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The History of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding

Part 2 out of 18

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The captain had not been in the house a week before the doctor had
reason to felicitate himself on his discernment. The captain was
indeed as great a master of the art of love as Ovid was formerly. He
had besides received proper hints from his brother, which he failed
not to improve to the best advantage.

Chapter xi.

Containing many rules, and some examples, concerning falling in love:
descriptions of beauty, and other more prudential inducements to

It hath been observed, by wise men or women, I forget which, that all
persons are doomed to be in love once in their lives. No particular
season is, as I remember, assigned for this; but the age at which Miss
Bridget was arrived, seems to me as proper a period as any to be fixed
on for this purpose: it often, indeed, happens much earlier; but when
it doth not, I have observed it seldom or never fails about this time.
Moreover, we may remark that at this season love is of a more serious
and steady nature than what sometimes shows itself in the younger
parts of life. The love of girls is uncertain, capricious, and so
foolish that we cannot always discover what the young lady would be
at; nay, it may almost be doubted whether she always knows this

Now we are never at a loss to discern this in women about forty; for
as such grave, serious, and experienced ladies well know their own
meaning, so it is always very easy for a man of the least sagacity to
discover it with the utmost certainty.

Miss Bridget is an example of all these observations. She had not been
many times in the captain's company before she was seized with this
passion. Nor did she go pining and moping about the house, like a
puny, foolish girl, ignorant of her distemper: she felt, she knew, and
she enjoyed, the pleasing sensation, of which, as she was certain it
was not only innocent but laudable, she was neither afraid nor

And to say the truth, there is, in all points, great difference
between the reasonable passion which women at this age conceive
towards men, and the idle and childish liking of a girl to a boy,
which is often fixed on the outside only, and on things of little
value and no duration; as on cherry-cheeks, small, lily-white hands,
sloe-black eyes, flowing locks, downy chins, dapper shapes; nay,
sometimes on charms more worthless than these, and less the party's
own; such are the outward ornaments of the person, for which men are
beholden to the taylor, the laceman, the periwig-maker, the hatter,
and the milliner, and not to nature. Such a passion girls may well be
ashamed, as they generally are, to own either to themselves or others.

The love of Miss Bridget was of another kind. The captain owed nothing
to any of these fop-makers in his dress, nor was his person much more
beholden to nature. Both his dress and person were such as, had they
appeared in an assembly or a drawing-room, would have been the
contempt and ridicule of all the fine ladies there. The former of
these was indeed neat, but plain, coarse, ill-fancied, and out of
fashion. As for the latter, we have expressly described it above. So
far was the skin on his cheeks from being cherry-coloured, that you
could not discern what the natural colour of his cheeks was, they
being totally overgrown by a black beard, which ascended to his eyes.
His shape and limbs were indeed exactly proportioned, but so large
that they denoted the strength rather of a ploughman than any other.
His shoulders were broad beyond all size, and the calves of his legs
larger than those of a common chairman. In short, his whole person
wanted all that elegance and beauty which is the very reverse of
clumsy strength, and which so agreeably sets off most of our fine
gentlemen; being partly owing to the high blood of their ancestors,
viz., blood made of rich sauces and generous wines, and partly to an
early town education.

Though Miss Bridget was a woman of the greatest delicacy of taste, yet
such were the charms of the captain's conversation, that she totally
overlooked the defects of his person. She imagined, and perhaps very
wisely, that she should enjoy more agreeable minutes with the captain
than with a much prettier fellow; and forewent the consideration of
pleasing her eyes, in order to procure herself much more solid

The captain no sooner perceived the passion of Miss Bridget, in which
discovery he was very quick-sighted, than he faithfully returned it.
The lady, no more than her lover, was remarkable for beauty. I would
attempt to draw her picture, but that is done already by a more able
master, Mr Hogarth himself, to whom she sat many years ago, and hath
been lately exhibited by that gentleman in his print of a winter's
morning, of which she was no improper emblem, and may be seen walking
(for walk she doth in the print) to Covent Garden church, with a
starved foot-boy behind carrying her prayer-book.

The captain likewise very wisely preferred the more solid enjoyments
he expected with this lady, to the fleeting charms of person. He was
one of those wise men who regard beauty in the other sex as a very
worthless and superficial qualification; or, to speak more truly, who
rather chuse to possess every convenience of life with an ugly woman,
than a handsome one without any of those conveniences. And having a
very good appetite, and but little nicety, he fancied he should play
his part very well at the matrimonial banquet, without the sauce of

To deal plainly with the reader, the captain, ever since his arrival,
at least from the moment his brother had proposed the match to him,
long before he had discovered any flattering symptoms in Miss Bridget,
had been greatly enamoured; that is to say, of Mr Allworthy's house
and gardens, and of his lands, tenements, and hereditaments; of all
which the captain was so passionately fond, that he would most
probably have contracted marriage with them, had he been obliged to
have taken the witch of Endor into the bargain.

As Mr Allworthy, therefore, had declared to the doctor that he never
intended to take a second wife, as his sister was his nearest
relation, and as the doctor had fished out that his intentions were to
make any child of hers his heir, which indeed the law, without his
interposition, would have done for him; the doctor and his brother
thought it an act of benevolence to give being to a human creature,
who would be so plentifully provided with the most essential means of
happiness. The whole thoughts, therefore, of both the brothers were
how to engage the affections of this amiable lady.

But fortune, who is a tender parent, and often doth more for her
favourite offspring than either they deserve or wish, had been so
industrious for the captain, that whilst he was laying schemes to
execute his purpose, the lady conceived the same desires with himself,
and was on her side contriving how to give the captain proper
encouragement, without appearing too forward; for she was a strict
observer of all rules of decorum. In this, however, she easily
succeeded; for as the captain was always on the look-out, no glance,
gesture, or word escaped him.

The satisfaction which the captain received from the kind behaviour of
Miss Bridget, was not a little abated by his apprehensions of Mr
Allworthy; for, notwithstanding his disinterested professions, the
captain imagined he would, when he came to act, follow the example of
the rest of the world, and refuse his consent to a match so
disadvantageous, in point of interest, to his sister. From what oracle
he received this opinion, I shall leave the reader to determine: but
however he came by it, it strangely perplexed him how to regulate his
conduct so as at once to convey his affection to the lady, and to
conceal it from her brother. He at length resolved to take all private
opportunities of making his addresses; but in the presence of Mr
Allworthy to be as reserved and as much upon his guard as was
possible; and this conduct was highly approved by the brother.

He soon found means to make his addresses, in express terms, to his
mistress, from whom he received an answer in the proper form, viz.:
the answer which was first made some thousands of years ago, and which
hath been handed down by tradition from mother to daughter ever since.
If I was to translate this into Latin, I should render it by these two
words, _Nolo Episcopari_: a phrase likewise of immemorial use on
another occasion.

The captain, however he came by his knowledge, perfectly well
understood the lady, and very soon after repeated his application with
more warmth and earnestness than before, and was again, according to
due form, rejected; but as he had increased in the eagerness of his
desires, so the lady, with the same propriety, decreased in the
violence of her refusal.

Not to tire the reader, by leading him through every scene of this
courtship (which, though in the opinion of a certain great author, it
is the pleasantest scene of life to the actor, is, perhaps, as dull
and tiresome as any whatever to the audience), the captain made his
advances in form, the citadel was defended in form, and at length, in
proper form, surrendered at discretion.

During this whole time, which filled the space of near a month, the
captain preserved great distance of behaviour to his lady in the
presence of the brother; and the more he succeeded with her in
private, the more reserved was he in public. And as for the lady, she
had no sooner secured her lover than she behaved to him before company
with the highest degree of indifference; so that Mr Allworthy must
have had the insight of the devil (or perhaps some of his worse
qualities) to have entertained the least suspicion of what was going

Chapter xii.

Containing what the reader may, perhaps, expect to find in it.

In all bargains, whether to fight or to marry, or concerning any other
such business, little previous ceremony is required to bring the
matter to an issue when both parties are really in earnest. This was
the case at present, and in less 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 was undertaken by the doctor.

One day, then, as Allworthy was walking in his garden, the doctor came
to him, and, with great gravity of aspect, and all the concern which
he could possibly affect in his countenance, said, "I am come, sir, to
impart an affair to you of the utmost consequence; but how shall I
mention to you what it almost distracts me to think of!" He then
launched forth into the most bitter invectives both against men and
women; accusing the former of having no attachment but to their
interest, and the latter of being so addicted to vicious inclinations
that they could never be safely trusted with one of the other sex.
"Could I," said he, "sir, have suspected that a lady of such prudence,
such judgment, such learning, should indulge so indiscreet a passion!
or could I have imagined that my brother--why do I call him so? he is
no longer a brother of mine----"

"Indeed but he is," said Allworthy, "and a brother of mine too."

"Bless me, sir!" said the doctor, "do you know the shocking affair?"

"Look'ee, Mr Blifil," answered the good man, "it hath been my constant
maxim in life to make the best of all matters which happen. My sister,
though many years younger than I, is at least old enough to be at the
age of discretion. Had he imposed on a child, I should have been more
averse to have forgiven him; but a woman upwards of thirty must
certainly be supposed to know what will make her most happy. She hath
married a gentleman, though perhaps not quite her equal in fortune;
and if he hath any perfections in her eye which can make up that
deficiency, I see no reason why I should object to her choice of her
own happiness; which I, no more than herself, imagine to consist only
in immense wealth. I might, perhaps, from the many declarations I have
made of complying with almost any proposal, have expected to have been
consulted on this occasion; but these matters are of a very delicate
nature, and the scruples of modesty, perhaps, are not to be overcome.
As to your brother, I have really no anger against him at all. He hath
no obligations to me, nor do I think he was under any necessity of
asking my consent, since the woman is, as I have said, _sui juris_,
and of a proper age to be entirely answerable only, to herself for her

The doctor accused Mr Allworthy of too great lenity, repeated his
accusations against his brother, and declared that he should never
more be brought either to see, or to own him for his relation. He then
launched forth into a panegyric on Allworthy's goodness; into the
highest encomiums on his friendship; and concluded by saying, he
should never forgive his brother for having put the place which he
bore in that friendship to a hazard.

