Tom Jones - Henry Fielding
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A Baby is Found
In the west of England, in a part of the country called Somerset, there lived a gentleman whose name was Allworthy. He might be called the favourite of both Nature and Fortune, because Nature had given him the gifts of good health, good sense and a kind heart, and Fortune had made him one of the richest landowners in that part of England.
In his youth this gentleman had married a good, beautiful woman. They had three children, all of whom died young, and about five years before this story begins his wife also died. He loved her still, and sometimes said that he was waiting to join her after death.
He now lived in the country most of the time, with his sister, Miss Bridget Allworthy. This lady was now past the age of thirty. She was a very good woman who often thanked God she was not beautiful, because she believed that beauty led women into wicked ways.
Now, reader, as Mr Allworthy had a large fortune, a good heart and no family, you may think that he lived an honest life, gave to the poor, built a hospital and died a rich man. It is true that he did many of these things, but they are not the reason for this story. Something much more extraordinary happened.
One evening, Mr Allworthy came back to his house very late and very tired. He had been away in London on business for several months. After a light supper with his sister, he went to bed. First he spent some time on his knees, praying to God, and then he pulled back the bedclothes. To his great surprise he saw a baby lying in his bed in a sweet, deep sleep. He stood for some time, looking at its innocent beauty, and then rang his bell to call his elderly housekeeper, Mrs Deborah Wilkins.
When Mrs Wilkins saw the child she cried out, 'My good sir! What shall we do?' Mr Allworthy answered that she must take care of the child that evening, and in the morning he would give orders to find a nurse for it.
'Yes sir,' said Mrs Wilkins, 'and I hope you will give orders to send its wicked mother to prison for doing this.'
'I'm leaving the baby here, Deborah,' said Mr Allworthy, 'I suppose the poor woman has tried to provide a good home for her child, and I am very glad she has not done worse.'
'But sir,' cried Mrs Wilkins, 'why should you take care of the child? Why not put it in a basket and leave it at the church door? If you keep it people may think that you are the father.'
But Mr Allworthy did not hear her. He now had one of his fingers in the sweet child's hand, and was smiling at it gently. So Mrs Wilkins took the child to her room, and Mr Allworthy went to bed and slept well until morning.
Mr Allworthy's house stood on a hill and had a charming view of the valley beneath. To the right of the valley were several villages, and to the left a great park. Beyond the park the country gradually rose into a range of wild mountains, the tops of which were above the clouds.
The house was very noble. It was surrounded by a fine garden, with old oak trees and a stream that flowed down to a lake at the bottom of the hill. From every room at the front of the house you could see the lake, and a river that passed for several miles through woods and fields till it emptied itself into the sea.
It was now the middle of May, and as Mr Allworthy stood watching the sun rise over this lovely view, Miss Bridget Allworthy rang her bell and called him to breakfast.
When she had poured the tea, Mr Allworthy told his sister he had a present for her. She thanked him. This was not unusual as he often gave her new clothes and jewellery to wear. Imagine her surprise when Mrs Wilkins produced the baby!
Miss Bridget was silent until her brother had told her the whole story. He ended by saying that he had decided to take care of the child and bring it up as his own.
Miss Bridget looked kindly at the child, and told her brother she admired his generosity. He was a good man. However, she was less kind about the poor, unknown mother, whom she called every bad name she could think of. The next step was to discover who the mother was. Mr Allworthy, leaving this task to his housekeeper, and the child to his sister, left the room.
Mrs Wilkins waited for a sign from Miss Bridget. Did she really agree with her brother? Miss Bridget looked for some time at the child as it lay asleep in Mrs Wilkins's lap, then gave it a big kiss, exclaiming about its beauty and innocence. When Mrs Wilkins saw this, she too started squeezing and kissing the baby, and cried out, 'Oh, the dear little child! The dear, sweet, pretty child! He is as fine a boy as I have ever seen.'
Then Miss Bridget gave orders for the servants to get a very good room in the house ready for the child, and to provide him with everything he needed. She was as generous as if he had been a child of her own.
Later that day, Mrs Wilkins went to the village nearby to ask questions about the abandoned child. She soon decided that the most likely mother was Jenny Jones.
Jenny Jones was a poor young girl from the village who had lived as a servant with a schoolmaster and his wife for several years. She had a quick mind and a desire to learn, so the schoolmaster had helped to educate her. Jenny became proud of her learning, and when she returned to the village she behaved in a superior way, which her neighbours hated.
They also noticed that Jenny had often been to Mr Allworthy's house. She had nursed Miss Bridget in a recent illness, and had sat up many nights looking after her. Indeed, Mrs Wilkins herself had seen Jenny at the house the very day before Mr Allworthy's return. She hurried back to the house to tell Mr Allworthy her suspicions.
Mr Allworthy called Jenny to the house. She confessed freely to being the baby's mother, but she refused to name the father.
'I thank you, sir, for your kindness to my poor helpless child,' she said. 'He is innocent, and I hope he will live to be grateful for your generosity. But sir, on my knees I must ask you not to insist on finding out the name of his father. I have sworn before God not to tell anyone his name now, but I promise that one day you will know.'
Mr Allworthy fully believed all that Jenny told him, and sent her away with the promise that he would not send her to prison, but would help her to lead a better life.
'She was lucky!' said one neighbour, when Jenny returned to the village. A second cried, 'See what it is to be a favourite.' A third, 'Ah, it's because she has education!'
Soon, through the care and goodness of Mr Allworthy, Jenny left the village, and there was more gossip. The villagers decided that Mr Allworthy was the baby's father, and began to feel sorry for Jenny Jones. Some even said he had been cruel to send her away. But the good Mr Allworthy did not listen. Baby Jones stayed in his house and was given Mr Allworthy's first name, which was Thomas.
And now we must leave Jenny Jones and little Tom Jones for a while, as we have much more important things to tell.
The Shame of Mr Partridge
Mr Allworthy's house and his heart were open to all men, but particularly to men of learning. Though he had not had the advantage of a good education, he had made up for this through wide reading and conversation. Well-educated men were always welcome at his table.
One guest of this kind was Captain Blifil. This gentleman was about thirty-five years of age. After a good education he had joined the king's army, but recently he had left the army and had come to Somerset to live a quiet country life. He liked to study the Bible.
Miss Bridget had read many books about religion, and she often talked to the captain on this subject. Her conversation was so pure, her looks so wise and her manner so serious that she seemed like a saint. Yet soon the captain could see that she was falling in love with him.
Everyone will fall in love once in their lives, and there is no particular age for this, but at Miss Bridget's age love is serious and steady. It was not the captain's body, which was big and rough, nor his face, which was covered up to his eyes by a black beard, but his conversation which charmed her.
