The History of Tom Jones, a foundling
Henry Fielding

Part 1 out of 18

Carlo Traverso, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

The present edition, produced by Distributed Proofreaders, has been
cross-checked with 2 other different editions available on-line.

Henry Fielding

The History of Tom Jones, a foundling.




Chapter i -- The introduction to the work, or bill of fare to the

Chapter ii -- A short description of squire Allworthy, and a fuller
account of Miss Bridget Allworthy, his sister.

Chapter iii -- An odd accident which befel Mr Allworthy at his return
home. The decent behaviour of Mrs Deborah Wilkins, with some proper
animadversions on bastards.

Chapter iv -- The reader's neck brought into danger by a description;
his escape; and the great condescension of Miss Bridget Allworthy.

Chapter v -- Containing a few common matters, with a very uncommon
observation upon them.

Chapter vi -- Mrs Deborah is introduced into the parish with a
simile. A short account of Jenny Jones, with the difficulties and
discouragements which may attend young women in the pursuit of

Chapter vii -- Containing such grave matter, that the reader cannot
laugh once through the whole chapter, unless peradventure he should
laugh at the author.

Chapter viii -- A dialogue between Mesdames Bridget and Deborah;
containing more amusement, but less instruction, than the former.

Chapter ix -- Containing matters which will surprize the reader.

Chapter x -- The hospitality of Allworthy; with a short sketch of the
characters of two brothers, a doctor and a captain, who were
entertained by that gentleman.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Chapter v -- Containing much matter to exercise the judgment and
reflection of the reader.

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

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

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

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


Chapter i -- Containing little or nothing.

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

Chapter iii -- The character of Mr Square the philosopher, and of Mr
Thwackum the divine; with a dispute concerning----

Chapter iv.

Containing a necessary apology for the author; and a childish
incident, which perhaps requires an apology likewise --

Chapter v. -- The opinions of the divine and the philosopher
concerning the two boys; with some reasons for their opinions, and
other matters.

Chapter vi -- Containing a better reason still for the
before-mentioned opinions.

Chapter vii -- In which the author himself makes his appearance on the

Chapter viii -- A childish incident, in which, however, is seen a
good-natured disposition in Tom Jones.

Chapter ix -- Containing an incident of a more heinous kind, with the
comments of Thwackum and Square.

Chapter x -- In which Master Blifil and Jones appear in different


Chapter i -- Containing five pages of paper.

Chapter ii -- A short hint of what we can do in the sublime, and a
description of Miss Sophia Western.

Chapter iii -- Wherein the history goes back to commemorate a trifling
incident that happened some years since; but which, trifling as it
was, had some future consequences.

Chapter iv -- Containing such very deep and grave matters, that some
readers, perhaps, may not relish it.

Chapter v -- Containing matter accommodated to every taste.

Chapter vi -- An apology for the insensibility of Mr Jones to all the
charms of the lovely Sophia; in which possibly we may, in a
considerable degree, lower his character in the estimation of those
men of wit and gallantry who approve the heroes in most of our modern

Chapter vii -- Being the shortest chapter in this book.

Chapter viii -- A battle sung by the muse in the Homerican style, and
which none but the classical reader can taste.

Chapter ix -- Containing matter of no very peaceable colour.

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 her.

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

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

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


Chapter i -- Of the SERIOUS in writing, and for what purpose it is

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.

Chapter iii -- Which all who have no heart will think to contain much
ado about nothing.

Chapter iv -- A little chapter, in which is contained a little

Chapter v -- A very long chapter, containing a very great incident.

Chapter vi -- By comparing which with the former, the reader may
possibly correct some abuse which he hath formerly been guilty of in
the application of the word love.

Chapter vii -- In which Mr Allworthy appears on a sick-bed.

Chapter viii -- Containing matter rather natural than pleasing.

Chapter ix -- Which, among other things, may serve as a comment on
that saying of Aeschines, that "drunkenness shows the mind of a man,
as a mirrour reflects his person."

Chapter x -- Showing the truth of many observations of Ovid, and of
other more grave writers, who have proved beyond contradiction, that
wine is often the forerunner of incontinency.

Chapter xi -- In which a simile in Mr Pope's period of a mile
introduces as bloody a battle as can possibly be fought without the
assistance of steel or cold iron.

Chapter xii -- In which is seen a more moving spectacle than all the
blood in the bodies of Thwackum and Blifil, and of twenty other such,
is capable of producing.


Chapter i -- Of love.

Chapter ii -- The character of Mrs Western. Her great learning and
knowledge of the world, and an instance of the deep penetration which
she derived from those advantages.

Chapter iii -- Containing two defiances to the critics.

Chapter iv -- Containing sundry curious matters.

Chapter v -- In which is related what passed between Sophia and her

Chapter vi -- Containing a dialogue between Sophia and Mrs Honour,
which may a little relieve those tender affections which the foregoing
scene may have raised in the mind of a good-natured reader.

Chapter vii -- A picture of formal courtship in miniature, as it
always ought to be drawn, and a scene of a tenderer kind painted at
full length.

Chapter viii -- The meeting between Jones and Sophia.

Chapter ix -- Being of a much more tempestuous kind than the former.

Chapter x -- In which Mr Western visits Mr Allworthy.

Chapter xi -- A short chapter; but which contains sufficient matter to
affect the good-natured reader.

Chapter xii -- Containing love-letters, &c.

Chapter xiii -- The behaviour of Sophia on the present occasion; which
none of her sex will blame, who are capable of behaving in the same
manner. And the discussion of a knotty point in the court of

Chapter xiv -- A short chapter, containing a short dialogue between
Squire Western and his sister.


Chapter i -- A comparison between the world and the stage.

Chapter ii -- Containing a conversation which Mr Jones had with

Chapter iii -- Containing several dialogues.

Chapter iv -- A picture of a country gentlewoman taken from the life.

Chapter v -- The generous behaviour of Sophia towards her aunt.

Chapter vi -- Containing great variety of matter.

Chapter vii -- A strange resolution of Sophia, and a more strange
stratagem of Mrs Honour.

Chapter viii -- Containing scenes of altercation, of no very uncommon

Chapter ix -- The wise demeanour of Mr Western in the character of a
magistrate. A hint to justices of peace, concerning the necessary
qualifications of a clerk; with extraordinary instances of paternal
madness and filial affection.

Chapter x -- Containing several matters, natural enough perhaps, but

Chapter xi -- The adventure of a company of soldiers.

Chapter xii -- The adventure of a company of officers.

Chapter xiii -- Containing the great address of the landlady, the
great learning of a surgeon, and the solid skill in casuistry of the
worthy lieutenant.

Chapter xiv -- A most dreadful chapter indeed; and which few readers
ought to venture upon in an evening, especially when alone.

Chapter xv -- The conclusion of the foregoing adventure.


Chapter i -- A wonderful long chapter concerning the marvellous; being
much the longest of all our introductory chapters.

Chapter ii -- In which the landlady pays a visit to Mr Jones.

Chapter iii -- In which the surgeon makes his second appearance.

Chapter iv -- In which is introduced one of the pleasantest barbers
that was ever recorded in history, the barber of Bagdad, or he in Don
Quixote, not excepted.

Chapter v -- A dialogue between Mr Jones and the barber.

Chapter vi -- In which more of the talents of Mr Benjamin will appear,
as well as who this extraordinary person was.

Chapter vii -- Containing better reasons than any which have yet
appeared for the conduct of Partridge; an apology for the weakness of
Jones; and some further anecdotes concerning my landlady.

Chapter viii -- Jones arrives at Gloucester, and goes to the Bell; the
character of that house, and of a petty-fogger which he there meets

Chapter ix -- Containing several dialogues between Jones and
Partridge, concerning love, cold, hunger, and other matters; with the
lucky and narrow escape of Partridge, as he was on the very brink of
making a fatal discovery to his friend.

Chapter x -- In which our travellers meet with a very extraordinary

Chapter xi -- In which the Man of the Hill begins to relate his

Chapter xii -- In which the Man of the Hill continues his history.

Chapter xiii -- In which the foregoing story is farther continued.

Chapter xiv -- In which the Man of the Hill concludes his history.

Chapter xv -- A brief history of Europe; and a curious discourse
between Mr Jones and the Man of the Hill.


Chapter i -- Of those who lawfully may, and of those who may not,
write such histories as this.

Chapter ii -- Containing a very surprizing adventure indeed, which Mr
Jones met with in his walk with the Man of the Hill.

Chapter iii -- The arrival of Mr Jones with his lady at the inn; with
a very full description of the battle of Upton.

Chapter iv -- In which the arrival of a man of war puts a final end to
hostilities, and causes the conclusion of a firm and lasting peace
between all parties.

Chapter v -- An apology for all heroes who have good stomachs, with a
description of a battle of the amorous kind.

Chapter vi -- A friendly conversation in the kitchen, which had a very
common, though not very friendly, conclusion.

Chapter vii -- Containing a fuller account of Mrs Waters, and by what
means she came into that distressful situation from which she was
rescued by Jones.


Chapter i -- Containing instructions very necessary to be perused by
modern critics.

