Tom Jones Summary
Tom Jones starts with Squire Allworthy, a wealthy landowner who lives with his unmarried sister Bridget at his estate, Paradise Hall, in southwestern England. Squire Allworthy is a stand-up guy. So when he comes back from a three-month stay in London and finds an anonymous baby in his bed, he decides to raise the little tyke. He names this unknown child Tom.
According to rumors in the village, there is only one woman who can be Tom's mother: Jenny Jones, a servant in the household of the local schoolmaster. Squire Allworthy brings Jenny in to question her, and she admits that she was the one who put Tom in the squire's bed. She absolutely refuses to say who Tom's father is, though.
Squire Allworthy gives Jenny Jones some money so that she can move away and escape her bad reputation in the area. The rest of the village assumes that, because Squire Allworthy didn't send Jenny to jail for giving birth to a baby outside of marriage (seriously), he has to be the biological father. (It's a shame this book takes place a long time before paternity tests.)
Meanwhile, Squire Allworthy's fortune makes his sister Bridget very attractive to guys who want to get rich quick. Since the squire is a widower and has no intention of remarrying, Bridget and any children she might have will inherit Squire Allworthy's crazy amounts of land when he dies. One of these gold-digging dudes is Captain Blifil, who sets out to woo and marry Bridget ASAP.
Soon after, Captain and the newly-Mrs. Blifil have a baby boy. With his own baby son in the running to be Squire Allworthy's official heir, Captain Blifil turns strongly against poor little Tom. He doesn't want Tom to compete with the Blifil family for Squire Allworthy's cash. Captain Blifil hears a rumor that Mr. Partridge the schoolteacher is Tom's secret daddy and works it into conversation with Squire Allworthy. He hopes that, if Squire Allworthy can assign Tom to a dad, he'll give the kid up.
But while Squire Allworthy does eventually decide that Mr. Partridge must be Tom's deadbeat father, Squire Allworthy still won't abandon young Tom. Captain Blifil is furious that Tom keeps on living in the squire's household, but he doesn't have to worry about it for long: he suddenly drops dead of a stroke by the end of Book Two. Yesss.
We jump forward twelve years, and Tom is now a teenager. He's a huge mischief-maker, always stealing small things and causing trouble. But he's also clearly a good kid, if a little rough around the edges.
But this rowdy behavior gets Tom into no end of trouble with his two tutors, Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square. Both of these guys think Tom is a bad seed who needs lots of beating to make him even halfway decent. They prefer young Mr. Blifil, Bridget's son and Squire Allworthy's nephew. Young Mr. Blifil always knows the right thing to say to suck up to grown-ups: everybody thinks he is saintly and perfect. But really, Mr. Blifil just knows how to talk a good game.
Squire Allworthy's nearest neighbor, Squire Western, has a lovely daughter named Sophia, who is around the same age as Tom and Mr. Blifil (now in their late teens). She has the hots for Tom, though she only half-notices her own feelings at first. And eventually, Tom realizes that he truly loves Sophia back. But in spite of their shared love, these two crazy kids still can't get together. Why not?
Surprisingly, the problem isn't Tom's hot on-again-off-again love affair with Molly Seagrim, the daughter of Squire Allworthy's gamekeeper. The biggest obstacle to the Tom-Sophia romance (Tophia? Stom? TomSoph?) is that Tom is not "well born." He can't expect that Squire Western will embrace an illegitimate kid like him as a son-in-law, not when Sophia is beautiful and rich and the apple of her father's eye.
While Tom is worrying about all of this, he also finds out that his beloved guardian is sick. Apparently, Squire Allworthy might well die. So the squire says his goodbyes and makes peace with the world. But then—he lives. In a classic switcheroo, the one who dies is actually Bridget, the squire's sister, who has been away from home. The news comes from a lawyer from the town of Salisbury. Believe it or not, this is a major plot point: we have to note the fact it's Mr. Blifil who gets the news of Bridget's death directly from the lawyer, and not Squire Allworthy.
Tom gets trashed celebrating Squire Allworthy's recovery. Between Tom's drunkenness and Mr. Blifil's grief and annoyance at Tom, bad stuff goes down: Mr. Blifil insults Tom for not knowing his parents and the two almost get into a fight. Later on in the evening, Mr. Blifil spots Tom (still drunk as a skunk) getting it on with Molly in the woods. (Yes, that's after Tom has realized that he's in love with Sophia.) Mr. Blifil grabs Mr. Thwackum, and the two of them gang up on Tom in a brutal fistfight. Squire Western comes along and helps Tom win the fight, but there are long-term consequences of this battle that Tom has to face.
Meanwhile, Squire Western's sister Mrs. Western is visiting the estate. She realizes that Sophia is in love, but she gets the love object really, really wrong: she thinks her niece wants to marry Mr. Blifil. She passes this idea on to Squire Western, and he gets really excited. If Sophia marries Mr. Blifil, not only will she make a ton of money (since Mr. Blifil is Squire Allworthy's heir, and Squire Allworthy is super-rich) but she will also wind up settling next door to her dear father. As soon as Mr. Blifil hears of this potential marriage, he quickly gets on board: Sophia is rich, and Mr. Blifil likes that in a girl.
Sophia is the only one voting no on a match with Mr. Blifil: she tries to tell her dad that she wouldn't marry Mr. Blifil if he were the last man on earth. But Squire Western does not take this news at all well, and he locks Sophia in her room until she agrees to marry Mr. Blifil—he's not going to win Father of The Year any time soon.
Mrs. Western has finally found out that Sophia loves Tom instead of Mr. Blifil, so she tells her brother the true state of Sophia's feelings. Squire Western decides that he violently hates Tom, and goes to Squire Allworthy to read him the riot act.
Squire Allworthy is sad to hear that Tom has apparently been seducing his neighbor's daughter. Mr. Blifil also jumps at the chance to badmouth Tom to Squire Allworthy: he says that, secretly, Tom has been living a wild and crazy life. Not only does he like to seduce women (Molly, case in point) but he also gets into drunken fights. In fact (claims Mr. Blifil) Tom attacked him and Mr. Thwackum just the other day, when they were trying to persuade him to lead a better, cleaner life. Since Tom has to admit that he did get drunk, and he did get into that fight (though not for the reasons that Mr. Blifil claims), Squire Allworthy decides he has no choice but to kick Tom out of the house for his violent, lewd behavior.
While all this is going on with Tom, Sophia's decision not to marry Mr. Blifil, no matter what, under any circumstances, causes huge Family Drama in the Western household. Squire and Mrs. Western take it in turns to bully Sophia for refusing to obey their wishes. Squire Western seems to have decided that Sophia has to marry Mr. Blifil or her entire future will be ruined.
For his part, Mr. Blifil knows that Sophia hates him. And (here's where it gets really creepy) he likes it that way. At first, Mr. Blifil is mainly interested in her money. But as time goes on, he decides he really wants to sleep with her. He likes the idea of forcing her to obey his wishes. Blegh.
Sophia decides that it's worth any risk to escape marrying this jerk Blifil, so she grabs her maid, Mrs. Honour, sneaks out of her father's house, and runs away. After all, Sophia has a distant relative who lives in London, and Sophia is sure that this woman won't mind if Sophia shows up in the city without permission and uninvited.
Out on the road after being thrown out of Squire Allworthy's home, Tom befriends a local barber-surgeon named Little Benjamin. Little Benjamin is quite a comedian, and Tom takes to him right away. It's lucky that the two seem to like each other, since "Little Benjamin" turns out to be none other than Mr. Partridge, the schoolteacher whom Squire Allworthy convicted of being Tom's dad twenty years before. Partridge absolutely swears that he isn't Tom's dad. He has no idea who Tom's real father is. But he does ask if he can travel with Tom, and Tom agrees.
