The History of Tom Jones
Containing The Most Memorable Transactions Which Passed In The Family Of
Mr Allworthy, From The Time When Tommy Jones Arrived At The Age Of
Fourteen, Till He Attained The Age Of Nineteen. In This Book The Reader May
Pick Up Some Hints Concerning The Education Of Children.
Containing little or nothing.
The reader will be pleased to remember, that, at the beginning of the second
book of this history, we gave him a hint of our intention to pass over several large
periods of time, in which nothing happened worthy of being recorded in a
chronicle of this kind.
In so doing, we do not only consult our own dignity and ease, but the good and
advantage of the reader: for besides that by these means we prevent him from
throwing away his time, in reading without either pleasure or emolument, we give
him, at all such seasons, an opportunity of employing that wonderful sagacity, of
which he is master, by filling up these vacant spaces of time with his own
conjectures; for which purpose we have taken care to qualify him in the
For instance, what reader but knows that Mr Allworthy felt, at first, for the loss of
his friend, those emotions of grief, which on such occasions enter into all men
whose hearts are not composed of flint, or their heads of as solid materials?
Again, what reader doth not know that philosophy and religion in time moderated,
and at last extinguished, this grief? The former of these teaching the folly and
vanity of it, and the latter correcting it as unlawful, and at the same time
assuaging it, by raising future hopes and assurances, which enable a strong and
religious mind to take leave of a friend, on his deathbed, with little less
indifference than if he was preparing for a long journey; and, indeed, with little
less hope of seeing him again.
Nor can the judicious reader be at a greater loss on account of Mrs Bridget Blifil,
who, he may be assured, conducted herself through the whole season in which
grief is to make its appearance on the outside of the body, with the strictest
regard to all the rules of custom and decency, suiting the alterations of her
countenance to the several alterations of her habit: for as this changed from
weeds to black, from black to grey, from grey to white, so did her countenance
change from dismal to sorrowful, from sorrowful to sad, and from sad to serious,
till the day came in which she was allowed to return to her former serenity.
We have mentioned these two, as examples only of the task which may be
imposed on readers of the lowest class. Much higher and harder exercises of
judgment and penetration may reasonably be expected from the upper graduates
in criticism. Many notable discoveries will, I doubt not, be made by such, of the
transactions which happened in the family of our worthy man, during all the years
which we have thought proper to pass over: for though nothing worthy of a place
in this history occurred within that period, yet did several incidents happen of
equal importance with those reported by the daily and weekly historians of the