Chapter ii -- Containing the arrival of an Irish gentleman, with very
extraordinary adventures which ensued at the inn.

Chapter iii -- A dialogue between the landlady and Susan the
chamber-maid, proper to be read by all inn-keepers and their servants;
with the arrival, and affable behaviour of a beautiful young lady;
which may teach persons of condition how they may acquire the love of
the whole world.

Chapter iv -- Containing infallible nostrums for procuring universal
disesteem and hatred.

Chapter v -- Showing who the amiable lady, and her unamiable maid,

Chapter vi -- Containing, among other things, the ingenuity of
Partridge, the madness of Jones, and the folly of Fitzpatrick.

Chapter vii -- In which are concluded the adventures that happened at
the inn at Upton.

Chapter viii -- In which the history goes backward.

Chapter ix -- The escape of Sophia.


Chapter i -- A crust for the critics.

Chapter ii -- The adventures which Sophia met with after her leaving

Chapter iii -- A very short chapter, in which however is a sun, a
moon, a star, and an angel.

Chapter iv -- The history of Mrs Fitzpatrick.

Chapter v -- In which the history of Mrs Fitzpatrick is continued.

Chapter vi -- In which the mistake of the landlord throws Sophia into
a dreadful consternation.

Chapter vii -- In which Mrs Fitzpatrick concludes her history.

Chapter viii -- A dreadful alarm in the inn, with the arrival of an
unexpected friend of Mrs Fitzpatrick.

Chapter ix -- The morning introduced in some pretty writing. A
stagecoach. The civility of chambermaids. The heroic temper of
Sophia. Her generosity. The return to it. The departure of the
company, and their arrival at London; with some remarks for the use of

Chapter x -- Containing a hint or two concerning virtue, and a few
more concerning suspicion.


Chapter i -- Showing what is to be deemed plagiarism in a modern
author, and what is to be considered as lawful prize.

Chapter ii -- In which, though the squire doth not find his daughter,
something is found which puts an end to his pursuit.

Chapter iii -- The departure of Jones from Upton, with what passed
between him and Partridge on the road.

Chapter iv -- The adventure of a beggar-man.

Chapter v -- Containing more adventures which Mr Jones and his
companion met on the road.

Chapter vi -- From which it may be inferred that the best things are
liable to be misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Chapter vii -- Containing a remark or two of our own and many more of
the good company assembled in the kitchen.

Chapter viii -- In which fortune seems to have been in a better humour
with Jones than we have hitherto seen her.

Chapter ix -- Containing little more than a few odd observations.

Chapter x -- In which Mr Jones and Mr Dowling drink a bottle together.

Chapter xi -- The disasters which befel Jones on his departure for
Coventry; with the sage remarks of Partridge.

Chapter xii -- Relates that Mr Jones continued his journey, contrary
to the advice of Partridge, with what happened on that occasion.

Chapter xiii -- A dialogue between Jones and Partridge.

Chapter xiv -- What happened to Mr Jones in his journey from St


Chapter i -- An Invocation.

Chapter ii -- What befel Mr Jones on his arrival in London.

Chapter iii -- A project of Mrs Fitzpatrick, and her visit to Lady

Chapter iv -- Which consists of visiting.

Chapter v -- An adventure which happened to Mr Jones at his lodgings,
with some account of a young gentleman who lodged there, and of the
mistress of the house, and her two daughters.

Chapter vi -- What arrived while the company were at breakfast, with
some hints concerning the government of daughters.

Chapter vii -- Containing the whole humours of a masquerade.

Chapter viii -- Containing a scene of distress, which will appear very
extraordinary to most of our readers.

Chapter ix -- Which treats of matters of a very different kind from
those in the preceding chapter.

Chapter x -- A chapter which, though short, may draw tears from some

Chapter xi -- In which the reader will be surprized.

Chapter xii -- In which the thirteenth book is concluded.


Chapter i -- An essay to prove that an author will write the better
for having some knowledge of the subject on which he writes.

Chapter ii -- Containing letters and other matters which attend

Chapter iii -- Containing various matters.

Chapter iv -- Which we hope will be very attentively perused by young
people of both sexes.

Chapter v -- A short account of the history of Mrs Miller.

Chapter vi -- Containing a scene which we doubt not will affect all
our readers.

Chapter vii -- The interview between Mr Jones and Mr Nightingale.

Chapter viii -- What passed between Jones and old Mr Nightingale; with
the arrival of a person not yet mentioned in this history.

Chapter ix -- Containing strange matters.

Chapter x -- A short chapter, which concludes the book.


Chapter i -- Too short to need a preface.

Chapter ii -- In which is opened a very black design against Sophia.

Chapter iii -- A further explanation of the foregoing design.

Chapter iv -- By which it will appear how dangerous an advocate a lady
is when she applies her eloquence to an ill purpose.

Chapter v -- Containing some matters which may affect, and others
which may surprize, the reader.

Chapter vi -- By what means the squire came to discover his daughter.

Chapter vii -- In which various misfortunes befel poor Jones.

Chapter viii -- Short and sweet.

Chapter ix -- Containing love-letters of several sorts.

Chapter x -- Consisting partly of facts, and partly of observations
upon them.

Chapter xi -- Containing curious, but not unprecedented matter.

Chapter xii -- A discovery made by Partridge.


Chapter i -- Of prologues.

Chapter ii -- A whimsical adventure which befel the squire, with the
distressed situation of Sophia.

Chapter iii -- What happened to Sophia during her confinement.

Chapter iv -- In which Sophia is delivered from her confinement.

Chapter v -- In which Jones receives a letter from Sophia, and goes to
a play with Mrs Miller and Partridge.

Chapter vi -- In which the history is obliged to look back.

Chapter vii -- In which Mr Western pays a visit to his sister, in
company with Mr Blifil.

Chapter viii -- Schemes of Lady Bellaston for the ruin of Jones.

Chapter ix -- In which Jones pays a visit to Mrs Fitzpatrick.

Chapter x -- The consequence of the preceding visit.


Chapter i -- Containing a portion of introductory writing.

Chapter ii -- The generous and grateful behaviour of Mrs Miller.

Chapter iii -- The arrival of Mr Western, with some matters concerning
the paternal authority.

Chapter iv -- An extraordinary scene between Sophia and her aunt.

Chapter v -- Mrs Miller and Mr Nightingale visit Jones in the prison.

Chapter vi -- In which Mrs Miller pays a visit to Sophia.

Chapter vii -- A pathetic scene between Mr Allworthy and Mrs Miller.

Chapter viii -- Containing various matters.

Chapter ix -- What happened to Mr Jones in the prison.


Chapter i -- A farewel to the reader.

Chapter ii -- Containing a very tragical incident.

Chapter iii -- Allworthy visits old Nightingale; with a strange
discovery that he made on that occasion.

Chapter iv -- Containing two letters in very different stiles.

Chapter v -- In which the history is continued.

Chapter vi -- In which the history is farther continued.

Chapter vii -- Continuation of the history.

Chapter viii -- Further continuation.

Chapter ix -- A further continuation.

Chapter x -- Wherein the history begins to draw towards a conclusion.

Chapter xi -- The history draws nearer to a conclusion.

Chapter xii -- Approaching still nearer to the end.

Chapter the last -- In which the history is concluded.

To the Honourable


One of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.


Notwithstanding your constant refusal, when I have asked leave to
prefix your name to this dedication, I must still insist on my right
to desire your protection of this work.

To you, Sir, it is owing that this history was ever begun. It was by
your desire that I first thought of such a composition. So many years
have since past, that you may have, perhaps, forgotten this
circumstance: but your desires are to me in the nature of commands;
and the impression of them is never to be erased from my memory.

Again, Sir, without your assistance this history had never been
completed. Be not startled at the assertion. I do not intend to draw
on you the suspicion of being a romance writer. I mean no more than
that I partly owe to you my existence during great part of the time
which I have employed in composing it: another matter which it may be
necessary to remind you of; since there are certain actions of which
you are apt to be extremely forgetful; but of these I hope I shall
always have a better memory than yourself.

Lastly, It is owing to you that the history appears what it now is. If
there be in this work, as some have been pleased to say, a stronger
picture of a truly benevolent mind than is to be found in any other,
who that knows you, and a particular acquaintance of yours, will doubt
whence that benevolence hath been copied? The world will not, I
believe, make me the compliment of thinking I took it from myself. I
care not: this they shall own, that the two persons from whom I have
taken it, that is to say, two of the best and worthiest men in the
world, are strongly and zealously my friends. I might be contented
with this, and yet my vanity will add a third to the number; and him
one of the greatest and noblest, not only in his rank, but in every
public and private virtue. But here, whilst my gratitude for the
princely benefactions of the Duke of Bedford bursts from my heart, you
must forgive my reminding you that it was you who first recommended me
to the notice of my benefactor.

