthe periwig-makerthe hatterand the millinerand not tonature. Such a passion girls may well be ashamedas they generally areto owneither to themselves or others.
The love of Miss Bridget was of another kind. The captain owed nothing to anyof these fop-makers in his dressnor was his person much more beholden tonature. Both his dress and person were such ashad they appeared in an assemblyor a drawing-roomwould have been the contempt and ridicule of all the fineladies there. The former of these was indeed neatbut plaincoarseill-fanciedand out of fashion. As for the latterwe have expressly describedit above. So far was the skin on his cheeks from being cherry-colouredthat youcould not discern what the natural colour of his cheeks wasthey being totallyovergrown by a black beardwhich ascended to his eyes. His shape and limbs wereindeed exactly proportionedbut so large that they denoted the strength ratherof a ploughman than any other. His shoulders were broad beyond all sizeand thecalves of his legs larger than those of a common chairman. In shorthis wholeperson wanted all that elegance and beauty which is the very reverse of clumsystrengthand which so agreeably sets off most of our fine gentlemen; beingpartly owing to the high blood of their ancestorsviz.blood made of richsauces and generous winesand partly to an early town education.
Though Miss Bridget was a woman of the greatest delicacy of tasteyet suchwere the charms of the captain's conversationthat she totally overlooked thedefects of his person. She imaginedand perhaps very wiselythat she shouldenjoy more agreeable minutes with the captain than with a much prettier fellow;and forewent the consideration of pleasing her eyesin order to procure herselfmuch more solid satisfaction.
The captain no sooner perceived the passion of Miss Bridgetin whichdiscovery he was very quick-sightedthan he faithfully returned it. The ladyno more than her loverwas remarkable for beauty. I would attempt to draw herpicturebut that is done already by a more able masterMr. Hogarth himselftowhom she sat many years agoand hath been lately exhibited by that gentleman inhis print of a winter's morningof which she was no improper emblemand may beseen walking (for walk she doth in the print) to Covent Garden churchwith astarved foot-boy behind carrying her prayer-book.
The captain likewise very wisely preferred the more solid enjoyments heexpected with this ladyto the fleeting charms of person. He was one of thosewise men who regard beauty in the other sex as a very worthless and superficialqualification; orto speak more trulywho rather chuse to possess everyconvenience of life with an ugly womanthan a handsome one without any of thoseconveniences. And having a very good appetiteand but little nicetyhe fanciedhe should play his part very well at the matrimonial banquetwithout the sauceof beauty.
To deal plainly with the readerthe captainever since his arrivalatleast from the moment his brother had proposed the match to himlong before hehad discovered any flattering symptoms in Miss Bridgethad been greatlyenamoured; that is to sayof Mr. Allworthy's house and gardensand of hislandstenementsand hereditaments; of all which the captain was passionatelyfondthat he would most probably have contracted marriage with had he beenobliged to have taken the witch of Endor into the bargain.
As Mr. Allworthythereforehad declared to the doctor that he neverintended to take a second wifeas his sister was his nearest relationand asthe doctor had fished out that his intentions were to make any child of hers hisheirwhich indeed the lawwithout his interpositionwould have done for him;the doctor and his brother thought it an act of benevolence to give being to ahuman creaturewho would be so plentifully provided with the most essentialmeans of happiness. The whole thoughtsthereforeof both the brothers were howto engage the affections of this amiable lady.
But fortunewho is a tender parentand often doth more for her favouriteoffspring than either they deserve or wishhad been so industrious for thecaptainthat whilst he was laying schemes to execute his purposethe ladyconceived the same desires with himselfand was on her side contriving how togive the captain proper encouragementwithout appearing too forward; for shewas a strict observer of all rules of decorum. In thishowevershe easilysucceeded; for as the captain was always on the look-outno glancegestureorword escaped him.
The satisfaction which the captain received from the kind behaviour of MissBridgetwas not a little abated by his apprehensions of Mr. Allworthy; fornotwithstanding his disinterested professionsthe captain imagined he wouldwhen he came to actfollow the example of the rest of the worldand refuse hisconsent to a match so disadvantageousin point of interestto his sister. Fromwhat oracle he received this opinionI shall leave the reader to determine: buthowever he came by itit strangely perplexed him how to regulate his conduct soas at once to convey his affection to the ladyand to conceal it from herbrother. He at length resolved to take all private opportunities of making hisaddresses; but in the presence of Mr. Allworthy to be as reserved and as muchupon his guard as was possible; and this conduct was highly approved by thebrother.
He soon found means to make his addressesin express termsto his mistressfrom whom he received an answer in the proper formviz.: the answer which wasfirst made some thousands of years agoand which hath been handed down bytradition from mother to daughter ever since. If I was to translate this intoLatinI should render it by these two wordsNolo Episcopari: a phrase likewiseof immemorial use on another occasion.
The captainhowever he came by his knowledgeperfectly well understood theladyand very soon after repeated his application with more warmth andearnestness than beforeand was againaccording to due formrejected; but ashe had increased in the eagerness of his desiresso the ladywith the sameproprietydecreased in the violence of her refusal.
Not to tire the readerby leading him through every scene of this courtship(whichthough in the opinion of a certain great authorit is the pleasantestscene of life to the actorisperhapsas dull and tiresome as any whatever tothe audience)the captain made his advances in formthe citadel was defendedin formand at lengthin proper formsurrendered at discretion.
During this whole timewhich filled the space of near a monththe captainpreserved great distance of behaviour to his lady in the presence of thebrother; and the more he succeeded with her in privatethe more reserved was hein public. And as for the ladyshe had no sooner secured her lover than shebehaved to him before company with the highest degree of indifference; so thatMr. Allworthy must have had the insight of the devil (or perhaps some of hisworse qualities) to have entertained the least suspicion of what was goingforward.
Chapter 12 -
Containing what the reader mayperhapsexpect to find in it -
In all bargainswhether to fight or to marryor concerning any other suchbusinesslittle previous ceremony is required to bring the matter to an issuewhen both parties are really in earnest. This was the case at presentand inless than a month the captain and his lady were man and wife.
The great concern now was to break the matter to Mr. Allworthy; and this wasundertaken by the doctor.
One daythenas Allworthy was walking in his gardenthe doctor came tohimandwith great gravity of aspectand all the concern which he couldpossibly affect in his countenancesaid"I am comesirto impart anaffair to you of the utmost consequence; but how shall I mention to you what italmost distracts me to think of!" He then launched forth into the mostbitter invectives both against men and women; accusing the former of having noattachment but to their interestand the latter of being so addicted to viciousinclinations that they could never be safely trusted with one of the other sex."Could I" said he"sirhave suspected that a lady of suchprudencesuch judgmentsuch learningshould indulge so indiscreet a passion!or could I have imagined that my brother- why do I call him so? he is no longera brother of mine-"
"Indeed but he is" said Allworthy"and a brother of minetoo."
"Bless mesir!" said the doctor"do you know the shockingaffair?"
"Look'eeMr. Blifil" answered the good man"it hath been myconstant maxim in life to make the best of all matters which happen. My sisterthough many years younger than Iis at least old enough to be at the age ofdiscretion. Had he imposed on a childI should have been more averse to haveforgiven him; but a woman upwards of thirty must certainly be supposed to knowwhat will make her most happy. She hath married a gentlemanthough perhaps notquite her equal in fortune; and if he hath any perfections in her eye which canmake up that deficiencyI see no reason why I should object to her choice ofher own happiness; which Ino more than herselfimagine to consist only inimmense wealth. I mightperhapsfrom the many declarations I have made ofcomplying with almost any proposalhave expected to have been consulted on thisoccasion; but these matters are of a very delicate natureand the scruples ofmodestyperhapsare not to be overcome. As to your brotherI have really noanger against him at all. He hath no obligations to menor do I think he wasunder any necessity of asking my consentsince the woman isas I have saidsui juris* and of a proper age to be entirely answerable only to herself forher conduct." -
*Of her own right. -
The doctor accused Mr. Allworthy of too great lenityrepeated hisaccusations against his brotherand declared that he should never more bebrought either to seeor to own him for his relation. He then launched forthinto a panegyric on Allworthy's goodness; into the highest encomiums on hisfriendship; and concluded by sayinghe should never forgive his brother forhaving put the place which he bore in that friendship to a hazard.
Allworthy thus answered: "Had I conceived any displeasure against yourbrotherI should never have carried that resentment to the innocent: but Iassure you I have no such displeasure. Your brother appears to me to be a man ofsense and honour. I do not disapprove the taste of my sister; nor will I doubtbut that she is equally the object of his inclinations. I have always thoughtlove the only foundation of happiness in a married stateas it can only producethat high and tender friendship which should always be the cement of this union;andin my opinionall those marriages which are contracted from other motivesare greatly criminal; they are a profanation of a most holy ceremonyandgenerally end in disquiet and misery: for surely we may call it a profanation toconvert this most sacred institution into a wicked sacrifice to lust or avarice:and what better can be said of those matches to which men are induced merely bythe consideration of a beautiful personor a great fortune?
"To deny that beauty is an agreeable object to the eyeand even worthysome admirationwould be false and foolish. Beautiful is an epithet often usedin Scriptureand always mentioned with honour. It was my own fortune to marry awoman whom the world thought handsomeand I can truly say I liked her thebetter on that account. But to make this the sole consideration of marriagetolust after it so violently as to overlook all imperfections for its sakeor torequire it so absolutely as to reject and disdain religionvirtueand sensewhich are qualities in their nature of much higher perfectiononly because anelegance of person is wanting: this is surely inconsistenteither with a wiseman or a good Christian. And it isperhapsbeing too charitable to concludethat such persons mean anything more by their marriage than to please theircarnal appetites; for the satisfaction of whichwe are taughtit was notordained.
"In the next placewith respect to fortune. Worldly prudence perhapsexacts some consideration on this head; nor will I absolutely and altogethercondemn it. As the world is constitutedthe demands of a married stateand thecare of posterityrequire some little regard to what we call circumstances. Yetthis provision is greatly increasedbeyond what is really necessaryby follyand vanitywhich create abundantly more wants than nature. Equipage for thewifeand large fortunes for the childrenare by custom enrolled in the list ofnecessaries; and to procure theseeverything truly solid and sweetandvirtuous and religiousare neglected and overlooked.
"And this in many degrees; the last and greatest of which seems scarcedistinguishable from madness;- I mean where persons of immense fortunes contractthemselves to those who areand must bedisagreeable to them- to fools andknaves- in order to increase an estate already larger even than the demands oftheir pleasures. Surely such personsif they will not be thought madmust owneither that they are incapable of tasting the sweets of the tenderestfriendshipor that they sacrifice the greatest happiness of which they arecapable to the vainuncertainand senseless laws of vulgar opinionwhich oweas well their force as their foundation to folly."
Here Allworthy concluded his sermonto which Blifil had listened with theprofoundest attentionthough it cost him some pains to prevent now and then asmall discomposure of his muscles. He now praised every period of what he hadheard with the warmth of a young divinewho hath the honour to dine with abishop the same day in which his lordship hath mounted the pulpit.
Chapter 13 -
Which concludes the first book; with an instance of ingratitudewhichwehopewill appear unnatural The readerfrom what hath been saidmay imaginethat the reconciliation (if indeed it could be so called) was only matter ofform; we shall therefore pass it overand hasten to what must surely be thoughtmatter of substance.
The doctor had acquainted his brother with what had past between Mr.Allworthy and him; and added with a smile"I promise you I paid you off;nayI absolutely desired the good gentleman not to forgive you: for you knowafter he had made a declaration in your favourI might with safety venture onsuch a request with a person of his temper; and I was willingas well for yoursake as for my ownto prevent the least possibility of a suspicion."
Captain Blifil took not the least notice of thisat that time; but heafterwards made a very notable use of it.
One of the maxims which the devilin a late visit upon earthleft to hisdisciplesiswhen once you are got upto kick the stool from under you. Inplain Englishwhen you have made your fortune by the good offices of a friendyou are advised to discard him as soon as you can.
Whether the captain acted by this maximI will not positively determine: sofar we may confidently saythat his actions may be fairly derived from thisdiabolical principle; and indeed it is difficult to assign any other motive tothem: for no sooner was he possessed of Miss Bridgetand reconciled toAllworthythan he began to show a coldness to his brother which increaseddaily; till at length it grew into rudenessand became very visible to everyone.
The doctor remonstrated to him privately concerning this behaviourbut couldobtain no other satisfaction than the following plain declaration: "If youdislike anything in my brother's housesiryou know you are at liberty to quitit." This strangecrueland almost unaccountable ingratitude in thecaptainabsolutely broke the poor doctor's heart; for ingratitude never sothoroughly pierces the human breast as when it proceeds from those in whosebehalf we have been guilty of transgressions. Reflections on great and goodactionshowever they are received or returned by those in whose favour they areperformedalways administer some comfort to us; but what consolation shall wereceive under so biting a calamity as the ungrateful behaviour of our friendwhen our wounded conscience at the same time flies in our faceand upbraids uswith having spotted it in the service of one so worthless!
Mr. Allworthy himself spoke to the captain in his brother's behalfanddesired to know what offence the doctor had committed; when the hard-heartedvillain had the baseness to say that he should never forgive him for the injurywhich he had endeavoured to do him in his favour; whichhe saidhe had pumpedout of himand was such a cruelty that it ought not to be forgiven.
Allworthy spoke in very high terms upon this declarationwhichhe saidbecame not a human creature. He expressedindeedso much resentment against anunforgiving temperthat the captain at last pretended to be convinced by hisargumentsand outwardly professed to be reconciled.
As for the brideshe was now in her honeymoonand so passionately fond ofher new husband that he never appeared to her to be in the wrong; and hisdispleasure against any person was a sufficient reason for her dislike to thesame.
The captainat Mr. Allworthy's instancewas outwardlyas we have saidreconciled to his brother; yet the same rancour remained in his heart; and hefound so many opportunities of giving him private hints of thisthat the houseat last grew insupportable to the poor doctor; and he chose rather to submit toany inconveniences which he might encounter in the worldthan longer to bearthese cruel and ungrateful insults from a brother for whom he had done so much.
He once intended to acquaint Allworthy with the whole; but he could not bringhimself to submit to the confessionby which he must take to his share so greata portion of guilt. Besidesby how much the worse man he represented hisbrother to beso much the greater would his own offence appear to Allworthyand so much the greaterhe had reason to imaginewould be his resentment.
He feignedthereforesome excuse of business for his departureandpromised to return soon again; and took leave of his brother with sowell-dissembled contentthatas the captain played his part to the sameperfectionAllworthy remained well satisfied with the truth of thereconciliation.
The doctor went directly to Londonwhere he died soon after of a brokenheart; a distemper which kills many more than is generally imaginedand wouldhave a fair title to a place in the bill of mortalitydid it not differ in oneinstance from all other diseases- viz.that no physician can cure it.
Nowupon the most diligent enquiry into the former lives of these twobrothersI findbesides the cursed and hellish maxim of policy abovementionedanother reason for the captain's conduct: the captainbesides whatwe have before said of himwas a man of great pride and fiercenessand hadalways treated his brotherwho was of a different complexionand greatlydeficient in both these qualitieswith the utmost air of superiority. Thedoctorhoweverhad much the larger share of learningand was by many reputedto have the better understanding. This the captain knewand could not bear; forthough envy is at best a very malignant passionyet is its bitterness greatlyheightened by mixing with contempt towards the same object; and very much afraidI amthat whenever an obligation is joined to these twoindignation and notgratitude will be the product of all three.
CONTAINING SCENES OF MATRIMONIAL FELICITY IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OF
LIFE; AND VARIOUS OTHER TRANSACTIONS DURING THE FIRST TWO YEARS
AFTER THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN CAPTAIN BLIFIL AND MISS BRIDGET ALLWORTHY
Chapter 1 -
Showing what kind of a history this is; what it is likeand what it is notlike -
Though we have properly enough entitled this our worka historyand not alife; nor an apology for a lifeas is more in fashion; yet we intend in itrather to pursue the method of those writerswho profess to disclose therevolutions of countriesthan to imitate the painful and voluminous historianwhoto preserve the regularity of his seriesthinks himself obliged to fill upas much paper with the detail of months and years in which nothing remarkablehappenedas he employs upon those notable aeras when the greatest scenes havebeen transacted on the human stage.
Such histories as these doin realityvery much resemble a newspaperwhichconsists of just the same number of wordswhether there be any news in it ornot. They may likewise be compared to a stage coachwhich performs constantlythe same courseempty as well as full. The writerindeedseems to thinkhimself obliged to keep even pace with timewhose amanuensis he is; andlikehis mastertravels as slowly through centuries of monkish dulnesswhen theworld seems to have been asleepas through that bright and busy age so noblydistinguished by the excellent Latin poet- -
Ad confligendum venientibus undique poenis
Omnia cum belli trepido concussa tumultu
Horrida contremuere sub altis aetheris auris;
In dubioque fuit sub utrorum regna cadendum
Omnibus humanis essetterraque marique. - Of which we wish we could give ourreaders a more adequate translation than that by Mr. Creech- -
When dreadful Carthage frighted Rome with arms
And all the world was shook with fierce alarms;
Whilst undecided yetwhich part should fall
Which nation rise the glorious lord of all. -
Now it is our purposein the ensuing pagesto pursue a contrary method.When any extraordinary scene presents itself (as we trust will often be thecase)we shall spare no pains nor paper to open it at large to our reader; butif whole years should pass without producing anything worthy his noticeweshall not be afraid of a chasm in our history; but shall hasten on to matters ofconsequenceand leave such periods of time totally unobserved.
These are indeed to be considered as blanks in the grand lottery of time. Wethereforewho are the registers of that lotteryshall imitate those sagaciouspersons who deal in that which is drawn at Guildhalland who never trouble thepublic with the many blanks they dispose of; but when a great prize happens tobe drawnthe newspapers are presently filled with itand the world is sure tobe informed at whose office it was sold: indeedcommonly two or three differentoffices lay claim to the honour of having disposed of it; by whichI supposethe adventurers are given to understand that certain brokers are in the secretsof Fortuneand indeed of her cabinet council.
My reader then is not to be surprizedifin the course of this workheshall find some chapters very shortand others altogether as long; some thatcontain only the time of a single dayand others that comprise years; in awordif my history sometimes seems to stand stilland sometimes to fly. Forall which I shall not look on myself as accountable to any court of criticaljurisdiction whatever: for as I amin realitythe founder of a new province ofwritingso I am at liberty to make what laws I please therein. And these lawsmy readerswhom I consider as my subjectsare bound to believe in and to obey;with which that they may readily and cheerfully complyI do hereby assure themthat I shall principally regard their ease and advantage in all suchinstitutions: for I do notlike a jure divino* tyrantimagine that they are myslavesor my commodity. I amindeedset over them for their own good onlyand was created for their useand not they for mine. Nor do I doubtwhile Imake their interest the great rule of my writingsthey will unanimously concurin supporting my dignityand in rendering me all the honour I shall deserve ordesire. -
*By divine right.
Chapter 2 -
Religious cautions against showing too much favour to bastards; and a greatdiscovery made by Mrs. Deborah Wilkins -
Eight months after the celebration of the nuptials between Captain Blifil andMiss Bridget Allworthya young lady of great beautymeritand fortunewasMiss Bridgetby reason of a frightdelivered of a fine boy. The child wasindeed to all appearances perfect; but the midwife discovered it was born amonth before its full time.
Though the birth of an heir by his beloved sister was a circumstance of greatjoy to Mr. Allworthyyet it did not alienate his affections from the littlefoundlingto whom he had been godfatherhad given his own name of Thomasandwhom he had hitherto seldom failed of visitingat least once a dayin hisnursery.
He told his sisterif she pleasedthe newborn infant should be bred uptogether with little Tommy; to which she consentedthough with some littlereluctance: for she had truly a great complacence for her brother; and hence shehad always behaved towards the foundling with rather more kindness than ladiesof rigid virtue can sometimes bring themselves to show to these childrenwhohowever innocentmay be truly called the living monuments of incontinence.
The captain could not so easily bring himself to bear what he condemned as afault in Mr. Allworthy. He gave him frequent hintsthat to adopt the fruits ofsinwas to give countenance to it. He quoted several texts (for he was wellread in Scripture)such asHe visits the sins of the fathers upon thechildren; and the fathers have eaten sour grapesand children's teeth are seton edge&c. Whence he argued the legality of punishing the crime of theparent on the bastard. He said"Though the law did not positively allowthe destroying such base-born childrenyet it held them to be the children ofnobody; that the Church considered them as the children of nobody; and that atthe bestthey ought to be brought up to the lowest and vilest offices of thecommonwealth."
Mr. Allworthy answered to all thisand much morewhich the captain hadurged on this subject"Thathowever guilty the parents might bethechildren were certainly innocent: that as to the texts he had quotedthe formerof them was a particular denunciation against the jewsfor the sin of idolatryof relinquishing and hating their heavenly King; and the latter wasparabolically spokenand rather intended to denote the certain and necessaryconsequences of sinthan any express judgment against it. But to represent theAlmighty as avenging the sins of the guilty on the innocentwas indecentifnot blasphemousas it to represent him acting against the first principles ofnatural justiceand against the original notions of right and wrongwhich hehimself had implanted in our minds; by which we were to judge not only in allmatters which were not revealedbut even of the truth of revelationitself." He said he knew many held the same principles with the captain onthis head; but he was himself firmly convinced to the contraryand wouldprovide in the same manner for this poor infantas if a legitimate child hadhad fortune to have been found in the same place.
While the captain was taking all opportunities to press these and such likeargumentsto remove the little foundling from Mr. Allworthy'sof whosefondness for him he began to be jealousMrs. Deborah had made a discoverywhichin its eventthreatened at least to prove more fatal to poor Tommy thanall the reasonings of the captain.
Whether the insatiable curiosity of this good woman had carried her on tothat businessor whether she did it to confirm herself in the good graces ofMrs. Blifilwhonotwithstanding her outward behaviour to the foundlingfrequently abused the infant in privateand her brother toofor his fondnessto itI will not determine; but she had nowas she conceivedfully detectedthe father of the foundling.
Nowas this was a discovery of great consequenceit may be necessary totrace it from the fountain-head. We shall therefore very minutely lay open thoseprevious matters by which it was produced; and for that purpose we shall beobliged to reveal all the secrets of a little family with which my reader is atpresent entirely unacquainted; and of which the oeconomy was so rare andextraordinarythat I fear it will shock the utmost credulity of many marriedpersons.
Chapter 3 -
The description of a domestic government founded upon rules directly contraryto those of Aristotle -
My reader may please to remember he hath been informed that Jenny Jones hadlived some years with a certain schoolmasterwho hadat her earnest desireinstructed her in Latinin whichto do justice to her geniusshe had soimproved herselfthat she was become a better scholar than her master.
Indeedthough this poor man had undertaken a profession to which learningmust be allowed necessarythis was the least of his commendations. He was oneof the best-natured fellows in the worldand wasat the same timemaster ofso much pleasantry and humourthat he was reputed the wit of the country; andall the neighbouring gentlemen were so desirous of his companythat as denyingwas not his talenthe spent much time at their houseswhich he mightwithmore emolumenthave spent in his school.
It may be imagined that a gentleman so qualified and so disposedwas in nodanger of becoming formidable to the learned seminaries of Eton or Westminster.To speak plainlyhis scholars were divided into two classes: in the upper ofwhich was a young gentlemanthe son of a neighboring squirewhoat the age ofseventeenwas just entered into his Syntaxis; and in the lower was a second sonof the same gentlemanwhotogether with seven parish-boyswas learning toread and write.
The stipend arising hence would hardly have indulged the schoolmaster in theluxuries of lifehad he not added to this office those of clerk and barberandhad not Mr. Allworthy added to the whole an annuity of ten poundswhich thepoor man received every Christmasand with which he was enabled to cheer hisheart during that sacred festival.
Among his other treasuresthe pedagogue had a wifewhom he had married outof Mr. Allworthy's kitchen for her fortuneviz.twenty poundswhich she hadthere amassed.
This woman was not very amiable in her person. Whether she sat to my friendHogarthor noI will not determine; but she exactly resembled the young womanwho is pouring out her mistress's tea in the third picture of the Harlot'sProgress. She wasbesidesa profest follower of that noble sect founded byXantippe of old; by means of which she became more formidable in the school thanher husband; forto confess the truthhe was never master thereor anywhereelsein her presence.
Though her countenance did not denote much natural sweetness of temperyetthis wasperhapssomewhat soured by a circumstance which generally poisonsmatrimonial felicity; for children are rightly called the pledges of love; andher husbandthough they had been married nine yearshad given her no suchpledges; a default for which he had no excuseeither from age or healthbeingnot yet thirty years oldand what they call a jolly brisk young man.
Hence arose another evilwhich produced no little uneasiness to the poorpedagogueof whom she maintained so constant a jealousythat he durst hardlyspeak to one woman in the parish; for the least degree of civilityor evencorrespondencewith any femalewas sure to bring his wife upon her backandhis own.
In order to guard herself against matrimonial injuries in her own houseasshe kept one maid-servantshe always took care to chuse her out of that orderof females whose faces are taken as a kind of security for their virtue; ofwhich number Jenny Jonesas the reader hath been before informedwas one.
As the face of this young woman might be called pretty good security of thebefore-mentioned kindand as her behaviour had been always extremely modestwhich is the certain consequence of understanding in women; she had passed abovefour years at Mr. Partridge's (for that was the schoolmaster's name) withoutcreating the least suspicion in her mistress. Nayshe had been treated withuncommon kindnessand her mistress had permitted Mr. Partridge to give herthose instructions which have been before commemorated.
But it is with jealousy as with the gout: when such distempers are in thebloodthere is never any security against their breaking out; and that often onthe slightest occasionsand when least suspected.
Thus it happened to Mrs. Partridgewho had submitted four years to herhusband's teaching this young womanand had suffered her often to neglect herwork in order to pursue her learning. Forpassing by one dayas the girl wasreadingand her master leaning over herthe girlI know not for what reasonsuddenly started up from her chair: and this was the first time that suspicionever entered into the head of her mistress.
This did nothoweverat that time discover itselfbut lay lurking in hermindlike a concealed enemywho waits for a reinforcement of additionalstrength before he openly declares himself and proceeds upon hostile operations:and such additional strength soon arrived to corroborate her suspicion; for notlong afterthe husband and wife being at dinnerthe master said to his maidDa mihi aliquid potum: upon which the poor girl smiledperhaps at the badnessof the Latinandwhen her mistress cast her eyes on herblushedpossiblywith a consciousness of having laughed at her master. Mrs. Partridgeupon thisimmediately fell into a furyand discharged the trencher on which she waseatingat the head of poor Jennycrying out"You impudent whoredo youplay tricks with my husband before my face?" and at the same instant rosefrom her chair with a knife in her handwith whichmost probablyshe wouldhave executed very tragical vengeancehad not the girl taken the advantage ofbeing nearer the door than her mistressand avoided her fury by running away:foras to the poor husbandwhether surprize had rendered him motionlessorfear (which is full as probable) had restrained him from venturing at anyoppositionhe sat staring and trembling in his chair; nor did he once offer tomove or speaktill his wifereturning from the pursuit of Jennymade somedefensive measures necessary for his own preservation; and he likewise wasobliged to retreatafter the example of the maid.
This good woman wasno more than Othelloof a disposition -
To make a life of jealousy
And follow still the changes of the moon
With fresh suspicions- - With heras well as him-
----To be once in doubt
Was once to be resolv'd----- - she therefore ordered Jenny immediately topack up her alls and begonefor that she was determined she should not sleepthat night within her walls.
Mr. Partridge had profited too much by experience to interpose in a matter ofthis nature. He therefore had recourse to his usual receipt of patience; forthough he was not a great adept in Latinhe rememberedand well understoodthe advice contained in these words: -
----Leve fitquod bene fertur onus- - in English: -
A burden becomes lightest when it is well borne- - which he had always in hismouth; and of whichto say the truthhe had often occasion to experience thetruth.
Jenny offered to make protestations of her innocence; but the tempest was toostrong for her to be heard. She then betook herself to the business of packingfor which a small quantity of brown paper sufficed; andhaving received hersmall pittance of wagesshe returned home.
The schoolmaster and his consort passed their time unpleasantly enough thatevening; but something or other happened before the next morningwhich a littleabated the fury of Mrs. Partridge; and she at length admitted her husband tomake his excuses: to which she gave the readier beliefas he hadinstead ofdesiring her to recall Jennyprofessed a satisfaction in her being dismissedsayingshe was grown of little use as a servantspending all her time inreadingand was becomemoreoververy pert and obstinate; forindeedshe andher master had lately had frequent disputes in literature; in whichas hathbeen saidshe was become greatly his superior. Thishoweverhe would by nomeans allow; and as he called her persisting in the rightobstinacyhe beganto hate her with no small inveteracy.
Chapter 4 -
Containing one of the most bloody battlesor rather duelsthat were everrecorded in domestic history -
For the reasons mentioned in the preceding chapterand from some othermatrimonial concessionswell known to most husbandsand whichlike thesecrets of freemasonryshould be divulged to none who are not members of thathonourable fraternityMrs. Partridge was pretty well satisfied that she hadcondemned her husband without causeand endeavoured by acts of kindness to makehim amends for her false suspicion. Her passions were indeed equally violentwhichever way they inclined; for as she could be extremely angryso could shebe altogether as fond.
But though these passions ordinarily succeed each otherand scarcetwenty-four hours ever passed in which the pedagogue was notin some degreethe object of both; yeton extraordinary occasionswhen the passion of angerhad raged very highthe remission was usually longer: and so was the case atpresent; for she continued longer in a state of affabilityafter this fit ofjealousy was endedthan her husband had ever known before: andhad it not beenfor some little exerciseswhich all the followers of Xantippe are obliged toperform dailyMr. Partridge would have enjoyed a perfect serenity of severalmonths.
Perfect calms at sea are always suspected by the experienced mariner to bethe forerunners of a storm: and I know some personswhowithout beinggenerally the devotees of superstitionare apt to apprehend that great andunusual peace or tranquillity will be attended with its opposite. For whichreason the antients usedon such occasionsto sacrifice to the goddessNemesisa deity who was thought by them to look with an invidious eye on humanfelicityand to have a peculiar delight in overturning it.
As we are very far from believing in any such heathen goddessor fromencouraging any superstitionso we wish Mr. John Fr--or some other suchphilosopherwould bestir himself a littlein order to find out the real causeof this sudden transition from good to bad fortunewhich hath been so oftenremarkedand of which we shall proceed to give an instance; for it is ourprovince to relate factsand we shall leave causes to persons of much highergenius.
Mankind have always taken great delight in knowing and descanting on theactions of others. Hence there have beenin all ages and nationscertainplaces set apart for public rendezvouswhere the curious might meet and satisfytheir mutual curiosity. Among thesethe barbers' shops have justly borne thepreeminence. Among the Greeksbarbers' news was a proverbial expression; andHoracein one of his epistlesmakes honourable mention of the Roman barbers inthe same light.
Those of England are known to be no wise inferior to their Greek or Romanpredecessors. You there see foreign affairs discussed in a manner littleinferior to that with which they are handled in the coffee-houses; and domesticoccurrences are much more largely and freely treated in the former than in thelatter. But this serves only for the men. Nowwhereas the females of thiscountryespecially those of the lower orderdo associate themselves much morethan those of other nationsour polity would be highly deficientif they hadnot some place set apart likewise for the indulgence of their curiosityseeingthey are in this no way inferior to the other half of the species.
In enjoyingthereforesuch place of rendezvousthe British fair ought toesteem themselves more happy than any of their foreign sisters; as I do notremember either to have read in historyor to have seen in my travelsanythingof the like kind.
This place then is no other than the chandler's shopthe known seat of allthe news; oras it is vulgarly calledgossipingin every parish in England.
Mrs. Partridge being one day at this assembly of femaleswas asked by one ofher neighboursif she had heard no news lately of Jenny Jones? To which sheanswered in the negative. Upon this the other repliedwith a smileThat theparish was very much obliged to her for having turned Jenny away as she did.
Mrs. Partridgewhose jealousyas the reader well knowswas long sincecuredand who had no other quarrel to her maidanswered boldlyShe did notknow any obligation the parish had to her on that account; for she believedJenny had scarce left her equal behind her.
"Notruly" said the gossip"I hope notthough I fancy wehave sluts enow too. Then you have not heardit seemsthat she hath beenbrought to bed of two bastards? but as they are not born heremy husband andthe other overseer says we shall not be obliged to keep them."
"Two bastards!" answered Mrs. Partridge hastily: "you surprizeme! I don't know whether we must keep them; but I am sure they must have beenbegotten herefor the wench hath not been nine months gone away." Nothingcan be so quick and sudden as the operations of the mindespecially when hopeor fearor jealousyto which the two others are but journeymenset it towork. It occurred instantly to herthat Jenny had scarce ever been out of herown house while she lived with her. The leaning over the chairthe suddenstarting upthe Latinthe smileand many other thingsrushed upon her all atonce. The satisfaction her husband expressed in the departure of Jennyappearednow to be only dissembled; againin the same instantto be real; but yet toconfirm her jealousyproceeding from satietyand a hundred other bad causes.In a wordshe was convinced of her husband's guiltand immediately left theassembly in confusion.
As fair Grimalkinwhothough the youngest of the feline familydegeneratesnot in ferocity from the elder branches of her houseand though inferior instrengthis equal in fierceness to the noble tiger himselfwhen a littlemousewhom it hath long tormented in sportescapes from her clutches for awhilefretsscoldsgrowlsswears; but if the trunkor boxbehind which themouse lay hid be again removedshe flies like lightning on her preyandwithenvenomed wrathbitesscratchesmumblesand tears the little animal.
Not with less fury did Mrs. Partridge fly on the poor pedagogue. Her tongueteethand handsfell all upon him at once. His wig was in an instant torn fromhis headhis shirt from his backand from his face descended five streams ofblooddenoting the number of claws with which nature had unhappily armed theenemy.
Mr. Partridge acted for some time on the defensive only; indeed he attemptedonly to guard his face with his hands; but as he found that his antagonistabated nothing of her ragehe thought he mightat leastendeavour to disarmheror rather to confine her arms; in doing which her cap fell off in thestruggleand her hair being too short to reach her shoulderserected itself onher head; her stays likewisewhich were laced through one single hole at thebottomburst open; and her breastswhich were much more redundant than herhairhung down below her middle; her face was likewise marked with the blood ofher husband: her teeth gnashed with rage; and firesuch as sparkles from asmith's forgedarted from her eyes. So thataltogetherthis Amazonian heroinemight have been an object of terror to a much bolder man than Mr. Partridge.
He hadat lengththe good fortuneby getting possession of her armstorender those weapons which she wore at the ends of her fingers useless; whichshe no sooner perceivedthan the softness of her sex prevailed over her rageand she presently dissolved in tearswhich soon after concluded in a fit.
That small share of sense which Mr. Partridge had hitherto preserved throughthis scene of furyof the cause of which he was hitherto ignorantnow utterlyabandoned him. He ran instantly into the streethallowing out that his wife wasin the agonies of deathand beseeching the neighbours to fly with the utmosthaste to her assistance. Several good women obeyed his summonswho entering hishouseand applying the usual remedies on such occasionsMrs. Partridge was atlengthto the great joy of her husbandbrought to herself.
As soon as she had a little recollected her spiritsand somewhat composedherself with a cordialshe began to inform the company of the manifold injuriesshe had received from her husband; whoshe saidwas not contented to injureher in her bed; butupon her upbraiding him with ithad treated her in thecruelest manner imaginable; had tore her cap and hair from her headand herstays from her bodygiving herat the same timeseveral blowsthe marks ofwhich she should carry to the grave.
The poor manwho bore on his face many more visible marks of the indignationof his wifestood in silent astonishment at this accusation; which the readerwillI believebear witness for himhad greatly exceeded the truth; forindeed he had not struck her once; and this silence being interpreted to be aconfession of the charge by the whole courtthey all began at onceuna voce*to rebuke and revile himrepeating oftenthat none but a coward ever struck awoman. -
*In one voice. -
Mr. Partridge bore all this patiently; but when his wife appealed to theblood on her faceas an evidence of his barbarityhe could not help layingclaim to his own bloodfor so it really was; as he thought it very unnaturalthat this should rise up (as we are taught that of a murdered person often doth)in vengeance against him.
To this the women made no other answerthan that it was a pity it had notcome from his heartinstead of his face; all declaringthatif their husbandsshould lift their hands against themthey would have their hearts' bloods outof their bodies.
After much admonition for what was pastand much good advice to Mr.Partridge for his future behaviourthe company at length departedand left thehusband and wife to a personal conference togetherin which Mr. Partridge soonlearned the cause of all his sufferings.
Chapter 5 -
Containing much matter to exercise the judgment and reflection of the reader-
I believe it is a true observationthat few secrets are divulged to oneperson only; but certainlyit would be next to a miracle that a fact of thiskind should be known to a whole parishand not transpire any farther.
Andindeeda very few days had pastbefore the countryto use a commonphraserung of the schoolmaster of Little Baddington; who was said to havebeaten his wife in the most cruel manner. Nayin some places it was reported hehad murdered her; in othersthat he had broke her arms; in othersher legs: inshortthere was scarce an injury which can be done to a human creaturebutwhat Mrs. Partridge was somewhere or other affirmed to have received from herhusband.
The cause of this quarrel was likewise variously reported; for as some peoplesaid that Mrs. Partridge had caught her husband in bed with his maidso manyother reasonsof a very different kindwent abroad. Naysome transferred theguilt to the wifeand the jealousy to the husband.
Mrs. Wilkins had long ago heard of this quarrel; butas a different causefrom the true one had reached her earsshe thought proper to conceal it; andthe ratherperhapsas the blame was universally laid on Mr. Partridge; and hiswifewhen she was servant to Mr. Allworthyhad in something offended Mrs.Wilkinswho was not of a very forgiving temper.
But Mrs. Wilkinswhose eyes could see objects at a distanceand who couldvery well look forward a few years into futurityhad perceived a stronglikelihood of Captain Blifil's being hereafter her master; and as she plainlydiscerned that the captain bore no great goodwill to the little foundlingshefancied it would be rendering him an agreeable serviceif she could make anydiscoveries that might lessen the affection which Mr. Allworthy seemed to havecontracted for this childand which gave visible uneasiness to the captainwhocould not entirely conceal it even before Allworthy himself; though his wifewho acted her part much better in publicfrequently recommended to him her ownexampleof conniving at the folly of her brotherwhichshe saidshe at leastas well perceivedand as much resentedas any other possibly could.
Mrs. Wilkins having thereforeby accidentgotten a true scent of the abovestorythough long after it had happenedfailed not to satisfy herselfthoroughly of all the particulars; and then acquainted the captainthat she hadat last discovered the true father of the little bastardwhich she was sorryshe saidto see her master lose his reputation in the countryby taking somuch notice of.
