Mrs. Deborah Wilkins: Character Analysis in Tom Jones

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      Mrs. Deborah Wilkins appears later, in sharper colors, at the sick-bed of Allworthy. He divides his sum among his people, servants and friends, who have gathered round him during his illness.

      Some of them shed tears at the parting, but Mrs. Wilkins 'dropped her pearls as fast as the Arabian trees their medicinal gums; for this was a ceremonial which that gentlewoman never omitted on a proper occasion' (Book V, chapter 7). But, says the author—there was another source for that 'briny stream' gushing down 'the two mountainous cheek bones of the housekeeper' (Book V, Chapter 8) for she was mightily disappointed with her legacy. She expected she would get more than the other servants. Her soliloquy here is a brilliant piece of characterization.

      Fielding's minor characters — though they are small sketches— are probably more interesting than his large-size portraits. They throb with life; they are the very mirrors of nature; they reveal his fine insight into human nature, his gentle wit and irony. There is, for example, Mrs. Deborah Wilkins, the elderly woman servant in the house of Allworthy, who is introduced, as the Squire, preparing to go to bed, discovers Tom on his bed and immediately calls her to his room.

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