And what are your objections to the allowance of the honour which I
have sollicited? Why, you have commended the book so warmly, that you
should be ashamed of reading your name before the dedication. Indeed,
sir, if the book itself doth not make you ashamed of your
commendations, nothing that I can here write will, or ought. I am not
to give up my right to your protection and patronage, because you have
commended my book: for though I acknowledge so many obligations to
you, I do not add this to the number; in which friendship, I am
convinced, hath so little share: since that can neither biass your
judgment, nor pervert your integrity. An enemy may at any time obtain
your commendation by only deserving it; and the utmost which the
faults of your friends can hope for, is your silence; or, perhaps, if
too severely accused, your gentle palliation.

In short, sir, I suspect, that your dislike of public praise is your
true objection to granting my request. I have observed that you have,
in common with my two other friends, an unwillingness to hear the
least mention of your own virtues; that, as a great poet says of one
of you, (he might justly have said it of all three), you

_Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame_.

If men of this disposition are as careful to shun applause, as others
are to escape censure, how just must be your apprehension of your
character falling into my hands; since what would not a man have
reason to dread, if attacked by an author who had received from him
injuries equal to my obligations to you!

And will not this dread of censure increase in proportion to the
matter which a man is conscious of having afforded for it? If his
whole life, for instance, should have been one continued subject of
satire, he may well tremble when an incensed satirist takes him in
hand. Now, sir, if we apply this to your modest aversion to panegyric,
how reasonable will your fears of me appear!

Yet surely you might have gratified my ambition, from this single
confidence, that I shall always prefer the indulgence of your
inclinations to the satisfaction of my own. A very strong instance of
which I shall give you in this address, in which I am determined to
follow the example of all other dedicators, and will consider not what
my patron really deserves to have written, but what he will be best
pleased to read.

Without further preface then, I here present you with the labours of
some years of my life. What merit these labours have is already known
to yourself. If, from your favourable judgment, I have conceived some
esteem for them, it cannot be imputed to vanity; since I should have
agreed as implicitly to your opinion, had it been given in favour of
any other man's production. Negatively, at least, I may be allowed to
say, that had I been sensible of any great demerit in the work, you
are the last person to whose protection I would have ventured to
recommend it.

From the name of my patron, indeed, I hope my reader will be
convinced, at his very entrance on this work, that he will find in the
whole course of it nothing prejudicial to the cause of religion and
virtue, nothing inconsistent with the strictest rules of decency, nor
which can offend even the chastest eye in the perusal. On the
contrary, I declare, that to recommend goodness and innocence hath
been my sincere endeavour in this history. This honest purpose you
have been pleased to think I have attained: and to say the truth, it
is likeliest to be attained in books of this kind; for an example is a
kind of picture, in which virtue becomes, as it were, an object of
sight, and strikes us with an idea of that loveliness, which Plato
asserts there is in her naked charms.

Besides displaying that beauty of virtue which may attract the
admiration of mankind, I have attempted to engage a stronger motive to
human action in her favour, by convincing men, that their true
interest directs them to a pursuit of her. For this purpose I have
shown that no acquisitions of guilt can compensate the loss of that
solid inward comfort of mind, which is the sure companion of innocence
and virtue; nor can in the least balance the evil of that horror and
anxiety which, in their room, guilt introduces into our bosoms. And
again, that as these acquisitions are in themselves generally
worthless, so are the means to attain them not only base and infamous,
but at best incertain, and always full of danger. Lastly, I have
endeavoured strongly to inculcate, that virtue and innocence can
scarce ever be injured but by indiscretion; and that it is this alone
which often betrays them into the snares that deceit and villainy
spread for them. A moral which I have the more industriously laboured,
as the teaching it is, of all others, the likeliest to be attended
with success; since, I believe, it is much easier to make good men
wise, than to make bad men good.

For these purposes I have employed all the wit and humour of which I
am master in the following history; wherein I have endeavoured to
laugh mankind out of their favourite follies and vices. How far I have
succeeded in this good attempt, I shall submit to the candid reader,
with only two requests: First, that he will not expect to find
perfection in this work; and Secondly, that he will excuse some parts
of it, if they fall short of that little merit which I hope may appear
in others.

I will detain you, sir, no longer. Indeed I have run into a preface,
while I professed to write a dedication. But how can it be otherwise?
I dare not praise you; and the only means I know of to avoid it, when
you are in my thoughts, are either to be entirely silent, or to turn
my thoughts to some other subject.

Pardon, therefore, what I have said in this epistle, not only without
your consent, but absolutely against it; and give me at least leave,
in this public manner, to declare that I am, with the highest respect
and gratitude,--


Your most obliged,

Obedient, humble servant,


The History of Tom Jones, A FOUNDLING.



Chapter i.

The introduction to the work, or bill of fare to the feast.

An author ought to consider himself, not as a gentleman who gives a
private or eleemosynary treat, but rather as one who keeps a public
ordinary, at which all persons are welcome for their money. In the
former case, it is well known that the entertainer provides what fare
he pleases; and though this should be very indifferent, and utterly
disagreeable to the taste of his company, they must not find any
fault; nay, on the contrary, good breeding forces them outwardly to
approve and to commend whatever is set before them. Now the contrary
of this happens to the master of an ordinary. Men who pay for what
they eat will insist on gratifying their palates, however nice and
whimsical these may prove; and if everything is not agreeable to their
taste, will challenge a right to censure, to abuse, and to d--n their
dinner without controul.

To prevent, therefore, giving offence to their customers by any such
disappointment, it hath been usual with the honest and well-meaning
host to provide a bill of fare which all persons may peruse at their
first entrance into the house; and having thence acquainted themselves
with the entertainment which they may expect, may either stay and
regale with what is provided for them, or may depart to some other
ordinary better accommodated to their taste.

As we do not disdain to borrow wit or wisdom from any man who is
capable of lending us either, we have condescended to take a hint from
these honest victuallers, and shall prefix not only a general bill of
fare to our whole entertainment, but shall likewise give the reader
particular bills to every course which is to be served up in this and
the ensuing volumes.

The provision, then, which we have here made is no other than _Human
Nature_. Nor do I fear that my sensible reader, though most luxurious
in his taste, will start, cavil, or be offended, because I have named
but one article. The tortoise--as the alderman of Bristol, well
learned in eating, knows by much experience--besides the delicious
calipash and calipee, contains many different kinds of food; nor can
the learned reader be ignorant, that in human nature, though here
collected under one general name, is such prodigious variety, that a
cook will have sooner gone through all the several species of animal
and vegetable food in the world, than an author will be able to
exhaust so extensive a subject.

An objection may perhaps be apprehended from the more delicate, that
this dish is too common and vulgar; for what else is the subject of
all the romances, novels, plays, and poems, with which the stalls
abound? Many exquisite viands might be rejected by the epicure, if it
was a sufficient cause for his contemning of them as common and
vulgar, that something was to be found in the most paltry alleys under
the same name. In reality, true nature is as difficult to be met with
in authors, as the Bayonne ham, or Bologna sausage, is to be found in
the shops.

But the whole, to continue the same metaphor, consists in the cookery
of the author; for, as Mr Pope tells us--

"True wit is nature to advantage drest;
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well exprest."

The same animal which hath the honour to have some part of his flesh
eaten at the table of a duke, may perhaps be degraded in another part,
and some of his limbs gibbeted, as it were, in the vilest stall in
town. Where, then, lies the difference between the food of the
nobleman and the porter, if both are at dinner on the same ox or calf,
but in the seasoning, the dressing, the garnishing, and the setting
forth? Hence the one provokes and incites the most languid appetite,
and the other turns and palls that which is the sharpest and keenest.

In like manner, the excellence of the mental entertainment consists
less in the subject than in the author's skill in well dressing it up.
How pleased, therefore, will the reader be to find that we have, in
the following work, adhered closely to one of the highest principles
of the best cook which the present age, or perhaps that of
Heliogabalus, hath produced. This great man, as is well known to all
lovers of polite eating, begins at first by setting plain things
before his hungry guests, rising afterwards by degrees as their
stomachs may be supposed to decrease, to the very quintessence of
sauce and spices. In like manner, we shall represent human nature at
first to the keen appetite of our reader, in that more plain and
simple manner in which it is found in the country, and shall hereafter
hash and ragoo it with all the high French and Italian seasoning of
affectation and vice which courts and cities afford. By these means,
we doubt not but our reader may be rendered desirous to read on for
ever, as the great person just above-mentioned is supposed to have
made some persons eat.

Having premised thus much, we will now detain those who like our bill
of fare no longer from their diet, and shall proceed directly to serve
up the first course of our history for their entertainment.

Chapter ii.

A short description of squire Allworthy, and a fuller account of Miss
Bridget Allworthy, his sister.

