Chapter i .
The introduction to the work , or bill of fare to the feast .
An author 2 ought to consider
himself 2 , not as
a gentleman who gives a private or eleemosynary treat 3 , but rather as
one who keeps a public ordinary 4 , at which
all persons 5 are welcome for
their 5 money .
In the former case , it is well known that
the entertainer 6 provides what fare
he 6 pleases ; and though this should be very indifferent , and utterly disagreeable to the taste of ,
they 7 must not find any fault ; nay , on the contrary , good breeding forces
them 7 outwardly to approve and to commend whatever is set before
them 7 .
Now the contrary of this happens to
the master of an ordinary 8 .
will insist on gratifying
Men who pay for what
their 9 palates , however nice and whimsical these may prove ; and if everything is not agreeable to
their 9 taste , will challenge a right to censure , to abuse , and to d -- n
their 9 dinner without controul .
To prevent , therefore , giving offence to by any such disappointment , it hath been usual with
the honest and well-meaning host 11 to provide a bill of fare which
all persons 12 may peruse at
their 12 first entrance into
the house 13 ; and having thence acquainted
themselves 12 with the entertainment which
they 12 may expect , may either stay and regale with what is provided for
them 12 , or may depart to some other ordinary better accommodated to
their 12 taste .
we 14 do not disdain to borrow wit or wisdom from
any man who is capable of lending
we 14 have condescended to take a hint from
these honest victuallers 16 , and shall prefix not only a general bill of fare to
our 14 whole entertainment , but shall likewise give
the reader 17 particular bills to every course which is to be served up in this and the ensuing volumes .
The provision , then , which
we 14 have here made is no other than _ Human Nature _ .
I 14 fear that , though most luxurious in
his 18 taste , will start , cavil , or be offended , because
I 14 have named but one article .
The tortoise -- as
, knows by much experience -- besides the delicious calipash and calipee , contains many different kinds of food ; nor can
the alderman of
, well learned in eating 19
the learned reader 21 be ignorant , that in human nature , though here collected under one general name , is such prodigious variety , that
a cook 22 will have sooner gone through all the several species of animal and vegetable food in
the world 23 , than
an author 24 will be able to exhaust so extensive a subject .
An objection may perhaps be apprehended from the more delicate , that this dish is too common and vulgar ; for what else is the subject of all the romances , novels , plays , and poems , with which the stalls abound ?
Many exquisite viands might be rejected by
the epicure 25 , if it was a sufficient cause for
his 25 contemning of them as common and vulgar , that something was to be found in
the most paltry alleys under the same name 26 .
In reality , true nature is as difficult to be met with in
authors 27 , as the Bayonne ham , or Bologna sausage , is to be found in
the shops 28 .
But the whole , to continue the same metaphor , consists in the cookery of
the author 29 ; for , as
Mr Pope 30 tells
us 31 -- “ True wit is nature to advantage drest ; What oft was thought , but ne'er so well exprest . ”
The same animal which hath the honour to have some part of his flesh eaten at the table of
a duke 32 , may perhaps be degraded in another part , and some of his limbs gibbeted , as it were , in the vilest stall in
town 33 .
Where , then , lies the difference between the food of
the nobleman 34 and
the porter 35 , 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 .
In like manner , the excellence of the mental entertainment consists less in the subject than in
the author 36 's skill in well dressing it up .
How pleased , therefore , will
the reader 37 be to find that
we 14 have , in the following work , adhered closely to one of the highest principles of
the best cook which the present age , or perhaps that of
, hath produced 39
This great man 39 , as is well known to
all lovers of polite eating 40 , begins at first by setting plain things before , rising afterwards by degrees as
their 41 stomachs may be supposed to decrease , to the very quintessence of sauce and spices .
In like manner ,
we 14 shall represent human nature at first to the keen appetite of , in that more plain and simple manner in which it is found in
the country 43 , and shall hereafter hash and ragoo it with all the high French and Italian seasoning of affectation and vice which
courts 44 and
cities 45 afford .
By these means ,
we 14 doubt not but may be rendered desirous to read on for ever , as
the great person just above-mentioned 39 is supposed to have made
some persons 47 eat .
Having premised thus much ,
we 14 will now detain
no longer from
those who like
bill of fare 48
their 48 diet , and shall proceed directly to serve up the first course of
our 14 history for
their 48 entertainment .
Chapter ii .