As soon as the captain saw this, he returned her affections. To be plain, he was already in love with Mr Allworthy's house, gardens, villages and farms. His sister was no beauty, but as Mr Allworthy had no son, the captain would marry Miss Bridget even if she was the ugliest woman in the world. And, in less than a month, he did just that.
Mr Allworthy did not object to the marriage.
'My sister is many years younger than me,' he thought, 'but she is old enough to make her own decisions. He is a gentleman, and though he is not perhaps her equal in fortune, he is a man of sense and honour, and I have nothing against him. I do not doubt that they love each other, and love is the best basis for marriage.'
Reader, this is not a newspaper, consisting of just the same number of words whether there be any news in it or not. In these pages you will find only the important events, so do not be surprised if sometimes time seems to stand still, and sometimes to fly. We fly now to the time when a fine son was born to Captain and Mrs Blifil.
Though the birth of a son to his dear sister gave great joy to Mr Allworthy, it did not take away his love for the abandoned child to whom he was now godfather. He continued to visit little Tom at least once a day in his room.
Mr Allworthy suggested to his sister that the two boys be raised together in his house. Mrs Blifil agreed, but Captain Blifil was not so easily pleased. He liked to use Bible texts to tell Mr Allworthy that bastard children should be punished. Mr Allworthy disagreed. He said that however guilty the parents might be, their children were certainly innocent, and God would not punish the innocent.
While Captain Blifil was becoming more and more jealous of Mr Allworthy's love for little Tom, Mrs Wilkins made a discovery. She believed she now knew the name of Tom's father.
My reader may remember that Jenny Jones had lived for some years with a certain schoolmaster. His name was Partridge, and he was a pleasant, humorous fellow, but his wife was not. Perhaps this was because, after nine years of marriage, she was still childless.
Mrs Partridge, a jealous woman, had chosen Jenny Jones to be her servant because she was plain, and Jenny lived quietly in their house for more than four years, doing her work and learning Latin from Mr Partridge.
Then, one day, Mrs Partridge saw Jenny sitting closely with her husband studying their books, and suddenly her jealous thoughts began. They were fed by small suspicions, one after another, and soon she lost her temper and ordered Jenny to leave the house.
Mr Partridge, who was afraid of his wife, said nothing, and soon the house was calm again. Mrs Partridge loved her husband and she might have forgotten all about it, but some months later she heard news of Jenny from the village gossips.
'She's had two bastard babies,' they said. 'Their father must be from here, because it's less than nine months since she left the village.'
Mrs Partridge was shocked, and all her jealousy returned. She was convinced of her husband's guilt, and went straight home. The fight which followed was furious. Mrs Partridge attacked her husband with tongue, teeth and hands. Though Partridge did nothing, there was soon blood on both of them. The neighbours came to watch, and soon everyone was saying that Mr Partridge had beaten his wife most cruelly.
The cause of this quarrel was reported in various ways. Some said one thing, others said another, and it was a long time before Mrs Wilkins heard the true reason. When she did, she told Captain Blifil. The captain told Mr Allworthy and Mr Allworthy sent Mrs Wilkins to find Mr Partridge. Though he lived fifteen miles away, Mrs Wilkins went quickly, and brought back the schoolmaster and his wife.
Mr Allworthy began the trial immediately, and it took three days. On the first day, Partridge declared his innocence, but his wife gave all the reasons why she thought him guilty. Partridge was silent, until at last he asked Mr Allworthy to send for Jenny Jones. Mr Allworthy sent a messenger to get Jenny, who now lived a whole day's journey from his house. On the third day everyone came to hear Mr Allworthy's judgement.
Unfortunately, the messenger had returned without Jenny. She had left her new home just a few days earlier, in the company of a soldier.
Mr Allworthy's good opinion of Jenny was now lost forever. He listened again to Mrs Partridge, who now swore she had discovered her husband and Jenny in bed together, and then he found poor Mr Partridge guilty.
Mr Partridge lost his little school, and soon he lost his wife too for she died suddenly. Though the villagers now began to feel sorry for him, he decided to go away.
Although Mr Allworthy had punished the father, he grew fonder of little Tommy. This did not please Captain Blifil, who saw every example of Mr Allworthy's generosity to others as his own loss.
The captain's greatest pleasure was planning what to do with Mr Allworthy's wealth. He fully expected Mr Allworthy to die soon, leaving his wealth to his sister's son. The captain wanted to make great changes to the house and park, and he spent many hours reading about architecture and gardening. But Fortune was unkind to him. The unlucky captain died first, of a sudden and unexpected accident.
Young Tom Causes Some Anxiety
The reader will not be surprised if we pass quickly over twelve years when nothing interesting happened. We shall now meet our hero, Tom, at about fourteen years of age.
To be honest, it was the opinion of all Mr Allworthy's family that young Tom was born to be hanged. Indeed I am sorry to say there was too much reason for this. From his earliest years, Tom showed signs of crime. To give three examples, he had stolen some apples from a tree, a duck from a farm and a ball from the pocket of his companion, young Master Blifil.
In contrast, the young son of Captain and Mrs Blifil was praised by all the neighbourhood. He was quiet and good, and many people wondered why Mr Allworthy allowed his nephew to be educated with such a bad influence as Tom.
Yet Tom, bad as he is, must be our hero, so here is a story to help you to get to know him better.
About this time, Tom had only one friend among the servants, and this was Mr Allworthy's gamekeeper, George Seagrim. Some said that Tom learned his bad ways from this man, whose idea of the meaning of 'yours' and 'mine' was rather loose. Indeed, the whole duck and most of the stolen apples were eaten by Black George and his family.
One day, young Tom went shooting with the gamekeeper near the edge of Mr Allworthy's land. They surprised some birds, which flew into the neighbour's land. Tom ran after them, the gamekeeper followed him and they both fired their guns.
The neighbour, who was riding nearby, heard the gunfire and came to look. He caught Tom with a dead bird, but he didn't find the gamekeeper, who was hiding in the trees.
When he returned home, Tom admitted his crime to Mr Allworthy, but he insisted that he had been shooting alone. The gamekeeper was sent for, but he too denied being with Tom that afternoon. Mr Allworthy sent Tom to bed, and next morning he called him back and asked the same questions. Tom gave the same answers, even when he was whipped.
At last Mr Allworthy believed Tom was telling the truth. He apologized, and gave Tom a little horse as a present.
'Oh, sir,' Tom said, 'you are too good to me.' He very nearly told Mr Allworthy the truth, but then he remembered the gamekeeper and was silent. He felt very guilty.
The thing which put an end to Tom's silence was a fight between himself and Master Blifil. Usually, Tom avoided fights with his younger companion because he really loved him, but one day, as they played together, Blifil called Tom a poor bastard. Tom immediately jumped on Blifil, and the result was a bloody nose.
