BOOK XII. CONTAINING THE SAME INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH THE FORMER.
10. Chapter x. In which Mr Jones and Mr Dowling...
Mr Dowling was indeed very greatly affected with this relation; for he
had not divested himself of humanity by being an attorney. Indeed,
nothing is more unjust than to carry our prejudices against a
profession into private life, and to borrow our idea of a man from our
opinion of his calling. Habit, it is true, lessens the horror of those
actions which the profession makes necessary, and consequently
habitual; but in all other instances, Nature works in men of all
professions alike; nay, perhaps, even more strongly with those who
give her, as it were, a holiday, when they are following their
ordinary business. A butcher, I make no doubt, would feel compunction
at the slaughter of a fine horse; and though a surgeon can feel no
pain in cutting off a limb, I have known him compassionate a man in a
fit of the gout. The common hangman, who hath stretched the necks of
hundreds, is known to have trembled at his first operation on a head:
and the very professors of human blood-shedding, who, in their trade
of war, butcher thousands, not only of their fellow-professors, but
often of women and children, without remorse; even these, I say, in
times of peace, when drums and trumpets are laid aside, often lay
aside all their ferocity, and become very gentle members of civil
society. In the same manner an attorney may feel all the miseries and
distresses of his fellow-creatures, provided he happens not to be
concerned against them.
Jones, as the reader knows, was yet unacquainted with the very black
colours in which he had been represented to Mr Allworthy; and as to
other matters, he did not shew them in the most disadvantageous light;
for though he was unwilling to cast any blame on his former friend and
patron; yet he was not very desirous of heaping too much upon himself.
Dowling therefore observed, and not without reason, that very ill
offices must have been done him by somebody: "For certainly," cries
he, "the squire would never have disinherited you only for a few
faults, which any young gentleman might have committed. Indeed, I
cannot properly say disinherited: for to be sure by law you cannot
claim as heir. That's certain; that nobody need go to counsel for. Yet
when a gentleman had in a manner adopted you thus as his own son, you
might reasonably have expected some very considerable part, if not the
whole; nay, if you had expected the whole, I should not have blamed
you: for certainly all men are for getting as much as they can, and
they are not to be blamed on that account."