Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

4. Chapter iv. In which is introduced one of the pleasantest barbers... (continued)

He had a great many other particularities in his character, which I shall not mention, as the reader will himself very easily perceive them, on his farther acquaintance with this extraordinary person.

Jones being impatient to be drest, for a reason which may be easily imagined, thought the shaver was very tedious in preparing his suds, and begged him to make haste; to which the other answered with much gravity, for he never discomposed his muscles on any account, "Festina lente, is a proverb which I learned long before I ever touched a razor."--"I find, friend, you are a scholar," replied Jones. "A poor one," said the barber, "non omnia possumus omnes."--"Again!" said Jones; "I fancy you are good at capping verses."--"Excuse me, sir," said the barber, "non tanto me dignor honore." And then proceeding to his operation, "Sir," said he, "since I have dealt in suds, I could never discover more than two reasons for shaving; the one is to get a beard, and the other to get rid of one. I conjecture, sir, it may not be long since you shaved from the former of these motives. Upon my word, you have had good success; for one may say of your beard, that it is tondenti gravior."--"I conjecture," says Jones, "that thou art a very comical fellow."--"You mistake me widely, sir," said the barber: "I am too much addicted to the study of philosophy; hinc illae lacrymae, sir; that's my misfortune. Too much learning hath been my ruin."--"Indeed," says Jones, "I confess, friend, you have more learning than generally belongs to your trade; but I can't see how it can have injured you."--"Alas! sir," answered the shaver, "my father disinherited me for it. He was a dancing-master; and because I could read before I could dance, he took an aversion to me, and left every farthing among his other children.--Will you please to have your temples--O la! I ask your pardon, I fancy there is hiatus in manuscriptis. I heard you was going to the wars; but I find it was a mistake."--"Why do you conclude so?" says Jones. "Sure, sir," answered the barber, "you are too wise a man to carry a broken head thither; for that would be carrying coals to Newcastle."

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