Slightly Sinful (One Reckless Night Book 4)

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Tom immediately excuses himself and leaves. His abrupt departure leads Western to guess that Tom is the father, although he does not think ill of him for it. To her dismay, Sophia thinks her father is right. Allworthy is angry with Tom but at the same time pleased that the young man had the backbone to acknowledge his offense. He supported the father in order to corrupt the daughter. One day, Squire Western takes Sophia on a hunt with him. On the second day of the expedition, she is returning from a chase when she loses control of her horse.

It so happens that Tom is riding nearby and, seeing the trouble she is in, rides over to help her.

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When her horse throws her, Tom catches her but breaks his arm. Sophia is quite shaken by the incident. Honour, Sophia's maid, attends her mistress and praises Tom for his gallantry. After a surgeon treats Tom's injury, Western orders the youth to bed in the Western house. Tom receives many visits while bedridden. Among them are Allworthy and Thwackum. Allworthy gently reminds Tom of his past behavior so that he may learn from it and be a better man in the future.

Thwackum tells him that "he ought to look on his broken limb as a judgment from heaven on his sins. Tom, meanwhile, falls in love with Sophia.

However, he still feels a responsibility to Molly. One day, he visits her and, during their conversation, discovers Mr. Square hiding in the room. He is wearing a nightcap. Square is embarrassed, of course, but Tom promises to keep his presence there a secret. Molly's sister Betty later tells Tom that another of Molly's visitors, Will Barnes, had been the first to debauch Molly and that her expected child is his, not Tom's.

Now freed of the burden of Molly, Tom begins seeing Sophia. His presence at the Western residence delights the squire, and from time to time he insists that Tom stay there for several days. On several occasions, he sojourns there for a fortnight. Allworthy Becomes Sick. Allworthy becomes ill and, told by the doctor that he is in danger of death, reveals his will.

It leaves almost the entirety of his estate to Blifil. Servants are to get small bequests. A footman enters to announce that an attorney from Salisbury has arrived with an urgent message. While Blifil goes out to receive the message, the others leave the room.

Wilkins, Square, and Thwackum all believe they should have received a larger bequest. When Allworthy's physician arrives to check on the squire's condition, Blifil reports that the attorney, named Dowling, informed him that his mother has died. The doctor wishes to keep the news from Allworthy, but Blifil says he is under strict instructions from the squire never to hide anything from him. However, at the very moment that Blifil makes this statement, Allworthy is making a remarkable recovery.

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Tom celebrates Allworthy's recovery with wine. Blifil objects, saying now is no time for merriment but for mourning for his mother. Tom apologizes and asks to shake Blifil's hand, but Blifil rejects it and insults Tom regarding the circumstances of his birth. A scuffle ensues. Thwackum and the doctor break it up, and the combatants make peace. After taking out his knife, he is about to carve a message on a tree when Molly happens upon the scene. After they talk for a while, Tom—now heady with the wine—goes with her into a grove. Blifil and Thwackum are taking a walk when Blifil spies activity in the grove.

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They investigate. Tom blocks their way into the grove, and Thwackum and Blifil attack Tom. Squire Western is out for his afternoon walk. Accompanying him are Sophia, a clergyman, and Mrs. Western Squire Western's sister and Sophia's aunt. When they come upon the melee, the squire evens the odds. Tom and Western win the day. Western notices that Sophia is exhibiting signs of being in love and assumes that Blifil is the object of her affection.

She reports her finding to her brother. When Western dines with Allworthy, he passes the information on. Allworthy, in turn, talks the matter over with Blifil, who eagerly agrees to a union with Sophia.

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He covets the Western wealth. When Sophia's aunt later informs the girl of what has taken place, Sophia reveals that she loves Tom, not Blifil.

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Can the blood of the Westerns submit to such contamination? The aunt rants on about the horror of a match between a Western and so lowly a fellow as Tom. Crying, Sophia begs her aunt not to reveal her secret, for she does not wish to to offend her father. The aunt agrees on one condition: that she begin seeing Mr. Blifil and regard him as the person she will marry.

After entertaining Blifil in the Western home that afternoon, Sophia decides to tell her father how she really feels about Blifil. But he is now fixed on a match between her and Blifil.

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Tom happens to be in the house that day. When he talks with Sophia, they pledge undying love for each other. Meanwhile, the aunt tells Western the whole story about Sophia and Tom. Western, in turn, tells Allworthy. Allworthy then apprises Blifil of the situation and asks whether he still wishes to marry Sophia. Blifil is not willing to give up his prize. He wants her money, and he wants to nettle Tom. He then tells Allworthy about Tom's behavior in the grove with Molly.

His clothes and personal effects will be sent later to an address of his choosing. Tom Takes to the Road.

After walking off, Tom stops by a creek to think and decides not to try to win back Sophia.