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The History of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding

Part 4 out of 18

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often came to Divine Service here; and both he and the charming Sophia
happened to be present at this time.

Sophia was much pleased with the beauty of the girl, whom she pitied
for her simplicity in having dressed herself in that manner, as she
saw the envy which it had occasioned among her equals. She no sooner
came home than she sent for the gamekeeper, and ordered him to bring
his daughter to her; saying she would provide for her in the family,
and might possibly place the girl about her own person, when her own
maid, who was now going away, had left her.

Poor Seagrim was thunderstruck at this; for he was no stranger to the
fault in the shape of his daughter. He answered, in a stammering
voice, "That he was afraid Molly would be too awkward to wait on her
ladyship, as she had never been at service." "No matter for that,"
says Sophia; "she will soon improve. I am pleased with the girl, and
am resolved to try her."

Black George now repaired to his wife, on whose prudent counsel he
depended to extricate him out of this dilemma; but when he came
thither he found his house in some confusion. So great envy had this
sack occasioned, that when Mr Allworthy and the other gentry were gone
from church, the rage, which had hitherto been confined, burst into an
uproar; and, having vented itself at first in opprobrious words,
laughs, hisses, and gestures, betook itself at last to certain missile
weapons; which, though from their plastic nature they threatened
neither the loss of life or of limb, were however sufficiently
dreadful to a well-dressed lady. Molly had too much spirit to bear
this treatment tamely. Having therefore--but hold, as we are diffident
of our own abilities, let us here invite a superior power to our

Ye Muses, then, whoever ye are, who love to sing battles, and
principally thou who whilom didst recount the slaughter in those
fields where Hudibras and Trulla fought, if thou wert not starved with
thy friend Butler, assist me on this great occasion. All things are
not in the power of all.

As a vast herd of cows in a rich farmer's yard, if, while they are
milked, they hear their calves at a distance, lamenting the robbery
which is then committing, roar and bellow; so roared forth the
Somersetshire mob an hallaloo, made up of almost as many squalls,
screams, and other different sounds as there were persons, or indeed
passions among them: some were inspired by rage, others alarmed by
fear, and others had nothing in their heads but the love of fun; but
chiefly Envy, the sister of Satan, and his constant companion, rushed
among the crowd, and blew up the fury of the women; who no sooner came
up to Molly than they pelted her with dirt and rubbish.

Molly, having endeavoured in vain to make a handsome retreat, faced
about; and laying hold of ragged Bess, who advanced in the front of
the enemy, she at one blow felled her to the ground. The whole army of
the enemy (though near a hundred in number), seeing the fate of their
general, gave back many paces, and retired behind a new-dug grave; for
the churchyard was the field of battle, where there was to be a
funeral that very evening. Molly pursued her victory, and catching up
a skull which lay on the side of the grave, discharged it with such
fury, that having hit a taylor on the head, the two skulls sent
equally forth a hollow sound at their meeting, and the taylor took
presently measure of his length on the ground, where the skulls lay
side by side, and it was doubtful which was the more valuable of the
two. Molly then taking a thigh-bone in her hand, fell in among the
flying ranks, and dealing her blows with great liberality on either
side, overthrew the carcass of many a mighty heroe and heroine.

Recount, O Muse, the names of those who fell on this fatal day. First,
Jemmy Tweedle felt on his hinder head the direful bone. Him the
pleasant banks of sweetly-winding Stour had nourished, where he first
learnt the vocal art, with which, wandering up and down at wakes and
fairs, he cheered the rural nymphs and swains, when upon the green
they interweaved the sprightly dance; while he himself stood fiddling
and jumping to his own music. How little now avails his fiddle! He
thumps the verdant floor with his carcass. Next, old Echepole, the
sowgelder, received a blow in his forehead from our Amazonian heroine,
and immediately fell to the ground. He was a swinging fat fellow, and
fell with almost as much noise as a house. His tobacco-box dropped at
the same time from his pocket, which Molly took up as lawful spoils.
Then Kate of the Mill tumbled unfortunately over a tombstone, which
catching hold of her ungartered stocking inverted the order of nature,
and gave her heels the superiority to her head. Betty Pippin, with
young Roger her lover, fell both to the ground; where, oh perverse
fate! she salutes the earth, and he the sky. Tom Freckle, the smith's
son, was the next victim to her rage. He was an ingenious workman, and
made excellent pattens; nay, the very patten with which he was knocked
down was his own workmanship. Had he been at that time singing psalms
in the church, he would have avoided a broken head. Miss Crow, the
daughter of a farmer; John Giddish, himself a farmer; Nan Slouch,
Esther Codling, Will Spray, Tom Bennet; the three Misses Potter, whose
father keeps the sign of the Red Lion; Betty Chambermaid, Jack Ostler,
and many others of inferior note, lay rolling among the graves.

Not that the strenuous arm of Molly reached all these; for many of
them in their flight overthrew each other.

But now Fortune, fearing she had acted out of character, and had
inclined too long to the same side, especially as it was the right
side, hastily turned about: for now Goody Brown--whom Zekiel Brown
caressed in his arms; nor he alone, but half the parish besides; so
famous was she in the fields of Venus, nor indeed less in those of
Mars. The trophies of both these her husband always bore about on his
head and face; for if ever human head did by its horns display the
amorous glories of a wife, Zekiel's did; nor did his well-scratched
face less denote her talents (or rather talons) of a different kind.

No longer bore this Amazon the shameful flight of her party. She stopt
short, and, calling aloud to all who fled, spoke as follows: "Ye
Somersetshire men, or rather ye Somersetshire women, are ye not
ashamed thus to fly from a single woman? But if no other will oppose
her, I myself and Joan Top here will have the honour of the victory."
Having thus said, she flew at Molly Seagrim, and easily wrenched the
thigh-bone from her hand, at the same time clawing off her cap from
her head. Then laying hold of the hair of Molly with her left hand,
she attacked her so furiously in the face with the right, that the
blood soon began to trickle from her nose. Molly was not idle this
while. She soon removed the clout from the head of Goody Brown, and
then fastening on her hair with one hand, with the other she caused
another bloody stream to issue forth from the nostrils of the enemy.

When each of the combatants had borne off sufficient spoils of hair
from the head of her antagonist, the next rage was against the
garments. In this attack they exerted so much violence, that in a very
few minutes they were both naked to the middle.

It is lucky for the women that the seat of fistycuff war is not the
same with them as among men; but though they may seem a little to
deviate from their sex, when they go forth to battle, yet I have
observed, they never so far forget, as to assail the bosoms of each
other; where a few blows would be fatal to most of them. This, I know,
some derive from their being of a more bloody inclination than the
males. On which account they apply to the nose, as to the part whence
blood may most easily be drawn; but this seems a far-fetched as well
as ill-natured supposition.

Goody Brown had great advantage of Molly in this particular; for the
former had indeed no breasts, her bosom (if it may be so called), as
well in colour as in many other properties, exactly resembling an
antient piece of parchment, upon which any one might have drummed a
considerable while without doing her any great damage.

Molly, beside her present unhappy condition, was differently formed in
those parts, and might, perhaps, have tempted the envy of Brown to
give her a fatal blow, had not the lucky arrival of Tom Jones at this
instant put an immediate end to the bloody scene.

This accident was luckily owing to Mr Square; for he, Master Blifil,
and Jones, had mounted their horses, after church, to take the air,
and had ridden about a quarter of a mile, when Square, changing his
mind (not idly, but for a reason which we shall unfold as soon as we
have leisure), desired the young gentlemen to ride with him another
way than they had at first purposed. This motion being complied with,
brought them of necessity back again to the churchyard.

Master Blifil, who rode first, seeing such a mob assembled, and two
women in the posture in which we left the combatants, stopt his horse
to enquire what was the matter. A country fellow, scratching his head,
answered him: "I don't know, measter, un't I; an't please your honour,
here hath been a vight, I think, between Goody Brown and Moll

"Who, who?" cries Tom; but without waiting for an answer, having
discovered the features of his Molly through all the discomposure in
which they now were, he hastily alighted, turned his horse loose, and,
leaping over the wall, ran to her. She now first bursting into tears,
told him how barbarously she had been treated. Upon which, forgetting
the sex of Goody Brown, or perhaps not knowing it in his rage--for, in
reality, she had no feminine appearance but a petticoat, which he
might not observe--he gave her a lash or two with his horsewhip; and
then flying at the mob, who were all accused by Moll, he dealt his
blows so profusely on all sides, that unless I would again invoke the
muse (which the good-natured reader may think a little too hard upon
her, as she hath so lately been violently sweated), it would be
impossible for me to recount the horse-whipping of that day.

Having scoured the whole coast of the enemy, as well as any of Homer's
heroes ever did, or as Don Quixote or any knight-errant in the world
could have done, he returned to Molly, whom he found in a condition
which must give both me and my reader pain, was it to be described
here. Tom raved like a madman, beat his breast, tore his hair, stamped
on the ground, and vowed the utmost vengeance on all who had been
concerned. He then pulled off his coat, and buttoned it round her, put
his hat upon her head, wiped the blood from her face as well as he
could with his handkerchief, and called out to the servant to ride as
fast as possible for a side-saddle, or a pillion, that he might carry
her safe home.

Master Blifil objected to the sending away the servant, as they had
only one with them; but as Square seconded the order of Jones, he was
obliged to comply.

The servant returned in a very short time with the pillion, and Molly,
having collected her rags as well as she could, was placed behind him.
In which manner she was carried home, Square, Blifil, and Jones

Here Jones having received his coat, given her a sly kiss, and
whispered her, that he would return in the evening, quitted his Molly,
and rode on after his companions.

Chapter ix.

Containing matter of no very peaceable colour.

Molly had no sooner apparelled herself in her accustomed rags, than
her sisters began to fall violently upon her, particularly her eldest
sister, who told her she was well enough served. "How had she the
assurance to wear a gown which young Madam Western had given to
mother! If one of us was to wear it, I think," says she, "I myself
have the best right; but I warrant you think it belongs to your
beauty. I suppose you think yourself more handsomer than any of
us."--"Hand her down the bit of glass from over the cupboard," cries
another; "I'd wash the blood from my face before I talked of my
beauty."--"You'd better have minded what the parson says," cries the
eldest, "and not a harkened after men voke."--"Indeed, child, and so
she had," says the mother, sobbing: "she hath brought a disgrace upon
us all. She's the vurst of the vamily that ever was a whore."

"You need not upbraid me with that, mother," cries Molly; "you
yourself was brought-to-bed of sister there, within a week after you
was married."

"Yes, hussy," answered the enraged mother, "so I was, and what was the
mighty matter of that? I was made an honest woman then; and if you was
to be made an honest woman, I should not be angry; but you must have
to doing with a gentleman, you nasty slut; you will have a bastard,
hussy, you will; and that I defy any one to say of me."

In this situation Black George found his family, when he came home for
the purpose before mentioned. As his wife and three daughters were all
of them talking together, and most of them crying, it was some time
before he could get an opportunity of being heard; but as soon as such
an interval occurred, he acquainted the company with what Sophia had
said to him.

Goody Seagrim then began to revile her daughter afresh. "Here," says
she, "you have brought us into a fine quandary indeed. What will madam
say to that big belly? Oh that ever I should live to see this day!"

Molly answered with great spirit, "And what is this mighty place which
you have got for me, father?" (for he had not well understood the
phrase used by Sophia of being about her person). "I suppose it is to
be under the cook; but I shan't wash dishes for anybody. My gentleman
will provide better for me. See what he hath given me this afternoon.
He hath promised I shall never want money; and you shan't want money
neither, mother, if you will hold your tongue, and know when you are
well." And so saying, she pulled out several guineas, and gave her
mother one of them.

