As usual, Square and Thwackum take Blifil's side, praising him and denouncing Tom. Allworthy refuses to let Thwackum beat Tom, but he summons Black George and dismisses him from the Estate, albeit with a generous severance package. Allworthy's harsh punishment stems from his belief that it is worse to lie to save yourself than it is to save another. When the story begins to circulate, many people applaud Allworthy's judgment, commend Tom as "a brave Lad," and indict Blifil as a "sneaking Rascal."
Blifil has won over Square and Thwackum by always agreeing with their doctrines, which means that he has to keep silent when they are together, since their teachings always clash. Blifil, young as he is, has also learnt the art of "second-hand flattery"—praising Square and Thwackum to Allworthy, who goodheartedly conveys all of Blifil's compliments back to the men. Thwackum was recommended to Allworthy by a friend, and although Allworthy perceives Thwackum's faults, he has faith that Square will balance them out. Square and Thwackum despise Tom, who, the narrator admits, is "a thoughtless, giddy Youth, with little Sobriety in his Manners." Allworthy, however, allows Tom to call him "father."
Both Square and Thwackum are interested in Bridget. The narrator says that one may wonder why so many male visitors to Allworthy's house have been attracted to Bridget, who is neither beautiful nor young. He then elaborates that men "have a Kind of natural Propensity to particular Females at the House of a Friend when they are rich." Both of the men have discovered that the easiest way to curry favor with Bridget is to show kindness to Blifil and contempt for Tom. Although Bridget flirts with both Square and Thwackum, all she truly desires is "Flattery and Courtship," for she does not wish to remarry. Square notices, however, that Bridget has hardly anything to do with the upbringing of her son, and harbors animosity towards Blifil because of the bitter memory of his father. On the other hand, she thrives on carrying out Allworthy's plans for Tom's well-being. The neighbors attribute Bridget's devotion to Tom to her obedience to her brother, but the narrator suggests that the maturing Tom has become attractive to women. Once the neighbors realize that Bridget is smitten with Tom, they call him a "rival" to Square and Thwackum. Bridget now revels in Tom's company.
As soon as Allworthy realizes that Bridget now neglects Blifil in favor of Tom, his relentless compassion for the underdog induces him to protect Blifil. The narrator preaches prudence and circumspection, arguing that it is not enough to be virtuous inside, and that one must take care to ensure that one's virtue shines through to the outside as well. The narrator hails himself as a kind of "Chorus."
Half a year has passed since Tom sold the horse Allworthy gave him at a fair. When Tom will not tell Thwackum what he has done with the money from the sale, Thwackum prepares to beat him. Allworthy walks in and questions Tom in private. Tom calls Thwackum a "tyrannical Rascal," and Allworthy cautions him against using such language. Tom tells Allworthy he gave all the money from the horse to Black George and his family, who have been living in poverty since Allworthy dismissed them. Allworthy sheds some tears in appreciation of Tom's compassion.
Some time before, Tom sold a Bible given to him by Allworthy to Blifil. Blifil has been wielding the book about the house, reading from it more than he ever did from his own. Because Blifil flaunts the book so much, Thwackum eventually notices Tom's name on the Bible, "obliging" Blifil to divulge how he obtained the book. Thwackum condemns Tom's action as sacrilege, but Square and Bridget Blifil do not agree.
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