Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

11. Chapter xi. A short chapter...

A short chapter; but which contains sufficient matter to affect the good-natured reader.

It was Mr Allworthy's custom never to punish any one, not even to turn away a servant, in a passion. He resolved therefore to delay passing sentence on Jones till the afternoon.

The poor young man attended at dinner, as usual; but his heart was too much loaded to suffer him to eat. His grief too was a good deal aggravated by the unkind looks of Mr Allworthy; whence he concluded that Western had discovered the whole affair between him and Sophia; but as to Mr Blifil's story, he had not the least apprehension; for of much the greater part he was entirely innocent; and for the residue, as he had forgiven and forgotten it himself, so he suspected no remembrance on the other side. When dinner was over, and the servants departed, Mr Allworthy began to harangue. He set forth, in a long speech, the many iniquities of which Jones had been guilty, particularly those which this day had brought to light; and concluded by telling him, "That unless he could clear himself of the charge, he was resolved to banish him his sight for ever."

Many disadvantages attended poor Jones in making his defence; nay, indeed, he hardly knew his accusation; for as Mr Allworthy, in recounting the drunkenness, &c., while he lay ill, out of modesty sunk everything that related particularly to himself, which indeed principally constituted the crime; Jones could not deny the charge. His heart was, besides, almost broken already; and his spirits were so sunk, that he could say nothing for himself; but acknowledged the whole, and, like a criminal in despair, threw himself upon mercy; concluding, "That though he must own himself guilty of many follies and inadvertencies, he hoped he had done nothing to deserve what would be to him the greatest punishment in the world."

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