BOOK III. CONTAINING THE MOST MEMORABLE TRANSACTIONS WHICH PASSED IN THE FAMILY OF MR ALLWORTHY, FROM THE TIME WHEN TOMMY JONES ARRIVED AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN, TILL HE ATTAINED THE AGE OF NINETEEN. IN THIS BOOK THE READER MAY PICK UP SOME HINTS CONCERNING
6. Chapter vi. Containing a better reason still...
Containing a better reason still for the before-mentioned opinions.
It is to be known then, that those two learned personages, who have
lately made a considerable figure on the theatre of this history, had,
from their first arrival at Mr Allworthy's house, taken so great an
affection, the one to his virtue, the other to his religion, that they
had meditated the closest alliance with him.
For this purpose they had cast their eyes on that fair widow, whom,
though we have not for some time made any mention of her, the reader,
we trust, hath not forgot. Mrs Blifil was indeed the object to which
they both aspired.
It may seem remarkable, that, of four persons whom we have
commemorated at Mr Allworthy's house, three of them should fix their
inclinations on a lady who was never greatly celebrated for her
beauty, and who was, moreover, now a little descended into the vale of
years; but in reality bosom friends, and intimate acquaintance, have a
kind of natural propensity to particular females at the house of a
friend--viz., to his grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, aunt,
niece, or cousin, when they are rich; and to his wife, sister,
daughter, niece, cousin, mistress, or servant-maid, if they should be
We would not, however, have our reader imagine, that persons of such
characters as were supported by Thwackum and Square, would undertake a
matter of this kind, which hath been a little censured by some rigid
moralists, before they had thoroughly examined it, and considered
whether it was (as Shakespear phrases it) "Stuff o' th' conscience,"
or no. Thwackum was encouraged to the undertaking by reflecting that
to covet your neighbour's sister is nowhere forbidden: and he knew it
was a rule in the construction of all laws, that "Expressum facit
cessare tacitum." The sense of which is, "When a lawgiver sets down
plainly his whole meaning, we are prevented from making him mean what
we please ourselves." As some instances of women, therefore, are
mentioned in the divine law, which forbids us to covet our neighbour's
goods, and that of a sister omitted, he concluded it to be lawful. And
as to Square, who was in his person what is called a jolly fellow, or
a widow's man, he easily reconciled his choice to the eternal fitness