BOOK II. CONTAINING SCENES OF MATRIMONIAL FELICITY IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OF LIFE; AND VARIOUS OTHER TRANSACTIONS DURING THE FIRST TWO YEARS AFTER THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN CAPTAIN BLIFIL AND MISS BRIDGET ALLWORTHY.
5. Chapter v. Containing much matter...
"As to the apprehension of bestowing bounty on such as may hereafter
prove unworthy objects, because many have proved such; surely it can
never deter a good man from generosity. I do not think a few or many
examples of ingratitude can justify a man's hardening his heart
against the distresses of his fellow-creatures; nor do I believe it
can ever have such effect on a truly benevolent mind. Nothing less
than a persuasion of universal depravity can lock up the charity of a
good man; and this persuasion must lead him, I think, either into
atheism, or enthusiasm; but surely it is unfair to argue such
universal depravity from a few vicious individuals; nor was this, I
believe, ever done by a man, who, upon searching his own mind, found
one certain exception to the general rule." He then concluded by
asking, "who that Partridge was, whom he had called a worthless
"I mean," said the captain, "Partridge the barber, the schoolmaster,
what do you call him? Partridge, the father of the little child which
you found in your bed."
Mr Allworthy exprest great surprize at this account, and the captain
as great at his ignorance of it; for he said he had known it above a
month: and at length recollected with much difficulty that he was told
it by Mrs Wilkins.
Upon this, Wilkins was immediately summoned; who having confirmed what
the captain had said, was by Mr Allworthy, by and with the captain's
advice, dispatched to Little Baddington, to inform herself of the
truth of the fact: for the captain exprest great dislike at all hasty
proceedings in criminal matters, and said he would by no means have Mr
Allworthy take any resolution either to the prejudice of the child or
its father, before he was satisfied that the latter was guilty; for
though he had privately satisfied himself of this from one of
Partridge's neighbours, yet he was too generous to give any such
evidence to Mr Allworthy.