The good woman no sooner felt the gold within her palm, than her
temper began (such is the efficacy of that panacea) to be mollified.
"Why, husband," says she, "would any but such a blockhead as you not
have enquired what place this was before he had accepted it? Perhaps,
as Molly says, it may be in the kitchen; and truly I don't care my
daughter should be a scullion wench; for, poor as I am, I am a
gentlewoman. And thof I was obliged, as my father, who was a
clergyman, died worse than nothing, and so could not give me a
shilling of _potion_, to undervalue myself by marrying a poor man; yet
I would have you to know, I have a spirit above all them things. Marry
come up! it would better become Madam Western to look at home, and
remember who her own grandfather was. Some of my family, for aught I
know, might ride in their coaches, when the grandfathers of some voke
walked a-voot. I warrant she fancies she did a mighty matter, when she
sent us that old gownd; some of my family would not have picked up
such rags in the street; but poor people are always trampled
upon.--The parish need not have been in such a fluster with Molly. You
might have told them, child, your grandmother wore better things new
out of the shop."

"Well, but consider," cried George, "what answer shall I make to

"I don't know what answer," says she; "you are always bringing your
family into one quandary or other. Do you remember when you shot the
partridge, the occasion of all our misfortunes? Did not I advise you
never to go into Squire Western's manor? Did not I tell you many a
good year ago what would come of it? But you would have your own
headstrong ways; yes, you would, you villain."

Black George was, in the main, a peaceable kind of fellow, and nothing
choleric nor rash; yet did he bear about him something of what the
antients called the irascible, and which his wife, if she had been
endowed with much wisdom, would have feared. He had long experienced,
that when the storm grew very high, arguments were but wind, which
served rather to increase, than to abate it. He was therefore seldom
unprovided with a small switch, a remedy of wonderful force, as he had
often essayed, and which the word villain served as a hint for his

No sooner, therefore, had this symptom appeared, than he had immediate
recourse to the said remedy, which though, as it is usual in all very
efficacious medicines, it at first seemed to heighten and inflame the
disease, soon produced a total calm, and restored the patient to
perfect ease and tranquillity.

This is, however, a kind of horse-medicine, which requires a very
robust constitution to digest, and is therefore proper only for the
vulgar, unless in one single instance, viz., where superiority of
birth breaks out; in which case, we should not think it very
improperly applied by any husband whatever, if the application was not
in itself so base, that, like certain applications of the physical
kind which need not be mentioned, it so much degrades and contaminates
the hand employed in it, that no gentleman should endure the thought
of anything so low and detestable.

The whole family were soon reduced to a state of perfect quiet; for
the virtue of this medicine, like that of electricity, is often
communicated through one person to many others, who are not touched by
the instrument. To say the truth, as they both operate by friction, it
may be doubted whether there is not something analogous between them,
of which Mr Freke would do well to enquire, before he publishes the
next edition of his book.

A council was now called, in which, after many debates, Molly still
persisting that she would not go to service, it was at length
resolved, that Goody Seagrim herself should wait on Miss Western, and
endeavour to procure the place for her eldest daughter, who declared
great readiness to accept it: but Fortune, who seems to have been an
enemy of this little family, afterwards put a stop to her promotion.

Chapter x.

A story told by Mr Supple, the curate. The penetration of Squire
Western. His great love for his daughter, and the return to it made by

The next morning Tom Jones hunted with Mr Western, and was at his
return invited by that gentleman to dinner.

The lovely Sophia shone forth that day with more gaiety and
sprightliness than usual. Her battery was certainly levelled at our
heroe; though, I believe, she herself scarce yet knew her own
intention; but if she had any design of charming him, she now

Mr Supple, the curate of Mr Allworthy's parish, made one of the
company. He was a good-natured worthy man; but chiefly remarkable for
his great taciturnity at table, though his mouth was never shut at it.
In short, he had one of the best appetites in the world. However, the
cloth was no sooner taken away, than he always made sufficient amends
for his silence: for he was a very hearty fellow; and his conversation
was often entertaining, never offensive.

At his first arrival, which was immediately before the entrance of the
roast-beef, he had given an intimation that he had brought some news
with him, and was beginning to tell, that he came that moment from Mr
Allworthy's, when the sight of the roast-beef struck him dumb,
permitting him only to say grace, and to declare he must pay his
respect to the baronet, for so he called the sirloin.

When dinner was over, being reminded by Sophia of his news, he began
as follows: "I believe, lady, your ladyship observed a young woman at
church yesterday at even-song, who was drest in one of your outlandish
garments; I think I have seen your ladyship in such a one. However, in
the country, such dresses are

_Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno._

That is, madam, as much as to say, `A rare bird upon the earth, and
very like a black swan.' The verse is in Juvenal. But to return to
what I was relating. I was saying such garments are rare sights in the
country; and perchance, too, it was thought the more rare, respect
being had to the person who wore it, who, they tell me, is the
daughter of Black George, your worship's gamekeeper, whose sufferings,
I should have opined, might have taught him more wit, than to dress
forth his wenches in such gaudy apparel. She created so much confusion
in the congregation, that if Squire Allworthy had not silenced it, it
would have interrupted the service: for I was once about to stop in
the middle of the first lesson. Howbeit, nevertheless, after prayer
was over, and I was departed home, this occasioned a battle in the
churchyard, where, amongst other mischief, the head of a travelling
fidler was very much broken. This morning the fidler came to Squire
Allworthy for a warrant, and the wench was brought before him. The
squire was inclined to have compounded matters; when, lo! on a sudden
the wench appeared (I ask your ladyship's pardon) to be, as it were,
at the eve of bringing forth a bastard. The squire demanded of her who
was the father? But she pertinaciously refused to make any response.
So that he was about to make her mittimus to Bridewell when I

"And is a wench having a bastard all your news, doctor?" cries
Western; "I thought it might have been some public matter, something
about the nation."

"I am afraid it is too common, indeed," answered the parson; "but I
thought the whole story altogether deserved commemorating. As to
national matters, your worship knows them best. My concerns extend no
farther than my own parish."

"Why, ay," says the squire, "I believe I do know a little of that
matter, as you say. But, come, Tommy, drink about; the bottle stands
with you."

Tom begged to be excused, for that he had particular business; and
getting up from table, escaped the clutches of the squire, who was
rising to stop him, and went off with very little ceremony.

The squire gave him a good curse at his departure; and then turning to
the parson, he cried out, "I smoke it: I smoke it. Tom is certainly
the father of this bastard. Zooks, parson, you remember how he
recommended the veather o' her to me. D--n un, what a sly b--ch 'tis.
Ay, ay, as sure as two-pence, Tom is the veather of the bastard."

"I should be very sorry for that," says the parson.

"Why sorry," cries the squire: "Where is the mighty matter o't? What,
I suppose dost pretend that thee hast never got a bastard? Pox! more
good luck's thine? for I warrant hast a done a _therefore_ many's the
good time and often."

"Your worship is pleased to be jocular," answered the parson; "but I
do not only animadvert on the sinfulness of the action--though that
surely is to be greatly deprecated--but I fear his unrighteousness may
injure him with Mr Allworthy. And truly I must say, though he hath the
character of being a little wild, I never saw any harm in the young
man; nor can I say I have heard any, save what your worship now
mentions. I wish, indeed, he was a little more regular in his
responses at church; but altogether he seems

_Ingenui vultus puer ingenuique pudoris._

That is a classical line, young lady; and, being rendered into
English, is, `a lad of an ingenuous countenance, and of an ingenuous
modesty;' for this was a virtue in great repute both among the Latins
and Greeks. I must say, the young gentleman (for so I think I may call
him, notwithstanding his birth) appears to me a very modest, civil
lad, and I should be sorry that he should do himself any injury in
Squire Allworthy's opinion."

"Poogh!" says the squire: "Injury, with Allworthy! Why, Allworthy
loves a wench himself. Doth not all the country know whose son Tom is?
You must talk to another person in that manner. I remember Allworthy
at college."

"I thought," said the parson, "he had never been at the university."

"Yes, yes, he was," says the squire: "and many a wench have we two had
together. As arrant a whore-master as any within five miles o'un. No,
no. It will do'n no harm with he, assure yourself; nor with anybody
else. Ask Sophy there--You have not the worse opinion of a young
fellow for getting a bastard, have you, girl? No, no, the women will
like un the better for't."

This was a cruel question to poor Sophia. She had observed Tom's
colour change at the parson's story; and that, with his hasty and
abrupt departure, gave her sufficient reason to think her father's
suspicion not groundless. Her heart now at once discovered the great
secret to her which it had been so long disclosing by little and
little; and she found herself highly interested in this matter. In
such a situation, her father's malapert question rushing suddenly upon
her, produced some symptoms which might have alarmed a suspicious
heart; but, to do the squire justice, that was not his fault. When she
rose therefore from her chair, and told him a hint from him was always
sufficient to make her withdraw, he suffered her to leave the room,
and then with great gravity of countenance remarked, "That it was
better to see a daughter over-modest than over-forward;"--a sentiment
which was highly applauded by the parson.

There now ensued between the squire and the parson a most excellent
political discourse, framed out of newspapers and political pamphlets;
in which they made a libation of four bottles of wine to the good of
their country: and then, the squire being fast asleep, the parson
lighted his pipe, mounted his horse, and rode home.

When the squire had finished his half-hour's nap, he summoned his
daughter to her harpsichord; but she begged to be excused that
evening, on account of a violent head-ache. This remission was
presently granted; for indeed she seldom had occasion to ask him
twice, as he loved her with such ardent affection, that, by gratifying
her, he commonly conveyed the highest gratification to himself. She
was really, what he frequently called her, his little darling, and she
well deserved to be so; for she returned all his affection in the most
ample manner. She had preserved the most inviolable duty to him in all
things; and this her love made not only easy, but so delightful, that
when one of her companions laughed at her for placing so much merit in
such scrupulous obedience, as that young lady called it, Sophia
answered, "You mistake me, madam, if you think I value myself upon
this account; for besides that I am barely discharging my duty, I am
likewise pleasing myself. I can truly say I have no delight equal to
that of contributing to my father's happiness; and if I value myself,
my dear, it is on having this power, and not on executing it."

This was a satisfaction, however, which poor Sophia was incapable of
tasting this evening. She therefore not only desired to be excused
from her attendance at the harpsichord, but likewise begged that he
would suffer her to absent herself from supper. To this request
likewise the squire agreed, though not without some reluctance; for he
scarce ever permitted her to be out of his sight, unless when he was
engaged with his horses, dogs, or bottle. Nevertheless he yielded to
the desire of his daughter, though the poor man was at the same time
obliged to avoid his own company (if I may so express myself), by
sending for a neighbouring farmer to sit with him.

Chapter xi.

The narrow escape of Molly Seagrim, with some observations for which
we have been forced to dive pretty deep into nature.

Tom Jones had ridden one of Mr Western's horses that morning in the
chase; so that having no horse of his own in the squire's stable, he
was obliged to go home on foot: this he did so expeditiously that he
ran upwards of three miles within the half-hour.

