BOOK I. CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY.
10. Chapter x. The hospitality of Allworthy...
The hospitality of Allworthy; with a short sketch of the characters of
two brothers, a doctor and a captain, who were entertained by that
Neither Mr Allworthy's house, nor his heart, were shut against any
part of mankind, but they were both more particularly open to men of
merit. To say the truth, this was the only house in the kingdom where
you was sure to gain a dinner by deserving it.
Above all others, men of genius and learning shared the principal
place in his favour; and in these he had much discernment: for though
he had missed the advantage of a learned education, yet, being blest
with vast natural abilities, he had so well profited by a vigorous
though late application to letters, and by much conversation with men
of eminence in this way, that he was himself a very competent judge in
most kinds of literature.
It is no wonder that in an age when this kind of merit is so little in
fashion, and so slenderly provided for, persons possessed of it should
very eagerly flock to a place where they were sure of being received
with great complaisance; indeed, where they might enjoy almost the
same advantages of a liberal fortune as if they were entitled to it in
their own right; for Mr Allworthy was not one of those generous
persons who are ready most bountifully to bestow meat, drink, and
lodging on men of wit and learning, for which they expect no other
return but entertainment, instruction, flattery, and subserviency; in
a word, that such persons should be enrolled in the number of
domestics, without wearing their master's cloathes, or receiving
On the contrary, every person in this house was perfect master of his
own time: and as he might at his pleasure satisfy all his appetites
within the restrictions only of law, virtue, and religion; so he
might, if his health required, or his inclination prompted him to
temperance, or even to abstinence, absent himself from any meals, or
retire from them, whenever he was so disposed, without even a
sollicitation to the contrary: for, indeed, such sollicitations from
superiors always savour very strongly of commands. But all here were
free from such impertinence, not only those whose company is in all
other places esteemed a favour from their equality of fortune, but
even those whose indigent circumstances make such an eleemosynary
abode convenient to them, and who are therefore less welcome to a
great man's table because they stand in need of it.