As I noted last week, Mrs. Blifil's affection toward Tom was increasing (perhaps too much), and as that happened, her regard for her own son decreased. This keeps happening throughout this book--I'm not sure why everyone's affections operate like seesaws here, but that's the way it seems to be.
Case in point, when Mr. Allworthy saw Master Blifil being disliked by his own mother, "began, on that Account only, to look with an Eye of Compassion upon him." Seeing "every Appearance of Virtue in the You thro' the magnifying End, and viewed all his Faults with the Glass inverted, so that they became scarce perceptible." And as that happened, guess what changes with Tom?
that poor Youth, (however innocent) began to sink in his Affections as he rose in hers. This, it is true would of itself alone never have been able to eradicate Jones form his Bosom; but it was greatly injurious to him, and prepared Mr. Allworthy's Mind for those Impressions which afterwards produced the mighty Events, that will be contained hereafter in this History; and to which it must be confest, the unfortunate Lad, by his own Wantonness, Wildness, and Want of Caution, too much contributed.
In other words, this is going to prove to be important later--though ol' Tommy Boy doesn't do himself any favors. This leads our Author to make an appearance in the text "by way of Chorus on the Stage," to inject an important Life Lesson or two. It was nice of him to admit that's what he was doing--even nicer that he did it with style.
Following this we see Tom get in trouble again, and Blifil helps make that situation worse. It doesn't do the latter much good and, again, Tom's good-heartedness is seen in the midst of this, giving Allworthy reason to respect him (we know from the quotation above that it's not enough...). But in the end, Tom's Game-keeper friend and his family are hurt by the results of all this, and Tom can't get Allworthy on his side. However, Mr. Western is the injured party (because the Game-keeper poached from him), and
Tom applied to Mr. Western's Daughter, a young Lady of about seventeen Years of Age, whom her Father, next after those necessary Implements of Sport just before mentioned, loved and esteemed above all the World. Now, as she had some Influence on the Squire, so Tom had some little Influence on her. But this being the intended Heroine of this Work, a Lady with whom we ourselves are greatly in Love, and with whom many of our Readers will probably be in Love too before we part, it is by no Means proper she should make her Appearance at the End of a Book.
Maybe it's just me, but that last sentence cracked me up. We'll have to wait a week to meet her.
A slight improvement on last week, mostly because I enjoyed the Narrator's voice in these chapters. But hopefully in Volume II, things'll pick up.