Allworthy thus answered: "Had I conceived any displeasure against your
brother, I should never have carried that resentment to the innocent:
but I assure you I have no such displeasure. Your brother appears to
me to be a man of sense and honour. I do not disapprove the taste of
my sister; nor will I doubt but that she is equally the object of his
inclinations. I have always thought love the only foundation of
happiness in a married state, as it can only produce that high and
tender friendship which should always be the cement of this union;
and, in my opinion, all those marriages which are contracted from
other motives are greatly criminal; they are a profanation of a most
holy ceremony, and generally end in disquiet and misery: for surely we
may call it a profanation to convert 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 by the consideration of
a beautiful person, or a great fortune?

"To deny that beauty is an agreeable object to the eye, and even
worthy some admiration, would be false and foolish. Beautiful is an
epithet often used in Scripture, and always mentioned with honour. It
was my own fortune to marry a woman whom the world thought handsome,
and I can truly say I liked her the better on that account. But to
make this the sole consideration of marriage, to lust after it so
violently as to overlook all imperfections for its sake, or to require
it so absolutely as to reject and disdain religion, virtue, and sense,
which are qualities in their nature of much higher perfection, only
because an elegance of person is wanting: this is surely inconsistent,
either with a wise man or a good Christian. And it is, perhaps, being
too charitable to conclude that such persons mean anything more by
their marriage than to please their carnal appetites; for the
satisfaction of which, we are taught, it was not ordained.

"In the next place, with respect to fortune. Worldly prudence,
perhaps, exacts some consideration on this head; nor will I absolutely
and altogether condemn it. As the world is constituted, the demands of
a married state, and the care of posterity, require some little regard
to what we call circumstances. Yet this provision is greatly
increased, beyond what is really necessary, by folly and vanity, which
create abundantly more wants than nature. Equipage for the wife, and
large fortunes for the children, are by custom enrolled in the list of
necessaries; and to procure these, everything truly solid and sweet,
and virtuous and religious, are neglected and overlooked.

"And this in many degrees; the last and greatest of which seems scarce
distinguishable from madness;--I mean where persons of immense
fortunes contract themselves to those who are, and must be,
disagreeable to them--to fools and knaves--in order to increase an
estate already larger even than the demands of their pleasures. Surely
such persons, if they will not be thought mad, must own, either that
they are incapable of tasting the sweets of the tenderest friendship,
or that they sacrifice the greatest happiness of which they are
capable to the vain, uncertain, and senseless laws of vulgar opinion,
which owe as well their force as their foundation to folly."

Here Allworthy concluded his sermon, to which Blifil had listened with
the profoundest attention, though it cost him some pains to prevent
now and then a small discomposure of his muscles. He now praised every
period of what he had heard with the warmth of a young divine, who
hath the honour to dine with a bishop the same day in which his
lordship hath mounted the pulpit.

Chapter xiii.

Which concludes the first book; with an instance of ingratitude,
which, we hope, will appear unnatural.

The reader, from what hath been said, may imagine that the
reconciliation (if indeed it could be so called) was only matter of
form; we shall therefore pass it over, and hasten to what must surely
be thought matter 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; nay, I absolutely desired the good gentleman not to forgive you:
for you know after he had made a declaration in your favour, I might
with safety venture on such a request with a person of his temper; and
I was willing, as well for your sake as for my own, to prevent the
least possibility of a suspicion."

Captain Blifil took not the least notice of this, at that time; but he
afterwards made a very notable use of it.

One of the maxims which the devil, in a late visit upon earth, left to
his disciples, is, when once you are got up, to kick the stool from
under you. In plain English, when you have made your fortune by the
good offices of a friend, you are advised to discard him as soon as
you can.

Whether the captain acted by this maxim, I will not positively
determine: so far we may confidently say, that his actions may be
fairly derived from this diabolical principle; and indeed it is
difficult to assign any other motive to them: for no sooner was he
possessed of Miss Bridget, and reconciled to Allworthy, than he began
to show a coldness to his brother which increased daily; till at
length it grew into rudeness, and became very visible to every one.

The doctor remonstrated to him privately concerning this behaviour,
but could obtain no other satisfaction than the following plain
declaration: "If you dislike anything in my brother's house, sir, you
know you are at liberty to quit it." This strange, cruel, and almost
unaccountable ingratitude in the captain, absolutely broke the poor
doctor's heart; for ingratitude never so thoroughly pierces the human
breast as when it proceeds from those in whose behalf we have been
guilty of transgressions. Reflections on great and good actions,
however they are received or returned by those in whose favour they
are performed, always administer some comfort to us; but what
consolation shall we receive under so biting a calamity as the
ungrateful behaviour of our friend, when our wounded conscience at the
same time flies in our face, and upbraids us with having spotted it in
the service of one so worthless!

Mr Allworthy himself spoke to the captain in his brother's behalf, and
desired to know what offence the doctor had committed; when the
hard-hearted villain had the baseness to say that he should never
forgive him for the injury which he had endeavoured to do him in his
favour; which, he said, he had pumped out of him, and was such a
cruelty that it ought not to be forgiven.

Allworthy spoke in very high terms upon this declaration, which, he
said, became not a human creature. He expressed, indeed, so much
resentment against an unforgiving temper, that the captain at last
pretended to be convinced by his arguments, and outwardly professed to
be reconciled.

As for the bride, she was now in her honeymoon, and so passionately
fond of her new husband that he never appeared to her to be in the
wrong; and his displeasure against any person was a sufficient reason
for her dislike to the same.

The captain, at Mr Allworthy's instance, was outwardly, as we have
said, reconciled to his brother; yet the same rancour remained in his
heart; and he found so many opportunities of giving him private hints
of this, that the house at last grew insupportable to the poor doctor;
and he chose rather to submit to any inconveniences which he might
encounter in the world, than longer to bear these 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 bring himself to submit to the confession, by which he must take
to his share so great a portion of guilt. Besides, by how much the
worse man he represented his brother to be, so much the greater would
his own offence appear to Allworthy, and so much the greater, he had
reason to imagine, would be his resentment.

He feigned, therefore, some excuse of business for his departure, and
promised to return soon again; and took leave of his brother with so
well-dissembled content, that, as the captain played his part to the
same perfection, Allworthy remained well satisfied with the truth of
the reconciliation.

The doctor went directly to London, where he died soon after of a
broken heart; a distemper which kills many more than is generally
imagined, and would have a fair title to a place in the bill of
mortality, did it not differ in one instance from all other
diseases--viz., that no physician can cure it.

Now, upon the most diligent enquiry into the former lives of these two
brothers, I find, besides the cursed and hellish maxim of policy above
mentioned, another reason for the captain's conduct: the captain,
besides what we have before said of him, was a man of great pride and
fierceness, and had always treated his brother, who was of a different
complexion, and greatly deficient in both these qualities, with the
utmost air of superiority. The doctor, however, had much the larger
share of learning, and was by many reputed to have the better
understanding. This the captain knew, and could not bear; for though
envy is at best a very malignant passion, yet is its bitterness
greatly heightened by mixing with contempt towards the same object;
and very much afraid I am, that whenever an obligation is joined to
these two, indignation and not gratitude will be the product of all



Chapter i.

Showing what kind of a history this is; what it is like, and what it
is not like.

Though we have properly enough entitled this our work, a history, and
not a life; nor an apology for a life, as is more in fashion; yet we
intend in it rather to pursue the method of those writers, who profess
to disclose the revolutions of countries, than to imitate the painful
and voluminous historian, who, to preserve the regularity of his
series, thinks himself obliged to fill up as much paper with the
detail of months and years in which nothing remarkable happened, as he
employs upon those notable aeras when the greatest scenes have been
transacted on the human stage.

Such histories as these do, in reality, very much resemble a
newspaper, which consists of just the same number of words, whether
there be any news in it or not. They may likewise be compared to a
stage coach, which performs constantly the same course, empty as well
as full. The writer, indeed, seems to think himself obliged to keep
even pace with time, whose amanuensis he is; and, like his master,
travels as slowly through centuries of monkish dulness, when the world
seems to have been asleep, as through that bright and busy age so
nobly distinguished 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 esset, terraque marique._

Of which we wish we could give our readers 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 yet, which part should fall,
Which nation rise the glorious lord of all.

Now it is our purpose, in the ensuing pages, to pursue a contrary
method. When any extraordinary scene presents itself (as we trust will
often be the case), we shall spare no pains nor paper to open it at
large to our reader; but if whole years should pass without producing
anything worthy his notice, we shall not be afraid of a chasm in our
history; but shall hasten on to matters of consequence, and leave such
periods of time totally unobserved.

These are indeed to be considered as blanks in the grand lottery of
time. We therefore, who are the registers of that lottery, shall
imitate those sagacious persons who deal in that which is drawn at
Guildhall, and who never trouble the public with the many blanks they
dispose of; but when a great prize happens to be drawn, the newspapers
are presently filled with it, and the world is sure to be informed at
whose office it was sold: indeed, commonly two or three different
offices lay claim to the honour of having disposed of it; by which, I
suppose, the adventurers are given to understand that certain brokers
are in the secrets of Fortune, and indeed of her cabinet council.

My reader then is not to be surprized, if, in the course of this work,
he shall find some chapters very short, and others altogether as long;
some that contain only the time of a single day, and others that
comprise years; in a word, if my history sometimes seems to stand
still, and sometimes to fly. For all which I shall not look on myself
as accountable to any court of critical jurisdiction whatever: for as
I am, in reality, the founder of a new province of writing, so I am at
liberty to make what laws I please therein. And these laws, my
readers, whom I consider as my subjects, are bound to believe in and
to obey; with which that they may readily and cheerfully comply, I do
hereby assure them that I shall principally regard their ease and
advantage in all such institutions: for I do not, like a _jure divino_
tyrant, imagine that they are my slaves, or my commodity. I am,
indeed, set over them for their own good only, and was created for
their use, and not they for mine. Nor do I doubt, while I make their
interest the great rule of my writings, they will unanimously concur
in supporting my dignity, and in rendering me all the honour I shall
deserve or desire.

Chapter ii.

Religious cautions against showing too much favour to bastards; and a
great discovery made by Mrs Deborah Wilkins.

Eight months after the celebration of the nuptials between Captain
Blifil and Miss Bridget Allworthy, a young lady of great beauty,
merit, and fortune, was Miss Bridget, by reason of a fright, delivered
of a fine boy. The child was indeed to all appearances perfect; but
the midwife discovered it was born a month before its full time.