In that part of the western division of this kingdom which is commonly
called Somersetshire, there lately lived, and perhaps lives still, a
gentleman whose name was Allworthy, and who might well be called the
favourite of both nature and fortune; for both of these seem to have
contended which should bless and enrich him most. In this contention,
nature may seem to some to have come off victorious, as she bestowed
on him many gifts, while fortune had only one gift in her power; but
in pouring forth this, she was so very profuse, that others perhaps
may think this single endowment to have been more than equivalent to
all the various blessings which he enjoyed from nature. From the
former of these, he derived an agreeable person, a sound constitution,
a solid understanding, and a benevolent heart; by the latter, he was
decreed to the inheritance of one of the largest estates in the

This gentleman had in his youth married a very worthy and beautiful
woman, of whom he had been extremely fond: by her he had three
children, all of whom died in their infancy. He had likewise had the
misfortune of burying this beloved wife herself, about five years
before the time in which this history chuses to set out. This loss,
however great, he bore like a man of sense and constancy, though it
must be confest he would often talk a little whimsically on this head;
for he sometimes said he looked on himself as still married, and
considered his wife as only gone a little before him, a journey which
he should most certainly, sooner or later, take after her; and that he
had not the least doubt of meeting her again in a place where he
should never part with her more--sentiments for which his sense was
arraigned by one part of his neighbours, his religion by a second, and
his sincerity by a third.

He now lived, for the most part, retired in the country, with one
sister, for whom he had a very tender affection. This lady was now
somewhat past the age of thirty, an aera at which, in the opinion of
the malicious, the title of old maid may with no impropriety be
assumed. She was of that species of women whom you commend rather for
good qualities than beauty, and who are generally called, by their own
sex, very good sort of women--as good a sort of woman, madam, as you
would wish to know. Indeed, she was so far from regretting want of
beauty, that she never mentioned that perfection, if it can be called
one, without contempt; and would often thank God she was not as
handsome as Miss Such-a-one, whom perhaps beauty had led into errors
which she might have otherwise avoided. Miss Bridget Allworthy (for
that was the name of this lady) very rightly conceived the charms of
person in a woman to be no better than snares for herself, as well as
for others; and yet so discreet was she in her conduct, that her
prudence was as much on the guard as if she had all the snares to
apprehend which were ever laid for her whole sex. Indeed, I have
observed, though it may seem unaccountable to the reader, that this
guard of prudence, like the trained bands, is always readiest to go on
duty where there is the least danger. It often basely and cowardly
deserts those paragons for whom the men are all wishing, sighing,
dying, and spreading, every net in their power; and constantly attends
at the heels of that higher order of women for whom the other sex have
a more distant and awful respect, and whom (from despair, I suppose,
of success) they never venture to attack.

Reader, I think proper, before we proceed any farther together, to
acquaint thee that I intend to digress, through this whole history, as
often as I see occasion, of which I am myself a better judge than any
pitiful critic whatever; and here I must desire all those critics to
mind their own business, and not to intermeddle with affairs or works
which no ways concern them; for till they produce the authority by
which they are constituted judges, I shall not plead to their

Chapter iii.

An odd accident which befel Mr Allworthy at his return home. The
decent behaviour of Mrs Deborah Wilkins, with some proper
animadversions on bastards.

I have told my reader, in the preceding chapter, that Mr Allworthy
inherited a large fortune; that he had a good heart, and no family.
Hence, doubtless, it will be concluded by many that he lived like an
honest man, owed no one a shilling, took nothing but what was his own,
kept a good house, entertained his neighbours with a hearty welcome at
his table, and was charitable to the poor, i.e. to those who had
rather beg than work, by giving them the offals from it; that he died
immensely rich and built an hospital.

And true it is that he did many of these things; but had he done
nothing more I should have left him to have recorded his own merit on
some fair freestone over the door of that hospital. Matters of a much
more extraordinary kind are to be the subject of this history, or I
should grossly mis-spend my time in writing so voluminous a work; and
you, my sagacious friend, might with equal profit and pleasure travel
through some pages which certain droll authors have been facetiously
pleased to call _The History of England_.

Mr Allworthy had been absent a full quarter of a year in London, on
some very particular business, though I know not what it was; but
judge of its importance by its having detained him so long from home,
whence he had not been absent a month at a time during the space of
many years. He came to his house very late in the evening, and after a
short supper with his sister, retired much fatigued to his chamber.
Here, having spent some minutes on his knees--a custom which he never
broke through on any account--he was preparing to step into bed, when,
upon opening the cloathes, to his great surprize he beheld an infant,
wrapt up in some coarse linen, in a sweet and profound sleep, between
his sheets. He stood some time lost in astonishment at this sight;
but, as good nature had always the ascendant in his mind, he soon
began to be touched with sentiments of compassion for the little
wretch before him. He then rang his bell, and ordered an elderly
woman-servant to rise immediately, and come to him; and in the
meantime was so eager in contemplating the beauty of innocence,
appearing in those lively colours with which infancy and sleep always
display it, that his thoughts were too much engaged to reflect that he
was in his shirt when the matron came in. She had indeed given her
master sufficient time to dress himself; for out of respect to him,
and regard to decency, she had spent many minutes in adjusting her
hair at the looking-glass, notwithstanding all the hurry in which she
had been summoned by the servant, and though her master, for aught she
knew, lay expiring in an apoplexy, or in some other fit.

It will not be wondered at that a creature who had so strict a regard
to decency in her own person, should be shocked at the least deviation
from it in another. She therefore no sooner opened the door, and saw
her master standing by the bedside in his shirt, with a candle in his
hand, than she started back in a most terrible fright, and might
perhaps have swooned away, had he not now recollected his being
undrest, and put an end to her terrors by desiring her to stay without
the door till he had thrown some cloathes over his back, and was
become incapable of shocking the pure eyes of Mrs Deborah Wilkins,
who, though in the fifty-second year of her age, vowed she had never
beheld a man without his coat. Sneerers and prophane wits may perhaps
laugh at her first fright; yet my graver reader, when he considers the
time of night, the summons from her bed, and the situation in which
she found her master, will highly justify and applaud her conduct,
unless the prudence which must be supposed to attend maidens at that
period of life at which Mrs Deborah had arrived, should a little
lessen his admiration.

When Mrs Deborah returned into the room, and was acquainted by her
master with the finding the little infant, her consternation was
rather greater than his had been; nor could she refrain from crying
out, with great horror of accent as well as look, "My good sir! what's
to be done?" Mr Allworthy answered, she must take care of the child
that evening, and in the morning he would give orders to provide it a
nurse. "Yes, sir," says she; "and I hope your worship will send out
your warrant to take up the hussy its mother, for she must be one of
the neighbourhood; and I should be glad to see her committed to
Bridewell, and whipt at the cart's tail. Indeed, such wicked sluts
cannot be too severely punished. I'll warrant 'tis not her first, by
her impudence in laying it to your worship." "In laying it to me,
Deborah!" answered Allworthy: "I can't think she hath any such design.
I suppose she hath only taken this method to provide for her child;
and truly I am glad she hath not done worse." "I don't know what is
worse," cries Deborah, "than for such wicked strumpets to lay their
sins at honest men's doors; and though your worship knows your own
innocence, yet the world is censorious; and it hath been many an
honest man's hap to pass for the father of children he never begot;
and if your worship should provide for the child, it may make the
people the apter to believe; besides, why should your worship provide
for what the parish is obliged to maintain? For my own part, if it was
an honest man's child, indeed--but for my own part, it goes against me
to touch these misbegotten wretches, whom I don't look upon as my
fellow-creatures. Faugh! how it stinks! It doth not smell like a
Christian. If I might be so bold to give my advice, I would have it
put in a basket, and sent out and laid at the churchwarden's door. It
is a good night, only a little rainy and windy; and if it was well
wrapt up, and put in a warm basket, it is two to one but it lives till
it is found in the morning. But if it should not, we have discharged
our duty in taking proper care of it; and it is, perhaps, better for
such creatures to die in a state of innocence, than to grow up and
imitate their mothers; for nothing better can be expected of them."

There were some strokes in this speech which perhaps would have
offended Mr Allworthy, had he strictly attended to it; but he had now
got one of his fingers into the infant's hand, which, by its gentle
pressure, seeming to implore his assistance, had certainly out-pleaded
the eloquence of Mrs Deborah, had it been ten times greater than it
was. He now gave Mrs Deborah positive orders to take the child to her
own bed, and to call up a maid-servant to provide it pap, and other
things, against it waked. He likewise ordered that proper cloathes
should be procured for it early in the morning, and that it should be
brought to himself as soon as he was stirring.

Such was the discernment of Mrs Wilkins, and such the respect she bore
her master, under whom she enjoyed a most excellent place, that her
scruples gave way to his peremptory commands; and she took the child
under her arms, without any apparent disgust at the illegality of its
birth; and declaring it was a sweet little infant, walked off with it
to her own chamber.

Allworthy here betook himself to those pleasing slumbers which a heart
that hungers after goodness is apt to enjoy when thoroughly satisfied.
As these are possibly sweeter than what are occasioned by any other
hearty meal, I should take more pains to display them to the reader,
if I knew any air to recommend him to for the procuring such an

Chapter iv.

The reader's neck brought into danger by a description; his escape;
and the great condescension of Miss Bridget Allworthy.

The Gothic stile of building could produce nothing nobler than Mr
Allworthy's house. There was an air of grandeur in it that struck you
with awe, and rivalled the beauties of the best Grecian architecture;
and it was as commodious within as venerable without.

