Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
He is Captain Blifil and Miss Bridget's only son. He grows up along with Tom, Squire Allworthy's foundling. Unlike Tom, Blifil is not straightforward and benevolent. He is mean and convincing and he has these traits since he is a kid. As a youngster, he realizes the power of flattery and makes the most of this weapon, not only with his teachers but also with his uncle Allworthy, as well. While he is sweet to Tom on his face he is very jealous of the latter's popularity. Tom does not realize this but Blifil plots to have Tom banished from the estate. Blifil is further jealous of the fact that Sophia loves Tom. While he had not paid particular attention to Sophia's beauty before when he is made aware of the opportunity to attain her, he makes a grab at it. But Sophia cannot stand him and sees through his worldly mask. She runs away from home to escape marriage to him. Infact, he is one of the major obstacles in Tom and Sophia's union.
Blifil goes to London in search of Squire Western and Sophia. Here, he is more than happy to know that Tom is in jail and that he will be convicted of murder. Infact he sends Dowling to the men who had been present at Tom and Mr. Fitzpatrick's struggle. Dowling is entrusted with the task of convincing these men to give evidence against Tom. Dowling is made to believe that this is what Squire Allworthy wants. But luckily for Tom, Blifil's treachery is revealed and Squire Allworthy learns the truth behind Dowling's errand. The Squire further learns that Blifil had hid a crucial letter from him. This epistle was from Miss Bridget to the Squire and it revealed the secret of Tom's birth. So all this while Blifil had known that Tom was his brother but he never revealed this secret. Squire Allworthy is also convinced of Blifil's villainy by the testimony of others. The Squire now decides to banish Blifil but Tom intervenes and pleads that his brother be given some money at least. Indeed Tom does his best for Blifil in the capacity of a half brother.
We learn that Blifil continues with his shrewdness in another part of Europe. He tries to get a seat in parliament and to marry a rich lady. Blifil is the antithesis of Tom. He claims to be superior but is inferior to Tom in morality and humanity. His reality as a villain stands exposed in the end. Credit may be given to Sophia in that she detested him from the very beginning since he and she were children. His characterization as a bitter man is done brilliantly by the author.
When Squire Allworthy discovers a baby in his bed, he asks his elderly woman servant, Mrs. Wilkins, to find who the mother of the baby could be. She goes into the village to look for the likely woman and her suspicions fall on Jenny Jones, not a very attractive girl. When the ladies accuse Jenny of delivering forth the bastard, she confesses her guilt. For long we think that it is truly Jenny who is Tomís mother. In her encounter with Squire Allworthy, she appears a modest and sensible young woman. We really question whether she could be the one who produced Tom; but her having accepted the act-we silence our questions. We learn the truth later. Indeed Jenny Jones is one of the most quaint characters in this narrative. She is curious in that she is full of contradictions. While she learns so much and is as good as an intellectual, she appears to have made a grave, social folly.
She reappears as Mrs. Waters later though we donít know that this is Jenny again. She is rescued by Tom from Ensign Northerton who was trying to force himself on her. She goes to an inn at Eton along with Tom. Finding him attractive she succeeds in seducing him. They part ways and meet next in London, when Mrs. Waters visits Tom in jail. Partridge frightens Tom into thinking that he has committed incest by sleeping with Mrs. Waters. But fortunately for Tom Mrs. Waters explains to Tom that she is not his mother. A long held secret is finally revealed-Miss Bridget is Tomís mother and it is revealed that it was she who had bribed Jenny to take the blame on her shoulders. Jenny had subsequently left the neighborhood in shame and had faced societyís insults. Jenny had gone on to have an affair with Captain Waters. Somewhere along the line she started being recognized as Mrs. Waters. After the one night affair with Tom she accompanies Mr. Fitzpatrick and is how known as Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick can be held responsible for the sea change in Tomís affairs. If she hadn't revealed that Tom is Squire Allworthyís nephew, the latter would not have been as completely reconciled to the former as he is eventually. Jenny settles many disturbing questions by her revelation. Thus she is of crucial relevance to this tale.
Her character is a unique blend of contraries. While she is considered intelligent and is good at learning she realizes that she cannot survive on intellect alone. That is the reason she agrees to take the immoral blame on herself in lieu of money. Later despite all her learning and wisdom she becomes Captain Watersí mistress and dons the title of Mrs. Waters. When Squire Allworthy had given Mrs. Waters a lecture on prudence and morality it had seemed to have a profound effect on her. But we see that later she lives a free and rather lawless life. Her romantic partners are many including-Captain Waters, Ensign Northerton, Tom Jones and finally Mr. Fitzpatrick. She defends the presence of so many men in her life, as being the natural consequence of her having been ostracized by society. She says that Lady Bridget undertook to look after Jenny, in return of saving her own face. But we do not see any proofs on Lady Bridgetís generosity. All we see is a wanton woman who makes the most of her charms, in order to attain social security.
She seems to have genuine fondness for Tom. She goes and looks him up on jail and it is she who reveals a crucial truth that she herself is not Tomís mother. She also respects Squire Allworthy genuinely and seems to have the discerning sense to separate the chaff from the grain. She values good qualities and respects them for their goodness. Jenny Jones (Mrs. Waters) dons the title of Mrs. Fitzpatrick towards the end.