During Tom and Partridge's wanderings, Tom rescues a woman from her would-be murderer. This woman may be old enough to be Tom's mother, but she's also pretty hawt. She has been living with a dude named Captain Waters, a soldier in a nearby regiment, as his wife. (She isn't actually his wife legally speaking, but—close enough.) However, Captain Waters has been stationed away from home, and Mrs. Waters likes the look of Tom. She and Tom take a room at the nearby inn at Upton, and the two of them get to know each other very well, ifyouknowwhatwemean. Bow chicka wow wow.
In the middle of the night, a man arrives at the inn at Upton looking for his runaway wife. The maid assumes that this runaway is Mrs. Waters, and shows the man to her room (where Tom also happens to be sleeping). The man (whose name is Mr. Fitzpatrick) eventually realizes that he has the wrong woman: Mrs. Waters is no Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Keep an eye on this hothead Mr. Fitzpatrick—he's coming back into the story later on.
The next morning, Partridge starts joking with Tom about two women who arrived at the inn in the middle of the night looking for him. He seems to think that these women were yet another in Tom's string of booty calls. But Tom hears about them and realizes—OMG! Of all the bad luck—Sophia was just here, at this very inn. And now, she must know about his affair with Mrs. Waters!
Tom despairs: how will Sophia ever forgive him for sleeping with another woman (again)? And how will he even find Sophia now that she has run away to London?
Tom continues his wandering ways and finally reaches London. It takes him a little while to figure out where Sophia is staying, but all of his searching attracts the attention of someone else: Lady Bellaston, Sophia's fashionable older lady relative. Lady Bellaston hears of Tom's famous attractiveness and immediately starts scheming to seduce him. As for Tom, he realizes that Lady Bellaston has regular access to Sophia, so it would be smart of him to keep her happy. Tom has sex with Lady Bellaston and quickly becomes her kept man. It is Lady Bellaston who supports Tom financially while he is living in London.
In the last chapter of Book 13, Tom finally sees Sophia again. It happens completely by chance: Tom arrives at Lady Bellaston's house at her invitation. She's running a little late, so he waits in the drawing room. Sophia arrives home unexpectedly early and finds Tom standing there. Tom throws himself to his knees and apologizes to her for Mrs. Waters. He swears that she means nothing to him. Sophia forgives him, but the basic problem is still there: Squire Western will never let Sophia marry a poor, low-born man like Tom.
To make matters worse, Lady Bellaston arrives and interrupts their reunion. (Awkward.) All three of them—Tom, Sophia, and Lady Bellaston—pretend that Tom is a stranger on an errand. Lady Bellaston immediately suspects that Tom has been seeing Sophia behind her back, but she doesn't confront him about it directly. She's furious, but she keeps her jealousy and resentment tightly hidden.
And now, things get really ugly. Lady Bellaston may act like she is fine with the ongoing Tom-Sophia drama, but secretly she wants to get Sophia out of her way. Lady Bellaston knows that there is a wealthy nobleman, Lord Fellamar, who is extremelyinterested in Sophia. So she pulls Lord Fellamar aside and recommends to him that the only way that Lord Fellamar will be able to get Sophia to marry him is by raping her first. If he forces himself on Sophia, she will have to marry him.
Lord Fellamar agrees to Lady Bellaston's horrible scheme, and Lady Bellaston makes sure that he and Sophia are in a room alone together so that he can proceed with the plan. But just as Lord Fellamar is trying to assault Sophia, Squire Western arrives on the scene. (That is unexpected!) He doesn't put together that anything has been happening between Lord Fellamar and Sophia. Instead, he just starts up again with his usual you-will-marry-Mr.-Blifil-no-matter-how-you-feel nonsense. Squire Western insults Lord Fellamar for hoping to marry Sophia, and drags his daughter off to his inn.
Now that Squire Western has finally found his daughter, he only has one thing on his mind: getting her married to Mr. Blifil right away, before another disaster falls. When Tom hears that Squire Western has found Sophia and that Mr. Blifil and Squire Allworthy are on their way to London, he despairs: Squire Western will probably try to marry Sophia and Mr. Blifil in the city to seal the deal as soon as possible. The future of the Tom-Sophia relationship appears about as bleak as can be.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Western arrives at Squire Western's inn in London to find Sophia locked up. She yells at Squire Western for being an idiot and for treating Sophia so violently. She demands that Sophia come with her to her inn. Mrs. Western swears that, under her care, Sophia will get married. Squire Western finally agrees to let Sophia go, and Mrs. Western takes her away. Now, Sophia is no longer in a locked room (good!). But, she does have a new and deeply horrible problem. (Not good…)
Sophia's new difficulty is: Mrs. Western has gone to speak to Lady Bellaston. Mrs. Western hears all about Lord Fellamar, and she is very impressed with the idea of a niece of hers marrying a rich nobleman. So instead of forcing Sophia to marry the hateful Mr. Blifil, Mrs. Western starts lobbying for Sophia to marry her almost-rapist, Lord Fellamar.
At this point, it seems like Lady Bellaston just doesn't want any other woman to have Tom. So besides egging on Mrs. Western to make sure that Sophia marries Lord Fellamar, Lady Bellaston also comes up with a crazy scheme to get Tom out of England altogether. She wants Lord Fellamar to kidnap Tom and throw him on a navy ship bound for anywhere-but-here. (This may seem like an absolutely insane idea, but it is slightly less insane in the eighteenth century when press-ganging still happened. For more on this, check out our "Detailed Summary" of Book 16, Chapter 8.) Lord Fellamar agrees, and hires a gang of guys to do his dirty work.
Tom has yet another horrible piece of bad luck: he bumps into Mr. Fitzpatrick—you remember, that hothead looking for his wife who caught Tom in bed with Mrs. Waters at the inn at Upton? Well, that same Mr. Fitzpatrick sees Tom in London, assumes that Tom is sleeping with Mrs. Fitzpatrick (which Tom still isn't), and attacks Tom. The two fight, and Tom stabs Mr. Fitzpatrick. The gang hired by Lord Fellamar sees this duel going down, catches Tom, and drags him to a local judge. They swear that (a) Mr. Fitzpatrick is certainly going to die, and (b) Tom should definitely be deported as a convict. With the evidence of this gang, the judge throws Tom in prison for murder.
No jury will believe Tom with Lord Fellamar's minions testifying against him. Tom is sure that he'll be executed. But then, a really surprising guest arrives: Mrs. Waters. She promises Tom that Mr. Fitzpatrick is on the mend; he is definitely going to live. What's more, Mr. Fitzpatrick has been telling everybody honestly that he started the duel with Tom, and not the other way around. So Tom can stop worrying about being convicted for a murder that wasn't even really a murder, it turns out.
Things must be looking up for Tom, right? Not so fast. Partridge comes by the prison to chat with Tom. He sees Mrs. Waters leaving Tom's cell and is completely shocked. Why is Partridge so shocked? Because he recognizes that "Mrs. Waters" is none other than Jenny Jones—you know, the girl from way back in Book One who is actually Tom's birth mother (according to all the village gossip, anyway). Partridge has to bring Tom the bad news that he totally slept with his own mom. Tom is beyond revolted with himself. He feels genuine disgust that this is what his loose attitude towards sex has brought him, especially since he really can't woo Sophia now, what with the whole accidental incest thing.
Meanwhile, Squire Allworthy and Mr. Blifil have arrived in London and are following the gossip about Tom's murder charge closely. Squire Allworthy receives a visit from Partridge with good news and bad news: the good news is, Tom's off the hook for murder. The bad news is, Tom might have slept with his own mother. Luckily, Mrs. Waters arrives just in time to explain everything to Squire Allworthy.
Mrs. Waters is Jenny Jones, but she is not Tom's birth mom (thank god). Tom's real mother was Bridget Allworthy, the squire's sister, who slept with a young friend of Squire Allworthy's named Mr. Summer. When Squire Allworthy traveled to London all those many years ago, Bridget paid Jenny Jones and her mother to help cover up her pregnancy. Bridget had always meant to tell Squire Allworthy the truth, but then Squire Allworthy took to Tom right away without even knowing Tom's real parentage. So Bridget started thinking it was not urgent for her to tell her brother the details of her shame—after all, he would take care of Tom either way.