It stood on the south-east side of a hill, but nearer the bottom than
the top of it, so as to be sheltered from the north-east by a grove of
old oaks which rose above it in a gradual ascent of near half a mile,
and yet high enough to enjoy a most charming prospect of the valley

In the midst of the grove was a fine lawn, sloping down towards the
house, near the summit of which rose a plentiful spring, gushing out
of a rock covered with firs, and forming a constant cascade of about
thirty feet, not carried down a regular flight of steps, but tumbling
in a natural fall over the broken and mossy stones till it came to the
bottom of the rock, then running off in a pebly channel, that with
many lesser falls winded along, till it fell into a lake at the foot
of the hill, about a quarter of a mile below the house on the south
side, and which was seen from every room in the front. Out of this
lake, which filled the center of a beautiful plain, embellished with
groups of beeches and elms, and fed with sheep, issued a river, that
for several miles was seen to meander through an amazing variety of
meadows and woods till it emptied itself into the sea, with a large
arm of which, and an island beyond it, the prospect was closed.

On the right of this valley opened another of less extent, adorned
with several villages, and terminated by one of the towers of an old
ruined abby, grown over with ivy, and part of the front, which
remained still entire.

The left-hand scene presented the view of a very fine park, composed
of very unequal ground, and agreeably varied with all the diversity
that hills, lawns, wood, and water, laid out with admirable taste, but
owing less to art than to nature, could give. Beyond this, the country
gradually rose into a ridge of wild mountains, the tops of which were
above the clouds.

It was now the middle of May, and the morning was remarkably serene,
when Mr Allworthy walked forth on the terrace, where the dawn opened
every minute that lovely prospect we have before described to his eye;
and now having sent forth streams of light, which ascended the blue
firmament before him, as harbingers preceding his pomp, in the full
blaze of his majesty rose the sun, than which one object alone in this
lower creation could be more glorious, and that Mr Allworthy himself
presented--a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what
manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator, by
doing most good to his creatures.

Reader, take care. I have unadvisedly led thee to the top of as high a
hill as Mr Allworthy's, and how to get thee down without breaking thy
neck, I do not well know. However, let us e'en venture to slide down
together; for Miss Bridget rings her bell, and Mr Allworthy is
summoned to breakfast, where I must attend, and, if you please, shall
be glad of your company.

The usual compliments having past between Mr Allworthy and Miss
Bridget, and the tea being poured out, he summoned Mrs Wilkins, and
told his sister he had a present for her, for which she thanked
him--imagining, I suppose, it had been a gown, or some ornament for
her person. Indeed, he very often made her such presents; and she, in
complacence to him, spent much time in adorning herself. I say in
complacence to him, because she always exprest the greatest contempt
for dress, and for those ladies who made it their study.

But if such was her expectation, how was she disappointed when Mrs
Wilkins, according to the order she had received from her master,
produced the little infant? Great surprizes, as hath been observed,
are apt to be silent; and so was Miss Bridget, till her brother began,
and told her the whole story, which, as the reader knows it already,
we shall not repeat.

Miss Bridget had always exprest so great a regard for what the ladies
are pleased to call virtue, and had herself maintained such a severity
of character, that it was expected, especially by Wilkins, that she
would have vented much bitterness on this occasion, and would have
voted for sending the child, as a kind of noxious animal, immediately
out of the house; but, on the contrary, she rather took the
good-natured side of the question, intimated some compassion for the
helpless little creature, and commended her brother's charity in what
he had done.

Perhaps the reader may account for this behaviour from her
condescension to Mr Allworthy, when we have informed him that the good
man had ended his narrative with owning a resolution to take care of
the child, and to breed him up as his own; for, to acknowledge the
truth, she was always ready to oblige her brother, and very seldom, if
ever, contradicted his sentiments. She would, indeed, sometimes make a
few observations, as that men were headstrong, and must have their own
way, and would wish she had been blest with an independent fortune;
but these were always vented in a low voice, and at the most amounted
only to what is called muttering.

However, what she withheld from the infant, she bestowed with the
utmost profuseness on the poor unknown mother, whom she called an
impudent slut, a wanton hussy, an audacious harlot, a wicked jade, a
vile strumpet, with every other appellation with which the tongue of
virtue never fails to lash those who bring a disgrace on the sex.

A consultation was now entered into how to proceed in order to
discover the mother. A scrutiny was first made into the characters of
the female servants of the house, who were all acquitted by Mrs
Wilkins, and with apparent merit; for she had collected them herself,
and perhaps it would be difficult to find such another set of

The next step was to examine among the inhabitants of the parish; and
this was referred to Mrs Wilkins, who was to enquire with all
imaginable diligence, and to make her report in the afternoon.

Matters being thus settled, Mr Allworthy withdrew to his study, as was
his custom, and left the child to his sister, who, at his desire, had
undertaken the care of it.

Chapter v.

Containing a few common matters, with a very uncommon observation upon

When her master was departed, Mrs Deborah stood silent, expecting her
cue from Miss Bridget; for as to what had past before her master, the
prudent housekeeper by no means relied upon it, as she had often known
the sentiments of the lady in her brother's absence to differ greatly
from those which she had expressed in his presence. Miss Bridget did
not, however, suffer her to continue long in this doubtful situation;
for having looked some time earnestly at the child, as it lay asleep
in the lap of Mrs Deborah, the good lady could not forbear giving it a
hearty kiss, at the same time declaring herself wonderfully pleased
with its beauty and innocence. Mrs Deborah no sooner observed this
than she fell to squeezing and kissing, with as great raptures as
sometimes inspire the sage dame of forty and five towards a youthful
and vigorous bridegroom, crying out, in a shrill voice, "O, the dear
little creature!--The dear, sweet, pretty creature! Well, I vow it is
as fine a boy as ever was seen!"

These exclamations continued till they were interrupted by the lady,
who now proceeded to execute the commission given her by her brother,
and gave orders for providing all necessaries for the child,
appointing a very good room in the house for his nursery. Her orders
were indeed so liberal, that, had it been a child of her own, she
could not have exceeded them; but, lest the virtuous reader may
condemn her for showing too great regard to a base-born infant, to
which all charity is condemned by law as irreligious, we think proper
to observe that she concluded the whole with saying, "Since it was her
brother's whim to adopt the little brat, she supposed little master
must be treated with great tenderness. For her part, she could not
help thinking it was an encouragement to vice; but that she knew too
much of the obstinacy of mankind to oppose any of their ridiculous

With reflections of this nature she usually, as has been hinted,
accompanied every act of compliance with her brother's inclinations;
and surely nothing could more contribute to heighten the merit of this
compliance than a declaration that she knew, at the same time, the
folly and unreasonableness of those inclinations to which she
submitted. Tacit obedience implies no force upon the will, and
consequently may be easily, and without any pains, preserved; but when
a wife, a child, a relation, or a friend, performs what we desire,
with grumbling and reluctance, with expressions of dislike and
dissatisfaction, the manifest difficulty which they undergo must
greatly enhance the obligation.

As this is one of those deep observations which very few readers can
be supposed capable of making themselves, I have thought proper to
lend them my assistance; but this is a favour rarely to be expected in
the course of my work. Indeed, I shall seldom or never so indulge him,
unless in such instances as this, where nothing but the inspiration
with which we writers are gifted, can possibly enable any one to make
the discovery.

Chapter vi.

Mrs Deborah is introduced into the parish with a simile. A short
account of Jenny Jones, with the difficulties and discouragements
which may attend young women in the pursuit of learning.

Mrs Deborah, having disposed of the child according to the will of her
master, now prepared to visit those habitations which were supposed to
conceal its mother.

Not otherwise than when a kite, tremendous bird, is beheld by the
feathered generation soaring aloft, and hovering over their heads, the
amorous dove, and every innocent little bird, spread wide the alarm,
and fly trembling to their hiding-places. He proudly beats the air,
conscious of his dignity, and meditates intended mischief.

So when the approach of Mrs Deborah was proclaimed through the street,
all the inhabitants ran trembling into their houses, each matron
dreading lest the visit should fall to her lot. She with stately steps
proudly advances over the field: aloft she bears her towering head,
filled with conceit of her own pre-eminence, and schemes to effect her
intended discovery.

The sagacious reader will not from this simile imagine these poor
people had any apprehension of the design with which Mrs Wilkins was
now coming towards them; but as the great beauty of the simile may
possibly sleep these hundred years, till some future commentator shall
take this work in hand, I think proper to lend the reader a little
assistance in this place.

It is my intention, therefore, to signify, that, as it is the nature
of a kite to devour little birds, so is it the nature of such persons
as Mrs Wilkins to insult and tyrannize over little people. This being
indeed the means which they use to recompense to themselves their
extreme servility and condescension to their superiors; for nothing
can be more reasonable, than that slaves and flatterers should exact
the same taxes on all below them, which they themselves pay to all
above them.

Whenever Mrs Deborah had occasion to exert any extraordinary
condescension to Mrs Bridget, and by that means had a little soured
her natural disposition, it was usual with her to walk forth among
these people, in order to refine her temper, by venting, and, as it
were, purging off all ill humours; on which account she was by no
means a welcome visitant: to say the truth, she was universally
dreaded and hated by them all.

