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find that we have, in the following work, adhered closely to one of the highest principles of the best cook which the present age, or perhaps that of Heliogabalus, hath produced. This great man, as is well known to all polite lovers of eating, begins at first by setting plain things before his hungry guests, rising afterward by degrees as their stomachs may be supposed to decrease, to the very quintessence of sauce and spices. In like manner, we shall represent human nature at first to the keen appetite of our reader, in that more plain and simple manner in which it is found in the country, and shall hereafter hash and ragoo it with all the high French and Italian seasoning of affectation and vice which courts and cities afford. Ву these means, we doubt not but our reader may be rendered desirous to read on forever, as the great person just abovementioned is supposed to have made some persons eat.
Having premised thus much, we will now detain those who like our bill of fare no longer from their diet, and shall proceed directly to serve up the first course of our history for their entertainment.
Tom Jones, the foundling, was adopted in the kindliest manner by the excellent Mr. Allworthy, with a good heart and no family, who found the child in his bed one evening on returning from a long absence and decided to adopt the boy as his own.
Infancy of Tom
Description of Mr. Allworthy's estate.
The reader's neck brought into danger by a description; his escape; and the great condescension of Miss Bridget Allworthy.
The Gothic style of building could produce nothing nobler than Mr. Allworthy's house. There was an air of grandeur in it that struck you with awe, and rivaled the beauties of the best Grecian architecture; and it was as commodious within as venerable without.
It stood on the southeast side of a hill, but nearer the bottom than the top of it, so as to be sheltered from the northeast by a grove of old oaks which arose above it in a gradual ascent of near half a mile, and yet high enough to enjoy a most charming prospect of the valley beneath.
In the midst of the grove was a fine lawn, sloping down
toward the house, near the summit of which rose a plentiful spring, gushing out of a rock covered with firs, and forming a constant cascade of about thirty feet, not carried down a regular flight of steps, but tumbling in a natural fall over the broken
Beautiful and mossy stones till it came to the bottom of the rock, then running off in a pebbly channel, that with many lesser falls winded along, till it fell into a lake at the foot of the hill, about a quarter of a mile below the house on the south side, and which was seen from every room in the front. Out of this lake, which filled the center of a beautiful plain, embellished with groups of beeches and elms, and fed with sheep, issued a river, that for several miles was seen to meander through an amazing variety of meadows and woods till it emptied itself into the sea, with a large arm of which, and an island beyond it, the prospect was closed.
On the right of this valley opened another of less extent, adorned with several villages, and terminated by one of the towers of an old ruined abbey, grown over with ivy, and part of the front, which remained still entire.
The left-hand scene presented the view of a very fine park, composed of very unequal ground, and agreeably varied with all the diversity that hills, lawns, wood, and water, laid out with admirable taste, but owing less to art than to nature, could give. Beyond this, the country gradually rose into a ridge of wild mountains, the tops of which were above the clouds.
It was now the middle of May, and the morning was remarkably serene, when Mr. Allworthy walked forth on the terrace, Mr. Allworthy
walks forth. where the dawn opened every minute that lovely prospect we have before described to his eye; and now having sent forth streams of light, which ascended the blue firmament before him, as harbingers preceding his pomp, in the full blaze of his majesty rose the sun, than which one object alone in this lower creation could be more glorious, and that Mr. Allworthy himself presented—a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator, by doing most good to his creatures.
Reader, take care. I have unadvisedly led thee to the top of as high a hill as Mr. Allworthy's, and how to get thee down without breaking thy neck, I do not well know. However, let us e'en venture to slide down together; for Miss Bridget rings her bell, and Mr. Allworthy is summoned to breakfast, where I
must attend, and, if you please, shall be glad of your company.
The usual compliments having passed between Mr. Allworthy and Miss Bridget, and the tea being poured out, he told his sister he had a present for her, for which she thanked himimagining, I suppose, it had been a gown, or some ornament for her person. Indeed, he very often made her such presents ; and she, in complacence to him, spent much time in adorning herself. I say in complacence to him, because she always expressed the greatest contempt for dress, and for those ladies who made it their study.
Miss Bridget Allworthy was the sister of the master of Miss Allworthy the house, who lived with him. She was not altogether adopts Tom.
pleased when she discovered the nature of the present referred to ; however, having looked at the child earnestly as it lay asleep she could not forbear giving it a hearty kiss, at the same time declaring herself wonderfully pleased with it.
About this time Miss Allworthy was married herself, and had a son, who was brought up in Mr. Allworthy's house along with “ Tom.” His name was Master Blifil and they were always quarreling.