The captain chid her for the conclusion of her speechas an improperassurance in judging of her master's actions: for if his honouror hisunderstandingwould have suffered the captain to make an alliance with Mrs.Wilkinshis pride would by no means have admitted it. And to say the truththere is no conduct less politicthan to enter into any confederacy with yourfriend's servants against their master: for by these means you afterwards becomethe slave of these very servants; by whom you are constantly liable to bebetrayed. And this considerationperhaps it waswhich prevented Captain Blifilfrom being more explicit with Mrs. Wilkinsor from encouraging the abuse whichshe had bestowed on Allworthy.
But though he declared no satisfaction to Mrs. Wilkins at this discoveryheenjoyed not a little from it in his own mindand resolved to make the best useof it he was able.
He kept this matter a long time concealed within his own breastin hopesthat Mr. Allworthy might hear it from some other person; but Mrs. Wilkinswhether she resented the captain's behaviouror whether his cunning was beyondherand she feared the discovery might displease himnever afterwards openedher lips about the matter.
I have thought it somewhat strangeupon reflectionthat the housekeepernever acquainted Mrs. Blifil with this newsas women are more inclined tocommunicate all pieces of intelligence to their own sexthan to ours. The onlywayas it appears to meof solving this difficultyisby imputing it to thatdistance which was now grown between the lady and the housekeeper: whether thisarose from a jealousy in Mrs. Blifilthat Wilkins showed too great a respect tothe foundling; for while she was endeavouring to ruin the little infantinorder to ingratiate herself with the captainshe was every day more and morecommending it before Allworthyas his fondness for it every day increased.Thisnotwithstanding all the care she took at other times to express the directcontrary to Mrs. Blifilperhaps offended that delicate ladywho certainly nowhated Mrs. Wilkins; and though she did notor possibly could notabsolutelyremove her from her placeshe foundhoweverthe means of making her life veryuneasy. This Mrs. Wilkinsat lengthso resentedthat she very openly showedall manner of respect and fondness to little Tommyin opposition to Mrs.Blifil.
The captainthereforefinding the story in danger of perishingat lasttook an opportunity to reveal it himself.
He was one day engaged with Mr. Allworthy in a discourse on charity: in whichthe captainwith great learningproved to Mr. Allworthythat the word charityin Scripture nowhere means beneficence or generosity.
"The Christian religion" he said"was instituted for muchnobler purposesthan to enforce a lesson which many heathen philosophers hadtaught us long beforeand whichthough it might perhaps be called a moralvirtuesavoured but little of that sublimeChristian-like dispositionthatvast elevation of thoughtin purity approaching to angelic perfectionto beattainedexpressedand felt only by grace. Those" he said"camenearer to the Scripture meaningwho understood by it candouror the forming ofa benevolent opinion of our brethrenand passing a favourable judgment on theiractions; a virtue much higherand more extensive in its naturethan a pitifuldistribution of almswhichthough we would never so much prejudiceor evenruin our familiescould never reach many; whereas charityin the other andtruer sensemight be extended to all mankind."
He said"Considering who the disciples wereit would be absurd toconceive the doctrine of generosityor giving almsto have been preached tothem. Andas we could not well imagine this doctrine should be preached by itsDivine Author to men who could not practise itmuch less should we think itunderstood so by those who can practise itand do not.
"But though" continued he"there isI am afraidlittlemerit in these benefactionsthere wouldI must confessbe much pleasure inthem to a good mindif it was not abated by one consideration. I meanthat weare liable to be imposed uponand to confer our choicest favours often on theundeservingas you must own was your case in your bounty to that worthlessfellow Partridge: for two or three such examples must greatly lessen the inwardsatisfaction which a good man would otherwise find in generosity; naymay evenmake him timorous in bestowinglest he should be guilty of supporting viceandencouraging the wicked; a crime of a very black dyeand for which it will by nomeans be a sufficient excusethat we have not actually intended such anencouragement; unless we have used the utmost caution in chusing the objects ofour beneficence. A consideration whichI make no doubthath greatly checkedthe liberality of many a worthy and pious man."
Mr. Allworthy answered"He could not dispute with the captain in theGreek languageand therefore could say nothing as to the true sense of the wordwhich is translated charity; but that he had always thought it was interpretedto consist in actionand that giving alms constituted at least one branch ofthat virtue.
"As to the meritorious part" he said"he readily agreed withthe captain; for where could be the merit of barely discharging a duty?which" he said"let the world charity have what construction itwouldit sufficiently appeared to be from the whole tenor of the New Testament.And as he thought it an indispensable dutyenjoined both by the Christian lawand by the law of nature itself; so was it withal so pleasantthat if any dutycould be said to be its own rewardor to pay us while we are discharging ititwas this.
"To confess the truth" said he"there is one degree ofgenerosity (of charity I would have called it)which seems to have some show ofmeritand that iswherefrom a principle of benevolence and Christian lovewe bestow on another what we really want ourselves; wherein order to lessenthe distresses of anotherwe condescend to share some part of themby givingwhat even our own necessities cannot well spare. This isI thinkmeritorious;but to relieve our brethren only with our superfluities; to be charitable (Imust use the word) rather at the expense of our coffers than ourselves; to saveseveral families from misery rather than hang up an extraordinary picture in ourhouses or gratify any other idle ridiculous vanity- this seems to be only beinghuman creatures. NayI will venture to go fartherit is being in some degreeepicures: for what could the greatest epicure wish rather than to eat with manymouths instead of one? which I think may be predicated of any one who knows thatthe bread of many is owing to his own largesses.
"As to the apprehension of bestowing bounty on such as may hereafterprove unworthy objectsbecause many have proved such; surely it can never detera good man from generosity. I do not think a few or many examples of ingratitudecan justify a man's hardening his heart against the distresses of hisfellow-creatures; nor do I believe it can ever have such effect on a trulybenevolent mind. Nothing less than a persuasion of universal depravity can lockup the charity of a good man; and this persuasion must lead himI thinkeitherinto atheismor enthusiasm; but surely it is unfair to argue such universaldepravity from a few vicious individuals; nor was thisI believeever done bya manwhoupon searching his own mindfound one certain exception to thegeneral rule." He then concluded by asking"who that Partridge waswhom he had called a worthless fellow?"
"I mean" said the captain"Partridge the barbertheschoolmasterwhat do you call him? Partridgethe father of the little childwhich you found in your bed."
Mr. Allworthy exprest great surprize at this accountand the captain asgreat at his ignorance of it; for he said he had known it above a month: and atlength recollected with much difficulty that he was told it by Mrs. Wilkins.
Upon thisWilkins was immediately summoned; who having confirmed what thecaptain had saidwas by Mr. Allworthyby and with the captain's advicedispatched to Little Baddingtonto inform herself of the truth of the fact: forthe captain exprest great dislike at all hasty proceedings in criminal mattersand said he would by no means have Mr. Allworthy take any resolution either tothe prejudice of the child or its fatherbefore he was satisfied that thelatter was guilty; for though he had privately satisfied himself of this fromone of Partridge's neighboursyet he was too generous to give any such evidenceto Mr. Allworthy.
Chapter 6 -
The trial of Partridgethe schoolmasterfor incontinency; the evidence ofhis wife; a short reflection on the wisdom of our law; with other grave matterswhich those will like best who understand them most -
It may be wondered that a story so well knownand which had furnished somuch matter of conversationshould never have been mentioned to Mr. Allworthyhimselfwho was perhaps the only person in that country who had never heard ofit.
To account in some measure for this to the readerI think proper to informhimthat there was no one in the kingdom less interested in opposing thatdoctrine concerning the meaning of the word charitywhich hath been seen in thepreceding chapterthan our good man. Indeedhe was equally intitled to thisvirtue in either sense; for as no man was ever more sensible of the wantsormore ready to relieve the distresses of othersso none could be more tender oftheir charactersor slower to believe anything to their disadvantage.
Scandalthereforenever found any access to his table; for as it hath beenlong since observed that you may know a man by his companionsso I will ventureto saythatby attending to the conversation at a great man's tableyou maysatisfy yourself of his religionhis politicshis tasteand indeed of hisentire disposition: for though a few odd fellows will utter their own sentimentsin all placesyet much the greater part of mankind have enough of the courtierto accommodate their conversation to the taste and inclination of theirsuperiors.
But to return to Mrs. Wilkinswhohaving executed her commission with greatdispatchthough at fifteen miles distancebrought back such confirmation ofthe schoolmaster's guiltthat Mr. Allworthy determined to send for thecriminaland examine him viva voce. Mr. Partridgethereforewas summoned toattendin order to his defence (if he could make any) against this accusation.
At the time appointedbefore Mr. Allworthy himselfat Paradise-hallcameas well the said Partridgewith Annehis wifeas Mrs. Wilkins his accuser.
And now Mr. Allworthy being seated in the chair of justiceMr. Partridge wasbrought before him. Having heard his accusation from the mouth of Mrs. Wilkinshe pleaded not guiltymaking many vehement protestations of his innocence.
Mrs. Partridge was then examinedwhoafter a modest apology for beingobliged to speak the truth against her husbandrelated all the circumstanceswith which the reader hath already been acquainted; and at last concluded withher husband's confession of his guilt.
Whether she had forgiven him or noI will not venture to determine; but itis certain she was an unwilling witness in this cause; and it is probable fromcertain other reasonswould never have been brought to depose as she didhadnot Mrs. Wilkinswith great artfished all out of her at her own houseandhad she not indeed made promisesin Mr. Allworthy's namethat the punishmentof her husband should not be such as might anywise affect his family.
Partridge still persisted in asserting his innocencethough he admitted hehad made the above-mentioned confession; which he however endeavoured to accountforby protesting that he was forced into it by the continued importunity sheused: who vowedthatas she was sure of his guiltshe would never leavetormenting him till he had owned it; and faithfully promisedthatin suchcaseshe would never mention it to him more. Hencehe saidhe had beeninduced falsely to confess himself guiltythough he was innocent; and that hebelieved he should have confest a murder from the same motive.
Mrs. Partridge could not bear this imputation with patience; and having noother remedy in the present place but tearsshe called forth a plentifulassistance from themand then addressing herself to Mr. Allworthyshe said (orrather cried)"May it please your worshipthere never was any poor womanso injured as I am by that base man; for this is not the only instance of hisfalsehood to me. Nomay it please your worshiphe hath injured my bed many'sthe good time and often. I could have put up with his drunkenness and neglect ofhis businessif he had not broke one of the sacred commandments. Besidesif ithad been out of doors I had not mattered it so much; but with my own servantinmy own houseunder my own roofto defile my own chaste bedwhich to be surehe hathwith his beastly stinking whores. Yesyou villainyou have defiled myown bedyou have; and then you have charged me with bullocking you into owningthe truth. Is it very likelyan't please your worshipthat I should bullockhim? I have marks enow about my body to show of his cruelty to me. If you hadbeen a manyou villainyou would have scorned to injure a woman in thatmanner. But you an't half a manyou know it. Nor have you been half a husbandto me. You need run after whoresyou needwhen I'm sure-- And since heprovokes meI am readyan't please your worshipto take my bodily oath that Ifound them a-bed together. Whatyou have forgotI supposewhen you beat meinto a fitand made the blood run down my foreheadbecause I only civillytaxed you with adultery! but I can prove it by all my neighbours. You havealmost broke my heartyou haveyou have."
Here Mr. Allworthy interruptedand begged her to be pacifiedpromising herthat she should have justice; then turning to Partridgewho stood aghastonehalf of his wits being hurried away by surprize and the other half by fearhesaid he was sorry to see there was so wicked a man in the world. He assured himthat his prevaricating and lying backward and forward was a great aggravation ofhis guilt; for which the only atonement he could make was by confession andrepentance. He exhorted himthereforeto begin by immediately confessing thefactand not to persist in denying what was so plainly proved against him evenby his own wife.
HerereaderI beg your patience a momentwhile I make a just compliment tothe great wisdom and sagacity of our lawwhich refuses to admit the evidence ofa wife for or against her husband. Thissays a certain learned authorwhoIbelievewas never quoted before in any but a law-bookwould be the means ofcreating an eternal dissension between them. It wouldindeedbe the means ofmuch perjuryand of much whippingfiningimprisoningtransportingandhanging.
Partridge stood a while silenttillbeing bid to speakhe said he hadalready spoken the truthand appealed to Heaven for his innocenceand lastlyto the girl herselfwhom he desired his worship immediately to send for; for hewas ignorantor at least pretended to be sothat she had left that part of thecountry.
Mr. Allworthywhose natural love of justicejoined to his coolness oftempermade him always a most patient magistrate in hearing all the witnesseswhich an accused person could produce in his defenceagreed to defer his finaldetermination of this matter till the arrival of Jennyfor whom he immediatelydispatched a messenger; and then having recommended peace between Partridge andhis wife (though he addressed himself chiefly to the wrong person)he appointedthem to attend again the third day; for he had sent Jenny a whole day's journeyfrom his own house.
At the appointed time the parties all assembledwhen the messenger returningbrought wordthat Jenny was not to be found; for that she had left herhabitation a few days beforein company with a recruiting officer.
Mr. Allworthy then declared that the evidence of such a slut as she appearedto be would have deserved no credit; but he said he could not help thinkingthathad she been presentand would have declared the truthshe must haveconfirmed what so many circumstancestogether with his own confessionand thedeclaration of his wife that she had caught her husband in the factdidsufficiently prove. He therefore once more exhorted Partridge to confess; but hestill avowing his innocenceMr. Allworthy declared himself satisfied of hisguiltand that he was too bad a man to receive any encouragement from him. Hetherefore deprived him of his annuityand recommended repentance to him onaccount of another worldand industry to maintain himself and his wife in this.
There were notperhapsmany more unhappy persons than poor Partridge. Hehad lost the best part of his income by the evidence of his wifeand yet wasdaily upbraided by her for havingamong other thingsbeen the occasion ofdepriving her of that benefit; but such was his fortuneand he was obliged tosubmit to it.
Though I called him poor Partridge in the last paragraphI would have thereader rather impute that epithet to the compassion in my temper than conceiveit to be any declaration of his innocence. Whether he was innocent or not willperhaps appear hereafter; but if the historic muse hath entrusted me with anysecretsI will by no means be guilty of discovering them till she shall give meleave.
Here therefore the reader must suspend his curiosity. Certain it is thatwhatever was the truth of the casethere was evidence more than sufficient toconvict him before Allworthy; indeedmuch less would have satisfied a bench ofjustices on an order of bastardy; and yetnotwithstanding the positiveness ofMrs. Partridgewho would have taken the sacrament upon the matterthere is apossibility that the schoolmaster was entirely innocent: for though it appearedclear on comparing the time when Jenny departed from Little Baddington with thatof her delivery that she had there conceived this infantyet it by no meansfollowed of necessity that Partridge must have been its father; forto omitother particularsthere was in the same house a lad near eighteenbetween whomand Jenny there had subsisted sufficient intimacy to found a reasonablesuspicion; and yetso blind is jealousythis circumstance never once enteredinto the head of the enraged wife.
Whether Partridge repented or notaccording to Mr. Allworthy's adviceisnot so apparent. Certain it is that his wife repented heartily of the evidenceshe had given against him: especially when she found Mrs. Deborah had deceivedherand refused to make any application to Mr. Allworthy on her behalf. Shehadhoweversomewhat better success with Mrs. Blifilwho wasas the readermust have perceiveda much better-tempered womanand very kindly undertook tosolicit her brother to restore the annuity; in whichthough good-nature mighthave some shareyet a stronger and more natural motive will appear in the nextchapter.
These solicitations were nevertheless unsuccessful: for though Mr. Allworthydid not thinkwith some late writersthat mercy consists only in punishingoffenders; yet he was as far from thinking that it is proper to this excellentquality to pardon great criminals wantonlywithout any reason whatever. Anydoubtfulness of the factor any circumstance of mitigationwas neverdisregarded: but the petitions of an offenderor the intercessions of othersdid not in the least affect him. In a wordhe never pardoned because theoffender himselfor his friendswere unwilling that he should be punished.
Partridge and his wife were therefore both obliged to submit to their fate;which was indeed severe enough: for so far was he from doubling his industry onthe account of his lessened incomethat he did in a manner abandon himself todespair; and as he was by nature indolentthat vice now increased upon himwhich means he lost the little school he had; so that neither his wife norhimself would have had any bread to eathad not the charity of some goodChristian interposedand provided them with what was just sufficient for theirsustenance.
As this support was conveyed to them by an unknown handthey imaginedandsoI doubt notwill the readerthat Mr. Allworthy himself was their secretbenefactor; whothough he would not openly encourage vicecould yet privatelyrelieve the distresses of the vicious themselveswhen these became tooexquisite and disproportionate to their demerit. In which light theirwretchedness appeared now to Fortune herself; for she at length took pity onthis miserable coupleand considerably lessened the wretched state ofPartridgeby putting a final end to that of his wifewho soon after caught thesmall-poxand died.
The justice which Mr. Allworthy had executed on Partridge at first met withuniversal approbation; but no sooner had he felt its consequencesthan hisneighbours began to relentand to compassionate his case; and presently afterto blame that as rigour and severity which they before called justice. They nowexclaimed against punishing in cold bloodand sang forth the praises of mercyand forgiveness.
These cries were considerably increased by the death of Mrs. Partridgewhichthough owing to the distemper above mentionedwhich is no consequence ofpoverty or distressmany were not ashamed to impute to Mr. Allworthy'sseverityoras they now termed itcruelty.
Partridge having now lost his wifehis schooland his annuityand theunknown person having now discontinued the last-mentioned charityresolved tochange the sceneand left the countrywhere he was in danger of starvingwiththe universal compassion of all his neighbours.
Chapter 7 -
A short sketch of that felicity which prudent couples may extract fromhatred: with a short apology for those people who overlook imperfections intheir friends -
Though the captain had effectually demolished poor Partridgeyet had he notreaped the harvest he hoped forwhich was to turn the foundling out of Mr.Allworthy's house.
On the contrarythat gentleman grew every day fonder of little Tommyas ifhe intended to counterbalance his severity to the father with extraordinaryfondness and affection towards the son.
This a good deal soured the captain's temperas did all the other dailyinstances of Mr. Allworthy's generosity; for he looked on all such largesses tobe diminutions of his own wealth.
In thiswe have saidhe did not agree with his wife; norindeedinanything else: for though an affection placed on the understanding isby manywise personsthought more durable than that which is founded on beautyyet ithappened otherwise in the present case. Naythe understandings of this couplewere their principal bone of contentionand one great cause of many quarrelswhich from time to time arose between them; and which at last endedon the sideof the ladyin a sovereign contempt for her husband; and on the husband'sinan utter abhorrence of his wife.
As these had both exercised their talents chiefly in the study of divinitythis wasfrom their first acquaintancethe most common topic of conversationbetween them. The captainlike a well-bred manhadbefore marriagealwaysgiven up his opinion to that of the lady; and thisnot in the clumsy awkwardmanner of a conceited blockheadwhowhile he civilly yields to a superior inan argumentis desirous of being still known to think himself in the right. Thecaptainon the contrarythough one of the proudest fellows in the worldsoabsolutely yielded the victory to his antagonistthat shewho had not theleast doubt of his sincerityretired always from the dispute with an admirationof her own understanding and a love for his.
But though this complacence to one whom the captain thoroughly despisedwasnot so uneasy to him as it would have been had any hopes of preferment made itnecessary to show the same submission to a Hoadleyor to some other of greatreputation in the scienceyet even this cost him too much to be endured withoutsome motive. Matrimonythereforehaving removed all such motiveshe grewweary of this condescensionand began to treat the opinions of his wife withthat haughtiness and insolencewhich none but those who deserve some contemptthemselves can bestowand those only who deserve no contempt can bear.
When the first torrent of tenderness was overand whenin the calm and longinterval between the fitsreason began to open the eyes of the ladyand shesaw this alteration of behaviour in the captainwho at length answered all herarguments only with pish and pshawshe was far from enduring the indignity witha tame submission. Indeedit at first so highly provoked herthat it mighthave produced some tragical eventhad it not taken a more harmless turnbyfilling her with the utmost contempt for her husband's understandingwhichsomewhat qualified her hatred towards him; though of this likewise she had apretty moderate share.
The captain's hatred to her was of a purer kind: for as to any imperfectionsin her knowledge or understandinghe no more despised her for themthan forher not being six feet high. In his opinion of the female sexhe exceeded themoroseness of Aristotle himself: he looked on a woman as on an animal ofdomestic useof somewhat higher consideration than a catsince her officeswere of rather more importance; but the difference between these two wasin hisestimationso smallthatin his marriage contracted with Mr. Allworthy'slands and tenementsit would have been pretty equal which of them he had takeninto the bargain. And yet so tender was his pridethat it felt the contemptwhich his wife now began to express towards him; and thisadded to the surfeithe had before taken of her lovecreated in him a degree of disgust andabhorrenceperhaps hardly to be exceeded.
One situation only of the married state is excluded from pleasure: and thatisa state of indifference: but as many of my readersI hopeknow what anexquisite delight there is in conveying pleasure to a beloved objectso somefewI am afraidmay have experienced the satisfaction of tormenting one wehate. It isI apprehendto come at this latter pleasurethat we see bothsexes often give up that ease in marriage which they might otherwise possessthough their mate was never so disagreeable to them. Hence the wife often putson fits of love and jealousynayeven denies herself any pleasureto disturband prevent those of her husband; and he againin returnputs frequentrestraints on himselfand stays at home in company which he dislikesin orderto confine his wife to what she equally detests. Hencetoomust flow thosetears which a widow sometimes so plentifully sheds over the ashes of a husbandwith whom she led a life of constant disquiet and turbulencyand whom now shecan never hope to torment any more.
But if ever any couple enjoyed this pleasureit was at present experiencedby the captain and his lady. It was always a sufficient reason to either of themto be obstinate in any opinionthat the other had previously asserted thecontrary. If the one proposed any amusementthe other constantly objected toit: they never loved or hatedcommended or abusedthe same person. And forthis reasonas the captain looked with an evil eye on the little foundlinghiswife began now to caress it almost equally with her own child.
The reader will be apt to conceivethat this behaviour between the husbandand wife did not greatly contribute to Mr. Allworthy's reposeas it tended solittle to that serene happiness which he had designed for all three from thisalliance; but the truth isthough he might be a little disappointed in hissanguine expectationsyet he was far from being acquainted with the wholematter; foras the captain wasfrom certain obvious reasonsmuch on his guardbefore himthe lady was obligedfor fear of her brother's displeasuretopursue the same conduct. In factit is possible for a third person to be veryintimatenay even to live long in the same housewith a married couplewhohave any tolerable discretionand not even guess at the sour sentiments whichthey bear to each other: for though the whole day may be sometimes too short forhatredas well as for love; yet the many hours which they naturally spendtogetherapart from all observersfurnish people of tolerable moderation withsuch ample opportunity for the enjoyment of either passionthatif they lovethey can support being a few hours in company without toyingor if they hatewithout spitting in each other's faces.
It is possiblehoweverthat Mr. Allworthy saw enough to render him a littleuneasy; for we are not always to concludethat a wise man is not hurtbecausehe doth not cry out and lament himselflike those of a childish or effeminatetemper. But indeed it is possible he might see some faults in the captainwithout any uneasiness at all; for men of true wisdom and goodness are contentedto take persons and things as they arewithout complaining of theirimperfectionsor attempting to amend them. They can see a fault in a friendarelationor an acquaintancewithout ever mentioning it to the partiesthemselvesor to any others; and this often without lessening their affection.Indeedunless great discernment be tempered with this overlooking dispositionwe ought never to contract friendship but with a degree of folly which we candeceive; for I hope my friends will pardon me when I declareI know none ofthem without a fault; and I should be sorry if I could imagine I had any friendwho could not see mine. Forgiveness of this kind we give and demand in turn. Itis an exercise of friendshipand perhaps none of the least pleasant. And thisforgiveness we must bestowwithout desire of amendment. There isperhapsnosurer mark of follythan an attempt to correct the natural infirmities of thosewe love. The finest composition of human natureas well as the finest chinamay have a flaw in it; and thisI am afraidin either caseis equallyincurable; thoughneverthelessthe pattern may remain of the highest value.
Upon the wholethenMr. Allworthy certainly saw some imperfections in thecaptain; but as this was a very artful manand eternally upon his guard beforehimthese appeared to him no more than blemishes in a good characterwhich hisgoodness made him overlookand his wisdom prevented him from discovering to thecaptain himself. Very different would have been his sentiments had he discoveredthe whole; which perhaps would in time have been the casehad the husband andwife long continued this kind of behaviour to each other; but this kind Fortunetook effectual means to preventby forcing the captain to do that whichrendered him again dear to his wifeand restored all her tenderness andaffection towards him.
Chapter 8 -
A receipt to regain the lost affections of a wifewhich hath never beenknown to fail in the most desperate cases -
The captain was made large amends for the unpleasant minutes which he passedin the conversation of his wife (and which were as few as he could contrive tomake them)by the pleasant meditations he enjoyed when alone.
These meditations were entirely employed on Mr. Allworthy's fortune; forfirsthe exercised much thought in calculatingas well as he couldthe exactvalue of the whole: which calculations he often saw occasion to alter in his ownfavour: andsecondly and chieflyhe pleased himself with intended alterationsin the house and gardensand in projecting many other schemesas well for theimprovement of the estate as of the grandeur of the place: for this purpose heapplied himself to the studies of architecture and gardeningand read over manybooks on both these subjects; for these sciencesindeedemployed his wholetimeand formed his only amusement. He at last completed a most excellent plan:and very sorry we arethat it is not in our power to present it to our readersince even the luxury of the present ageI believewould hardly match it. Ithadindeedin a superlative degreethe two principal ingredients which serveto recommend all great and noble designs of this nature; for it required animmoderate expense to executeand a vast length of time to bring it to any sortof perfection. The former of thesethe immense wealth of which the captainsupposed Mr. Allworthy possessedand which he thought himself sure ofinheritingpromised very effectually to supply; and the latterthe soundnessof his own constitutionand his time of lifewhich was only what is calledmiddle-ageremoved all apprehension of his not living to accomplish.
Nothing was wanting to enable him to enter upon the immediate execution ofthis planbut the death of Mr. Allworthy; in calculating which he had employedmuch of his own algebrabesides purchasing every book extant that treats of thevalue of livesreversions&c. From all which he satisfied himselfthat ashe had every day a chance of this happeningso had he more than an even chanceof its happening within a few years.
But while the captain was one day busied in deep contemplations of this kindone of the most unlucky as well as unseasonable accidents happened to him. Theutmost malice of Fortune couldindeedhave contrived nothing so cruelsomal-a-proposso absolutely destructive to all his schemes. In shortnot tokeep the reader in long suspensejust at the very instant when his heart wasexulting in meditations on the happiness which would accrue to him by Mr.Allworthy's deathhe himself- died of an apoplexy.
This unfortunately befel the captain as he was taking his evening walk byhimselfso that nobody was present to lend him any assistanceif indeedanyassistance could have preserved him. He tookthereforemeasure of thatproportion of soil which was now become adequate to all his future purposesandhe lay dead on the grounda great (though not a living) example of the truth ofthat observation of Horace: -
Tu secanda marmora
Locas sub ipsum funus; et sepulchri
Immemorstruis domos. - Which sentiment I shall thus give to the Englishreader: "You provide the noblest materials for buildingwhen a pickaxe anda spade are only necessary: and build houses of five hundred by a hundred feetforgetting that of six by two."
Chapter 9 -
A proof of the infallibility of the foregoing receiptin the lamentations ofthe widow; with other suitable decorations of deathsuch as physicians&c.and an epitaph in the true stile -
Mr. Allworthyhis sisterand another ladywere assembled at the accustomedhour in the supper-roomwherehaving waited a considerable time longer thanusualMr. Allworthy first declared he began to grow uneasy at the captain'sstay (for he was always most punctual at his meals); and gave orders that thebell should be rung without the doorsand especially towards those walks whichthe captain was wont to use.
All these summons proving ineffectual (for the captain hadby perverseaccidentbetaken himself to a new walk that evening)Mrs. Blifil declared shewas seriously frightened. Upon which the other ladywho was one of her mostintimate acquaintanceand who well knew the true state of her affectionsendeavoured all she could to pacify hertelling her- To be sure she could nothelp being uneasy; but that she should hope the best. Thatperhaps thesweetness of the evening had inticed the captain to go farther than his usualwalk: or he might be detained at some neighbour's. Mrs. Blifil answeredNo; shewas sure some accident had befallen him; for that he would never stay outwithout sending her wordas he must know how uneasy it would make her. Theother ladyhaving no other arguments to usebetook herself to the entreatiesusual on such occasionsand begged her not to frighten herselffor it might beof very ill consequence to her own health; andfilling out a very large glassof wineadvisedand at last prevailed with her to drink it.
Mr. Allworthy now returned into the parlour; for he had been himself insearch after the captain. His countenance sufficiently showed the consternationhe was underwhichindeedhad a good deal deprived him of speech; but asgrief operates variously on different mindsso the same apprehension whichdepressed his voiceelevated that of Mrs. Blifil. She now began to bewailherself in very bitter termsand floods of tears accompanied her lamentations;which the ladyher companiondeclared she could not blamebut at the sametime dissuaded her from indulging; attempting to moderate the grief of herfriend by philosophical observations on the many disappointments to which humanlife is daily subjectwhichshe saidwas a sufficient consideration tofortify our minds against any accidentshow sudden or terrible soever. She saidher brother's example ought to teach her patiencewhothough indeed he couldnot be supposed as much concerned as herselfyet wasdoubtlessvery uneasythough his resignation to the Divine will had restrained his grief within duebounds.
"Mention not my brother" said Mrs. Blifil; "I alone am theobject of your pity. What are the terrors of friendship to what a wife feels onthese occasions? Ohhe is lost! Somebody hath murdered him- I shall never seehim more!"- Here a torrent of tears had the same consequence with what thesuppression had occasioned to Mr. Allworthyand she remained silent.
At this interval a servant came running inout of breathand cried outThecaptain was found; andbefore he could proceed fartherhe was followed by twomorebearing the dead body between them.
Here the curious reader may observe another diversity in the operations ofgrief: for as Mr. Allworthy had been before silentfrom the same cause whichhad made his sister vociferous; so did the present sightwhich drew tears fromthe gentlemanput an entire stop to those of the lady; who first gave a violentscreamand presently after fell into a fit.
The room was soon full of servantssome of whomwith the lady visitantwere employed in care of the wife; and otherswith Mr. Allworthyassisted incarrying off the captain to a warm bed; where every method was triedin orderto restore him to life.
And glad should we becould we inform the reader that both these bodies hadbeen attended with equal success; for those who undertook the care of the ladysucceeded so wellthatafter the fit had continued a decent timeshe againrevivedto their great satisfaction: but as to the captainall experiments ofbleedingchafingdropping&c.proved ineffectual. Deaththat inexorablejudgehad passed sentence on himand refused to grant him a reprievethoughtwo doctors who arrivedand were fee'd at one and the same instantwere hiscounsel.
These two doctorswhomto avoid any malicious applicationswe shalldistinguish by the names of Dr. Y. and Dr. Z.having felt his pulse; to witDr. Y. his right armand Dr. Z. his left; both agreed that he was absolutelydead; but as to the distemperor cause of his deaththey differed; Dr. Y.holding that he died of an apoplexyand Dr. Z. of an epilepsy.
Hence arose a dispute between the learned menin which each delivered thereasons of their several opinions. These were of such equal forcethat theyserved both to confirm either doctor in his own sentimentsand made not theleast impression on his adversary.
To say the truthevery physician almost hath his favourite diseaseto whichhe ascribes all the victories obtained over human nature. The gouttherheumatismthe stonethe graveland the consumptionhave all their severalpatrons in the faculty; and none more than the nervous feveror the fever onthe spirits. And here we may account for those disagreements in opinionconcerning the cause of a patient's deathwhich sometimes occurbetween themost learned of the college; and which have greatly surprized that part of theworld who have been ignorant of the fact we have above asserted.
The reader may perhaps be surprizedthatinstead of endeavouring to revivethe patientthe learned gentlemen should fall immediately into a dispute on theoccasion of his death; but in reality all such experiments had been made beforetheir arrival: for the captain was put into a warm bedhad his veins scarifiedhis forehead chafedand all sorts of strong drops applied to his lips andnostrils.
The physiciansthereforefinding themselves anticipated in everything theyorderedwere at a loss how to apply that portion of time which it is usual anddecent to remain for their feeand were therefore necessitated to find somesubject or other for discourse; and what could more naturally present itselfthan that before mentioned?
Our doctors were about to take their leavewhen Mr. Allworthyhaving givenover the captainand acquiesced in the Divine willbegan to enquire after hissisterwhom he desired them to visit before their departure.
This lady was now recovered of her fitandto use the common phraseaswell as could be expected for one in her condition. The doctorsthereforeallprevious ceremonies being complied withas this was a new patientattendedaccording to desireand laid hold on each of her handsas they had before doneon those of the corpse.
The case of the lady was in the other extreme from that of her husband: foras he was past all the assistance of physicso in reality she required none.
There is nothing more unjust than the vulgar opinionby which physicians aremisrepresentedas friends to death. On the contraryI believeif the numberof those who recover by physic could be opposed to that of the martyrs to itthe former would rather exceed the latter. Naysome are so cautious on thisheadthatto avoid a possibility of killing the patientthey abstain from allmethods of curingand prescribe nothing but what can neither do good nor harm.I have heard some of thesewith great gravitydeliver it as a maxim"That Nature should be left to do her own workwhile the physician standsby as it were to clap her on the backand encourage her when she dothwell."
So little then did our doctors delight in deaththat they discharged thecorpse after a single fee; but they were not so disgusted with their livingpatient; concerning whose case they immediately agreedand fell to prescribingwith great diligence.
Whetheras the lady had at first persuaded her physicians to believe herillthey had nowin returnpersuaded her to believe herself soI will notdetermine; but she continued a whole month with all the decorations of sickness.During this time she was visited by physiciansattended by nursesand receivedconstant messages from her acquaintance to enquire after her health.
At length the decent time for sickness and immoderate grief being expiredthe doctors were dischargedand the lady began to see company; being alteredonly from what she was beforeby that colour of sadness in which she haddressed her person and countenance.
The captain was now interredand mightperhapshave already made a largeprogress towards oblivionhad not the friendship of Mr. Allworthy taken care topreserve his memoryby the following
epitaphwhich was written by a man of as great genius as integrityand onewho perfectly well knew the captain. -
IN EXPECTATION OF A JOYFUL RISING
THE BODY OF
CAPTAIN JOHN BLIFIL.
HAD THE HONOUR OF HIS BIRTH
OF HIS EDUCATION. -
WERE AN HONOUR TO HIS PROFESSION
AND TO HIS COUNTRY
HIS LIFETO HIS RELIGION
AND HUMAN NATURE. -
HE WAS A DUTIFUL SON
A TENDER HUSBAND
AN AFFECTIONATE FATHER
A MOST KIND BROTHER
A SINCERE FRIEND
A DEVOUT CHRISTIAN
AND A GOOD MAN. -
HIS INCONSOLABLE WIDOW
HATH ERECTED THIS STONE
THE MONUMENT OF
AND OF HER AFFECTION.
CONTAINING THE MOST MEMORABLE TRANSACTIONS WHICH PASSED IN THE
FAMILY OF MR. ALLWORTHYFROM THE TIME WHEN TOMMY JONES ARRIVED AT THE
AGE OF FOURTEENTILL HE ATTAINED THE AGE OF NINETEEN. IN THIS BOOK
THE READER MAY PICK UP SOME HINTS CONCERNING THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN
Chapter 1 -
Containing little or nothing -
The reader will be pleased to rememberthatat the beginning of the secondbook of this historywe gave him a hint of our intention to pass over severallarge periods of timein which nothing happened worthy of being recorded in achronicle of this kind.
In so doingwe do not only consult our own dignity and easebut the goodand advantage of the reader: for besides that by these means we prevent him fromthrowing away his timein reading without either pleasure or emolumentwe givehimat all such seasonsan opportunity of employing that wonderful sagacityof which he is masterby filling up these vacant spaces of time with hisconjectures; for which purpose we have taken care to qualify him in thepreceding pages.
For instancewhat reader but knows that Mr. Allworthy feltat firstforthe loss of his friendthose emotions of griefwhich on such occasions enterinto all men whose hearts are not composed of flintor their heads of as solidmaterials? Againwhat reader doth not know that philosophy and religion in timemoderatedand at last extinguishedthis grief? The former of these teachingthe folly and vanity of itand the latter correcting it as unlawfuland at thesame time assuaging itby raising future hopes and assuranceswhich enable astrong and religious mind to take leave of a friendon his deathbedwithlittle less indifference than if he was preparing for a long journey; andindeedwith little less hope of seeing him again.
Nor can the judicious reader be at a greater loss on account of Mrs. BridgetBlifilwhohe may be assuredconducted herself through the whole season inwhich grief is to make its appearance on the outside of the bodywith thestrictest regard to all the rules of custom and decencysuiting the alterationsof her countenance to the several alterations of her habit: for as this changedfrom weeds to blackfrom black to greyfrom grey to whiteso did hercountenance change from dismal to sorrowfulfrom sorrowful to sadand from sadto serioustill the day came in which she was allowed to return to her formerserenity.
We have mentioned these twoas examples only of the task which may beimposed on readers of the lowest class. Much higher and harder exercises ofjudgment and penetration may reasonably be expected from the upper graduates incriticism. Many notable discoveries willI doubt notbe made by suchof thetransactions which happened in the family of our worthy manduring all theyears which we have thought proper to pass over: for though nothing worthy of aplace in this history occurred within that periodyet did several incidentshappen of equal importance with those reported by the daily and weeklyhistorians of the age; in reading which great numbers of persons consume aconsiderable part of their timevery littleI am afraidto their emolument.Nowin the conjectures here proposedsome of the most excellent faculties ofthe mind may be employed to much advantagesince it is a more useful capacityto be able to foretel the actions of menin any circumstancefrom theircharactersthan to judge of their characters from their actions. The formerIownrequires the greater penetration; but may be accomplished by true sagacitywith no less certainty than the latter.
As we are sensible that much the greatest part of our readers are veryeminently possessed of this qualitywe have left them a space of twelve yearsto exert it in; and shall now bring forth our heroeat about fourteen years ofagenot questioning that many have been long impatient to be introduced to hisacquaintance.
Chapter 2 -
The heroe of this great history appears with very bad omens. A little tale ofso low a kind that some may think it not worth their notice. A word or twoconcerning a squireand more relating to a gamekeeper and a schoolmaster -
As we determinedwhen we first sat down to write this historyto flatter nomanbut to guide our pen throughout by the directions of truthwe are obligedto bring our heroe on the stage in a much more disadvantageous manner than wecould wish; and to declare honestlyeven at his first appearancethat it wasthe universal opinion of all Mr. Allworthy's family that he was certainly bornto be hanged.