On her arrival in this place, she went immediately to the habitation
of an elderly matron; to whom, as this matron had the good fortune to
resemble herself in the comeliness of her person, as well as in her
age, she had generally been more favourable than to any of the rest.
To this woman she imparted what had happened, and the design upon
which she was come thither that morning. These two began presently to
scrutinize the characters of the several young girls who lived in any
of those houses, and at last fixed their strongest suspicion on one
Jenny Jones, who, they both agreed, was the likeliest person to have
committed this fact.

This Jenny Jones was no very comely girl, either in her face or
person; but nature had somewhat compensated the want of beauty with
what is generally more esteemed by those ladies whose judgment is
arrived at years of perfect maturity, for she had given her a very
uncommon share of understanding. This gift Jenny had a good deal
improved by erudition. She had lived several years a servant with a
schoolmaster, who, discovering a great quickness of parts in the girl,
and an extraordinary desire of learning--for every leisure hour she
was always found reading in the books of the scholars--had the
good-nature, or folly--just as the reader pleases to call it--to
instruct her so far, that she obtained a competent skill in the Latin
language, and was, perhaps, as good a scholar as most of the young men
of quality of the age. This advantage, however, like most others of an
extraordinary kind, was attended with some small inconveniences: for
as it is not to be wondered at, that a young woman so well
accomplished should have little relish for the society of those whom
fortune had made her equals, but whom education had rendered so much
her inferiors; so is it matter of no greater astonishment, that this
superiority in Jenny, together with that behaviour which is its
certain consequence, should produce among the rest some little envy
and ill-will towards her; and these had, perhaps, secretly burnt in
the bosoms of her neighbours ever since her return from her service.

Their envy did not, however, display itself openly, till poor Jenny,
to the surprize of everybody, and to the vexation of all the young
women in these parts, had publickly shone forth on a Sunday in a new
silk gown, with a laced cap, and other proper appendages to these.

The flame, which had before lain in embryo, now burst forth. Jenny
had, by her learning, increased her own pride, which none of her
neighbours were kind enough to feed with the honour she seemed to
demand; and now, instead of respect and adoration, she gained nothing
but hatred and abuse by her finery. The whole parish declared she
could not come honestly by such things; and parents, instead of
wishing their daughters the same, felicitated themselves that their
children had them not.

Hence, perhaps, it was, that the good woman first mentioned the name
of this poor girl to Mrs Wilkins; but there was another circumstance
that confirmed the latter in her suspicion; for Jenny had lately been
often at Mr Allworthy's house. She had officiated as nurse to Miss
Bridget, in a violent fit of illness, and had sat up many nights with
that lady; besides which, she had been seen there the very day before
Mr Allworthy's return, by Mrs Wilkins herself, though that sagacious
person had not at first conceived any suspicion of her on that
account: for, as she herself said, "She had always esteemed Jenny as a
very sober girl (though indeed she knew very little of her), and had
rather suspected some of those wanton trollops, who gave themselves
airs, because, forsooth, they thought themselves handsome."

Jenny was now summoned to appear in person before Mrs Deborah, which
she immediately did. When Mrs Deborah, putting on the gravity of a
judge, with somewhat more than his austerity, began an oration with
the words, "You audacious strumpet!" in which she proceeded rather to
pass sentence on the prisoner than to accuse her.

Though Mrs Deborah was fully satisfied of the guilt of Jenny, from the
reasons above shewn, it is possible Mr Allworthy might have required
some stronger evidence to have convicted her; but she saved her
accusers any such trouble, by freely confessing the whole fact with
which she was charged.

This confession, though delivered rather in terms of contrition, as it
appeared, did not at all mollify Mrs Deborah, who now pronounced a
second judgment against her, in more opprobrious language than before;
nor had it any better success with the bystanders, who were now grown
very numerous. Many of them cried out, "They thought what madam's silk
gown would end in;" others spoke sarcastically of her learning. Not a
single female was present but found some means of expressing her
abhorrence of poor Jenny, who bore all very patiently, except the
malice of one woman, who reflected upon her person, and tossing up her
nose, said, "The man must have a good stomach who would give silk
gowns for such sort of trumpery!" Jenny replied to this with a
bitterness which might have surprized a judicious person, who had
observed the tranquillity with which she bore all the affronts to her
chastity; but her patience was perhaps tired out, for this is a virtue
which is very apt to be fatigued by exercise.

Mrs Deborah having succeeded beyond her hopes in her inquiry, returned
with much triumph, and, at the appointed hour, made a faithful report
to Mr Allworthy, who was much surprized at the relation; for he had
heard of the extraordinary parts and improvements of this girl, whom
he intended to have given in marriage, together with a small living,
to a neighbouring curate. His concern, therefore, on this occasion,
was at least equal to the satisfaction which appeared in Mrs Deborah,
and to many readers may seem much more reasonable.

Miss Bridget blessed herself, and said, "For her part, she should
never hereafter entertain a good opinion of any woman." For Jenny
before this had the happiness of being much in her good graces also.

The prudent housekeeper was again dispatched to bring the unhappy
culprit before Mr Allworthy, in order, not as it was hoped by some,
and expected by all, to be sent to the house of correction, but to
receive wholesome admonition and reproof; which those who relish that
kind of instructive writing may peruse in the next chapter.

Chapter vii.

Containing such grave matter, that the reader cannot laugh once
through the whole chapter, unless peradventure he should laugh at the

When Jenny appeared, Mr Allworthy took her into his study, and spoke
to her as follows: "You know, child, it is in my power as a
magistrate, to punish you very rigorously for what you have done; and
you will, perhaps, be the more apt to fear I should execute that
power, because you have in a manner laid your sins at my door.

"But, perhaps, this is one reason which hath determined me to act in a
milder manner with you: for, as no private resentment should ever
influence a magistrate, I will be so far from considering your having
deposited the infant in my house as an aggravation of your offence,
that I will suppose, in your favour, this to have proceeded from a
natural affection to your child, since you might have some hopes to
see it thus better provided for than was in the power of yourself, or
its wicked father, to provide for it. I should indeed have been highly
offended with you had you exposed the little wretch in the manner of
some inhuman mothers, who seem no less to have abandoned their
humanity, than to have parted with their chastity. It is the other
part of your offence, therefore, upon which I intend to admonish you,
I mean the violation of your chastity;--a crime, however lightly it
may be treated by debauched persons, very heinous in itself, and very
dreadful in its consequences.

"The heinous nature of this offence must be sufficiently apparent to
every Christian, inasmuch as it is committed in defiance of the laws
of our religion, and of the express commands of Him who founded that

"And here its consequences may well be argued to be dreadful; for what
can be more so, than to incur the divine displeasure, by the breach of
the divine commands; and that in an instance against which the highest
vengeance is specifically denounced?

"But these things, though too little, I am afraid, regarded, are so
plain, that mankind, however they may want to be reminded, can never
need information on this head. A hint, therefore, to awaken your sense
of this matter, shall suffice; for I would inspire you with
repentance, and not drive you to desperation.

"There are other consequences, not indeed so dreadful or replete with
horror as this; and yet such, as, if attentively considered, must, one
would think, deter all of your sex at least from the commission of
this crime.

"For by it you are rendered infamous, and driven, like lepers of old,
out of society; at least, from the society of all but wicked and
reprobate persons; for no others will associate with you.

"If you have fortunes, you are hereby rendered incapable of enjoying
them; if you have none, you are disabled from acquiring any, nay
almost of procuring your sustenance; for no persons of character will
receive you into their houses. Thus you are often driven by necessity
itself into a state of shame and misery, which unavoidably ends in the
destruction of both body and soul.

"Can any pleasure compensate these evils? Can any temptation have
sophistry and delusion strong enough to persuade you to so simple a
bargain? Or can any carnal appetite so overpower your reason, or so
totally lay it asleep, as to prevent your flying with affright and
terror from a crime which carries such punishment always with it?

"How base and mean must that woman be, how void of that dignity of
mind, and decent pride, without which we are not worthy the name of
human creatures, who can bear to level herself with the lowest animal,
and to sacrifice all that is great and noble in her, all her heavenly
part, to an appetite which she hath in common with the vilest branch
of the creation! For no woman, sure, will plead the passion of love
for an excuse. This would be to own herself the mere tool and bubble
of the man. Love, however barbarously we may corrupt and pervert its
meaning, as it is a laudable, is a rational passion, and can never be
violent but when reciprocal; for though the Scripture bids us love our
enemies, it means not with that fervent love which we naturally bear
towards our friends; much less that we should sacrifice to them our
lives, and what ought to be dearer to us, our innocence. Now in what
light, but that of an enemy, can a reasonable woman regard the man who
solicits her to entail on herself all the misery I have described to
you, and who would purchase to himself a short, trivial, contemptible
pleasure, so greatly at her expense! For, by the laws of custom, the
whole shame, with all its dreadful consequences, falls intirely upon
her. Can love, which always seeks the good of its object, attempt to
betray a woman into a bargain where she is so greatly to be the loser?
If such corrupter, therefore, should have the impudence to pretend a
real affection for her, ought not the woman to regard him not only as
an enemy, but as the worst of all enemies, a false, designing,
treacherous, pretended friend, who intends not only to debauch her
body, but her understanding at the same time?"