Just as he arrived at Mr Allworthy's outward gate, he met the
constable and company with Molly in their possession, whom they were
conducting to that house where the inferior sort of people may learn
one good lesson, viz., respect and deference to their superiors; since
it must show them the wide distinction Fortune intends between those
persons who are to be corrected for their faults, and those who are
not; which lesson if they do not learn, I am afraid they very rarely
learn any other good lesson, or improve their morals, at the house of

A lawyer may perhaps think Mr Allworthy exceeded his authority a
little in this instance. And, to say the truth, I question, as here
was no regular information before him, whether his conduct was
strictly regular. However, as his intention was truly upright, he
ought to be excused in _foro conscientiae_; since so many arbitrary
acts are daily committed by magistrates who have not this excuse to
plead for themselves.

Tom was no sooner informed by the constable whither they were
proceeding (indeed he pretty well guessed it of himself), than he
caught Molly in his arms, and embracing her tenderly before them all,
swore he would murder the first man who offered to lay hold of her. He
bid her dry her eyes and be comforted; for, wherever she went, he
would accompany her. Then turning to the constable, who stood
trembling with his hat off, he desired him, in a very mild voice, to
return with him for a moment only to his father (for so he now called
Allworthy); for he durst, he said, be assured, that, when he had
alledged what he had to say in her favour, the girl would be

The constable, who, I make no doubt, would have surrendered his
prisoner had Tom demanded her, very readily consented to this request.
So back they all went into Mr Allworthy's hall; where Tom desired them
to stay till his return, and then went himself in pursuit of the good
man. As soon as he was found, Tom threw himself at his feet, and
having begged a patient hearing, confessed himself to be the father of
the child of which Molly was then big. He entreated him to have
compassion on the poor girl, and to consider, if there was any guilt
in the case, it lay principally at his door.

"If there is any guilt in the case!" answered Allworthy warmly: "Are
you then so profligate and abandoned a libertine to doubt whether the
breaking the laws of God and man, the corrupting and ruining a poor
girl be guilt? I own, indeed, it doth lie principally upon you; and so
heavy it is, that you ought to expect it should crush you."

"Whatever may be my fate," says Tom, "let me succeed in my
intercessions for the poor girl. I confess I have corrupted her! but
whether she shall be ruined, depends on you. For Heaven's sake, sir,
revoke your warrant, and do not send her to a place which must
unavoidably prove her destruction."

Allworthy bid him immediately call a servant. Tom answered there was
no occasion; for he had luckily met them at the gate, and relying upon
his goodness, had brought them all back into his hall, where they now
waited his final resolution, which upon his knees he besought him
might be in favour of the girl; that she might be permitted to go home
to her parents, and not be exposed to a greater degree of shame and
scorn than must necessarily fall upon her. "I know," said he, "that is
too much. I know I am the wicked occasion of it. I will endeavour to
make amends, if possible; and if you shall have hereafter the goodness
to forgive me, I hope I shall deserve it."

Allworthy hesitated some time, and at last said, "Well, I will
discharge my mittimus.--You may send the constable to me." He was
instantly called, discharged, and so was the girl.

It will be believed that Mr Allworthy failed not to read Tom a very
severe lecture on this occasion; but it is unnecessary to insert it
here, as we have faithfully transcribed what he said to Jenny Jones in
the first book, most of which may be applied to the men, equally with
the women. So sensible an effect had these reproofs on the young man,
who was no hardened sinner, that he retired to his own room, where he
passed the evening alone, in much melancholy contemplation.

Allworthy was sufficiently offended by this transgression of Jones;
for notwithstanding the assertions of Mr Western, it is certain this
worthy man had never indulged himself in any loose pleasures with
women, and greatly condemned the vice of incontinence in others.
Indeed, there is much reason to imagine that there was not the least
truth in what Mr Western affirmed, especially as he laid the scene of
those impurities at the university, where Mr Allworthy had never been.
In fact, the good squire was a little too apt to indulge that kind of
pleasantry which is generally called rhodomontade: but which may, with
as much propriety, be expressed by a much shorter word; and perhaps we
too often supply the use of this little monosyllable by others; since
very much of what frequently passes in the world for wit and humour,
should, in the strictest purity of language, receive that short
appellation, which, in conformity to the well-bred laws of custom, I
here suppress.

But whatever detestation Mr Allworthy had to this or to any other
vice, he was not so blinded by it but that he could discern any virtue
in the guilty person, as clearly indeed as if there had been no
mixture of vice in the same character. While he was angry therefore
with the incontinence of Jones, he was no less pleased with the honour
and honesty of his self-accusation. He began now to form in his mind
the same opinion of this young fellow, which, we hope, our reader may
have conceived. And in balancing his faults with his perfections, the
latter seemed rather to preponderate.

It was to no purpose, therefore, that Thwackum, who was immediately
charged by Mr Blifil with the story, unbended all his rancour against
poor Tom. Allworthy gave a patient hearing to their invectives, and
then answered coldly: "That young men of Tom's complexion were too
generally addicted to this vice; but he believed that youth was
sincerely affected with what he had said to him on the occasion, and
he hoped he would not transgress again." So that, as the days of
whipping were at an end, the tutor had no other vent but his own mouth
for his gall, the usual poor resource of impotent revenge.

But Square, who was a less violent, was a much more artful man; and as
he hated Jones more perhaps than Thwackum himself did, so he contrived
to do him more mischief in the mind of Mr Allworthy.

The reader must remember the several little incidents of the
partridge, the horse, and the Bible, which were recounted in the
second book. By all which Jones had rather improved than injured the
affection which Mr Allworthy was inclined to entertain for him. The
same, I believe, must have happened to him with every other person who
hath any idea of friendship, generosity, and greatness of spirit, that
is to say, who hath any traces of goodness in his mind.

Square himself was not unacquainted with the true impression which
those several instances of goodness had made on the excellent heart of
Allworthy; for the philosopher very well knew what virtue was, though
he was not always perhaps steady in its pursuit; but as for Thwackum,
from what reason I will not determine, no such thoughts ever entered
into his head: he saw Jones in a bad light, and he imagined Allworthy
saw him in the same, but that he was resolved, from pride and
stubbornness of spirit, not to give up the boy whom he had once
cherished; since by so doing, he must tacitly acknowledge that his
former opinion of him had been wrong.

Square therefore embraced this opportunity of injuring Jones
in the tenderest part, by giving a very bad turn to all these
before-mentioned occurrences. "I am sorry, sir," said he, "to own I
have been deceived as well as yourself. I could not, I confess, help
being pleased with what I ascribed to the motive of friendship, though
it was carried to an excess, and all excess is faulty and vicious: but
in this I made allowance for youth. Little did I suspect that the
sacrifice of truth, which we both imagined to have been made to
friendship, was in reality a prostitution of it to a depraved and
debauched appetite. You now plainly see whence all the seeming
generosity of this young man to the family of the gamekeeper
proceeded. He supported the father in order to corrupt the daughter,
and preserved the family from starving, to bring one of them to shame
and ruin. This is friendship! this is generosity! As Sir Richard
Steele says, `Gluttons who give high prices for delicacies, are very
worthy to be called generous.' In short I am resolved, from this
instance, never to give way to the weakness of human nature more, nor
to think anything virtue which doth not exactly quadrate with the
unerring rule of right."

The goodness of Allworthy had prevented those considerations from
occurring to himself; yet were they too plausible to be absolutely and
hastily rejected, when laid before his eyes by another. Indeed what
Square had said sunk very deeply into his mind, and the uneasiness
which it there created was very visible to the other; though the good
man would not acknowledge this, but made a very slight answer, and
forcibly drove off the discourse to some other subject. It was well
perhaps for poor Tom, that no such suggestions had been made before he
was pardoned; for they certainly stamped in the mind of Allworthy the
first bad impression concerning Jones.

Chapter xii.

Containing much clearer matters; but which flowed from the same
fountain with those in the preceding chapter.

The reader will be pleased, I believe, to return with me to Sophia.
She passed the night, after we saw her last, in no very agreeable
manner. Sleep befriended her but little, and dreams less. In the
morning, when Mrs Honour, her maid, attended her at the usual hour,
she was found already up and drest.

Persons who live two or three miles' distance in the country are
considered as next-door neighbours, and transactions at the one house
fly with incredible celerity to the other. Mrs Honour, therefore, had
heard the whole story of Molly's shame; which she, being of a very
communicative temper, had no sooner entered the apartment of her
mistress, than she began to relate in the following manner:--

"La, ma'am, what doth your la'ship think? the girl that your la'ship
saw at church on Sunday, whom you thought so handsome; though you
would not have thought her so handsome neither, if you had seen her
nearer, but to be sure she hath been carried before the justice for
being big with child. She seemed to me to look like a confident slut:
and to be sure she hath laid the child to young Mr Jones. And all the
parish says Mr Allworthy is so angry with young Mr Jones, that he
won't see him. To be sure, one can't help pitying the poor young man,
and yet he doth not deserve much pity neither, for demeaning himself
with such kind of trumpery. Yet he is so pretty a gentleman, I should
be sorry to have him turned out of doors. I dares to swear the wench
was as willing as he; for she was always a forward kind of body. And
when wenches are so coming, young men are not so much to be blamed
neither; for to be sure they do no more than what is natural. Indeed
it is beneath them to meddle with such dirty draggle-tails; and
whatever happens to them, it is good enough for them. And yet, to be
sure, the vile baggages are most in fault. I wishes, with all my
heart, they were well to be whipped at the cart's tail; for it is pity
they should be the ruin of a pretty young gentleman; and nobody can
deny but that Mr Jones is one of the most handsomest young men that

She was running on thus, when Sophia, with a more peevish voice than
she had ever spoken to her in before, cried, "Prithee, why dost thou
trouble me with all this stuff? What concern have I in what Mr Jones
doth? I suppose you are all alike. And you seem to me to be angry it
was not your own case."

"I, ma'am!" answered Mrs Honour, "I am sorry your ladyship should have
such an opinion of me. I am sure nobody can say any such thing of me.
All the young fellows in the world may go to the divil for me. Because
I said he was a handsome man? Everybody says it as well as I. To be
sure, I never thought as it was any harm to say a young man was
handsome; but to be sure I shall never think him so any more now; for
handsome is that handsome does. A beggar wench!--"

"Stop thy torrent of impertinence," cries Sophia, "and see whether my
father wants me at breakfast."

Mrs Honour then flung out of the room, muttering much to herself, of
which "Marry come up, I assure you," was all that could be plainly

Whether Mrs Honour really deserved that suspicion, of which her
mistress gave her a hint, is a matter which we cannot indulge our
reader's curiosity by resolving. We will, however, make him amends in
disclosing what passed in the mind of Sophia.

The reader will be pleased to recollect, that a secret affection for
Mr Jones had insensibly stolen into the bosom of this young lady. That
it had there grown to a pretty great height before she herself had
discovered it. When she first began to perceive its symptoms, the
sensations were so sweet and pleasing, that she had not resolution
sufficient to check or repel them; and thus she went on cherishing a
passion of which she never once considered the consequences.

This incident relating to Molly first opened her eyes. She now first
perceived the weakness of which she had been guilty; and though it
caused the utmost perturbation in her mind, yet it had the effect of
other nauseous physic, and for the time expelled her distemper. Its
operation indeed was most wonderfully quick; and in the short
interval, while her maid was absent, so entirely removed all symptoms,
that when Mrs Honour returned with a summons from her father, she was
become perfectly easy, and had brought herself to a thorough
indifference for Mr Jones.

The diseases of the mind do in almost every particular imitate those
of the body. For which reason, we hope, that learned faculty, for whom
we have so profound a respect, will pardon us the violent hands we
have been necessitated to lay on several words and phrases, which of
right belong to them, and without which our descriptions must have
been often unintelligible.

