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Saturday, April 13, 2013
Tom Jones- by Henry Fielding
Tom Jones is a 1749 novel by English writer Henry Fielding. It is considered one of the first novels.
"The same animal which hath the honour to have some part of his flesh eaten at the table of a duke, may perhaps be degraded in another part, and some of his limbs gibbeted, as it were, in the vilest stall in town. Where, then, lies the difference between the food of the nobleman and the porter, if both are at dinner on the same ox or calf, but in the seasoning, the dressing, the garnishing, and the setting forth? Hence the one provokes and incites the most languid appetite, and the other turns and palls that which is the sharpest and keenest."
Along with these observations, we follow the life and adventures of Tom Jones, an abandoned orphan with the good fortune to be brought up in the household of wealthy gentry.
The baby is found in the bed of the land owning squire, whose housekeeper advises:
For my own part, if it was an honest man's child, indeed—but for my own part, it goes against me to touch these misbegotten wretches, whom I don't look upon as my fellow-creatures. Faugh! how it stinks! It doth not smell like a Christian. If I might be so bold to give my advice, I would have it put in a basket, and sent out and laid at the churchwarden's door. It is a good night, only a little rainy and windy; and if it was well wrapt up, and put in a warm basket, it is two to one but it lives till it is found in the morning. But if it should not, we have discharged our duty in taking proper care of it; and it is, perhaps, better for such creatures to die in a state of innocence, than to grow up and imitate their mothers; for nothing better can be expected of them."
The squire, however, is determined to care for the child; occasioning a change of heart in the housekeeper:
Such was the discernment of Mrs Wilkins, and such the respect she bore her master, under whom she enjoyed a most excellent place, that her scruples gave way to his peremptory commands; and she took the child under her arms, without any apparent disgust at the illegality of its birth; and declaring it was a sweet little infant, walked off with it to her own chamber.
Isn't it funny how one of the first novels is also one of the best? Or as one Amazon Reader Reviewer puts it:
"Rather than go into a long analysis of the story, characters and style of writing, I'll just say that this has always been one of my favourite novels, and to be able to get a free copy for my Kindle was a very pleasant surprise."
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Posted by Marilyn Litt at 12:06 AM