Here Jenny expressing great concern, Allworthy paused a moment, and
then proceeded: "I have talked thus to you, child, not to insult you
for what is past and irrevocable, but to caution and strengthen you
for the future. Nor should I have taken this trouble, but from some
opinion of your good sense, notwithstanding the dreadful slip you have
made; and from some hopes of your hearty repentance, which are founded
on the openness and sincerity of your confession. If these do not
deceive me, I will take care to convey you from this scene of your
shame, where you shall, by being unknown, avoid the punishment which,
as I have said, is allotted to your crime in this world; and I hope,
by repentance, you will avoid the much heavier sentence denounced
against it in the other. Be a good girl the rest of your days, and
want shall be no motive to your going astray; and, believe me, there
is more pleasure, even in this world, in an innocent and virtuous
life, than in one debauched and vicious.

"As to your child, let no thoughts concerning it molest you; I will
provide for it in a better manner than you can ever hope. And now
nothing remains but that you inform me who was the wicked man that
seduced you; for my anger against him will be much greater than you
have experienced on this occasion."

Jenny now lifted her eyes from the ground, and with a modest look and
decent voice thus began:--

"To know you, sir, and not love your goodness, would be an argument of
total want of sense or goodness in any one. In me it would amount to
the highest ingratitude, not to feel, in the most sensible manner, the
great degree of goodness you have been pleased to exert on this
occasion. As to my concern for what is past, I know you will spare my
blushes the repetition. My future conduct will much better declare my
sentiments than any professions I can now make. I beg leave to assure
you, sir, that I take your advice much kinder than your generous offer
with which you concluded it; for, as you are pleased to say, sir, it
is an instance of your opinion of my understanding."--Here her tears
flowing apace, she stopped a few moments, and then proceeded
thus:--"Indeed, sir, your kindness overcomes me; but I will endeavour
to deserve this good opinion: for if I have the understanding you are
so kindly pleased to allow me, such advice cannot be thrown away upon
me. I thank you, sir, heartily, for your intended kindness to my poor
helpless child: he is innocent, and I hope will live to be grateful
for all the favours you shall show him. But now, sir, I must on my
knees entreat you not to persist in asking me to declare the father of
my infant. I promise you faithfully you shall one day know; but I am
under the most solemn ties and engagements of honour, as well as the
most religious vows and protestations, to conceal his name at this
time. And I know you too well, to think you would desire I should
sacrifice either my honour or my religion."

Mr Allworthy, whom the least mention of those sacred words was
sufficient to stagger, hesitated a moment before he replied, and then
told her, she had done wrong to enter into such engagements to a
villain; but since she had, he could not insist on her breaking them.
He said, it was not from a motive of vain curiosity he had inquired,
but in order to punish the fellow; at least, that he might not
ignorantly confer favours on the undeserving.

As to these points, Jenny satisfied him by the most solemn assurances,
that the man was entirely out of his reach; and was neither subject to
his power, nor in any probability of becoming an object of his

The ingenuity of this behaviour had gained Jenny so much credit with
this worthy man, that he easily believed what she told him; for as she
had disdained to excuse herself by a lie, and had hazarded his further
displeasure in her present situation, rather than she would forfeit
her honour or integrity by betraying another, he had but little
apprehensions that she would be guilty of falsehood towards himself.

He therefore dismissed her with assurances that he would very soon
remove her out of the reach of that obloquy she had incurred;
concluding with some additional documents, in which he recommended
repentance, saying, "Consider, child, there is one still to reconcile
yourself to, whose favour is of much greater importance to you than

Chapter viii.

A dialogue between Mesdames Bridget and Deborah; containing more
amusement, but less instruction, than the former.

When Mr Allworthy had retired to his study with Jenny Jones, as hath
been seen, Mrs Bridget, with the good housekeeper, had betaken
themselves to a post next adjoining to the said study; whence, through
the conveyance of a keyhole, they sucked in at their ears the
instructive lecture delivered by Mr Allworthy, together with the
answers of Jenny, and indeed every other particular which passed in
the last chapter.

This hole in her brother's study-door was indeed as well known to Mrs
Bridget, and had been as frequently applied to by her, as the famous
hole in the wall was by Thisbe of old. This served to many good
purposes. For by such means Mrs Bridget became often acquainted with
her brother's inclinations, without giving him the trouble of
repeating them to her. It is true, some inconveniences attended this
intercourse, and she had sometimes reason to cry out with Thisbe, in
Shakspeare, "O, wicked, wicked wall!" For as Mr Allworthy was a
justice of peace, certain things occurred in examinations concerning
bastards, and such like, which are apt to give great offence to the
chaste ears of virgins, especially when they approach the age of
forty, as was the case of Mrs Bridget. However, she had, on such
occasions, the advantage of concealing her blushes from the eyes of
men; and _De non apparentibus, et non existentibus eadem est
ratio_--in English, "When a woman is not seen to blush, she doth not
blush at all."

Both the good women kept strict silence during the whole scene between
Mr Allworthy and the girl; but as soon as it was ended, and that
gentleman was out of hearing, Mrs Deborah could not help exclaiming
against the clemency of her master, and especially against his
suffering her to conceal the father of the child, which she swore she
would have out of her before the sun set.

At these words Mrs Bridget discomposed her features with a smile (a
thing very unusual to her). Not that I would have my reader imagine,
that this was one of those wanton smiles which Homer would have you
conceive came from Venus, when he calls her the laughter-loving
goddess; nor was it one of those smiles which Lady Seraphina shoots
from the stage-box, and which Venus would quit her immortality to be
able to equal. No, this was rather one of those smiles which might be
supposed to have come from the dimpled cheeks of the august Tisiphone,
or from one of the misses, her sisters.

With such a smile then, and with a voice sweet as the evening breeze
of Boreas in the pleasant month of November, Mrs Bridget gently
reproved the curiosity of Mrs Deborah; a vice with which it seems the
latter was too much tainted, and which the former inveighed against
with great bitterness, adding, "That, among all her faults, she
thanked Heaven her enemies could not accuse her of prying into the
affairs of other people."

She then proceeded to commend the honour and spirit with which Jenny
had acted. She said, she could not help agreeing with her brother,
that there was some merit in the sincerity of her confession, and in
her integrity to her lover: that she had always thought her a very
good girl, and doubted not but she had been seduced by some rascal,
who had been infinitely more to blame than herself, and very probably
had prevailed with her by a promise of marriage, or some other
treacherous proceeding.

This behaviour of Mrs Bridget greatly surprised Mrs Deborah; for this
well-bred woman seldom opened her lips, either to her master or his
sister, till she had first sounded their inclinations, with which her
sentiments were always consonant. Here, however, she thought she might
have launched forth with safety; and the sagacious reader will not
perhaps accuse her of want of sufficient forecast in so doing, but
will rather admire with what wonderful celerity she tacked about, when
she found herself steering a wrong course.

"Nay, madam," said this able woman, and truly great politician, "I
must own I cannot help admiring the girl's spirit, as well as your
ladyship. And, as your ladyship says, if she was deceived by some
wicked man, the poor wretch is to be pitied. And to be sure, as your
ladyship says, the girl hath always appeared like a good, honest,
plain girl, and not vain of her face, forsooth, as some wanton husseys
in the neighbourhood are."

"You say true, Deborah," said Miss Bridget. "If the girl had been one
of those vain trollops, of which we have too many in the parish, I
should have condemned my brother for his lenity towards her. I saw two
farmers' daughters at church, the other day, with bare necks. I
protest they shocked me. If wenches will hang out lures for fellows,
it is no matter what they suffer. I detest such creatures; and it
would be much better for them that their faces had been seamed with
the smallpox; but I must confess, I never saw any of this wanton
behaviour in poor Jenny: some artful villain, I am convinced, hath
betrayed, nay perhaps forced her; and I pity the poor wretch with all
my heart."

Mrs Deborah approved all these sentiments, and the dialogue concluded
with a general and bitter invective against beauty, and with many
compassionate considerations for all honest plain girls who are
deluded by the wicked arts of deceitful men.

Chapter ix.

Containing matters which will surprize the reader.

Jenny returned home well pleased with the reception she had met with
from Mr Allworthy, whose indulgence to her she industriously made
public; partly perhaps as a sacrifice to her own pride, and partly
from the more prudent motive of reconciling her neighbours to her, and
silencing their clamours.

But though this latter view, if she indeed had it, may appear
reasonable enough, yet the event did not answer her expectation; for
when she was convened before the justice, and it was universally
apprehended that the house of correction would have been her fate,
though some of the young women cryed out "It was good enough for her,"
and diverted themselves with the thoughts of her beating hemp in a
silk gown; yet there were many others who began to pity her condition:
but when it was known in what manner Mr Allworthy had behaved, the
tide turned against her. One said, "I'll assure you, madam hath had
good luck." A second cryed, "See what it is to be a favourite!" A
third, "Ay, this comes of her learning." Every person made some
malicious comment or other on the occasion, and reflected on the
partiality of the justice.