Now there is no one circumstance in which the distempers of the mind
bear a more exact analogy to those which are called bodily, than that
aptness which both have to a relapse. This is plain in the violent
diseases of ambition and avarice. I have known ambition, when cured at
court by frequent disappointments (which are the only physic for it),
to break out again in a contest for foreman of the grand jury at an
assizes; and have heard of a man who had so far conquered avarice, as
to give away many a sixpence, that comforted himself, at last, on his
deathbed, by making a crafty and advantageous bargain concerning his
ensuing funeral, with an undertaker who had married his only child.

In the affair of love, which, out of strict conformity with the Stoic
philosophy, we shall here treat as a disease, this proneness to
relapse is no less conspicuous. Thus it happened to poor Sophia; upon
whom, the very next time she saw young Jones, all the former symptoms
returned, and from that time cold and hot fits alternately seized her

The situation of this young lady was now very different from what it
had ever been before. That passion which had formerly been so
exquisitely delicious, became now a scorpion in her bosom. She
resisted it therefore with her utmost force, and summoned every
argument her reason (which was surprisingly strong for her age) could
suggest, to subdue and expel it. In this she so far succeeded, that
she began to hope from time and absence a perfect cure. She resolved
therefore to avoid Tom Jones as much as possible; for which purpose
she began to conceive a design of visiting her aunt, to which she made
no doubt of obtaining her father's consent.

But Fortune, who had other designs in her head, put an immediate stop
to any such proceeding, by introducing an accident, which will be
related in the next chapter.

Chapter xiii.

A dreadful accident which befel Sophia. The gallant behaviour of
Jones, and the more dreadful consequence of that behaviour to the
young lady; with a short digression in favour of the female sex.

Mr Western grew every day fonder and fonder of Sophia, insomuch that
his beloved dogs themselves almost gave place to her in his
affections; but as he could not prevail on himself to abandon these,
he contrived very cunningly to enjoy their company, together with that
of his daughter, by insisting on her riding a hunting with him.

Sophia, to whom her father's word was a law, readily complied with his
desires, though she had not the least delight in a sport, which was of
too rough and masculine a nature to suit with her disposition. She had
however another motive, beside her obedience, to accompany the old
gentleman in the chase; for by her presence she hoped in some measure
to restrain his impetuosity, and to prevent him from so frequently
exposing his neck to the utmost hazard.

The strongest objection was that which would have formerly been an
inducement to her, namely, the frequent meeting with young Jones, whom
she had determined to avoid; but as the end of the hunting season now
approached, she hoped, by a short absence with her aunt, to reason
herself entirely out of her unfortunate passion; and had not any doubt
of being able to meet him in the field the subsequent season without
the least danger.

On the second day of her hunting, as she was returning from the chase,
and was arrived within a little distance from Mr Western's house, her
horse, whose mettlesome spirit required a better rider, fell suddenly
to prancing and capering in such a manner that she was in the most
imminent peril of falling. Tom Jones, who was at a little distance
behind, saw this, and immediately galloped up to her assistance. As
soon as he came up, he leapt from his own horse, and caught hold of
hers by the bridle. The unruly beast presently reared himself an end
on his hind legs, and threw his lovely burthen from his back, and
Jones caught her in his arms.

She was so affected with the fright, that she was not immediately able
to satisfy Jones, who was very sollicitous to know whether she had
received any hurt. She soon after, however, recovered her spirits,
assured him she was safe, and thanked him for the care he had taken of
her. Jones answered, "If I have preserved you, madam, I am
sufficiently repaid; for I promise you, I would have secured you from
the least harm at the expense of a much greater misfortune to myself
than I have suffered on this occasion."

"What misfortune?" replied Sophia eagerly; "I hope you have come to no

"Be not concerned, madam," answered Jones. "Heaven be praised you have
escaped so well, considering the danger you was in. If I have broke my
arm, I consider it as a trifle, in comparison of what I feared upon
your account."

Sophia then screamed out, "Broke your arm! Heaven forbid."

"I am afraid I have, madam," says Jones: "but I beg you will suffer me
first to take care of you. I have a right hand yet at your service, to
help you into the next field, whence we have but a very little walk to
your father's house."

Sophia seeing his left arm dangling by his side, while he was using
the other to lead her, no longer doubted of the truth. She now grew
much paler than her fears for herself had made her before. All her
limbs were seized with a trembling, insomuch that Jones could scarce
support her; and as her thoughts were in no less agitation, she could
not refrain from giving Jones a look so full of tenderness, that it
almost argued a stronger sensation in her mind, than even gratitude
and pity united can raise in the gentlest female bosom, without the
assistance of a third more powerful passion.

Mr Western, who was advanced at some distance when this accident
happened, was now returned, as were the rest of the horsemen. Sophia
immediately acquainted them with what had befallen Jones, and begged
them to take care of him. Upon which Western, who had been much
alarmed by meeting his daughter's horse without its rider, and was now
overjoyed to find her unhurt, cried out, "I am glad it is no worse. If
Tom hath broken his arm, we will get a joiner to mend un again."

The squire alighted from his horse, and proceeded to his house on
foot, with his daughter and Jones. An impartial spectator, who had met
them on the way, would, on viewing their several countenances, have
concluded Sophia alone to have been the object of compassion: for as
to Jones, he exulted in having probably saved the life of the young
lady, at the price only of a broken bone; and Mr Western, though he
was not unconcerned at the accident which had befallen Jones, was,
however, delighted in a much higher degree with the fortunate escape
of his daughter.

The generosity of Sophia's temper construed this behaviour of Jones
into great bravery; and it made a deep impression on her heart: for
certain it is, that there is no one quality which so generally
recommends men to women as this; proceeding, if we believe the common
opinion, from that natural timidity of the sex, which is, says Mr
Osborne, "so great, that a woman is the most cowardly of all the
creatures God ever made;"--a sentiment more remarkable for its
bluntness than for its truth. Aristotle, in his Politics, doth them, I
believe, more justice, when he says, "The modesty and fortitude of men
differ from those virtues in women; for the fortitude which becomes a
woman, would be cowardice in a man; and the modesty which becomes a
man, would be pertness in a woman." Nor is there, perhaps, more of
truth in the opinion of those who derive the partiality which women
are inclined to show to the brave, from this excess of their fear. Mr
Bayle (I think, in his article of Helen) imputes this, and with
greater probability, to their violent love of glory; for the truth of
which, we have the authority of him who of all others saw farthest
into human nature, and who introduces the heroine of his Odyssey, the
great pattern of matrimonial love and constancy, assigning the glory
of her husband as the only source of her affection towards him.[*]

[*] The English reader will not find this in the poem; for the
sentiment is entirely left out in the translation.

However this be, certain it is that the accident operated very
strongly on Sophia; and, indeed, after much enquiry into the matter, I
am inclined to believe, that, at this very time, the charming Sophia
made no less impression on the heart of Jones; to say truth, he had
for some time become sensible of the irresistible power of her charms.

Chapter xiv.

The arrival of a surgeon.--His operations, and a long dialogue between
Sophia and her maid.

When they arrived at Mr Western's hall, Sophia, who had tottered along
with much difficulty, sunk down in her chair; but by the assistance of
hartshorn and water, she was prevented from fainting away, and had
pretty well recovered her spirits, when the surgeon who was sent for
to Jones appeared. Mr Western, who imputed these symptoms in his
daughter to her fall, advised her to be presently blooded by way of
prevention. In this opinion he was seconded by the surgeon, who gave
so many reasons for bleeding, and quoted so many cases where persons
had miscarried for want of it, that the squire became very
importunate, and indeed insisted peremptorily that his daughter should
be blooded.

Sophia soon yielded to the commands of her father, though entirely
contrary to her own inclinations, for she suspected, I believe, less
danger from the fright, than either the squire or the surgeon. She
then stretched out her beautiful arm, and the operator began to
prepare for his work.

While the servants were busied in providing materials, the surgeon,
who imputed the backwardness which had appeared in Sophia to her
fears, began to comfort her with assurances that there was not the
least danger; for no accident, he said, could ever happen in bleeding,
but from the monstrous ignorance of pretenders to surgery, which he
pretty plainly insinuated was not at present to be apprehended. Sophia
declared she was not under the least apprehension; adding, "If you
open an artery, I promise you I'll forgive you." "Will you?" cries
Western: "D--n me, if I will. If he does thee the least mischief, d--n
me if I don't ha' the heart's blood o'un out." The surgeon assented to
bleed her upon these conditions, and then proceeded to his operation,
which he performed with as much dexterity as he had promised; and with
as much quickness: for he took but little blood from her, saying, it
was much safer to bleed again and again, than to take away too much at

Sophia, when her arm was bound up, retired: for she was not willing
(nor was it, perhaps, strictly decent) to be present at the operation
on Jones. Indeed, one objection which she had to bleeding (though she
did not make it) was the delay which it would occasion to setting the
broken bone. For Western, when Sophia was concerned, had no
consideration but for her; and as for Jones himself, he "sat like
patience on a monument smiling at grief." To say the truth, when he
saw the blood springing from the lovely arm of Sophia, he scarce
thought of what had happened to himself.

The surgeon now ordered his patient to be stript to his shirt, and
then entirely baring the arm, he began to stretch and examine it, in
such a manner that the tortures he put him to caused Jones to make
several wry faces; which the surgeon observing, greatly wondered at,
crying, "What is the matter, sir? I am sure it is impossible I should
hurt you." And then holding forth the broken arm, he began a long and
very learned lecture of anatomy, in which simple and double fractures
were most accurately considered; and the several ways in which Jones
might have broken his arm were discussed, with proper annotations
showing how many of these would have been better, and how many worse
than the present case.

Having at length finished his laboured harangue, with which the
audience, though it had greatly raised their attention and admiration,
were not much edified, as they really understood not a single syllable
of all he had said, he proceeded to business, which he was more
expeditious in finishing, than he had been in beginning.

Jones was then ordered into a bed, which Mr Western compelled him to
accept at his own house, and sentence of water-gruel was passed upon

Among the good company which had attended in the hall during the
bone-setting, Mrs Honour was one; who being summoned to her mistress
as soon as it was over, and asked by her how the young gentleman did,
presently launched into extravagant praises on the magnanimity, as she
called it, of his behaviour, which, she said, "was so charming in so
pretty a creature." She then burst forth into much warmer encomiums on
the beauty of his person; enumerating many particulars, and ending
with the whiteness of his skin.

This discourse had an effect on Sophia's countenance, which would not
perhaps have escaped the observance of the sagacious waiting-woman,
had she once looked her mistress in the face, all the time she was
speaking: but as a looking-glass, which was most commodiously placed
opposite to her, gave her an opportunity of surveying those features,
in which, of all others, she took most delight; so she had not once
removed her eyes from that amiable object during her whole speech.

Mrs Honour was so intirely wrapped up in the subject on which she
exercised her tongue, and the object before her eyes, that she gave
her mistress time to conquer her confusion; which having done, she
smiled on her maid, and told her, "she was certainly in love with this
young fellow."--"I in love, madam!" answers she: "upon my word, ma'am,
I assure you, ma'am, upon my soul, ma'am, I am not."--"Why, if you
was," cries her mistress, "I see no reason that you should be ashamed
of it; for he is certainly a pretty fellow."--"Yes, ma'am," answered
the other, "that he is, the most handsomest man I ever saw in my life.
Yes, to be sure, that he is, and, as your ladyship says, I don't know
why I should be ashamed of loving him, though he is my betters. To be
sure, gentlefolks are but flesh and blood no more than us servants.
Besides, as for Mr Jones, thof Squire Allworthy hath made a gentleman
of him, he was not so good as myself by birth: for thof I am a poor
body, I am an honest person's child, and my father and mother were
married, which is more than some people can say, as high as they hold
their heads. Marry, come up! I assure you, my dirty cousin! thof his
skin be so white, and to be sure it is the most whitest that ever was
seen, I am a Christian as well as he, and nobody can say that I am
base born: my grandfather was a clergyman,[*] and would have been very
angry, I believe, to have thought any of his family should have taken
up with Molly Seagrim's dirty leavings."