A short description of
squire Allworthy 53 , and a fuller account of
Miss Bridget Allworthy 61 , .
which is commonly called
that part of
the western division of
this kingdom 51 50
Somersetshire 52 , there lately lived , and perhaps lives still ,
; for both of these seem to have contended which should bless and enrich
a gentleman whose name was
, and who might well be called
the favourite of both nature and fortune 53 53
him 53 most .
In this contention , nature may seem to some to have come off victorious , as she bestowed on
him 53 many gifts , while fortune had only one gift in her power ; but in pouring forth this , she was so very profuse , that others perhaps may think this single endowment to have been more than equivalent to all the various blessings which
he 53 enjoyed from nature .
From the former of these ,
he 53 derived an agreeable person , a sound constitution , a solid understanding , and a benevolent heart ; by the latter ,
he 53 was decreed to the inheritance of one of the largest estates in
the county 54 .
This gentleman 53 had in
his 53 youth married
a very worthy and beautiful woman 55 , of whom
he 53 had been extremely fond : by
he 53 had
three children 56 , all of whom died in
their 56 infancy .
He 53 had likewise had the misfortune of burying
this beloved wife 55
herself 55 , about five years before the time in which this history chuses to set out .
This loss , however great ,
he 53 bore like
a man of sense and constancy 57 , though it must be confest
he 53 would often talk a little whimsically on this head ; for
he 53 sometimes said
he 53 looked on
himself 53 as still married , and considered as only gone a little before
him 53 , a journey which
he 53 should most certainly , sooner or later , take after
her 55 ; and that
he 53 had not the least doubt of meeting
her 55 again in
-- sentiments for which
a place where
should never part with
his 53 sense was arraigned by one part of ,
his 53 religion by a second , and
his 53 sincerity by a third .
He 53 now lived , for the most part , retired in
the country 60 , with
one sister 61 , for whom
he 53 had a very tender affection .
This lady 61 was now somewhat past the age of thirty , an aera at which , in the opinion of
the malicious 62 , the title of
old maid 63 may with no impropriety be assumed .
She 61 was of
-- as good a sort of
that species of women whom
commend rather for good qualities than beauty , and who are generally called , by
own sex ,
very good sort of women 64 64
woman 66 ,
madam 67 , as
you 68 would wish to know .
she 61 was so far from regretting want of beauty , that
she 61 never mentioned that perfection , if it can be called one , without contempt ; and would often thank God
she 61 was not as handsome as
Miss Such-a-one 69 , whom perhaps beauty had led into errors which
she 69 might have otherwise avoided .
Miss Bridget Allworthy 61 ( for that was the name of
this lady 61 ) very rightly conceived the charms of person in
a woman 70 to be no better than snares for
herself 61 , as well as for others ; and yet so discreet was
she 61 in
her 61 conduct , that
her 61 prudence was as much on the guard as if
she 61 had all the snares to apprehend which were ever laid for .
I 14 have observed , though it may seem unaccountable to
the reader 72 , that this guard of prudence , like the trained bands , is always readiest to go on duty where there is the least danger .
It often basely and cowardly deserts
; and constantly attends at the heels of
those paragons for whom
the men 74
are all wishing , sighing , dying , and spreading every net in
that higher order of women 75 for whom
the other sex 76 have a more distant and awful respect , and whom ( from despair ,
I 14 suppose , of success )
they 76 never venture to attack .
Reader 77 ,
I 14 think proper , before
we 78 proceed any farther together , to acquaint
thee 79 that
I 14 intend to digress , through this whole history , as often as
I 14 see occasion , of which
I 14 am
; and here
a better judge than
any pitiful critic whatever 80 95
I 14 must desire
all those critics 81 to mind
their 81 own business , and not to intermeddle with affairs or works which no ways concern
them 81 ; for till
they 81 produce the authority by which
they 81 are constituted
judges 82 ,
I 14 shall not plead to
their 81 jurisdiction .
Chapter iii .
An odd accident which befel
Mr Allworthy 53 at
his 53 return
home 83 .
The decent behaviour of
Mrs Deborah Wilkins 84 , with some proper animadversions on
bastards 85 .
I 14 have told , in the preceding chapter , that
Mr Allworthy 53 inherited a large fortune ; that
he 53 had a good heart , and
no family 87 .
Hence , doubtless , it will be concluded by many that
he 53 lived like
an honest man 88 , owed
no one 89 a shilling , took nothing but what was
his 53 own , kept
a good house 90 , entertained with a hearty welcome at
his 53 table , and was charitable to
the poor 92 , i.e. to those who had rather beg than work , by giving
them 92 the offals from it ; that
he 53 died immensely rich and built
an hospital 93 .