The hero of this great history appears with very bad omens. A
little tale of so low a kind that some may think it not worth their notice. A word or two concerning a squire, and more relating to a gamekeeper and a schoolmaster.
As we determined, when we first sat down to write this history, to flatter no man, but to guide our pen throughout by the directions of truth, we are obliged to bring our hero on the stage in a much more disadvantageous manner than we could wish ; and to declare honestly, even at his first appearance, that it was the universal opinion of all Mr. Allworthy's family that he was certainly born to be hanged.
Indeed, I am sorry to say there was too much reason for this conjecture; the lad having from his earliest years discovered a propensity to many vices, and especially to one which hath as direct a tendency as any other to that fate which we have just now observed to have been prophetically denounced against
His early propensities.
him ; he had been already convicted of three robberies, viz.: of robbing an orchard, of stealing a duck out of a farmer's yard, and of picking Master Blifil's pocket of a ball.
The vices of this young man were, moreover, heightened by the disadvantageous light in which they appeared when opposed Master Blifil. to the virtues of Master Blifil, his companion; a youth of so different a cast from little Jones that not only the family but all the neighborhood resounded his praises. He was, indeed, a lad of remarkable disposition; sober, discreet, and pious beyond his age; qualities which gained him the love of every one who knew him; while Tom Jones was universally disliked; and many expressed their wonder that Mr. Allworthy would suffer such a lad to be educated with his nephew, lest the morals of the latter should be corrupted by his example.
An incident which happened about this time will set the characters of these two lads more fairly before the discerning reader than is in the power of the longest dissertation.
Tom Jones, who, bad as he is, must serve for the hero of this history, had only one friend among all the servants of the family. This friend was the gamekeeper, a fellow of a loose kind of disposition and who was thought not to entertain much stricter notions concerning the difference of meum and tuum than the young gentleman himself, and hence this friendship gave occasion to many sarcastical remarks among the domestics, most of which were either proverbs before, or at least had become so now: and indeed the wit of them all may be comprised in that short Latin proverb, Noscitur a socio; which, I think, is thus expressed in English : “You may know him by the company he keeps.' Contiguous to Mr. Allworthy's estate was the manor of one
Preservers of of these gentlemen who are called preservers of the game. the game. This species of men, from the great severity with which they revenge the death of a hare or partridge, might be thought to cultivate the same superstitions with the Bannians in India, many of whom we are told dedicate their whole lives to the preservation and protection of certain animals; was it not that our English Bannians while they preserve them from other enemies will most unmercifully slaughter whole horse-loads themselves; so that they stand clearly acquitted of any such heathenish superstition.
Now, as Horace tells us that there are a set of human beings
Tom goes out with the gamekeeper.
Fruges consumere nati, “Born to consume the fruits of the earth”; so I make no manner of doubt but that there are others
Feras consumere nati, “Born to consume the beasts of the field”; or, as it is commonly called, the game; and none, I believe, will deny but that those squires fulfil this end of their creation.
Little Jones went one day a shooting with the gamekeeper ; when happening to spring a covey of partridges near the border of that manor over which fortune, to fulfil the wise purposes of nature, had planted one of the game consumers, the birds flew into it, and were marked (as it is called) by the two sportsmen, in some furze bushes, about two or three hundred paces beyond Mr. Allworthy's dominions.
Mr. Allworthy had given the fellow strict orders, on pain of forfeiting his place, never to trespass on any of his neighbors; no more on those who were less rigid in this matter than on the lord of this manor. With regard to others, indeed, these orders had not been always very scrupulously kept; but as the disposition of the gentleman with whom the partridges had taken sanctuary was well known, the gamekeeper had never yet attempted to invade his territories. Nor had he done it now, had not the younger sportsman, who was excessively eager to pursue the flying game, over-persuaded him; but Jones being very importunate, the other, who was himself keen enough after the sport, yielded to his persuasions, entered the manor, and shot one of the partridges.
The gentleman himself was at that time on horseback, at a little distance from them; and hearing the gun go off, he immediately made toward the place, and discovered poor Tom; for the gamekeeper had leapt into the thickest part of the furze-brake, where he had happily concealed himself.
The gentleman having searched the lad, and found the partridge upon him, denounced great vengeance, swearing he would acquaint Mr. Allworthy. He was as good as his word; for he rode immediately to his house, and complained of the trespass on his manor in as high terms and as bitter language as if his house had been broken open and the most valuable furniture stole out of it. He added that some other person was in his company, though he could not discover him ; for
Discovered with a partridge.