IndeedI am sorry to say there was too much reason for this conjecture; thelad having from his earliest years discovered a propensity to many vicesandespecially to one which hath as direct a tendency as any other to that fatewhich we have just now observed to have been prophetically denounced againsthim: he had been already convicted of three robberiesviz.of robbing anorchardof stealing a duck out of a farmer's yardand of picking MasterBlifil's pocket of a ball.
The vices of this young man weremoreoverheightened by the disadvantageouslight in which they appeared when opposed to the virtues of Master Blifilhiscompanion; a youth of so different a cast from little Jonesthat not only thefamily but all the neighbourhood resounded his praises. He wasindeeda lad ofa remarkable disposition; soberdiscreetand pious beyond his age; qualitieswhich gained him the love of every one who knew him: while Tom Jones wasuniversally disliked; and many expressed their wonder that Mr. Allworthy wouldsuffer such a lad to be educated with his nephewlest the morals of the lattershould be corrupted by his example.
An incident which happened about this time will set the characters of thesetwo lads more fairly before the discerning reader than is in the power of thelongest dissertation.
Tom Joneswhobad as he ismust serve for the heroe of this historyhadonly one friend among all the servants of the family; for as to Mrs. Wilkinsshe had long since given him upand was perfectly reconciled to her mistress.This friend was the gamekeepera fellow of a loose kind of dispositionand whowas thought not to entertain much stricter notions concerning the difference ofmeum and tuum than the young gentleman himself. And hence this friendship gaveoccasion to many sarcastical remarks among the domesticsmost of which wereeither proverbs beforeor at least are become so now; andindeedthe wit ofthem all may be comprised in that short Latin proverb"Noscitur asocio"; whichI thinkis thus expressed in English"You may knowhim by the company he keeps."
To say the truthsome of that atrocious wickedness in Jonesof which wehave just mentioned three examplesmight perhaps be derived from theencouragement he had received from this fellow whoin two or three instanceshad been what the law calls an accessary after the fact: for the whole duckandgreat part of the appleswere converted to the use of the gamekeeper and hisfamily; thoughas Jones alone was discoveredthe poor lad bore not only thewhole smartbut the whole blame; both which fell again to his lot on thefollowing occasion.
Contiguous to Mr. Allworthy's estate was the manor of one of those gentlemenwho are called preservers of the game. This species of menfrom the greatseverity with which they revenge the death of a hare or partridgemight bethought to cultivate the same superstition with the Bannians in India; many ofwhomwe are tolddedicate their whole lives to the preservation and protectionof certain animals; was it not that our English Bannianswhile they preservethem from other enemieswill most unmercifully slaughter whole horseloadsthemselves; so that they stand clearly acquitted of any such heathenishsuperstition.
I haveindeeda much better opinion of this kind of men than is entertainedby someas I take them to answer the order of Natureand the good purposes forwhich they were ordainedin a more ample manner than many others. NowasHorace tells us that there are a set of human beings -
Fruges consumere nati- "Born to consume the fruits of the earth";so I make no manner of doubt but that there are others -
Feras consumere nati- "Born to consume the beasts of the field";oras it is commonly calledthe game; and noneI believewill deny but thatthose squires fulfil this end of their creation.
Little Jones went one day a shooting with the gamekeeper; when happening tospring a covey of partridges near the border of that manor over which Fortuneto fulfil the wise purposes of Naturehad planted one of the game consumersthe birds flew into itand were marked (as it is called) by the two sportsmenin some furze bushesabout two or three hundred paces beyond Mr. Allworthy'sdominions.
Mr. Allworthy had given the fellow strict orderson pain of forfeiting hisplacenever to trespass on any of his neighbours; no more on those who wereless rigid in this matter than on the lord of this manor. With regard to othersindeedthese orders had not been always very scrupulously kept; but as thedisposition of the gentleman with whom the partridges had taken sanctuary waswell knownthe gamekeeper had never yet attempted to invade his territories.Nor had he done it nowhad not the younger sportsmanwho was excessively eagerto pursue the flying gameover-persuaded him; but Jones being very importunatethe otherwho was himself keen enough after the sportyielded to hispersuasionsentered the manorand shot one of the partridges.
The gentleman himself was at that time on horse-backat a little distancefrom them; and hearing the gun go offhe immediately made towards the placeand discovered poor Tom; for the gamekeeper had leapt into the thickest part ofthe furze-brakewhere he had happily concealed himself.
The gentleman having searched the ladand found the partridge upon himdenounced great vengeanceswearing he would acquaint Mr. Allworthy. He was asgood as his word: for he rode immediately to his houseand complained of thetrespass on his manor in as high terms and as bitter language as if his househad been broken openand the most valuable furniture stole out of it. He addedthat some other person was in his companythough he could not discover him; forthat two guns had been discharged almost in the same instant. Andsays he"We have found only this partridgebut the Lord knows what mischief theyhave done."
At his return homeTom was presently convened before Mr. Allworthy. He ownedthe factand alledged no other excuse but what was really trueviz.that thecovey was originally sprung in Mr. Allworthy's own manor.
Tom was then interrogated who was with himwhich Mr. Allworthy declared hewas resolved to knowacquainting the culprit with the circumstance of the twogunswhich had been deposed by the squire and both his servants; but Tomstoutly persisted in asserting that he was alone; yetto say the truthhehesitated a little at firstwhich would have confirmed Mr. Allworthy's beliefhad what the squire and his servants said wanted any further confirmation.
The gamekeeperbeing a suspected personwas now sent forand the questionput to him; but herelying on the promise which Tom had made himto take allupon himselfvery resolutely denied being in company with the young gentlemanor indeed having seen him the whole afternoon.
Mr. Allworthy then turned towards Tomwith more than usual anger in hiscountenanceand advised him to confess who was with him; repeatingthat he wasresolved to know. The ladhoweverstill maintained his resolutionand wasdismissed with much wrath by Mr. Allworthywho told him he should have to thenext morning to consider of itwhen he should be questioned by another personand in another manner.
Poor Jones spent a very melancholy night; and the more soas he was withouthis usual companion; for Master Blifil was gone abroad on a visit with hismother. Fear of the punishment he was to suffer was on this occasion his leastevil; his chief anxiety beinglest his constancy should fail himand he shouldbe brought to betray the gamekeeperwhose ruin he knew must now be theconsequence.
Nor did the gamekeeper pass his time much better. He had the sameapprehensions with the youth; for whose honour he had likewise a much tendererregard than for his skin.
In the morningwhen Tom attended the reverend Mr. Thwackumthe person towhom Mr. Allworthy had committed the instruction of the two boyshe had thesame questions put to him by that gentleman which he been asked the eveningbeforeto which he returned the same answers. The consequence of this wassosevere a whippingthat it possibly fell little short of the torture with whichconfessions are in some countries extorted from criminals.
Tom bore his punishment with great resolution; and though his master askedhimbetween every strokewhether he would not confesshe was contented to beflead rather than betray his friendor break the promise he had made.
The gamekeeper was now relieved from his anxietyand Mr. Allworthy himselfbegan to be concerned at Tom's sufferings: for besides that Mr. Thwackumbeinghighly enraged that he was not able to make the boy say what he himself pleasedhad carried his severity much beyond the good man's intentionthis latter begannow to suspect that the squire had been mistaken; which his extreme eagernessand anger seemed to make probable; and as for what the servants had said inconfirmation of their master's accounthe laid no great stress upon that. Nowas cruelty and injustice were two ideas of which Mr. Allworthy could by no meanssupport the consciousness a single momenthe sent for Tomand after many kindand friendly exhortationssaid"I am convincedmy dear childthat mysuspicions have wronged you; I am sorry that you have been so severely punishedon this account." And at last gave him a little horse to make him amends;again repeating his sorrow for what had past.
Tom's guilt now flew in his face more than any severity could make it. Hecould more easily bear the lashes of Thwackumthan the generosity of Allworthy.The tears burst from his eyesand he fell upon his kneescrying"Ohsiryou are too good to me. Indeed you are. Indeed I don't deserve it."And at that very instantfrom the fulness of his hearthad almost betrayed thesecret; but the good genius of the gamekeeper suggested to him what might be theconsequence to the poor fellowand this consideration sealed his lips.
Thwackum did all he could to persuade Allworthy from showing any compassionor kindness to the boysaying"He had persisted in an untruth"; andgave some hintsthat a second whipping might probably bring the matter tolight.
But Mr. Allworthy absolutely refused to consent to the experiment. He saidthe boy had suffered enough already for concealing the trutheven if he wasguiltyseeing that he could have no motive but a mistaken point of honour forso doing.
"Honour!" cryed Thwackumwith some warmth"mere stubbornnessand obstinacy! Can honour teach any one to tell a lieor can any honour existindependent of religion?"
This discourse happened at table when dinner was just ended; and there werepresent Mr. AllworthyMr. Thwackumand a third gentlemanwho now entered intothe debateand whombefore we proceed any furtherwe shall briefly introduceto our reader's acquaintance.
Chapter 3 -
The character of Mr. Square the philosopherand of Mr. Thwackum the divine;with a dispute concerning- -
The name of this gentlemanwho had then resided some time at Mr. Allworthy'shousewas Mr. Square. His natural parts were not of the first ratebut he hadgreatly improved them by a learned education. He was deeply read in theantientsand a profest master of all the works of Plato and Aristotle. Uponwhich great models he had principally formed himself; sometimes according withthe opinion of the oneand sometimes with that of the other. In morals he was aprofest Platonistand in religion he inclined to be an Aristotelian.
But though he hadas we have saidformed his morals on the Platonic modelyet he perfectly agreed with the opinion of Aristotlein considering that greatman rather in the quality of a philosopher or a speculatistthan as alegislator. This sentiment he carried a great way; indeedso faras to regardall virtue as matter of theory only. Thisit is truehe never affirmedas Ihave heardto any one; and yet upon the least attention to his conductIcannot help thinking it was his real opinionas it will perfectly reconcilesome contradictions which might otherwise appear in his character.
This gentleman and Mr. Thwackum scarce ever met without a disputation; fortheir tenets were indeed diametrically opposite to each other. Square held humannature to be the perfection of all virtueand that vice was a deviation fromour naturein the same manner as deformity of body is. Thwackumon thecontrarymaintained that the human mindsince the fallwas nothing but a sinkof iniquitytill purified and redeemed by grace. In one point only they agreedwhich wasin all their discourses on morality never to mention the wordgoodness. The favourite phrase of the formerwas the natural beauty of virtue;that of the latterwas the divine power of grace. The former measured allactions by the unalterable rule of rightand the eternal fitness of things; thelatter decided all matters by authority; but in doing thishe always used thescriptures and their commentatorsas the lawyer doth his Coke upon Lyttletonwhere the comment is of equal authority with the text.
After this short introductionthe reader will be pleased to rememberthatthe parson had concluded his speech with a triumphant questionto which he hadapprehended no answer; viz.Can any honour exist independent of religion?
To this Square answered; that it was impossible to discourse philosophicallyconcerning wordstill their meaning was first established: that there werescarce any two words of a more vague and uncertain significationthan the twohe had mentioned; for that there were almost as many different opinionsconcerning honouras concerning religion. "But" says he"if byhonour you mean the true natural beauty of virtueI will maintain it may existindependent of any religion whatever. Nay" added he"you yourselfwill allow it may exist independent of all but one: so will a Mahometana Jewand all the maintainers of all the different sects in the world."
Thwackum repliedthis was arguing with the usual malice of all the enemiesto the true Church. He saidhe doubted not but that all the infidels andhereticks in the world wouldif they couldconfine honour to their own absurderrors and damnable deceptions; "but honour" says he"is nottherefore manifoldbecause there are many absurd opinions about it; nor isreligion manifoldbecause there are various sects and heresies in the world.When I mention religionI mean the Christian religion; and not only theChristian religionbut the Protestant religion; and not only the Protestant
religionbut the Church of England. And when I mention honourI mean thatmode of Divine grace which is not only consistent withbut dependent uponthisreligion; and is consistent with and dependent upon no other. Now to say thatthe honour I here meanand which wasI thoughtall the honour I could besupposed to meanwill upholdmust less dictate an untruthis to assert anabsurdity too shocking to be conceived."
"I purposely avoided" says Square"drawing a conclusionwhich I thought evident from what I have said; but if you perceived itI amsure you have not attempted to answer it. Howeverto drop the article ofreligionI think it is plainfrom what you have saidthat we have differentideas of honour; or why do we not agree in the same terms of its explanation? Ihave assertedthat true honour and true virtue are almost synonymous termsandthey are both founded on the unalterable rule of rightand the eternal fitnessof things; to which an untruth being absolutely repugnant and contraryit iscertain that true honour cannot support an untruth. In thisthereforeI thinkwe are agreed; but that this honour can be said to be founded on religiontowhich it is antecedentif by religion be meant any positive law--"
"I agree" answered Thwackumwith great warmth"with a manwho asserts honour to be antecedent to religion! Mr. Allworthydid Iagree--?"
He was proceeding when Mr. Allworthy interposedtelling them very coldlythey had both mistaken his meaning; for that he had said nothing of truehonour.- It is possiblehoweverhe would not have easily quieted thedisputantswho were growing equally warmhad not another matter now fallenoutwhich put a final end to the conversation at present.
Chapter 4 -
Containing a necessary apology for the author; and a childish incidentwhichperhaps requires an apology likewise -
Before I proceed fartherI shall beg leave to obviate some misconstructionsinto which the zeal of some few readers may lead them; for I would not willinglygive offence to anyespecially to men who are warm in the cause of virtue orreligion.
I hopethereforeno man willby the grossest misunderstanding ofperversion of my meaningmisrepresent meas endeavouring to cast any ridiculeon the greatest perfections of human nature; and which doindeedalone purifyand ennoble the heart of manand raise him above the brute creation. ThisreaderI will venture to say (and by how much the better man you are yourselfby so much the more will you be inclined to believe me)that I would ratherhave buried the sentiments of these two persons in eternal oblivionthan havedone any injury to either of these glorious causes.
On the contraryit is with a view to their servicethat I have taken uponme to record the lives and actions of two of their false and pretendedchampions. A treacherous friend is the most dangerous enemy; and I will sayboldlythat both religion and virtue have received more real discredit fromhypocrites than the wittiest profligates or infidels could ever cast upon them:nayfartheras these twoin their purityare rightly called the bands ofcivil societyand are indeed the greatest of blessings; so when poisoned andcorrupted with fraudpretenceand effectationthey have become the worst ofcivil cursesand have enabled men to perpetrate the most cruel mischiefs totheir own species.
IndeedI doubt not but this ridicule will in general be allowed: my chiefapprehension isas many true and just sentiments often came from the mouths ofthese personslest the whole should be taken togetherand I should beconceived to ridicule all alike. Now the reader will be pleased to considerthatas neither of these men were foolsthey could not be supposed to haveholden none but wrong principlesand to have uttered nothing but absurdities;what injusticethereforemust I have done to their charactershad I selectedonly what was bad! And how horribly wretched and maimed must their argumentshave appeared!
Upon the wholeit is not religion or virtuebut the want or themwhich ishere exposed. Had not Thwackum too much neglected virtueand Squarereligionin the composition of their several systemsand had not both utterly discardedall natural goodness of heartthey had never been represented as the objects ofderision in this history; in which we will now proceed.
This matter thenwhich put an end to the debate mentioned in the lastchapterwas no other than a quarrel between Master Blifil and Tom Jonestheconsequence of which had been a bloody nose to the former; for though MasterBlifilnotwithstanding he was the youngerwas in size above the other's matchyet Tom was much his superior at the noble art of boxing.
Tomhowevercautiously avoided all engagements with that youth; for besidesthat Tommy Jones was an inoffensive lad amidst all his rogueryand really lovedBlifilMr. Thwackum being always the second of the latterwould have beensufficient to deter him.
But well says a certain authorNo man is wise at all hours; it is thereforeno wonder that a boy is not so. A difference arising at play between the twoladsMaster Blifil called Tom a beggarly bastard. Upon which the latterwhowas somewhat passionate in his dispositionimmediately caused that phenomenonin the face of the formerwhich we have above remembered.
Master Blifil nowwith his blood running from his noseand the tearsgalloping after from his eyesappeared before his uncle and the tremendousThwackum. In which court an indictment of assaultbatteryand woundingwasinstantly preferred against Tom; who in his excuse only pleaded the provocationwhich was indeed all the matter that Master Blifil had omitted.
It is indeed possible that this circumstance might have escaped his memory;forin his replyhe positively insistedthat he had made use of no suchappellation; adding"Heaven forbid such naughty words should ever come outof his mouth!"
Tomthough against all form of lawrejoined in affirmance of the words.Upon which Master Blifil said"It is no wonder. Those who will tell onefibwill hardly stick at another. If I had told my master such a wicked fib asyou have doneI should be ashamed to show my face."
"What fibchild?" cries Thwackum pretty eagerly.
"Whyhe told you that nobody was with him a shooting when he killed thepartridge; but he knows" (here he burst into a flood of tears)"yeshe knowsfor he confessed it to methat Black George the gamekeeper was there.Nayhe said- yes you did- deny it if you canthat you would not have confestthe truththough master had cut you to pieces."
At this the fire flashed from Thwackum's eyesand he cried out in triumph-"Oh! ho! this is your mistaken notion of honour! This is the boy who wasnot to be whipped again!" But Mr. Allworthywith a more gentle aspectturned towards the ladand said"Is this truechild? How came you topersist so obstinately in a falsehood?"
Tom said"He scorned a lie as much as any one: but he thought hishonour engaged him to act as he did; for he had promised the poor fellow toconceal him: which" he said"he thought himself farther obliged toas the gamekeeper had begged him not to go into the gentleman's manorand hadat last gone himselfin compliance with his persuasions." He said"This was the whole truth of the matterand he would take his oath ofit"; and concluded with very passionately begging Mr. Allworthy "tohave compassion on the poor fellow's familyespecially as he himself only hadbeen guiltyand the other had been very difficultly prevailed on to do what hedid. Indeedsir" said he"it could hardly be called a lie that Itold; for the poor fellow was entirely innocent of the whole matter. I shouldhave gone alone after the birds; nayI did go at firstand he only followed meto prevent more mischief. Dopraysirlet me be punished; take my littlehorse away again; but praysirforgive poor George."
Mr. Allworthy hesitated a few momentsand then dismissed the boysadvisingthem to live more friendly and peaceably together.
Chapter 5 -
The opinions of the divine and the philosopher concerning the two boys; withsome reasons for their opinionsand other matters -
It is probablethat by disclosing this secretwhich had been communicatedin the utmost confidence to himyoung Blifil preserved his companion from agood lashing; for the offence of the bloody nose would have been of itselfsufficient cause for Thwackum to have proceeded to correction; but now this wastotally absorbed in the consideration of the other matter; and with regard tothisMr. Allworthy declared privatelyhe thought the boy deserved rewardrather than punishmentso that Thwackum's hand was withheld by a generalpardon.
Thwackumwhose meditations were full of birchexclaimed against this weakandas he said he would venture to call itwicked lenity. To remit thepunishment of such crimes washe saidto encourage them. He enlarged much onthe correction of childrenand quoted many texts from Solomonand others;which being to be found in so many other booksshall not be found here. He thenapplied himself to the vice of lyingon which head he was altogether as learnedas he had been on the other.
Square saidhe had been endeavouring to reconcile the behaviour of Tom withhis idea of perfect virtuebut could not. He owned there was something which atfirst sight appeared like fortitude in the action; but as fortitude was avirtueand falsehood a vicethey could by no means agree or unite together. Headdedthat as this was in some measure to confound virtue and viceit might beworth Mr. Thwackum's considerationwhether a larger castigation might not belaid on upon the account.
As both these learned men concurred in censuring Jonesso were they no lessunanimous in applauding Master Blifil. To bring truth to lightwas by theparson asserted to be the duty of every religious man; and by the philosopherthis was declared to be highly conformable with the rule of rightand theeternal and unalterable fitness of things.
All thishoweverweighed very little with Mr. Allworthy. He could not beprevailed on to sign the warrant for the execution of Jones. There was somethingwithin his own breast with which the invincible fidelity which that youth hadpreservedcorresponded much better than it had done with the religion ofThwackumor with the virtue of Square. He therefore strictly ordered the formerof these gentlemen to abstain from laying violent hands on Tom for what hadpast. The pedagogue was obliged to obey those orders; but not without greatreluctanceand frequent mutterings that the boy would be certainly spoiled.
Towards the gamekeeper the good man behaved with more severity. He presentlysummoned that poor fellow before himand after many bitter remonstrancespaidhim his wagesand dismist him from his service; for Mr. Allworthy rightlyobservedthat there was a great difference between being guilty of a falsehoodto excuse yourselfand to excuse another. He likewise urgedas the principalmotive to his inflexible severity against this manthat he had basely sufferedTom Jones to undergo so heavy a punishment for his sakewhereas he ought tohave prevented it by making the discovery himself.
When this story became publicmany people differed from Square and Thwackumin judging the conduct of the two lads on the occasion. Master Blifil wasgenerally called a sneaking rascala poor-spirited wretchwith other epithetsof the like kind; whilst Tom was honoured with the appellations of a brave lada jolly dogand an honest fellow. Indeedhis behaviour to Black George muchingratiated him with all the servants; for though that fellow was beforeuniversally dislikedyet he was no sooner turned away than he was asuniversally pitied; and the friendship and gallantry of Tom Jones was celebratedby them all with the highest applause; and they condemned Master Blifil asopenly as they durstwithout incurring the danger of offending his mother. Forall thishoweverpoor Tom smarted in the flesh; for though Thwackum had beeninhibited to exercise his arm on the foregoing accountyetas the proverbsaysIt is easy to find a stick&c. So was it easy to find a rod; andindeedthe not being able to find one was the only thing which could have keptThwackum any long time from chastising poor Jones.
Had the bare delight in the sport been the only inducement to the pedagogueit is probable Master Blifil would likewise have had his share; but though Mr.Allworthy had given him frequent orders to make no difference between the ladsyet was Thwackum altogether as kind and gentle to this youthas he was harshnay even barbarousto the other. To say the truthBlifil had greatly gainedhis master's affections; partly by the profound respect he always showed hispersonbut much more by the decent reverence with which he received hisdoctrine; for he had got by heartand frequently repeatedhis phrasesandmaintained all his master's religious principles with a zeal which wassurprizing in one so youngand which greatly endeared him to the worthypreceptor.
Tom Joneson the other handwas not only deficient in outward tokens ofrespectoften forgetting to pull off his hator to bow at his master'sapproach; but was altogether as unmindful both of his master's precepts andexample. He was indeed a thoughtlessgiddy youthwith little sobriety in hismannersand less in his countenance; and would often very impudently andindecently laugh at his companion for his serious behaviour.
Mr. Square had the same reason for his preference of the former lad; for TomJones showed no more regard to the learned discourses which this gentleman wouldsometimes throw away upon himthan to those of Thwackum. He once ventured tomake a jest of the rule of right; and at another time saidhe believed therewas no rule in the world capable of making such a man as his father (for so Mr.Allworthy suffered himself to be called).
Master Blifilon the contraryhad address enough at sixteen to recommendhimself at one and the same time to both these opposites. With one he was allreligionwith the other he was all virtue. And when both were presenthe wasprofoundly silentwhich both interpreted in his favour and in their own.
Nor was Blifil contented with flattering both these gentlemen to their faces;he took frequent occasions of praising them behind their backs to Allworthy;before whomwhen they two were aloneand his uncle commended any religious orvirtuous sentiment (for many such came constantly from him) he seldom failed toascribe it to the good instructions he had received from either Thwackum orSquare; for he knew his uncle repeated all such compliments to the persons forwhose use they were meant; and he found by experience the great impressionswhich they made on the philosopheras well as on the divine: forto say thetruththere is no kind of flattery so irresistible as thisat second hand.
The young gentlemanmoreoversoon perceived how extremely grateful allthose panegyrics on his instructors were to Mr. Allworthy himselfas they soloudly resounded the praise of that singular plan of education which he had laiddown; for this worthy man having observed the imperfect institution of ourpublic schoolsand the many vices which boys were there liable to learnhadresolved to educate his nephewas well as the other ladwhom he had in amanner adoptedin his own house; where he thought their morals would escape allthat danger of being corrupted to which they would be unavoidably exposed in anypublic school or university.
Havingthereforedetermined to commit these boys to the tuition of aprivate tutorMr. Thwackum was recommended to him for that officeby a veryparticular friendof whose understanding Mr. Allworthy had a great opinionandin whose integrity he placed much confidence. This Thwackum was fellow of acollegewhere he almost entirely resided; and had a great reputation forlearningreligionand sobriety of manners. And these were doubtless thequalifications by which Mr. Allworthy's friend had been induced to recommendhim; though indeed this friend had some obligations to Thwackum's familywhowere the most considerable persons in a borough which that gentleman representedin parliament.
Thwackumat his first arrivalwas extremely agreeable to Allworthy; andindeed he perfectly answered the character which had been given of him. Uponlonger acquaintancehoweverand more intimate conversationthis worthy mansaw infirmities in the tutorwhich he could have wished him to have beenwithout; though as those seemed greatly overbalanced by his good qualitiestheydid not incline Mr. Allworthy to part with him: nor would they indeed havejustified such a proceeding; for the reader is greatly mistakenif he conceivesthat Thwackum appeared to Mr. Allworthy in the same light as he doth to him inthis history; and he is as much deceivedif he imagines that the most intimateacquaintance which he himself could have had with that divinewould haveinformed him of those things which wefrom our inspirationare enabled to openand discover. Of readers whofrom such conceits as thesecondemn the wisdom orpenetration of Mr. AllworthyI shall not scruple to saythat they make a verybad and ungrateful use of that knowledge which we have communicated to them.
These apparent errors in the doctrine of Thwackum served greatly to palliatethe contrary errors in that of Squarewhich our good man no less saw andcondemned. He thoughtindeedthat the different exuberancies of thesegentlemen would correct their different imperfections; and that from bothespecially with his assistancethe two lads would derive sufficient precepts oftrue religion and virtue. If the event happened contrary to his expectationsthis possibly proceeded from some fault in the plan itself; which the readerhath my leave to discoverif he can: for we do not pretend to introduce anyinfallible characters into this history; where we hope nothing will be foundwhich hath never yet been seen in human nature.
To return therefore: the reader will notI thinkwonder that the differentbehaviour of the two lads above commemoratedproduced the different effects ofwhich he hath already seen some instance; and besides thisthere was anotherreason for the conduct of the philosopher and the pedagogue; but this beingmatter of great importancewe shall reveal it in the next chapter.
Chapter 6 -
Containing a better reason still for the before-mentioned opinions -
It is to be known thenthat those two learned personageswho have latelymade a considerable figure on the theatre of this historyhadfrom their firstarrival at Mr. Allworthy's housetaken so great an affectionthe one to hisvirtuethe other to his religionthat they had meditated the closest alliancewith him.
For this purpose they had cast their eyes on that fair widowwhomthough wehave not for some time made any mention of herthe readerwe trusthath notforgot. Mrs. Blifil was indeed the object to which they both aspired.
It may seem remarkablethatof four persons whom we have commemorated atMr. Allworthy's housethree of them should fix their inclinations on a lady whowas never greatly celebrated for her beautyand who wasmoreovernow a littledescended into the vale of years; but in reality bosom friendsand intimateacquaintancehave a kind of natural propensity to particular females at thehouse of a friend- viz.to his grandmothermothersisterdaughterauntnieceor cousinwhen they are rich; and to his wifesisterdaughterniececousinmistressor servant-maidif they should be handsome.
We would nothoweverhave our reader imaginethat persons of suchcharacters as were supported by Thwackum and Squarewould undertake a matter ofthis kindwhich hath been a little censured by some rigid moralistsbeforethey had thoroughly examined itand considered whether it was (as Shakespearphrases it) "Stuff o' th' conscience" or no. Thwackum was encouragedto the undertaking by reflecting that to covet your neighbour's sister isnowhere forbidden: and he knew it was a rule in the construction of all lawsthat "Expressum facit cessare tacitum." The sense of which is"When a lawgiver sets down plainly his whole meaningwe are prevented frommaking him mean what we please ourselves." As some instances of womenthereforeare mentioned in the divine lawwhich forbids us to covet ourneighbour's goodsand that of a sister omittedhe concluded it to be lawful.And as to Squarewho was in his person what is called a jolly fellowor awidow's manhe easily reconciled his choice to the eternal fitness of things.
Nowas both of these gentlemen were industrious in taking every opportunityof recommending themselves to the widowthey apprehended one certain methodwasby giving her son the constant preference to the other lad; and as theyconceived the kindness and affection which Mr. Allworthy showed the lattermustbe highly disagreeable to herthey doubted not but the laying hold on alloccasions to degrade and vilify himwould be highly pleasing to her; whoasshe hated the boymust love all those who did him any hurt. In this Thwackumhad the advantage; for while Square could only scarify the poor lad'sreputationhe could flea his skin; andindeedhe considered every lash hegave him as a compliment paid to his mistress; so that he couldwith the utmostproprietyrepeat this old flogging line"Castigo te non quod odio habeamsed quod AMEN. I chastise thee not out of hatredbut out of love." Andthisindeedhe often had in his mouthor ratheraccording to the old phrasenever more properly appliedat his fingers' ends.
For this reasonprincipallythe two gentlemen concurredas we have seenabovein their opinion concerning the two lads; this beingindeedalmost theonly instance of their concurring on any point; forbeside the difference oftheir principlesthey had both long ago strongly suspected each other's designand hated one another with no little degree of inveteracy.
This mutual animosity was a good deal increased by their alternate successes;for Mrs. Blifil knew what they would be at long before they imagined it; orindeedintended she should: for they proceeded with great cautionlest sheshould be offendedand acquaint Mr. Allworthy. But they had no reason for anysuch fear; she was well enough pleased with a passionof which she intendednone should have any fruits but herself. And the only fruits she designed forherself wereflattery and courtship; for which purpose she soothed them byturnsand a long time equally. She wasindeedrather inclined to favour theparson's principles; but Square's person was more agreeable to her eyefor hewas a comly man; whereas the pedagogue did in countenance very nearly resemblethat gentlemanwhoin the Harlot's Progressis seen correcting the ladies inBridewell.
Whether Mrs. Blifil had been surfeited with the sweets of marriageordisgusted by its bittersor from what other cause it proceededI will notdetermine; but she could never be brought to listen to any second proposals.Howevershe at last conversed with Square with such a degree of intimacy thatmalicious tongues began to whisper things of herto which as well for the sakeof the ladyas that they were highly disagreeable to the rule of right and thefitness of thingswe will give no creditand therefore shall not blot ourpaper with them. The pedagogue'tis certainwhipped onwithout getting a stepnearer to his journey's end.
Indeed he had committed a great errorand that Square discovered much soonerthan himself. Mrs. Blifil (asperhapsthe reader may have formerly guessed)was not over and above pleased with the behaviour of her husband; nayto behonestshe absolutely hated himtill his death at last a little reconciled himto her affections. It will not be therefore greatly wondered atif she had notthe most violent regard to the offspring she had by him. Andin factshe hadso little of this regardthat in his infancy she seldom saw her sonor tookany notice of him; and hence she acquiescedafter a little reluctancein allthe favours which Mr. Allworthy showered on the foundling; whom the good mancalled his own boyand in all things put on an entire equality with MasterBlifil. This acquiescence in Mrs. Blifil was considered by the neighboursandby the familyas a mark of her condescension to her brother's humourand shewas imagined by all othersas well as Thwackum and Squareto hate thefoundling in her heart; naythe more civility she showed himthe more theyconceived she detested himand the surer schemes she was laying for his ruin:for as they thought it her interest to hate himit was very difficult for herto persuade them she did not.
Thwackum was the more confirmed in his opinionas she had more than onceslily caused him to whip Tom Joneswhen Mr. Allworthywho was an enemy to thisexercisewas abroad; whereas she had never given any such orders concerningyoung Blifil. And this had likewise imposed upon Square. In realitythough shecertainly hated her own son- of whichhowever monstrous it appearsI amassured she is not a singular instance- she appearednotwithstanding all heroutward complianceto be in her heart sufficiently displeased with all thefavour shown by Mr. Allworthy to the foundling. She frequently complained ofthis behind her brother's backand very sharply censured him for itboth toThwackum and Square; nayshe would throw it in the teeth of Allworthy himselfwhen a little quarrelor miffas it is vulgarly calledarose between them.
Howeverwhen Tom grew upand gave tokens of that gallantry of temper whichgreatly recommends men to womenthis disinclination which she had discovered tohim when a childby degrees abatedand at last she so evidently demonstratedher affection to him to be much stronger than what she bore her own sonthat itwas impossible to mistake her any longer. She was so desirous of often seeinghimand discovered such satisfaction and delight in his companythat before hewas eighteen years old he was become a rival to both Square and Thwackum; andwhat is worsethe whole country began to talk as loudly of her inclination toTomas they had before done of that which she had shown to Square: on whichaccount the philosopher conceived the most implacable hatred for our poor heroe.
Chapter 7 -
In which the author himself makes his appearance on the stage -
Though Mr. Allworthy was not of himself hasty to see things in adisadvantageous lightand was a stranger to the public voicewhich seldomreaches to a brother or a husbandthough it rings in the ears of all theneighbourhood; yet was this affection of Mrs. Blifil to Tomand the preferencewhich she too visibly gave him to her own sonof the utmost disadvantage tothat youth.
For such was the compassion which inhabited Mr. Allworthy's mindthatnothing but the steel of justice could ever subdue it. To be unfortunate in anyrespect was sufficientif there was no demerit to counterpoise itto turn thescale of that good man's pityand to engage his friendship and his benefaction.
When therefore he plainly saw Master Blifil was absolutely detested (for thathe was) by his own motherhe beganon that account onlyto look with an eyeof compassion upon him; and what the effects of compassion arein good andbenevolent mindsI need not here explain to most of my readers.
Henceforward he saw every appearance of virtue in the youth through themagnifying endand viewed all his faults with the glass invertedso that theybecame scarce perceptible. And this perhaps the amiable temper of pity may makecommendable; but the next step the weakness of human nature alone must excuse;for he no sooner perceived that preference which Mrs. Blifil gave to Tomthanthat poor youth (however innocent) began to sink in his affections as he rose inhers. Thisit is truewould of itself alone never have been able to eradicateJones from his bosom; but it was greatly injurious to himand prepared Mr.Allworthy's mind for those impressions which afterwards produced the mightyevents that will be contained hereafter in this history; and to whichit mustbe confestthe unfortunate ladby his own wantonnesswildnessand want ofcautiontoo much contributed.
In recording some instances of thesewe shallif rightly understoodafforda very useful lesson to those well-disposed youths who shall hereafter be ourreaders; for they may here findthat goodness of heartand openness of temperthough these may give them great comfort withinand administer to an honestpride in their own mindswill by no meansalas! do their business in theworld. Prudence and circumspection are necessary even to the best of men. Theyare indeedas it werea guard to Virtuewithout which she can never be safe.It is not enough that your designsnaythat your actionsare intrinsicallygood; you must take care they shall appear so. If your inside be never sobeautifulyou must preserve a fair outside also. This must be constantly lookedtoor malice and envy will take care to blacken it sothat the sagacity andgoodness of an Allworthy will not be able to see through itand to discern thebeauties within. Let thismy young readersbe your constant maximthat no mancan be good enough to enable him to neglect the rules of prudence; nor willVirtue herself look beautifulunless she be bedecked with the outward ornamentsof decency and decorum. And this preceptmy worthy disciplesif you read withdue attentionyou willI hopefind sufficiently enforced by examples in thefollowing pages.
I ask pardon for this short appearanceby way of choruson the stage. It isin reality for my own sakethatwhile I am discovering the rocks on whichinnocence and goodness often splitI may not be misunderstood to recommend thevery means to my worthy readersby which I intend to show them they will beundone. And thisas I could not prevail on any of my actors to speakI myselfwas obliged to declare.
Chapter 8 -
A childish incidentin whichhoweveris seen a good-natured disposition inTom Jones -
The reader may remember that Mr. Allworthy gave Tom Jones a little horseasa kind of smart-money for the punishment which he imagined he had sufferedinnocently.
This horse Tom kept above half a yearand then rode him to a neighbouringfairand sold him.
At his returnbeing questioned by Thwackum what he had done with the moneyfor which the horse was soldhe frankly declared he would not tell him.
"Oho!" says Thwackum"you will not! then I will have it outof your br-h"; that being the place to which he always applied forinformation on every doubtful occasion.
Tom was now mounted on the back of a footmanand everything prepared forexecutionwhen Mr. Allworthyentering the roomgave the criminal a reprieveand took him with him into another apartment; wherebeing alone with Tomheput the same question to him which Thwackum had before asked him.
Tom answeredhe could in duty refuse him nothing; but as for that tyrannicalrascalhe would never make him any other answer than with a cudgelwith whichhe hoped soon to be able to pay him for all his barbarities.
Mr. Allworthy very severely reprimanded the lad for his indecent anddisrespectful expressions concerning his master; but much more for his avowingan intention of revenge. He threatened him with the entire loss of his favourif he ever heard such another word from his mouth; forhe saidhe would neversupport or befriend a reprobate. By these and the like declarationshe extortedsome compunction from Tomin which that youth was not over-sincere; for hereally meditated some return for all the smarting favours he had received at thehands of the pedagogue. He washoweverbrought by Mr. Allworthy to express aconcern for his resentment against Thwackum; and then the good manafter somewholesome admonitionpermitted him to proceedwhich he did as follows:-
"Indeedmy dear sirI love and honour you more than all the world: Iknow the great obligations I have to youand should detest myself if I thoughtmy heart was capable of ingratitude. Could the little horse you gave me speakIam sure he could tell you how fond I was of your present; for I had morepleasure in feeding him than in riding him. Indeedsirit went to my heart topart with him; nor would I have sold him upon any other account in the worldthan what I did. You yourselfsirI am convincedin my casewould have donethe same: for none ever so sensibly felt the misfortunes of others. What wouldyou feeldear sirif you thought yourself the occasion of them? Indeedsirthere never was any misery like theirs."
"Like whosechild?" says Allworthy: "What do you mean?"
"Ohsir!" answered Tom"your poor gamekeeperwith all hislarge familyever since your discarding himhave been perishing with all themiseries of cold and hunger: I could not bear to see these poor wretches nakedand starvingand at the same time know myself to have been the occasion of alltheir sufferings. I could not bear itsir; upon my soulI could not."[Here the tears ran down his cheeksand he thus proceeded.] "It was tosave them from absolute destruction I parted with your dear presentnotwithstanding all the value I had for it: I sold the horse for themand theyhave every farthing of the money."
Mr. Allworthy now stood silent for some momentsand before he spoke thetears started from his eyes. He at length dismissed Tom with a gentle rebukeadvising him for the future to apply to him in cases of distressrather than touse extraordinary means of relieving them himself.
