Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a foundling

5. Chapter v. The generous behaviour of Sophia... (continued)

"The English of all which is," answered the squire, "that I am in the wrong. Ay, certainly. Ay, to be sure the woman is in the right, and the man in the wrong always."

"Pardon me, sir," cries Sophia. "I do not say so."

"What don't you say?" answered the father: "you have the impudence to say she's in the right: doth it not follow then of course that I am in the wrong? And perhaps I am in the wrong to suffer such a Presbyterian Hanoverian b-- to come into my house. She may 'dite me of a plot for anything I know, and give my estate to the government."

"So far, sir, from injuring you or your estate," says Sophia, "if my aunt had died yesterday, I am convinced she would have left you her whole fortune."

Whether Sophia intended it or no, I shall not presume to assert; but certain it is, these last words penetrated very deep into the ears of her father, and produced a much more sensible effect than all she had said before. He received the sound with much the same action as a man receives a bullet in his head. He started, staggered, and turned pale. After which he remained silent above a minute, and then began in the following hesitating manner: "Yesterday! she would have left me her esteate yesterday! would she? Why yesterday, of all the days in the year? I suppose if she dies to-morrow, she will leave it to somebody else, and perhaps out of the vamily."--"My aunt, sir," cries Sophia, "hath very violent passions, and I can't answer what she may do under their influence."

"You can't!" returned the father: "and pray who hath been the occasion of putting her into those violent passions? Nay, who hath actually put her into them? Was not you and she hard at it before I came into the room? Besides, was not all our quarrel about you? I have not quarrelled with sister this many years but upon your account; and now you would throw the whole blame upon me, as thof I should be the occasion of her leaving the esteate out o' the vamily. I could have expected no better indeed; this is like the return you make to all the rest of my fondness."

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