Blifil ran to his uncle to complain. Tom told Mr Allworthy what Blifil had called him, but young Blifil said, 'He is lying, Uncle, the same way as he lied when he said nobody was with him when he shot the bird. Black George, the gamekeeper, was there. Tom confessed it to me.'
'Is this true, child?' asked Mr Allworthy. 'Why did you lie to me about it?'
Tom explained that it was a question of honour. He had promised the gamekeeper to keep quiet. 'It was my idea to follow the birds, sir,' he said. 'Please, sir, let me be punished. Take my little horse away. But please, sir, forgive poor George.'
Mr Allworthy was quiet for some time. Then he told the boys to go away, and to be more friendly with each other. Towards the gamekeeper he was more severe. He called him to the house, paid him his wages and dismissed him.
The education of Tom and Master Blifil was in the hands of two men, Mr Thwackum and Mr Square, who lived in the house as part of the family. Mr Thwackum knew a lot about religion and morality, while Mr Square had studied philosophy and believed in reason more than in religion.
Mrs Blifil, now many years widowed, liked them both. She enjoyed the conversation of Mr Thwackum, and admired the good looks of Mr Square. Both men had their eye on the possibility of marrying her, and so they hated each other. But there was one point on which they agreed. In order to please the widow, they both took every opportunity to show her that they preferred her son. Poor Tom therefore suffered many more beatings than young Master Blifil.
The good Mr Allworthy called Tom his own boy, and in all things made him equal with Master Blifil. Mrs Blifil agreed with this, though everyone believed she secretly hated Tom. When he was young this may have been so. However, as he grew up and began to learn how to be charming to ladies, she grew fonder of him. By the time he was eighteen years old the whole country was talking of Mrs Blind's liking for Tom, which made his two teachers hate him even more.
Tom worried greatly about Black George Seagrim and his unfortunate family, and tried to help them. First he sold his little horse to give them money for food, then he sold a fine Bible which Mr Allworthy had given him. He was punished for this with more beatings.
At the same time, Tom began to grow friendly with the neighbour whose dead bird had caused so much trouble, and so he met his neighbour's daughter. But as this young lady is to be the heroine of our story, and probably we will all fall in love with her, it is not right to introduce her at the end of a chapter.
Tom Falls in Love
Bring on flowers, soft winds and sweet birdsong to welcome the lovely Sophia Western. To imagine her appearance you must think of famous beauties in art and history, and of the woman who is dearest to your own heart.
Sophia was the only daughter of Mr Western. She was now seventeen. Her hair was rich and black, her shape delicate, her eyes bright, her nose regular, her teeth white, her lips red and her neck long and lovely.
Such was the outside of Sophia, and inside she was equally fine. Her mind was as charming as her appearance, and her sweet temper lit up her face when she smiled.
Sophia had been educated under the care of an aunt, who was a lady of the world. In her manner and conversation, Sophia was a perfect lady. Perhaps she needed a little of the style that comes from life in the highest circles, but style can never replace true innocence and good sense.
Her father was fonder of Sophia than of any other human being, but he allowed his sister to take her away for three years for the sake of her education. Now she had returned, to rule her father's house and to sit at the top of his table, where Tom often dined.
Mr Western had a great love of hunting, and Tom became a favourite companion in this sport. Mr Western often wished he had a son like Tom, and let him freely use everything that was most precious to him: his guns, his dogs and his horses. Tom wanted to ask Mr Western if he would employ Black George. He decided to ask Sophia to help him.
Now if Sophia had some influence on her father, who loved her above all things (after those things already mentioned which he needed for his sport), then Tom had some influence on Sophia.
Tom was now approaching the age of twenty. He was open-hearted, good-natured and had a natural way with ladies. The women of the neighbourhood thought he was a handsome fellow, and so did Sophia.
Tom was also a great favourite of Mr Western, who was so busy with his dogs and his horses that he gave Tom every opportunity to be with his daughter that a lover could wish for. In Tom's company, the innocent Sophia was at her brightest. Tom did not notice this, and it is not surprising, since Sophia did not notice it herself. Indeed, her heart was lost before she suspected it was in danger.
One afternoon, finding Sophia alone, Tom said he had something to ask her. Nature whispered something in Sophia's ear, and the colour left her cheeks. Tom did not notice, and he told her about the gamekeeper, whose unfortunate family was now nearly starving. Would Sophia ask her father to employ Black George?
'I will do it with all my heart,' said Sophia, with a smile full of sweetness. 'I really pity the poor fellow and just yesterday I sent his wife some money and a dress. And now, Mr Jones, I have something to ask you.'
'Anything, madam,' said Tom, taking Sophias hand and kissing it.
This was the first time his lips had ever touched her, and the blood which before had left her cheeks now rushed back to colour all her face and neck. When she could speak (which was not instantly) Sophia asked Tom not to lead her father through so many dangers when hunting. She was frightened every time they went out together, knowing that Mr Western would follow Tom anywhere. Tom promised not to ride so madly, and left, happy with his success.
That evening, after dinner, Sophia played music for her father. She played all his favourite tunes three times over, and this so pleased the good man that he got up from his chair to give her a kiss. Sophia took this opportunity to keep her promise to Tom. She did it so well that, next morning, the gamekeeper was called and given a job.
Tom's success in this affair was soon widely known. Some said it was an act of good nature. Blifil, who hated Black George, said it was an insult to Mr Allworthy. Thwackum and Square agreed because they were now very jealous of Tom and the widow. But Mr Allworthy approved. He said he wished he could see more examples of such good and loyal friendship.
Fortune had other ideas, however, and soon Mr Allworthy saw Tom's actions in a different light.
Now, though Tom greatly liked Sophia, appreciating her beauty and admiring all her other qualities, she had made no deep impression on his heart. The truth is, it belonged to another woman. This was not Mrs Blifil, though she was clearly fond of Tom. No, it was a younger woman.
The reader will remember that we have often mentioned the family of the gamekeeper, George Seagrim, or Black George, as he was usually called. This family consisted of a wife and five children. The second child was a daughter whose name was Molly. She was considered one of the best-looking girls in the whole country.
When she was sixteen, Tom, who was three years older, began to notice Molly's beauty. Though he was strongly attracted to her, he believed it was wrong to make love to a girl, even a poor girl, and so he stayed away from her house for three whole months. But when Molly saw that Tom was backward, she became more forward, and found a way to meet him and tempt him to do what they both wanted.
Tom desired Molly and Molly gave herself to Tom. Tom was grateful to Molly and wanted to be kind to her. This was the situation. Poor as she was, Tom could not think of abandoning Molly, and so he did not think of loving Sophia.