[*] This is the second person of low condition whom we have recorded
in this history to have sprung from the clergy. It is to be hoped
such instances will, in future ages, when some provision is made for
the families of the inferior clergy, appear stranger than they can
be thought at present.

Perhaps Sophia might have suffered her maid to run on in this manner,
from wanting sufficient spirits to stop her tongue, which the reader
may probably conjecture was no very easy task; for certainly there
were some passages in her speech which were far from being agreeable
to the lady. However, she now checked the torrent, as there seemed no
end of its flowing. "I wonder," says she, "at your assurance in daring
to talk thus of one of my father's friends. As to the wench, I order
you never to mention her name to me. And with regard to the young
gentleman's birth, those who can say nothing more to his disadvantage,
may as well be silent on that head, as I desire you will be for the

"I am sorry I have offended your ladyship," answered Mrs Honour. "I am
sure I hate Molly Seagrim as much as your ladyship can; and as for
abusing Squire Jones, I can call all the servants in the house to
witness, that whenever any talk hath been about bastards, I have
always taken his part; for which of you, says I to the footmen, would
not be a bastard, if he could, to be made a gentleman of? And, says I,
I am sure he is a very fine gentleman; and he hath one of the whitest
hands in the world; for to be sure so he hath: and, says I, one of the
sweetest temperedest, best naturedest men in the world he is; and,
says I, all the servants and neighbours all round the country loves
him. And, to be sure, I could tell your ladyship something, but that I
am afraid it would offend you."--"What could you tell me, Honour?"
says Sophia. "Nay, ma'am, to be sure he meant nothing by it, therefore
I would not have your ladyship be offended."--"Prithee tell me," says
Sophia; "I will know it this instant."--"Why, ma'am," answered Mrs
Honour, "he came into the room one day last week when I was at work,
and there lay your ladyship's muff on a chair, and to be sure he put
his hands into it; that very muff your ladyship gave me but yesterday.
La! says I, Mr Jones, you will stretch my lady's muff, and spoil it:
but he still kept his hands in it: and then he kissed it--to be sure I
hardly ever saw such a kiss in my life as he gave it."--"I suppose he
did not know it was mine," replied Sophia. "Your ladyship shall hear,
ma'am. He kissed it again and again, and said it was the prettiest
muff in the world. La! sir, says I, you have seen it a hundred times.
Yes, Mrs Honour, cried he; but who can see anything beautiful in the
presence of your lady but herself?--Nay, that's not all neither; but I
hope your ladyship won't be offended, for to be sure he meant nothing.
One day, as your ladyship was playing on the harpsichord to my master,
Mr Jones was sitting in the next room, and methought he looked
melancholy. La! says I, Mr Jones, what's the matter? a penny for your
thoughts, says I. Why, hussy, says he, starting up from a dream, what
can I be thinking of, when that angel your mistress is playing? And
then squeezing me by the hand, Oh! Mrs Honour, says he, how happy will
that man be!--and then he sighed. Upon my troth, his breath is as
sweet as a nosegay.--But to be sure he meant no harm by it. So I hope
your ladyship will not mention a word; for he gave me a crown never to
mention it, and made me swear upon a book, but I believe, indeed, it
was not the Bible."

Till something of a more beautiful red than vermilion be found out, I
shall say nothing of Sophia's colour on this occasion. "Ho--nour,"
says she, "I--if you will not mention this any more to me--nor to
anybody else, I will not betray you--I mean, I will not be angry; but
I am afraid of your tongue. Why, my girl, will you give it such
liberties?"--"Nay, ma'am," answered she, "to be sure, I would sooner
cut out my tongue than offend your ladyship. To be sure I shall never
mention a word that your ladyship would not have me."--"Why, I would
not have you mention this any more," said Sophia, "for it may come to
my father's ears, and he would be angry with Mr Jones; though I really
believe, as you say, he meant nothing. I should be very angry myself,
if I imagined--"--"Nay, ma'am," says Honour, "I protest I believe he
meant nothing. I thought he talked as if he was out of his senses;
nay, he said he believed he was beside himself when he had spoken the
words. Ay, sir, says I, I believe so too. Yes, says he, Honour.--But I
ask your ladyship's pardon; I could tear my tongue out for offending
you." "Go on," says Sophia; "you may mention anything you have not
told me before."--"Yes, Honour, says he (this was some time
afterwards, when he gave me the crown), I am neither such a coxcomb,
or such a villain, as to think of her in any other delight but as my
goddess; as such I will always worship and adore her while I have
breath.--This was all, ma'am, I will be sworn, to the best of my
remembrance. I was in a passion with him myself, till I found he meant
no harm."--"Indeed, Honour," says Sophia, "I believe you have a real
affection for me. I was provoked the other day when I gave you
warning; but if you have a desire to stay with me, you shall."--"To be
sure, ma'am," answered Mrs Honour, "I shall never desire to part with
your ladyship. To be sure, I almost cried my eyes out when you gave me
warning. It would be very ungrateful in me to desire to leave your
ladyship; because as why, I should never get so good a place again. I
am sure I would live and die with your ladyship; for, as poor Mr Jones
said, happy is the man----"

Here the dinner bell interrupted a conversation which had wrought such
an effect on Sophia, that she was, perhaps, more obliged to her
bleeding in the morning, than she, at the time, had apprehended she
should be. As to the present situation of her mind, I shall adhere to
a rule of Horace, by not attempting to describe it, from despair of
success. Most of my readers will suggest it easily to themselves; and
the few who cannot, would not understand the picture, or at least
would deny it to be natural, if ever so well drawn.



Chapter i.

Of the SERIOUS in writing, and for what purpose it is introduced.

Peradventure there may be no parts in this prodigious work which will
give the reader less pleasure in the perusing, than those which have
given the author the greatest pains in composing. Among these probably
may be reckoned those initial essays which we have prefixed to the
historical matter contained in every book; and which we have
determined to be essentially necessary to this kind of writing, of
which we have set ourselves at the head.

For this our determination we do not hold ourselves strictly bound to
assign any reason; it being abundantly sufficient that we have laid it
down as a rule necessary to be observed in all prosai-comi-epic
writing. Who ever demanded the reasons of that nice unity of time or
place which is now established to be so essential to dramatic poetry?
What critic hath been ever asked, why a play may not contain two days
as well as one? Or why the audience (provided they travel, like
electors, without any expense) may not be wafted fifty miles as well
as five? Hath any commentator well accounted for the limitation which
an antient critic hath set to the drama, which he will have contain
neither more nor less than five acts? Or hath any one living attempted
to explain what the modern judges of our theatres mean by that word
_low_; by which they have happily succeeded in banishing all humour
from the stage, and have made the theatre as dull as a drawing-room!
Upon all these occasions the world seems to have embraced a maxim of
our law, viz., _cuicunque in arte sua perito credendum est:_ for it
seems perhaps difficult to conceive that any one should have had
enough of impudence to lay down dogmatical rules in any art or science
without the least foundation. In such cases, therefore, we are apt to
conclude there are sound and good reasons at the bottom, though we are
unfortunately not able to see so far.

Now, in reality, the world have paid too great a compliment to
critics, and have imagined them men of much greater profundity than
they really are. From this complacence, the critics have been
emboldened to assume a dictatorial power, and have so far succeeded,
that they are now become the masters, and have the assurance to give
laws to those authors from whose predecessors they originally received

The critic, rightly considered, is no more than the clerk, whose
office it is to transcribe the rules and laws laid down by those great
judges whose vast strength of genius hath placed them in the light of
legislators, in the several sciences over which they presided. This
office was all which the critics of old aspired to; nor did they ever
dare to advance a sentence, without supporting it by the authority of
the judge from whence it was borrowed.

But in process of time, and in ages of ignorance, the clerk began to
invade the power and assume the dignity of his master. The laws of
writing were no longer founded on the practice of the author, but on
the dictates of the critic. The clerk became the legislator, and those
very peremptorily gave laws whose business it was, at first, only to
transcribe them.

Hence arose an obvious, and perhaps an unavoidable error; for these
critics being men of shallow capacities, very easily mistook mere form
for substance. They acted as a judge would, who should adhere to the
lifeless letter of law, and reject the spirit. Little circumstances,
which were perhaps accidental in a great author, were by these critics
considered to constitute his chief merit, and transmitted as
essentials to be observed by all his successors. To these
encroachments, time and ignorance, the two great supporters of
imposture, gave authority; and thus many rules for good writing have
been established, which have not the least foundation in truth or
nature; and which commonly serve for no other purpose than to curb and
restrain genius, in the same manner as it would have restrained the
dancing-master, had the many excellent treatises on that art laid it
down as an essential rule that every man must dance in chains.

To avoid, therefore, all imputation of laying down a rule for
posterity, founded only on the authority of _ipse dixit_--for which,
to say the truth, we have not the profoundest veneration--we shall
here waive the privilege above contended for, and proceed to lay
before the reader the reasons which have induced us to intersperse
these several digressive essays in the course of this work.

And here we shall of necessity be led to open a new vein of knowledge,
which if it hath been discovered, hath not, to our remembrance, been
wrought on by any antient or modern writer. This vein is no other than
that of contrast, which runs through all the works of the creation,
and may probably have a large share in constituting in us the idea of
all beauty, as well natural as artificial: for what demonstrates the
beauty and excellence of anything but its reverse? Thus the beauty of
day, and that of summer, is set off by the horrors of night and
winter. And, I believe, if it was possible for a man to have seen only
the two former, he would have a very imperfect idea of their beauty.

But to avoid too serious an air; can it be doubted, but that the
finest woman in the world would lose all benefit of her charms in the
eye of a man who had never seen one of another cast? The ladies
themselves seem so sensible of this, that they are all industrious to
procure foils: nay, they will become foils to themselves; for I have
observed (at Bath particularly) that they endeavour to appear as ugly
as possible in the morning, in order to set off that beauty which they
intend to show you in the evening.

Most artists have this secret in practice, though some, perhaps, have
not much studied the theory. The jeweller knows that the finest
brilliant requires a foil; and the painter, by the contrast of his
figures, often acquires great applause.

A great genius among us will illustrate this matter fully. I cannot,
indeed, range him under any general head of common artists, as he hath
a title to be placed among those

_Inventas qui vitam excoluere per artes._
Who by invented arts have life improved.

I mean here the inventor of that most exquisite entertainment, called
the English Pantomime.

This entertainment consisted of two parts, which the inventor
distinguished by the names of the serious and the comic. The serious
exhibited a certain number of heathen gods and heroes, who were
certainly the worst and dullest company into which an audience was
ever introduced; and (which was a secret known to few) were actually
intended so to be, in order to contrast the comic part of the
entertainment, and to display the tricks of harlequin to the better

This was, perhaps, no very civil use of such personages: but the
contrivance was, nevertheless, ingenious enough, and had its effect.
And this will now plainly appear, if, instead of serious and comic, we
supply the words duller and dullest; for the comic was certainly
duller than anything before shown on the stage, and could be set off
only by that superlative degree of dulness which composed the serious.
So intolerably serious, indeed, were these gods and heroes, that
harlequin (though the English gentleman of that name is not at all
related to the French family, for he is of a much more serious
disposition) was always welcome on the stage, as he relieved the
audience from worse company.