This affair was afterwards the subject of much debate between Thwackum andSquare. Thwackum heldthat this was flying in Mr. Allworthy's facewho hadintended to punish the fellow for his disobedience. He saidin some instanceswhat the world called charity appeared to him to be opposing the will of theAlmightywhich had marked some particular persons for destruction; and thatthis was in like manner acting in opposition to Mr. Allworthy; concludingasusualwith a hearty recommendation of birch.
Square argued strongly on the other sidein opposition perhaps to Thwackumor in compliance with Mr. Allworthywho seemed very much to approve what Joneshad done. As to what he urged on this occasionas I am convinced most of myreaders will be much abler advocates for poor Jonesit would be impertinent torelate it. Indeed it was not difficult to reconcile to the rule of right anaction which it would have been impossible to deduce from the rule of wrong.
Chapter 9 -
Containing an incident of a more heinous kindwith the comments of Thwackumand Square -
It hath been observed by some man of much greater reputation for wisdom thanmyselfthat misfortunes seldom come single. An instance of this mayI believebe seen in those gentlemen who have the misfortune to have any of theirrogueries detected; for here discovery seldom stops till the whole is come out.Thus it happened to poor Tom; who was no sooner pardoned for selling the horsethan he was discovered to have some time before sold a fine Bible which Mr.Allworthy gave himthe money arising from which sale he had disposed of in thesame manner. This Bible Master Blifil had purchasedthough he had already suchanother of his ownpartly out of respect for the bookand partly out offriendship to Tombeing unwilling that the Bible should be sold out of thefamily at half-price. He therefore deposited the said half-price himself; for hewas a very prudent ladand so careful of his moneythat he had laid up almostevery penny which he had received from Mr. Allworthy.
Some people have been noted to be able to read in no book but their own. Onthe contraryfrom the time when Master Blifil was first possessed of thisBiblehe never used any other. Nayhe was seen reading in it much oftener thanhe had before been in his own. Nowas he frequently asked Thwackum to explaindifficult passages to himthat gentleman unfortunately took notice of Tom'snamewhich was written in many parts of the book. This brought on an inquirywhich obliged Master Blifil to discover the whole matter.
Thwackum was resolved a crime of this kindwhich he called sacrilegeshouldnot go unpunished. He therefore proceeded immediately to castigation: and notcontented with that he acquainted Mr. Allworthyat their next meetingwiththis monstrous crimeas it appeared to him: inveighing against Tom in the mostbitter termsand likening him to the buyers and sellers who were driven out ofthe temple.
Square saw this matter in a very different light. He saidhe could notperceive any higher crime in selling one book than in selling another. That tosell Bibles was strictly lawful by all laws both Divine and humanandconsequently there was no unfitness in it. He told Thwackumthat his greatconcern on this occasion brought to his mind the story of a very devout womanwhoout of pure regard to religionstole Tillotson's Sermons from a lady ofher acquaintance.
This story caused a vast quantity of blood to rush into the parson's facewhich of itself was none of the palest; and he was going to reply with greatwarmth and angerhad not Mrs. Blifilwho was present at this debateinterposed. That lady declared herself absolutely of Mr. Square's side. Shearguedindeedvery learnedly in support of his opinion; and concluded withsayingif Tom had been guilty of any faultshe must confess her own sonappeared to be equally culpable; for that she could see no difference betweenthe buyer and the seller; both of whom were alike to be driven out of thetemple.
Mrs. Blifil having declared her opinionput an end to the debate. Square'striumph would almost have stopt his wordshad he needed them; and Thwackumwhofor reasons before-mentioneddurst not venture at disobliging the ladywas almost choaked with indignation. As to Mr. Allworthyhe saidsince the boyhad been already punished he would not deliver his sentiments on the occasion;and whether he was or was not angry with the ladI must leave to the reader'sown conjecture.
Soon after thisan action was brought against the gamekeeper by SquireWestern (the gentleman in whose manor the partridge was killed)fordepredations of the like kind. This was a most unfortunate circumstance for thefellowas it not only of itself threatened his ruinbut actually prevented Mr.Allworthy from restoring him to his favour: for as that gentleman was walkingout one evening with Master Blifil and young Jonesthe latter slily drew him tothe habitation of Black George; where the family of that poor wretchnamelyhis wife and childrenwere found in all the misery with which coldhungerandnakednesscan affect human creatures: for as to the money they had receivedfrom Jonesformer debts had consumed almost the whole.
Such a scene as this could not fail of affecting the heart of Mr. Allworthy.He immediately gave the mother a couple of guineaswith which he bid her cloathher children. The poor woman burst into tears at this goodnessand while shewas thanking himcould not refrain from expressing her gratitude to Tom; whohadshe saidlong preserved both her and hers from starving. "We havenot" says she"had a morsel to eatnor have these poor children hada rag to put onbut what his goodness hath bestowed on us." Forindeedbesides the horse and the BibleTom had sacrificed a night-gownand otherthingsto the use of this distressed family.
On their return homeTom made use of all his eloquence to display thewretchedness of these peopleand the penitence of Black George himself; and inthis he succeeded so wellthat Mr. Allworthy saidhe thought the man hadsuffered enough for what was past; that he would forgive himand think of somemeans of providing for him and his family.
Jones was so delighted with this newsthatthough it was dark when theyreturned homehe could not help going back a milein a shower of raintoacquaint the poor woman with the glad tidings; butlike other hasty divulgersof newshe only brought on himself the trouble of contradicting it: for the illfortune of Black George made use of the very opportunity of his friend's absenceto overturn all again.
Chapter 10 -
In which Master Blifil and Jones appear in different lights -
Master Blifil fell very short of his companion in the amiable quality ofmercy; but he as greatly exceeded him in one of a much higher kindnamelyinjustice: in which he followed both the precepts and example of Thwackum andSquare; for though they would both make frequent use of the word mercyyet itwas plain that in reality Square held it to be inconsistent with the rule ofright; and Thwackum was for doing justiceand leaving mercy to heaven. The twogentlemen did indeed somewhat differ in opinion concerning the objects of thissublime virtue; by which Thwackum would probably have destroyed one half ofmankindand Square the other half.
Master Blifil thenthough he had kept silence in the presence of Jonesyetwhen he had better considered the mattercould by no means endure the thoughtof suffering his uncle to confer favours on the undeserving. He thereforeresolved immediately to acquaint him with the fact which we have above slightlyhinted to the reader. The truth of which was as follows:
The gamekeeperabout a year after he was dismissed from Mr. Allworthy'sserviceand before Tom's selling the horsebeing in want of breadeither tofill his own mouth or those of his familyas he passed through a fieldbelonging to Mr. Western espied a hare sitting in her form. This hare he hadbasely and barbarously knocked on the headagainst the laws of the landand noless against the laws of sportsmen.
The higgler to whom the hare was soldbeing unfortunately taken many monthsafter with a quantity of game upon himwas obliged to make his peace with thesquireby becoming evidence against some poacher. And now Black George waspitched upon by himas being a person already obnoxious to Mr. Westernand oneof no good fame in the country. He wasbesidesthe best sacrifice the higglercould makeas he had supplied him with no game since; and by this means thewitness had an opportunity of screening his better customers: for the squirebeing charmed with the power of punishing Black Georgewhom a singletransgression was sufficient to ruinmade no further enquiry.
Had this fact been truly laid before Mr. Allworthyit might probably havedone the gamekeeper very little mischief. But there is no zeal blinder than thatwhich is inspired with the love of justice against offenders. Master Blifil hadforgot the distance of the time. He varied likewise in the manner of the fact:and by the hasty addition of the single letter S he considerably altered thestory; for he said that George had wired hares. These alterations might probablyhave been set righthad not Master Blifil unluckily insisted on a promise ofsecrecy from Mr. Allworthy before he revealed the matter to him; but by thatmeans the poor gamekeeper was condemned without having an opportunity to defendhimself: for as the fact of killing the hareand of the action broughtwerecertainly trueMr. Allworthy had no doubt concerning the rest.
Short-lived then was the joy of these poor people; for Mr. Allworthy the nextmorning declared he had fresh reasonwithout assigning itfor his angerandstrictly forbad Tom to mention George any more: though as for his familyhesaid he would endeavour to keep them from starving; but as to the fellowhimselfhe would leave him to the lawswhich nothing could keep him frombreaking.
Tom could by no means divine what had incensed Mr. Allworthyfor of MasterBlifil he had not the least suspicion. Howeveras his friendship was to betired out by no disappointmentshe now determined to try another method ofpreserving the poor gamekeeper from ruin.
Jones was lately grown very intimate with Mr. Western. He had so greatlyrecommended himself to that gentlemanby leaping over five-barred gatesand byother acts of sportsmanshipthat the squire had declared Tom would certainlymake a great man if he had but sufficient encouragement. He often wished he hadhimself a son with such parts; and one day very solemnly asserted at a drinkingboutthat Tom should hunt a pack of hounds for a thousand pound of his moneywith any huntsman in the whole country.
By such kind of talents he had so ingratiated himself with the squirethathe was a most welcome guest at his tableand a favourite companion in hissport: everything which the squire held most dearto withis gunsdogsandhorseswere now as much at the command of Jonesas if they had been his own.He resolved therefore to make use of this favour on behalf of his friend BlackGeorgewhom he hoped to introduce into Mr. Western's familyin the samecapacity in which he had before served Mr. Allworthy.
The readerif he considers that this fellow was already obnoxious to Mr.Westernand if he considers farther the weighty business by which thatgentleman's displeasure had been incurredwill perhaps condemn this as afoolish and desperate undertaking; but if he should totally condemn young Joneson that accounthe will greatly applaud him for strengthening himself with allimaginable interest on so arduous an occasion.
For this purposethenTom applied to Mr. Western's daughtera young ladyof about seventeen years of agewhom her fathernext after those necessaryimplements of sport just before mentionedloved and esteemed above all theworld. Nowas she had some influence on the squireso Tom had some littleinfluence on her. But this being the intended heroine of this worka lady withwhom we ourselves are greatly in loveand with whom many of our readers willprobably be in love toobefore we partit is by no means proper she shouldmake her appearance at the end of a book.
CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR
Chapter 1 -
Containing five pages of paper -
As truth distinguishes our writings from those idle romances which are filledwith monstersthe productionsnot of naturebut of distempered brains; andwhich have been therefore recommended by an eminent critic to the sole use ofthe pastry-cook; soon the other handwe would avoid any resemblance to thatkind of history which a celebrated poet seems to think is no less calculated forthe emolument of the breweras the reading it should be always attended with atankard of good ale- -
While- history with her comrade ale
Soothes the sad series of her serious tale. -
For as this is the liquor of modern historiansnayperhaps their museifwe may believe the opinion of Butlerwho attributes inspiration to aleitought likewise to be the potation of their readerssince every book ought to beread with the same spirit and in the same manner as it is writ. Thus the famousauthor of Hurlothrumbo told a learned bishopthat the reason his lordship couldnot taste the excellence of his piece wasthat he did not read it with a fiddlein his hand; which instrument he himself had always had in his ownwhen hecomposed it.
That our workthereforemight be in no danger of being likened to thelabours of these historianswe have taken every occasion of interspersingthrough the whole sundry similesdescriptionsand other kind of poeticalembellishments. These areindeeddesigned to supply the place of the said aleand to refresh the mindwhenever those slumberswhich in a long work are aptto invade the reader as well as the writershall begin to creep upon him.Without interruptions of this kindthe best narrative of plain matter of factmust overpower every reader; for nothing but the everlasting watchfulnesswhichHomer has ascribed only to Jove himselfcan be proof against a newspaper ofmany volumes.
We shall leave to the reader to determine with what judgment we have chosenthe several occasions for inserting those ornamental parts of our work. Surelyit will be allowed that none could be more proper than the presentwhere we areabout to introduce a considerable character on the scene; no lessindeedthanthe heroine of this heroichistoricalprosaic poem. Herethereforewe havethought proper to prepare the mind of the reader for her receptionby fillingit with every pleasing image which we can draw from the face of nature. And forthis method we plead many precedents. Firstthis is an art well known toandmuch practised byour tragick poetswho seldom fail to prepare their audiencefor the reception of their principal characters.
Thus the heroe is always introduced with a flourish of drums and trumpetsinorder to rouse a martial spirit in the audienceand to accommodate their earsto bombast and fustianwhich Mr. Locke's blind man would not have grossly erredin likening to the sound of a trumpet. Againwhen lovers are coming forthsoftmusic often conducts them on the stageeither to soothe the audience with thesoftness of the tender passionor to lull and prepare them for that gentleslumber in which they will most probably be composed by the ensuing scene.
And not only the poetsbut the masters of these poetsthe managers ofplayhousesseem to be in this secret; forbesides the aforesaid kettle-drums&c.which denote the heroe's approachhe is generally ushered on the stageby a large troop of half a dozen scene-shifters; and how necessary these areimagined to his appearancemay be concluded from the following theatricalstory:-
King Pyrrhus was at dinner at an ale-house bordering on the theatrewhen hewas summoned to go on the stage. The heroebeing unwilling to quit his shoulderof muttonand as unwilling to draw on himself the indignation of Mr. Wilks (hisbrother-manager) for making the audience waithad bribed these his harbingersto be out of the way. While Mr. Wilksthereforewas thundering out"Where are the carpenters to walk on before King Pyrrhus?" thatmonarch very quietly eat his muttonand the audiencehowever impatientwereobliged to entertain themselves with music in his absence.
To be plainI much question whether the politicianwho hath generally agood nosehath not scented out somewhat of the utility of this practice. I amconvinced that awful magistrate my lord-mayor contracts a good deal of thatreverence which attends him through the yearby the several pageants whichprecede his pomp. NayI must confessthat even I myselfwho am not remarkablyliable to be captivated with showhave yielded not a little to the impressionsof much preceding state. When I have seen a man strutting in a processionafterothers whose business was only to walk before himI have conceived a highernotion of his dignity than I have felt on seeing him in a common situation. Butthere is one instancewhich comes exactly up to my purpose. This is the customof sending on a basket-womanwho is to precede the pomp at a coronationand tostrew the stage with flowersbefore the great personages begin theirprocession. The antients would certainly have invoked the goddess Flora for thispurposeand it would have been no difficulty for their priestsor politiciansto have persuaded the people of the real presence of the deitythough a plainmortal had personated her and performed her office. But we have no such designof imposing on our reader; and therefore those who object to the heathentheologymayif they pleasechange our goddess into the above-mentionedbasket-woman. Our intentionin shortis to introduce our heroine with theutmost solemnity in our powerwith an elevation of stileand all othercircumstances proper to raise the veneration of our reader. Indeed we wouldforcertain causesadvise those of our male readers who have any heartsto read nofartherwere we not well assuredthat how amiable soever the picture of ourheroine will appearas it is really a copy from naturemany of our faircountry-women will be found worthy to satisfy any passionand to answer anyidea of female perfection which our pencil will be able to raise.
And nowwithout any further prefacewe proceed to our next chapter.
Chapter 2 -
A short hint of what we can do in the sublimeand a description of MissSophia Western -
Hushed be every ruder breath. May the heathen ruler of the winds confine iniron chains the boisterous limbs of noisy Boreasand the sharp-pointed nose ofbitter-biting Eurus. Do thousweet Zephyrusrising from thy fragrant bedmount the western skyand lead on those delicious galesthe charms of whichcall forth the lovely Flora from her chamberperfumed with pearly dewswhen onthe 1st of Juneher birth-daythe blooming maidin loose attiregently tripsit over the verdant meadwhere every flower rises to do her homagetill thewhole field becomes enamelledand colours contend with sweets which shallravish her most.
So charming may she now appear! and you the feathered choristers of naturewhose sweetest notes not even Handel can excelltune your melodious throats tocelebrate her appearance. From love proceeds your musicand to love it returns.Awaken therefore that gentle passion in every swain: for lo! adorned with allthe charms in which nature can array her; bedecked with beautyyouthsprightlinessinnocencemodestyand tendernessbreathing sweetness from herrosy lipsand darting brightness from her sparkling eyesthe lovely Sophiacomes!
Readerperhaps thou hast seen the statue of the Venus de Medicis. Perhapstoothou hast seen the gallery of beauties at Hampton Court. Thou may'stremember each bright Churchill of the galaxyand all the toasts of the Kit-cat.Orif their reign was before thy timesat least thou hast seen theirdaughtersthe no less dazzling beauties of the present age; whose namesshouldwe here insertwe apprehend they would fill the whole volume.
Now if thou hast seen all thesebe not afraid of the rude answer which LordRochester once gave to a man who had seen many things. No. If thou hast seen allthese without knowing what beauty isthou hast no eyes; if without feeling itspowerthou hast no heart.
Yet is it possiblemy friendthat thou mayest have seen all these withoutbeing able to form an exact idea of Sophia; for she did not exactly resemble anyof them. She was most like the picture of Lady Ranelagh: andI have heardmorestill to the famous dutchess of Mazarine; but most of all she resembled onewhose image never can depart from my breastand whomif thou dost rememberthou hast thenmy friendan adequate idea of Sophia.
But lest this should not have been thy fortunewe will endeavour with ourutmost skill to describe this paragonthough we are sensible that our highestabilities are very inadequate to the task.
Sophiathenthe only daughter of Mr. Westernwas a middle-sized woman; butrather inclining to tall. Her shape was not only exactbut extremely delicate:and the nice proportion of her arms promised the truest symmetry in her limbs.Her hairwhich was blackwas so luxuriantthat it reached her middlebeforeshe cut it to comply with the modern fashion; and it was now curled sogracefully in her neckthat few could believe it to be her own. If envy couldfind any part of the face which demanded less commendation than the restitmight possibly think her forehead might have been higher without prejudice toher. Her eyebrows were fullevenand arched beyond the power of art toimitate. Her black eyes had a lustre in themwhich all her softness could notextinguish. Her nose was exactly regularand her mouthin which were two rowsof ivoryexactly answered Sir John Suckling's description in those lines:- -
Her lips were redand one was thin
Compar'd to that was next her chin
Some bee had stung it newly. - Her cheeks were of the oval kind; and in herright she had a dimplewhich the least smile discovered. Her chin had certainlyits share in forming the beauty of her face; but it was difficult to say it waseither large or smallthough perhaps it was rather of the former kind. Hercomplexion had rather more of the lily than of the rose; but when exercise ormodesty increased her natural colourno vermilion could equal it. Then onemight indeed cry out with the celebrated Dr. Donne: -
--Her Pure and eloquent blood
Spoke in her cheeksand so distinctly wrought
That one might almost say her body thought. - Her neck was long and finelyturned: and hereif I was not afraid of offending her delicacyI might justlysaythe highest beauties of the famous Venus de Medicis were outdone. Here waswhiteness which no liliesivorynor alabaster could match. The finest cambricmight indeed be supposed from envy to cover that bosom which was much whiterthan itself.- It was indeed-
Nitor splendens Pario marmore purius. - A gloss shining beyond the purestbrightness of Parian marble. -
Such was the outside of Sophia; nor was this beautiful frame disgraced by aninhabitant unworthy of it. Her mind was every way equal to her person; naythelatter borrowed some charms from the former; for when she smiledthe sweetnessof her temper diffused that glory over her countenance which no regularity offeatures can give. But as there are no perfections of the mind which do notdiscover themselves in that perfect intimacy to which we intend to introduce ourreader with this charming young creatureso it is needless to mention themhere: nayit is a kind of tacit affront to our reader's understandingand mayalso rob him of that pleasure which he will receive in forming his own judgmentof her character.
It mayhoweverbe proper to saythat whatever mental accomplishments shehad derived from naturethey were somewhat improved and cultivated by art: forshe had been educated under the care of an auntwho was a lady of greatdiscretionand was thoroughly acquainted with the worldhaving lived in heryouth about the courtwhence she had retired some years since into the country.By her conversation and instructionsSophia was perfectly well bredthoughperhaps she wanted a little of that ease in her behaviour which is to beacquired only by habitand living within what is called the polite circle. Butthisto say the truthis often too dearly purchased; and though it hath charmsso inexpressiblethat the Frenchperhapsamong other qualitiesmean toexpress thiswhen they declare they know not what it is; yet its absence iswell compensated by innocence; nor can good sense and a natural gentility everstand in need of it.
Chapter 3 -
Wherein the history goes back to commemorate a trifling incident thathappened some years since; but whichtrifling as it washad some futureconsequences -
The amiable Sophia was now in her eighteenth yearwhen she is introducedinto this history. Her fatheras hath been saidwas fonder of her than of anyother human creature. To herthereforeTom Jones appliedin order to engageher interest on the behalf of his friend the gamekeeper.
But before we proceed to this businessa short recapitulation of someprevious matters may be necessary.
Though the different tempers of Mr. Allworthy and of Mr. Western did notadmit of a very intimate correspondenceyet they lived upon what is called adecent footing together; by which means the young people of both families hadbeen acquainted from their infancy; and as they were all near of the same agehad been frequent playmates together.
The gaiety of Tom's temper suited better with Sophiathan the grave andsober disposition of Master Blifil. And the preference which she gave the formerof thesewould often appear so plainlythat a lad of a more passionate turnthan Master Blifil wasmight have shown some displeasure at it.
As he did nothoweveroutwardly express any such disgustit would be anill office in us to pay a visit to the inmost recesses of his mindas somescandalous people search into the most secret affairs of their friendsandoften pry into their closets and cupboardsonly to discover their poverty andmeanness to the world.
Howeveras persons who suspect they have given others cause of offenceareapt to conclude they are offended; so Sophia imputed an action of Master Blifilto his angerwhich the superior sagacity of Thwackum and Square discerned tohave arisen from a much better principle.
Tom Joneswhen very younghad presented Sophia with a little birdwhich hehad taken from the nesthad nursed upand taught to sing.
Of this birdSophiathen about thirteen years oldwas so extremely fondthat her chief business was to feed and tend itand her chief pleasure to playwith it. By these means little Tommyfor so the bird was calledwas become sotamethat it would feed out of the hand of its mistresswould perch upon thefingerand lie contented in her bosomwhere it seemed almost sensible of itsown happiness; though she always kept a small string about its legnor wouldever trust it with the liberty of flying away.
One daywhen Mr. Allworthy and his whole family dined at Mr. Western'sMaster Blifilbeing in the garden with little Sophiaand observing the extremefondness that she showed for her little birddesired her to trust it for amoment in his hands. Sophia presently complied with the young gentleman'srequestand after some previous cautiondelivered him her bird; of which hewas no sooner in possessionthan he slipt the string from its leg and tossed itinto the air.
The foolish animal no sooner perceived itself at libertythan forgetting allthe favours it had received from Sophiait flew directly from herand perchedon a bough at some distance.
Sophiaseeing her bird gonescreamed out so loudthat Tom Joneswho wasat a little distanceimmediately ran to her assistance.
He was no sooner informed of what had happenedthan he cursed Blifil for apitiful malicious rascal; and then immediately stripping off his coat he appliedhimself to climbing the tree to which the bird escaped.
Tom had almost recovered his little namesakewhen the branch on which it wasperchedand that hung over a canalbrokeand the poor lad plumped over headand ears into the water.
Sophia's concern now changed its object. And as she apprehended the boy'slife was in dangershe screamed ten times louder than before; and indeed MasterBlifil himself now seconded her with all the vociferation in his power.
The companywho were sitting in a room next the gardenwere instantlyalarmedand came all forth; but just as they reached the canalTom (for thewater was luckily pretty shallow in that part) arrived safely on shore.
Thwackum fell violently on poor Tomwho stood dropping and shivering beforehimwhen Mr. Allworthy desired him to have patience; and turning to MasterBlifilsaid"Praychildwhat is the reason of all thisdisturbance?"
Master Blifil answered"IndeeduncleI am very sorry for what I havedone; I have been unhappily the occasion of it all. I had Miss Sophia's bird inmy handand thinking the poor creature languished for libertyI own I couldnot forbear giving it what it desired; for I always thought there was somethingvery cruel in confining anything. It seemed to be against the law of naturebywhich everything hath a right to liberty; nayit is even unchristianfor it isnot doing what we would be done by; but if I had imagined Miss Sophia would havebeen so much concerned at itI am sure I never would have done it; nayif Ihad known what would have happened to the bird itself: for when Master Joneswho climbed up that tree after itfell into the waterthe bird took a secondflightand presently a nasty hawk carried it away."
Poor Sophiawho now first heard of her little Tommy's fate (for her concernfor Jones had prevented her perceiving it when it happened)shed a shower oftears. These Mr. Allworthy endeavoured to assuagepromising her a much finerbird: but she declared she would never have another. Her father chid her forcrying so for a foolish bird; but could not help telling young Blifilif he wasa son of hishis backside should be well flead.
Sophia now returned to her chamberthe two young gentlemen were sent homeand the rest of the company returned to their bottle; where a conversationensued on the subject of the birdso curiousthat we think it deserves achapter by itself.
Chapter 4 -
Containing such very deep and grave mattersthat some readersperhapsmaynot relish it -
Square had no sooner lighted his pipethanaddressing himself to Allworthyhe thus began: "SirI cannot help congratulating you on your nephew; whoat an age when few lads have any ideas but of sensible objectsis arrived at acapacity of distinguishing right from wrong. To confine anythingseems to meagainst the law of natureby which everything hath a right to liberty. Thesewere his words; and the impression they have made on me is never to beeradicated. Can any man have a higher notion of the rule of rightand theeternal fitness of things? I cannot help promising myselffrom such a dawnthat the meridian of this youth will be equal to that of either the elder or theyounger Brutus."
Here Thwackum hastily interruptedand spilling some of his wineandswallowing the rest with great eagernessanswered"From anotherexpression he made use ofI hope he will resemble much better men. The law ofnature is a jargon of wordswhich means nothing. I know not of any such lawnor of any right which can be derived from it. To do as we would be done byisindeed a Christian motiveas the boy well expressed himself; and I am glad tofind my instructions have borne such good fruit."
"If vanity was a thing fit" says Square"I might indulgesome on the same occasion; for whence only he can have learnt his notions ofright or wrongI think is pretty apparent. If there be no law of naturethereis no right nor wrong."
"How!" says the parson"do you then banish revelation? Am Italking with a deist or an atheist?"
"Drink about" says Western. "Pox of your laws of nature! Idon't know what you meaneither of youby right and wrong. To take away mygirl's bird was wrongin my opinion; and my neighbour Allworthy may do as hepleases; but to encourage boys in such practicesis to breed them up to thegallows."
Allworthy answered"That he was sorry for what his nephew had donebutcould not consent to punish himas he acted rather from a generous thanunworthy motive." He said"If the boy had stolen the birdnone wouldhave been more ready to vote for a severe chastisement than himself; but it wasplain that was not his design": andindeedit was as apparent to himthat he could have no other view but what he had himself avowed. (For as to thatmalicious purpose which Sophia suspectedit never once entered into the head ofMr. Allworthy.) He at length concluded with again blaming the action asinconsiderateand whichhe saidwas pardonable only in a child.
Square had delivered his opinion so openlythat if he was now silenthemust submit to have his judgment censured. He saidthereforewith some warmth"That Mr. Allworthy had too much respect to the dirty consideration ofproperty. That in passing our judgments on great and mighty actionsall privateregards should be laid aside; for by adhering to those narrow rulesthe youngerBrutus had been condemned of ingratitudeand the elder of parricide."
"And if they had been hanged too for those crimes" cried Thwackum"they would have had no more than their deserts. A couple of heathenishvillains! Heaven be praised we have no Brutuses now-a-days! I wishMr. Squareyou would desist from filling the minds of my pupils with such antichristianstuff; for the consequence must bewhile they are under my careits being wellscourged out of them again. There is your disciple Tom almost spoiled already. Ioverheard him the other day disputing with Master Blifil that there was no meritin faith without works. I know that is one of your tenetsand I suppose he hadit from you."
"Don't accuse me of spoiling him" says Square. "Who taughthim to laugh at whatever is virtuous and decentand fit and right in the natureof things? He is your own scholarand I disclaim him. NonoMaster Blifil ismy boy. Young as he isthat lad's notions of moral rectitude I defy you ever toeradicate."
Thwackum put on a contemptuous sneer at thisand replied"AyayIwill venture him with you. He is too well grounded for all your philosophicalcant to hurt. NonoI have taken care to instil such principles intohim--"
"And I have instilled principles into him too" cries Square."What but the sublime idea of virtue could inspire a human mind with thegenerous thought of giving liberty? And I repeat to you againif it was a fitthing to be proudI might claim the honour of having infused that idea."-
"And if pride was not forbidden" said Thwackum"I mightboast of having taught him that duty which he himself assigned as hismotive."
"So between you both" says the squire"the young gentlemanhath been taught to rob my daughter of her bird. I find I must take care of mypartridge-mew. I shall have some virtuous religious man or other set all mypartridges at liberty." Then slapping a gentleman of the lawwho waspresenton the backhe cried out"What say you to thisMr. Counsellor?Is not this against law?"
The lawyer with great gravity delivered himself as follows:-
"If the case be put of a partridgethere can be no doubt but an actionwould lie; for though this be ferae naturaeyet being reclaimedpropertyvests: but being the case of a singing birdthough reclaimedas it is a thingof base natureit must be considered as nullius in bonis. In this casethereforeI conceive the plaintiff must be non-suited; and I should disadvisethe bringing any such action."
"Well" says the squire"if it be nullus bonuslet us drinkaboutand talk a little of the state of the nationor some such discourse thatwe all understand; for I am sure I don't understand a word of this. It may belearning and sense for aught I know: but you shall never persuade me into it.Pox! you have neither of you mentioned a word of that poor lad who deserves tobe commended: to venture breaking his neck to oblige my girl was agenerous-spirited action: I have learning enough to see that. D--n mehere'sTom's health! I shall love the boy for it the longest day I have to live."
Thus was the debate interrupted; but it would probably have been soonresumedhad not Mr. Allworthy presently called for his coachand carried offthe two combatants.
Such was the conclusion of this adventure of the birdand of the dialogueoccasioned by it; which we could not help recounting to our readerthough ithappened some years before that stage or period of time at which our history isnow arrived.
Chapter 5 -
Containing matter accommodated to every taste -
"Parva leves capiunt animos- Small things affect light minds" wasthe sentiment of a great master of the passion of love. And certain it isthatfrom this day Sophia began to have some little kindness for Tom Jonesand nolittle aversion for his companion.
Many accidents from time to time improved both these passions in her breast;whichwithout our recountingthe reader may well concludefrom what we havebefore hinted of the different tempers of these ladsand how much the onesuited with her own inclinations more than the other. To say the truthSophiawhen very youngdiscerned that Tomthough an idlethoughtlessrattlingrascalwas nobody's enemy but his own; and that Master Blifilthough aprudentdiscreetsober young gentlemanwas at the same time strongly attachedto the interest only of one single person; and who that single person was thereader will be able to divine without any assistance of ours.
These two characters are not always received in the world with the differentregard which seems severally due to either; and which one would imagine mankindfrom self-interestshould show towards them. But perhaps there may be apolitical reason for it: in finding one of a truly benevolent dispositionmenmay very reasonably suppose they have found a treasureand be desirous ofkeeping itlike all other good thingsto themselves. Hence they may imaginethat to trumpet forth the praises of such a personwouldin the vulgar phrasebe crying Roast-meatand calling in partakers of what they intend to applysolely to their own use. If this reason does not satisfy the readerI know noother means of accounting for the little respect which I have commonly seen paidto a character which really does great honour to human natureand is productiveof the highest good to society. But it was otherwise with Sophia. She honouredTom Jonesand scorned Master Blifilalmost as soon as she knew the meaning ofthose two words.
Sophia had been absent upwards of three years with her aunt; during all whichtime she had seldom seen either of these young gentlemen. She dinedhoweveroncetogether with her auntat Mr. Allworthy's. This was a few days after theadventure of the partridgebefore commemorated. Sophia heard the whole story attablewhere she said nothing: nor indeed could her aunt get many words from heras she returned home; but her maidwhen undressing herhappening to say"WellmissI suppose you have seen young Master Blifil to-day?" sheanswered with much passion"I hate the name of Master Blifilas I dowhatever is base and treacherous: and I wonder Mr. Allworthy would suffer thatold barbarous schoolmaster to punish a poor boy so cruelly for what was only theeffect of his good-nature." She then recounted the story to her maidandconcluded with saying"Don't you think he is a boy of noble spirit?"
This young lady was now returned to her father; who gave her the command ofhis houseand placed her at the upper end of his tablewhere Tom (who for hisgreat love of hunting was become a great favourite of the squire) often dined.Young men of opengenerous dispositions are naturally inclined to gallantrywhichif they have good understandingsas was in reality Tom's caseexertsitself in an obliging complacent behaviour to all women in general. This greatlydistinguished Tom from the boisterous brutality of mere country squires on theone handand from the solemn and somewhat sullen deportment of Master Blifil onthe other; and he began nowat twentyto have the name of a pretty fellowamong all the women in the neighbourhood.
Tom behaved to Sophia with no particularityunless perhaps by showing her ahigher respect than he paid to any other. This distinction her beautyfortunesenseand amiable carriageseemed to demand; but as to design upon her personhe had none; for which we shall at present suffer the reader to condemn him ofstupidity; but perhaps we shall be able indifferently well to account for ithereafter.
Sophiawith the highest degree of innocence and modestyhad a remarkablesprightliness in her temper. This was so greatly increased whenever she was incompany with Tomthat had he not been very young and thoughtlesshe must haveobserved it: or had not Mr. Western's thoughts been generally either in thefieldthe stableor the dog-kennelit might have perhaps created somejealousy in him: but so far was the good gentleman from entertaining any suchsuspicionsthat he gave Tom every opportunity with his daughter which any lovercould have wished; and this Tom innocently improved to better advantagebyfollowing only the dictates of his natural gallantry and good-naturethan hemight perhaps have done had he had the deepest designs on the young lady.
But indeed it can occasion little wonder that this matter escaped theobservation of otherssince poor Sophia herself never remarked it; and herheart was irretrievably lost before she suspected it was in danger.
Matters were in this situationwhen Tomone afternoonfinding Sophiaalonebeganafter a short apologywith a very serious faceto acquaint herthat he had a favour to ask of her which he hoped her goodness would complywith.
Though neither the young man's behaviournor indeed his manner of openingthis businesswere such as could give her any just cause of suspecting heintended to make love to her; yet whether Nature whispered something into herearor from what cause it arose I will not determine; certain it issome ideaof that kind must have intruded itself; for her colour forsook her cheeksherlimbs trembledand her tongue would have falteredhad Tom stopped for ananswer; but he soon relieved her from her perplexityby proceeding to informher of his request; which was to solicit her interest on behalf of thegamekeeperwhose own ruinand that of a large familymust behe saidtheconsequence of Mr. Western's pursuing his action against him.
Sophia presently recovered her confusionandwith a smile full ofsweetnesssaid"Is this the mighty favour you asked with so much gravity?I will do it with all my heart. I really pity the poor fellowand no longer agothan yesterday sent a small matter to his wife." This small matter was oneof her gownssome linenand ten shillings in moneyof which Tom had heardand it hadin realityput this solicitation into his head.
Our youthnowemboldened with his successresolved to push the matterfartherand ventured even to beg her recommendation of him to her father'sservice; protesting that he thought him one of the honestest fellows in thecountryand extremely well qualified for the place of a gamekeeperwhichluckily then happened to be vacant.
Sophia answered"WellI will undertake this too; but I cannot promiseyou as much success as in the former partwhich I assure you I will not quit myfather without obtaining. HoweverI will do what I can for the poor fellow; forI sincerely look upon him and his family as objects of great compassion. AndnowMr. JonesI must ask you a favour."
"A favourmadam!" cries Tom: "if you knew the pleasure youhave given me in the hopes of receiving a command from youyou would think bymentioning it you did confer the greatest favour on me; for by this dear hand Iwould sacrifice my life to oblige you."
He then snatched her handand eagerly kissed itwhich was the first timehis lips had ever touched her. The bloodwhich before had forsaken her cheeksnow made her sufficient amendsby rushing all over her face and neck with suchviolencethat they became all of a scarlet colour. She now first felt asensation to which she had been before a strangerand whichwhen she hadleisure to reflect on itbegan to acquaint her with some secretswhich thereaderif he doth not already guess themwill know in due time.
Sophiaas soon as she could speak (which was not instantly)informed himthat the favour she had to desire of him wasnot to lead her father through somany dangers in hunting; for thatfrom what she had heardshe was terriblyfrightened every time they went out togetherand expected some day or other tosee her father brought home with broken limbs. She therefore begged himfor hersaketo be more cautious; and as he well knew Mr. Western would follow himnotto ride so madlynor to take dangerous leaps for the future.
Tom promised faithfully to obey her commands; and after thanking her for herkind compliance with his requesttook his leaveand departed highly charmedwith his success.
Poor Sophia was charmed toobut in a very different way. Her sensationshoweverthe reader's heart (if he or she have any) will better represent than Icanif I had as many mouths as ever poet wished forto eatI supposethosemany dainties with which he was so plentifully provided.
It was Mr. Western's custom every afternoonas soon as he was drunkto hearhis daughter play on the harpsichord; for he was a great lover of musicandperhapshad he lived in townmight have passed for a connoisseur; for healways excepted against the finest compositions of Mr. Handel. He never relishedany music but what was light and airy; and indeed his most favourite tunes wereOld Sir Simon the KingSt. George he was for EnglandBobbing Joanand someothers.
His daughterthough she was a perfect mistress of musicand would neverwillingly have played any but Handel'swas so devoted to her father's pleasurethat she learnt all those tunes to oblige him. Howevershe would now and thenendeavour to lead him into her own taste; and when he required the repetition ofhis balladswould answer with a "Naydear sir"; and would often beghim to suffer her to play something else.
This eveninghoweverwhen the gentleman was retired from his bottlesheplayed all his favourites three times over without any solicitation. This sopleased the good squirethat he started from his couchgave his daughter akissand swore her hand was greatly improved. She took this opportunity toexecute her promise to Tom; in which she succeeded so wellthat the squiredeclaredif she would give him t'other bout of Old Sir Simonhe would give thegamekeeper his deputation the next morning. Sir Simon was played again andagaintill the charms of the music soothed Mr. Western to sleep. In the morningSophia did not fail to remind him of his engagement; and his attorney wasimmediately sent forordered to stop any further proceedings in the actionandto make out the deputation.
Tom's success in this affair soon began to ring over the countryand variouswere the censures passed upon it; some greatly applauding it as an act of goodnature; others sneeringand saying"No wonder that one idle fellow shouldlove another." Young Blifil was greatly enraged at it. He had long hatedBlack George in the same proportion as Jones delighted in him; not from anyoffence which he had ever receivedbut from his great love to religion andvirtue;- for Black George had the reputation of a loose kind of a fellow. Blifiltherefore represented this as flying in Mr. Allworthy's face; and declaredwithgreat concernthat it was impossible to find any other motive for doing good tosuch a wretch.