It was Molly's mother who first noticed the change in her shape. To hide the signs of the baby Molly was expecting, she gave her the dress which Sophia had sent her. Molly, who usually wore rags, was very pleased with the fine dress and wore it to church. 'Who is she?' was the question that ran around the church when the fine lady arrived, but when the answer came, 'It's Molly Seagrim', the jealous women laughed at her.
Sophia happened to be present at this time. She was very pleased with the beauty of the girl, and sorry that people laughed at her. When she returned home she called for the gamekeeper and offered to give Molly a job. Poor Seagrim was silent, because he knew about Molly's condition.
Back at the church, an angry scene had developed. As people left they laughed and pointed at Molly's fine dress, and some began to throw dirt and rubbish. Molly turned to face the crowd, and soon a fight broke out among the gravestones. Men and women, but mostly women, bit and scratched and hit and tore at Molly's hair. Clothes were torn too, until many were nearly naked. Molly fought back furiously, with all her strength.
At this point Tom came riding past, with Square and Master Blifil. Seeing his Molly under attack, Tom jumped off his horse and went among the crowd with a horsewhip, turning them away. He then pulled off his coat and buttoned it around Molly, wiped the blood from her face with his handkerchief and took her home on his horse. He gave her a kiss, said he would return in the evening, and rode away.
A Sleepless Night for Sophia
The next morning Tom went hunting with Mr Western, and afterwards was invited to dinner.
The lovely Sophia was brighter than usual that day, and if she wanted Tom to notice her, she certainly succeeded.
Another dinner guest was Mr Supple, the priest from the village church. He was a good-natured man who was always silent at table, though his mouth was never shut. In other words, he had one of the best appetites in the world. After dinner, though, he loved to talk, and he had some news.
'I believe, lady, you saw a young woman at church yesterday, wearing one of your own dresses. After you left, this dress caused a terrible battle. This morning the young woman in question was called to explain the matter to Mr Allworthy. When she appeared, everyone could see that she will soon give birth to a bastard. As she refused to name the father, she will be sent to prison.'
'Is that your news?' cried Western. 'Nothing more important? Come, Tommy, drink up and pass the bottle.'
Tom made a polite excuse and quickly left the table.
'Aha,' said Western, after he had gone. 'I see, I see! Tom is certainly the father of this bastard.'
'I should be very sorry if that is true,' said Supple.
'Why sorry?' cried Western. 'Haven't you been the father of any bastards yourself? You must have been lucky, then.'
'I am sure you joke, Mr Western,' replied the priest. 'And I hope you are wrong about the young gentleman. He is a little wild, perhaps, but a good young man. I would not like to see him lose the good opinion of Mr Allworthy'
'No, no,' said Western. 'He will lose nobody's good opinion, and the women will like him better. Ask my daughter here. You have no worse opinion of a young man for giving a girl a bastard, have you, Sophy?'
It was a cruel question to ask poor Sophia. She had seen Tom's colour change when he heard the news, and she thought her father's suspicions were correct. Her heart at once told her the great secret it had been hiding. Shocked and confused, she excused herself and went to her room.
Tom hurried home, and found Molly was still there. He asked for a private conversation with Mr Allworthy, and said he was the guilty father. He begged Mr Allworthy to let Molly return to her family.
After hesitating for some time, Mr Allworthy agreed. He then spoke for a long time about right and wrong. Tom listened gratefully, and promised to improve.
Mr Allworthy was certainly angry with Tom, but he was also pleased with his honour and honesty, so Thwackum could not persuade him to punish the young man.
Square was more clever. He reminded Mr Allworthy of all the things Tom had done for the gamekeeper and his family.
'Now we can see, sir, that these things were not done out of friendship, but to get Molly for his wicked ways.'
For the first time, the good Mr Allworthy began to have a bad impression of Tom.
That night, Sophia slept very little. She was already dressed when her maid, Mrs Honour, came to wake her.
'Oh, madam,' said Mrs Honour, 'what do you think?' And with these words she began to tell Sophia all the gossip from the village about Tom and Molly.
What passed through poor Sophia's mind? The reader will remember that only yesterday the news of Molly had opened Sophia's eyes to her heart's love. Now she decided she felt nothing for Tom. But love is a disease, and the very next time she saw him all her former feelings returned. From that time her heart kept changing from hot to cold to hot again until Sophia was desperate for a cure.
She decided to avoid Tom, and made plans to visit her aunt, but Fortune stopped the plan with an accident.
Every day, Mr Western grew fonder of his daughter, almost more than his precious dogs. Since he could not bring himself to abandon the dogs, he managed cleverly to enjoy both dogs and daughter by taking Sophia hunting with him.
Sophia disliked the sport, which was too rough for her, but she always obeyed her father. She decided not to visit her aunt until the end of the hunting season.
The second time she went hunting her horse started to behave badly. Tom was nearby, and saw that she was in danger. He quickly rode up, jumped off his horse, and was in time to catch Sophia as her horse threw her and ran off.
'Are you hurt, madam?' he asked her. When she said she was unhurt he said, 'Then heaven be praised. If I have broken my arm it is nothing, after the danger you were in.'
'Broken your arm!' screamed Sophia.
'I am afraid I have, madam,' said Tom. 'But I still have a good arm to help you home.'
Mr Western then came back with the other riders and Sophia's horse. Finding his daughter unhurt he was delighted, and everyone returned to the house, where a doctor was called to look at Tom's arm.
This brave act of Tom's made a deep impression on Sophia's heart, and she no longer wanted to visit her aunt.
Tom Learns a Little about Women
After his accident, Tom stayed at Mr Western's house. He had many visitors. Mr Allworthy came every day, and took the opportunity to give Tom good advice. Thwackum also came and said that heaven was punishing Tom for his bad ways. Square said the opposite, that even a wise man can break an arm. Blifil sometimes came too. But Mr Western was never out of the sickroom, except when he was busy with his horses or his bottle. He told Tom loudly that beer was the best medicine, but the doctor disagreed.
When Tom could sit up, Mr Western brought Sophia to see him. Soon they were free to spend hours together, talking and playing music. Sophia's lips said nothing about her feelings, but her eyes said everything.
One day, Mr Western said to Tom, 'I love you dearly, my boy, and will do anything in my power for you. Tomorrow morning, take your choice of all of my horses. Why not take the young horse that Sophy rode? She cost me fifty pounds.'
'If she cost a thousand pounds,' cried Tom, 'I would give that horse to the dogs.'
'What?' answered Western. 'Because she broke your arm? She's just an animal. Be a man, Tom. Forgive and forget!'
Sophia's face changed as she listened. She believed she knew why Tom hated the horse. Tom noticed her colour, and at last he began to suspect the reason. His heart told him clearly that he loved Sophia, and that she loved him.