Though the birth of an heir by his beloved sister was a circumstance
of great joy to Mr Allworthy, yet it did not alienate his affections
from the little foundling, to whom he had been godfather, had given
his own name of Thomas, and whom he had hitherto seldom failed of
visiting, at least once a day, in his nursery.

He told his sister, if she pleased, the new-born infant should be bred
up together with little Tommy; to which she consented, though with
some little reluctance: for she had truly a great complacence for her
brother; and hence she had always behaved towards the foundling with
rather more kindness than ladies of rigid virtue can sometimes bring
themselves to show to these children, who, however innocent, may be
truly called the living monuments of incontinence.

The captain could not so easily bring himself to bear what he
condemned as a fault in Mr Allworthy. He gave him frequent hints, that
to adopt the fruits of sin, was to give countenance to it. He quoted
several texts (for he was well read in Scripture), such as, _He visits
the sins of the fathers upon the children; and the fathers have eaten
sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge_,&c. Whence he
argued the legality of punishing the crime of the parent on the
bastard. He said, "Though the law did not positively allow the
destroying such base-born children, yet it held them to be the
children of nobody; that the Church considered them as the children of
nobody; and that at the best, they ought to be brought up to the
lowest and vilest offices of the commonwealth."

Mr Allworthy answered to all this, and much more, which the captain
had urged on this subject, "That, however guilty the parents might be,
the children were certainly innocent: that as to the texts he had
quoted, the former of them was a particular denunciation against the
Jews, for the sin of idolatry, of relinquishing and hating their
heavenly King; and the latter was parabolically spoken, and rather
intended to denote the certain and necessary consequences of sin, than
any express judgment against it. But to represent the Almighty as
avenging the sins of the guilty on the innocent, was indecent, if not
blasphemous, as it was to represent him acting against the first
principles of natural justice, and against the original notions of
right and wrong, which he himself had implanted in our minds; by which
we were to judge not only in all matters which were not revealed, but
even of the truth of revelation itself. He said he knew many held the
same principles with the captain on this head; but he was himself
firmly convinced to the contrary, and would provide in the same manner
for this poor infant, as if a legitimate child had had fortune to have
been found in the same place."

While the captain was taking all opportunities to press these and such
like arguments, to remove the little foundling from Mr Allworthy's, of
whose fondness for him he began to be jealous, Mrs Deborah had made a
discovery, which, in its event, threatened at least to prove more
fatal to poor Tommy than all the reasonings of the captain.

Whether the insatiable curiosity of this good woman had carried her on
to that business, or whether she did it to confirm herself in the good
graces of Mrs Blifil, who, notwithstanding her outward behaviour to
the foundling, frequently abused the infant in private, and her
brother too, for his fondness to it, I will not determine; but she had
now, as she conceived, fully detected the father of the foundling.

Now, as this was a discovery of great consequence, it may be necessary
to trace it from the fountain-head. We shall therefore very minutely
lay open those previous matters by which it was produced; and for that
purpose we shall be obliged to reveal all the secrets of a little
family with which my reader is at present entirely unacquainted; and
of which the oeconomy was so rare and extraordinary, that I fear it
will shock the utmost credulity of many married persons.

Chapter iii.

The description of a domestic government founded upon rules directly
contrary to those of Aristotle.

My reader may please to remember he hath been informed that Jenny
Jones had lived some years with a certain schoolmaster, who had, at
her earnest desire, instructed her in Latin, in which, to do justice
to her genius, she had so improved herself, that she was become a
better scholar than her master.

Indeed, though this poor man had undertaken a profession to which
learning must be allowed necessary, this was the least of his
commendations. He was one of the best-natured fellows in the world,
and was, at the same time, master of so much pleasantry and humour,
that he was reputed the wit of the country; and all the neighbouring
gentlemen were so desirous of his company, that as denying was not his
talent, he spent much time at their houses, which he might, with more
emolument, have spent in his school.

It may be imagined that a gentleman so qualified and so disposed, was
in no danger of becoming formidable to the learned seminaries of Eton
or Westminster. To speak plainly, his scholars were divided into two
classes: in the upper of which was a young gentleman, the son of a
neighbouring squire, who, at the age of seventeen, was just entered
into his Syntaxis; and in the lower was a second son of the same
gentleman, who, together with seven parish-boys, was learning to read
and write.

The stipend arising hence would hardly have indulged the schoolmaster
in the luxuries of life, had he not added to this office those of
clerk and barber, and had not Mr Allworthy added to the whole an
annuity of ten pounds, which the poor man received every Christmas,
and with which he was enabled to cheer his heart during that sacred

Among his other treasures, the pedagogue had a wife, whom he had
married out of Mr Allworthy's kitchen for her fortune, viz., twenty
pounds, which she had there amassed.

This woman was not very amiable in her person. Whether she sat to my
friend Hogarth, or no, I will not determine; but she exactly resembled
the young woman who is pouring out her mistress's tea in the third
picture of the Harlot's Progress. She was, besides, a profest follower
of that noble sect founded by Xantippe of old; by means of which she
became more formidable in the school than her husband; for, to confess
the truth, he was never master there, or anywhere else, in her

Though her countenance did not denote much natural sweetness of
temper, yet this was, perhaps, somewhat soured by a circumstance which
generally poisons matrimonial felicity; for children are rightly
called the pledges of love; and her husband, though they had been
married nine years, had given her no such pledges; a default for which
he had no excuse, either from age or health, being not yet thirty
years old, and what they call a jolly brisk young man.

Hence arose another evil, which produced no little uneasiness to the
poor pedagogue, of whom she maintained so constant a jealousy, that he
durst hardly speak to one woman in the parish; for the least degree of
civility, or even correspondence, with any female, was sure to bring
his wife upon her back, and his own.

In order to guard herself against matrimonial injuries in her own
house, as she kept one maid-servant, she always took care to chuse her
out of that order of females whose faces are taken as a kind of
security for their virtue; of which number Jenny Jones, as the reader
hath been before informed, was one.

As the face of this young woman might be called pretty good security
of the before-mentioned kind, and as her behaviour had been always
extremely modest, which is the certain consequence of understanding in
women; she had passed above four years at Mr Partridge's (for that was
the schoolmaster's name) without creating the least suspicion in her
mistress. Nay, she had been treated with uncommon kindness, and her
mistress had permitted Mr Partridge to give her those instructions
which have been before commemorated.

But it is with jealousy as with the gout: when such distempers are in
the blood, there is never any security against their breaking out; and
that often on the slightest occasions, and when least suspected.

Thus it happened to Mrs Partridge, who had submitted four years to her
husband's teaching this young woman, and had suffered her often to
neglect her work, in order to pursue her learning. For, passing by one
day, as the girl was reading, and her master leaning over her, the
girl, I know not for what reason, suddenly started up from her chair:
and this was the first time that suspicion ever entered into the head
of her mistress. This did not, however, at that time discover itself,
but lay lurking in her mind, like a concealed enemy, who waits for a
reinforcement of additional strength before he openly declares himself
and proceeds upon hostile operations: and such additional strength
soon arrived to corroborate her suspicion; for not long after, the
husband and wife being at dinner, the master said to his maid, _Da
mihi aliquid potum:_ upon which the poor girl smiled, perhaps at the
badness of the Latin, and, when her mistress cast her eyes on her,
blushed, possibly with a consciousness of having laughed at her
master. Mrs Partridge, upon this, immediately fell into a fury, and
discharged the trencher on which she was eating, at the head of poor
Jenny, crying out, "You impudent whore, do you play tricks with my
husband before my face?" and at the same instant rose from her chair
with a knife in her hand, with which, most probably, she would have
executed very tragical vengeance, had not the girl taken the advantage
of being nearer the door than her mistress, and avoided her fury by
running away: for, as to the poor husband, whether surprize had
rendered him motionless, or fear (which is full as probable) had
restrained him from venturing at any opposition, he sat staring and
trembling in his chair; nor did he once offer to move or speak, till
his wife, returning from the pursuit of Jenny, made some defensive
measures necessary for his own preservation; and he likewise was
obliged to retreat, after the example of the maid.

This good woman was, no more than Othello, of a disposition

To make a life of jealousy
And follow still the changes of the moon
With fresh suspicions--

With her, as well as him,

--To be once in doubt,
Was once to be resolvd--

she therefore ordered Jenny immediately to pack up her alls and
begone, for that she was determined she should not sleep that night
within her walls.

Mr Partridge had profited too much by experience to interpose in a
matter of this nature. He therefore had recourse to his usual receipt
of patience, for, though he was not a great adept in Latin, he
remembered, and well understood, the advice contained in these words

--_Leve fit quod bene fertur onus_

in English:

A burden becomes lightest when it is well borne--

which he had always in his mouth; and of which, to say the truth, he
had often occasion to experience the truth.

Jenny offered to make protestations of her innocence; but the tempest
was too strong for her to be heard. She then betook herself to the
business of packing, for which a small quantity of brown paper
sufficed, and, having received her small pittance of wages, she
returned home.

The schoolmaster and his consort passed their time unpleasantly enough
that evening, but something or other happened before the next morning,
which a little abated the fury of Mrs Partridge; and she at length
admitted her husband to make his excuses: to which she gave the
readier belief, as he had, instead of desiring her to recall Jenny,
professed a satisfaction in her being dismissed, saying, she was grown
of little use as a servant, spending all her time in reading, and was
become, moreover, very pert and obstinate; for, indeed, she and her
master had lately had frequent disputes in literature; in which, as
hath been said, she was become greatly his superior. This, however, he
would by no means allow; and as he called her persisting in the right,
obstinacy, he began to hate her with no small inveteracy.

Chapter iv.

Containing one of the most bloody battles, or rather duels, that were
ever recorded in domestic history.

For the reasons mentioned in the preceding chapter, and from some
other matrimonial concessions, well known to most husbands, and which,
like the secrets of freemasonry, should be divulged to none who are
not members of that honourable fraternity, Mrs Partridge was pretty
well satisfied that she had condemned her husband without cause, and
endeavoured by acts of kindness to make him amends for her false
suspicion. Her passions were indeed equally violent, whichever way
they inclined; for as she could be extremely angry, so could she be
altogether as fond.

