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
7. Chapter vii. In which the author himself makes his appearance on the stage.
In which the author himself makes his appearance on the stage.
Though Mr Allworthy was not of himself hasty to see things in a
disadvantageous light, and was a stranger to the public voice, which
seldom reaches to a brother or a husband, though it rings in the ears
of all the neighbourhood; yet was this affection of Mrs Blifil to Tom,
and the preference which she too visibly gave him to her own son, of
the utmost disadvantage to that youth.
For such was the compassion which inhabited Mr Allworthy's mind, that
nothing but the steel of justice could ever subdue it. To be
unfortunate in any respect was sufficient, if there was no demerit to
counterpoise it, to turn the scale of that good man's pity, and to
engage his friendship and his benefaction.
When therefore he plainly saw Master Blifil was absolutely detested
(for that he was) by his own mother, he began, on that account only,
to look with an eye of compassion upon him; and what the effects of
compassion are, in good and benevolent minds, I need not here explain
to most of my readers.
Henceforward he saw every appearance of virtue in the youth through
the magnifying end, and viewed all his faults with the glass inverted,
so that they became scarce perceptible. And this perhaps the amiable
temper of pity may make commendable; but the next step the weakness of
human nature alone must excuse; for he no sooner perceived that
preference which Mrs Blifil gave to Tom, than that poor youth (however
innocent) began to sink in his affections as he rose in hers. This, it
is true, would of itself alone never have been able to eradicate Jones
from his bosom; but it was greatly injurious to him, and prepared Mr
Allworthy's mind for those impressions which afterwards produced the
mighty events that will be contained hereafter in this history; and to
which, it must be confest, the unfortunate lad, by his own wantonness,
wildness, and want of caution, too much contributed.