The behaviour of these people may appear impolitic and ungrateful to
the reader, who considers the power and benevolence of Mr Allworthy.
But as to his power, he never used it; and as to his benevolence, he
exerted so much, that he had thereby disobliged all his neighbours;
for it is a secret well known to great men, that, by conferring an
obligation, they do not always procure a friend, but are certain of
creating many enemies.

Jenny was, however, by the care and goodness of Mr Allworthy, soon
removed out of the reach of reproach; when malice being no longer able
to vent its rage on her, began to seek another object of its
bitterness, and this was no less than Mr Allworthy, himself; for a
whisper soon went abroad, that he himself was the father of the
foundling child.

This supposition so well reconciled his conduct to the general
opinion, that it met with universal assent; and the outcry against his
lenity soon began to take another turn, and was changed into an
invective against his cruelty to the poor girl. Very grave and good
women exclaimed against men who begot children, and then disowned
them. Nor were there wanting some, who, after the departure of Jenny,
insinuated that she was spirited away with a design too black to be
mentioned, and who gave frequent hints that a legal inquiry ought to
be made into the whole matter, and that some people should be forced
to produce the girl.

These calumnies might have probably produced ill consequences, at the
least might have occasioned some trouble, to a person of a more
doubtful and suspicious character than Mr Allworthy was blessed with;
but in his case they had no such effect; and, being heartily despised
by him, they served only to afford an innocent amusement to the good
gossips of the neighbourhood.

But as we cannot possibly divine what complection our reader may be
of, and as it will be some time before he will hear any more of Jenny,
we think proper to give him a very early intimation, that Mr Allworthy
was, and will hereafter appear to be, absolutely innocent of any
criminal intention whatever. He had indeed committed no other than an
error in politics, by tempering justice with mercy, and by refusing to
gratify the good-natured disposition of the mob,[*] with an object for
their compassion to work on in the person of poor Jenny, whom, in
order to pity, they desired to have seen sacrificed to ruin and
infamy, by a shameful correction in Bridewell.

[*]Whenever this word occurs in our writings, it intends persons
without virtue or sense, in all stations; and many of the highest
rank are often meant by it.

So far from complying with this their inclination, by which all hopes
of reformation would have been abolished, and even the gate shut
against her if her own inclinations should ever hereafter lead her to
chuse the road of virtue, Mr Allworthy rather chose to encourage the
girl to return thither by the only possible means; for too true I am
afraid it is, that many women have become abandoned, and have sunk to
the last degree of vice, by being unable to retrieve the first slip.
This will be, I am afraid, always the case while they remain among
their former acquaintance; it was therefore wisely done by Mr
Allworthy, to remove Jenny to a place where she might enjoy the
pleasure of reputation, after having tasted the ill consequences of
losing it.

To this place therefore, wherever it was, we will wish her a good
journey, and for the present take leave of her, and of the little
foundling her child, having matters of much higher importance to
communicate to the reader.

Chapter x.

The hospitality of Allworthy; with a short sketch of the characters of
two brothers, a doctor and a captain, who were entertained by that

Neither Mr Allworthy's house, nor his heart, were shut against any
part of mankind, but they were both more particularly open to men of
merit. To say the truth, this was the only house in the kingdom where
you was sure to gain a dinner by deserving it.

Above all others, men of genius and learning shared the principal
place in his favour; and in these he had much discernment: for though
he had missed the advantage of a learned education, yet, being blest
with vast natural abilities, he had so well profited by a vigorous
though late application to letters, and by much conversation with men
of eminence in this way, that he was himself a very competent judge in
most kinds of literature.

It is no wonder that in an age when this kind of merit is so little in
fashion, and so slenderly provided for, persons possessed of it should
very eagerly flock to a place where they were sure of being received
with great complaisance; indeed, where they might enjoy almost the
same advantages of a liberal fortune as if they were entitled to it in
their own right; for Mr Allworthy was not one of those generous
persons who are ready most bountifully to bestow meat, drink, and
lodging on men of wit and learning, for which they expect no other
return but entertainment, instruction, flattery, and subserviency; in
a word, that such persons should be enrolled in the number of
domestics, without wearing their master's cloathes, or receiving

On the contrary, every person in this house was perfect master of his
own time: and as he might at his pleasure satisfy all his appetites
within the restrictions only of law, virtue, and religion; so he
might, if his health required, or his inclination prompted him to
temperance, or even to abstinence, absent himself from any meals, or
retire from them, whenever he was so disposed, without even a
sollicitation to the contrary: for, indeed, such sollicitations from
superiors always savour very strongly of commands. But all here were
free from such impertinence, not only those whose company is in all
other places esteemed a favour from their equality of fortune, but
even those whose indigent circumstances make such an eleemosynary
abode convenient to them, and who are therefore less welcome to a
great man's table because they stand in need of it.

Among others of this kind was Dr Blifil, a gentleman who had the
misfortune of losing the advantage of great talents by the obstinacy
of a father, who would breed him to a profession he disliked. In
obedience to this obstinacy the doctor had in his youth been obliged
to study physic, or rather to say he studied it; for in reality books
of this kind were almost the only ones with which he was unacquainted;
and unfortunately for him, the doctor was master of almost every other
science but that by which he was to get his bread; the consequence of
which was, that the doctor at the age of forty had no bread to eat.

Such a person as this was certain to find a welcome at Mr Allworthy's
table, to whom misfortunes were ever a recommendation, when they were
derived from the folly or villany of others, and not of the
unfortunate person himself. Besides this negative merit, the doctor
had one positive recommendation;--this was a great appearance of
religion. Whether his religion was real, or consisted only in
appearance, I shall not presume to say, as I am not possessed of any
touchstone which can distinguish the true from the false.

If this part of his character pleased Mr Allworthy, it delighted Miss
Bridget. She engaged him in many religious controversies; on which
occasions she constantly expressed great satisfaction in the doctor's
knowledge, and not much less in the compliments which he frequently
bestowed on her own. To say the truth, she had read much English
divinity, and had puzzled more than one of the neighbouring curates.
Indeed, her conversation was so pure, her looks so sage, and her whole
deportment so grave and solemn, that she seemed to deserve the name of
saint equally with her namesake, or with any other female in the Roman

As sympathies of all kinds are apt to beget love, so experience
teaches us that none have a more direct tendency this way than those
of a religious kind between persons of different sexes. The doctor
found himself so agreeable to Miss Bridget, that he now began to
lament an unfortunate accident which had happened to him about ten
years before; namely, his marriage with another woman, who was not
only still alive, but, what was worse, known to be so by Mr Allworthy.
This was a fatal bar to that happiness which he otherwise saw
sufficient probability of obtaining with this young lady; for as to
criminal indulgences, he certainly never thought of them. This was
owing either to his religion, as is most probable, or to the purity of
his passion, which was fixed on those things which matrimony only, and
not criminal correspondence, could put him in possession of, or could
give him any title to.

He had not long ruminated on these matters, before it occurred to his
memory that he had a brother who was under no such unhappy incapacity.
This brother he made no doubt would succeed; for he discerned, as he
thought, an inclination to marriage in the lady; and the reader
perhaps, when he hears the brother's qualifications, will not blame
the confidence which he entertained of his success.

This gentleman was about thirty-five years of age. He was of a middle
size, and what is called well-built. He had a scar on his forehead,
which did not so much injure his beauty as it denoted his valour (for
he was a half-pay officer). He had good teeth, and something affable,
when he pleased, in his smile; though naturally his countenance, as
well as his air and voice, had much of roughness in it: yet he could
at any time deposit this, and appear all gentleness and good-humour.
He was not ungenteel, nor entirely devoid of wit, and in his youth had
abounded in sprightliness, which, though he had lately put on a more
serious character, he could, when he pleased, resume.

He had, as well as the doctor, an academic education; for his father
had, with the same paternal authority we have mentioned before,
decreed him for holy orders; but as the old gentleman died before he
was ordained, he chose the church military, and preferred the king's
commission to the bishop's.

He had purchased the post of lieutenant of dragoons, and afterwards
came to be a captain; but having quarrelled with his colonel, was by
his interest obliged to sell; from which time he had entirely
rusticated himself, had betaken himself to studying the Scriptures,
and was not a little suspected of an inclination to methodism.

It seemed, therefore, not unlikely that such a person should succeed
with a lady of so saint-like a disposition, and whose inclinations
were no otherwise engaged than to the marriage state in general; but
why the doctor, who certainly had no great friendship for his brother,
should for his sake think of making so ill a return to the hospitality
of Allworthy, is a matter not so easy to be accounted for.

Is it that some natures delight in evil, as others are thought to
delight in virtue? Or is there a pleasure in being accessory to a
theft when we cannot commit it ourselves? Or lastly (which experience
seems to make probable), have we a satisfaction in aggrandizing our
families, even though we have not the least love or respect for them?

Whether any of these motives operated on the doctor, we will not
determine; but so the fact was. He sent for his brother, and easily
found means to introduce him at Allworthy's as a person who intended
only a short visit to himself.


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