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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 par-

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 harpsi-
chord ; but she begged to be excused that evening,
on account of a violent headache. This remis-
sion was presently granted ; for indeed she seldom
had occasion to ask him twice, as he loved her with
such ardent atfection, 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 obedi-
ence, as that young lady called it, Sophia an-
swered, ''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 hap-


piness; 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 sutler 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 neighboring farmer to sit with him.



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

TOM Jones had ridden one of Mr. West-
ern'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 con-
ducting 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 correction.

A lawyer may perhaps think Mr. All worthy ex-
ceeded 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




conscientice ; since so many arbitrary acts are daily
committed by magistrates who have not this ex-
cuse 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 con-
stable, 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 All worthy) ; for he durst, he said, be
assured, that, when he had alleged what he had to
say in her favor, the girl would be discharged.

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, con-
fessed 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 easel" 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

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 favor
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 nec-
essarily fall upon her. "I know," said he, ''that
is too much. I know I am the wicked occasion of
it. I will endeavor to make amends, if possible;
and if j^ou shall have hereafter the goodness to for-
give 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.

AUworthy 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, es-
pecially as he laid the scene of those impurities at
the university, where Mr. AUworthy 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 humor, 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. AUworthy 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 honor and
honesty of his self-accnsation. He began now to
form in his mind the same opinion of this young
fellow, which, we hope, our reader may have con-
ceived. And in balancing his faults with his per-
fections, 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 rancor against poor
Tom. Allworthy gave a patient hearing to their
invectives, and then answered coldly: ''That
young men of Tom's complexion were too gener-
ally 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 whip-
ping were at an end, the tutor had no other vent
but his own mouth for his gall, the usual poor re-
source of impotent revenge.

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

The reader must remember the several little in-
cidents 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 en-
tertain 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 tlie
true impression which those several instances of
goodness had made on the excellent heart of All-
worthy; 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 AUworthy 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 oc-
currences. *'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, aud 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 in-
stance, never to give way to the weakness of hu-
man 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 per-
haps for poor Tom, that no such suggestions had
been made before he was pardoned ; for they cer-
tainly stamped in the mind of Allworthy the first
bad impression concerning Jones.


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 re-
turn with me to Sophia. She passed the
night, after we saw her last, in no very-
agreeable manner. Sleep befriended her but lit-
tle, and dreams less. In the morning, when Mrs.
Honour, her maid, attended her at the usual hour,
she was found already up and dressed.

Persons who live two or three miles' distance
in the country, are considered as next-door neigh-
bors, 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 fol-
lowing manner : —

''La, ma'am, what doth your la 'ship think? the
girl that your la 'ship saw at church on Sun-
day, whom you thought so handsome ; though you
would not have thought her so handsome neither,
if 3^ou 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 yonng 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 be-
neath 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 ever "

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 hand-
some 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

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

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

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 be-
gan 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 per-
fectly easy, and had brought herself to a thorough
indifference for Mr. Jones.

The diseases of the mind do in almost every par-
ticular imitate those of the body. For which rea-
son, 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 him-
self, 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 con-
formity 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 heart.

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 de-
licious, 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 pur-
pose 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.


A dreadful accident which befel Sophia. The gallant be-
havior of Jones, and the more dreadful consequence of
that behavior to the young lady; with a snort digression
in favor of tlie female sex.

MR. Western grew every day fonder and
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 rid-
ing 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 dis-
position. She had however another motive, be-
side her obedience, to accompany the old gentle-
man 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 en-
tirely out of her nufortiinate 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 re-
turning 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 gal-
loped up to her assistance. As soon as he came
up, he leaped 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 burden 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 solicitous to know whether she had re-
ceived any hurt. She soon after, however, recov-
ered 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 ex-
pense 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 mischief?"

"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 compari-
son 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, inso-
much 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 ten-
derness, that it almost argued a stronger sensa-
tion in her mind, than even gratitude and pity
united can raise in the gentlest female bosom,
without the assistance of a third more powerful

Mr. Western, who was advanced at some dis-
tance when this accident happened, was now re-
turned, as were the rest of the horsemen. Sophia
immediately acquainted them with what had be-
fallen 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 im

The squire alighted from his horse, and pro-
ceeded 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

Online LibraryHenry FieldingThe works of Henry Fielding (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 41)