Thwackum and Square likewise sung to the same tune. They were now (especiallythe latter) become greatly jealous of young Jones with the widow; for he nowapproached the age of twentywas really a fine young fellowand that ladybyher encouragements to himseemed daily more and more to think him so.
Allworthy was nothowevermoved with their malice. He declared himself verywell satisfied with what Jones had done. He said the perseverance and integrityof his friendship was highly commendableand he wished he could see morefrequent instances of that virtue.
But Fortunewho seldom greatly relishes such sparks as my friend Tomperhaps because they do not pay more ardent addresses to hergave now a verydifferent turn to all his actionsand showed them to Mr. Allworthy in a lightfar less agreeable than that gentleman's goodness had hitherto seen them in.
Chapter 6 -
An apology for the insensibility of Mr. Jones to all the charms of the lovelySophia; in which possibly we mayin a considerable degreelower his characterin the estimation of those men of wit and gallantry who approve the heroes inmost of our modern comedies -
There are two sorts of peoplewhoI am afraidhave already conceived somecontempt for my heroeon account of his behaviour to Sophia. The former ofthese will blame his prudence in neglecting an opportunity to possess himself ofMr. Western's fortune; and the latter will no less despise him his backwardnessto so fine a girlwho seemed ready to fly into his armsif he would open themto receive her.
Nowthough I shall not perhaps be able absolutely to acquit him of either ofthese charges (for want of prudence admits of no excuse; and what I shallproduce against the latter charge willI apprehendbe scarce satisfactory);yetas evidence may sometimes be offered in mitigationI shall set forth theplain matter of factand leave the whole to the reader's determination.
Mr. Jones had somewhat about himwhichthough I think writers are notthoroughly agreed in its namedoth certainly inhabit some human breasts; whoseuse is not so properly to distinguish right from wrongas to prompt and incitethem to the formerand to restrain and withhold them from the latter.
This somewhat may be indeed resembled to the famous trunk-maker in theplayhouse; forwhenever the person who is possessed of it doth what is rightno ravished or friendly spectator is so eager or so loud in his applause: on thecontrarywhen he doth wrongno critic is so apt to hiss and explode him.
To give a higher idea of the principle I meanas well as one more familiarto the present age; it may be considered as sitting on its throne in the mindlike the Lord High Chancellor of this kingdom in his court; where it presidesgovernsdirectsjudgesacquitsand condemns according to merit and justicewith a knowledge which nothing escapesa penetration which nothing can deceiveand an integrity which nothing can corrupt.
This active principle may perhaps be said to constitute the most essentialbarrier between us and our neighbours the brutes; for if there be some in thehuman shape who are not under any such dominionI choose rather to considerthem as deserters from us to our neighbours; among whom they will have the fateof desertersand not be placed in the first rank.
Our heroewhether he derived it from Thwackum or Square I will notdeterminewas very strongly under the guidance of this principle; for though hedid not always act rightlyyet he never did otherwise without feeling andsuffering for it. It was this which taught himthat to repay the civilities andlittle friendships of hospitality by robbing the house where you have receivedthemis to be the basest and meanest of thieves. He did not think the basenessof this offence lessened by the height of the injury committed; on the contraryif to steal another's plate deserved death and infamyit seemed to himdifficult to assign a punishment adequate to the robbing a man of his wholefortuneand of his child into the bargain.
This principlethereforeprevented him from any thought of making hisfortune by such means (for thisas I have saidis an active principleanddoth not content itself with knowledge or belief only). Had he been greatlyenamoured of Sophiahe possibly might have thought otherwise; but give me leaveto saythere is great difference between running away with man's daughter fromthe motive of loveand doing the same thing from the motive of theft.
Nowthough this young gentleman was not insensible of the charms of Sophia;though he greatly liked her beautyand esteemed all her other qualificationsshe had madehoweverno deep impression on his heart; for whichas it rendershim liable to the charge of stupidityor at least of want of tastewe shallnow proceed to account.
The truth then ishis heart was in the possession of another woman. Here Iquestion not but the reader will be surprized at our long taciturnity as to thismatter; and quite at a loss to divine who this woman wassince we have hithertonot dropt a hint of any one likely to be a rival to Sophia; for as to Mrs.Blifilthough we have been obliged to mention some suspicions of her affectionfor Tomwe have not hitherto given the least latitude for imagining that he hadany for her; andindeedI am sorry to say itbut the youth of both sexes aretoo apt to be deficient in their gratitude for that regard with which personsmore advanced in years are sometimes so kind to honour them.
That the reader may be no longer in suspensehe will be pleased to rememberthat we have often mentioned the family of George Seagrim (commonly called BlackGeorgethe gamekeeper)which consisted at present of a wife and five children.
The second of these children was a daughterwhose name was Mollyand whowas esteemed one of the handsomest girls in the whole country.
Congreve well says there is in true beauty something which vulgar soulscannot admire; so can no dirt or rags hide this something from those souls whichare not of the vulgar stamp.
The beauty of this girl madehoweverno impression on Tomtill she grewtowards the age of sixteenwhen Tomwho was near three years olderbeganfirst to cast the eyes of affection upon her. And this affection he had fixed onthe girl long before he could bring himself to attempt the possession of herperson: for though his constitution urged him greatly to this his principles noless forcibly restrained him. To debauch a young womanhowever low hercondition wasappeared to him a very heinous crime; and the good-will he borethe fatherwith the compassion he had for his familyvery stronglycorroborated all such sober reflections; so that he once resolved to get thebetter of his inclinationsand he actually abstained three whole months withoutever going to Seagrim's houseor seeing his daughter.
Nowthough Molly wasas we have saidgenerally thought a very fine girland in reality she was soyet her beauty was not of the most amiable kind. Ithadindeedvery little of feminine in itand would have become a man at leastas well as a woman; forto say the truthyouth and florid health had a veryconsiderable share in the composition.
Nor was her mind more effeminate than her person. As this was tall androbustso was that bold and forward. So little had she of modestythat Joneshad more regard for her virtue than she herself. And as most probably she likedTom as well as he liked herso when she perceived his backwardness she herselfgrew proportionably forward; and when she saw he had entirely deserted thehouseshe found means of throwing herself in his wayand behaved in such amanner that the youth must have had very much or very little of the heroe if herendeavours had proved unsuccessful. In a wordshe soon triumphed over all thevirtuous resolutions of Jones; for though she behaved at last with all decentreluctanceyet I rather chuse to attribute the triumph to hersincein factit was her design which succeeded.
In the conduct of this matterI sayMolly so well played her partthatJones attributed the conquest entirely to himselfand considered the youngwoman as one who had yielded to the violent attacks of his passion. He likewiseimputed her yielding to the ungovernable force of her love towards him; and thisthe reader will allow to have been a very natural and probable suppositionaswe have more than once mentioned the uncommon comeliness of his person: andindeedhe was one of the handsomest young fellows in the world.
As there are some minds whose affectionslike Master Blifil'sare solelyplaced on one single personwhose interest and indulgence alone they consideron every occasion; regarding the good and ill of all others as merelyindifferentany farther than as they contribute to the pleasure or advantage ofthat person: so there is a different temper of mind which borrows a degree ofvirtue even from self-love. Such can never receive any kind of satisfaction fromanotherwithout loving the creature to whom that satisfaction is owingandwithout making its well-being in some sort necessary to their own ease.
Of this latter species was our heroe. He considered this poor girl as onewhose happiness or misery he had caused to be dependent on himself. Her beautywas still the object of desirethough greater beautyor a fresher objectmight have been more so; but the little abatement which fruition had occasionedto this was highly overbalanced by the considerations of the affection which shevisibly bore himand of the situation into which he had brought her. The formerof these created gratitudethe latter compassion; and bothtogether with hisdesire for her personraised in him a passion which mightwithout any greatviolence to the wordbe called love; thoughperhapsit was at first not veryjudiciously placed.
Thisthenwas the true reason of that insensibility which he had shown tothe charms of Sophiaand that behaviour in her which might have been reasonablyenough interpreted as an encouragement to his addresses; for as he could notthink of abandoning his Mollypoor and destitute as she wasso no more couldhe entertain a notion of betraying such a creature as Sophia. And surelyhad hegiven the least encouragement to any passion for that young ladyhe must havebeen absolutely guilty of one or other of those crimes; either of which wouldin my opinionhave very justly subjected him to that fatewhichat his firstintroduction into this historyI mentioned to have been generally predicted ashis certain destiny.
Chapter 7 -
Being the shortest chapter in this book -
Her mother first perceived the alteration in the shape of Molly; and in orderto hide it from her neighboursshe foolishly clothed her in that sack whichSophia had sent her; thoughindeedthat young lady had little apprehensionthat the poor woman would have been weak enough to let any of her daughters wearit in that form.
Molly was charmed with the first opportunity she ever had of showing herbeauty to advantage; for though she could very well bear to contemplate herselfin the glasseven when dressed in rags; and though she had in that dressconquered the heart of Jonesand perhaps of some others; yet she thought theaddition of finery would much improve her charmsand extend her conquests.
Mollythereforehaving dressed herself out in this sackwith a new lacedcapand some other ornaments which Tom had given herrepairs to church withher fan in her hand the very next Sunday. The great are deceived if they imaginethey have appropriated ambition and vanity to themselves. These noble qualitiesflourish as notably in a country church and churchyard as in the drawing-roomor in the closet. Schemes have indeed been laid in the vestry which would hardlydisgrace the conclave. Here is a ministryand here is an opposition. Here areplots and circumventionsparties and factionsequal to those which are to befound in courts.
Nor are the women here less practised in the highest feminine arts than theirfair superiors in quality and fortune. Here are prudes and coquettes. Here aredressing and oglingfalsehoodenvymalicescandal; in shorteverythingwhich is common to the most splendid assemblyor politest circle. Let those ofhigh lifethereforeno longer despise the ignorance of their inferiors; northe vulgar any longer rail at the vices of their betters.
Molly had seated herself some time before she was known by her neighbours.And then a whisper ran through the whole congregation"Who is she?"but when she was discoveredsuch sneeringgigglingtitteringand laughingensued among the womenthat Mr. Allworthy was obliged to exert his authority topreserve any decency among them.
Chapter 8 -
A battle sung by the muse in the Homerican stileand which none but theclassical reader can taste -
Mr. Western had an estate in this parish; and as his house stood at littlegreater distance from this church than from his ownhe very often came toDivine Service here; and both he and the charming Sophia happened to be presentat this time.
Sophia was much pleased with the beauty of the girlwhom she pitied for hersimplicity in having dressed herself in that manneras she saw the envy whichit had occasioned among her equals. She no sooner came home than she sent forthe gamekeeperand ordered him to bring his daughter to her; saying she wouldprovide for her in the familyand might possibly place the girl about her ownpersonwhen her own maidwho was now going awayhad left her.
Poor Seagrim was thunderstruck at this; for he was no stranger to the faultin the shape of his daughter. He answeredin a stammering voice"That hewas afraid Molly would be too awkward to wait on her ladyshipas she had neverbeen at service." "No matter for that" says Sophia; "shewill soon improve. I am pleased with the girland am resolved to try her."
Black George now repaired to his wifeon whose prudent counsel he dependedto extricate him out of this dilemma; but when he came thither he found hishouse in some confusion. So great envy had this sack occasionedthat when Mr.Allworthy and the other gentry were gone from churchthe ragewhich hadhitherto been confinedburst into an uproar; andhaving vented itself at firstin opprobrious wordslaughshissesand gesturesbetook itself at last tocertain missile weapons; whichthough from their plastic nature they threatenedneither the loss of life or of limbwere however sufficiently dreadful to awell-dressed lady. Molly had too much spirit to bear this treatment tamely.Having therefore- but holdas we are diffident of our own abilitieslet ushere invite a superior power to our assistance.
Ye Musesthenwhoever ye arewho love to sing battlesand principallythou who whilom didst recount the slaughter in those fields where Hudibras andTrulla foughtif thou wert not starved with thy friend Butlerassist me onthis great occasion. All things are not in the power of all.
As a vast herd of cows in a rich farmer's yardifwhile they are milkedthey hear their calves at a distancelamenting the robbery which is thencommittingroar and bellow; so roared forth the Somersetshire mob an hallaloomade up of almost as many squallsscreamsand other different sounds as therewere personsor indeed passions among them: some were inspired by rageothersalarmed by fearand others had nothing in their heads but the love of fun; butchiefly Envythe sister of Satanand his constant companionrushed among thecrowdand blew up the fury of the women; who no sooner came up to Molly thanthey pelted her with dirt and rubbish.
Mollyhaving endeavoured in vain to make a handsome retreatfaced about;and laying hold of ragged Besswho advanced in the front of the enemyshe atone blow felled her to the ground. The whole army of the enemy (though near ahundred in number)seeing the fate of their generalgave back many pacesandretired behind a new-dug grave; for the churchyard was the field of battlewhere there was to be a funeral that very evening. Molly pursued her victoryand catching up a skull which lay on the side of the gravedischarged it withsuch furythat having hit a taylor on the headthe two skulls sent equallyforth a hollow sound at their meetingand the taylor took presently measure ofhis length on the groundwhere the skulls lay side by sideand it was doubtfulwhich was the more valuable of the two. Molly then taking a thigh-bone in herhandfell in among the flying ranksand dealing her blows with greatliberality on either sideoverthrew the carcass of many a mighty heroe andheroine.
RecountO Musethe names of those who fell on this fatal day. FirstJemmyTweedle felt on his hinder head the direful bone. Him the pleasant banks ofsweetly-winding Stour had nourishedwhere he first learnt the vocal artwithwhichwandering up and down at wakes and fairshe cheered the rural nymphs andswainswhen upon the green they interweaved the sprightly dance; while hehimself stood fiddling and jumping to his own music. How little now avails hisfiddle! He thumps the verdant floor with his carcass. Nextold Echepolethesowgelderreceived a blow in his forehead from our Amazonian heroineandimmediately fell to the ground. He was a swinging fat fellowand fell withalmost as much noise as a house. His tobacco-box dropped at the same time fromhis pocketwhich Molly took up as lawful spoils. Then Kate of the Mill tumbledunfortunately over a tombstonewhich catching hold of her ungartered stockinginverted the order of natureand gave her heels the superiority to her head.Betty Pippinwith young Roger her loverfell both to the ground; whereohperverse fate! she salutes the earthand he the sky. Tom Frecklethe smith'ssonwas the next victim to her rage. He was an ingenious workmanand madeexcellent pattens; naythe very patten with which he was knocked down was hisown workmanship. Had he been at that time singing psalms in the churchhe wouldhave avoided a broken head. Miss Crowthe daughter of a farmer; John Giddishhimself a farmer; Nan SlouchEsther CodlingWill SprayTom Bennet; the threeMisses Potterwhose father keeps the sign of the Red Lion; Betty ChambermaidJack Ostlerand many others of inferior notelay rolling among the graves.
Not that the strenuous arm of Molly reached all these; for many of them intheir flight overthrew each other.
But now Fortunefearing she had acted out of characterand had inclined toolong to the same sideespecially as it was the right sidehastily turnedabout: for now Goody Brown- whom Zekiel Brown caressed in his arms; nor healonebut half the parish besides; so famous was she in the fields of Venusnor indeed less in those of Mars. The trophies of both these her husband alwaysbore about on his head and face; for if ever human head did by its horns displaythe amorous glories of a wifeZekiel's did; nor did his well-scratched faceless denote her talents (or rather talons) of a different kind.
No longer bore this Amazon the shameful flight of her party. She stopt shortandcalling aloud to all who fledspoke as follows: "Ye Somersetshiremenor rather ye Somersetshire womenare ye not ashamed thus to fly from asingle woman? But if no other will oppose herI myself and Joan Top here willhave the honour of the victory." Having thus saidshe flew at MollySeagrimand easily wrenched the thigh-bone from her handat the same timeclawing off her cap from her head. Then laying hold of the hair of Molly withher left handshe attacked her so furiously in the face with the rightthatthe blood soon began to trickle from her nose. Molly was not idle this while.She soon removed the clout from the head of Goody Brownand then fastening onher hair with one handwith the other she caused another bloody stream to issueforth from the nostrils of the enemy.
When each of the combatants had borne off sufficient spoils of hair from thehead of her antagonistthe next rage was against the garments. In this attackthey exerted so much violencethat in a very few minutes they were both nakedto the middle.
It is lucky for the women that the seat of fistycuff war is not the same withthem as among men; but though they may seem a little to deviate from their sexwhen they go forth to battleyet I have observedthey never so far forgetasto assail the bosoms of each other; where a few blows would be fatal to most ofthem. ThisI knowsome derive from their being of a more bloody inclinationthan the males. On which account they apply to the noseas to the part whenceblood may most easily be drawn; but this seems a far-fetched as well asill-natured supposition.
Goody Brown had great advantage of Molly in this particular; for the formerhad indeed no breastsher bosom (if it may be so called)as well in colour asin many other propertiesexactly resembling an antient piece of parchmentuponwhich any one might have drummed a considerable while without doing her anygreat damage.
Mollybeside her present unhappy conditionwas differently formed in thosepartsand mightperhapshave tempted the envy of Brown to give her a fatalblowhad not the lucky arrival of Tom Jones at this instant put an immediateend to the bloody scene.
This accident was luckily owing to Mr. Square; for heMaster BlifilandJoneshad mounted their horsesafter churchto take the airand had riddenabout a quarter of a milewhen Squarechanging his mind (not idlybut for areason which we shall unfold as soon as we have leisure)desired the younggentlemen to ride with him another way than they had at first purposed. Thismotion being complied withbrought them of necessity back again to thechurchyard.
Master Blifilwho rode firstseeing such a mob assembledand two women inthe posture in which we left the combatantsstopt his horse to enquire what wasthe matter. A country fellowscratching his headanswered him: "I don'tknowmeasterun't I; an't please your honourhere hath been a vightI thinkbetween Goody Brown and Moll Seagrim."
"Whowho?" cries Tom; but without waiting for an answerhavingdiscovered the features of his Molly through all the discomposure in which theynow werehe hastily alightedturned his horse looseandleaping over thewallran to her. She now first bursting into tearstold him how barbarouslyshe had been treated. Upon whichforgetting the sex of Goody Brownor perhapsnot knowing it in his rage- forin realityshe had no feminine appearance buta petticoatwhich he might not observe- he gave her a lash or two with hishorsewhip; and then flying at the mobwho were all accused by Mollhe dealthis blows so profusely on all sidesthat unless I would again invoke the muse(which the good-natured reader may think a little too hard upon heras she hathso lately been violently sweated)it would be impossible for me to recount thehorse-whipping of that day.
Having scoured the whole coast of the enemyas well as any of Homer's heroesever didor as Don Quixote or any knight-errant in the world could have donehe returned to Mollywhom he found in a condition which must give both me andmy reader painwas it to be described here. Tom raved like a madmanbeat hisbreasttore his hairstamped on the groundand vowed the utmost vengeance onall who had been concerned. He then pulled off his coatand buttoned it roundherput his hat upon her headwiped the blood from her face as well as hecould with his handkerchiefand called out to the servant to ride as fast aspossible for a side-saddleor a pillionthat he might carry her safe home.
Master Blifil objected to the sending away the servantas they had only onewith them; but as Square seconded the order of Joneshe was obliged to comply.
The servant returned in a very short time with the pillionand Mollyhavingcollected her rags as well as she couldwas placed behind him. In which mannershe was carried homeSquareBlifiland Jones attending.
Here Jones having received his coatgiven her a sly kissand whispered herthat he would return in the eveningquitted his Mollyand rode on after hiscompanions.
Chapter 9 -
Containing matter of no very peaceable colour -
Molly had no sooner apparelled herself in her accustomed ragsthan hersisters began to fall violently upon herparticularly her eldest sisterwhotold her she was well enough served. "How had she the assurance to wear agown which young Madam Western had given to mother! If one of us was to wear itI thinksays she"I myself have the best right; but I warrant you thinkit belongs to your beauty. I suppose you think yourself more handsomer than anyof us."- "Hand her down the bit of glass from over the cupboard"cries another; "I'd wash the blood from my face before I talked of mybeauty."- "You'd better have minded what the parson says" criesthe eldest"and not a harkened after men voke."- "Indeedchildand so she had" says the mothersobbing: "she hath brought adisgrace upon us all. She's the vurst of the vamily that ever was a whore."
"You need not upbraid me with thatmother" cried Molly; "youyourself was brought-to-bed of sister therewithin a week after you wasmarried."
"Yeshussy" answered the enraged mother"so I wasand whatwas the mighty matter of that? I was made an honest woman then; and if you wasto be made an honest womanI should not be angry; but you must have to doingwith a gentlemanyou nasty slut; you will have abastardhussyyou will; andthat I defy any one to say of me."
In this situation Black George found his familywhen he came home for thepurpose before mentioned. As his wife and three daughters were all of themtalking togetherand most of them cryingit was some time before he could getan opportunity of being heard; but as soon as such interval occurredheacquainted the company with what Sophia had said to him.
Goody Seagrim then began to revile her daughter afresh. "Here"says she"you have brought us into a fine quandary indeed. What will madamsay to that big belly? Oh that ever I should live to see this day!"
Molly answered with great spirit"And what is this mighty place whichyou have got for mefather?" (for he had not well understood the phraseused by Sophia of being about her person). "I suppose it is to be under thecook; but I shan't wash dishes for anybody. My gentleman will provide better forme. See what he hath given me this afternoon. He hath promised I shall neverwant money; and you shan't want money neithermotherif you will hold yourtongueand know when you are well." And so sayingshe pulled out severalguineasand gave her mother one of them.
The good woman no sooner felt the gold within her palmthan her temper began(such is the efficacy of that panacea) to be mollified. "Whyhusband" says she"would any but such a blockhead as you not haveenquired what place this was before he had accepted it? Perhapsas Molly saysit may be in the kitchen; and truly I don't care my daughter should be ascullion wench; forpoor as I amI am a gentlewoman. And thof I was obligedas my fatherwho was a clergymandied worse than nothingand so could notgive me a shilling of portionto undervalue myself by marrying a poor man; yetI would have you to knowI have a spirit above all them things. Marry come up!it would better become Madam Western to look at homeand remember who her owngrandfather was. Some of my familyfor aught I knowmight ride in theircoacheswhen the grandfathers of some voke walked a-voot. I warrant she fanciesshe did a mighty matterwhen she sent us that old gownd; some of my familywould not have picked up such rags in the street; but poor people are alwaystrampled upon.- The parish need not have been in such a fluster with Molly. Youmight have told themchildyour grandmother wore better things new out of theshop."
"Wellbut consider" cried George"what answer shall I maketo madam?"
"I don't know what answer" says she; "you are always bringingyour family into one quandary or other. Do you remember when you shot thepartridgethe occasion of all our misfortunes? Did not I advise you never to gointo Squire Western's manor? Did not I tell you many a good year ago what wouldcome of it? But you would have your own headstrong ways; yesyou wouldyouvillain."
Black George wasin the maina peaceable kind of fellowand nothingcholeric nor rash; yet did he bear about him something of what the antientscalled the irascibleand which his wifeif she had been endowed with muchwisdomwould have feared. He had long experiencedthat when the storm grewvery higharguments were but windwhich served rather to increasethan toabate it. He was therefore seldom unprovided with a small switcha remedy ofwonderful forceas he had often essayedand which the word villain served as ahint for his applying.
No soonerthereforehad this symptom appearedthan he had immediaterecourse to the said remedywhich thoughas it is usual in all veryefficacious medicinesit at first seemed to heighten and inflame the diseasesoon produced a total calmand restored the patient to perfect ease andtranquillity.
This ishowevera kind of horse-medicinewhich requires a very robustconstitution to digestand is therefore proper only for the vulgarunless inone single instanceviz.where superiority of birth breaks out; in which casewe should not think it very improperly applied by any husband whateverif theapplication was not in itself so basethatlike certain applications of thephysical kind which need not be mentionedit so much degrades and contaminatesthe hand employed in itthat no gentleman should endure the thought of anythingso low and detestable.
The whole family were soon reduced to a state of perfect quiet; for thevirtue of this medicinelike that of electricityis often communicated throughone person to many otherswho are not touched by the instrument. To say thetruthas they both operate by frictionit may be doubted whether there is notsomething analogous between themof which Mr. Freke would do well to enquirebefore he publishes the next edition of his book.
A council was now calledin whichafter many debatesMolly stillpersisting that she would not go to serviceit was at length resolvedthatGoody Seagrim herself should wait on Miss Westernand endeavour to procure theplace for her eldest daughterwho declared great readiness to accept it: butFortunewho seems to have been an enemy of this little familyafterwards put astop to her promotion.
Chapter 10 -
A story told by Mr. Supplethe curate. The penetration of Squire Western.His great love for his daughterand the return to it made by her -
The next morning Tom Jones hunted with Mr. Westernand was at his returninvited by that gentleman to dinner.
The lovely Sophia shone forth that day with more gaiety and sprightlinessthan usual. Her battery was certainly levelled at our heroe; thoughI believeshe herself scarce yet knew her own intention; but if she had any design ofcharming himshe now succeeded.
Mr. Supplethe curate of Mr. Allworthy's parishmade one of the company. Hewas a good-natured worthy man; but chiefly remarkable for his great taciturnityat tablethough his mouth was never shut at it. In shorthe had one of thebest appetites in the world. Howeverthe cloth was no sooner taken awaythanhe always made sufficient amends for his silence: for he was a very heartyfellow; and his conversation was often entertainingnever offensive.
At his first arrivalwhich was immediately before the entrance of theroast-beefhe had given an intimation that he had brought some news with himand was beginning to tellthat he came that moment from Mr. Allworthy'swhenthe sight of the roast-beef struck him dumbpermitting him only to say graceand to declare he must pay his respect to the baronetfor so he called thesirloin.
When dinner was overbeing reminded by Sophia of his newshe began asfollows: "I believeladyyour ladyship observed a young woman at churchyesterday at even-songwho was drest in one of your outlandish garments; Ithink I have seen your ladyship in such a one. Howeverin the countrysuchdresses are -
Rara avis in terrisnigroque simillima cygno. - That ismadamas much asto say'A rare bird upon the earthand very like a black swan.' The verse isin Juvenal. But to return to what I was relating. I was saying such garments arerare sights in the country; and perchancetooit was thought the more rarerespect being had to the person who wore itwhothey tell meis the daughterof Black Georgeyour worship's gamekeeperwhose sufferingsI should haveopinedmight have taught him more witthan to dress forth his wenches in suchgaudy apparel. She created so much confusion in the congregationthat if SquireAllworthy had not silenced itit would have interrupted the service: for I wasonce about to stop in the middle of the first lesson. Howbeitneverthelessafter prayer was overand I was departed homethis occasioned a battle in thechurchyardwhereamongst other mischiefthe head of a travelling fidler wasvery much broken. This morning the fidler came to Squire Allworthy for awarrantand the wench was brought before him. The squire was inclined to havecompounded matters; whenlo! on a sudden the wench appeared (I ask yourladyship's pardon) to beas it wereat the eve of bringing forth a bastard.The squire demanded of her who was the father? But she pertinaciously refused tomake any response. So that he was about to make her mittimus to Bridewell when Ideparted."
"And is a wench having a bastard all your newsdoctor?" criesWestern; "I thought it might have been some public mattersomething aboutthe nation."
"I am afraid it is too commonindeed" answered the parson;"but I thought the whole story altogether deserved commemorating. As tonational mattersyour worship knows them best. My concerns extend no fartherthan my own parish."
"Whyay" says the squire"I believe I do know a little ofthat matteras you say. But comeTommydrink about; the bottle stands withyou."
Tom begged to be excusedfor that he had particular business; and getting upfrom tableescaped the clutches of the squirewho was rising to stop himandwent off with very little ceremony.
The squire gave him a good curse at his departure; and then turning to theparsonhe cried out"I smoke it: I smoke it. Tom is certainly the fatherof this bastard. Zooksparsonyou remember how he recommended the veather o'her to me. D--n unwhat a sly b--ch 'tis. Ayayas sure as two-penceTom isthe veather of the bastard."
"I should be very sorry for that" says the parson.
"Why sorry" cries the squire: "Where is the mighty mattero't? WhatI suppose dost pretend that thee hast never got a bastard? Pox! moregood luck's thine! for I warrant hast a done a therefore many's the good timeand often."
"Your worship is pleased to be jocular" answered the parson;"but I do not only animadvert on the sinfulness of the action- though thatsurely is to be greatly deprecated- but I fear his unrighteousness may injurehim with Mr. Allworthy. And truly I must saythough he hath the character ofbeing a little wildI never saw any harm in the young man; nor can I say I haveheard anysave what your worship now mentions. I wishindeedhe was a littlemore regular in his responses at church; but altogether he seems -
Ingenui vultus puer ingenuique pudoris. - That is a classical lineyounglady; andbeing rendered into Englishis'a lad of an ingenuous countenanceand of an ingenuous modesty'; for this was a virtue in great repute both amongthe Latins and Greeks. I must saythe young gentleman (for so I think I maycall himnotwithstanding his birth) appears to me a very modestcivil ladandI should be sorry that he should do himself any injury in Squire Allworthy'sopinion."
"Poogh!" says the squire: "Injurywith Allworthy! WhyAllworthy loves a wench himself. Doth not all the country know whose son Tom is?You must talk to another person in that manner. I remember Allworthy atcollege."
"I thought" said the parson"he had never been at theuniversity."
"Yesyeshe was" says the squire: "and many a wench have wetwo had together. As arrant a whore-master as any within five miles o'un. Nono. It will do'n no harm with heassure yourself; nor with anybody else. AskSophy there- You have not the worse opinion of a young fellow for getting abastardhave yougirl? Nonothe women will like un the better for't."
This was a cruel question to poor Sophia. She had observed Tom's colourchange at the parson's story; and thatwith his hasty and abrupt departuregave her sufficient reason to think her father's suspicion not groundless. Herheart now at once discovered the great secret to her which it had been so longdisclosing by little and little; and she found herself highly interested in thismatter. In such a situationher father's malapert question rushing suddenlyupon herproduced some symptoms which might have alarmed a suspicious heart;butto do the squire justicethat was not his fault. When she rose thereforefrom her chairand told him a hint from him was always sufficient to make herwithdrawhe suffered her to leave the roomand then with great gravity ofcountenance remarked"That it was better to see a daughter over-modestthan over-forward";- a sentiment which was highly applauded by the parson.
There now ensued between the squire and the parson a most excellent politicaldiscourseframed out of newspapers and political pamphlets; in which they madea libation of four bottles of wine to the good of their country: and thenthesquire being fast asleepthe parson lighted his pipemounted his horseandrode home.
When the squire had finished his half-hour's naphe summoned his daughter toher harpsichord; but she begged to be excused that eveningon account of aviolent head-ache. This remission was presently granted; for indeed she seldomhad occasion to ask him twiceas he loved her with such ardent affectionthatby gratifying herhe commonly conveyed the highest gratification to himself.She was reallywhat he frequently called herhis little darlingand she welldeserved to be so; for she returned all his affection in the most ample manner.She had preserved the most inviolable duty to him in all things; and this herlove made not only easybut so delightfulthat when one of her companionslaughed at her for placing so much merit in such scrupulous obedienceas thatyoung lady called itSophia answered"You mistake memadamif you thinkI value myself upon this account; for besides that I am barely discharging mydutyI am likewise pleasing myself. I can truly say I have no delight equal tothat of contributing to my father's happiness; and if I value myselfmy dearit is on having this powerand not on executing it."
This was a satisfactionhoweverwhich poor Sophia was incapable of tastingthis evening. She therefore not only desired to be excused from her attendanceat the harpsichordbut likewise begged that he would suffer her to absentherself from supper. To this request likewise the squire agreedthough notwithout some reluctance; for he scarce ever permitted her to be out of hissightunless when he was engaged with his horsesdogsor bottle. Neverthelesshe yielded to the desire of his daughterthough the poor man was at the sametime obliged to avoid his own company (if I may so express myself)by sendingfor a neighbouring farmer to sit with him.
Chapter 11 -
The narrow escape of Molly Seagrimwith some observations for which we havebeen forced to dive pretty deep into nature -
Tom Jones had ridden one of Mr. Western's horses that morning in the chase;so that having no horse of his own in the squire's stablehe was obliged to gohome on foot: this he did so expeditiously that he ran upwards of three mileswithin the half-hour.
Just as he arrived at Mr. Allworthy's outward gatehe met the constable andcompany with Molly in their possessionwhom they were conducting to that housewhere the inferior sort of people may learn one good lessonviz.respect anddeference to their superiors; since it must show them the wide distinctionFortune intends between those persons who are to be corrected for their faultsand those who are not; which lesson if they do not learnI am afraid they veryrarely learn any other good lessonor improve their moralsat the House ofCorrection.
A lawyer may perhaps think Mr. Allworthy exceeded his authority a little inthis instance. Andto say the truthI questionas here was no regularinformation before himwhether his conduct was strictly regular. Howeverashis intention was truly uprighthe ought to be excused in foro conscientiae;since so many arbitrary acts are daily committed by magistrates who have notthis excuse to plead for themselves.
Tom was no sooner informed by the constable whither they were proceeding(indeed he pretty well guessed it of himself)than he caught Molly in his armsand embracing her tenderly before them allswore he would murder the first manwho offered to lay hold of her. He bid her dry her eyes and be comforted; forwherever she wenthe would accompany her. Then turning to the constablewhostood trembling with his hat offhe desired himin a very mild voicetoreturn with him for a moment only to his father (for so he now calledAllworthy); for he dursthe saidbe assuredthatwhen he had alledged whathe had to say in her favourthe girl would be discharged.
The constablewhoI make no doubtwould have surrendered his prisoner hadTom demanded hervery readily consented to this request. So back they all wentinto Mr. Allworthy's hall; where Tom desired them to stay till his returnandthen went himself in pursuit of the good man. As soon as he was foundTom threwhimself at his feetand having begged a patient hearingconfessed himself tobe the father of the child of which Molly was then big. He entreated him to havecompassion on the poor girland to considerif there was any guilt in thecaseit lay principally at his door.
"If there is any guilt in the case!" answered Allworthy warmly:"Are you then so profligate and abandoned a libertine to doubt whether thebreaking the laws of God and manthe corrupting and ruining a poor girl beguilt? I ownindeedit doth lie principally upon you; and so heavy it isthatyou ought to expect it should crush you."
"Whatever may be my fate" says Tom"let me succeed in myintercessions for the poor girl. I confess I have corrupted her! but whether sheshall be ruineddepends on you. For Heaven's sakesirrevoke your warrantand do not send her to a place which must unavoidably prove herdestruction."
Allworthy bid him immediately call a servant. Tom answered there was nooccasion; for he had luckily met them at the gateand relying upon hisgoodnesshad brought them all back into his hallwhere they now waited hisfinal resolutionwhich upon his knees he besought him might be in favour of thegirl; that she might be permitted to go home to her parentsand not be exposedto a greater degree of shame and scorn than must necessarily fall upon her."I know" said he"that is too much. I know I am the wickedoccasion of it. I will endeavour to make amendsif possible; and if you shallhave hereafter the goodness to forgive meI hope I shall deserve it."
Allworthy hesitated some timeand at last said"WellI will dischargemy mittimus.- You may send the constable to me." He was instantly calleddischargedand so was the girl.
It will be believed that Mr. Allworthy failed not to read Tom a very severelecture on this occasion; but it is unnecessary to insert it hereas we havefaithfully transcribed what he said to Jenny Jones in the first bookmost ofwhich may be applied to the menequally with the women. So sensible an effecthad these reproofs on the young manwho was no hardened sinner that he retiredto his own roomwhere he passed the evening alonein much melancholycontemplation.
Allworthy was sufficiently offended by this transgression of Jones; fornotwithstanding the assertions of Mr. Westernit is certain this worthy man hadnever indulged himself in any loose pleasures with womenand greatly condemnedthe vice of incontinence in others. Indeedthere is much reason to imagine thatthere was not the least truth in what Mr. Western affirmedespecially as helaid the scene of those impurities at the universitywhere Mr. Allworthy hadnever been. In factthe good squire was a little too apt to indulge that kindof pleasantry which is generally called rhodomontade: but which maywith asmuch proprietybe expressed by a much shorter word; and perhaps we too oftensupply the use of this little monosyllable by others; since very much of whatfrequently passes in the world for wit and humourshouldin the strictestpurity of languagereceive that short appellationwhichin conformity to thewell-bred laws of customI here suppress.
But whatever detestation Mr. Allworthy had to this or to any other vicehewas not so blinded by it but that he could discern any virtue in the guiltypersonas clearly indeed as if there had been no mixture of vice in the samecharacter. While he was angry therefore with the incontinence of Joneshe wasno less pleased with the honour and honesty of his self-accusation. He began nowto form in his mind the same opinion of this young fellowwhichwe hopeourreader may have conceived. And in balancing his faults with his perfectionsthelatter seemed rather to preponderate.
It was to no purposethereforethat Thwackumwho was immediately chargedby Mr. Blifil with the storyunbended all his rancour against poor Tom.Allworthy gave a patient hearing to their invectivesand then answered coldly:"That young men of Tom's complexion were too generally addicted to thisvice; but he believed that youth was sincerely affected with what he had said tohim on the occasionand he hoped he would not transgress again." So thatas the days of whipping were at an endthe tutor had no other vent but his ownmouth for his gallthe usual poor resource of impotent revenge.
But Squarewho was a less violentwas a much more artful man; and as hehated Jones more perhaps than Thwackum himself didso he contrived to do himmore mischief in the mind of Mr. Allworthy.
The reader must remember the several little incidents of the partridgethehorseand the Biblewhich were recounted in the second book. By all whichJones had rather improved than injured the affection which Mr. Allworthy wasinclined to entertain for him. The sameI believemust have happened to himwith every other person who hath any idea of friendshipgenerosityandgreatness of spiritthat is to saywho hath any traces of goodness in hismind.
Square himself was not unacquainted with the true impression which thoseseveral instances of goodness had made on the excellent heart of Allworthy; forthe philosopher very well knew what virtue wasthough he was not always perhapssteady in its pursuit; but as for Thwackumfrom what reason I will notdetermineno such thoughts ever entered into his head: he saw Jones in a badlightand he imagined Allworthy saw him in the samebut that he was resolvedfrom pride and stubbornness of spiritnot to give up the boy whom he had oncecherished; since by so doinghe must tacitly acknowledge that his formeropinion of him had been wrong.