That's not the only bombshell Mrs. Waters reveals in this conversation. She also explains that a lawyer working for Mr. Blifil has been going around trying to bribe people involved in Tom's case to testify against him for murder. The lawyer himself, Mr. Dowling, soon appears and confirms that Mr. Blifil has been working against Tom all of this time. Mr. Blifil found out that Tom is his half-brother when he intercepted that letter from Bridget meant for Squire Allworthy back near the beginning of this summary. Ever since then, he has been doing his best turn Squire Allworthy against Tom, since he doesn't want Tom to have any of Squire Allworthy's money.
So now, we know all. Tom is still not a legitimate son, since he was born to Bridget before she got married. But he is also a blood relation of Squire Allworthy's. Squire Allworthy feels so terrible about the way that he has been manipulated by Mr. Blifil that he immediately decides to disinherit him and adopt Tom as his legal heir. After a lot of convincing, Sophia also forgives Tom for being a womanizer. Tom really does seem to turn over a new leaf on that front, after his close brush with incest: he promises to be faithful to Sophia and the two get married and settle down to live happily ever after back on their country estates in southwestern England.
Book 1, Chapter 1
The Introduction to the Work, or Bill of Fare to the Feast
- An author needs to think of himself as a restaurant owner and not as a rich guy handing out treats to the masses.
- When a rich person gives donations to poor people, he expects that they'll take whatever he wants to give them.
- They can't criticize him for the quality of his gift, because he has all the power.
- But restaurant owners have paying customers who will complain if they don't like what they're served.
- So restaurant owners give their customers menus to let them know: this is what I have to offer; please buy my stuff—I swear you'll like it!
- Similarly, with novels, people will read what they want to read, and they'll complain if they don't get what they want.
- The narrator is going to imitate real-life restaurant owners by giving us (the readers) a menu of what we can expect from the novel to come.
- If we know what to expect, we'll be less likely to complain as we read the book.
- And here's what is on the menu for Tom Jones: "human nature" (1.1.4).
- The narrator is positive that we won't get bored consuming a story about human nature, since people are so weird and varied that it's sure to be fun to read.
- He also plans to talk about all social levels, to go from the lowest natures to the highest.
- If this menu sounds good to you, then keep reading the novel (suggests the narrator).
Book 1, Chapter 2
A Short Description of Squire Allworthy, and a Fuller Account of Miss Bridget Allworthy His Sister
- As you might expect from his name—Allworthy, so, worthy of everything—Squire Allworthy is an awesome guy.
- He lives on an estate in Somersetshire (now usually just called Somerset), in southwestern England.
- He is honest, smart, healthy, and good-hearted.
- He is also really, really rich.
- He was married to a very nice woman when he was younger.
- They had three children, but none of them lived to adulthood.
- Then, tragically, his wife also died.
- Squire Allworthy never married again.
- He lives with his sister, Bridget Allworthy.
- Bridget is an "old maid" (1.2.3)—she is single and (supposedly) beyond the age where it is possible for her to get married.
Book 1, Chapter 3
An Odd Accident Which Befel Mr. Allworthy, at His Return Home. The Decent Behaviour of Mrs. Deborah Wilkins, With Some Proper Animadversions on Bastards
- (An "animadversion" is a negative comment or criticism of something. Use it and you'll sound uber-impressive.)
- Squire Allworthy has just spent almost three months in London on business.
- He arrives back at home completely exhausted.
- But when he goes to bed, he finds a baby wrapped up in his sheets.
- He immediately calls for one of his servants, a lady named Mrs. Deborah Wilkins. (The "Mrs." just means she's older; she's not married.)
- Mrs. Wilkins wants Squire Allworthy to hunt down the shameless mother of the child. She must be an awful sinner, to go around having sex and babies without a husband (says Mrs. Wilkins).
- Mrs. Wilkins also thinks that the baby isn't worth much, since he is a bastard (a child born outside of marriage).
- Squire Allworthy pays no attention to Mrs. Wilkins's harsh words.
- He thinks the baby is super cute, and he tells Mrs. Wilkins to go and hire a nurse for him ASAP.
- Mrs. Wilkins takes the child for the night.
- All of her dark judgments about bastards seem to melt away, since the baby is so sweet.
Book 1, Chapter 4
The Reader's Neck Brought Into Danger by a Description; His Escape; and the Great Condescension of Miss Bridget Allworthy
- Mr. Allworthy's house is both grand and comfortable.
- It's set in the middle of a large park.
- There are villages on his estate (which means that he's making some money off the rents his tenants pay for their land).
- It is a nice May morning, and Squire Allworthy stands looking out from the top of a hill on his property.
- He's feeling good about himself because he is about to do good to a fellow human being.
- Now we have to climb down from the heights of the narrator's description of Squire Allworthy's hill to the breakfast table, where the plot continues.
- Squire Allworthy goes in to eat with his sister.
- He tells Bridget he has a present for her.
- Mrs. Wilkins brings in the baby.
- Bridget is shocked, of course, but she likes the baby right away.
- At the same time, she has nothing good to say about the kid's (absent) mother, whom she calls an "impudent slut" (1.4.12). Whoa, there.
- They try to figure out who the mother could possibly be.
- Mrs. Wilkins decides to go snoop around the village to find out.
- Bridget takes charge of the baby in the meantime.
Book 1, Chapter 5
Containing a Few Common Matters, With a Very Uncommon Observation Upon Them
- Bridget immediately gives orders for expensive nursery decorations.
- She treats the baby as though he is her own.
- But just in case people get the wrong idea, she also insists that she's only being kind because her brother insists on adopting "the little brat" (1.5.2).
- The narrator observes that Bridget often grumbles when she does what her brother wants her to do.
- In fact, most people complain when they are doing favors for others.
- We complain to remind everyone that they owe us big time for our help—even if we don't mind doing the favor in the first place.
Book 1, Chapter 6
Mrs. Wilkins Is Introduced into the Parish With a Simile. A Short Account of Jenny Jones, With the Difficulties and Discouragements Which May Attend Young Women in the Pursuit of Learning
- Because Mrs. Wilkins is a servant to Squire Allworthy, she likes to bully the people even lower down than she is on the social ladder. What a sweetie.
- As she swoops into Squire Allworthy's village, all the poor residents hide themselves from her.
- She goes straight to the house of an elderly woman in the village.
- Together, the two of them try to figure who among the girls in the village might be the mother of this baby.
- They decide that it must be Jenny Jones.
- Mrs. Wilkins remembers that Jenny Jones has been spending a lot of time at Squire Allworthy's house lately.
- In fact, she was there the day before Squire Allworthy returned home! (This must be suspicious!)
- Mrs. Wilkins demands to see Jenny.
- She accuses Jenny of being the mother of a bastard.
- Jenny admits that she is the one who left the baby in Squire Allworthy's bed.
- The villagers (who have all gathered around to watch the commotion) join Mrs. Wilkins in shouting insults at Jenny Jones.
- Mrs. Wilkins rushes to tell Squire Allworthy the news.
- (In addition to being a wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy is also the local magistrate (a "magistrate" is a small-time, local judge).
- So Mrs. Wilkins wants Squire Allworthy to treat Jenny Jones as a criminal.)
- Bridget and Squire Allworthy are both shocked that Jenny is the child's mother because they have always had a good opinion of her.
- Squire Allworthy tells Mrs. Wilkins to bring Jenny to him.
- Mrs. Wilkins and the villagers want Squire Allworthy to send Jenny to a "House of Correction."
- (A "house of correction" was a kind of minimum-security prison for low-level criminal offenders, beggars, and homeless people.)
- According to English law back in the day, poor people sent to these houses of correction could be forced to work as punishment for their petty crimes.