Judicious writers have always practised this art of contrast with
great success. I have been surprized that Horace should cavil at this
art in Homer; but indeed he contradicts himself in the very next line:

_Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus;
Verum opere in longo fas est obrepere somnum._

I grieve if e'er great Homer chance to sleep,
Yet slumbers on long works have right to creep.

For we are not here to understand, as perhaps some have, that an
author actually falls asleep while he is writing. It is true, that
readers are too apt to be so overtaken; but if the work was as long as
any of Oldmixon, the author himself is too well entertained to be
subject to the least drowsiness. He is, as Mr Pope observes,

Sleepless himself to give his readers sleep.

To say the truth, these soporific parts are so many scenes of serious
artfully interwoven, in order to contrast and set off the rest; and
this is the true meaning of a late facetious writer, who told the
public that whenever he was dull they might be assured there was a
design in it.

In this light, then, or rather in this darkness, I would have the
reader to consider these initial essays. And after this warning, if he
shall be of opinion that he can find enough of serious in other parts
of this history, he may pass over these, in which we profess to be
laboriously dull, and begin the following books at the second chapter.

Chapter ii.

In which Mr Jones receives many friendly visits during his
confinement; with some fine touches of the passion of love, scarce
visible to the naked eye.

Tom Jones had many visitors during his confinement, though some,
perhaps, were not very agreeable to him. Mr Allworthy saw him almost
every day; but though he pitied Tom's sufferings, and greatly approved
the gallant behaviour which had occasioned them; yet he thought this
was a favourable opportunity to bring him to a sober sense of his
indiscreet conduct; and that wholesome advice for that purpose could
never be applied at a more proper season than at the present, when the
mind was softened by pain and sickness, and alarmed by danger; and
when its attention was unembarrassed with those turbulent passions
which engage us in the pursuit of pleasure.

At all seasons, therefore, when the good man was alone with the youth,
especially when the latter was totally at ease, he took occasion to
remind him of his former miscarriages, but in the mildest and
tenderest manner, and only in order to introduce the caution which he
prescribed for his future behaviour; "on which alone," he assured him,
"would depend his own felicity, and the kindness which he might yet
promise himself to receive at the hands of his father by adoption,
unless he should hereafter forfeit his good opinion: for as to what
had past," he said, "it should be all forgiven and forgotten. He
therefore advised him to make a good use of this accident, that so in
the end it might prove a visitation for his own good."

Thwackum was likewise pretty assiduous in his visits; and he too
considered a sick-bed to be a convenient scene for lectures. His
stile, however, was more severe than Mr Allworthy's: he told his
pupil, "That he ought to look on his broken limb as a judgment from
heaven on his sins. That it would become him to be daily on his knees,
pouring forth thanksgivings that he had broken his arm only, and not
his neck; which latter," he said, "was very probably reserved for some
future occasion, and that, perhaps, not very remote. For his part," he
said, "he had often wondered some judgment had not overtaken him
before; but it might be perceived by this, that Divine punishments,
though slow, are always sure." Hence likewise he advised him, "to
foresee, with equal certainty, the greater evils which were yet
behind, and which were as sure as this of overtaking him in his state
of reprobacy. These are," said he, "to be averted only by such a
thorough and sincere repentance as is not to be expected or hoped for
from one so abandoned in his youth, and whose mind, I am afraid, is
totally corrupted. It is my duty, however, to exhort you to this
repentance, though I too well know all exhortations will be vain and
fruitless. But _liberavi animam meam._ I can accuse my own conscience
of no neglect; though it is at the same time with the utmost concern I
see you travelling on to certain misery in this world, and to as
certain damnation in the next."

Square talked in a very different strain; he said, "Such accidents as
a broken bone were below the consideration of a wise man. That it was
abundantly sufficient to reconcile the mind to any of these
mischances, to reflect that they are liable to befal the wisest of
mankind, and are undoubtedly for the good of the whole." He said, "It
was a mere abuse of words to call those things evils, in which there
was no moral unfitness: that pain, which was the worst consequence of
such accidents, was the most contemptible thing in the world;" with
more of the like sentences, extracted out of the second book of
Tully's Tusculan questions, and from the great Lord Shaftesbury. In
pronouncing these he was one day so eager, that he unfortunately bit
his tongue; and in such a manner, that it not only put an end to his
discourse, but created much emotion in him, and caused him to mutter
an oath or two: but what was worst of all, this accident gave
Thwackum, who was present, and who held all such doctrine to be
heathenish and atheistical, an opportunity to clap a judgment on his
back. Now this was done with so malicious a sneer, that it totally
unhinged (if I may so say) the temper of the philosopher, which the
bite of his tongue had somewhat ruffled; and as he was disabled from
venting his wrath at his lips, he had possibly found a more violent
method of revenging himself, had not the surgeon, who was then luckily
in the room, contrary to his own interest, interposed and preserved
the peace.

Mr Blifil visited his friend Jones but seldom, and never alone. This
worthy young man, however, professed much regard for him, and as great
concern at his misfortune; but cautiously avoided any intimacy, lest,
as he frequently hinted, it might contaminate the sobriety of his own
character: for which purpose he had constantly in his mouth that
proverb in which Solomon speaks against evil communication. Not that
he was so bitter as Thwackum; for he always expressed some hopes of
Tom's reformation; "which," he said, "the unparalleled goodness shown
by his uncle on this occasion, must certainly effect in one not
absolutely abandoned:" but concluded, "if Mr Jones ever offends
hereafter, I shall not be able to say a syllable in his favour."

As to Squire Western, he was seldom out of the sick-room, unless when
he was engaged either in the field or over his bottle. Nay, he would
sometimes retire hither to take his beer, and it was not without
difficulty that he was prevented from forcing Jones to take his beer
too: for no quack ever held his nostrum to be a more general panacea
than he did this; which, he said, had more virtue in it than was in
all the physic in an apothecary's shop. He was, however, by much
entreaty, prevailed on to forbear the application of this medicine;
but from serenading his patient every hunting morning with the horn
under his window, it was impossible to withhold him; nor did he ever
lay aside that hallow, with which he entered into all companies, when
he visited Jones, without any regard to the sick person's being at
that time either awake or asleep.

This boisterous behaviour, as it meant no harm, so happily it effected
none, and was abundantly compensated to Jones, as soon as he was able
to sit up, by the company of Sophia, whom the squire then brought to
visit him; nor was it, indeed, long before Jones was able to attend
her to the harpsichord, where she would kindly condescend, for hours
together, to charm him with the most delicious music, unless when the
squire thought proper to interrupt her, by insisting on Old Sir Simon,
or some other of his favourite pieces.

Notwithstanding the nicest guard which Sophia endeavoured to set on
her behaviour, she could not avoid letting some appearances now and
then slip forth: for love may again be likened to a disease in this,
that when it is denied a vent in one part, it will certainly break out
in another. What her lips, therefore, concealed, her eyes, her
blushes, and many little involuntary actions, betrayed.

One day, when Sophia was playing on the harpsichord, and Jones was
attending, the squire came into the room, crying, "There, Tom, I have
had a battle for thee below-stairs with thick parson Thwackum. He hath
been a telling Allworthy, before my face, that the broken bone was a
judgment upon thee. D--n it, says I, how can that be? Did he not come
by it in defence of a young woman? A judgment indeed! Pox, if he never
doth anything worse, he will go to heaven sooner than all the parsons
in the country. He hath more reason to glory in it than to be ashamed
of it."--"Indeed, sir," says Jones, "I have no reason for either; but
if it preserved Miss Western, I shall always think it the happiest
accident of my life."--"And to gu," said the squire, "to zet Allworthy
against thee vor it! D--n un, if the parson had unt his petticuoats
on, I should have lent un o flick; for I love thee dearly, my boy, and
d--n me if there is anything in my power which I won't do for thee.
Sha't take thy choice of all the horses in my stable to-morrow
morning, except only the Chevalier and Miss Slouch." Jones thanked
him, but declined accepting the offer. "Nay," added the squire, "sha't
ha the sorrel mare that Sophy rode. She cost me fifty guineas, and
comes six years old this grass." "If she had cost me a thousand,"
cries Jones passionately, "I would have given her to the dogs." "Pooh!
pooh!" answered Western; "what! because she broke thy arm? Shouldst
forget and forgive. I thought hadst been more a man than to bear
malice against a dumb creature."--Here Sophia interposed, and put an
end to the conversation, by desiring her father's leave to play to
him; a request which he never refused.

The countenance of Sophia had undergone more than one change during
the foregoing speeches; and probably she imputed the passionate
resentment which Jones had expressed against the mare, to a different
motive from that from which her father had derived it. Her spirits
were at this time in a visible flutter; and she played so intolerably
ill, that had not Western soon fallen asleep, he must have remarked
it. Jones, however, who was sufficiently awake, and was not without an
ear any more than without eyes, made some observations; which being
joined to all which the reader may remember to have passed formerly,
gave him pretty strong assurances, when he came to reflect on the
whole, that all was not well in the tender bosom of Sophia; an opinion
which many young gentlemen will, I doubt not, extremely wonder at his
not having been well confirmed in long ago. To confess the truth, he
had rather too much diffidence in himself, and was not forward enough
in seeing the advances of a young lady; a misfortune which can be
cured only by that early town education, which is at present so
generally in fashion.

When these thoughts had fully taken possession of Jones, they
occasioned a perturbation in his mind, which, in a constitution less
pure and firm than his, might have been, at such a season, attended
with very dangerous consequences. He was truly sensible of the great
worth of Sophia. He extremely liked her person, no less admired her
accomplishments, and tenderly loved her goodness. In reality, as he
had never once entertained any thought of possessing her, nor had ever
given the least voluntary indulgence to his inclinations, he had a
much stronger passion for her than he himself was acquainted with. His
heart now brought forth the full secret, at the same time that it
assured him the adorable object returned his affection.

Chapter iii.

Which all who have no heart will think to contain much ado about

The reader will perhaps imagine the sensations which now arose in
Jones to have been so sweet and delicious, that they would rather tend
to produce a chearful serenity in the mind, than any of those
dangerous effects which we have mentioned; but in fact, sensations of
this kind, however delicious, are, at their first recognition, of a
very tumultuous nature, and have very little of the opiate in them.
They were, moreover, in the present case, embittered with certain
circumstances, which being mixed with sweeter ingredients, tended
altogether to compose a draught that might be termed bitter-sweet;
than which, as nothing can be more disagreeable to the palate, so
nothing, in the metaphorical sense, can be so injurious to the mind.

