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THE novel of "Tom Jones" made its appearance in the month of February, 1749-exactly seven years after the publication of "Joseph Andrews." The work was not composed by Fielding-as it is often asserted-amidst the bustle of his magisterial duties; but, on the contrary, it had been long in preparation, and was the labour of many years, and those not the brightest, of his life. It is not the least interesting circumstance connected with the history of this fascinating classic, that its sunny portraitures of human character, its genial humour, and healthy sentiment, were the emanations of a mind clouded by misfortune, and depressed by physical suffering. Like another immortal romance,3"Tom Jones" was penned amidst "disheartening struggles" and bitter worldly conflicts. How

(1) The following advertisement, announcing the appearance of this famous novel, is copied from "The General Advertizer" of February 28th, 1749:This day is published, in six vols., 12mo.,



-Mores hominum multorum vidit.


It being impossible to get sets bound fast enough to answer the demand for them, such Gentlemen and Ladies as please may have them served in Blue Paper and Boards, at the price of 16s. a set, of

A. Millar, over against Catherine Street, in the Strand.

(2) See Dedication of Tom Jones to Mr. Lyttleton.

(3) Don Quixote. See Ticknor's "History of Spanish Literature."

great the soul and enviable the disposition which no adverse circumstances, no amount of poverty, disappointment, suffering, or detraction, could deprive of such a glorious sympathy with humanity, and such a perennial fund of cheerfulness!

During the time occupied in the composition of his great novel, Fielding confesses to have received assistance from more than one friend to letters and humanity. Foremost among these was his friend, George Lyttleton, to whom, without permission, he dedicated the work on its completion. Lyttleton would appear, from the language of that dedication, not merely to have dispensed pecuniary assistance to the necessitous author, while engaged upon his novel, but also by his encouraging exhortations to have contributed to its existence. "To you, sir," says Fielding, "it is owing that this history was ever begun. It was by your desire that I first thought of such a composition. . . . Again, sir, without your assistance this history had never been completed. Be not startled at the assertion. I do not intend to draw upon you the suspicion of being a romance writer. I mean no more than that I partly owe to you my existence during great part of the time which I have employed in composing it." Another benefactor of Fielding's during the same period was the Duke of Bedford, Lyttleton's political patron; and a third was that


(1) John Duke of Bedford-born October 20, 1710, died January 14, 1771had little title, except that derived from his rank, to be associated with men like Allen and Lyttleton in this philanthropic partnership. According to Chesterfield, "he was more considerable for his rank and immense fortune than for either his parts or his virtues. He had rather more than a common share of common sense, but with a head so wrong-turned, and so invincibly obstinate, that the share of parts which he had was of little use to him, and very troublesome to others." This nobleman was attacked by Junius, in 1769, in one of the most virulent letters ever penned by him :-"You are, indeed," says this formidable assailant, "a very considerable man. The highest rank, a splendid fortune, and a name glorious till it was yours, were sufficient to have supported you with meaner abilities than I think you possess." It is unnecessary to quote more from this unsparing denunciation, which is said to have shortened his grace's life.

generous and unostentatious friend of the distressed, whose virtues are immortalised in the well-known couplet of Pope:

"Let humble ALLEN, with an awkward shame,

Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame." 1

As a mark of gratitude to these friends, and of homage to their virtues, Fielding professed to embody the various excellences of their characters in one of the most prominent delineations in his novel. According to his own statement, Mr. Allworthy is not a mere fancy portrait. The partial eye of friendship kept steadily in view the mental lineaments of his three patrons, whilst the hand was employed in penning this exquisite sketch of a wise and good man. The result is, that we have in the character of Allworthy an assemblage of qualities which rarely, if ever, meet in the same individual: the most perfect benevolence, tempered by a stern sense of justice; a complete immunity from the common faults and weaknesses of our species, joined to an exquisite compassion for, and large toleration of, the frailties of others; in short, a character more nearly approaching perfection than it is possible to conceive of, and offering a marked contrast (perhaps too marked a contrast) to the other persons in the story.