Book 1, Chapter 7
Containing Such Grave Matter, that the Reader Cannot Laugh Once Through the Whole Chapter, Unless Peradventure He Should Laugh at the Author
- Squire Allworthy sits Jenny Jones down and starts lecturing her about her sins.
- He's not mad that Jenny left the baby to him to raise.
- In fact, Squire Allworthy thinks that's a good sign that Jenny wants what's best for her child.
- But he does scold her for having sex before marriage.
- Squire Allworthy reminds her that what she has done is a sin according to strict Christian faith.
- Also, sex before marriage had terrible social consequences back in the day.
- Jenny might find it impossible to make an honest living or to hang out with decent people now that everyone knows her shame.
- Squire Allworthy assures Jenny that he's only telling her all of this so she understands the seriousness of what she has done.
- He doesn't want to make her despair.
- Squire Allworthy hopes that Jenny can still live a good, virtuous life as long as she feels truly sorry for her past sins.
- Squire Allworthy wants to know who the man was who seduced Jenny and then abandoned her.
- Jenny replies that she has absolutely, 100% promised not to explain the details of the baby's father.
- Anyway, he is nowhere nearby, so Squire Allworthy will never have to meet him.
- Squire Allworthy is impressed with Jenny's honor in refusing to give up the man's name.
- He promises Jenny that he will find a way to move her out of the area so that she can start again, away from the slut-shaming of her fellow villagers.
Book 1, Chapter 8
A Dialogue Between Mesdames Bridget, and Deborah; Containing More Amusement, but Less Instruction Than the Former
- Bridget and Mrs. Wilkins sit listening at the keyhole while Squire Allworthy is talking to Jenny Jones.
- Mrs. Wilkins is shocked that Squire Allworthy doesn't insist on hearing the name of the father of Jenny's child.
- Bridget scolds Mrs. Wilkins for snooping into other people's business (which is rich, given that she's also listening at the keyhole).
- (If you want an analysis of the language Fielding uses to describe Bridget's face during this scene, check out our "Tone" section.)
- Bridget insists that Jenny Jones has behaved well through this whole thing.
- Mrs. Wilkins quickly agrees with Bridget.
- Inside, Mrs. Wilkins is a bit surprised at Bridget's strong defense of Jenny's character.
- Still, Mrs. Wilkins knows it's a bad idea to disagree with her boss.
Book 1, Chapter 9
Containing Matters Which Will Surprize the Reader
- When the villagers all think that Jenny Jones is going to a house of correction, they pity her.
- But as soon as they find out that Squire Allworthy isn't going to punish her, everyone turns against her again.
- As promised, Squire Allworthy makes it possible for Jenny Jones to leave the area.
- But in Jenny Jones's absence, the gossip all turns against Squire Allworthy.
- Most people now believe that he is the father of Jenny Jones's child, and some even imply that he may have had her killed. Yikes.
- Of course, Squire Allworthy is so obviously a good and innocent man that these nasty rumors don't really make trouble for him.
- The narrator stops for a second to comment that Squire Allworthy made the right decision in giving Jenny Jones a fresh start somewhere else.
- Jenny now has a great opportunity to learn from her mistake and live as a decent woman again (according to the social rules of her time), which not many women with bad reputations get.
Book 1, Chapter 10
The Hospitality of Allworthy; With a Short Sketch of the Characters of Two Brothers, a Doctor, and a Captain, Who Were Entertained By That Gentleman
- Squire Allworthy loves having guests, especially guests who are also students and scholars.
- Squire Allworthy also often financially supports people who are both smart and in need.
- For example, he sponsors a guy named Dr. Blifil.
- Dr. Blifil is rigidly religious (-seeming, at least), which Squire Allworthy likes.
- Someone else who likes Dr. Blifil? Bridget Allworthy.
- In fact, the two of them get along like a house on fire.
- Dr. Blifil would like to marry Bridget but (sadly) he is already married—and Squire Allworthy knows it, so Dr. Blifil can't pretend his wife doesn't exist.
- So Dr. Blifil decides to call in his brother, who can marry Bridget instead (and cash in on her money!).
- The younger Blifil, a captain in the army, is a bully.
- His father wanted him to be a priest, but that idea apparently did not appeal to younger Captain Blifil.
- Now that Captain Blifil has been booted out of the army, he has returned to reading the Bible.
- Dr. Blifil may not like his brother much, but he'd rather see his brother marry Bridget than anybody else.
- So Dr. Blifil invites Captain Blifil to Squire Allworthy's house.
- And Dr. Blifil also passes on some tips to his little brother about how to win Bridget's heart.
Book 1, Chapter 11
Containing Many Rules, and Some Examples, Concerning Falling in Love: Descriptions of Beauty, and Other More Prudential Inducements to Matrimony
- Bridget quickly falls in love with Captain Blifil.
- Bridget doesn't care about her new man's looks.
- (In fact, Captain Blifil is not an attractive guy; the narrator's description makes him sound like an orangutan.)
- Bridget likes that she can talk comfortably to Captain Blifil.
- As for Captain Blifil, he likes Bridget's money. So romantic.
- Captain Blifil is so in love with Squire Allworthy's estates that he would have married them directly if he could have.
- He's happy to take Bridget if it means he gets a claim to Squire Allworthy's property in the bargain.
- After all, Squire Allworthy has no children and no plans to marry again.
- So all of his property would go to any children Bridget might have.
Book 1, Chapter 12
Containing What the Reader May, Perhaps, Expect to Find In It
- Less than a month after all of this courting, Captain Blifil and Bridget elope together.
- Dr. Blifil then goes to break the news to Squire Allworthy.
- Squire Allworthy is surprisingly okay with the whole thing: he believes that people should marry for love. (Revolutionary, right?)
- He goes off on a long sermon:
- (a) Beauty is a nice thing, but it's wrong to marry for beauty alone.
- (b) While money is important, it's still wrong to get married just for money.
- Dr. Blifil listens quietly to all of this, even though he doesn't always agree—he's smart enough to know when to shut up and listen to the guy who pays his bills.
Book 1, Chapter 13
Which Concludes the First Book; With an Instance of Ingratitude, Which, We Hope, Will Appear Unnatural
- Dr. Blifil tells his brother that he has smoothed things over with Squire Allworthy.
- Everything is all ready for Captain and the new Mrs. Blifil to make up with the Squire.
- But it's not like Captain Blifil is going to be grateful to his brother for his help.
- (That would be way too logical and kind for the people in this book).
- Once Captain Blifil and Bridget have returned to Squire Allworthy's house, Captain Blifil makes it his new job to get rid of his brother.
- Now that he's made his fortune, he doesn't want Dr. Blifil somehow horning in.
- He starts treating Dr. Blifil like garbage, and everyone in the household notices this sudden change.
- Finally, Dr. Blifil can't stand the Captain's constant rudeness.
- So Dr. Blifil leaves Squire Allworthy's house and dies, broken-hearted and alone, in the city.
- It turns out that Captain Blifil has always kind of hated his brother.
- Captain Blifil is jealous of his brother's smarts, which makes him work to get rid of Dr. Blifil—permanently.
Book 2, Chapter 1
Showing What Kind of History This Is; What It Is Like, and What It Is Not Like
- The narrator may call this novel a "history" (2.1.1) of Tom Jones.
- But he promises that it's not one of those boring histories that try to set down Every. Single. Detail. of their subject's lives.
- If nothing happens for months or even years, he's just going to skim over those sections of story (which is lucky for us, since this book is nine hundred pages long as it is!).
- The narrator is just here to report the characters' actions.
- So the narrator has no control over how long or complex this book is going to be—it's up to the characters to work those issues out. (Yeah. Right.)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Religious Cautions Against Showing Too much Favour to Bastards; and a Great Discovery Made By Mrs. Deborah Wilkins
- Eight months after Captain Blifil and Bridget Allworthy get married, Bridget has a baby boy.
- Squire Allworthy is excited about his new nephew.
- He also loves the little baby that Jenny Jones left for him, whom he calls Tom.
