BOOK VI. CONTAINING ABOUT THREE WEEKS.
11. Chapter xi. A short chapter...
Allworthy answered, "That he had forgiven him too often already, in
compassion to his youth, and in hopes of his amendment: that he now
found he was an abandoned reprobate, and such as it would be criminal
in any one to support and encourage. Nay," said Mr Allworthy to him,
"your audacious attempt to steal away the young lady, calls upon me to
justify my own character in punishing you. The world who have already
censured the regard I have shown for you may think, with some colour
at least of justice, that I connive at so base and barbarous an
action--an action of which you must have known my abhorrence: and
which, had you had any concern for my ease and honour, as well as for
my friendship, you would never have thought of undertaking. Fie upon
it, young man! indeed there is scarce any punishment equal to your
crimes, and I can scarce think myself justifiable in what I am now
going to bestow on you. However, as I have educated you like a child
of my own, I will not turn you naked into the world. When you open
this paper, therefore, you will find something which may enable you,
with industry, to get an honest livelihood; but if you employ it to
worse purposes, I shall not think myself obliged to supply you
farther, being resolved, from this day forward, to converse no more
with you on any account. I cannot avoid saying, there is no part of
your conduct which I resent more than your ill-treatment of that good
young man (meaning Blifil) who hath behaved with so much tenderness
and honour towards you."
These last words were a dose almost too bitter to be swallowed. A
flood of tears now gushed from the eyes of Jones, and every faculty of
speech and motion seemed to have deserted him. It was some time before
he was able to obey Allworthy's peremptory commands of departing;
which he at length did, having first kissed his hands with a passion
difficult to be affected, and as difficult to be described.
The reader must be very weak, if, when he considers the light in which
Jones then appeared to Mr Allworthy, he should blame the rigour of his
sentence. And yet all the neighbourhood, either from this weakness, or
from some worse motive, condemned this justice and severity as the
highest cruelty. Nay, the very persons who had before censured the
good man for the kindness and tenderness shown to a bastard (his own,
according to the general opinion), now cried out as loudly against
turning his own child out of doors. The women especially were
unanimous in taking the part of Jones, and raised more stories on the
occasion than I have room, in this chapter, to set down.