For first, though he had sufficient foundation to flatter himself in
what he had observed in Sophia, he was not yet free from doubt of
misconstruing compassion, or at best, esteem, into a warmer regard. He
was far from a sanguine assurance that Sophia had any such affection
towards him, as might promise his inclinations that harvest, which, if
they were encouraged and nursed, they would finally grow up to
require. Besides, if he could hope to find no bar to his happiness
from the daughter, he thought himself certain of meeting an effectual
bar in the father; who, though he was a country squire in his
diversions, was perfectly a man of the world in whatever regarded his
fortune; had the most violent affection for his only daughter, and had
often signified, in his cups, the pleasure he proposed in seeing her
married to one of the richest men in the county. Jones was not so vain
and senseless a coxcomb as to expect, from any regard which Western
had professed for him, that he would ever be induced to lay aside
these views of advancing his daughter. He well knew that fortune is
generally the principal, if not the sole, consideration, which
operates on the best of parents in these matters: for friendship makes
us warmly espouse the interest of others; but it is very cold to the
gratification of their passions. Indeed, to feel the happiness which
may result from this, it is necessary we should possess the passion
ourselves. As he had therefore no hopes of obtaining her father's
consent; so he thought to endeavour to succeed without it, and by such
means to frustrate the great point of Mr Western's life, was to make a
very ill use of his hospitality, and a very ungrateful return to the
many little favours received (however roughly) at his hands. If he saw
such a consequence with horror and disdain, how much more was he
shocked with what regarded Mr Allworthy; to whom, as he had more than
filial obligations, so had he for him more than filial piety! He knew
the nature of that good man to be so averse to any baseness or
treachery, that the least attempt of such a kind would make the sight
of the guilty person for ever odious to his eyes, and his name a
detestable sound in his ears. The appearance of such unsurmountable
difficulties was sufficient to have inspired him with despair, however
ardent his wishes had been; but even these were contruoled by
compassion for another woman. The idea of lovely Molly now intruded
itself before him. He had sworn eternal constancy in her arms, and she
had as often vowed never to out-live his deserting her. He now saw her
in all the most shocking postures of death; nay, he considered all the
miseries of prostitution to which she would be liable, and of which he
would be doubly the occasion; first by seducing, and then by deserting
her; for he well knew the hatred which all her neighbours, and even
her own sisters, bore her, and how ready they would all be to tear her
to pieces. Indeed, he had exposed her to more envy than shame, or
rather to the latter by means of the former: for many women abused her
for being a whore, while they envied her her lover, and her finery,
and would have been themselves glad to have purchased these at the
same rate. The ruin, therefore, of the poor girl must, he foresaw,
unavoidably attend his deserting her; and this thought stung him to
the soul. Poverty and distress seemed to him to give none a right of
aggravating those misfortunes. The meanness of her condition did not
represent her misery as of little consequence in his eyes, nor did it
appear to justify, or even to palliate, his guilt, in bringing that
misery upon her. But why do I mention justification? His own heart
would not suffer him to destroy a human creature who, he thought,
loved him, and had to that love sacrificed her innocence. His own good
heart pleaded her cause; not as a cold venal advocate, but as one
interested in the event, and which must itself deeply share in all the
agonies its owner brought on another.

When this powerful advocate had sufficiently raised the pity of Jones,
by painting poor Molly in all the circumstances of wretchedness; it
artfully called in the assistance of another passion, and represented
the girl in all the amiable colours of youth, health, and beauty; as
one greatly the object of desire, and much more so, at least to a good
mind, from being, at the same time, the object of compassion.

Amidst these thoughts, poor Jones passed a long sleepless night, and
in the morning the result of the whole was to abide by Molly, and to
think no more of Sophia.

In this virtuous resolution he continued all the next day till the
evening, cherishing the idea of Molly, and driving Sophia from his
thoughts; but in the fatal evening, a very trifling accident set all
his passions again on float, and worked so total a change in his mind,
that we think it decent to communicate it in a fresh chapter.

Chapter iv.

A little chapter, in which is contained a little incident.

Among other visitants, who paid their compliments to the young
gentleman in his confinement, Mrs Honour was one. The reader, perhaps,
when he reflects on some expressions which have formerly dropt from
her, may conceive that she herself had a very particular affection for
Mr Jones; but, in reality, it was no such thing. Tom was a handsome
young fellow; and for that species of men Mrs Honour had some regard;
but this was perfectly indiscriminate; for having being crossed in the
love which she bore a certain nobleman's footman, who had basely
deserted her after a promise of marriage, she had so securely kept
together the broken remains of her heart, that no man had ever since
been able to possess himself of any single fragment. She viewed all
handsome men with that equal regard and benevolence which a sober and
virtuous mind bears to all the good. She might indeed be called a
lover of men, as Socrates was a lover of mankind, preferring one to
another for corporeal, as he for mental qualifications; but never
carrying this preference so far as to cause any perturbation in the
philosophical serenity of her temper.

The day after Mr Jones had that conflict with himself which we have
seen in the preceding chapter, Mrs Honour came into his room, and
finding him alone, began in the following manner:--"La, sir, where do
you think I have been? I warrants you, you would not guess in fifty
years; but if you did guess, to be sure I must not tell you
neither."--"Nay, if it be something which you must not tell me," said
Jones, "I shall have the curiosity to enquire, and I know you will not
be so barbarous to refuse me."--"I don't know," cries she, "why I
should refuse you neither, for that matter; for to be sure you won't
mention it any more. And for that matter, if you knew where I have
been, unless you knew what I have been about, it would not signify
much. Nay, I don't see why it should be kept a secret for my part; for
to be sure she is the best lady in the world." Upon this, Jones began
to beg earnestly to be let into this secret, and faithfully promised
not to divulge it. She then proceeded thus:--"Why, you must know, sir,
my young lady sent me to enquire after Molly Seagrim, and to see
whether the wench wanted anything; to be sure, I did not care to go,
methinks; but servants must do what they are ordered.--How could you
undervalue yourself so, Mr Jones?--So my lady bid me go and carry her
some linen, and other things. She is too good. If such forward sluts
were sent to Bridewell, it would be better for them. I told my lady,
says I, madam, your la'ship is encouraging idleness."--"And was my
Sophia so good?" says Jones. "My Sophia! I assure you, marry come up,"
answered Honour. "And yet if you knew all--indeed, if I was as Mr
Jones, I should look a little higher than such trumpery as Molly
Seagrim." "What do you mean by these words," replied Jones, "if I knew
all?" "I mean what I mean," says Honour. "Don't you remember putting
your hands in my lady's muff once? I vow I could almost find in my
heart to tell, if I was certain my lady would never come to the
hearing on't." Jones then made several solemn protestations. And
Honour proceeded--"Then to be sure, my lady gave me that muff; and
afterwards, upon hearing what you had done"--"Then you told her what I
had done?" interrupted Jones. "If I did, sir," answered she, "you need
not be angry with me. Many's the man would have given his head to have
had my lady told, if they had known,--for, to be sure, the biggest
lord in the land might be proud--but, I protest, I have a great mind
not to tell you." Jones fell to entreaties, and soon prevailed on her
to go on thus. "You must know then, sir, that my lady had given this
muff to me; but about a day or two after I had told her the story, she
quarrels with her new muff, and to be sure it is the prettiest that
ever was seen. Honour, says she, this is an odious muff; it is too big
for me, I can't wear it: till I can get another, you must let me have
my old one again, and you may have this in the room on't--for she's a
good lady, and scorns to give a thing and take a thing, I promise you
that. So to be sure I fetched it her back again, and, I believe, she
hath worn it upon her arm almost ever since, and I warrants hath given
it many a kiss when nobody hath seen her."

Here the conversation was interrupted by Mr Western himself, who came
to summon Jones to the harpsichord; whither the poor young fellow went
all pale and trembling. This Western observed, but, on seeing Mrs
Honour, imputed it to a wrong cause; and having given Jones a hearty
curse between jest and earnest, he bid him beat abroad, and not poach
up the game in his warren.

Sophia looked this evening with more than usual beauty, and we may
believe it was no small addition to her charms, in the eye of Mr
Jones, that she now happened to have on her right arm this very muff.

She was playing one of her father's favourite tunes, and he was
leaning on her chair, when the muff fell over her fingers, and put her
out. This so disconcerted the squire, that he snatched the muff from
her, and with a hearty curse threw it into the fire. Sophia instantly
started up, and with the utmost eagerness recovered it from the

Though this incident will probably appear of little consequence to
many of our readers; yet, trifling as it was, it had so violent an
effect on poor Jones, that we thought it our duty to relate it. In
reality, there are many little circumstances too often omitted by
injudicious historians, from which events of the utmost importance
arise. The world may indeed be considered as a vast machine, in which
the great wheels are originally set in motion by those which are very
minute, and almost imperceptible to any but the strongest eyes.

Thus, not all the charms of the incomparable Sophia; not all the
dazzling brightness, and languishing softness of her eyes; the harmony
of her voice, and of her person; not all her wit, good-humour,
greatness of mind, or sweetness of disposition, had been able so
absolutely to conquer and enslave the heart of poor Jones, as this
little incident of the muff. Thus the poet sweetly sings of Troy--

_--Captique dolis lachrymisque coacti
Quos neque Tydides, nec Larissaeus Achilles,
Non anni domuere decem, non mille Carinae._

What Diomede or Thetis' greater son,
A thousand ships, nor ten years' siege had done
False tears and fawning words the city won.

The citadel of Jones was now taken by surprize. All those
considerations of honour and prudence which our heroe had lately with
so much military wisdom placed as guards over the avenues of his
heart, ran away from their posts, and the god of love marched in, in

Chapter v.

A very long chapter, containing a very great incident.

But though this victorious deity easily expelled his avowed enemies
from the heart of Jones, he found it more difficult to supplant the
garrison which he himself had placed there. To lay aside all allegory,
the concern for what must become of poor Molly greatly disturbed and
perplexed the mind of the worthy youth. The superior merit of Sophia
totally eclipsed, or rather extinguished, all the beauties of the poor
girl; but compassion instead of contempt succeeded to love. He was
convinced the girl had placed all her affections, and all her prospect
of future happiness, in him only. For this he had, he knew, given
sufficient occasion, by the utmost profusion of tenderness towards
her: a tenderness which he had taken every means to persuade her he
would always maintain. She, on her side, had assured him of her firm
belief in his promise, and had with the most solemn vows declared,
that on his fulfilling or breaking these promises, it depended,
whether she should be the happiest or most miserable of womankind. And
to be the author of this highest degree of misery to a human being,
was a thought on which he could not bear to ruminate a single moment.
He considered this poor girl as having sacrificed to him everything in
her little power; as having been at her own expense the object of his
pleasure; as sighing and languishing for him even at that very
instant. Shall then, says he, my recovery, for which she hath so
ardently wished; shall my presence, which she hath so eagerly
expected, instead of giving her that joy with which she hath flattered
herself, cast her at once down into misery and despair? Can I be such
a villain? Here, when the genius of poor Molly seemed triumphant, the
love of Sophia towards him, which now appeared no longer dubious,
rushed upon his mind, and bore away every obstacle before it.

At length it occurred to him, that he might possibly be able to make
Molly amends another way; namely, by giving her a sum of money. This,
nevertheless, he almost despaired of her accepting, when he
recollected the frequent and vehement assurances he had received from
her, that the world put in balance with him would make her no amends
for his loss. However, her extreme poverty, and chiefly her egregious
vanity (somewhat of which hath been already hinted to the reader),
gave him some little hope, that, notwithstanding all her avowed
tenderness, she might in time be brought to content herself with a
fortune superior to her expectation, and which might indulge her
vanity, by setting her above all her equals. He resolved therefore to
take the first opportunity of making a proposal of this kind.

One day, accordingly, when his arm was so well recovered that he could
walk easily with it slung in a sash, he stole forth, at a season when
the squire was engaged in his field exercises, and visited his fair
one. Her mother and sisters, whom he found taking their tea, informed
him first that Molly was not at home; but afterwards the eldest sister
acquainted him, with a malicious smile, that she was above stairs
a-bed. Tom had no objection to this situation of his mistress, and
immediately ascended the ladder which led towards her bed-chamber; but
when he came to the top, he, to his great surprize, found the door
fast; nor could he for some time obtain any answer from within; for
Molly, as she herself afterwards informed him, was fast asleep.