Square therefore embraced this opportunity of injuring Jones in the tenderestpartby giving a very bad turn to all these before-mentioned occurrences."I am sorrysir" said he"to own I have been deceived as wellas yourself. I could notI confesshelp being pleased with what I ascribed tothe motive of friendshipthough it was carried to an excessand all excess isfaulty and vicious: but in this I made allowance for youth. Little did I suspectthat the sacrifice of truthwhich we both imagined to have been made tofriendshipwas in reality a prostitution of it to a depraved and debauchedappetite. You now plainly see whence all the seeming generosity of this youngman to the family of the gamekeeper proceeded. He supported the father in orderto corrupt the daughterand preserved the family from starvingto bring one ofthem to shame and ruin. This is friendship! this is generosity! As Sir RichardSteele says'Gluttons who give high prices for delicaciesare very worthy tobe called generous.' In short I am resolvedfrom this instancenever to giveway to the weakness of human nature nor to think anything virtue which doth notexactly quadrate with the unerring rule of right."
The goodness of Allworthy had prevented those considerations from occurringto himself; yet were they too plausible to be absolutely and hastily rejectedwhen laid before his eyes by another. Indeed what Square had said sunk verydeeply into his mindand the uneasiness which it there created was very visibleto the other; though the good man would not acknowledge thisbut made a veryslight answerand forcibly drove off the discourse to some other subject. Itwas well perhaps for poor Tomthat no such suggestions had been made before hewas pardoned; for they certainly stamped in the mind of Allworthy the first badimpression concerning Jones.
Chapter 12 -
Containing much clearer matters; but which flowed from the same fountain withthose in the preceding chapter -
The reader will be pleasedI believeto return with me to Sophia. Shepassed the nightafter we saw her lastin no very agreeable manner. Sleepbefriended her but littleand dreams less. In the morningwhen Mrs. Honourher maidattended her at the usual hourshe was found already up and drest.
Persons who live two or three miles' distance in the country are consideredas next-door neighboursand transactions at the one house fly with incrediblecelerity to the other. Mrs. Honourthereforehad heard the whole story ofMolly's shame; which shebeing of a very communicative temperhad no soonerentered the apartment of her mistressthan she began to relate in the followingmanner:-
"Lama'amwhat doth your la'ship think? the girl that your la'ship sawat church on Sundaywhom you thought so handsome; though you would not havethought her so handsome neitherif you had seen her nearerbut to be sure shehath been carried before the justice for being big with child. She seemed to meto look like a confident slut: and to be sure she hath laid the child to youngMr. Jones. And all the parish says Mr. Allworthy is so angry with young Mr.Jonesthat he won't see him. To be sureone can't help pitying the poor youngmanand yet he doth not deserve much pity neitherfor demeaning himself withsuch kind of trumpery. Yet he is so pretty a gentlemanI should be sorry tohave him turned out of doors. I dares to swear the wench was as willing as he;for she was always a forward kind of body. And when wenches are so comingyoungmen are not so much to be blamed neither; for to be sure they do no more thanwhat is natural. Indeed it is beneath them to meddle with such dirtydraggle-tails; and whatever happens to themit is good enough for them. Andyetto be surethe vile baggages are most in fault. I wisheswith all myheartthey were well to be whipped at the cart's tail; for it is pity theyshould be the ruin of a pretty young gentleman; and nobody can deny but that Mr.Jones is one of the most handsomest young men that ever-"
She was running on thuswhen Sophiawith a more peevish voice than she hadever spoken to her in beforecried"Pritheewhy dost thou trouble mewith all this stuff? What concern have I in what Mr. Jones doth? I suppose youare all alike. And you seem to me to be angry it was not your own case."
"Ima'am!" answered Mrs. Honour"I am sorry your ladyshipshould have such an opinion of me. I am sure nobody can say any such thing ofme. All the young fellows in the world may go to the divil for me. Because Isaid he was a handsome man? Everybody says it as well as I. To be sureI neverthought as it was any harm to say a young man was handsome; but to be sure Ishall never think him so any more now; for handsome is that handsome does. Abeggar wench!--"
"Stop thy torrent of impertinence" cries Sophia"and seewhether my father wants me at breakfast."
Mrs. Honour then flung out of the roommuttering much to herselfof which"Marry come upI assure you" was all that could be plainlydistinguished.
Whether Mrs. Honour really deserved that suspicionof which her mistressgave her a hintis a matter which we cannot indulge our reader's curiosity byresolving. We willhowevermake him amends in disclosing what passed in themind of Sophia.
The reader will be pleased to recollectthat a secret affection for Mr.Jones had insensibly stolen into the bosom of this young lady. That it had theregrown to a pretty great height before she herself had discovered it. When shefirst began to perceive its symptomsthe sensations were so sweet and pleasingthat she had not resolution sufficient to check or repel them; and thus she wenton cherishing a passion of which she never once considered the consequences.
This incident relating to Molly first opened her eyes. She now firstperceived the weakness of which she had been guilty; and though it caused theutmost perturbation in her mindyet it had the effect of other nauseous physicand for the time expelled her distemper. Its operation indeed was mostwonderfully quick; and in the short intervalwhile her maid was absentsoentirely removed all symptomsthat when Mrs. Honour returned with a summonsfrom her fathershe was become perfectly easyand had brought herself to athorough indifference for Mr. Jones.
The diseases of the mind do in almost every particular imitate those of thebody. For which reasonhopethat learned facultyfor whom we have so profounda respectwill pardon us the violent hands we have been necessitated to lay onseveral words and phraseswhich of right belong to themand without which ourdescriptions must have been ten unintelligible.
Now there is no one circumstance in which the distempers of the mind bear amore exact analogy to those which are called bodilythan that aptness whichboth have to a relapse. This is plain in the violent diseases of ambition andavarice. I have known ambitionwhen cured at court by frequent disappointments(which are the only physic for it)to break out again in a contest for foremanof the grand jury at an assizes; and have heard of a man who had so farconquered avariceas to give away many a sixpencethat comforted himselfatlaston his deathbedby making a crafty and advantageous bargain concerninghis ensuing funeralwith an undertaker who had married his only child.
In the affair of lovewhichout of strict conformity with the Stoicphilosophywe shall here treat as a diseasethis proneness to relapse is noless conspicuous. Thus it happened to poor Sophia; upon whomthe very next timeshe saw young Jonesall the former symptoms returnedand from that time coldand hot fits alternately seized her heart.
The situation of this young lady was now very different from what it had everbeen before. That passion which had formerly been so exquisitely deliciousbecame now a scorpion in her bosom. She resisted it therefore with her utmostforceand summoned every argument her reason (which was surprisingly strong forher age) could suggestto subdue and expel it. In this she so far succeededthat she began to hope from time and absence a perfect cure. She resolvedtherefore to avoid Tom Jones as much as possible; for which purpose she began toconceive a design of visiting her auntto which she made no doubt of obtainingher father's consent.
But Fortunewho had other designs in her headput an immediate stop to anysuch proceedingby introducing an accidentwhich will be related in the nextchapter.
Chapter 13 -
A dreadful accident which befel Sophia. The gallant behaviour of Jonesandthe more dreadful consequence of that behaviour to the young lady; with a shortdigression in favour of the female sex -
Mr. Western grew every day fonder and fonder of Sophiainsomuch that hisbeloved dogs themselves almost gave place to her in his affections; but as hecould not prevail on himself to abandon thesehe contrived very cunningly toenjoy their companytogether with that of his daughterby insisting on herriding a-hunting with him.
Sophiato whom her father's word was a lawreadily complied with hisdesiresthough she had not the least delight in a sportwhich was of too roughand masculine a nature to suit with her disposition. She had however anothermotivebeside her obedienceto accompany the old gentleman in the chase; forby her presence she hoped in some measure to restrain his impetuosityand toprevent him from so frequently exposing his neck to the utmost hazard.
The strongest objection was that which would have formerly been an inducementto hernamelythe frequent meeting with young Joneswhom she had determinedto avoid; but as the end of the hunting season now approachedshe hopedby ashort absence with her auntto reason herself entirely out of her unfortunatepassion; and had not any doubt of being able to meet him in the field thesubsequent season without the least danger.
On the second day of her huntingas she was returning from the chaseandwas arrived within a little distance from Mr. Western's househer horsewhosemettlesome spirit required a better riderfell suddenly to prancing andcapering in such a manner that she was in the most imminent peril of falling.Tom Joneswho was at a little distance behindsaw thisand immediatelygalloped up to her assistance. As soon as he came uphe leapt from his ownhorseand caught hold of hers by the bridle. The unruly beast presently rearedhimself on end on his hind legsand threw his lovely burthen from his backandJones caught her in his arms.
She was so affected with the frightthat she was not immediately able tosatisfy Joneswho was very sollicitous to know whether she had received anyhurt. She soon afterhoweverrecovered her spiritsassured him she was safeand thanked him for the care he had taken of her. Jones answered"If Ihave preserved youmadamI am sufficiently repaid; for I promise youI wouldhave secured you from the least harm at the expense of a much greater misfortuneto myself than I have suffered on this occasion."
"What misfortune?" replied Sophia eagerly; "I hope you havecome to no mischief?"
"Be not concernedmadam" answered Jones. "Heaven be praisedyou have escaped so wellconsidering the danger you was in. If I have broke myarmI consider it as a triflein comparison of what I feared upon youraccount."
Sophia then screamed out"Broke your arm! Heaven forbid."
"I am afraid I havemadam" says Jones: "but I beg you willsuffer me first to take care of you. I have a right hand yet at your servicetohelp you into the next fieldwhence we have but a very little walk to yourfather's house."
Sophia seeing his left arm dangling by his sidewhile he was using the otherto lead herno longer doubted of the truth. She now grew much paler than herfears for herself had made her before. All her limbs were seized with atremblinginsomuch that Jones could scarce support her; and as her thoughtswere in no less agitationshe could not refrain from giving Jones a look sofull of tendernessthat it almost argued a stronger sensation in her mindthaneven gratitude and pity united can raise in the gentlest female bosomwithoutthe assistance of a third more powerful passion.
Mr. Westernwho was advanced at some distance when this accident happenedwas now returnedas were the rest of the horsemen. Sophia immediatelyacquainted them with what had befallen Jonesand begged them to take care ofhim. Upon which Westernwho had been much alarmed by meeting his daughter'shorse without its riderand was now overjoyed to find her unhurtcried out"I am glad it is no worse. If Tom hath broken his armwe will get a joinerto mend un again."
The squire alighted from his horseand proceeded to his house on footwithhis daughter and ones. An impartial spectatorwho had met them on the waywouldon viewing their several countenanceshave concluded Sophia alone tohave been the object of compassion: for as to Joneshe exulted in havingprobably saved the life of the young ladyat the price only of a broken bone;and Mr. Westernthough he was not unconcerned at the accident which hadbefallen Joneswashoweverdelighted in a much higher degree with thefortunate escape of his daughter.
The generosity of Sophia's temper construed this behaviour of Jones intogreat bravery; and it made a deep impression on her heart: for certain it isthat there is no one quality which so generally recommends men to women as this;proceedingif we believe the common opinionfrom that natural timidity of thesexwhich issays Mr. Osborne"so greatthat a woman is the mostcowardly of all the creatures God ever made";- a sentiment more remarkablefor its bluntness than for its truth. Aristotlein his Politicsdoth themIbelievemore justicewhen he says"The modesty and fortitude of mendiffer from those virtues in women; for the fortitude which becomes a womanwould be cowardice in a man; and the modesty which becomes a manwould bepertness in a woman." Nor is thereperhapsmore of truth in the opinionof those who derive the partiality which women are inclined to show to thebravefrom this excess of their fear. Mr. Bayle (I thinkin his article ofHelen) imputes thisand with greater probabilityto their violent love ofglory; for the truth of whichwe have the authority of him who of all otherssaw farthest into human natureand who introduces the heroine of his Odysseythe great pattern of matrimonial love and constancyassigning the glory of herhusband as the only source of her affection towards him.* -
*The English reader will not find this in the poem; for the sentiment isentirely left out in the translation. -
However this becertain it is that the accident operated very strongly onSophia; andindeedafter much enquiry into the matterI am inclined tobelievethatat this very timethe charming Sophia made no less impression onthe heart of Jones; to say truthhe had for some time become sensible of theirresistible power of her charms.
Chapter 14 -
The arrival of a surgeon- his operationsand a long dialogue between Sophiaand her maid -
When they arrived at Mr. Western's hallSophiawho had tottered along withmuch difficultysunk down in her chair; but by the assistance of hartshorn andwatershe was prevented from fainting awayand had pretty well recovered herspiritswhen the surgeon who was sent for to Jones appeared. Mr. Westernwhoimputed these symptoms in his daughter to her falladvised her to be presentlyblooded by way of prevention. In this opinion he was seconded by the surgeonwho gave so many reasons for bleedingand quoted so many cases where personshad miscarried for want of itthat the squire became very importunateandindeed insisted peremptorily that his daughter should be blooded.
Sophia soon yielded to the commands of her fatherthough entirely contraryto her own inclinationsfor she suspectedI believeless danger from thefrightthan either the squire or the surgeon. She then stretched out herbeautiful armand the operator began to prepare for his work.
While the servants were busied in providing materialsthe surgeonwhoimputed the backwardness which had appeared in Sophia to her fearsbegan tocomfort her with assurances that there was not the least danger; for noaccidenthe saidcould ever happen in bleedingbut from the monstrousignorance of pretenders to surgerywhich he pretty plainly insinuated was notat present to be apprehended. Sophia declared she was not under the leastapprehension; adding"If you open an arteryI promise you I'll forgiveyou." "Will you?" cries Western: "D--n meif I will. If hedoes thee the least mischiefd--n me if I don't ha' the heart's blood o'unout." The surgeon assented to bleed her upon these conditionsand thenproceeded to his operationwhich he performed with as much dexterity as he hadpromised; and with as much quickness: for he took but little blood from hersayingit was much safer to bleed again and againthan to take away too muchat once.
Sophiawhen her arm was bound upretired: for she was not willing (nor wasitperhapsstrictly decent) to be present at the operation on Jones. Indeedone objection which she had to bleeding (though she did not make it) was thedelay which it would occasion to setting the broken bone. For WesternwhenSophia was concernedhad no consideration but for her; and as for Joneshimselfhe "sat like patience on a monument smiling at grief." To saythe truthwhen he saw the blood springing from the lovely arm of Sophiahescarce thought of what had happened to himself.
The surgeon now ordered his patient to be stript to his shirtand thenentirely baring the armhe began to stretch and examine itin such a mannerthat the tortures he put him to caused Jones to make several wry faces; whichthe surgeon observinggreatly wondered atcrying"What is the mattersir? I am sure it is impossible I should hurt you." And then holding forththe broken armhe began a long and very learned lecture of anatomyin whichsimple and double fractures were most accurately considered; and the severalways in which Jones might have broken his arm were discussedwith properannotations showing how many of these would have been betterand how many worsethan the present case.
Having at length finished his laboured haranguewith which the audiencethough had greatly raised their attention and admirationwere not much edifiedas they really understood not a single syllable of all he had saidhe proceededto businesswhich he was more expeditious in finishingthan he had been inbeginning.
Jones was then ordered into a bedwhich Mr. Western compelled him to acceptat his own houseand sentence of water gruel was passed upon him.
Among the good company which had attended in the hall during thebone-settingMrs. Honour was one; who being summoned to her mistress as soon asit was overand asked by her how the young gentleman didpresently launchedinto extravagant praises on the magnanimityas she called itof his behaviourwhichshe said"was so charming in so pretty a creature." She thenburst forth into much warmer encomiums on the beauty of his person; enumeratingmany particularsand ending with the whiteness of his skin.
This discourse had an effect on Sophia's countenancewhich would not perhapshave escaped the observance of the sagacious waiting-womanhad she once lookedher mistress in the faceall the time she was speaking: but as a looking-glasswhich was most commodiously placed opposite to hergave her an opportunity ofsurveying those featuresin whichof all othersshe took most delight; so shehad not once removed her eyes from that amiable object during her whole speech.
Mrs. Honour was so intirely wrapped up in the subject on which she exercisedher tongueand the object before her eyesthat she gave her mistress time toconquer her confusion; which having doneshe smiled on her maidand told her"she was certainly in love with this young fellow."- "I in lovemadam!" answers she: "upon my wordma'amI assure youma'amuponmy soulma'amI am not."- "Whyif you was" cries hermistress"I see no reason that you should be ashamed of it; for he iscertainly a pretty fellow."- "Yesma'am" answered the other"that he isthe most handsomest man I ever saw in my life. Yesto besurethat he isandas your ladyship saysI don't know why I should beashamed of loving himthough he is my betters. To be suregentlefolks are butflesh and blood no more than us servants. Besidesas for Mr. Jonesthof SquireAllworthy hath made a gentleman of himhe was not so good as myself by birth:for thof I am a poor bodyI am an honest person's childand my father andmother were marriedwhich is more than some people can sayas high as theyhold their heads. Marrycome up! I assure youmy dirty cousin! thof his skinbe so whiteand to be sure it is the most whitest that ever was seenI am aChristian as well as heand nobody can say that I am base born: my grandfatherwas a clergyman* and would have been very angryI believeto have thought anyof his family should have taken up with Molly Seagrim's dirty leavings." -
*This is the second person of low condition whom we have recorded in thishistory to have sprung from the clergy. It is to be hoped such instances willin future ageswhen some provision is made for the families of the inferiorclergyappear stranger than they can be thought at present. -
Perhaps Sophia might have suffered her maid to run on in this mannerfromwanting sufficient spirits to stop her tonguewhich the reader may probablyconjecture was no very easy task; for certainly there were some passages in herspeech which were far from being agreeable to the lady. Howevershe now checkedthe torrentas there seemed no end of its flowing. "I wonder" saysshe"at your assurance in daring to talk thus of one of my father'sfriends. As to the wenchI order you never to mention her name to me. And withregard to the young gentleman's birththose who can say nothing more to hisdisadvantagemay as well be silent on that headas I desire you will be forthe future."
"I am sorry I have offended your ladyship" answered Mrs. Honour."I am sure I hate Molly Seagrim as much as your ladyship can; and as forabusing Squire JonesI can call all the servants in the house to witnessthatwhenever any talk hath been about bastardsI have always taken his part; forwhich of yousays I to the footmanwould not be a bastardif he couldto bemade a gentleman of? Andsays II am sure he is a very fine gentleman; and hehath one of the whitest hands in the world; for to be sure so he hath: andsaysIone of the sweetest temperedestbest naturedest men in the world he is; andsays Iall the servants and neighbours all round the country loves him. Andtobe sureI could tell your ladyship somethingbut that I am afraid it wouldoffend you."- "What could you tell meHonour?" says Sophia."Nayma'amto be sure he meant nothing by ittherefore I would not haveyour ladyship be offended."- "Prithee tell me" says Sophia;"I will know it this instant."- "Whyma'am" answered Mrs.Honour"he came into the room one day last week when I was at workandthere lay your ladyship's muff on a chairand to be sure he put his hands intoit; that very muff your ladyship gave me but yesterday. La! says IMr. Jonesyou will stretch my lady's muffand spoil it: but he still kept his hands init: and then he kissed it- to be sure I hardly ever saw such a kiss in my lifeas he gave it."- "I suppose he did not know it was mine" repliedSophia. "Your ladyship shall hearma'am. He kissed it again and againandsaid it was the prettiest muff in the world. La! sirsays Iyou have seen it ahundred times. YesMrs. Honourcried he; but who can see anything beautiful inthe presence of your lady but herself?- Naythat's not all neither; but I hopeyour ladyship won't be offendedfor to be sure he meant nothing. One dayasyour ladyship was playing on the harpsichord to my masterMr. Jones was sittingin the next roomand methought he looked melancholy. La! says IMr. Joneswhat's the matter? a penny for your thoughtssays I. Whyhussysays hestarting up from a dreamwhat can I be thinking ofwhen that angel yourmistress is playing? And then squeezing me by the handOh! Mrs. Honoursayshehow happy will that man be!- and then he sighed. Upon my trothhis breathis as sweet as a nosegay.- But to be sure he meant no harm by it. So I hope yourladyship will not mention a word; for he gave me a crown never to mention itand made me swear upon a bookbut I believeindeedit was not theBible."
Till something of a more beautiful red than vermilion be found outI shallsay nothing of Sophia's colour on this occasion. "Honour" says she"I- if you will not mention this any more to me- nor to anybody elseIwill not betray you-I meanI will not be angry; but I am afraid of your tongue.Whymy girlwill you give it such liberties?"- "Nayma'am"answered she"to be sureI would sooner cut out my tongue than offendyour ladyship. To be sure I shall never mention a word that your ladyship wouldnot have me."- "WhyI would not have you mention this any more"said Sophia"for it may come to my father's earsand he would be angrywith Mr. Jones; though I really believeas you sayhe meant nothing. I shouldbe very angry myselfif I imagined-" - "Nayma'am" saysHonour"I protest I believe he meant nothing. I thought he talked as if hewas out of his senses; nayhe said he believed he was beside himself when hehad spoken the words. Aysirsays II believe so too. Yessays heHonour.-But I ask your ladyship's pardon; I could tear my tongue out for offendingyou." "Go on" says Sophia; "you may mention anything youhave not told me before."- "YesHonoursays he (this was some timeafterwardswhen he gave me the crown)I am neither such a coxcombor such avillainas to think of her in any other delight but as my goddess; as such Iwill always worship and adore her while I have breath.- This was allma'amIwill be swornto the best of my remembrance. I was in a passion with himmyselftill I found he meant no harm."- "IndeedHonour" saysSophia"I believe you have a real affection for me. I was provoked theother day when I gave you warning; but if you have a desire to stay with meyoushall."- "To be surema'am" answered Mrs. Honour"I shallnever desire to part with your ladyship. To be sureI almost cried my eyes outwhen you gave me warning. It would be very ungrateful in me to desire to leaveyour ladyship; because as whyI should never get so good a place again. I amsure I would live and die with your ladyship; foras poor Mr. Jones saidhappyis the man--"
Here the dinner bell interrupted a conversation which had wrought such aneffect on Sophiathat she wasperhapsmore obliged to her bleeding in themorningthan sheat the timehad apprehended she should be. As to the presentsituation of her mindI shall adhere to a rule of Horaceby not attempting todescribe itfrom despair of success. Most of my readers will suggest it easilyto themselves; and the few who cannotwould not understand the pictureor atleast would deny it to be naturalif ever so well drawn.
CONTAINING A PORTION OF TIME SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN HALF A YEAR
Chapter 1 -
Of the serious in writingand for what purpose it is introduced -
Peradventure there may be no parts in this prodigious work which will givethe reader less pleasure in the perusingthan those which have given the authorthe greatest pains in composing. Among these probably may be reckoned thoseinitial essays which we have prefixed to the historical matter contained inevery book; and which we have determined to be essentially necessary to thiskind of writingof which we have set ourselves at the head.
For this our determination we do not hold ourselves strictly bound to assignany reason; itbeing abundantly sufficient that we have laid it down as a rulenecessary to be observed in all prosai-comi-epic writing. Who ever demanded thereasons of that nice unity of time or place which is now established to be soessential to dramatic poetry? What critic hath been ever askedwhy a play maynot contain two days as well as one? Or why the audience (provided they travellike electorswithout any expense) may not be wafted fifty miles as well asfive? Hath any commentator well accounted for the limitation which an antientcritic hath set to the dramawhich he will have contain neither more nor lessthan five acts? Or hath any one living attempted to explain what the modernjudges of our theatres mean by that word low; by which they have happilysucceeded in banishing all humour from the stageand have made the theatre asdull as a drawing-room! Upon all these occasions the world seems to haveembraced a maxim of our lawviz.cuicunque in arte sua perito credendum est*:for it seems perhaps difficult to conceive that any one should have had enoughof impudence to lay down dogmatical rules in any art or science without theleast foundation. In such casesthereforewe are apt to conclude there aresound and good reasons at the bottomthough we are unfortunately not able tosee so far. -
*Every man is to be trusted in his own art. -
Nowin realitythe world have paid too great a compliment to criticsandhave imagined them men of much greater profundity than they really are. Fromthis complacencethe critics have been emboldened to assume a dictatorialpowerand have so far succeededthat they are now become the mastersand havethe assurance to give laws to those authors from whose predecessors theyoriginally received them.
The criticrightly consideredis no more than the clerkwhose office it isto transcribe the rules and laws laid down by those great judges whose vaststrength of genius hath placed them in the light of legislatorsin the severalsciences over which they presided. This office was all which the critics of oldaspired to; nor did they ever dare to advance a sentencewithout supporting itby the authority of the judge from whence it was borrowed.
But in process of timeand in ages of ignorancethe clerk began to invadethe power and assume the dignity of his master. The laws of writing were nolonger founded on the practice of the authorbut on the dictates of the critic.The clerk became the legislatorand those very peremptorily gave laws whosebusiness it wasat firstonly to transcribe them.
Hence arose an obviousand perhaps an unavoidable error; for these criticsbeing men of shallow capacitiesvery easily mistook mere form for substance.They acted as a judge wouldwho should adhere to the lifeless letter of lawand reject the spirit. Little circumstanceswhich were perhaps accidental in agreat authorwere by these critics considered to constitute his chief meritand transmitted as essentials to be observed by his successors. To theseencroachmentstime and ignorancethe two great supporters of imposturegaveauthority; and thus many rules for good writing have been establishedwhichhave not the least foundation in truth or nature; and which commonly serve forno other purpose than to curb and restrain geniusin the same manner as itwould have restrained the dancing-masterhad the many excellent treatises onthat art laid it down as an essential rule that every man must dance in chains.
To avoidthereforeall imputation of laying down a rule for posterityfounded only on the authority of ipse dixit*- for whichto say the truthwehave not the profoundest veneration- we shall here waive the privilege abovecontended forand proceed to lay before the reader the reasons which haveinduced us to intersperse these several digressive essays in the course of thiswork. -
*An assertion without proof. -
And here we shall of necessity be led to open a new vein of knowledgewhichif it hath been discoveredhath notto our remembrancebeen wrought on by anyantient or modern writer. This vein is no other than that of contrastwhichruns through all the works of the creationand may probably have a large sharein constituting in us the idea of all beautyas well natural as artificial: forwhat demonstrates the beauty and excellence of anything but its reverse? Thusthe beauty of dayand that of summeris set off by the horrors of night andwinter. AndI believeif it was possible for a man to have seen only the twoformerhe would have a very imperfect idea of their beauty.
But to avoid too serious an air; can it be doubtedbut that the finest womanin the world would lose all benefit of her charms in the eye of a man who hadnever seen one of another cast? The ladies themselves seem so sensible of thisthat they are all industrious to procure foils: naythey will become foils tothemselves; for I have observed (at Bath particularly) that they endeavour toappear as ugly as possible in the morningin order to set off that beauty whichthey intend to show you in the evening.
Most artists have this secret in practicethough someperhapshave notmuch studied the theory. The jeweller knows that the finest brilliant requires afoil; and the painterby the contrast of his figuresoften acquires greatapplause.
A great genius among us will illustrate this matter fully. I cannotindeedrange him under any general head of common artistsas he hath a title to beplaced among those -
Inventas qui vitam excoluere per artes. -
Who by invented arts have life improved. - I mean here the inventor of thatmost exquisite entertainmentcalled the English Pantomime.
This entertainment consisted of two partswhich the inventor distinguishedby the names of the serious and the comic. The serious exhibited a certainnumber of heathen gods and heroeswho were certainly the worst and dullestcompany into which an audience was ever introduced; and (which was a secretknown to few) were actually intended so to bein order to contrast the comicpart of the entertainmentand to display the tricks of harlequin to the betteradvantage.
This wasperhapsno very civil use of such personages: but the contrivancewasneverthelessingenious enoughand had its effect. And this will nowplainly appearifinstead of serious and comicwe supply the words duller anddullest; for the comic was certainly duller than anything before shown on thestageand could be set off only by that superlative degree of dulness whichcomposed the serious. So intolerably seriousindeedwere these gods andheroesthat harlequin (though the English gentleman of that name is not at allrelated to the French familyfor he is of a much more serious disposition) wasalways welcome on the stageas he relieved the audience from worse company.
Judicious writers have always practised this art of contrast with greatsuccess. I have been surprized that Horace should cavil at this art in Homer;but indeed he contradicts himself in the very next line: -
Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus;
Verum opere in longo fas est obrepere somnum. -
I grieve if e'er great Homer chance to sleep
Yet slumbers on long works have right to creep. - For we are not here tounderstandas perhaps some havethat an author actually falls asleep while heis writing. It is truethat readers are too apt to be so overtaken; but if thework was as long as any of Oldmixonthe author himself is too well entertainedto be subject to the least drowsiness. He isas Mr. Pope observes-
Sleepless himself to give his readers sleep. -
To say the truththese soporific parts are so many scenes of seriousartfully interwovenin order to contrast and set off the rest; and this is thetrue meaning of a late facetious writerwho told the public that whenever hewas dull they might be assured there was a design in it.
In this lightthenor rather in this darknessI would have the reader toconsider these initial essays. And after this warningif he shall be of opinionthat he can find enough of serious in other parts of this historyhe may passover thesein which we profess to be laboriously dulland begin the followingbooks at the second chapter.
Chapter 2 -
In which Mr. Jones receives many friendly visits during his confinement; withsome fine touches of the passion of lovescarce visible to the naked eye -
Tom Jones had many visitors during his confinementthough someperhapswere not very agreeable to him. Mr. Allworthy saw him almost every day; butthough he pitied Tom's sufferingsand greatly approved the gallant behaviourwhich had occasioned them; yet he thought this was a favourable opportunity tobring him to a sober sense of his indiscreet conduct; and that wholesome advicefor that purpose could never be applied at a more proper season than at thepresentwhen the mind was softened by pain and sicknessand alarmed by danger;and when its attention was unembarrassed with those turbulent passions whichengage us in the pursuit of pleasure.
At all seasonsthereforewhen the good man was alone with the youthespecially when the latter was totally at easehe took occasion to remind himof his former miscarriagesbut in the mildest and tenderest mannerand only inorder to introduce the caution which he prescribed for his future behaviour;"on which alone" he assured him"would depend his own felicityand the kindness which he might yet promise himself to receive at the hands ofhis father by adoptionunless he should hereafter forfeit his good opinion: foras to what had past" he said"it should be all forgiven andforgotten. He therefore advised him to make a good use of this accidentthat soin the end it might prove a visitation for his own good."
Thwackum was likewise pretty assiduous in his visits; and he too considered asick-bed to be a convenient scene for lectures. His stilehoweverwas moresevere than Mr. Allworthy's: he told his pupil"That he ought to look onhis broken limb as a judgment from heaven on his sins. That it would become himto be daily on his kneespouring forth thanksgivings that he had broken his armonlyand not his neck; which latter" he said"was very probablyreserved for some future occasionand thatperhapsnot very remote. For hispart" he said"he had often wondered some judgment had not overtakenhim before; but it might be perceived by thisthat Divine punishmentsthoughsloware always sure." Hence likewise he advised him"to foreseewith equal certaintythe greater evils which were yet behindand which were assure as this of overtaking him in his state of reprobacy. These are" saidhe"to be averted only by such a thorough and sincere repentance as is notto be expected or hoped for from one so abandoned in his youthand whose mindI am afraidis totally corrupted. It is my dutyhoweverto exhort you to thisrepentancethough I too well know all exhortations will be vain and fruitless.But liberavi animam meam. I can accuse my own conscience of no neglect; thoughit is at the same time with the utmost concern I see you travelling on tocertain misery in this worldand to as certain damnation in the next."
Square talked in a very different strain; he said"Such accidents as abroken bone were below the consideration of a wise man. That it was abundantlysufficient to reconcile the mind to any of these mischancesto reflect thatthey are liable to befal the wisest of mankindand are undoubtedly for the goodof the whole." He said"It was a mere abuse of words to call thosethings evilsin which there was no moral unfitness: that painwhich was theworst consequence of such accidentswas the most contemptible thing in theworld"; with more of the like sentencesextracted out of the second bookof Tully's Tusculan questionsand from the great Lord Shaftesbury. Inpronouncing these he was one day so eagerthat he unfortunately bit his tongue;and in such a mannerthat it not only put an end to his discoursebut createdmuch emotion in himand caused him to mutter an oath or two: but what was worstof allthis accident gave Thwackumwho was presentand who held all suchdoctrine to be heathenish and atheisticalan opportunity to clap a judgment onhis back. Now this was done with so malicious a sneerthat it totally unhinged(if I may so say) the temper of the philosopherwhich the bite of his tonguehad somewhat ruffled; and as he was disabled from venting his wrath at his lipshe had possibly found a more violent method of revenging himselfhad not thesurgeonwho was then luckily in the roomcontrary to his own interestinterposed and preserved the peace.
Mr. Blifil visited his friend Jones but seldomand never alone. This worthyyoung manhoweverprofessed much regard for himand as great concern at hismisfortune; but cautiously avoided any intimacylestas he frequently hintedit might contaminate the sobriety of his own character: for which purpose he hadconstantly in his mouth that proverb in which Solomon speaks against evilcommunication. Not that he was so bitter as Thwackum; for he always expressedsome hopes of Tom's reformation; "which" he said"theunparalleled goodness shown by his uncle on this occasionmust certainly effectin one not absolutely abandoned": but concludedif Mr. Jones ever offendshereafterI shall not be able to say a syllable in his favour."
As to Squire Westernhe was seldom out of the sick-roomunless when he wasengaged either in the field or over his bottle. Nayhe would sometimes retirehither to take his beerand it was not without difficulty that he was preventedfrom forcing Jones to take his beer too: for no quack ever held his nostrum tobe a more general panacea than he did this; whichhe saidhad more virtue init than was in all the physic in an apothecary's shop. He washoweverby muchentreatyprevailed on to forbear the application of this medicine; but fromserenading his patient every hunting morning with the horn under his windowitwas impossible to withhold him; nor did he ever lay aside that hallowwithwhich he entered into all companieswhen he visited Joneswithout any regardto the sick person's being at that time either awake or asleep.
This boisterous behaviouras it meant no harmso happily it effected noneand was abundantly compensated to Jonesas soon as he was able to sit upbythe company of Sophiawhom the squire then brought to visit him; nor was itindeedlong before Jones was able to attend her to the harpsichordwhere shewould kindly condescendfor hours togetherto charm him with the mostdelicious musicunless when the squire thought proper to interrupt herbyinsisting on Old Sir Simonor some other of his favourite pieces.
Notwithstanding the nicest guard which Sophia endeavoured to set on herbehaviourshe could not avoid letting some appearances now and then slip forth:for love may again be likened to a disease in thisthat when it is denied avent in one partit will certainly break out in another. What her lipsthereforeconcealedher eyesher blushesand many little involuntaryactionsbetrayed.
One daywhen Sophia was playing on the harpsichordand Jones was attendingthe squire came into the roomcrying"ThereTomI have had a battle forthee below-stairs with thick parson Thwackum. He hath been a telling Allworthybefore my facethat the broken bone was a judgment upon thee. D--n itsays Ihow can that be? Did he not come by it in defence of a young woman? A judgmentindeed! Poxif he never doth anything worsehe will go to heaven sooner thanall the parsons in the country. He hath more reason to glory in it than to beashamed of it."- "Indeedsir" says Jones"I have noreason for either; but if it preserved Miss WesternI shall always think it thehappiest accident of my life."- "And to gu" said the squire"to zet Allworthy against thee vor it! D--n unif the parson had unt hispetticuoats onI should have lent un o flick; for I love thee dearlymy boyand d--n me if there is anything in my power which I won't do for thee. Sha'ttake thy choice of all the horses in my stable to-morrow morningexcept onlythe Chevalier and Miss Slouch." Jones thanked himbut declined acceptingthe offer. "Nay" added the squire"sha't ha the sorrel marethat Sophy rode. She cost me fifty guineasand comes six years old thisgrass." "If she had cost me a thousand" cries Jonespassionately"I would have given her to the dogs." "Pooh!pooh!" answered Western; "what! because she broke thy arm? Shouldstforget and forgive. I thought hadst been more a man than to bear malice againsta dumb creature."- Here Sophia interposedand put an end to theconversationby desiring her father's leave to play to him; a request which henever refused.
The countenance of Sophia had undergone more than one change during theforegoing speeches; and probably she imputed the passionate resentment whichJones had expressed against the mareto a different motive from that from whichher father had derived it. Her spirits were at this time in a visible flutter;and she played so intolerably illthat had not Western soon fallen asleephemust have remarked it. Joneshoweverwho was sufficiently awakeand was notwithout an ear any more than without eyesmade some observations; which beingjoined to all which the reader may remember to have passed formerlygave himpretty strong assuranceswhen he came to reflect on the wholethat all was notwell in the tender bosom of Sophia; an opinion which many young gentlemen willI doubt notextremely wonder at his not having been well confirmed in long ago.To confess the truthhe had rather too much diffidence in himselfand was notforward enough in seeing the advances of a young lady; a misfortune which can becured only by that early town educationwhich is at present so generally infashion.
When these thoughts had fully taken possession of Jonesthey occasioned aperturbation in his mindwhichin a constitution less pure and firm than hismight have beenat such a seasonattended with very dangerous consequences. Hewas truly sensible of the great worth of Sophia. He extremely liked her personno less admired her accomplishmentsand tenderly loved her goodness. Inrealityas he had never once entertained any thought of possessing hernor hadever given the least voluntary indulgence to his inclinationshe had a muchstronger passion for her than he himself was acquainted with. His heart nowbrought forth the full secretat the same time that it assured him the adorableobject returned his affection.
Chapter 3 -
Which all who have no heart will think to contain much ado about nothing -
The reader will perhaps imagine the sensations which now arose in Jones tohave been so sweet and deliciousthat they would rather tend to produce achearful serenity in the mindthan any of those dangerous effects which we havementioned; but in factsensations of this kindhowever deliciousareattheir first recognitionof a very tumultuous natureand have very little ofthe opiate in them. They weremoreoverin the present caseembittered withcertain circumstanceswhich being mixed with sweeter ingredientstendedaltogether to compose a draught that might be termed bitter-sweet; than whichas nothing can be more disagreeable to the palateso nothingin themetaphorical sensecan be so injurious to the mind.
