We left Sophia and Tom all but declaring their love for one another in the sweetest chapter thus far, and we rejoin the novel with a chapter called “Being of a much more tempestuous Kind than the former.” Which doesn’t bode well.
So Sophia’s aunt spills the beans to her father—it’s not just that she doesn’t care for Blifil, she’s in love with Tom—and, well:
The idea of a marriage between Jones and his daughter, had never once entered into the squire’s head, either in the warmest minutes of his affection towards that young man, or from suspicion, or on any other occasion. He did indeed consider a parity of fortune and circumstances to be physically as necessary an ingredient in marriage, as difference of sexes, or any other essential; and had no more apprehension of his daughter’s falling in love with a poor man, than with any animal of a different species.
He became, therefore, like one thunderstruck at his sister’s relation. He was, at first, incapable of making any answer, having been almost deprived of his breath by the violence of the surprize. This, however, soon returned, and, as is usual in other cases after an intermission, with redoubled force and fury.
He storms off to come give the pair a piece of his mind, but Sophia’s overcome by fear at the ruckus he makes along the way and faints. The first thing her father sees is her unconscious and he focuses on her well being, forgetting everything else. Until she’s carried away to be cared for, and then like a switch he’s back to being enraged and has to be physically restrained from Tom. It’s suggested by the Parson restraining Mr. Western that Tom get going, and he’s quick enough to agree.
The next day, Allworthy gets done listening to Blifil’s account of how well things went—because Allworthy cares about her character, not her (or her father’s) wealth, he’s pleased. When Western bursts in with a very different story. He gets Allworthy up to speed, swears up and down in a dozen ways that his “Sophy” will be cut off and left destitute if she continues to pursue Tom, threatens violence against Tom, and assures Blifil that he won’t let Sophia marry anyone else before he rushes back home to try to instill some order there.
When Allworthy and Blifil were again left together, a long silence ensued between them; all which interval the young gentleman filled up with sighs, which proceeded partly from disappointment, but more from hatred; for the success of Jones was much more grievous to him than the loss of Sophia.
Blifil takes this occasion to slander Tom, accusing him of drunken carousing while Allworthy was ill and then assaulting both Blifil and Thwackum unprovoked. Thwackum is called as a witness, who backs up that no-good, vindictive twerp (why should I pretend to be unbiased toward the creep?)
Allworthy confronts Tom and Tom agrees to the bare facts, without addressing the motivation for the fight, etc. At which point, Allworthy gives Tom a check to help him get established and kicks him out—vowing to never speak to him again. He closes the speech by saying:
there is no part of your conduct which I resent more than your ill-treatment of that good young man (meaning Blifil) who hath behaved with so much tenderness and honour towards you.”
These last words were a dose almost too bitter to be swallowed. A flood of tears now gushed from the eyes of Jones, and every faculty of speech and motion seemed to have deserted him. It was some time before he was able to obey Allworthy’s peremptory commands of departing; which he at length did, having first kissed his hands with a passion difficult to be affected, and as difficult to be described.
The reader must be very weak, if, when he considers the light in which Jones then appeared to Mr Allworthy, he should blame the rigour of his sentence. And yet all the neighbourhood, either from this weakness, or from some worse motive, condemned this justice and severity as the highest cruelty. Nay, the very persons who had before censured the good man for the kindness and tenderness shown to a bastard (his own, according to the general opinion), now cried out as loudly against turning his own child out of doors. The women especially were unanimous in taking the part of Jones, and raised more stories on the occasion than I have room, in this chapter, to set down.
One thing must not be omitted, that, in their censures on this occasion, none ever mentioned the sum contained in the paper which Allworthy gave Jones, which was no less than five hundred pounds; but all agreed that he was sent away penniless, and some said naked, from the house of his inhuman father.
Yeah, that quotation went on a bit, but I couldn’t help myself.
So, Tom (in a fit of anguish) loses his belongings (including the money), writes a farewell letter to Sophia (not wanting to drag her down with him) and gets his ol’ pal Black George to get that letter to her (via her maid). We learn that George found the money and everything else, but neglected to tell Tom that. Sophia sends a return letter warning Tom from seeing her father and vowing, “that nothing but the last violence shall ever give my hand or heart where you would be sorry to see them bestowed.”
Wow. That’s a lot of plot in a very few pages. A decent amount of fun and sets us up for the next part—which can’t be nearly as exciting, but I’m eager to see what happens.
N.B.: I went a little quote happy with this one, and wasn’t in the mood to do all the typing. So I went with a text file from Project Gutenberg–which doesn’t follow the atypical (for our eyes) capitalization that the book I use does. Makes it a little easier to read, but a little more drab.