The extremes of grief and joy have been remarked to produce very
similar effects; and when either of these rushes on us by surprize, it
is apt to create such a total perturbation and confusion, that we are
often thereby deprived of the use of all our faculties. It cannot
therefore be wondered at, that the unexpected sight of Mr Jones should
so strongly operate on the mind of Molly, and should overwhelm her
with such confusion, that for some minutes she was unable to express
the great raptures, with which the reader will suppose she was
affected on this occasion. As for Jones, he was so entirely possessed,
and as it were enchanted, by the presence of his beloved object, that
he for a while forgot Sophia, and consequently the principal purpose
of his visit.

This, however, soon recurred to his memory; and after the first
transports of their meeting were over, he found means by degrees to
introduce a discourse on the fatal consequences which must attend
their amour, if Mr Allworthy, who had strictly forbidden him ever
seeing her more, should discover that he still carried on this
commerce. Such a discovery, which his enemies gave him reason to think
would be unavoidable, must, he said, end in his ruin, and consequently
in hers. Since therefore their hard fates had determined that they
must separate, he advised her to bear it with resolution, and swore he
would never omit any opportunity, through the course of his life, of
showing her the sincerity of his affection, by providing for her in a
manner beyond her utmost expectation, or even beyond her wishes, if
ever that should be in his power; concluding at last, that she might
soon find some man who would marry her, and who would make her much
happier than she could be by leading a disreputable life with him.

Molly remained a few moments in silence, and then bursting into a
flood of tears, she began to upbraid him in the following words: "And
this is your love for me, to forsake me in this manner, now you have
ruined me! How often, when I have told you that all men are false and
perjury alike, and grow tired of us as soon as ever they have had
their wicked wills of us, how often have you sworn you would never
forsake me! And can you be such a perjury man after all? What
signifies all the riches in the world to me without you, now you have
gained my heart, so you have--you have--? Why do you mention another
man to me? I can never love any other man as long as I live. All other
men are nothing to me. If the greatest squire in all the country would
come a suiting to me to-morrow, I would not give my company to him.
No, I shall always hate and despise the whole sex for your sake."--

She was proceeding thus, when an accident put a stop to her tongue,
before it had run out half its career. The room, or rather garret, in
which Molly lay, being up one pair of stairs, that is to say, at the
top of the house, was of a sloping figure, resembling the great Delta
of the Greeks. The English reader may perhaps form a better idea of
it, by being told that it was impossible to stand upright anywhere but
in the middle. Now, as this room wanted the conveniency of a closet,
Molly had, to supply that defect, nailed up an old rug against the
rafters of the house, which enclosed a little hole where her best
apparel, such as the remains of that sack which we have formerly
mentioned, some caps, and other things with which she had lately
provided herself, were hung up and secured from the dust.

This enclosed place exactly fronted the foot of the bed, to which,
indeed, the rug hung so near, that it served in a manner to supply the
want of curtains. Now, whether Molly, in the agonies of her rage,
pushed this rug with her feet; or Jones might touch it; or whether the
pin or nail gave way of its own accord, I am not certain; but as Molly
pronounced those last words, which are recorded above, the wicked rug
got loose from its fastening, and discovered everything hid behind it;
where among other female utensils appeared--(with shame I write it,
and with sorrow will it be read)--the philosopher Square, in a posture
(for the place would not near admit his standing upright) as
ridiculous as can possibly be conceived.

The posture, indeed, in which he stood, was not greatly unlike that of
a soldier who is tied neck and heels; or rather resembling the
attitude in which we often see fellows in the public streets of
London, who are not suffering but deserving punishment by so standing.
He had a nightcap belonging to Molly on his head, and his two large
eyes, the moment the rug fell, stared directly at Jones; so that when
the idea of philosophy was added to the figure now discovered, it
would have been very difficult for any spectator to have refrained
from immoderate laughter.

I question not but the surprize of the reader will be here equal to
that of Jones; as the suspicions which must arise from the appearance
of this wise and grave man in such a place, may seem so inconsistent
with that character which he hath, doubtless, maintained hitherto, in
the opinion of every one.

But to confess the truth, this inconsistency is rather imaginary than
real. Philosophers are composed of flesh and blood as well as other
human creatures; and however sublimated and refined the theory of
these may be, a little practical frailty is as incident to them as to
other mortals. It is, indeed, in theory only, and not in practice, as
we have before hinted, that consists the difference: for though such
great beings think much better and more wisely, they always act
exactly like other men. They know very well how to subdue all
appetites and passions, and to despise both pain and pleasure; and
this knowledge affords much delightful contemplation, and is easily
acquired; but the practice would be vexatious and troublesome; and,
therefore, the same wisdom which teaches them to know this, teaches
them to avoid carrying it into execution.

Mr Square happened to be at church on that Sunday, when, as the reader
may be pleased to remember, the appearance of Molly in her sack had
caused all that disturbance. Here he first observed her, and was so
pleased with her beauty, that he prevailed with the young gentlemen to
change their intended ride that evening, that he might pass by the
habitation of Molly, and by that means might obtain a second chance of
seeing her. This reason, however, as he did not at that time mention
to any, so neither did we think proper to communicate it then to the

Among other particulars which constituted the unfitness of things in
Mr Square's opinion, danger and difficulty were two. The difficulty
therefore which he apprehended there might be in corrupting this young
wench, and the danger which would accrue to his character on the
discovery, were such strong dissuasives, that it is probable he at
first intended to have contented himself with the pleasing ideas which
the sight of beauty furnishes us with. These the gravest men, after a
full meal of serious meditation, often allow themselves by way of
dessert: for which purpose, certain books and pictures find their way
into the most private recesses of their study, and a certain liquorish
part of natural philosophy is often the principal subject of their

But when the philosopher heard, a day or two afterwards, that the
fortress of virtue had already been subdued, he began to give a larger
scope to his desires. His appetite was not of that squeamish kind
which cannot feed on a dainty because another hath tasted it. In
short, he liked the girl the better for the want of that chastity,
which, if she had possessed it, must have been a bar to his pleasures;
he pursued and obtained her.

The reader will be mistaken, if he thinks Molly gave Square the
preference to her younger lover: on the contrary, had she been
confined to the choice of one only, Tom Jones would undoubtedly have
been, of the two, the victorious person. Nor was it solely the
consideration that two are better than one (though this had its proper
weight) to which Mr Square owed his success: the absence of Jones
during his confinement was an unlucky circumstance; and in that
interval some well-chosen presents from the philosopher so softened
and unguarded the girl's heart, that a favourable opportunity became
irresistible, and Square triumphed over the poor remains of virtue
which subsisted in the bosom of Molly.

It was now about a fortnight since this conquest, when Jones paid the
above-mentioned visit to his mistress, at a time when she and Square
were in bed together. This was the true reason why the mother denied
her as we have seen; for as the old woman shared in the profits
arising from the iniquity of her daughter, she encouraged and
protected her in it to the utmost of her power; but such was the envy
and hatred which the elder sister bore towards Molly, that,
notwithstanding she had some part of the booty, she would willingly
have parted with this to ruin her sister and spoil her trade. Hence
she had acquainted Jones with her being above-stairs in bed, in hopes
that he might have caught her in Square's arms. This, however, Molly
found means to prevent, as the door was fastened; which gave her an
opportunity of conveying her lover behind that rug or blanket where he
now was unhappily discovered.

Square no sooner made his appearance than Molly flung herself back in
her bed, cried out she was undone, and abandoned herself to despair.
This poor girl, who was yet but a novice in her business, had not
arrived to that perfection of assurance which helps off a town lady in
any extremity; and either prompts her with an excuse, or else inspires
her to brazen out the matter with her husband, who, from love of
quiet, or out of fear of his reputation--and sometimes, perhaps, from
fear of the gallant, who, like Mr Constant in the play, wears a
sword--is glad to shut his eyes, and content to put his horns in his
pocket. Molly, on the contrary, was silenced by this evidence, and
very fairly gave up a cause which she had hitherto maintained with so
many tears, and with such solemn and vehement protestations of the
purest love and constancy.

As to the gentleman behind the arras, he was not in much less
consternation. He stood for a while motionless, and seemed equally at
a loss what to say, or whither to direct his eyes. Jones, though
perhaps the most astonished of the three, first found his tongue; and
being immediately recovered from those uneasy sensations which Molly
by her upbraidings had occasioned, he burst into a loud laughter, and
then saluting Mr Square, advanced to take him by the hand, and to
relieve him from his place of confinement.

Square being now arrived in the middle of the room, in which part only
he could stand upright, looked at Jones with a very grave countenance,
and said to him, "Well, sir, I see you enjoy this mighty discovery,
and, I dare swear, take great delight in the thoughts of exposing me;
but if you will consider the matter fairly, you will find you are
yourself only to blame. I am not guilty of corrupting innocence. I
have done nothing for which that part of the world which judges of
matters by the rule of right, will condemn me. Fitness is governed by
the nature of things, and not by customs, forms, or municipal laws.
Nothing is indeed unfit which is not unnatural."--"Well reasoned, old
boy," answered Jones; "but why dost thou think that I should desire to
expose thee? I promise thee, I was never better pleased with thee in
my life; and unless thou hast a mind to discover it thyself, this
affair may remain a profound secret for me."--"Nay, Mr Jones," replied
Square, "I would not be thought to undervalue reputation. Good fame is
a species of the Kalon, and it is by no means fitting to neglect it.
Besides, to murder one's own reputation is a kind of suicide, a
detestable and odious vice. If you think proper, therefore, to conceal
any infirmity of mine (for such I may have, since no man is perfectly
perfect), I promise you I will not betray myself. Things may be
fitting to be done, which are not fitting to be boasted of; for
by the perverse judgment of the world, that often becomes the
subject of censure, which is, in truth, not only innocent but
laudable."--"Right!" cries Jones: "what can be more innocent than the
indulgence of a natural appetite? or what more laudable than the
propagation of our species?"--"To be serious with you," answered
Square, "I profess they always appeared so to me."--"And yet," said
Jones, "you was of a different opinion when my affair with this girl
was first discovered."--"Why, I must confess," says Square, "as the
matter was misrepresented to me, by that parson Thwackum, I might
condemn the corruption of innocence: it was that, sir, it was
that--and that--: for you must know, Mr Jones, in the consideration of
fitness, very minute circumstances, sir, very minute circumstances
cause great alteration."--"Well," cries Jones, "be that as it will, it
shall be your own fault, as I have promised you, if you ever hear any
more of this adventure. Behave kindly to the girl, and I will never
open my lips concerning the matter to any one. And, Molly, do you be
faithful to your friend, and I will not only forgive your infidelity
to me, but will do you all the service I can." So saying, he took a
hasty leave, and, slipping down the ladder, retired with much

Square was rejoiced to find this adventure was likely to have no worse
conclusion; and as for Molly, being recovered from her confusion, she
began at first to upbraid Square with having been the occasion of her
loss of Jones; but that gentleman soon found the means of mitigating
her anger, partly by caresses, and partly by a small nostrum from his
purse, of wonderful and approved efficacy in purging off the ill
humours of the mind, and in restoring it to a good temper.

She then poured forth a vast profusion of tenderness towards her new
lover; turned all she had said to Jones, and Jones himself, into

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