But though these passions ordinarily succeed each other, and scarce
twenty-four hours ever passed in which the pedagogue was not, in some
degree, the object of both; yet, on extraordinary occasions, when the
passion of anger had raged very high, the remission was usually
longer: and so was the case at present; for she continued longer in a
state of affability, after this fit of jealousy was ended, than her
husband had ever known before: and, had it not been for some little
exercises, which all the followers of Xantippe are obliged to perform
daily, Mr Partridge would have enjoyed a perfect serenity of several

Perfect calms at sea are always suspected by the experienced mariner
to be the forerunners of a storm, and I know some persons, who,
without being generally the devotees of superstition, are apt to
apprehend that great and unusual peace or tranquillity will be
attended with its opposite. For which reason the antients used, on
such occasions, to sacrifice to the goddess Nemesis, a deity who was
thought by them to look with an invidious eye on human felicity, and
to have a peculiar delight in overturning it.

As we are very far from believing in any such heathen goddess, or from
encouraging any superstition, so we wish Mr John Fr----, or some other
such philosopher, would bestir himself a little, in order to find out
the real cause of this sudden transition from good to bad fortune,
which hath been so often remarked, and of which we shall proceed to
give an instance; for it is our province to relate facts, and we shall
leave causes to persons of much higher genius.

Mankind have always taken great delight in knowing and descanting on
the actions of others. Hence there have been, in all ages and nations,
certain places set apart for public rendezvous, where the curious
might meet and satisfy their mutual curiosity. Among these, the
barbers' shops have justly borne the pre-eminence. Among the Greeks,
barbers' news was a proverbial expression; and Horace, in one of his
epistles, makes honourable mention of the Roman barbers in the same

Those of England are known to be no wise inferior to their Greek or
Roman predecessors. You there see foreign affairs discussed in a
manner little inferior to that with which they are handled in the
coffee-houses; and domestic occurrences are much more largely and
freely treated in the former than in the latter. But this serves only
for the men. Now, whereas the females of this country, especially
those of the lower order, do associate themselves much more than those
of other nations, our polity would be highly deficient, if they had
not some place set apart likewise for the indulgence of their
curiosity, seeing they are in this no way inferior to the other half
of the species.

In enjoying, therefore, such place of rendezvous, the British fair
ought to esteem themselves more happy than any of their foreign
sisters; as I do not remember either to have read in history, or to
have seen in my travels, anything of the like kind.

This place then is no other than the chandler's shop, the known seat
of all the news; or, as it is vulgarly called, gossiping, in every
parish in England.

Mrs Partridge being one day at this assembly of females, was asked by
one of her neighbours, if she had heard no news lately of Jenny Jones?
To which she answered in the negative. Upon this the other replied,
with a smile, That the parish was very much obliged to her for having
turned Jenny away as she did.

Mrs Partridge, whose jealousy, as the reader well knows, was long
since cured, and who had no other quarrel to her maid, answered
boldly, She did not know any obligation the parish had to her on that
account; for she believed Jenny had scarce left her equal behind her.

"No, truly," said the gossip, "I hope not, though I fancy we have
sluts enow too. Then you have not heard, it seems, that she hath been
brought to bed of two bastards? but as they are not born here, my
husband and the other overseer says we shall not be obliged to keep

"Two bastards!" answered Mrs Partridge hastily: "you surprize me! I
don't know whether we must keep them; but I am sure they must have
been begotten here, for the wench hath not been nine months gone

Nothing can be so quick and sudden as the operations of the mind,
especially when hope, or fear, or jealousy, to which the two others
are but journeymen, set it to work. It occurred instantly to her, that
Jenny had scarce ever been out of her own house while she lived with
her. The leaning over the chair, the sudden starting up, the Latin,
the smile, and many other things, rushed upon her all at once. The
satisfaction her husband expressed in the departure of Jenny, appeared
now to be only dissembled; again, in the same instant, to be real; but
yet to confirm her jealousy, proceeding from satiety, and a hundred
other bad causes. In a word, she was convinced of her husband's guilt,
and immediately left the assembly in confusion.

As fair Grimalkin, who, though the youngest of the feline family,
degenerates not in ferocity from the elder branches of her house, and
though inferior in strength, is equal in fierceness to the noble tiger
himself, when a little mouse, whom it hath long tormented in sport,
escapes from her clutches for a while, frets, scolds, growls, swears;
but if the trunk, or box, behind which the mouse lay hid be again
removed, she flies like lightning on her prey, and, with envenomed
wrath, bites, scratches, mumbles, and tears the little animal.

Not with less fury did Mrs Partridge fly on the poor pedagogue. Her
tongue, teeth, and hands, fell all upon him at once. His wig was in an
instant torn from his head, his shirt from his back, and from his face
descended five streams of blood, denoting the number of claws with
which nature had unhappily armed the enemy.

Mr Partridge acted for some time on the defensive only; indeed he
attempted only to guard his face with his hands; but as he found that
his antagonist abated nothing of her rage, he thought he might, at
least, endeavour to disarm her, or rather to confine her arms; in
doing which her cap fell off in the struggle, and her hair being too
short to reach her shoulders, erected itself on her head; her stays
likewise, which were laced through one single hole at the bottom,
burst open; and her breasts, which were much more redundant than her
hair, hung down below her middle; her face was likewise marked with
the blood of her husband: her teeth gnashed with rage; and fire, such
as sparkles from a smith's forge, darted from her eyes. So that,
altogether, this Amazonian heroine might have been an object of terror
to a much bolder man than Mr Partridge.

He had, at length, the good fortune, by getting possession of her
arms, to render those weapons which she wore at the ends of her
fingers useless; which she no sooner perceived, than the softness of
her sex prevailed over her rage, and she presently dissolved in tears,
which soon after concluded in a fit.

That small share of sense which Mr Partridge had hitherto preserved
through this scene of fury, of the cause of which he was hitherto
ignorant, now utterly abandoned him. He ran instantly into the street,
hallowing out that his wife was in the agonies of death, and
beseeching the neighbours to fly with the utmost haste to her
assistance. Several good women obeyed his summons, who entering his
house, and applying the usual remedies on such occasions, Mrs
Partridge was at length, to the great joy of her husband, brought to

As soon as she had a little recollected her spirits, and somewhat
composed herself with a cordial, she began to inform the company of
the manifold injuries she had received from her husband; who, she
said, was not contented to injure her in her bed; but, upon her
upbraiding him with it, had treated her in the cruelest manner
imaginable; had tore her cap and hair from her head, and her stays
from her body, giving her, at the same time, several blows, the marks
of which she should carry to the grave.

The poor man, who bore on his face many more visible marks of the
indignation of his wife, stood in silent astonishment at this
accusation; which the reader will, I believe, bear witness for him,
had greatly exceeded the truth; for indeed he had not struck her once;
and this silence being interpreted to be a confession of the charge by
the whole court, they all began at once, _una voce_, to rebuke and
revile him, repeating often, that none but a coward ever struck a

Mr Partridge bore all this patiently; but when his wife appealed to
the blood on her face, as an evidence of his barbarity, he could not
help laying claim to his own blood, for so it really was; as he
thought it very unnatural, that 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 answer, than that it was a pity it had
not come from his heart, instead of his face; all declaring, that, if
their husbands should lift their hands against them, they would have
their hearts' bloods out of their bodies.

After much admonition for what was past, and much good advice to Mr
Partridge for his future behaviour, the company at length departed,
and left the husband and wife to a personal conference together, in
which Mr Partridge soon learned the cause of all his sufferings.

Chapter v.

Containing much matter to exercise the judgment and reflection of the

I believe it is a true observation, that few secrets are divulged to
one person only; but certainly, it would be next to a miracle that a
fact of this kind should be known to a whole parish, and not transpire
any farther.

And, indeed, a very few days had past, before the country, to use a
common phrase, rung of the schoolmaster of Little Baddington; who was
said to have beaten his wife in the most cruel manner. Nay, in some
places it was reported he had murdered her; in others, that he had
broke her arms; in others, her legs: in short, there was scarce an
injury which can be done to a human creature, but what Mrs Partridge
was somewhere or other affirmed to have received from her husband.

The cause of this quarrel was likewise variously reported; for as some
people said that Mrs Partridge had caught her husband in bed with his
maid, so many other reasons, of a very different kind, went abroad.
Nay, some transferred the guilt to the wife, and the jealousy to the

Mrs Wilkins had long ago heard of this quarrel; but, as a different
cause from the true one had reached her ears, she thought proper to
conceal it; and the rather, perhaps, as the blame was universally laid
on Mr Partridge; and his wife, when she was servant to Mr Allworthy,
had in something offended Mrs Wilkins, who was not of a very forgiving

But Mrs Wilkins, whose eyes could see objects at a distance, and who
could very well look forward a few years into futurity, had perceived
a strong likelihood of Captain Blifil's being hereafter her master;
and as she plainly discerned that the captain bore no great goodwill
to the little foundling, she fancied it would be rendering him an
agreeable service, if she could make any discoveries that might lessen
the affection which Mr Allworthy seemed to have contracted for this
child, and which gave visible uneasiness to the captain, who could not
entirely conceal it even before Allworthy himself; though his wife,
who acted her part much better in public, frequently recommended to
him her own example, of conniving at the folly of her brother, which,
she said, she at least as well perceived, and as much resented, as any
other possibly could.

Mrs Wilkins having therefore, by accident, gotten a true scent of the
above story,--though long after it had happened, failed not to satisfy
herself thoroughly of all the particulars; and then acquainted the
captain, that she had at last discovered the true father of the little
bastard, which she was sorry, she said, to see her master lose his
reputation in the country, by taking so much notice of.

The captain chid her for the conclusion of her speech, as an improper
assurance in judging of her master's actions: for if his honour, or
his understanding, would have suffered the captain to make an alliance
with Mrs Wilkins, his pride would by no means have admitted it. And to
say the truth, there is no conduct less politic, than to enter into
any confederacy with your friend's servants against their master: for
by these means you afterwards become the slave of these very servants;
by whom you are constantly liable to be betrayed. And this
consideration, perhaps it was, which prevented Captain Blifil from
being more explicit with Mrs Wilkins, or from encouraging the abuse
which she had bestowed on Allworthy.

But though he declared no satisfaction to Mrs Wilkins at this
discovery, he enjoyed not a little from it in his own mind, and
resolved to make the best use of it he was able.