Sweet and delicious feelings now filled Tom's heart, but they were mixed with bitter thoughts. He knew that Sophia's father had a violent affection for his daughter, and wanted the best marriage for her. He also knew that fortune, not friendship, would guide Mr Western to a husband for Sophia.
Then there was Molly. Tom and Molly had sworn to love each other, and Molly said she would die if Tom deserted her. Tom imagined her dead, and was shocked. He could not desert her. Then he remembered her youth, health and beauty and desired her again.
With these thoughts, Tom passed a sleepless night. In the morning he had decided to stay with Molly and to think no more of Sophia. But in the afternoon, when he saw Sophia again, the god of Love marched in and won the battle.
Tom now wondered if Molly would be satisfied with a sum of money. She was poor and proud of her beauty, and though she loved Tom she might be happy to be richer than her equals.
One day, with his arm in a bandage, Tom visited Molly. Her mother and sisters said she was upstairs, asleep. Tom climbed the ladder to his fair one's room and found the door locked. He knocked. After some time, she opened it.
They kissed. Then Tom sat Molly on the bed and began to speak. He told her that Mr Allworthy had forbidden him to see her again. Silence. He said that they must separate. More silence. Then he said that he would do everything he could to help her, perhaps even find her a husband.
Molly was silent a little longer, then she began to cry and shout. 'Is this your love for me?' she cried. 'You are false, Tom Jones, like any man!'
She stood up angrily and waved her arms about. Suddenly, by accident, her arm pulled down a curtain beside the bed. Behind the curtain were a few small things belonging to Molly, and… a man! It was Mr Square. He was quite naked.
Reader, I am sure you are as surprised as Mr Jones. But why? Even teachers are made of flesh and blood.
Mr Square had admired Molly when he saw her fighting outside the church, and when Tom was sick he went to visit her. It is true that Molly preferred Tom, but Mr Square brought her presents that softened her heart.
And what did Tom do? He laughed. 'I promise I will never speak of this,' he told Square. 'Be kind to the girl and I will never open my lips to anyone. And Molly, be true to your friend and I will forgive you for being false to me.'
Then Tom climbed quickly down the ladder and left the house. One of Molly's sisters followed him.
'Sir,' she said. 'Now that you know about Mr Square, I have something else to tell you. You were not the first man to make love to Molly. It was Will Barnes. Will is the father of Mollys bastard.'
The secret about Molly made Tom's heart feel light, but it was full of violent storms when he thought about Sophia. He loved her madly, and plainly saw her tender feelings for him, but her father would never accept him for her husband.
Tom struggled with his love. He did not want to offend his good friend Mr Western, or his godfather Mr Allworthy. The battle made him sick and sad. When Sophia came near he became pale, and when her eyes met his, the blood rushed into his cheeks. Mr Western noticed nothing, but Sophia saw and understood, because she felt the same.
One day, the young couple met, by accident, in the garden. They were both surprised, and felt confused. They spoke first about the beauty of the morning. Then they spoke about the beauty of the garden. Sophia's smile was so sweet and her voice so soft that Tom said wildly: 'Oh, Miss Western. Can you wish me to die?'
'Indeed, Mr Jones,' she answered, looking down at the ground. 'I do not wish you any harm. But what do you mean?'
'What am I saying?' cried Tom. 'I have said too much. I would never offend you.'
'You do not offend me,' she said, 'but you surprise me.'
'My heart overflows,' said Tom. 'I struggle with my love and try to hide it, but it makes me ill. Soon I will die, and never trouble you again.'
Tom now started trembling, and Sophia felt faint.
'Mr Jones,' she said, weakly. 'I do understand you, but for heaven's sake, help me back into the house.'
Tom took her arm, and together they walked unsteadily back to the house without another word. Sophia went straight to her room. For Tom, there was unwelcome news.
Mr Allworthy Falls Ill
Mr Allworthy was sick. This was the news that Tom received. How sick? The doctor said he was in very serious danger.
Mr Allworthy did not fear death. He now prepared himself calmly, and called his family to him. Everyone was there except his sister, Mrs Blifil, who was in London, and Tom, who rushed back from Mr Western's house immediately.
When the family and the servants were gathered around his bed, the good man spoke, but Blifil began to cry.
Taking Blifil's hand, Mr Allworthy said, 'Do not cry, my dear child. No one can escape death, and it does not matter when death comes. Life is like a party, which some leave early, and some leave later. There is little difference. Now, I wish to mention my will. Nephew Blifil, I leave you all my lands and property. To your mother I leave five hundred pounds a year, and the same amount to you, Mr Jones.'
Tom knelt beside the bed, took his godfather's hand and thanked him for his goodness both now and at all other times. 'Oh my friend! My father!' he said, then hot tears came into his eyes and he turned away.
'Mr Thwackum, I have given you a thousand pounds, and the same sum to you, Mr Square. I am sure this is more than you desire, but it is a sign of my friendship. My servants will share three thousand pounds. Now I find myself growing faint, so let me rest.'
Just then a servant came into the room and said there was a lawyer from London waiting downstairs with a message. Mr Allworthy sent Blifil to see him, and quietly fell asleep. Tom stayed in the room to watch over him.
Mr Thwackum and Mr Square left the room, looking unhappy. Perhaps they had expected more money. Blifil returned with a very sad face, and told them that his mother had died. 'You must bear this sad loss like a Christian,' advised Thwackum. 'Like a man,' said Square.
The doctor joined them, and they discussed whether to inform Mr Allworthy about the death of his sister. The doctor said no, but Blifil disagreed, so together they went to the sickroom to wake Mr Allworthy.
First the doctor checked the patient, and found him much better. Perhaps the danger was passing. Mr Allworthy opened his eyes, and heard the sad news from Blifil. He asked to see the lawyer, but Blifil said he had left in a great hurry to go somewhere else. Then Mr Allworthy asked Blifil to take care of his mother's funeral.
After dinner, when the doctor reported that the patient was now out of danger, Tom got wildly and happily drunk.
Later, when Tom was still a little drunk, he decided to cool himself in the open air before returning to Mr Allworthy. It was a pleasant summer evening, made for love. Our hero walked beside a stream, thinking about his dear Sophia. Soon he threw himself on the ground and said: 'Oh Sophia. I will always love you, and you alone. If cruel Fortune separates us I will never love another.'
At these words he jumped up and saw — not his Sophia. No. Dressed in dirty clothes after a day's work in the fields, Molly Seagrim approached.
They started to speak, but I will not say what words. It is enough that they talked for a full quarter of an hour, and then disappeared among the trees.
Some of my readers might be surprised. But I suggest that Tom probably thought one woman better than none, and Molly probably imagined two men to be better than one.
