Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

5. Chapter v. The generous behaviour of Sophia...

The generous behaviour of Sophia towards her aunt.

Sophia kept silence during the foregoing speech of her father, nor did she once answer otherwise than with a sigh; but as he understood none of the language, or, as he called it, lingo of the eyes, so he was not satisfied without some further approbation of his sentiments, which he now demanded of his daughter; telling her, in the usual way, "he expected she was ready to take the part of everybody against him, as she had always done that of the b-- her mother." Sophia remaining still silent, he cryed out, "What, art dumb? why dost unt speak? Was not thy mother a d--d b-- to me? answer me that. What, I suppose you despise your father too, and don't think him good enough to speak to?"

"For Heaven's sake, sir," answered Sophia, "do not give so cruel a turn to my silence. I am sure I would sooner die than be guilty of any disrespect towards you; but how can I venture to speak, when every word must either offend my dear papa, or convict me of the blackest ingratitude as well as impiety to the memory of the best of mothers; for such, I am certain, my mamma was always to me?"

"And your aunt, I suppose, is the best of sisters too!" replied the squire. "Will you be so kind as to allow that she is a b--? I may fairly insist upon that, I think?"

"Indeed, sir," says Sophia, "I have great obligations to my aunt. She hath been a second mother to me."

"And a second wife to me too," returned Western; "so you will take her part too! You won't confess that she hath acted the part of the vilest sister in the world?"

"Upon my word, sir," cries Sophia, "I must belie my heart wickedly if I did. I know my aunt and you differ very much in your ways of thinking; but I have heard her a thousand times express the greatest affection for you; and I am convinced, so far from her being the worst sister in the world, there are very few who love a brother better."

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