He kept this matter a long time concealed within his own breast, in
hopes that Mr Allworthy might hear it from some other person; but Mrs
Wilkins, whether she resented the captain's behaviour, or whether his
cunning was beyond her, and she feared the discovery might displease
him, never afterwards opened her lips about the matter.

I have thought it somewhat strange, upon reflection, that the
housekeeper never acquainted Mrs Blifil with this news, as women are
more inclined to communicate all pieces of intelligence to their own
sex, than to ours. The only way, as it appears to me, of solving this
difficulty, is, by imputing it to that distance which was now grown
between the lady and the housekeeper: whether this arose from a
jealousy in Mrs Blifil, that Wilkins showed too great a respect to the
foundling; for while she was endeavouring to ruin the little infant,
in order to ingratiate herself with the captain, she was every day
more and more commending it before Allworthy, as his fondness for it
every day increased. This, notwithstanding all the care she took at
other times to express the direct contrary to Mrs Blifil, perhaps
offended that delicate lady, who certainly now hated Mrs Wilkins; and
though she did not, or possibly could not, absolutely remove her from
her place, she found, however, the means of making her life very
uneasy. This Mrs Wilkins, at length, so resented, that she very openly
showed all manner of respect and fondness to little Tommy, in
opposition to Mrs Blifil.

The captain, therefore, finding the story in danger of perishing, at
last took an opportunity to reveal it himself.

He was one day engaged with Mr Allworthy in a discourse on charity: in
which the captain, with great learning, proved to Mr Allworthy, that
the word charity in Scripture nowhere means beneficence or generosity.

"The Christian religion," he said, "was instituted for much nobler
purposes, than to enforce a lesson which many heathen philosophers had
taught us long before, and which, though it might perhaps be called a
moral virtue, savoured but little of that sublime, Christian-like
disposition, that vast elevation of thought, in purity approaching to
angelic perfection, to be attained, expressed, and felt only by grace.
Those," he said, "came nearer to the Scripture meaning, who understood
by it candour, or the forming of a benevolent opinion of our brethren,
and passing a favourable judgment on their actions; a virtue much
higher, and more extensive in its nature, than a pitiful distribution
of alms, which, though we would never so much prejudice, or even ruin
our families, could never reach many; whereas charity, in the other
and truer sense, might be extended to all mankind."

He said, "Considering who the disciples were, it would be absurd to
conceive the doctrine of generosity, or giving alms, to have been
preached to them. And, as we could not well imagine this doctrine
should be preached by its Divine Author to men who could not practise
it, much less should we think it understood so by those who can
practise it, and do not.

"But though," continued he, "there is, I am afraid, little merit in
these benefactions, there would, I must confess, be much pleasure in
them to a good mind, if it was not abated by one consideration. I
mean, that we are liable to be imposed upon, and to confer our
choicest favours often on the undeserving, as you must own was your
case in your bounty to that worthless fellow Partridge: for two or
three such examples must greatly lessen the inward satisfaction which
a good man would otherwise find in generosity; nay, may even make him
timorous in bestowing, lest he should be guilty of supporting vice,
and encouraging the wicked; a crime of a very black dye, and for which
it will by no means be a sufficient excuse, that we have not actually
intended such an encouragement; unless we have used the utmost caution
in chusing the objects of our beneficence. A consideration which, I
make no doubt, hath greatly checked the liberality of many a worthy
and pious man."

Mr Allworthy answered, "He could not dispute with the captain in the
Greek language, and therefore could say nothing as to the true sense
of the word which is translated charity; but that he had always
thought it was interpreted to consist in action, and that giving alms
constituted at least one branch of that virtue.

"As to the meritorious part," he said, "he readily agreed with the
captain; for where could be the merit of barely discharging a duty?
which," he said, "let the word charity have what construction it
would, it sufficiently appeared to be from the whole tenor of the New
Testament. And as he thought it an indispensable duty, enjoined both
by the Christian law, and by the law of nature itself; so was it
withal so pleasant, that if any duty could be said to be its own
reward, or to pay us while we are discharging it, it was this.

"To confess the truth," said he, "there is one degree of generosity
(of charity I would have called it), which seems to have some show of
merit, and that is, where, from a principle of benevolence and
Christian love, we bestow on another what we really want ourselves;
where, in order to lessen the distresses of another, we condescend to
share some part of them, by giving what even our own necessities
cannot well spare. This is, I think, meritorious; but to relieve our
brethren only with our superfluities; to be charitable (I must use the
word) rather at the expense of our coffers than ourselves; to save
several families from misery rather than hang up an extraordinary
picture in our houses or gratify any other idle ridiculous
vanity--this seems to be only being human creatures. Nay, I will
venture to go farther, it is being in some degree epicures: for what
could the greatest epicure wish rather than to eat with many mouths
instead of one? which I think may be predicated of any one who knows
that the bread of many is owing to his own largesses.

"As to the apprehension of bestowing bounty on such as may hereafter
prove unworthy objects, because many have proved such; surely it can
never deter a good man from generosity. I do not think a few or many
examples of ingratitude can justify a man's hardening his heart
against the distresses of his fellow-creatures; nor do I believe it
can ever have such effect on a truly benevolent mind. Nothing less
than a persuasion of universal depravity can lock up the charity of a
good man; and this persuasion must lead him, I think, either into
atheism, or enthusiasm; but surely it is unfair to argue such
universal depravity from a few vicious individuals; nor was this, I
believe, ever done by a man, who, upon searching his own mind, found
one certain exception to the general rule." He then concluded by
asking, "who that Partridge was, whom he had called a worthless

"I mean," said the captain, "Partridge the barber, the schoolmaster,
what do you call him? Partridge, the father of the little child which
you found in your bed."

Mr Allworthy exprest great surprize at this account, and the captain
as great at his ignorance of it; for he said he had known it above a
month: and at length recollected with much difficulty that he was told
it by Mrs Wilkins.

Upon this, Wilkins was immediately summoned; who having confirmed what
the captain had said, was by Mr Allworthy, by and with the captain's
advice, dispatched to Little Baddington, to inform herself of the
truth of the fact: for the captain exprest great dislike at all hasty
proceedings in criminal matters, and said he would by no means have Mr
Allworthy take any resolution either to the prejudice of the child or
its father, before he was satisfied that the latter was guilty; for
though he had privately satisfied himself of this from one of
Partridge's neighbours, yet he was too generous to give any such
evidence to Mr Allworthy.

Chapter vi.

The trial of Partridge, the schoolmaster, for incontinency; the
evidence of his wife; a short reflection on the wisdom of our law;
with other grave matters, which those will like best who understand
them most.

It may be wondered that a story so well known, and which had furnished
so much matter of conversation, should never have been mentioned to Mr
Allworthy himself, who was perhaps the only person in that country who
had never heard of it.

To account in some measure for this to the reader, I think proper to
inform him, that there was no one in the kingdom less interested in
opposing that doctrine concerning the meaning of the word charity,
which hath been seen in the preceding chapter, than our good man.
Indeed, he was equally intitled to this virtue in either sense; for as
no man was ever more sensible of the wants, or more ready to relieve
the distresses of others, so none could be more tender of their
characters, or slower to believe anything to their disadvantage.

Scandal, therefore, never found any access to his table; for as it
hath been long since observed that you may know a man by his
companions, so I will venture to say, that, by attending to the
conversation at a great man's table, you may satisfy yourself of his
religion, his politics, his taste, and indeed of his entire
disposition: for though a few odd fellows will utter their own
sentiments in all places, yet much the greater part of mankind have
enough of the courtier to accommodate their conversation to the taste
and inclination of their superiors.

But to return to Mrs Wilkins, who, having executed her commission with
great dispatch, though at fifteen miles distance, brought back such a
confirmation of the schoolmaster's guilt, that Mr Allworthy determined
to send for the criminal, and examine him _viva voce_. Mr Partridge,
therefore, was summoned to attend, in order to his defence (if he
could make any) against this accusation.

At the time appointed, before Mr Allworthy himself, at Paradise-hall,
came as well the said Partridge, with Anne, his wife, as Mrs Wilkins
his accuser.

And now Mr Allworthy being seated in the chair of justice, Mr
Partridge was brought before him. Having heard his accusation from the
mouth of Mrs Wilkins, he pleaded not guilty, making many vehement
protestations of his innocence.

Mrs Partridge was then examined, who, after a modest apology for being
obliged to speak the truth against her husband, related all the
circumstances with which the reader hath already been acquainted; and
at last concluded with her husband's confession of his guilt.

Whether she had forgiven him or no, I will not venture to determine;
but it is certain she was an unwilling witness in this cause; and it
is probable from certain other reasons, would never have been brought
to depose as she did, had not Mrs Wilkins, with great art, fished all
out of her at her own house, and had she not indeed made promises, in
Mr Allworthy's name, that the punishment of her husband should not be
such as might anywise affect his family.

Partridge still persisted in asserting his innocence, though he
admitted he had made the above-mentioned confession; which he however
endeavoured to account for, by protesting that he was forced into it
by the continued importunity she used: who vowed, that, as she was
sure of his guilt, she would never leave tormenting him till he had
owned it; and faithfully promised, that, in such case, she would never
mention it to him more. Hence, he said, he had been induced falsely to
confess himself guilty, though he was innocent; and that he believed
he should have confest a murder from the same motive.

Mrs Partridge could not bear this imputation with patience; and having
no other remedy in the present place but tears, she called forth a
plentiful assistance from them, and then addressing herself to Mr
Allworthy, she said (or rather cried), "May it please your worship,
there never was any poor woman so injured as I am by that base man;
for this is not the only instance of his falsehood to me. No, may it
please your worship, he hath injured my bed many's the good time and
often. I could have put up with his drunkenness and neglect of his
business, if he had not broke one of the sacred commandments. Besides,
if it had been out of doors I had not mattered it so much; but with my
own servant, in my own house, under my own roof, to defile my own
chaste bed, which to be sure he hath, with his beastly stinking
whores. Yes, you villain, you have defiled my own bed, you have; and
then you have charged me with bullocking you into owning the truth. It
is very likely, an't please your worship, that I should bullock him? I
have marks enow about my body to show of his cruelty to me. If you had
been a man, you villain, you would have scorned to injure a woman in
that manner. But you an't half a man, you know it. Nor have you been
half a husband to me. You need run after whores, you need, when I'm
sure--And since he provokes me, I am ready, an't please your worship,
to take my bodily oath that I found them a-bed together. What, you
have forgot, I suppose, when you beat me into a fit, and made the
blood run down my forehead, because I only civilly taxed you with
adultery! but I can prove it by all my neighbours. You have almost
broke my heart, you have, you have."