Just then, Blifil and Mr Thwackum, who were taking a walk, caught sight of the lovers as they disappeared.
'It's a man and a wicked woman,' cried Blifil.
They chased after the couple, making such a noise that Tom heard them. He leaped out from behind the trees.
'Is it you?' Thwackum said in a voice like thunder.
'Yes, it is me,' said Tom.
'And who is that wicked woman with you?'
'If I have any wicked woman with me, I will certainly not tell you who she is,' cried Tom.
'Then I must tell you plainly, I will discover her,' said Thwackum, moving forward.
'And I must tell you plainly, you will not,' said Tom.
With that, a great fight began. Blifil came forward to help, and Tom knocked him to the ground. Thwackum, who was a strong man and a champion fighter in his youth, attacked Tom furiously. Blifil got up again, and now the two together attacked our hero who, you may remember, was still weak from his broken arm.
Suddenly a fourth person joined in, shouting, 'Are you not ashamed to fight two against one?'
For a second time Tom knocked Blifil to the ground, and Thwackum attacked the newcomer, whom he now recognized. It was Mr Western. With his help, Tom won the day.
Mr Western's riding companions now arrived. They were the honest priest, Supple, Mrs Western, the aunt of Sophia, and the lovely Sophia herself. This is what they saw. In one place, Blifil lay on the ground, pale and breathless. Near him stood Tom, covered in blood. Some was his own, and some was once owned by Thwackum. Thwackum himself was there, looking bad- tempered. The last figure in the scene was Western the Great, standing proudly over everyone.
Everyone rushed to Blifil, who showed little sign of life. Then suddenly, a lovelier object lay lifeless on the ground. Sophia, perhaps at the sight of blood, had fainted.
Mrs Western saw her, and screamed. Immediately, two or three voices cried out, 'Miss Western is dead.'
Tom, who was trying to help Blifil, flew to Sophia, lifted her in his arms and ran over the field to the stream, where he threw water over her face, head and neck. Sophia opened her eyes and cried, 'Oh, heavens,' just as her father, her aunt and the priest rushed up.
This tragic scene now became a scene of joy. Mr Western kissed Sophia, and then Tom. There was nothing he would not give him, except his dogs and his two favourite horses.
Tom washed in the stream, and Sophia sighed when she saw the black and blue marks caused by Thwackum.
Then Western discovered the reason for the fight.
'What? Were you fighting for a woman?' he laughed. 'Where is she? Show me, Tom.' But Molly had crept away.
'Come gentlemen,' said Western. 'Be friends. Come home with me and make peace over a bottle.'
Thwackum and Blifil refused, but Tom and the priest followed Mr Western and his ladies home for an evening of joy and good humour.
Mr Western Loses His Temper
It was Mrs Western, Sophia's aunt, who first noticed Sophia's behaviour. She spoke about it to her brother.
'Brother,' she said, 'have you not noticed something very extraordinary about my niece lately?'
'No, not I,' said Mr Western. 'Is there something the matter with my girl?'
'I think there is,' replied his sister.
'What is it then?' cried Western. 'Is she sick? Send for the best doctor, for I love her more than my own soul.'
Mrs Western smiled. 'There is no need for a doctor,' she said, 'for I believe Sophia is desperately in love.'
'What!' cried Western. 'In love without telling me? I'll punish her. I'll send her away, naked, without a penny!'
'You will not do that,' said his sister, 'until you know whether you approve of her choice. Perhaps the man she loves is exactly the man that you would choose for her.'
'That would make a difference,' agreed Western. 'If she loves the man I would choose she may love who she pleases.'
'That is spoken like a sensible man,' said his sister. 'Now what do you think of Mr Blifil? Did Sophia not faint when she saw him lying breathless on the ground?'
'By God,' said Western. 'You're right. And I am very pleased. I knew Sophy would not fall in love to make me angry. No one would be better than Blifil, for our two properties lie side by side as if they were married, and it would be a great pity to separate them. What should I do?'
'You should propose the marriage to Mr Allworthy'
Sophia had noticed that her aunt was watching her, so when her father invited Mr Allworthy and his family to dinner, she tried to hide her secret. She was very charming to Blifil, and paid no attention at all to poor Tom. Her aunt saw this as more evidence that Sophia loved Blifil.
After dinner, Mr Western took Mr Allworthy to one side and made his proposal. Mr Allworthy said that if the young people liked each other, he would be happy to agree. This attitude suprised Mr Western. He said that parents were the best judges, and he expected Sophia to be obedient. Mr Allworthy promised to discuss the matter with Blifil.
When they returned home, he told Blifil about Mr Western's proposal. After a short silence, Blifil told his uncle that he had not thought of marriage yet, but that he was glad to do what Mr Allworthy wanted. Mr Allworthy thought this answer was rather cold, but he wrote to Mr Western to say that his nephew had thankfully and gladly received the proposal, and was ready to visit the lady.
Mr Western was very pleased with Mr Allworthy's message and replied immediately, inviting Mr Blifil to visit Sophia that very afternoon. He then asked his sister to tell her. Sophia was reading when her aunt came into her room.
'Is it a book about love?' asked Mrs Western, as Sophia put down her book. 'Ah, child, your cheeks are quite pink. Do you think I don't know the reason? Do you think the secret that you keep from your father can be kept from me? Come, you need not be ashamed.'
'But, madam,' said Sophia, looking a little foolish. 'Why should I be ashamed? What secret do you mean?'
'A secret which I saw plainly yesterday. Come, I am your friend. Tell me yourself, and I will give you happy news.'
'I know not what to say, madam,' said Sophia.
'I tell you child,' answered her aunt. 'We know your heart, and we entirely approve. This very afternoon your father has arranged for you to see your lover.'
'My father, this afternoon!' cried Sophia, turning pale.
'Yes, child,' said her aunt. 'This afternoon. And you have me to thank. I saw that you were in love when you fainted in the field, and I saw it again at supper. I know about these things, child. As soon as I told my brother he proposed the marriage to Mr Allworthy. Allworthy agreed, and your lover will come this afternoon.'
'This afternoon!' said Sophia. 'Dear aunt, you scare me!'
'Why, child? He's a charming young fellow.'
'It's true,' said Sophia. 'He is perfect. So brave, and yet so gentle. So kind, so clever, and so handsome. What does it matter that he is poor?'
'Poor! What do you mean? Mr Blifil, poor!'
Sophia turned pale and said faintly, 'Mr Blifil?'
'Yes, Mr Blifil. Who else have we been talking about?'
'Good heavens,' said Sophia. 'I thought of Mr Jones.'
'I protest,' cried her aunt. 'Now you scare me. Is it Mr Jones, and not Mr Blifil, who is the object of your love?'