- Squire Allworthy thinks his nephew and little Tom should be raised together.
- Captain Blifil doesn't think much of this idea.
- In fact, he thinks that little Tom should be punished for the crime of being born outside of marriage (as though baby Tom has any say in the behavior of his parents, right?).
- Squire Allworthy tells Captain Blifil it's pretty immoral to want to punish a child for its parents' sins.
- Obviously, Captain Blifil is mainly worried that Squire Allworthy will leave his money to Tom instead of baby Blifil in his will.
- Mrs. Wilkins, meanwhile, is 100% sure that she has figured out the secret father of Tom.
Book 2, Chapter 3
The Description of a Domestic Government Founded Upon Rules Directly Contrary to Those of Aristotle
- So, we're jumping back to Jenny Jones.
- Remember how she used to live with the local schoolteacher (Mr. Partridge) and his wife (Mrs. Partridge) as a servant?
- Well, Mr. Partridge has taught her all the Latin and literature that he knows.
- And Jenny Jones has long since outdone him in terms of smarts.
- (In the words of Darth Vader, Jenny Jones was "but a learner. Now [she is] the master." Except with fewer light sabers.)
- Jenny Jones isn't pretty, so Mrs. Partridge has never been suspicious of her closeness to Mr. Partridge.
- That is, until a couple of years have passed and Mrs. Partridge can't keep her jealousy at bay any longer.
- One night, when Mr. Partridge uses terrible Latin to ask Jenny for something to drink, Mrs. Partridge flies off the handle.
- She believes that Jenny and Mr. Partridge are talking about love right in front of her face (since she can't understand Latin).
- So she fires Jenny Jones on the spot, and boots her out of the Partridges' house.
- Jenny Jones packs up her stuff and goes home.
- Secretly, Mr. Partridge is happy that his wife has sacked Jenny Jones.
- Jenny is so much smarter than he is that he has been getting jealous of her.
- Now, he doesn't have to see her any more, and be reminded of how pathetic his own tiny brain is.
Book 2, Chapter 4
Containing One of the Most Bloody Battles, or Rather Duels, That Were Ever Recorded in Domestic History
- Mrs. Partridge is super-moody usually.
- But for some reason, after firing Jenny Jones, she doesn't lose her temper seriously for months.
- This makes Mr. Partridge worry that she is building up to something big.
- Mrs. Partridge goes one day to the local chandler's shop (a chandler is a candle-maker).
- It's at this chandler shop that Mrs. Partridge hears the (totally untrue) rumor that Jenny is the mother of two bastards.
- Mrs. Partridge's jealousy flares up again.
- Mrs. Partridge goes home and physically attacks Mr. Partridge in rage, sure that he is the father of one or both of Jenny Jones's (supposed) bastards.
- Mr. Partridge tries to catch her arms so that she will stop beating him.
- Mrs. Partridge bursts into tears and faints.
- Mr. Partridge runs out into the street shouting for help because he thinks his wife is dying.
- A crowd of women rush back to the house with him.
- Mrs. Partridge wakes up and starts shouting that Mr. Partridge has been beating her.
- Mr. Partridge is totally shocked—he hadn't hit her even once.
- And all the blood on Mrs. Partridge actually comes from Mr. Partridge.
- But all of the sympathy of the crowd goes to Mrs. Partridge.
- Finally, the crowd leaves and Mr. and Mrs. Partridge are alone once more.
- (Incidentally, the narrator plays this scene of domestic violence for ha-has in this chapter.
- He clearly thinks it's really funny to see a woman beating up her husband. But we actually feel that this is a sign of how different current values are from those in Fielding's day. Mrs. Partridge actually wounds and injures Mr. Partridge until she draws blood.
- That is abuse, and it's seriously not funny. No matter what Henry Fielding thinks.)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Containing Much Matter to Exercise the Judgment and Reflection of the Reader
- Mrs. Wilkins hears the gossip that Mr. Partridge is the father of Jenny Jones's baby.
- She passes this rumor on to Captain Blifil, since she knows he wants little Tom kicked out of Squire Allworthy's household.
- Captain Blifil eventually figures out a way to bring up this rumor in conversation with Squire Allworthy.
- The two of them, Captain Blifil and Squire Allworthy, are arguing about whether it's really necessary to be charitable.
- Captain Blifil claims that the New Testament doesn't truly saythatChristians should help people in need.
- Squire Allworthy answers that he thinks the whole point of Christianity is to be charitable.
- In fact, the greatest act of charity is to give away something that you really want for yourself.
- In the middle of this discussion, Captain Blifil mentions the "worthless fellow" (2.5.19) Partridge, who is (supposedly) the father of little Tom Jones.
- Squire Allworthy asks Mrs. Wilkins to confirm what Captain Blifil says: that Partridge is Tom's father.
- She says yes.
- So Squire Allworthy decides to call Mr. Partridge in to ask him about this whole affair.
Book 2, Chapter 6
The Trial of Partridge, the Schoolmaster, for Incontinency; the Evidence of His Wife; a Short Reflection on the Wisdom of Our Law; With Other Grave Matters, Which Those Will Like Best Who Understand Them Most
(First off, a note on the chapter title: these days, "incontinence" now usually means uncontrollable peeing. Back in the day, incontinence meant moral lack of control, and often, more specifically, sexual lack of control. We don't want there to be any confusion about what Mr. Partridge is on trial for.)
- Mrs. Wilkins brings Mr. Partridge to Squire Allworthy to be judged.
- Mrs. Partridge comes too, as a witness.
- (Remember, Squire Allworthy is the local magistrate, which means he's the voice of the law in the neighborhood.)
- In front of Squire Allworthy, Mrs. Partridge shouts that her husband is a drunk who cheats on her all the time, and she is absolutely sure of it.
- Mr. Partridge has no idea how to respond to his wife's paranoid lies. (Poor guy.)
- Squire Allworthy sends for Jenny Jones to help decide this case.
- A messenger eventually returns, saying that Jenny Jones is no longer in the area at all; she has run away with an army officer.
- Squire Allworthy now decides that Jenny is, indeed, "a slut" (2.6.16).
- So he resolves that what Mrs. Partridge says must also be true. (Not logical, but whatever.)
- Squire Allworthy declares that Mr. Partridge is officially guilty of being the father of Jenny's bastard.
- He also stops Mr. Partridge's annual salary of 10 pounds a year. In spite of his legal decision, Squire Allworthy secretly sends the Partridges money.
- Even though he has to come down hard in public on crime in his neck of the woods, he feels bad for these two.
- So he helps them out on the sly.
- Eventually, everyone sees the Partridges in terrible financial trouble.
- So now, they feel bad for Mr. Partridge and turn against Squire Allworthy's "cruelty" (2.6.25).
- Mrs. Partridge dies of smallpox, and Mr. Partridge leaves the neighborhood.
Book 2, Chapter 7
A Short Sketch of that Felicity Which Prudent Couples May Extract From Hatred; With a Short Apology for Those People Who Over-look Imperfections in Their Friends
- So Captain Blifil has ruined Mr. Partridge's life, but he still hasn't succeeded in getting Tom thrown out of Squire Allworthy's house.
- As Squire Allworthy's fatherly love for little Tom grows, Captain Blifil gets more and more bitter.
- And Captain Blifil's marriage is also turning sour. Serve him right, huh?
- He and Bridget cannot agree on issues of religion, and both of them argue about it so much that they now really despise each other.
- In private, Captain Blifil and Bridget absolutely love to torment and hurt each other.
- But they always try to keep their arguments away from Squire Allworthy, since they don't want him to be unhappy with them.
- Squire Allworthy knows that there is tension in his sister's marriage (he's not stupid, after all).
- But he doesn't realize exactly how bad Captain Blifil truly is.
Book 2, Chapter 8
A Receipt to Regain the Lost Affections of a Wife, Which Hath Never Been Known to Fail in the Most Desperate Cases
- Since Captain Blifil hates both his wife and Squire Allworthy, his happiest times are when he is alone.
