Book 6 Chapter 10 of Tom Jones.

This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones over the course of four years.

In this chapter, Blifil begins to play the cards he's been collecting and holding close to his chest for such a long time. Squire Western shows up at Allworthy's house to harangue Allworthy about Sophia being in love with Jones. Clearly, it's all Allworthy's fault for raising a bastard with love and compassion, and not at all Western's fault for treating Jones as a friend and having him over to his estate all the time.

Once Western leaves, Blifil seizes the opportunity to begin sewing seeds of doubt and mistrust of Tom Jones. He tells Allworthy about the time that Allworthy took ill, and conveniently rearranges the order of events in order to make Jones look like a villain. First, instead of Jones being heartbroken at Allworthy's illness and lashing out at Square, Thwackum and Blifil over their disappointment in their shares of Allworthy's estate, followed by Jones being overjoyed that Allworthy had recovered, Blifil re-casts the situation to make it seem like Jones was celebrating Allworthy's illness, and then attacked Thwackum and Blifil when they chastised him. Then, when Thwackum and Blifil came upon a drunken Tom and Molly Seagrim, Blifil makes it seem like Tom somehow attacked them, rather than Tom defending Molly when Thwackum tried to sneak up on them. Alas, it seems like Blifil has already succeeded, since Allworthy has all but said he believes everything that Blifil has told him, without needing to consult with Jones.

 

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AuthorMark Turetsky