'Mr Blifil!' repeated Sophia. 'Can you possibly be serious? If so, I am the unhappiest woman in the world.'
Mrs Western stood silent for a few minutes while fire filled her eyes. Then, in a voice of thunder, she said, 'And can you possibly think of disgracing your family by marrying a bastard? Can the blood of the Westerns be destroyed? Are you not ashamed to admit this to my face?'
Sophia was shaking. 'Madam,' she said, 'what I have said, you forced me to say. I never planned to tell anyone, but to take my secret thoughts with me to my grave.'
Sophia began to cry, but Mrs Western was not moved. She continued to show her anger for a full quarter of an hour. Then she threatened to go immediately to tell her brother.
Sophia threw herself at her aunt's feet and begged her to keep her secret, for fear of her father's temper. At last her aunt agreed, on one condition: Sophia must receive Mr Blifil that afternoon as the man who was to be her husband.
Sophia promised, but begged her aunt to help her delay the marriage. She hoped her father would change his mind when he knew how much she disliked Mr Blifil.
'No, no, Sophy' said Mrs Western. 'To protect you from dishonour there is not a moment to lose. When you are a wife you may love whom you wish, but not before.'
'Come, come, no tears,' said Mr Western that afternoon. 'Are you crying because I am going to marry you to the man you love? Your mother was the same, but she soon stopped after we were married. Mr Blifil will soon put an end to your tears. Cheer up, cheer up. He'll be here soon.'
Sophia kept her promise to her aunt. When Mr Blifil came, her father left them alone together. There was a very long silence, then some polite words, and then Sophia returned to her room. Mr Blifil was satisfied. He believed she was shy, like all young ladies on their first visit from a lover. He was confident that she admired him, and of course he had not the least idea about Tom.
When Blifil left, Mr Western went to find his Sophia. He told her, with kisses, that she was his only joy on earth. She must choose whatever clothes and jewels she pleased. He had no other use for his fortune than to make her happy. He was so loving that Sophia thought she would never have a better opportunity to tell him her feelings.
She thanked her father many times for his kindness, then fell to her knees. She begged him not to make her the most miserable thing on earth by forcing her to marry a man she hated. 'I ask you this, dear sir,' said she, 'since you are so very kind to tell me your happiness depends on mine.'
'What!' said Western, staring wildly.
'Oh, sir,' continued Sophia. 'I cannot live with Mr Blifil. To force me to marry him would be to kill me.'
'You can't live with Mr Blifil!' said Western.
'No sir, I can't,' answered Sophia.
'Then die, and to hell with you,' cried he.
'Can the best of fathers break my heart?' cried Sophia.
'Pooh! Pooh! Can marriage kill you? Nonsense!' cried he.
'Oh, sir,' answered she. 'Such a marriage is worse than death. I hate him more than I can say.'
'You will marry him,' shouted Western. 'And if you don't, I'll not give you a single penny. If I saw you starving in the street I would not give you a piece of bread!'
He then pushed her away so violently that her face hit the floor, and he burst out of the room.
When Western flew into the hall he saw Tom, and told him what had happened. Tom was astonished, but offered to help.
'Go to her,' said the furious man. 'See what you can do.'
Tom went instantly to Sophia, and found her rising from the ground where her father had left her. She had tears in her eyes and blood on her lips.
'Oh, Mr Jones,' she cried, 'why did you save my life? My death would have made us both happier.'
'My heart bleeds, dearest Sophia,' said Tom. 'Your cruel father told me everything, and he himself sent me here.'
'He sent you? Surely you are dreaming,' answered Sophia.
'He sent me to persuade you to marry my hateful rival. Promise that you will never give yourself to Blifil.'
'That hateful name,' said she. 'I promise I will never give him what it is in my power to keep from him.'
'Now then,' cried Tom, 'please tell me that I may hope.'
'Hope for what?' said Sophia sadly. 'I do not care about my own ruin, but I cannot make my father miserable.'
The lovers stood in silence for a moment, her hand in his. Suddenly, the silence was broken by a terrible roar. Mrs Western had just told her brother Sophia's secret.
The idea of a marriage between Tom and his daughter had never once entered Mr Western's head. He believed equality in fortune was as necessary to a marriage as difference of sex. He thought his daughter could no more fall in love with a poor man as fall in love with an animal. He was therefore violently shocked by his sister's news.
Sophia turned pale at the terrible sound of her father's approach, and fainted in her lover's arms.
When Mr Western burst open the door and saw this, all his anger disappeared. He ran to his daughter, roaring for help. Soon servants, aunt and priest arrived with water and medicine, and Sophia was carried off by the women.
Now Mr Western turned to Tom, and his anger returned. If Mr Supple, who was a strong man, had not held him back, battle would have followed. Mr Western now swore and cursed like a country man at a dog fight. Very calmly, Tom said, 'Sir, I cannot lift my hand against the father of Sophia.'
These words made Mr Western curse and struggle even more, and Mr Supple begged Tom to leave. Tom thanked him for this advice, and immediately departed.
The next morning, immediately after breakfast, Mr Western rode to Mr Allworthy's house and shouted at him.
'There, you really have done a fine piece of work!'
'What can be the matter, Mr Western?' said Allworthy.
'What's the matter? My daughter has fallen in love with your bastard, that's all. But I won't give her a penny. I always thought it was a bad thing to bring up a bastard like a gentleman and let him visit fine houses.'
'I am extremely sorry,' cried Allworthy.
'To hell with your sorrow, sir,' said Western. 'It will do me no good when I have lost my only child, my poor Sophy, who was the joy of my heart. But I will throw her out of the house. She will beg and starve in the streets.'
'But sir,' said Allworthy. 'Why did you give Tom so many opportunities to be with her? Did you not see any signs?'
'Who could have known? The devil did not come to visit her — he came to hunt with me! I never saw them kiss once. But she will marry Mr Blifil, I promise you. Just keep your bastard away from my house. If I catch him, I'll kill him!'
Mr Western then rode back home to lock up his daughter.
Mr Blifil, who had watched this scene in silence, now said to his uncle, 'I am sorry, sir, that Mr Jones has once again upset you. If you knew what I knew about him.'
'What? Do you know anything worse than I already know?'
This was Blifil's opportunity to get revenge on Tom.
'The very day your life was in danger,' he began, 'when myself and all your family were in tears, Mr Jones drank and sang and roared with happiness, and then he beat me.'
'What?' cried Allworthy. 'Did he dare to strike you?'
'He did,' replied Blifil. 'That very evening, Mr Thwackum and I were walking in the fields, and we saw him lying with a woman. When we spoke to him, Jones struck me down, and beat Mr Thwackum too.'