- He likes to go for walks and dream about what he will do with Squire Allworthy's money once the squire dies.
- But in the middle of one of these long fantasies about Squire Allworthy's money, it's Captain Blifil who suddenly dies.
- (He dies of "apoplexy," which is an old school term for a stroke.)
- So all of Captain Blifil's (hateful) dreams have been for nothing.
- He forgot to remember that luck is a factor in all plans.
Book 2, Chapter 9
A Proof of the Infallibility of the Foregoing Receipt, In the Lamentations of the Widow, With Other Suitable Decorations of Death, Such as Physicians, &c. and an Epitaph in the True Stile"
- Squire Allworthy, Bridget, and a guest all gather around for dinner at the usual time.
- Captain Blifil (of course) does not come to the table.
- Everyone is surprised, because he is usually on time to meals.
- Bridget starts weeping and imagining that he has been murdered.
- (The guest is a good friend of Bridget's and knows exactly how she really feels about Captain Blifil. But she goes along with Bridget's hysterics and tries to soothe her.)
- The servants come in with Captain Blifil's unconscious body.
- Squire Allworthy begins to cry and Bridget faints.
- They call in a couple of doctors.
- Captain Blifil is already beyond their help.
- When Bridget wakes up from her faint, the doctors rush over to take her pulse and generally make it obvious that they are Doing Work (since they want to get paid).
- The doctors quickly convince Bridget that she is sick (even though she isn't).
- Bridget spends a whole month under their "treatment."
- After this, she begins appearing in public again looking much the same, but dressed in black for mourning.
- Squire Allworthy sets up a tombstone with an epitaph that really proves how little he knew Captain Blifil.
- The tombstone tells us that Captain Blifil was a good man greatly beloved by his wife.
Book 3, Chapter 1
Containing Little Or Nothing
- (Favorite. Chapter title. Ever. And it's pretty accurate.)
- The reason this chapter contains "little or nothing" is because it skims over twelve years in the lives of our main characters.
- The narrator asks us to imagine Squire Allworthy's sadness at the death of his friend, Captain Blifil.
- The narrator also wants us to picture Bridget's close attention to the social rules in mourning her husband publicly.
- (Whether there is any real substance or feeling behind that show of mourning, we'll leave up to you guys to decide.)
- Finally, our actual hero, Tom Jones, has reached fourteen years old.
- And now, we are going to restart the story with him at the center.
Book 3, Chapter 2
The Heroe of This Great History Appears With Very Bad Omens. A Little Tale, of SO LOW a Kind, That Some May Think It Not Worth Their Notice. A Word or Two Concerning a Squire, and More Relating to a Gamekeeper, and a Schoolmaster
- The narrator has to be honest: Tom Jones is a bit of a rascal.
- Tom is mischievous and likes to steal small things (toys, apples, ducks—but who doesn'twant to steal a waterfowl or two, amirite?).
- What makes Tom seem even worse is that he is always being compared to Squire Allworthy's well-behaved nephew, Master Blifil.
- (Boys in high-class English families traditionally get called "Master" until they reach adulthood, even by lower-class people who are much older than they are.)
- All the people in the neighborhood can't understand why Squire Allworthy keeps raising naughty Tom alongside saintly Master Blifil.
- Won't Tom's evil ways rub off on Master Blifil?
- Tom basically has no friends among Squire Allworthy's servants except an old gamekeeper, George Seagrim (also called Black George).
- (It's the job of the gamekeeper to protect birds and wildlife on someone's estate. Of course, the purpose of this protection is generally so that lords and ladies have something to hunt on their protected lands. In a way, this job seems a little self-defeating: to protect animals so that someone else can shoot them. But that's the eighteenth century for you.)
- Black George is also a bit of a thief, like Tom.
- In fact, a lot of Tom's thieving has been on behalf of Black George and his family, but Tom has always taken the whole blame.
- All of this back-story is a set-up to show one episode of Tom's "bad" behavior.
- Tom and Black George chase a couple of partridges onto a neighboring estate.
- Even though they are on someone else's property, Tom and Black George shoot at these partridges, and Tom hits one.
- The neighbor hears the shot and comes running.
- Black George quickly hides, but Tom stands his ground.
- The neighbor sees that Tom has (supposedly) stolen one of his partridges and drags the kid to Squire Allworthy.
- The neighbor is sure that there was another man with Tom, and demands to know who his friend was.
- Squire Allworthy tries to push Tom into snitching on Black George.
- Tom refuses, so the next morning, Squire Allworthy turns Tom over to his tutor, Mr. Thwackum.
- Mr. Thwackum beats Tom horribly to make him confess who his fellow shooter was.
- But even though Tom is in terrible pain, he refuses to speak.
- Squire Allworthy decides that Tom must be telling the truth.
- He apologizes to Tom for this brutal punishment, and gives him a little horse to make him feel better.
- Mr. Thwackum wants to keep hitting Tom to make him confess.
- But Squire Allworthy refuses: either Tom is telling the truth, or he is holding out because he believes that it's the honorable thing to do.
- Mr. Thwackum gets into an argument with the other guest at Squire Allworthy's home about the nature of honor.
Book 3, Chapter 3
The Character of Mr. Square the Philosopher, and of Mr. Thwackum the Divine; With a Dispute Concerning —
- This person who Mr. Thwackum winds up fighting with is Mr. Square, another one of Squire Allworthy's hangers-on.
- Mr. Square reads a lot of abstract philosophy.
- He always likes to think about things like morality as theoretical problems rather than real-life issues with serious consequences.
- Mr. Square and Mr. Thwackum have totally opposite views on human nature.
- Mr. Square thinks we are all born good and go bad over our lifetimes.
- Mr. Thwackum (who is also a clergyman) thinks we are all born evil and can only be saved by God.
- So—there is pretty much no way to force these two guys to agree, since their views are so different.
- All that's left is for them to squabble all the time.
- The question they are arguing over right now is: "Can any honour exist independent of religion?" (3.3.4)
- Mr. Square says that all humans are born good, no matter what religion they belong to.
- Mr. Thwackum calls Mr. Square one of the enemies "to the true Church" (3.3.6).
- He argues that only Christians can receive divine grace from God, which means only Christians can truly have honor.
- Mr. Square replies that they obviously have different definitions of honor (oooh, snap. Oh wait, no, this argument is boring. Clearly, even the narrator thinks so, since he's not jumping in with any of his own comments.)
- Squire Allworthy thinks this whole discussion is pointless, and since when did we get to the topic of "true honour" (3.3.9) anyway?
Book 3, Chapter 4
Containing a Necessary Apology for the Author; and a Childish Incident, Which Perhaps Requires an Apology Likewise
- Hold up, the narrator says.
- Before we go any further, the narrator wants to make it clear: he's not making fun of real honor or real virtue.
- What makes Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square so worth laughing at is that they are hypocrites and liars.
- The only thing that interrupts their argument at this moment is a squabble between Master Blifil and little Tom.
- In general, Tom avoids fights with Master Blifil because he loves him and also because he knows he'll get into huge trouble if he hurts him.
- But Tom totally loses his temper when Master Blifil calls him a "beggarly bastard" (3.4.8). Oooh, burn.
- When Master Blifil runs to Squire Allworthy and Mr. Thwackum with a bloody nose, of course he fails to mention what he called Tom before the fight.
- And then, to make matters worse, Master Blifil tattles on Tom's shooting companion.
- He's the one who tells the group that it was Black George the gamekeeper who shot partridges with Tom several chapters ago.
- Squire Allworthy asks if this is true.
- Tom says that he couldn't rat out Black George, since Tom was the one who shot the partridge anyway.
- What's more, Tom had promised not to tattle, and he didn't want to cause trouble for Black George or his family by telling the truth.
- Squire Allworthy lets Tom and Master Blifil go with the warning that they should get along better together (which, spoiler alert, is clearly never going to happen).