For firstthough he had sufficient foundation to flatter himself in what hehad observed in Sophiahe was not yet free from doubt of misconstruingcompassionor at bestesteeminto a warmer regard. He was far from a sanguineassurance that Sophia had any such affection towards himas might promise hisinclinations that harvestwhichif they were encouraged and nursedthey wouldfinally grow up to require. Besidesif he could hope to find no bar to hishappiness from the daughterhe thought himself certain of meeting an effectualbar in the father; whothough he was a country squire in his diversionswasperfectly a man of the world in whatever regarded his fortune; had the mostviolent affection for his only daughterand had often signifiedin his cupsthe pleasure he proposed in seeing her married to one of the richest men in thecounty. Jones was not so vain and senseless a coxcomb as to expectfrom anyregard which Western had professed for himthat he would ever be induced to layaside these views of advancing his daughter. He well knew that fortune isgenerally the principalif not the soleconsiderationwhich operates on thebest of parents in these matters: for friendship makes us warmly espouse theinterest of others; but it is very cold to the gratification of their passions.Indeedto feel the happiness which may result from thisit is necessary weshould possess the passion ourselves. As he had therefore no hopes of obtainingher father's consent; so he thought to endeavour to succeed without itand bysuch means to frustrate the great point of Mr. Western's lifewas to make avery ill use of his hospitalityand a very ungrateful return to the many littlefavours received (however roughly) at his hands. If he saw such a consequencewith horror and disdainhow much more was he shocked with what regarded Mr.Allworthy; to whomas he had more than filial obligationsso had he for himmore than filial piety! He knew the nature of that good man to be so averse toany baseness or treacherythat the least attempt of such a kind would make thesight of the guilty person for ever odious to his eyesand his name adetestable sound in his ears. The appearance of such unsurmountable difficultieswas sufficient to have inspired him with despairhowever ardent his wishes hadbeen; but even these were controuled by compassion for another woman. The ideaof lovely Molly now intruded itself before him. He had sworn eternal constancyin her armsand she bad as often vowed never to out-live his deserting her. Henow saw her in all the most shocking postures of death; nayhe considered allthe miseries of prostitution to which she would be liableand of which he wouldbe doubly the occasion; first by seducingand then by deserting
her; for he well knew the hatred which all her neighboursand even her ownsistersbore herand how ready they would all be to tear her to pieces.Indeedhe had exposed her to more envy than shameor rather to the latter bymeans of the former: for many women abused her for being a whorewhile theyenvied her her lover and her fineryand would have been themselves glad to havepurchased these at the same rate. The ruinthereforeof the poor girl mustheforesawunavoidably attend his deserting her; and this thought stung him to thesoul. Poverty and distress seemed to him to give none a right of aggravatingthose misfortunes. The meanness of her condition did not represent her misery asof little consequence in his eyesnor did it appear to justifyor even topalliatehis guiltin bringing that misery upon her. But why do I mentionjustification? His own heart would not suffer him to destroy a human creaturewhohe thoughtloved himand had to that love sacrificed her innocence. Hisown good heart pleaded her cause; not as a cold venal advocatebut as oneinterested in the eventand which must itself deeply share in all the agoniesits owner brought on another.
When this powerful advocate had sufficiently raised the pity of Jonesbypainting poor Molly in all the circumstances of wretchedness; it artfully calledin the assistance of another passionand represented the girl in all theamiable colours of youthhealthand beauty; as one greatly the object ofdesireand much more soat least to a good mindfrom beingat the same timethe object of compassion.
Amidst these thoughtspoor Jones passed a long sleepless nightand in themorning the result of the whole was to abide by Mollyand to think no more ofSophia.
In this virtuous resolution he continued all the next day till the eveningcherishing the idea of Mollyand driving Sophia from his thoughts; but in thefatal eveninga very trifling accident set all his passions again on floatandworked so total a change in his mindthat we think it decent to communicate itin a fresh chapter.
Chapter 4 -
A little chapterin which is contained a little incident -
Among other visitantswho paid their compliments to the young gentleman inhis confinementMrs. Honour was one. The readerperhapswhen he reflects onsome expressions which have formerly dropt from hermay conceive that sheherself had a very particular affection for Mr. Jones; butin realityit wasno such thing. Tom was a handsome young fellow; and for that species of men Mrs.Honour had some regard; but this was perfectly indiscriminate; for having beingcrossed in the love which she bore a certain nobleman's footmanwho had baselydeserted her after a promise of marriageshe had so securely kept together thebroken remains of her heartthat no man had ever since been able to possesshimself of any single fragment. She viewed all handsome men with that equalregard and benevolence which a sober and virtuous mind bears to all the good.She might indeed be called a lover of menas Socrates was a lover of mankindpreferring one to another for corporealas he for mental qualifications; butnever carrying this preference so far as to cause any perturbation in thephilosophical serenity of her temper.
The day after Mr. Jones had that conflict with himself which we have seen inthe preceding chapterMrs. Honour came into his roomand finding him alonebegan in the following manner:- "Lasirwhere do you think I have been? Iwarrants youyou would not guess in fifty years; but if you did guessto besure I must not tell you neither."- "Nayif it be something which youmust not tell me" said Jones"I shall have the curiosity to enquireand I know you will not be so barbarous to refuse me."- "I don'tknow" cries she"why I should refuse you neitherfor that matter;for to be sure you won't mention it any more. And for that matterif you knewwhere I have beenunless you knew what I have been aboutit would not signifymuch. NayI don't see why it should be kept a secret for my part; for to besure she is the best lady in the world." Upon thisJones began to begearnestly to be let into this secretand faithfully promised not to divulge it.She then proceeded thus:- "Whyyou must knowsirmy young lady sent meto enquire after Molly Seagrimand to see whether the wench wanted anything; tobe sureI did not care to gomethinks; but servants must do what they areordered.- How could you undervalue yourself soMr. Jones?- So my lady bid me goand carry her some linenand other things. She is too good. If such forwardsluts were sent to Bridewellit would be better for them. I told my ladysaysImadamyour la'ship is encouraging idleness."- "And was my Sophiaso good?" says Jones. "My Sophia! I assure youmarry come up"answered Honour. "And yet if you knew all- indeedif I was as Mr. JonesIshould look a little higher than such trumpery as Molly Seagrim.""What do you mean by these words" replied Jones"if I knewall?" "I mean what I mean" says Honour. "Don't you rememberputting your hands in my lady's muff once? I vow I could almost find in my heartto tellif I was certain my lady would never come to the hearing on't."Jones then made several solemn protestations. And Honour proceeded- "Thento be suremy lady gave me that muff; and afterwardsupon hearing what you haddone"-- "Then you told her what I had done?" interrupted Jones."If I didsir" answered she"you need not be angry with me.Many's the man would have given his head to have had my lady toldif they hadknown- forto be surethe biggest lord in the land might be proud- butIprotestI have a great mind not to tell you." Jones fell to entreatiesand soon prevailed on her to go on thus. "You must know thensirthat mylady had given this muff to me; but about a day or two after I had told her thestoryshe quarrels with her new muffand to be sure it is the prettiest thatever was seen. Honoursays shethis is an odious muff; it is too big for meIcan't wear it: till I can get anotheryou must let me have my old one againand you may have this in the room on't- for she's a good ladyand scorns togive a thing and take a thingI promise you that. So to be sure I fetched ither back againandI believeshe hath worn it upon her arm almost ever sinceand I warrants hath given it many a kiss when nobody hath seen her."
Here the conversation was interrupted by Mr. Western himselfwho came tosummon Jones to the harpsichord; whither the poor young fellow went all pale andtrembling. This Western observedbuton seeing Mrs. Honourimputed it to awrong cause; and having given Jones a hearty curse between jest and earnesthebid him beat abroadand not poach up the game in his warren.
Sophia looked this evening with more than usual beautyand we may believe itwas no small addition to her charmsin the eye of Mr. Jonesthat she nowhappened to have on her right arm this very muff.
She was playing one of her father's favourite tunesand he was leaning onher chairwhen the muff fell over her fingersand put her out. This sodisconcerted the squirethat he snatched the muff from herand with a heartycurse threw it into the fire. Sophia instantly started upand with the utmosteagerness recovered it from the flames.
Though this incident will probably appear of little consequence to many ofour readers; yettrifling as it wasit had so violent an effect on poor Jonesthat we thought it our duty to relate it. In realitythere are many littlecircumstances too often omitted by injudicious historiansfrom which events ofthe utmost importance arise. The world may indeed be considered as a vastmachinein which the great wheels are originally set in motion by those whichare very minuteand almost imperceptible to any but the strongest eyes.
Thusnot all the charms of the incomparable Sophia; not all the dazzlingbrightnessand languishing softness of her eyes; the harmony of her voiceandof her person; not all her witgood-humourgreatness of mindor sweetness ofdispositionhad been able so absolutely to conquer and enslave the heart ofpoor Jonesas this little incident of the muff. Thus the poet sweetly sings ofTroy- -
--Captique dolis lachrymisque coacti
Quos neque Tydidesnec Larissaeus Achilles
Non anni domuere decemnon mille Carinoe. -
What Diomede or Thetis' greater son
A thousand shipsnor ten years' siege had done
False tears and fawning words the city won. -
The citadel of Jones was now taken by surprise. All those considerations ofhonour and prudence which our heroe had lately with so much military wisdomplaced as guards over the avenues of his heartran away from their postsandthe god of love marched inin triumph.
Chapter 5 -
A very long chaptercontaining a very great incident -
But though this victorious deity easily expelled his avowed enemies from theheart of Joneshe found it more difficult to supplant the garrison which hehimself had placed there. To lay aside all allegorythe concern for what mustbecome of poor Molly greatly disturbed and perplexed the mind of the worthyyouth. The superior merit of Sophia totally eclipsedor rather extinguishedall the beauties of the poor girl; but compassion instead of contempt succeededto love. He was convinced the girl had placed all her affectionsand all herprospect of future happinessin him only. For this he hadhe knewgivensufficient occasionby the utmost profusion of tenderness towards her: atenderness which he had taken every means to persuade her he would alwaysmaintain. Sheon her sidehad assured him of her firm belief in his promiseand had with the most solemn vows declaredthat on his fulfilling or breakingthese promisesit dependedwhether she should be the happiest or mostmiserable of womankind. And to be the author of this highest degree of misery toa human beingwas a thought on which he could not bear to ruminate a singlemoment. He considered this poor girl as having sacrificed to him everything inher little power; as having been at her own expense the object of his pleasure;as sighing and languishing for him even at that very instant. Shall thensayshemy recoveryfor which she hath so ardently wished; shall my presencewhichshe hath so eagerly expectedinstead of giving her that joy with which she hathflattered herselfcast her at once down into misery and despair? Can I be sucha villain? Herewhen the genius of poor Molly seemed triumphantthe love ofSophia towards himwhich now appeared no longer dubiousrushed upon his mindand bore away every obstacle before it.
At length it occurred to himthat he might possibly be able to make Mollyamends another way; namelyby giving her a sum of money. Thisneverthelesshealmost despaired of her acceptingwhen he recollected the frequent and vehementassurances he had received from herthat the world put in balance with himwould make her no amends for his loss. Howeverher extreme povertyand chieflyher egregious vanity (somewhat of which hath been already hinted to the reader)gave him some little hopethatnotwithstanding all her avowed tendernessshemight in time be brought to content herself with a fortune superior to herexpectationand which might indulge her vanityby setting her above all herequals. He resolved therefore to take the first opportunity of making a proposalof this kind.
One dayaccordinglywhen his arm was so well recovered that he could walkeasily with it slung in a sashhe stole forthat a season when the squire wasengaged in his field exercisesand visited his fair one. Her mother andsisterswhom he found taking their teainformed him first that Molly was notat home; but afterwards the eldest sister acquainted himwith a malicioussmilethat she was above stairs a-bed. Tom had no objection to this situationof his mistressand immediately ascended the ladder which let towards herbed-chamber; but when he came to the topheto his great surprisefound thedoor fast; nor could he for some time obtain any answer from within; for Mollyas she herself afterwards informed himwas fast asleep.
The extremes of grief and joy have been remarked to produce very similareffects; and when either of these rushes on us by surprizeit is apt to createsuch a total perturbation and confusionthat we are often thereby deprived ofthe use of all our faculties. It cannot therefore be wondered atthat theunexpected sight of Mr. Jones should so strongly operate on the mind of Mollyand should overwhelm her with such confusionthat for some minutes she wasunable to express the great raptureswith which the reader will suppose she wasaffected on this occasion. As for Joneshe was so entirely possessedand as itwere enchantedby the presence of his beloved objectthat he for a whileforgot Sophiaand consequently the principal purpose of his visit.
Thishoweversoon recurred to his memory; and after the first transports oftheir meeting were overhe found means by degrees to introduce a discourse onthe fatal consequences which must attend their amourif Mr. Allworthywho hadstrictly forbidden him ever seeing her moreshould discover that he stillcarried on this commerce. Such a discoverywhich his enemies gave him reason tothink would be unavoidablemusthe saidend in his ruinand consequently inhers. Since therefore their hard fates had determined that they must separatehe advised her to bear it with resolutionand swore he would never omit anyopportunitythrough the course of his lifeof showing her the sincerity of hisaffectionby providing for her in a manner beyond her utmost expectationoreven beyond her wishesif ever that should be in his power; concluding at lastthat she might soon find some man who would marry herand who would make heimuch happier than she could be by leading a disreputable life with him.
Molly remained a few moments in silenceand then bursting into a flood oftearsshe began to upbraid him in the following words: "And this is yourlove for meto forsake me in this mannernow you have ruined me! How oftenwhen I have told you that all men are false and perjury alikeand grow tired ofus as soon as ever they have had their wicked wills of ushow often have yousworn you would never forsake me! And can you be such a perjury man after all?What signifies all the riches in the world to me without younow you havegained my heartso you have- you have-? Why do you mention another man to me? Ican never love any other man as long as I live. All other men are nothing to me.if the greatest squire in all the country would come a suiting to me to-morrowI would not give my company to him. NoI shall always hate and despise thewhole sex for your sake."-
She was proceeding thuswhen an accident put a stop to her tonguebefore ithad run out half its career. The roomor rather garretin which Molly laybeing up one pair of stairsthat is to sayat the top of the housewas of asloping figureresembling the great Delta of the Greeks. The English reader mayperhaps form a better idea of itby being told that it was impossible to standupright anywhere but in the middle. Nowas this room wanted the conveniency ofa closetMolly hadto supply that defectnailed up an old rug against therafters of the housewhich enclosed a little hole where her best apparelsuchas the remains of that sack which we have formerly mentionedsome capsandother things with which she had lately provided herselfwere hung up andsecured from the dust.
This enclosed place exactly fronted the foot of the bedto whichindeedthe rug hung so nearthat it served in a manner to supply the want of curtains.Nowwhether Mollyin the agonies of her ragepushed this rug with her feet;or Jones might touch it; or whether the pin or nail gave way of its own accordI am not certain; but as Molly pronounced those last wordswhich are recordedabovethe wicked rug got loose from its fasteningand discovered everythinghid behind it; where among other female utensils appeared- (with shame I writeitand with sorrow will it be read)- the philosopher Squarein a posture (forthe place would not near admit his standing upright) as ridiculous as canpossibly be conceived.
The postureindeedin which he stoodwas not greatly unlike that of asoldier who is tied neck and heels; or rather resembling the attitude in whichwe often see fellows in the public streets of Londonwho are not suffering butdeserving punishment by so standing. He had a nightcap belonging to Molly on hisheadand his two large eyesthe moment the rug fellstared directly at Jones;so that when the idea of philosophy was added to the figure now discovereditwould have been very difficult for any spectator to have refrained fromimmoderate laughter.
I question not but the surprize of the reader will be here equal to that ofJones; as the suspicions which must arise from the appearance of this wise andgrave man in such a placemay seem so inconsistent with that character which hehathdoubtlessmaintained hithertoin the opinion of every one.
But to confess the truththis inconsistency is rather imaginary than real.Philosophers are composed of flesh and blood as well as other human creatures;and however sublimated and refined the theory of these may bea littlepractical frailty is as incident to them as to other mortals. It isindeedintheory onlyand not in practiceas we have before hintedthat consists thedifference: for though such great beings think much better and more wiselytheyalways act exactly like other men. They know very well how to subdue allappetites and passionsand to despise both pain and pleasure; and thisknowledge affords much delightful contemplationand is easily acquired; but thepractice would be vexatious and troublesome; andthereforethe same wisdomwhich teaches them to know thisteaches them to avoid carrying it intoexecution.
Mr. Square happened to be at church on that Sundaywhenas the reader maybe pleased to rememberthe appearance of Molly in her sack had caused all thatdisturbance. Here he first observed herand was so pleased with her beautythat he prevailed with the young gentlemen to change their intended ride thateveningthat he might pass by the habitation of Mollyand by that means mightobtain a second chance of seeing her. This reasonhoweveras he did not atthat time mention to anyso neither did we think proper to communicate it thento the reader.
Among other particulars which constituted the unfitness of things in Mr.Square's opiniondanger and difficulty were two. The difficulty therefore whichhe apprehended there might be in corrupting this young wenchand the dangerwhich would accrue to his character on the discoverywere such strongdissuasivesthat it is probable he at first intended to have contented himselfwith the pleasing ideas which the sight of beauty furnishes us with. These thegravest menafter a full meal of serious meditationoften allow themselves byway of dessert: for which purposecertain books and pictures find their wayinto the most private recesses of their studyand a certain liquorish part ofnatural philosophy is often the principal subject of their conversation.
But when the philosopher hearda day or two afterwardsthat the fortress ofvirtue had already been subduedhe began to give a larger scope to his desires.His appetite was not of that squeamish kind which cannot feed on a daintybecause another hath tasted it. In shorthe liked the girl the better for thewant of that chastitywhichif she had possessed itmust have been a bar tohis pleasures; he pursued and obtained her.
The reader will be mistakenif he thinks Molly gave Square the preference toher younger lover: on the contraryhad she been confined to the choice of oneonlyTom Jones would undoubtedly have beenof the twothe victorious person.Nor was it solely the consideration that two are better than one (though thishad its proper weight) to which Mr. Square owed his success: the absence ofJones during hisconfinement was an unlucky circumstance; and in that intervalsome well-chosen presents from the philosopher so softened and unguarded thegirl's heartthat a favourable opportunity became irresistibleand Squaretriumphed over the poor remains of virtue which subsisted in the bosom of Molly.
It was now about a fortnight since this conquestwhen Jones paid theabove-mentioned visit to his mistressat a time when she and Square were in bedtogether. This was the true reason why the mother denied her as we have seen;for as the old woman shared in the profits arising from the iniquity of herdaughtershe encouraged and protected her in it to the utmost of her power; butsuch was the envy and hatred which the elder sister bore towards Mollythatnotwithstanding she had some part of the bootyshe would willingly have partedwith this to ruin her sister and spoil her trade. Hence she had acquainted Joneswith her being above-stairs in bedin hopes that he might have caught her inSquare's arms. ThishoweverMolly found means to preventas the door wasfastened; which gave her an opportunity of conveying her lover behind that rugor blanket where he now was unhappily discovered.
Square no sooner made his appearance than Molly flung herself back in herbedcried out she was undoneand abandoned herself to despair. This poor girlwho was yet but a novice in her businesshad not arrived to that perfection ofassurance which helps off a town lady in any extremity; and either prompts herwith an excuseor else inspires her to brazen out the matter with her husbandwhofrom love of quietor out of fear of his reputation- and sometimesperhapsfrom fear of the gallantwholike Mr. Constant in the playwears asword- is glad to shut his eyesand content to put his horns in his pocket.Mollyon the contrarywas silenced by this evidenceand very fairly gave up acause which she had hitherto maintained with so many tearsand with such solemnand vehement protestations of the purest love and constancy.
As to the gentleman behind the arrashe was not in much less consternation.He stood for a while motionlessand seemed equally at a loss what to sayorwhither to direct his eyes. Jonesthough perhaps the most astonished of thethreefirst found his tongue; and being immediately recovered from those uneasysensations which Molly by her upbraidings had occasioned he burst into a loudlaughterand then saluting Mr. Squareadvanced to take him by the handand torelieve him from his place of confinement.
Square being now arrived in the middle of the roomin which part only hecould stand uprightlooked at Jones with a very grave countenanceand said tohim"WellsirI see you enjoy this mighty discoveryandI dare sweartake great delight in the thoughts of exposing me; but if you will consider thematter fairlyyou will find you are yourself only to blame. I am not guilty ofcorrupting innocence. I have done nothing for which that part of the world whichjudges of matters by the rule of rightwill condemn me. Fitness is governed bythe nature of thingsand not by customsformsor municipal laws. Nothing isindeed unfit which is not unnatural."- "Well reasonedold boy"answered Jones; "but why dost thou think that I should desire to exposethee? I promise theeI was never better pleased with thee in my life; andunless thou hast a mind to discover it thyselfthis affair may remain aprofound secret for me."- "NayMr. Jones" replied Square"I would not be thought to undervalue reputation. Good fame is a species ofthe Kalonand it is by no means fitting to neglect it. Besidesto murder one'sown reputation is a kind of suicidea detestable and odious vice. If you thinkproperthereforeto conceal any infirmity of mine (for such I may havesinceno man is perfectly perfect)I promise you I will not betray myself. Things maybe fitting to be donewhich are not fitting to be boasted of; for by theperverse judgment of the worldthat often becomes the subject of censurewhichisin truthnot only innocent but laudable."- "Right!" criesJones: "what can be more innocent than the indulgence of a naturalappetite? or what more laudable than the propagation of our species?"-"To be serious with you" answered Square"I profess they alwaysappeared so to me."- "And yet" said Jones"you was of adifferent opinion when my affair with this girl was first discovered."-"WhyI must confess" says Square"as the matter wasmisrepresented to meby that parson ThwackumI might condemn the corruption ofinnocence: it was thatsirit was that- and that-: for you must knowMr.Jonesin the consideration of fitnessvery minute circumstancessirveryminute circumstances cause great alteration."- "Well" criesJones"be that as it willit shall be your own faultas I have promisedyouif you ever hear any more of this adventure. Behave kindly to the girlandI will never open my lips concerning the matter to any one. AndMollydo yoube faithful to your friendand I will not only forgive your infidelity to mebut will do you all the service I can." So sayinghe took a hasty leaveandslipping down the ladderretired with much expedition.
Square was rejoiced to find this adventure was likely to have no worseconclusion; and as for Mollybeing recovered from her confusionshe began atfirst to upbraid Square with having been the occasion of her loss of Jones; butthat gentleman soon found the means of mitigating her angerpartly by caressesand partly by a small nostrum from his purseof wonderful and approved efficacyin purging off the ill humours of the mindand in restoring it to a goodtemper.
She then poured forth a vast profusion of tenderness towards her new lover;turned all she had said to Jonesand Jones himselfinto ridicule; and vowedthough he once had the possession of her personthat none but Square had everbeen master of her heart.
Chapter 6 -
By comparing which with the formerthe reader may possibly correct someabuse which he hath formerly been guilty of in the application of the word love-
The infidelity of Mollywhich Jones had now discoveredwouldperhapshavevindicated a much greater degree of resentment than he expressed on theoccasion; and if he had abandoned her directly from that momentvery fewIbelievewould have blamed him.
Certainhoweverit isthat he saw her in the light of compassion; andthough his love to her was not of that kind which could give him any greatuneasiness at her inconstancyyet was he not a little shocked on reflectingthat he had himself originally corrupted her innocence; for to this corruptionhe imputed all the vice into which she appeared now likely to plunge herself.
This consideration gave him no little uneasinesstill Bettythe eldersisterwas so kindsome time afterwardsentirely to cure him by a hintthatone Will Barnesand not himselfhad been the first seducer of Molly; and thatthe little childwhich he had hitherto so certainly concluded to be his ownmight very probably have an equal titleat leastto claim Barnes for itsfather.
Jones eagerly pursued this scent when he had first received it; and in a veryshort time was sufficiently assured that the girl had told him truthnot onlyby the confession of the fellowbut at last by that of Molly herself.
This Will Barnes was a country gallantand had acquired as many trophies ofthis kind as any ensign or attorney's clerk in the kingdom. He hadindeedreduced several women to a state of utter profligacyhad broke the hearts ofsomeand had the honour of occasioning the violent death of one poor girlwhohad either drowned herselforwhat was rather more probablehad been drownedby him.
Among other of his conqueststhis fellow had triumphed over the heart ofBetty Seagrim. He had made love to her long before Molly was grown to be a fitobject of that pastime; but had afterwards deserted herand applied to hersisterwith whom he had almost immediate success. Now Will hadin realitythesole possession of Molly's affectionwhile Jones and Square were almost equallysacrifices to her interest and to her pride.
Hence had grown that implacable hatred which we have before seen raging inthe mind of Betty; though we did not think it necessary to assign this causesooneras envy itself alone was adequate to all the effects we have mentioned.
Jones was become perfectly easy by possession of this secret with regard toMolly; but as to Sophiahe was far from being in a state of tranquillity; nayindeedhe was under the most violent perturbation; his heart was nowif I mayuse the metaphorentirely evacuatedand Sophia took absolute possession of it.He loved her with an unbounded passionand plainly saw the tender sentimentsshe had for him; yet could not this assurance lessen his despair of obtainingthe consent of her fathernor the horrors which attended his pursuit of her byany base or treacherous method.
The injury which he must thus do to Mr. Westernand the concern which wouldaccrue to Mr. Allworthywere circumstances that tormented him all dayandhaunted him on his pillow at night. His life was a constant struggle betweenhonour and inclinationwhich alternately triumphed over each other in his mind.He often resolvedin the absence of Sophiato leave her father's houseand tosee her no more; and as oftenin her presenceforgot all those resolutionsand determined to pursue her at the hazard of his lifeand at the forfeiture ofwhat was much dearer to him.
This conflict began soon to produce very strong and visible effects: for helost all his usual sprightliness and gaiety of temperand became not onlymelancholy when alonebut dejected and absent in company; nayif ever he puton a forced mirthto comply with Mr. Western's humourthe constraint appearedso plainthat he seemed to have been giving the strongest evidence of what heendeavoured to conceal by such ostentation.
It mayperhapsbe a questionwhether the art which he used to conceal hispassionor the means which honest nature employed to reveal itbetrayed himmost: for while art made him more than ever reserved to Sophiaand forbad himto address any of his discourse to hernayto avoid meeting her eyeswith theutmost caution; nature was no less busy in counter-plotting him. Henceat theapproach of the young ladyhe grew pale; and if this was suddenstarted. Ifhis eyes accidentally met hersthe blood rushed into his cheeksand hiscountenance became all over scarlet. If common civility ever obliged him tospeak to heras to drink her health at tablehis tongue was sure to falter. Ifhe touched herhis handnay his whole frametrembled. And if any discoursetendedhowever remotelyto raise the idea of lovean involuntary sigh seldomfailed to steal from his bosom. Most of which accidents nature was wonderfullyindustrious to throw daily in his way.
All these symptoms escaped the notice of the squire: but not so of Sophia.She soon perceived these agitations of mind in Jonesand was at no loss todiscover the cause; for indeed she recognized it in her own breast. And thisrecognition isI supposethat sympathy which hath been so often noted inloversand which will sufficiently account for her being so muchquicker-sighted than her father.
Butto say the truththere is a more simple and plain method of accountingfor that prodigious superiority of penetration which we must observe in some menover the rest of the human speciesand one which will serve not only in thecase of loversbut of all others. From whence is it that the knave is generallyso quick-sighted to those symptoms and operations of knaverywhich often dupean honest man of a much better understanding? There surely is no generalsympathy among knaves; nor have theylike freemasonsany common sign ofcommunication. In realityit is only because they have the same thing in theirheadsand their thoughts are turned the same way. Thusthat Sophia sawandthat Western did not seethe plain symptoms of love in Jones can be no wonderwhen we consider that the idea of love never entered into the head of thefatherwhereas the daughterat presentthought of nothing else.
When Sophia was well satisfied of the violent passion which tormented poorJonesand no less certain that she herself was its objectshe had not theleast difficulty in discovering the true cause of his present behaviour. Thishighly endeared him to herand raised in her mind two the best affections whichany lover can wish to raise in a mistress- these wereesteem and pity- for surethe most outrageously rigid among her sex will excuse her pitying a man whom shesaw miserable on her own account; nor can they blame her for esteeming one whovisiblyfrom the most honourable motivesendeavoured to smother a flame in hisown bosomwhichlike the famous Spartan theftwas preying upon and consuminghis very vitals. Thus his backwardnesshis shunning herhis coldnessand hissilencewere the forwardestthe most diligentthe warmestand most eloquentadvocates; and wrought so violently on her sensible and tender heartthat shesoon felt for him all those gentle sensations which are consistent with avirtuous and elevated female mind. In shortall which esteemgratitudeandpitycan inspire in such towards an agreeable man- indeedall which the nicestdelicacy can allow. In a wordshe was in love with him to distraction.
One day this young couple accidentally met in the gardenat the end of thetwo walks which were both bounded by that canal in which Jones had formerlyrisqued drowning to retrieve the little bird that Sophia had there lost.
This place had been of late much frequented by Sophia. Here she used toruminatewith a mixture of pain and pleasureon an incident whichhowevertrifling in itselfhad possibly sown the first seeds of that affection whichwas now arrived to such maturity in her heart.
Here then this young couple met. They were almost close together beforeeither of them knew anything of the other's approach. A bystander would havediscovered sufficient marks of confusion in the countenance of each; but theyfelt too much themselves to make any observation. As soon as Jones had a littlerecovered his first surprizehe accosted the young lady with some of theordinary forms of salutationwhich she in the same manner returned; and theirconversation beganas usualon the delicious beauty of the morning. Hence theypast to the beauty of the placeon which Jones launched forth very highencomiums. When they came to the tree whence he had formerly tumbled into thecanalSophia could not help reminding him of that accidentand said"IfancyMr. Jonesyou have some little shuddering when you see thatwater."- "I assure youmadam" answered Jones"the concernyou felt at the loss of your little bird will always appear to me the highestcircumstance in that adventure. Poor little Tommy! there is the branch he stoodupon. How could the little wretch have the folly to fly away from that state ofhappiness in which I had the honour to place him? His fate was a just punishmentfor his ingratitude."- "Upon my wordMr. Jones" said she"your gallantry very narrowly escaped as severe a fate. Sure theremembrance must affect you."- "Indeedmadam" answered he"if I have any reason to reflect with sorrow on itit isperhapsthatthe water had not been a little deeperby which I might have escaped manybitter heart-aches that Fortune seems to have in store for me."- "FieMr. Jones!" replied Sophia; "I am sure you cannot be in earnest now.This affected contempt of life is only an excess of your complacence to me. Youwould endeavour to lessen the obligation of having twice ventured it for mysake. Beware the third time." She spoke these last words with a smileanda softness inexpressible. Jones answered with a sigh"He feared it wasalready too late for caution:" and then looking tenderly and stedfastly onherhe cried"OhMiss Western! can you desire me to live? Can you wishme so ill?" Sophialooking down on the groundanswered with somehesitation"IndeedMr. JonesI do not wish you ill."- "OhIknow too well that heavenly temper" cries Jones"that divinegoodnesswhich is beyond every other charm."- "Naynow"answered she"I understand you not. I can stay no longer."- "I-I would not be understood!" cries he; "nayI can't be understood. Iknow not what I say. Meeting you here so unexpectedlyI have been unguarded:for Heaven's sake pardon meif I have said anything to offend you. I did notmean it. IndeedI would rather have died- naythe very thought would killme."- "You surprize me" answered she. "How can you possiblythink you have offended me?"- "Fearmadam" says he"easily runs into madness; and there is no degree of fear like that which Ifeel of offending you. How can I speak then? Naydon't look angrily at me; onefrown will destroy me. I mean nothing. Blame my eyesor blame those beauties.What am I saying? Pardon me if I have said too much. My heart overflowed. I havestruggled with my love to the utmostand have endeavoured to conceal a feverwhich preys on my vitalsand willI hopesoon make it impossible for me everto offend you more."
Mr. Jones now fell a trembling as if he had been shaken with the fit of anague. Sophiawho was in a situation not very different from hisanswered inthese words: "Mr. JonesI will not affect to misunderstand you; indeedIunderstand you too well; butfor Heaven's sakeif you have any affection formelet me make the best of my way into the house. I wish I may be able tosupport myself thither."
Joneswho was hardly able to support himselfoffered her his armwhich shecondescended to acceptbut begged he would not mention a word more to her ofthis nature at present. He promised he would not; insisting only on herforgiveness of what lovewithout the leave of his willhad forced from him:thisshe told himhe knew how to obtain by his future behaviour; and thus thisyoung pair tottered and trembled alongthe lover not once daring to squeeze thehand of his mistressthough it was locked in his.
Sophia immediately retired to her chamberwhere Mrs. Honour and thehartshorn were summoned to her assistance. As to poor Jonesthe only relief tohis distempered mind was an unwelcome piece of newswhichas it opens a sceneof different nature from those in which the reader hath lately been conversantwill be communicated to him in the next chapter.
Chapter 7 -
In which Mr. Allworthy appears on a sick-bed -
Mr. Western was become so fond of Jones that he was unwilling to part withhimthough his arm had been long since cured; and Joneseither from the loveof sportor from some other reasonwas easily persuaded to continue at hishousewhich he did sometimes for a fortnight together without paying a singlevisit at Mr. Allworthy's; naywithout ever hearing from thence.
Mr. Allworthy had been for some days indisposed with a coldwhich had beenattended with a little fever. This he hadhoweverneglected; as it was usualwith him to do all manner of disorders which did not confine him to his bedorprevent his several faculties from performing their ordinary functions;- aconduct which we would by no means be thought to approve or recommend toimitation; for surely the gentlemen of the Esculapian art are in the right inadvisingthat the moment the disease has entered at one doorthe physicianshould be introduced at the other: what else is meant by that old adageVenienti occurrite morbo? "Oppose a distemper at its first approach."Thus the doctor and the disease meet in fair and equal conflict; whereasbygiving time to the latterwe often suffer him to fortify and entrench himselflike a French army; so that the learned gentleman finds it very difficultandsometimes impossibleto come at the enemy. Naysometimes by gaining time thedisease applies to the French military politicsand corrupts nature over to hissideand then all the powers of physic must arrive too late. Agreeable to theseobservations wasI rememberthe complaint of the great Doctor Misaubinwhoused very pathetically to lament the late applications which were made to hisskillsaying"Bygarme believe my pation take me for de undertakerfordey never send for me till de physicion have kill dem."
Mr. Allworthy's distemperby means of this neglectgained such groundthatwhen the increase of his fever obliged him to send for assistancethedoctor at his first arrival shook his headwished he had been sent for soonerand intimated that he thought him in very imminent danger. Mr. Allworthywhohad settled all his affairs in this worldand was as well prepared as it ispossible for human nature to be for the otherreceived this information withthe utmost calmness and unconcern. He couldindeedwhenever he laid himselfdown to restsay with Cato in the tragical poem- -
Let guilt or fear
Disturb man's rest: Cato knows neither of them;
Indifferent in his choice to sleep or die. - In realityhe could say thiswith ten times more reason and confidence than Catoor any other proud fellowamong the antient or modern heroes; for he was not only devoid of fearbutmight be considered as a faithful labourerwhen at the end of harvest he issummoned to receive his reward at the hands of a bountiful master.
The good man gave immediate orders for all his family to be summoned roundhim. None of these were then abroadbut Mrs. Blifilwho had been some time inLondonand Mr. Joneswhom the reader hath just parted from at Mr. Western'sand who received this summons just as Sophia had left him.
The news of Mr. Allworthy's danger (for the servant told him he was dying)drove all thoughts of love out of his head. He hurried instantly into thechariot which was sent for himand ordered the coachman to drive with allimaginable haste; nor did the idea of SophiaI believeonce occur to him onthe way.
And now the whole familynamelyMr. BlifilMr. JonesMr. ThwackumMr.Squareand some of the servants (for such were Mr. Allworthy's orders)beingall assembled round his bedthe good man sat up in itand was beginning tospeakwhen Blifil fell to blubberingand began to express very loud and bitterlamentations. Upon this Mr. Allworthy shook him by the handand said"Donot sorrow thusmy dear nephewat the most ordinary of all human occurrences.When misfortunes befal our friends we are justly grieved; for those areaccidents which might often have been avoidedand which may seem to render thelot of one man more peculiarly unhappy than that of others; but death iscertainly unavoidableand is that common lot in which alone the fortunes of allmen agree: nor is the time when this happens to us very material. If the wisestof men hath compared life to a spansurely we may be allowed to consider it asa day. It is my fate to leave it in the evening; but those who are taken awayearlier have only lost a few hoursat the best little worth lamentingand muchoftener hours of labour and fatigueof pain and sorrow. One of the Roman poetsI rememberlikens our leaving life to our departure from a feast;- a thoughtwhich hath often occurred to me when I have seen men struggling to protract anentertainmentand to enjoy the company of their friends a few moments longer.Alas! how short is the most protracted of such enjoyments! how immaterial thedifference between him who retires the soonestand him who stays the latest!This is seeing life in the best viewand this unwillingness to quit our friendsis the most amiable motive from which we can derive the fear of death; and yetthe longest enjoyment which we can hope for of this kind is of so trivial adurationthat it is to a wise man truly contemptible. Few menI ownthink inthis manner; forindeedfew men think of death till they are in its jaws.However gigantic and terrible in object this may appear when it approaches themthey are nevertheless incapable of seeing it at any distance; naythough theyhave been ever so much alarmed and frightened when they have apprehendedthemselves in danger of dyingthey are no sooner cleared from this apprehensionthan even the fears of it are erased from their minds. Butalas! he who escapesfrom death is not pardoned; he isonly reprievedand reprieved to a short day.
"Grievethereforeno moremy dear childon this occasion: an eventwhich may happen every hour; which every elementnayalmost every particle ofmatter that surrounds us is capable of producingand which must and will mostunavoidably reach us all at lastought neither to occasion our surprize nor ourlamentation.
"My physician having acquainted me (which I take very kindly of him)that I am in danger of leaving you all very shortlyI have determined to say afew words to you at this our partingbefore my distemperwhich I find growsvery fast upon meputs it out of my power.
"But I shall waste my strength too much. I intended to speak concerningmy willwhichthough I have settled long agoI think proper to mention suchheads of it as concern any of youthat I may have the comfort of perceiving youare all satisfied with the provision I have there made for you.
"Nephew BlifilI leave you the heir to my whole estateexcept onlyL500 a-yearwhich is to revert to you after the death of your motherandexcept one other estate of L500 a-yearand the sum of L6000which I havebestowed in the following manner:
"The estate of L500 a-year I have given to youMr. Jones: and as I knowthe inconvenience which attends the want of ready moneyI have added L1000 inspecie. In this I know not whether I have exceeded or fallen short of yourexpectation. Perhaps you will think I have given you too littleand the worldwill be as ready to condemn me for giving you too much; but the latter censure Idespise; and as to the formerunless you should entertain that common errorwhich I have often heard in my life pleaded as an excuse for a total want ofcharitynamelythat instead of raising gratitude by voluntary acts of bountywe are apt to raise demandswhich of all others are the most boundless and mostdifficult to satisfy.- Pardon me the bare mention of this; I will not suspectany such thing."
Jones flung himself at his benefactor's feetand taking eagerly hold of hishandassured him his goodness to himboth now and all other timeshad soinfinitely exceeded not only his merit but his hopesthat no words couldexpress his sense of it. "And I assure yousir" said he"yourpresent generosity hath left me no other concern than for the present melancholyoccasion. Ohmy friendmy father!" Here his words choaked himand heturned away to hide a tear which was starting from his eyes.
Allworthy then gently squeezed his handand proceeded thus: "I amconvincedmy childthat you have much goodnessgenerosityand honourinyour temper: if you will add prudence and religion to theseyou must be happy;for the three former qualitiesI admitmake you worthy of happinessbut theyare the latter only which will put you in possession of it.