One or two other characters in "Tom Jones," besides Allworthy, are said to have been sketched by Fielding from

(1) See chap. xxvi. (and note). "In the first dialogue," says Johnson (originally published under the title of '1738'), "having an opportunity of praising Allen of Bath, he [Pope] asked his leave to mention him as a man not illustrious by any merit of his ancestors, and called him in his verses 'low-born Allen.' Men are seldom satisfied with praise introduced or followed by any mention of defect. Allen seems not to have taken any pleasure in his epithet, which was afterwards softened into 'humble.'"-Johnson's Lives of the Poets. Of the differences which are said to have afterwards existed between Pope and Allen, it is unnecessary here to speak at any length. They seem to have originated entirely in the alleged arrogant behaviour of Mrs. Blount (whom Pope had taken with him to Prior Park), and who requested the use of Allen's chariot to take her to a Roman Catholic chapel, when he was actually Mayor of Bath! Mrs. Allen resented this conduct, and the misunderstanding between the two ladies caused a coolness on the part of Pope to his quondam friend.

living originals. Squire Western-the most striking portrait of all—was, according to some authorities, intended as a caricature of one of the proprietors of Montacute, in Somersetshire. To this tradition it would, however, be improper to attach much importance. Western is the representative of a class rather than of an individual-an embodiment of the peculiarities which distinguished the rural squires in remote parts of England, who lived upon their estates, and despised modern innovations and the refinements of fashionable life. To that class it must be remembered that Fielding had no reason to feel particularly well-disposed. The bitter recollection of the slights he had experienced in his early manhood, when, with foolish ostentation, he squandered his patrimony among the Dorsetshire squires-in hounds, horses, and hospitality-and was only laughed at for his pains, still rankled in his bosom, and added to the contempt which, as a man of genius and education, he naturally felt for the rude manners and unintellectual pursuits of the home-bred squires of those days. In Western are embodied all the faults of this narrow-minded race-faults not unredeemed by characteristic virtues. Though violent, coarse, brutal, and tyrannical, the rude squire is not devoid of a certain strength of affection, and a warmth and heartiness of disposition, which atone for many defects. The only flagrant inconsistency in his character, is the cowardice exhibited by him when he takes unresistingly the beating administered by Lord Fellamar's friend-a part of the story which has naturally provoked much criticism. We do not expect to hear of Western fighting a duel, but we are certainly surprised to find that the sturdy, high-handed, sporting squire should take a drubbing from a London dandy, without lifting a hand in his own defence, and "bellowing" all the while with his utmost might and main for assistance. For the rest, it may be fairly conceded that the prejudices and predilections of Squire Western were common to the

rustic gentry of his time. Like them, he hated all lords, because "they were a parcel of courtiers and Hanoverians;" and he also liberally hated Whigs, Dissenters, Frenchmen, and poachers. He was a Jacobite, partly from a spirit of contradiction and opposition, and partly from a genuine sympathy for ultra-monarchical principles. As regards domestic life, the picture which Fielding gives us of Western's home may be taken as a faithful delineation of the country gentleman's household in the middle of the eighteenth century; where the indoor amusements were entirely confined to eating and drinking, and feminine society was only tolerated during the dinner-hour, and the short time after it which sufficed for the circulation of the first bottle. What place, indeed, had woman in such a household-woman, alternately a drudge or a toy! The accomplishments of Sophia Western are only called into requisition when she performs her evening task upon the harpsichord, after her father is drunk; and of the rank which Sophia's mother had occupied in her husband's house and affections, a humiliating and pathetic sketch is given by the novelist, which shows how fully the lords of the creation, when they are able to have it all their own way, are entitled to the designation bestowed upon them by a wit-that of the unfair sex.1

(1) "Sophia never had a single dispute with her father, till this unlucky affair of Blifil, on any account, except in defence of her mother, whom she had loved most tenderly, though she lost her in the eleventh year of her age. The squire, to whom that poor woman had been a faithful upper-servant all the time of their marriage, had returned that behaviour by making what the world calls a good husband. He very seldom swore at her (perhaps not above once a week), and never beat her; she had not the least occasion for jealousy, and was perfect mistress of her time; for she was never interrupted by her husband, who was engaged all the morning in his field exercises, and all the evening with bottlecompanions. She scarce, indeed, ever saw him but at meals, where she had the pleasure of carving those dishes which she had before attended at the dressing. From these meals she retired about five minutes after the other servants, having only stayed to drink 'The king over the water.' Such were, it seems, Mr. Western's orders; for it was a maxim with him that women should come in with the first dish, and go out with the first glass. Obedience to these orders

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