Book 3, Chapter 5
The Opinions of the Divine and the Philosopher Concerning the Two Boys; With Some Reasons for Their Opinions, and Other Matters
- Allworthy is so impressed by Tom's protection of Black George that he stops Mr. Thwackum from hitting Tom again, in spite of Master Blifil's bloody nose.
- Both Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square agree that Master Blifil is the good boy and Tom, the bad.
- By telling nothing but the truth, they argue, Master Blifil has done his duty as a Christian.
- Squire Allworthy fires Black George from his job as gamekeeper because it's obviously pretty terrible to let a kid get beaten in your place.
- When everyone in the village hears the story, they all agree that Tom behaved well and Master Blifil behaved badly.
- But Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square both strongly prefer Master Blifil.
- Why? Because Master Blifil is a much better suck-up than Tom.
- Master Blifil flatters Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square, while Tom seems barely to pay attention to them.
- So of course they like Master Blifil better.
- Squire Allworthy originally hired both these guys to tutor his nephew and adopted-son-like-figure because they are so different.
- He thought that each of them would make up for the problems in the other's character.
- It never really occurred to Squire Allworthy that neither Mr. Thwackum nor Mr. Square would teach the kids anything.
Book 3, Chapter 6
Containing a Better Reason Still for the Before Mentioned Opinions
- There is actually another reason that Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square so clearly treat Master Blifil better than Tom.
- Both of them want to marry Bridget (you know, the now-widowed Mrs. Blifil).
- Since she must prefer her own son to Squire Allworthy's random ward, they try to suck up to her by putting down Tom.
- The two men absolutely hate each other, since both guess that the other wants to marry Bridget.
- Bridget refuses to accept either of their proposals (maybe because she is so fed up with marriage after Captain Blifil that she doesn't want to try it again.)
- But she becomes close enough to Mr. Square that people start to gossip about the two of them.
- She also starts to give out mixed signals about the whole Tom/Master Blifil comparison.
- Slowly, it becomes clear that she actually doesn't like her son all that much.
- But as Tom grows up and becomes more and more handsome and dashing, she seems fonder and fonder of him.
- In fact, by the time he's almost eighteen, the gossip puts Bridget and Tom together in some kind of affair. Yowza!
Book 3, Chapter 7
In Which the Author Himself Makes His Appearance On the Stage
- It turns out to be kind of bad for Tom that Bridget likes him so much.
- The problem is, Squire Allworthy (who usually doesn't pay attention to gossip) does notice that his sister apparently hates her own son.
- As soon as he realizes how much Bridget despises Master Blifil, he begins to feel sorry for his nephew.
- In his pity, he sees all of Master Blifil's good points magnified, and he ignores all of Master Blifil's bad points (of which there are many).
- Squire Allworthy also suddenly sees Tom as much worse than he actually is.
- And Tom doesn't help matters by being wild and rowdy all the time.
Book 3, Chapter 8
A Childish Incident, In Which, however, Is Seen a Good-Natured Disposition in Tom Jones
- Remember that little horse that Squire Allworthy gave to Tom to apologize for his unfair beating a couple of chapters ago?
- Well, Tom keeps the horse for six months and then sells him at the fair.
- When Mr. Thwackum asks what Tom has done with the money from the sale, Tom refuses to say.
- Mr. Thwackum is about to beat Tom (again, honestly, what is this guy's problem?!) when Squire Allworthy comes in.
- Squire Allworthy asks Tom about the money.
- Tom reassures Squire Allworthy that he honestly loved his little horse.
- The only reason that he sold it was because he felt so bad for this unfortunate family in the area.
- Tom is talking about the family of Black George, the gamekeeper, whom Squire Allworthy fired over the partridge incident.
- Since Black George lost his job, his family has been close to starving.
- Squire Allworthy feels bad, and tells Tom in the future to come to him when he wants to give charity.
- Afterwards, Mr. Thwackum says that Squire Allworthy should still have beaten Tom for his disobedience. (Gosh, will this guy never let anything go? Seriously.)
Book 3, Chapter 9
Containing an Incident of a More Heinous Kind, With the Comments of Thwackum and Square
- A while back, Tom sold a beautiful Bible that Squire Allworthy had given him.
- Once more, he wanted to give money to Black George's family.
- He sold it to Master Blifil (who is extremely careful with money and has plenty saved up).
- Master Blifil starts using this Bible all the time in his lessons with Mr. Thwackum.
- Of course, Mr. Thwackum notices that Master Blifil is using Tom's valuable Bible.
- Mr. Thwackum starts punishing Tom for his "sacrilege" (3.9.3).
- He thinks it's sinful that Tom has actually sold his Bible.
- Mr. Square argues that the fact that the book is a Bible should make no difference.
- And Bridget strongly agrees with him.
- In fact, she points out, if Tom has done wrong, then so has Master Blifil in buying the Bible from him.
- As soon as Bridget speaks, Mr. Thwackum shuts up, since he doesn't want to ruin his chances of marrying her.
- Squire Allworthy decides not to punish Tom for selling his Bible—he still remembers Tom's first beating on Black George's behalf.
- Together, Squire Allworthy and Tom go to Black George's house to visit his family.
- Squire Allworthy finds that Black George's wife and children are hungry and unclothed, and he feels really bad for their extreme poverty.
- As they walk away from Black George's house, Squire Allworthy considers hiring Black George back to his estate.
- Tom is so excited that he might have gotten the gamekeeper's job back that he runs back to tell Black George's wife.
- Sadly, this news is premature—there is yet more trouble waiting in the next chapter.
Book 3, Chapter 10
In Which Master Blifil and Jones Appear In Different Lights
- Master Blifil believes completely in justice, and has no sense of the importance of mercy.
- He really wants to see the gamekeeper punished, since he is, technically, a lawbreaker.
- It turns out that, about a year ago, the gamekeeper killed a single hare on Squire Western's property.
- The man he sold it to later got into some trouble of his own with Squire Western.
- In order to reduce his problems with Squire Western, this man points to Black George as the main poacher of the area.
- This man wants to hide the identities of his real, much more successful clients while still seeming to cooperate with Squire Western.
- So Black George gets a serious, official conviction for poaching from Squire Western, all based on one hare that he killed while his family was starving.
- Now, back in the present day, Squire Allworthy comes home from seeing the gamekeeper's family.
- Master Blifil (the little rat) pulls Squire Allworthy aside and tells him that Squire Western has also convicted the gamekeeper of poaching.
- Squire Allworthy resolves that he can't hire Black George as a gamekeeper after all.
- So then, Tom comes home, having just told the gamekeeper's wife that Squire Allworthy is going to give her husband his job back.
- And he finds Squire Allworthy furious at Black George once again.
- Tom decides that he has to try to get Black George another job, as gamekeeper to Squire Western.
- Tom is popular with Squire Western, since Tom is a great sportsman.
- (In eighteenth-century England, this means he's fantastic at riding and hunting with hounds.)
- And Tom also decides to see if he can get sympathy for Black George from Squire Western's seventeen-year old daughter.
Book 4, Chapter 1
Containing Five Pages of Paper
- The narrator insists that this history is not like earlier romance stories, which often seem like products of the author's drunken fantasies.
- (If Fielding were alive today, we think he would call this an example of a work "always attended with a tankard of good ale" (4.1.1)—because only alcohol can explain the plot.)
- Still, this is a very longnovel, and the narrator admits that he needs to liven things up sometimes.
- In the epic tradition of Homer (see our list of "Allusions" for more on this guy), the hero (or in this case, heroine) of the tale only appears after some kind of dramatic announcement.
- Trumpets should sound or someone should throw out flowers to announce the arrival of our new main character.
- The narrator isn't exactly going to go with trumpets.
- But it is his plan to announce our heroine in high literary style, as she deserves.
Book 4, Chapter 2
A Short Hint of What We Can Do in the Sublime, and a Description of Miss Sophia Western
- In the previous chapter, the narrator told us that he wanted to work up something suitably dramatic to introduce Sophia Western, our heroine.