Here Mr Allworthy interrupted, and begged her to be pacified,
promising her that she should have justice; then turning to Partridge,
who stood aghast, one half of his wits being hurried away by surprize
and the other half by fear, he said he was sorry to see there was so
wicked a man in the world. He assured him that his prevaricating and
lying backward and forward was a great aggravation of his guilt; for
which the only atonement he could make was by confession and
repentance. He exhorted him, therefore, to begin by immediately
confessing the fact, and not to persist in denying what was so plainly
proved against him even by his own wife.

Here, reader, I beg your patience a moment, while I make a just
compliment to the great wisdom and sagacity of our law, which refuses
to admit the evidence of a wife for or against her husband. This, says
a certain learned author, who, I believe, was never quoted before in
any but a law-book, would be the means of creating an eternal
dissension between them. It would, indeed, be the means of much
perjury, and of much whipping, fining, imprisoning, transporting, and

Partridge stood a while silent, till, being bid to speak, he said he
had already spoken the truth, and appealed to Heaven for his
innocence, and lastly to the girl herself, whom he desired his worship
immediately to send for; for he was ignorant, or at least pretended to
be so, that she had left that part of the country.

Mr Allworthy, whose natural love of justice, joined to his coolness of
temper, made him always a most patient magistrate in hearing all the
witnesses which an accused person could produce in his defence, agreed
to defer his final determination of this matter till the arrival of
Jenny, for whom he immediately dispatched a messenger; and then having
recommended peace between Partridge and his wife (though he addressed
himself chiefly to the wrong person), he appointed them to attend
again the third day; for he had sent Jenny a whole day's journey from
his own house.

At the appointed time the parties all assembled, when the messenger
returning brought word, that Jenny was not to be found; for that she
had left her habitation a few days before, in company with a
recruiting officer.

Mr Allworthy then declared that the evidence of such a slut as she
appeared to be would have deserved no credit; but he said he could not
help thinking that, had she been present, and would have declared the
truth, she must have confirmed what so many circumstances, together
with his own confession, and the declaration of his wife that she had
caught her husband in the fact, did sufficiently prove. He therefore
once more exhorted Partridge to confess; but he still avowing his
innocence, Mr Allworthy declared himself satisfied of his guilt, and
that he was too bad a man to receive any encouragement from him. He
therefore deprived him of his annuity, and recommended repentance to
him on account of another world, and industry to maintain himself and
his wife in this.

There were not, perhaps, many more unhappy persons than poor
Partridge. He had lost the best part of his income by the evidence of
his wife, and yet was daily upbraided by her for having, among other
things, been the occasion of depriving her of that benefit; but such
was his fortune, and he was obliged to submit to it.

Though I called him poor Partridge in the last paragraph, I would have
the reader rather impute that epithet to the compassion in my temper
than conceive it to be any declaration of his innocence. Whether he
was innocent or not will perhaps appear hereafter; but if the historic
muse hath entrusted me with any secrets, I will by no means be guilty
of discovering them till she shall give me leave.

Here therefore the reader must suspend his curiosity. Certain it is
that, whatever was the truth of the case, there was evidence more than
sufficient to convict him before Allworthy; indeed, much less would
have satisfied a bench of justices on an order of bastardy; and yet,
notwithstanding the positiveness of Mrs Partridge, who would have
taken the sacrament upon the matter, there is a possibility that the
schoolmaster was entirely innocent: for though it appeared clear on
comparing the time when Jenny departed from Little Baddington with
that of her delivery that she had there conceived this infant, yet it
by no means followed of necessity that Partridge must have been its
father; for, to omit other particulars, there was in the same house a
lad near eighteen, between whom and Jenny there had subsisted
sufficient intimacy to found a reasonable suspicion; and yet, so blind
is jealousy, this circumstance never once entered into the head of the
enraged wife.

Whether Partridge repented or not, according to Mr Allworthy's advice,
is not so apparent. Certain it is that his wife repented heartily of
the evidence she had given against him: especially when she found Mrs
Deborah had deceived her, and refused to make any application to Mr
Allworthy on her behalf. She had, however, somewhat better success
with Mrs Blifil, who was, as the reader must have perceived, a much
better-tempered woman, and very kindly undertook to solicit her
brother to restore the annuity; in which, though good-nature might
have some share, yet a stronger and more natural motive will appear in
the next chapter.

These solicitations were nevertheless unsuccessful: for though Mr
Allworthy did not think, with some late writers, that mercy consists
only in punishing offenders; yet he was as far from thinking that it
is proper to this excellent quality to pardon great criminals
wantonly, without any reason whatever. Any doubtfulness of the fact,
or any circumstance of mitigation, was never disregarded: but the
petitions of an offender, or the intercessions of others, did not in
the least affect him. In a word, he never pardoned because the
offender himself, or his friends, were unwilling that he should be

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 on the account of his lessened income, that he did in a
manner abandon himself to despair; and as he was by nature indolent,
that vice now increased upon him, by which means he lost the little
school he had; so that neither his wife nor himself would have had any
bread to eat, had not the charity of some good Christian interposed,
and provided them with what was just sufficient for their sustenance.

As this support was conveyed to them by an unknown hand, they
imagined, and so, I doubt not, will the reader, that Mr Allworthy
himself was their secret benefactor; who, though he would not openly
encourage vice, could yet privately relieve the distresses of the
vicious themselves, when these became too exquisite and
disproportionate to their demerit. In which light their wretchedness
appeared now to Fortune herself; for she at length took pity on this
miserable couple, and considerably lessened the wretched state of
Partridge, by putting a final end to that of his wife, who soon after
caught the small-pox, and died.

The justice which Mr Allworthy had executed on Partridge at first met
with universal approbation; but no sooner had he felt its
consequences, than his neighbours began to relent, and to
compassionate his case; and presently after, to blame that as rigour
and severity which they before called justice. They now exclaimed
against punishing in cold blood, and sang forth the praises of mercy
and forgiveness.

These cries were considerably increased by the death of Mrs Partridge,
which, though owing to the distemper above mentioned, which is no
consequence of poverty or distress, many were not ashamed to impute to
Mr Allworthy's severity, or, as they now termed it, cruelty.

Partridge having now lost his wife, his school, and his annuity, and
the unknown person having now discontinued the last-mentioned charity,
resolved to change the scene, and left the country, where he was in
danger of starving, with the universal compassion of all his

Chapter vii.

A short sketch of that felicity which prudent couples may extract from
hatred: with a short apology for those people who overlook
imperfections in their friends.

Though the captain had effectually demolished poor Partridge, yet had
he not reaped the harvest he hoped for, which was to turn the
foundling out of Mr Allworthy's house.

On the contrary, that gentleman grew every day fonder of little Tommy,
as if he intended to counterbalance his severity to the father with
extraordinary fondness and affection towards the son.

This a good deal soured the captain's temper, as did all the other
daily instances of Mr Allworthy's generosity; for he looked on all
such largesses to be diminutions of his own wealth.

In this, we have said, he did not agree with his wife; nor, indeed, in
anything else: for though an affection placed on the understanding is,
by many wise persons, thought more durable than that which is founded
on beauty, yet it happened otherwise in the present case. Nay, the
understandings of this couple were their principal bone of contention,
and one great cause of many quarrels, which from time to time arose
between them; and which at last ended, on the side of the lady, in a
sovereign contempt for her husband; and on the husband's, in an utter
abhorrence of his wife.

As these had both exercised their talents chiefly in the study of
divinity, this was, from their first acquaintance, the most common
topic of conversation between them. The captain, like a well-bred man,
had, before marriage, always given up his opinion to that of the lady;
and this, not in the clumsy awkward manner of a conceited blockhead,
who, while he civilly yields to a superior in an argument, is desirous
of being still known to think himself in the right. The captain, on
the contrary, though one of the proudest fellows in the world, so
absolutely yielded the victory to his antagonist, that she, who had
not the least doubt of his sincerity, retired always from the dispute
with an admiration of her own understanding and a love for his.

But though this complacence to one whom the captain thoroughly
despised, was not so uneasy to him as it would have been had any hopes
of preferment made it necessary to show the same submission to a
Hoadley, or to some other of great reputation in the science, yet even
this cost him too much to be endured without some motive. Matrimony,
therefore, having removed all such motives, he grew weary of this
condescension, and began to treat the opinions of his wife with that
haughtiness and insolence, which none but those who deserve some
contempt themselves can bestow, and those only who deserve no contempt
can bear.

When the first torrent of tenderness was over, and when, in the calm
and long interval between the fits, reason began to open the eyes of
the lady, and she saw this alteration of behaviour in the captain, who
at length answered all her arguments only with pish and pshaw, she was
far from enduring the indignity with a tame submission. Indeed, it at
first so highly provoked her, that it might have produced some
tragical event, had it not taken a more harmless turn, by filling her
with the utmost contempt for her husband's understanding, which
somewhat qualified her hatred towards him; though of this likewise she
had a pretty moderate share.

The captain's hatred to her was of a purer kind: for as to any
imperfections in her knowledge or understanding, he no more despised
her for them, than for her not being six feet high. In his opinion of
the female sex, he exceeded the moroseness of Aristotle himself: he
looked on a woman as on an animal of domestic use, of somewhat higher
consideration than a cat, since her offices were of rather more
importance; but the difference between these two was, in his
estimation, so small, that, in his marriage contracted with Mr
Allworthy's lands and tenements, it would have been pretty equal which
of them he had taken into the bargain. And yet so tender was his
pride, that it felt the contempt which his wife now began to express
towards him; and this, added to the surfeit he had before taken of her
love, created in him a degree of disgust and abhorrence, perhaps
hardly to be exceeded.

