BOOK V. CONTAINING A PORTION OF TIME SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN HALF A YEAR.
2. Chapter ii. In which Mr Jones receives many friendly visits...
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.
Tom Jones had many visitors during his confinement, though some,
perhaps, were not very agreeable to him. Mr Allworthy saw him almost
every day; but though he pitied Tom's sufferings, and greatly approved
the gallant behaviour which had occasioned them; yet he thought this
was a favourable opportunity to bring him to a sober sense of his
indiscreet conduct; and that wholesome advice for that purpose could
never be applied at a more proper season than at the present, when the
mind was softened by pain and sickness, and alarmed by danger; and
when its attention was unembarrassed with those turbulent passions
which engage us in the pursuit of pleasure.
At all seasons, therefore, when the good man was alone with the youth,
especially when the latter was totally at ease, he took occasion to
remind him of his former miscarriages, but in the mildest and
tenderest manner, and only in order to introduce the caution which he
prescribed for his future behaviour; "on which alone," he assured him,
"would depend his own felicity, and the kindness which he might yet
promise himself to receive at the hands of his father by adoption,
unless he should hereafter forfeit his good opinion: for as to what
had past," he said, "it should be all forgiven and forgotten. He
therefore advised him to make a good use of this accident, that so in
the end it might prove a visitation for his own good."
Thwackum was likewise pretty assiduous in his visits; and he too
considered a sick-bed to be a convenient scene for lectures. His
stile, however, was more severe than Mr Allworthy's: he told his
pupil, "That he ought to look on his broken limb as a judgment from
heaven on his sins. That it would become him to be daily on his knees,
pouring forth thanksgivings that he had broken his arm only, and not
his neck; which latter," he said, "was very probably reserved for some
future occasion, and that, perhaps, not very remote. For his part," he
said, "he had often wondered some judgment had not overtaken him
before; but it might be perceived by this, that Divine punishments,
though slow, are always sure." Hence likewise he advised him, "to
foresee, with equal certainty, the greater evils which were yet
behind, and which were as sure as this of overtaking him in his state
of reprobacy. These are," said he, "to be averted only by such a
thorough and sincere repentance as is not to be expected or hoped for
from one so abandoned in his youth, and whose mind, I am afraid, is
totally corrupted. It is my duty, however, to exhort you to this
repentance, though I too well know all exhortations will be vain and
fruitless. But liberavi animam meam. I can accuse my own conscience
of no neglect; though it is at the same time with the utmost concern I
see you travelling on to certain misery in this world, and to as
certain damnation in the next."