"One thousand pound I have given to youMr. Thwackum; a sum I amconvinced which greatly exceeds your desiresas well as your wants. However youwill receive it as a memorial of my friendship; and whatever superfluities mayredound to youthat piety which you so rigidly maintain will instruct you howto dispose of them.
"A like sumMr. SquareI have bequeathed to you. This. I hopewillenable you to pursue your profession with better success than hitherto. I haveoften observed with concernthat distress is more apt to excite contempt thancommiserationespecially among men of businesswith whom poverty is understoodto indicate want of ability. But the little I have been able to leave you willextricate you from those difficulties with which you have formerly struggled;and then I doubt not but you will meet with sufficient prosperity to supply whata man of your philosophical temper will require.
"I find myself growing faintso I shall refer you to my will for mydisposition of the residue. My servants will there find some tokens to rememberme by; and there are a few charities whichI trustmy executors will seefaithfully performed. Bless you all. I am setting out a little before you.-
"Here a footman came hastily into the roomand said there was anattorney from Salisbury who had a particular messagewhich he said he mustcommunicate to Mr. Allworthy himself: that he seemed in a violent hurryandprotested he had so much business to dothatif he could cut himself into fourquartersall would not be sufficient.
"Gochild" said Allworthy to Blifil"see what the gentlemanwants. I am not able to do any business nownor can he have any with meinwhich you are not at present more concerned than myself. BesidesI really am- Iam incapable of seeing any one at presentor of any longer attention." Hethen saluted them allsayingperhaps he should be able to see them againbuthe should be now glad to compose himself a littlefinding that he had too muchexhausted his spirits in discourse.
Some of the company shed tears at their parting; and even the philosopherSquare wiped his eyesalbeit unused to the melting mood. As to Mrs. Wilkinsshe dropt her pearls as fast as the Arabian trees their medicinal gums; for thiswas a ceremonial which that gentlewoman never omitted on a proper occasion.
After this Mr. Allworthy again laid himself down on his pillowandendeavoured to compose himself to rest.
Chapter 8 -
Containing matter rather natural than pleasing -
Besides grief for her masterthere was another source for that briny streamwhich so plentifully rose above the two mountainous cheek-bones of thehousekeeper. She was no sooner retiredthan she began to mutter to herself inthe following pleasant strain: "Sure master might have made somedifferencemethinksbetween me and the other servants. I suppose he hath leftme mourning; buti'fackins! if that be allthe devil shall wear it for himfor me. I'd have his worship know I am no beggar. I have saved five hundredpound in his serviceand after all to be used in this manner.- It is a fineencouragement to servants to be honest; and to be sureif I have taken a littlesomething now and thenothers have taken ten times as much; and now we are allput in a lump together. If so be that it be sothe legacy may go to the devilwith him that gave it. NoI won't give it up neitherbecause that will pleasesome folks. NoI'll buy the gayest gown I can getand dance over the oldcurmudgeon's grave in it. This is my reward for taking his part so oftenwhenall the country have cried shame of himfor breeding up his bastard in thatmanner; but he is going now where he must pay for all. It would have become himbetter to have repented of his sins on his deathbedthan to glory in themandgive away his estate out of his own family to a misbegotten child. Found in hisbedforsooth! a pretty story! ayaythat hide know where to find. Lordforgive him! I warrant he hath many more bastards to answer forif the truthwas known. One comfort isthey will all be known where he is a going now.- 'Theservants will find some token to remember me by.' Those were the very words; Ishall never forget themif I was to live a thousand years. AyayI shallremember you for huddling me among the servants. One would have thought he mighthave mentioned my name as well as that of Square; but he is a gentlemanforsooththough he had not clothes on his back when he came hither first. Marrycome up with such gentlemen! though he hath lived here this many yearsI don'tbelieve there is arrow a servant in the house ever saw the colour of his money.The devil shall wait upon such a gentleman for me." Much more of the likekind she muttered to herself; but this taste shall suffice to the reader.
Neither Thwackum nor Square were much better satisfied with their legacies.Though they breathed not their resentment so loudyet from the discontent whichappeared in their countenancesas well as from the following dialoguewecollect that no great pleasure reigned in their minds.
About an hour after they had left the sickroomSquare met Thwackum in thehall and accosted him thus: "Wellsirhave you heard any news of yourfriend since we parted from him?"- "If you mean Mr. Allworthy"answered Thwackum"I think you might rather give him the appellation ofyour friend; for he seems to me to have deserved that title."- "Thetitle is as good on your side" replied Square"for his bountysuchas it ishath been equal to both."- "I should not have mentioned itfirst" cries Thwackum"but since you beginI must inform you I amof a different opinion. There is a wide distinction between voluntary favoursand rewards. The duty I have done in this familyand the care I have taken inthe education of his two boysare services for which some men might haveexpected a greater return. I would not have you imagine I am thereforedissatisfied; for St. Paul hath taught me to be content with the little I have.Had the modicum been lessI should have known my duty. But though theScriptures obliges me to remain contentedit doth not enjoin me to shut my eyesto my own meritnor restrain me from seeing when I am injured by an unjustcomparison."- "Since you provoke me" returned Square"thatinjury is done to me; nor did I ever imagine Mr. Allworthy had held myfriendship so lightas to put me in balance with one who received his wages. Iknow to what it is owing; it proceeds from those narrow principles which youhave been so long endeavouring to infuse into himin contempt of everythingwhich is great and noble. The beauty and loveliness of friendship is too strongfor dim eyesnor can it be perceived by any other medium than that unerringrule of rightwhich you have so often endeavoured to ridiculethat you haveperverted your friend's understanding."- "I wish" criesThwackumin a rage"I wishfor the sake of his soulyour damnabledoctrines have not perverted his faith. It is to this I impute his presentbehaviourso unbecoming a Christian. Who but an atheist could think of leavingthe world without having first made up his account? without confessing his sinsand receiving that absolution which he knew he had one in the house dulyauthorized to give him? He will feel the want of these necessaries when it istoo latewhen he is arrived at that place where there is wailing and gnashingof teeth. It is then he will find in what mighty stead that heathen goddessthat virtuewhich you and all other deists of the age adorewill stand him. Hewill then summon his priestwhen there is none to be foundand will lament thewant of that absolutionwithout which no sinner can be safe."- "If itbe so material" says Square"why don't you present it him of yourown accord?" "It hath no virtue" cries Thwackum"but tothose who have sufficient grace to require it. But why do I talk thus to aheathen and an unbeliever? It is you that taught him this lessonfor which youhave been well rewarded in this worldas I doubt not your disciple will soon bein the other."- "I know not what you mean by reward" saidSquare; "but if you hint at that pitiful memorial of our friendshipwhichhe hath thought fit to bequeath meI despise it; and nothing but theunfortunate situation of my circumstances should prevail on me to acceptit."
The physician now arrivedand began to inquire of the two disputantshow weall did above-stairs? "In a miserable way" answered Thwackum."It is no more than I expected" cries the doctor: "but pray whatsymptoms have appeared since I left you?"- "No good onesI amafraid" replied Thwackum: "after what past at our departureI thinkthere were little hopes." The bodily physicianperhapsmisunderstood thecurer of souls; and before they came to an explanationMr. Blifil came to themwith a most melancholy countenanceand acquainted them that he brought sadnewsthat his mother was dead at Salisbury; that she had been seized on theroad home with the gout in her head and stomachwhich had carried her off in afew hours. "Good-lack-a-day!" says the doctor. "One cannot answerfor events; but I wish I had been at handto have been called in. The gout is adistemper which it is difficult to treat; yet I have been remarkably successfulin it." Thwackum and Square both condoled with Mr. Blifil for the loss ofhis motherwhich the one advised him to bear like a manand the other like aChristian. The young gentleman said he knew very well we were all mortaland hewould endeavour to submit to his loss as well as he could. That he could nothoweverhelp complaining a little against the peculiar severity of his fatewhich brought the news of so great a calamity to him by surprizeand that at atime when he hourly expected the severest blow he was capable of feeling fromthe malice of fortune. He saidthe present occasion would put to the test thoseexcellent rudiments which he had learnt from Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square; and itwould be entirely owing to themif he was enabled to survive such misfortunes.
It was now debated whether Mr. Allworthy should be informed of the death ofhis sister. This the doctor violently opposed; in s sister. n whichI believethe whole college would agree with him: but Mr. Blifil saidhe had receivedsuch positive and repeated orders from his unclenever to keep any secret fromhim for fear of the disquietude which it might give himthat he durst not thinkof disobediencewhatever might be the consequence. He saidfor his partconsidering the religious and philosophic temper of his unclehe could notagree with the doctor in his apprehensions. He was therefore resolved tocommunicate it to him: for if his uncle recovered (as he heartily prayed hemight) he knew he would never forgive an endeavour to keep a secret of this kindfrom him.
The physician was forced to submit to these resolutionswhich the two otherlearned gentlemen very highly commended. So together moved Mr. Blifil and thedoctor toward the sickroom; where the physician first enteredand approachedthe bedin order to feel his patient's pulsewhich he had no sooner donethanhe declared he was much better; that the last application had succeeded to amiracleand had brought the fever to intermit: so thathe saidthere appearednow to be as little danger as he had before apprehended there were hopes.
To say the truthMr. Allworthy's situation had never been so bad as thegreat caution of the doctor had represented it: but as a wise general neverdespises his enemyhowever inferior that enemy's force may beso neither dotha wise physician ever despise a distemperhowever inconsiderable. As the formerpreserves the same strict disciplineplaces the same guardsand employs thesame scoutsthough the enemy be never so weak; so the latter maintains the samegravity of countenanceand shakes his head with the same significant airletthe distemper be never so trifling. And bothamong many other good onesmayassign this solid reason for their conductthat by these means the greaterglory redounds to them if they gain the victoryand the less disgrace if by anyunlucky accident they should happen to be conquered.
Mr. Allworthy had no sooner lifted up his eyesand thanked Heaven for thesehopes of his recoverythan Mr. Blifil drew nearwith a very dejected aspectand having applied his handkerchief to his eyeeither to wipe away his tearsor to do as Ovid somewhere expresses himself on another occasion-
Si nullus erittamen excute nullum-
If there be nonethen wipe away that none- he communicated to his unclewhat the reader hath been just before acquainted with.
Allworthy received the news with concernwith patienceand withresignation. He dropt a tender tearthen composed his countenanceand at lastcried"The Lord's will be done in everything."
He now enquired for the messenger; but Blifil told him it had been impossibleto detain him a moment; for he appeared by the great hurry he was in to havesome business of importance on his hands; that he complained of being hurriedand driven and torn out of his lifeand repeated many timesthat if he coulddivide himself into four quartershe knew how to dispose of every one.
Allworthy then desired Blifil to take care of the funeral. He saidhe wouldhave his sister deposited in his own chapel; and as to the particularshe leftthem to his own discretiononly mentioning the person whom he would haveemployed on this occasion.
Chapter 9 -
Whichamong other thingsmay serve as a comment on that saying ofAEschinesthat "drunkenness shows the mind of a manas a mirrour reflectshis person" -
The reader may perhaps wonder at hearing nothing of Mr. Jones in. the lastchapter. In facthis behaviour was so different from that of the persons therementionedthat we chose not to confound his name with theirs.
When the good man had ended his speechJones was the last who deserted theroom. Thence he retired to his own apartmentto give vent to his concern; butthe restlessness of his mind would not suffer him to remain long there; heslipped softly therefore to Allworthy's chamber-doorwhere he listened aconsiderable time without hearing any kind of motion withinunless a violentsnoringwhich at last his fears misrepresented as groans. This so alarmed himthat he could not forbear entering the room; where he found the good man in thebedin a sweet composed sleepand his nurse snoring in the above-mentionedhearty mannerat the bed's feet. He immediately took the only method ofsilencing this thorough basswhose music he feared might disturb Mr. Allworthy;and then sitting down by the nursehe remained motionless till Blifil and thedoctor came in together and waked the sick manin order that the doctor mightfeel his pulseand that the other might communicate to him that piece of newswhichhad Jones been apprized of itwould have had great difficulty of findingits way to Mr. Allworthy's ear at such a season.
When he first heard Blifil tell his uncle this storyJones could hardlycontain the wrath which kindled in him at the other's indiscretionespeciallyas the doctor shook his headand declared his unwillingness to have the mattermentioned to his patient. But as his passion did not so far deprive him of alluse of his understandingas to hide from him the consequences which any violentexpression towards Blifil might have on the sickthis apprehension stilled hisrage at the present; and he grew afterwards so satisfied with finding that thisnews hadin factproduced no mischiefthat he suffered his anger to die inhis own bosomwithout ever mentioning it to Blifil.
The physician dined that day at Mr. Allworthy's; and having after dinnervisited his patienthe returned to the companyand told themthat he had nowthe satisfaction to saywith assurancethat his patient was out of all danger:that he had brought his fever to a perfect intermissionand doubted not bythrowing in the bark to prevent its return.
This account so pleased Jonesand threw him into such immoderate excess ofrapturethat he might be truly said to be drunk with joy- an intoxication whichgreatly forwards the effects of wine; and as he was very free too with thebottle on this occasion (for he drank many bumpers to the doctor's healthaswell as to other toast% he became very soon literally drunk.
Jones had naturally violent animal spirits: these being set on float andaugmented by the spirit of wineproduced most extravagant effects. He kissedthe doctorand embraced him with the most passionate endearments; swearing thatnext to Mr. Allworthy himselfhe loved him of all men living."Doctor" added he"you deserve a statue to be erected to you atthe public expensefor having preserved a manwho is not only the darling ofall good men who know himbut a blessing to societythe glory of his countryand an honour to human nature. D--n me if I don't love him better than my ownsoul."
"More shame for you" cries Thwackum. "Though I think you havereason to love himfor he hath provided very well for you. And perhaps it mighthave been better for some folks that he had not lived to see just reason ofrevoking his gift."
Jones now looking on Thwackum with inconceivable disdainanswered"Anddoth thy mean soul imagine that any such considerations could weigh with me? Nolet the earth open and swallow her own dirt (if I had millions of acres I wouldsay it) rather than swallow up my dear glorious friend." -
Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus
Tam chari capitis?* -
*"What modesty or measure can set bounds to our desire of so dear afriend?" The word desiderium here cannot be easily translated. It includesour desire of enjoying our friend againand the grief which attends thatdesire. -
The doctor now interposedand prevented the effects of a wrath which waskindling between Jones and Thwackum; after which the former gave a loose tomirthsang two or three amorous songsand fell into every frantic disorderwhich unbridled joy is apt to inspire; but so far was he from any disposition toquarrelthat he was ten times better humouredif possiblethan when he wassober.
To say truthnothing is more erroneous than the common observationthat menwho are ill-natured and quarrelsome when they are drunkare very worthy personswhen they are sober: for drinkin realitydoth not reverse natureor createpassions in men which did not exist in them before. It takes away the guard ofreasonand consequently forces us to produce those symptomswhich manywhensoberhave art enough to conceal. It heightens and inflames our passions(generally indeed that passion which is uppermost in our mind)so that theangry temperthe amorousthe generousthe good-humouredthe avariciousandall other dispositions of menare in their cups heightened and exposed.
And yet as no nation produces so many drunken quarrelsespecially among thelower peopleas England (for indeedwith themto drink and to fight togetherare almost synonymous terms)I would notmethinkshave it thence concludedthat the English are the worst-natured people alive. Perhaps the love of gloryonly is at the bottom of this; so that the fair conclusion seems to bethat ourcountrymen have more of that loveand more of braverythan any otherplebeians. And this the ratheras there is seldom anything ungenerousunfairor ill-naturedexercised on these occasions: nayit is common for thecombatants to express good-will for each other even at the time of the conflict;and as their drunken mirth generally ends in a battleso do most of theirbattles end in friendship.
But to return to our history. Though Jones had shown no design of givingoffenceyet Mr. Blifil was highly offended at a behaviour which was soinconsistent with the sober and prudent reserve of his own temper. He bore ittoo with the greater impatienceas it appeared to him very indecent at thisseason; "When" as he said"the house was a house of mourningon the account of his dear mother; and if it had pleased Heaven to give him someprospect of Mr. Allworthy's recoveryit would become them better to express theexultations of their hearts in thanksgivingthan in drunkenness and riots;which were properer methods to encrease the Divine wraththan to avertit." Thwackumwho had swallowed more liquor than Jonesbut without anyill effect on his brainseconded the pious harangue of Blifil; but Squareforreasons which the reader may probably guesswas totally silent.
Wine had not so totally overpowered Jonesas to prevent his recollecting Mr.Blifil's lossthe moment it was mentioned. As no personthereforewas moreready to confess and condemn his own errorshe offered to shake Mr. Blifil bythe handand begged his pardonsaying"His excessive joy for Mr.Allworthy's recovery had driven every other thought out of his mind."
Blifil scornfully rejected his hand; and with much indignation answered"It was little to be wondered atif tragical spectacles made no impressionon the blind; butfor his parthe had the misfortune to know who his parentswereand consequently must be affected with their loss."
Joneswhonotwithstanding his good humourhad some mixture of theirascible in his constitutionleaped hastily from his chairand catching holdof Blifil's collarcried out"D--n you for a rascaldo you insult mewith the misfortune of my birth?" He accompanied these words with suchrough actionsthat they soon got the better of Mr. Blifil's peaceful temper;and a scuffle immediately ensuedwhich might have produced mischiefhad it notbeen prevented by the interposition of Thwackum and the physician; for thephilosophy of Square rendered him superior to all emotionsand he very calmlysmoaked his pipeas was his custom in all broilsunless when he apprehendedsome danger of having it broke in his mouth.
The combatants being now prevented from executing present vengeance on eachotherbetook themselves to the common resources of disappointed rageandvented their wrath in threats and defiance. In this kind of conflictFortunewhichin the personal attackseemed to incline to Joneswas now altogether asfavourable to his enemy.
A truceneverthelesswas at length agreed onby the mediation of theneutral partiesand the whole company again sat down at the table; where Jonesbeing prevailed on to ask pardonand Blifil to give itpeace was restoredandeverything seemed in statu quo.
But though the quarrel wasin all appearanceperfectly reconciledthe goodhumour which had been interrupted by itwas by no means restored. All merrimentwas now at an endand the subsequent discourse consisted only of graverelations of matters of factand of as grave observations upon them; a speciesof conversationin whichthough there is much of dignity and instructionthere is but little entertainment. As we presume therefore to convey only thislast to the readerwe shall pass by whatever was saidtill the rest of thecompany having by degrees dropped offleft only Square and the physiciantogether; at which time the conversation was a little heightened by somecomments on what had happened between the two young gentlemen; both of whom thedoctor declared to be no better than scoundrels; to which appellation thephilosophervery sagaciously shaking his headagreed.
Chapter 10 -
Showing the truth of many observations of Ovidand of other more gravewriterswho have proved beyond contradictionthat wine is often the forerunnerof incontinency -
Jones retired from the companyin which we have seen him engagedinto thefieldswhere he intended to cool himself by a walk in the open air before heattended Mr. Allworthy. Therewhilst he renewed those meditations on his dearSophiawhich the dangerous illness of his friend and benefactor had for sometime interruptedan accident happenedwhich with sorrow we relateand withsorrow doubtless will it be read; howeverthat historic truth to which weprofess so inviolable an attachmentobliges us to communicate it to posterity.
It was now a pleasant evening in the latter end of Junewhen our heroe waswalking in a most delicious grovewhere the gentle breezes fanning the leavestogether with the sweet trilling of a murmuring streamand the melodious notesof nightingalesformed altogether the most enchanting harmony. In this sceneso sweetly accommodated to lovehe meditated on his dear Sophia. While hiswanton fancy roamed unbounded over all her beautiesand his lively imaginationpainted the charming maid in various ravishing formshis warm heart melted withtenderness; and at lengththrowing himself on the groundby the side of agently murmuring brookhe broke forth into the following ejaculation:
"O Sophiawould Heaven give thee to my armshow blest would be mycondition! Curst be that fortune which sets a distance between us. Was I butpossessed of theeone only suit of rags thy whole estateis there a man onearth whom I would envy! How contemptible would the brightest Circassian beautydrest in all the jewels of the Indiesappear to my eyes! But why do I mentionanother woman? Could I think my eyes capable of looking at any other withtendernessthese hands should tear them from my head. Nomy Sophiaif cruelfortune separates us for evermy soul shall doat on thee alone. The chastestconstancy will I ever preserve to thy image. Though I should never havepossession of thy charming personstill shalt thou alone have possession of mythoughtsmy lovemy soul. Oh! my fond heart is so wrapt in that tender bosomthat the brightest beauties would for me have no charmsnor would a hermit becolder in their embraces. SophiaSophia alone shall be mine. What raptures arein that name! I will engrave it on every tree."
At these words he started upand beheld- not his Sophia- nonor aCircassian maid richly and elegantly attired for the grand Signior's seraglio.No; without a gownin a shift that was somewhat of the coarsestand none ofthe cleanestbedewed likewise with some odoriferous effluviathe produce ofthe day's labourwith a pitchfork in her handMolly Seagrim approached. Ourhero had his penknife in his handwhich he had drawn for the before-mentionedpurpose of carving on the bark; when the girl coming near himcryed out with asmile"You don't intend to kill mesquireI hope!"- "Whyshould you think I would kill you?" answered Jones. "Nay"replied she"after your cruel usage of me when I saw you lastkilling mewouldperhapsbe too great kindness for me to expect."
Here ensued a parleywhichas I do not think myself obliged to relate itIshall omit. It is sufficient that it lasted a full quarter of an hourat theconclusion of which they retired into the thickest part of the grove.
Some of my readers may be inclined to think this event unnatural. Howeverthe fact is true; and perhaps may be sufficiently accounted for by suggestingthat Jones probably thought one woman better than noneand Molly as probablyimagined two men to be better than one. Besides the before-mentioned motiveassigned to the present behaviour of Jonesthe reader will be likewise pleasedto recollect in his favourthat he was not at this time perfect master of thatwonderful power of reasonwhich so well enables grave and wise men to subduetheir unruly passionsand to decline any of these prohibited amusements. Winenow had totally subdued this power in Jones. He wasindeedin a conditioninwhichif reason had interposedthough only to adviseshe might have receivedthe answer which one Cleostratus gave many years ago to a silly fellowwhoasked himif he was not ashamed to be drunk? "Are not you" saidCleostratus"ashamed to admonish a drunken man?"- To say the truthin a court of justice drunkenness must not be an excuseyet in a court ofconscience it is greatly so; and therefore Aristotlewho commends the laws ofPittacusby which drunken men received double punishment for their crimesallows there is more of policy than justice in that law. Nowif there are anytransgressions pardonable from drunkennessthey are certainly such as Mr. Joneswas at present guilty of; on which head I could pour forth a vast profusion oflearningif I imagined it would either entertain my readeror teach himanything more than he knows already. For his sake therefore I shall keep mylearning to myselfand return to my history.
It hath been observedthat Fortune seldom doth things by halves. To saytruththere is no end to her freaks whenever she is disposed to gratify ordisplease. No sooner had our heroe retired with his Didobut -
Speluncam Blifil dux et divinus eandem
Deveniunt-* - the parson and the young squirewho were taking a seriouswalkarrived at the stile which leads into the groveand the latter caught aview of the lovers just as they were sinking out of sight. -
*A play on The AeneidIV124: "Dido and the Trojan prince to the samecave shall come." -
Blifil knew Jones very wellthough he was at above a hundred yards'distanceand he was as positive to the sex of his companionthough not to theindividual person. He startedblessed himselfand uttered a very solemnejaculation.
Thwackum expressed some surprize at these sudden emotionsand asked thereason of them. To which Blifil answered"He was certain he had seen afellow and wench retire together among the busheswhich he doubted not was withsome wicked purpose." As to the name of Joneshe thought proper to concealitand why he did so must be left to the judgment of the sagacious reader; forwe never chuse to assign motives to the actions of menwhen there is anypossibility of our being mistaken.
The parsonwho was not only strictly chaste in his own personbut a greatenemy to the opposite vice in all othersfired at this information. He desiredMr. Blifil to conduct him immediately to the placewhich as he approached hebreathed forth vengeance mixed with lamentations; nor did he refrain fromcasting some oblique reflections on Mr. Allworthy; insinuating that thewickedness of the country was principally owing to the encouragement he hadgiven to viceby having exerted such kindness to a bastardand by havingmitigated that just and wholesome rigour of the law which allots a very severepunishment to loose wenches.
The way through which our hunters were to pass in pursuit of their game wasso beset with briarsthat it greatly obstructed their walkand caused besidessuch a rustlingthat Jones had sufficient warning of their arrival before theycould surprize him; nayindeedso incapable was Thwackum of concealing hisindignationand such vengeance did he utter forth every step he tookthat thisalone must have abundantly satisfied Jones that he was (to use the language ofsportsmen) found sitting.
Chapter 11 -
In which a simile in Mr. Pope's period of a mile introduces as bloody abattle as can possibly be fought without the assistance of steel or cold iron -
As in the season of rutting (an uncouth phraseby which the vulgar denotethat gentle dalliancewhich in the well-wooded* forest of Hampshirepassesbetween lovers of the ferine kind)ifwhile the lofty-crested stag meditatesthe amorous sporta couple of puppiesor any other beasts of hostile noteshould wander so near the temple of Venus Ferina that the fair hind shouldshrink from the placetouched with that somewhateither of fear or frolicofnicety or skittishnesswith which nature hath bedecked all femalesor hath atleast instructed them how to put it on; lestthrough the indelicacy of malesthe Samean mysteries should be pryed into by unhallowed eyes: forat thecelebration of these ritesthe female priestess cries out with her in Virgil(who was thenprobablyhard at work on such celebration)-
--Proculo procul esteprofani;
Proclamat vatestotoque absistite luco. -
--Far hence be souls profane
The sibyl cry'dand from the grove abstain.
DRYDEN - IfI saywhile these sacred riteswhich are in common to genusomne animantiumare in agitation between the stag and his mistressany hostilebeasts should venture too nearon the first hint given by the frighted hindfierce and tremendous rushes forth the stag to the entrance of the thicket;there stands he sentinel over his lovestamps the ground with his footandwith his horns brandished aloft in airproudly provokes the apprehended foe tocombat. -
*This is an ambiguous phraseand may mean either a forest well cloathed withwoodor well stript of it. -
Thusand more terriblewhen he perceived the enemy's approachleaped forthour heroe. Many a step advanced he forwardsin order to conceal the tremblinghindandif possibleto secure her retreat. And now Thwackumhaving firstdarted some livid lightning from his fiery eyesbegan to thunder forth"Fie upon it! Fie upon it! Mr. Jones. Is it possible you should be theperson?"- "You see"
answered Jones"it is possible I should be here."- "Andwho" said Thwackum"is that wicked slut with you?"- "If Ihave any wicked slut with me" cries Jones"it is possible I shallnot let you know who she is."- "I command you to tell meimmediately" says Thwackum: "and I would not have you imagineyoungmanthat your agethough it hath somewhat abridged the purpose of tuitionhath totally taken away the authority of the master. The relation of the masterand scholar is indelible; asindeedall other relations are; for they allderive their original from heaven. I would have you think yourselfthereforeas much obliged to obey me nowas when I taught you your firstrudiments."- "I believe you would" cries Jones; "but thatwill not happenunless you had the same birchen argument to convince me."-"Then I must tell you plainly" said Thwackum"I am resolved todiscover the wicked wretch."- "And I must tell you plainly"returned Jones"I am resolved you shall not." Thwackum then offeredto advanceand Jones laid hold of his arms; which Mr. Blifil endeavoured torescuedeclaring"he would not see his old master insulted."
Jones now finding himself engaged with twothought it necessary to ridhimself of one of his antagonists as soon as possible. He therefore applied tothe weakest first; andletting the parson gohe directed a blow at the youngsquire's breastwhich luckily taking placereduced him to measure his lengthon the ground.
Thwackum was so intent on the discoverythatthe moment he found himself atlibertyhe stept forward directly into the fernwithout any greatconsideration of what might in the meantime befal his friend; but he hadadvanced a very few paces into the thicketbefore Joneshaving defeatedBlifilovertook the parsonand dragged him backward by the skirt of his coat.
This parson had been a champion in his youthand had won much honour by hisfistboth at school and at the university. He had now indeedfor a greatnumber of yearsdeclined the practice of that noble art; yet was his couragefull as strong as his faithand his body no less strong than either. He wasmoreoveras the reader may perhaps have conceivedsomewhat irascible in hisnature. When he looked backthereforeand saw his friend stretched out on thegroundand found himself at the same time so roughly handled by one who hadformerly been only passive in all conflicts between them (a circumstance whichhighly aggravated the whole)his patience at length gave way; he threw himselfinto a posture of offence; and collecting all his forceattacked Jones in thefront with as much impetuosity as he had formerly attacked him in the rear.
Our heroe received the enemy's attack with the most undaunted intrepidityand his bosom resounded with the blow. This he presently returned with no lessviolenceaiming likewise at the parson's breast; but he dexterously drove downthe fist of Jonesso that it reached only his bellywhere two pounds of beefand as many of pudding were then depositedand whence consequently no hollowsound could proceed. Many lusty blowsmuch more pleasant as well as easy tohave seenthan to read or describewere given on both sides: at last a violentfallin which Jones had thrown his knees into Thwackum's breastso weakenedthe latterthat victory had been no longer dubioushad not Blifilwho had nowrecovered his strengthagain renewed the fightand by engaging with Jonesgiven the parson a moment's time to shake his earsand to regain his breath.
And now both together attacked our heroewhose blows did not retain thatforce with which they had fallen at firstso weakened was he by his combat withThwackum; for though the pedagogue chose rather to play solos on the humaninstrumentand had been lately used to those onlyyet he still retained enoughof his antient knowledge to perform his part very well in a duet.
The victoryaccording to modern customwas like to be decided by numberswhenon a suddena fourth pair of fists appeared in the battleandimmediately paid their compliments to the parson; and the owner of them at thesame time crying out"Are not you ashamedand be d--n'd to youto falltwo of you upon one?"
The battlewhich was of the kind that for distinction's sake is calledroyalnow raged with the utmost violence during a few minutes; till Blifilbeing a second time laid sprawling by JonesThwackum condescended to apply forquarter to his new antagonistwho was now found to be Mr. Western himself; forin the heat of the action none of the combatants had recognized him.
In factthat honest squirehappeningin his afternoon's walk with somecompanyto pass through the field where the bloody battle was foughtandhaving concludedfrom seeing three men engagedthat two of them must be on asidehe hastened from his companionsand with more gallantry than policyespoused the cause of the weaker party. By which generous proceeding he veryprobably prevented Mr. Jones from becoming a victim to the wrath of Thwackumand to the pious friendship which Blifil bore his old master; forbesides thedisadvantage of such oddsJones had not yet sufficiently recovered the formerstrength of his broken arm. This reinforcementhoweversoon put an end to theactionand Jones with his ally obtained the victory.
Chapter 12 -
In which is seen a more moving spectacle than all the blood in the bodies ofThwackum and Blifiland of twenty other suchis capable of producing -
The rest of Mr. Western's company were now come upbeing just at the instantwhen the action was over. These were the honest clergymanwhom we have formerlyseen at Mr. Western's table; Mrs. Westernthe aunt of Sophia; and lastlythelovely Sophia herself.
At this timethe following was the aspect of the bloody field. In one placelay on the groundall paleand almost breathlessthe vanquished Blifil. Nearhim stood the conqueror Jonesalmost covered with bloodpart of which wasnaturally his ownand part had been lately the property of the Reverend Mr.Thwackum. In a third place stood the said Thwackumlike King Porussullenlysubmitting to the conqueror. The last figure in the piece was Western the Greatmost gloriously forbearing the vanquished foe.
Blifilin whom there was little sign of lifewas at first the principalobject of the concern of every oneand particularly of Mrs. Westernwho haddrawn from her pocket a bottle of hartshornand was herself about to apply itto his nostrilswhen on a sudden the attention of the whole company wasdiverted from poor Blifilwhose spiritif it had any such designmight havenow taken an opportunity of stealing off to the other worldwithout anyceremony.
For now a more melancholy and a more lovely object lay motionless beforethem. This was no other than the charming Sophia herselfwhofrom the sight ofbloodor from fear for her fatheror from some other reasonhad fallen downin a swoonbefore any one could get to her assistance.
Mrs. Western first saw her and screamed. Immediately two or three voicescried out"Miss Western is dead." Hartshornwaterevery remedy wascalled foralmost at one and the same instant.
The reader may rememberthat in our description of this grove we mentioned amurmuring brookwhich brook did not come thereas such gentle streams flowthrough vulgar romanceswith no other purpose
than to murmur. No! Fortune had decreed to ennoble this little brook with ahigher honour than any of those which wash the plains of Arcadia ever deserved.
Jones was rubbing Blifil's templesfor he began to fear he had given him ablow too muchwhen the wordsMiss Western and Deadrushed at once on his ear.He started upleft Blifil to his fateand flew to Sophiawhomwhile all therest were running against each otherbackward and forwardlooking for water inthe dry pathshe caught up in his armsand then ran away with her over thefield to the rivulet above mentioned; whereplunging himself into the waterhecontrived to besprinkle her faceheadand neck very plentifully.
Happy was it for Sophia that the same confusion which prevented her otherfriends from serving herprevented them likewise from obstructing Jones. He hadcarried her half ways before they knew what he was doingand he had actuallyrestored her to life before they reached the waterside. She stretched our herarmsopened her eyesand cried"Oh! heavens!" just as her fatherauntand the parson came up.
Joneswho had hitherto held this lovely burthen in his armsnowrelinquished his hold; but gave her at the same instant a tender caresswhichhad her senses been then perfectly restoredcould not have escaped herobservation. As she expressedthereforeno displeasure at this freedomwesuppose she was not sufficiently recovered from her swoon at the time.
This tragical scene was now converted into a sudden scene of joy. In this ourheroe was certainly the principal character; for as he probably felt moreecstatic delight in having saved Sophia than she herself received from beingsavedso neither were the congratulations paid to her equal to what wereconferred on Jonesespecially by Mr. Western himselfwhoafter having once ortwice embraced his daughterfell to hugging and kissing Jones. He called himthe preserver of Sophiaand declared there was nothingexcept heror hisestatewhich he would not give him; but upon recollectionhe afterwardsexcepied his fox-houndsthe Chevalierand Miss Slouch (for so he called hisfavourite mare).
All fears for Sophia being now removedJones became the object of thesquire's consideration.- "Comemy lad" says Western"d'off thyquoat and wash thy feace; for att in a devilish pickleI promise thee. Comecomewash thyselfand shat go huome with me; and we'l zee to vind thee anotherquoat."
Jones immediately compliedthrew off his coatwent down to the waterandwashed both his face and bosom; for the latter was as much exposed and as bloodyas the former. But though the water could clear off the bloodit could notremove the black and blue marks which Thwackum had imprinted on both his faceand breastand whichbeing discerned by Sophiadrew from her a sigh and alook full of inexpressible tenderness.
Jones received this full in his eyesand it had infinitely a stronger effecton him than all the contusions which he had received before. An effecthoweverwidely different; for so soft and balmy was itthathad all his former blowsbeen stabsit would for some minutes have prevented his feeling their smart.
The company now moved backwardsand soon arrived where Thwackum had got Mr.Blifil again on his legs. Here we cannot suppress a pious wishthat allquarrels were to be decided by those weapons only with which Natureknowingwhat is proper for ushath supplied us; and that cold iron was to be used indigging no bowels but those of the earth. Then would warthe pastime ofmonarchsbe almost inoffensiveand battles between great armies might befought at the particular desire of several ladies of quality; whotogether withthe kings themselvesmight be actual spectators of the conflict. Then might thefield be this moment well strewed with human carcassesand the nextthe deadmenor infinitely the greatest part of themmight get uplike Mr. Bayes'stroopsand march off either at the sound of a drum or fiddleas should bepreviously agreed on.
I would avoidif possibletreating this matter ludicrouslylest grave menand politicianswhom I know to be offended at a jestmay cry pish at it; butin realitymight not a battle be as well decided by the greater number ofbroken headsbloody nosesand black eyesas by the greater heaps of mangledand murdered human bodies? Might not towns be contended for in the same manner?Indeedthis may be thought too detrimental a scheme to the French interestsince they would thus lose the advantage they have over other nations in thesuperiority of their engineers; but when I consider the gallantry and generosityof that peopleI am persuaded they would never decline putting themselves upona par with their adversary; oras the phrase ismaking themselves his match.
But such reformations are rather to be wished than hoped for: I shall contentmyselfthereforewith this short hintand return to my narrative.
Western began now to inquire into the original rise of this quarrel. To whichneither Blifil nor Jones gave any answer; but Thwackum said surlily"Ibelieve the cause is not far off; if you beat the bushes well you may findher."- "Find her?" replied Western: "what! have you beenfighting for a wench?"- "Ask the gentleman in his waistcoatthere" said Thwackum: "he best knows." "Nay then"cries Western"it is a wench certainly.- AhTomTomthou art aliquorish dog. But comegentlemenbe all friendsand go home with meandmake final peace over a bottle." "I ask your pardonsir" saysThwackum: "it is no such slight matter for a man of my character to be thusinjuriously treatedand buffeted by a boyonly because I would have done mydutyin endeavouring to detect and bring to justice a wanton harlot; butindeedthe principal fault lies in Mr. Allworthy and yourself; for if you putthe laws in executionas you ought to doyou will soon rid the country ofthese vermin."
"I would as soon rid the country of foxes" cries Western. "Ithink we ought to encourage the recruiting those numbers which we are every daylosing in the war.- But where is she? PritheeTomshow me." He then beganto beat aboutin the same language and in the same manner as if he had beenbeating for a hare; and at last cried out"Soho! Puss is not far off.Here's her formupon my soul; I believe I may cry stole away." And indeedso he might; for he had now discovered the place whence the poor girl hadatthe beginning of the fraystolen awayupon as many feet as a hare generallyuses in travelling.
Sophia now desired her father to return home; saying she found herself veryfaintand apprehended a relapse. The squire immediately complied with hisdaughter's request (for he was the fondest of parents). He earnestly endeavouredto prevail with the whole company to go and sup with him: but Blifil andThwackum absolutely refused; the former sayingthere were more reasons than hecould then mentionwhy he must decline this honour; and the latter declaring(perhaps rightly) that it was not proper for a person of his function to be seenat any place in his present condition.
Jones was incapable of refusing the pleasure of being with his Sophia; so onhe marched with Squire Western and his ladiesthe parson bringing up the rear.This hadindeedoffered to tarry with his brother Thwackumprofessing hisregard for the cloth would not permit him to depart; but Thwackum would notaccept the favourandwith no great civilitypushed him after Mr. Western.
Thus ended this bloody fray; and thus shall end the fifth book of thishistory.