'Oh, child,' said his uncle. 'In your goodness you have kept silent about this too long.'
Mr Allworthy first called for Mr Thwackum, who showed him the black and blue marks that still remained on his chest. Then he spent some hours alone, deciding how to punish Tom.
The poor young man came in to dinner as usual, but his heart was so heavy that he could not eat. After dinner, Mr Allworthy spoke to him for a long time. He reminded Tom of all the bad things he had done in the past, and told him what he had heard from Blifil. He ended by saying that if these recent things were true, Tom must leave for ever.
Poor Tom could not defend himself, as Blifil's story was partly true. His heart was almost broken already, and his spirits were so low that he could deny nothing. He asked Mr Allworthy to forgive him, and hoped he did not deserve the greatest punishment in the world.
Mr Allworthy answered that he had forgiven Tom too often, gave him an envelope and said goodbye. Though the envelope contained five hundred pounds, the gossips afterwards said that Tom was sent away penniless, and even naked, by his cruel father.
Tom was told to leave the house immediately. He could send for his clothes later. And so he walked away in a dream.
After about a mile he stopped to rest by a little stream. His angry thoughts flew in many directions, and it was some time before he was cool enough to consider what to do next.
First, he decided to write to Sophia. The thought of leaving her nearly broke his heart, but he could not ruin her. He emptied his pockets to find paper, and he wrote:
Madam, I must fly for ever from your dear sight. When you hear of my hard fortune, do not be concerned. After losing you, nothing else is important. Oh, my Sophia! It is hard to leave you. Please forget me. May angels protect you.
Then he walked away, wondering how to send the letter. After some time he realized that his pockets were empty. He had left everything beside the stream. He hurried back.
On the way he met his old friend, the gamekeeper. They returned to the stream together to look for Tom's things. They looked everywhere but found nothing. This was not surprising, as they did not look in the gamekeeper's pockets. Black George was a dishonest fellow, and did not mention that he had found Tom's things earlier.
At last Tom gave up hope of finding his belongings. He decided to forget them, even Mr Allworthy's envelope, which he had never opened. He then asked George to take his letter to Sophias house and give it to her maid. George did this gladly, and returned with this letter for Tom.
Sir, as you know my fathers temper, please avoid him. I wish I could send you more comfort, but believe this: nothing will make me give my hand or heart to another.
Tom kissed the letter a hundred times, but as it did not change his situation, he said goodbye to George and set off for the nearest town.
Sophia Makes a Decision
Tom slept that night at an inn, and sent for his clothes. They arrived next morning with a letter from Blifil, which advised him to change his life, with the help of God. It also repeated Mr Allworthy's wish for Tom to leave for ever. This caused a flood of tears, but soon they dried.
'I must obey Mr Allworthy,' Tom decided. 'I will go this moment. But where? And what can I do without money?'
He decided to go to sea. But before we follow him we must return to see what has happened to the charming Sophia.
The morning that Mr Jones left, Mr Western allowed his sister to unlock Sophia's door.
'I have promised your father,' said Mrs Western, 'to make you agree to marry Mr Blifil. What is your objection?'
'A very solid one, madam,' said Sophia. 'I hate him.'
'Sophy' said her aunt. 'In the world it is out of fashion, romantic nonsense to want to like your husband.'
'But I will not marry Blifil,' said Sophia.
Western, who was listening outside, then entered the room shouting, 'You, sister, have taught her to be disobedient! She was very obedient when she was a little child, before you took her away to teach her the ways of the world!'
'I, brother? I? It is you, with your terrible country ways, who have destroyed all my good teaching.'
Brother and sister then had a loud argument, until Mrs Western angrily called her carriage and left his house.
'Sir,' cried Sophia, 'I am sure your sister loves you. She has left you her whole fortune in her will.'
These words shocked Western. Might his sister now change her will? He hurried after her carriage to apologize.
They returned together, and Mrs Western now suggested that the marriage take place as soon as possible.
Blifil was invited to visit Sophia again the next day.
'Go to her, boy' cried Western. 'Allworthy and I can finish the agreement today. You can marry her tomorrow!'
Blifil did not object. Sophia's tears brightened her eyes, and her breasts rose higher with her sighs. His desire for her was mixed with pleasure at defeating his hated rival, but most of all he wanted Sophia's wealth. So Blifil pretended to love her, and said that she loved him.
When the agreement was signed and the lawyers had left, Sophia's maid came running to see her.
'Dear madam,' said Mrs Honour, 'do not be shocked at what I have to tell you. Just now I heard my master telling Mr Supple to get a licence for you to be married tomorrow!'
'Honour,' said Sophia. 'I am shocked. What can I do?'
'Well, madam. If I was in your place I would not find it difficult, for Mr Blifil is a charming, sweet man.'
'Honour, I would kill myself first,' said Sophia.
'Oh, madam, don't frighten me with such wicked thoughts.'
'Honour,' continued Sophia, 'I know what I must do. I must leave my father's house this very night, and if you are my friend, you will keep me company.'
'I will, madam, to the world's end,' answered Honour. 'But where can you possibly go?'
'To London,' said Sophia. 'I know a lady of quality there who is a distant relation of mine. I met her when I was staying with my aunt, and she often invited me to visit her. So we will go to London.'
We left Tom on the road to Bristol, planning to seek his fortune at sea. When it was almost dark, he stopped at an inn for dinner, and slept a while in a chair by the fire.
In the middle of the night there was a great thundering at the gate, and when the landlord opened it the kitchen was immediately full of soldiers in red coats, all calling for beer.
Tom woke up and enjoyed their company. When it was time for the soldiers to move on, they began to argue loudly about the bill. Tom stopped the argument by offering to pay. The men gave him a cheer and invited him to join them.
The redcoats were fighting for King George. They were marching against a rebel army from the north. Tom supported their cause, and said he would go with his new friends.
They marched for a day, with much joking and laughing, and in the evening they arrived at a place where an old captain was waiting for them. The captain was surprised to see that Tom was dressed like a gentleman. He invited Tom to dinner with himself and the rest of the officers.
After dinner, they talked about the war. One of the officers, called Northerton, was drunk. He took a dislike to Tom, and waited for a chance to make him look foolish.
The men decided to drink to the health of their ladies. When it was Tom's turn, he named Miss Sophia Western. He could not imagine that anybody present knew her.
'I knew a Sophy Western,' said Northerton. 'She went to bed with half the young men of Bath. Is it the same woman?'
'Impossible,' said Tom. 'Miss Western is a young lady of great fashion and fortune.'
'Why, so she is,' said Northerton, who had seen Sophia walking in Bath with her aunt. He described her exactly, and added that her father had a great property in Somerset.
Tom did not really understand this kind of joke, so he turned to him and said,