One situation only of the married state is excluded from pleasure: and
that is, a state of indifference: but as many of my readers, I hope,
know what an exquisite delight there is in conveying pleasure to a
beloved object, so some few, I am afraid, may have experienced the
satisfaction of tormenting one we hate. It is, I apprehend, to come at
this latter pleasure, that we see both sexes often give up that ease
in marriage which they might otherwise possess, though their mate was
never so disagreeable to them. Hence the wife often puts on fits of
love and jealousy, nay, even denies herself any pleasure, to disturb
and prevent those of her husband; and he again, in return, puts
frequent restraints on himself, and stays at home in company which he
dislikes, in order to confine his wife to what she equally detests.
Hence, too, must flow those tears which a widow sometimes so
plentifully sheds over the ashes of a husband with whom she led a life
of constant disquiet and turbulency, and whom now she can never hope
to torment any more.

But if ever any couple enjoyed this pleasure, it was at present
experienced by the captain and his lady. It was always a sufficient
reason to either of them to be obstinate in any opinion, that the
other had previously asserted the contrary. If the one proposed any
amusement, the other constantly objected to it: they never loved or
hated, commended or abused, the same person. And for this reason, as
the captain looked with an evil eye on the little foundling, his wife
began now to caress it almost equally with her own child.

The reader will be apt to conceive, that this behaviour between the
husband and wife did not greatly contribute to Mr Allworthy's repose,
as it tended so little to that serene happiness which he had designed
for all three from this alliance; but the truth is, though he might be
a little disappointed in his sanguine expectations, yet he was far
from being acquainted with the whole matter; for, as the captain was,
from certain obvious reasons, much on his guard before him, the lady
was obliged, for fear of her brother's displeasure, to pursue the same
conduct. In fact, it is possible for a third person to be very
intimate, nay even to live long in the same house, with a married
couple, who have any tolerable discretion, and not even guess at the
sour sentiments which they bear to each other: for though the whole
day may be sometimes too short for hatred, as well as for love; yet
the many hours which they naturally spend together, apart from all
observers, furnish people of tolerable moderation with such ample
opportunity for the enjoyment of either passion, that, if they love,
they can support being a few hours in company without toying, or if
they hate, without spitting in each other's faces.

It is possible, however, that Mr Allworthy saw enough to render him a
little uneasy; for we are not always to conclude, that a wise man is
not hurt, because he doth not cry out and lament himself, like those
of a childish or effeminate temper. But indeed it is possible he might
see some faults in the captain without any uneasiness at all; for men
of true wisdom and goodness are contented to take persons and things
as they are, without complaining of their imperfections, or attempting
to amend them. They can see a fault in a friend, a relation, or an
acquaintance, without ever mentioning it to the parties themselves, or
to any others; and this often without lessening their affection.
Indeed, unless great discernment be tempered with this overlooking
disposition, we ought never to contract friendship but with a degree
of folly which we can deceive; for I hope my friends will pardon me
when I declare, I know none of them without a fault; and I should be
sorry if I could imagine I had any friend who could not see mine.
Forgiveness of this kind we give and demand in turn. It is an exercise
of friendship, and perhaps none of the least pleasant. And this
forgiveness we must bestow, without desire of amendment. There is,
perhaps, no surer mark of folly, than an attempt to correct the
natural infirmities of those we love. The finest composition of human
nature, as well as the finest china, may have a flaw in it; and this,
I am afraid, in either case, is equally incurable; though,
nevertheless, the pattern may remain of the highest value.

Upon the whole, then, Mr Allworthy certainly saw some imperfections in
the captain; but as this was a very artful man, and eternally upon his
guard before him, these appeared to him no more than blemishes in a
good character, which his goodness made him overlook, and his wisdom
prevented him from discovering to the captain himself. Very different
would have been his sentiments had he discovered the whole; which
perhaps would in time have been the case, had the husband and wife
long continued this kind of behaviour to each other; but this kind
Fortune took effectual means to prevent, by forcing the captain to do
that which rendered him again dear to his wife, and restored all her
tenderness and affection towards him.

Chapter viii.

A receipt to regain the lost affections of a wife, which hath never
been known to fail in the most desperate cases.

The captain was made large amends for the unpleasant minutes which he
passed in the conversation of his wife (and which were as few as he
could contrive to make them), by the pleasant meditations he enjoyed
when alone.

These meditations were entirely employed on Mr Allworthy's fortune;
for, first, he exercised much thought in calculating, as well as he
could, the exact value of the whole: which calculations he often saw
occasion to alter in his own favour: and, secondly and chiefly, he
pleased himself with intended alterations in the house and gardens,
and in projecting many other schemes, as well for the improvement of
the estate as of the grandeur of the place: for this purpose he
applied himself to the studies of architecture and gardening, and read
over many books on both these subjects; for these sciences, indeed,
employed his whole time, and formed his only amusement. He at last
completed a most excellent plan: and very sorry we are, that it is not
in our power to present it to our reader, since even the luxury of the
present age, I believe, would hardly match it. It had, indeed, in a
superlative degree, the two principal ingredients which serve to
recommend all great and noble designs of this nature; for it required
an immoderate expense to execute, and a vast length of time to bring
it to any sort of perfection. The former of these, the immense wealth
of which the captain supposed Mr Allworthy possessed, and which he
thought himself sure of inheriting, promised very effectually to
supply; and the latter, the soundness of his own constitution, and his
time of life, which was only what is called middle-age, removed all
apprehension of his not living to accomplish.

Nothing was wanting to enable him to enter upon the immediate
execution of this plan, but the death of Mr Allworthy; in calculating
which he had employed much of his own algebra, besides purchasing
every book extant that treats of the value of lives, reversions, &c.
From all which he satisfied himself, that as he had every day a chance
of this happening, so had he more than an even chance of its happening
within a few years.

But while the captain was one day busied in deep contemplations of
this kind, one of the most unlucky as well as unseasonable accidents
happened to him. The utmost malice of Fortune could, indeed, have
contrived nothing so cruel, so mal-a-propos, so absolutely destructive
to all his schemes. In short, not to keep the reader in long suspense,
just at the very instant when his heart was exulting in meditations on
the happiness which would accrue to him by Mr Allworthy's death, he
himself--died of an apoplexy.

This unfortunately befel the captain as he was taking his evening walk
by himself, so that nobody was present to lend him any assistance, if
indeed, any assistance could have preserved him. He took, therefore,
measure of that proportion of soil which was now become adequate to
all his future purposes, and he lay dead on the ground, a great
(though not a living) example of the truth of that observation of

_Tu secanda marmora
Locas sub ipsum funus; et sepulchri
Immemor, struis domos._

Which sentiment I shall thus give to the English reader: "You provide
the noblest materials for building, when a pickaxe and a spade are
only necessary: and build houses of five hundred by a hundred feet,
forgetting that of six by two."

Chapter ix.

A proof of the infallibility of the foregoing receipt, in the
lamentations of the widow; with other suitable decorations of death,
such as physicians, &c., and an epitaph in the true stile.

Mr Allworthy, his sister, and another lady, were assembled at the
accustomed hour in the supper-room, where, having waited a
considerable time longer than usual, Mr Allworthy first declared he
began to grow uneasy at the captain's stay (for he was always most
punctual at his meals); and gave orders that the bell should be rung
without the doors, and especially towards those walks which the
captain was wont to use.

All these summons proving ineffectual (for the captain had, by
perverse accident, betaken himself to a new walk that evening), Mrs
Blifil declared she was seriously frightened. Upon which the other
lady, who was one of her most intimate acquaintance, and who well knew
the true state of her affections, endeavoured all she could to pacify
her, telling her--To be sure she could not help being uneasy; but that
she should hope the best. That, perhaps the sweetness of the evening
had inticed the captain to go farther than his usual walk: or he might
be detained at some neighbour's. Mrs Blifil answered, No; she was sure
some accident had befallen him; for that he would never stay out
without sending her word, as he must know how uneasy it would make
her. The other lady, having no other arguments to use, betook herself
to the entreaties usual on such occasions, and begged her not to
frighten herself, for it might be of very ill consequence to her own
health; and, filling out a very large glass of wine, advised, and at
last prevailed with her to drink it.

Mr Allworthy now returned into the parlour; for he had been himself in
search after the captain. His countenance sufficiently showed the
consternation he was under, which, indeed, had a good deal deprived
him of speech; but as grief operates variously on different minds, so
the same apprehension which depressed his voice, elevated that of Mrs
Blifil. She now began to bewail herself in very bitter terms, and
floods of tears accompanied her lamentations; which the lady, her
companion, declared she could not blame, but at the same time
dissuaded her from indulging; attempting to moderate the grief of her
friend by philosophical observations on the many disappointments to
which human life is daily subject, which, she said, was a sufficient
consideration to fortify our minds against any accidents, how sudden
or terrible soever. She said her brother's example ought to teach her
patience, who, though indeed he could not be supposed as much
concerned as herself, yet was, doubtless, very uneasy, though his
resignation to the Divine will had restrained his grief within due

"Mention not my brother," said Mrs Blifil; "I alone am the object of
your pity. What are the terrors of friendship to what a wife feels on
these occasions? Oh, he is lost! Somebody hath murdered him--I shall
never see him more!"--Here a torrent of tears had the same consequence
with what the suppression had occasioned to Mr Allworthy, and she
remained silent.

At this interval a servant came running in, out of breath, and cried
out, The captain was found; and, before he could proceed farther, he
was followed by two more, bearing the dead body between them.

Here the curious reader may observe another diversity in the
operations of grief: for as Mr Allworthy had been before silent, from
the same cause which had made his sister vociferous; so did the
present sight, which drew tears from the gentleman, put an entire stop
to those of the lady; who first gave a violent scream, and presently
after fell into a fit.

The room was soon full of servants, some of whom, with the lady
visitant, were employed in care of the wife; and others, with Mr
Allworthy, assisted in carrying off the captain to a warm bed; where
every method was tried, in order to restore him to life.

And glad should we be, could we inform the reader that both these
bodies had been attended with equal success; for those who undertook
the care of the lady succeeded so well, that, after the fit had
continued a decent time, she again revived, to their great
satisfaction: but as to the captain, all experiments of bleeding,
chafing, dropping, &c., proved ineffectual. Death, that inexorable
judge, had passed sentence on him, and refused to grant him a
reprieve, though two doctors who arrived, and were fee'd at one and
the same instant, were his counsel.

These two doctors, whom, to avoid any malicious applications, we shall
distinguish by the names of Dr Y. and Dr Z., having felt his pulse; to
wit, Dr Y. his right arm, and Dr Z. his left; both agreed that he was
absolutely dead; but as to the distemper, or cause of his death, they
differed; Dr Y. holding that he died of an apoplexy, and Dr Z. of an

Hence arose a dispute between the learned men, in which each delivered
the reasons of their several opinions. These were of such equal force,
that they served both to confirm either doctor in his own sentiments,
and made not the least impression on his adversary.

To say the truth, every physician almost hath his favourite disease,
to which he ascribes all the victories obtained over human nature. The
gout, the rheumatism, the stone, the gravel, and the consumption, have
all their several patrons in the faculty; and none more than the
nervous fever, or the fever on the spirits. And here we may account
for those disagreements in opinion, concerning the cause of a
patient's death, which sometimes occur, between the most learned of
the college; and which have greatly surprized that part of the world
who have been ignorant of the fact we have above asserted.

The reader may perhaps be surprized, that, instead of endeavouring to
revive the patient, the learned gentlemen should fall immediately into
a dispute on the occasion of his death; but in reality all such
experiments had been made before their arrival: for the captain was
put into a warm bed, had his veins scarified, his forehead chafed, and
all sorts of strong drops applied to his lips and nostrils.

The physicians, therefore, finding themselves anticipated in
everything they ordered, were at a loss how to apply that portion of
time which it is usual and decent to remain for their fee, and were
therefore necessitated to find some subject or other for discourse;
and what could more naturally present itself than that before

Our doctors were about to take their leave, when Mr Allworthy, having
given over the captain, and acquiesced in the Divine will, began to
enquire after his sister, whom he desired them to visit before their

This lady was now recovered of her fit, and, to use the common phrase,
as well as could be expected for one in her condition. The doctors,
therefore, all previous ceremonies being complied with, as this was a
new patient, attended, according to desire, and laid hold on each of
her hands, as they had before done on those of the corpse.

The case of the lady was in the other extreme from that of her
husband: for as he was past all the assistance of physic, so in
reality she required none.

There is nothing more unjust than the vulgar opinion, by which
physicians are misrepresented, as friends to death. On the contrary, I
believe, if the number of those who recover by physic could be opposed
to that of the martyrs to it, the former would rather exceed the
latter. Nay, some are so cautious on this head, that, to avoid a
possibility of killing the patient, they abstain from all methods of
curing, and prescribe nothing but what can neither do good nor harm. I
have heard some of these, with great gravity, deliver it as a maxim,
"That Nature should be left to do her own work, while the physician
stands by as it were to clap her on the back, and encourage her when
she doth well."

So little then did our doctors delight in death, that they discharged
the corpse after a single fee; but they were not so disgusted with
their living patient; concerning whose case they immediately agreed,
and fell to prescribing with great diligence.

Whether, as the lady had at first persuaded her physicians to believe
her ill, they had now, in return, persuaded her to believe herself so,
I will not determine; but she continued a whole month with all the
decorations of sickness. During this time she was visited by
physicians, attended by nurses, and received constant messages from
her acquaintance to enquire after her health.

At length the decent time for sickness and immoderate grief being
expired, the doctors were discharged, and the lady began to see
company; being altered only from what she was before, by that colour
of sadness in which she had dressed her person and countenance.

The captain was now interred, and might, perhaps, have already made a
large progress towards oblivion, had not the friendship of Mr
Allworthy taken care to preserve his memory, by the following epitaph,
which was written by a man of as great genius as integrity, and one
who perfectly well knew the captain.








Chapter i.

Containing little or nothing.

The reader will be pleased to remember, that, at the beginning of the
second book of this history, we gave him a hint of our intention to
pass over several large periods of time, in which nothing happened
worthy of being recorded in a chronicle of this kind.

In so doing, we do not only consult our own dignity and ease, but the
good and advantage of the reader: for besides that by these means we
prevent him from throwing away his time, in reading without either
pleasure or emolument, we give him, at all such seasons, an
opportunity of employing that wonderful sagacity, of which he is
master, by filling up these vacant spaces of time with his own
conjectures; for which purpose we have taken care to qualify him in
the preceding pages.

For instance, what reader but knows that Mr Allworthy felt, at first,
for the loss of his friend, those emotions of grief, which on such
occasions enter into all men whose hearts are not composed of flint,
or their heads of as solid materials? Again, what reader doth not know
that philosophy and religion in time moderated, and at last
extinguished, this grief? The former of these teaching the folly and
vanity of it, and the latter correcting it as unlawful, and at the
same time assuaging it, by raising future hopes and assurances, which
enable a strong and religious mind to take leave of a friend, on his
deathbed, with little less indifference than if he was preparing for a
long journey; and, indeed, with little less hope of seeing him again.

Nor can the judicious reader be at a greater loss on account of Mrs
Bridget Blifil, who, he may be assured, conducted herself through the
whole season in which grief is to make its appearance on the outside
of the body, with the strictest regard to all the rules of custom and
decency, suiting the alterations of her countenance to the several
alterations of her habit: for as this changed from weeds to black,
from black to grey, from grey to white, so did her countenance change
from dismal to sorrowful, from sorrowful to sad, and from sad to
serious, till the day came in which she was allowed to return to her
former serenity.

We have mentioned these two, as examples only of the task which may be
imposed on readers of the lowest class. Much higher and harder
exercises of judgment and penetration may reasonably be expected from
the upper graduates in criticism. Many notable discoveries will, I
doubt not, be made by such, of the transactions which happened in the
family of our worthy man, during all the years which we have thought
proper to pass over: for though nothing worthy of a place in this
history occurred within that period, yet did several incidents happen
of equal importance with those reported by the daily and weekly
historians of the age; in reading which great numbers of persons
consume a considerable part of their time, very little, I am afraid,
to their emolument. Now, in the conjectures here proposed, some of the
most excellent faculties of the mind may be employed to much
advantage, since it is a more useful capacity to be able to foretel
the actions of men, in any circumstance, from their characters, than
to judge of their characters from their actions. The former, I own,
requires the greater penetration; but may be accomplished by true
sagacity with no less certainty than the latter.

As we are sensible that much the greatest part of our readers are very
eminently possessed of this quality, we have left them a space of
twelve years to exert it in; and shall now bring forth our heroe, at
about fourteen years of age, not questioning that many have been long
impatient to be introduced to his acquaintance.

Chapter ii.

The heroe of this great history appears with very bad omens. A little
tale of so LOW a kind that some may think it not worth their notice. A
word or two concerning a squire, and more relating to a gamekeeper and
a schoolmaster.

As we determined, when we first sat down to write this history, to
flatter no man, but to guide our pen throughout by the directions of
truth, we are obliged to bring our heroe on the stage in a much more
disadvantageous manner than we could wish; and to declare honestly,
even at his first appearance, that it was the universal opinion of all
Mr Allworthy's family that he was certainly born to be hanged.

Indeed, I am sorry to say there was too much reason for this
conjecture; the lad having from his earliest years discovered a
propensity to many vices, and especially to one which hath as direct a
tendency as any other to that fate which we have just now observed to
have been prophetically denounced against him: he had been already
convicted of three robberies, viz., of robbing an orchard, of stealing
a duck out of a farmer's yard, and of picking Master Blifil's pocket
of a ball.

The vices of this young man were, moreover, heightened by the
disadvantageous light in which they appeared when opposed to the
virtues of Master Blifil, his companion; a youth of so different a
cast from little Jones, that not only the family but all the
neighbourhood resounded his praises. He was, indeed, a lad of a
remarkable disposition; sober, discreet, and pious beyond his age;
qualities which gained him the love of every one who knew him: while
Tom Jones was universally disliked; and many expressed their wonder
that Mr Allworthy would suffer such a lad to be educated with his
nephew, lest the morals of the latter should be corrupted by his

An incident which happened about this time will set the characters of
these two lads more fairly before the discerning reader than is in the
power of the longest dissertation.

Tom Jones, who, bad as he is, must serve for the heroe of this
history, had only one friend among all the servants of the family; for
as to Mrs Wilkins, she had long since given him up, and was perfectly
reconciled to her mistress. This friend was the gamekeeper, a fellow
of a loose kind of disposition, and who was thought not to entertain
much stricter notions concerning the difference of _meum_ and _tuum_
than the young gentleman himself. And hence this friendship gave
occasion to many sarcastical remarks among the domestics, most of
which were either proverbs before, or at least are become so now; and,
indeed, the wit of them all may be comprised in that short Latin
proverb, "_Noscitur a socio;_" which, I think, is thus expressed in
English, "You may know him by the company he keeps."

To say the truth, some of that atrocious wickedness in Jones, of which
we have just mentioned three examples, might perhaps be derived from
the encouragement he had received from this fellow, who, in two or
three instances, had been what the law calls an accessary after the
fact: for the whole duck, and great part of the apples, were converted
to the use of the gamekeeper and his family; though, as Jones alone
was discovered, the poor lad bore not only the whole smart, but the
whole blame; both which fell again to his lot on the following

Contiguous to Mr Allworthy's estate was the manor of one of those
gentlemen who are called preservers of the game. This species of men,
from the great severity with which they revenge the death of a hare or
partridge, might be thought to cultivate the same superstition with
the Bannians in India; many of whom, we are told, dedicate their whole
lives to the preservation and protection of certain animals; was it
not that our English Bannians, while they preserve them from other
enemies, will most unmercifully slaughter whole horse-loads
themselves; so that they stand clearly acquitted of any such
heathenish superstition.

I have, indeed, a much better opinion of this kind of men than is
entertained by some, as I take them to answer the order of Nature, and
the good purposes for which they were ordained, in a more ample manner
than many others. Now, as Horace 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;" or, as it is commonly
called, the game; and none, I believe, will deny but that those
squires fulfil this end of their creation.

Little Jones went one day a shooting with the gamekeeper; when
happening to spring a covey of partridges near the border of that
manor over which Fortune, to fulfil the wise purposes of Nature, had
planted one of the game consumers, the birds flew into it, and were
marked (as it is called) by the two sportsmen, in some furze bushes,
about two or three hundred paces beyond Mr Allworthy's dominions.

Mr Allworthy had given the fellow strict orders, on pain of forfeiting
his place, never to trespass on any of his neighbours; no more on
those who were less rigid in this matter than on the lord of this
manor. With regard to others, indeed, these orders had not been always
very scrupulously kept; but as the disposition of the gentleman with
whom the partridges had taken sanctuary was well known, the gamekeeper

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