- In this chapter, we find out what the narrator means when he's talking about such "poetical embellishments" (4.1.2).
- We start out this chapter with extremely formalpoetic language, of the kind we haven't seen yet in Tom Jones.
- These poetic words decoratethis chapter with extra-lovely (almost ridiculous) imagery of gods and goddesses and flowers and beauty.
- This chapter makes fun of high-toned language, with its sudden use of "thy" and "thou" instead of "your" and "you."
- The switch to constant poetic quotation sounds really stiff and awkward after all that exciting, down-to-earth stuff about bastards and poaching that we have seen in the previous chapters.
- Still, as we plow through all of this high and mighty language, we definitely get the sense that Sophie Western is smokin' hot.
- But she is more than beautiful: she is also well educated and sweet-tempered.
- In short: she is our heroine.
Book 4, Chapter 3
Wherein the History Goes Back to Commemorate a Trifling Incident That Happened Some Years Since; But Which, Trifling As it Was, Had Some Future Consequences
- Sophia is now eighteen years old.
- Her father, Squire Western, adores her.
- So when Tom is trying to get Black George a job with Squire Western, he goes to Sophia for help.
- Sophia, Tom, and Master Blifil have grown up together.
- Sophia has always preferred Tom over Master Blifil.
- We jump back a bit further in time: when Tom is just a little kid, he catches a baby bird.
- He raises the bird to sing and to be tame.
- And then he gives the bird to Sophia.
- Sophia immediately loves the tiny bird.
- She calls it "little Tommy" (4.3.8) and keeps it tied to her hand with a small string.
- One day, Master Blifil persuades Sophia to hand the bird over to him.
- And Master Blifil immediately drops the string and lets the bird fly away.
- Sophia screams, and human-Tom comes running to try and get bird-Tommy back.
- He climbs up a tree after Tommy.
- But just before Tom reaches his little bird namesake, one of the tree's branches breaks and Tom falls straight into a pond.
- Both Sophia and Master Blifil start to scream.
- The adults (including Squire Allworthy, Squire Western, and Misters Thwackum and Square) all come running.
- Tom manages to get out of the pond on his own.
- Mr. Thwackum tries to beat Tom (of course).
- But Squire Allworthy stops him so they can find out what has happened.
- Master Blifil confesses that he let Sophia's bird go and that Tom was trying to catch it.
- Master Blifil says that he suddenly felt it was wrong to keep a bird trapped that way, so he had to release it.
- Master Blifil swears that he never would have done it if he had known that it would upset Sophia so much. We're using obnoxious amounts of italics here because Master Blifil is so obnoxious.
- But anyway, says Master Blifil, he saw "little Tommy" get eaten by a hawk. So there's no getting Sophia's little bird back now.
- As soon as Sophia hears about the death of her little bird, she starts to cry.
- The boys go home, and the adults hang around to continue their conversation.
Book 4, Chapter 4
Containing Such Very Deep and Grave Matters, That Some Readers, Perhaps, May Not Relish It
- Mr. Square thinks it's a sign of Master Blifil's great moral fiber that he refuses to "confine anything […] against the law of nature" (4.4.1).
- Mr. Thwackum says that, yes, Master Blifil is great, but not because of the laws of nature.
- Mr. Thwackum believes that Master Blifil let the bird go out of his Christian religious faith.
- Both of them start their usual nature-vs.-religion arguments.
- Squire Western jumps in to say that it was wrong for Master Blifil to steal Sophia's bird
- Squire Western asks a lawyer dining with them what he thinks of this whole debate.
- The lawyer can think only in terms of whether or not a lawsuit is justified.
- He doesn't think that anyone should sue Master Blifil. (So, that's super-helpful.)
- Anyway, Squire Western raises a toast to Tom for being brave enough to try and rescue the bird.
- And Squire Allworthy carries Misters Thwackum and Square's drunk selves home in his carriage.
Book 4, Chapter 5
Containing Matter Accommodated to Every Taste
- After this whole bird incident, Sophia starts to like Tom a lot morethan Master Blifil.
- Sophia spends three years with her aunt learning how to be a young lady.
- She doesn't see much of Tom or Master Blifil during that time.
- But when Sophia returns from her aunt's and finds that Tom is almost twenty and really extremely good-looking and dashing—well, let's just say Sophia's crush is pretty intense.
- So when Tom draws her aside to say, very seriously, that he has something he wants to discuss with her, Sophia's mind jumps to all kinds of romantic ideas.
- Therefore, she's a little surprised when Tom wants to talk about Black George, the gamekeeper.
- Sophia agrees (a) to help the gamekeeper and his family as best she can, and (b) to talk to her father about a job for Black George.
- Every afternoon, once Squire Western has finished drinking, he likes to listen to his daughter play the harpsichord (which is like an old-school piano).
- That evening, Sophia makes sure to play all of his favorite songs three times over to get him into a good mood.
- Then, when he's feeling great about the world, Sophia asks Squire Western about that job for Black George.
- Squire Western agrees, and his lawyer comes over the next morning to make it final.
- Word quickly gets around the neighborhood that Tom got Black George a new job.
- Master Blifil is furious, since he despises Black George.
- Needless to say, Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square agree with Master Blifil.
- Squire Allworthy appreciates Tom's generosity towards the Seagrim family (for now).
Book 4, Chapter 6
An Apology for the Insensibility of Mr. Jones, to all the Charms of the Lovely Sophia; In Which Possibly We May, In a Considerable Degree, Lower His Character in the Estimation of Those Men of With and Gallantry, Who Approve the Heroes in Most of Our Modern Comedies
- The narrator admits that some readers may be frustrated with Tom, since he doesn't immediately fall into Sophia's waiting arms.
- Not only is she beautiful, but she's also really rich.
- So why doesn't Tom just marry her, since she really wants him to?
- The narrator explains that it's just Tom's nature.
- Tom may not always think through the differences between Good and Evil.
- But he does have basically good instincts, which lead him to do the decent thing over the sleazy thing most of the time.
- He would never marry a girl just for her money.
- And while he respects and admires Sophia Western, he is currently in love with someone else.
- That girl is Molly, the second oldest daughter of Black George, the gamekeeper.
- But Tom knows that, if he sleeps with her, her reputation will be ruined.
- So Tom is doing his best to do right by Molly.
- Molly, on the other hand, is much less worried about her virtue than Tom is.
- She immediately does her best to seduce him.
- But Molly does the seducing so subtly that Tom thinks the sex was all his idea.
- Tom is totally convinced that Molly is in love with him.
- And he wants to make sure that she is happy and well taken-care-of.
- So it's because out of respect for Molly that Tom ignores Sophia's many charms.
Book 4, Chapter 7
Being the Shortest Chapter of This Book
- Molly's mother, Goody Seagrim, soon notices that Molly appears to be, um, pregnant.
- (BTW, "Goody" is an old-fashioned way of saying "Mrs.," but specifically for poorer married women.)
- Goody Seagrim tries to hide her daughter's pregnancy by doing something very stupid.
- She dresses Molly in one of Sophia's former dresses, which Sophia gave to the Seagrim family as charity.
- Goody Seagrim's idea is that Molly should go to church in something less revealing than her usual rags.
- Molly is psyched that she gets to appear in public in much better clothes than she usually wears.
- She also adds a bunch of jewelry that Tom has given her to her outfit.
- So, by the time that Molly makes it in to church, she's looking super decked out.
- Far from fading into the background, Molly becomes doubly attention-grabbing.
- All of the women in the village immediately start gossiping about her.
Book 4, Chapter 8
A Battle Sung by the Muse in the Homerican Stile, and Which None But the Classical Reader Can Taste
- Squire Western and Sophia both attend the same church where Molly appears in her cast-off gown.
- Sophia notices that the other village women seem jealous of Molly's new clothes.
- Sophia feels sorry for Molly immediately (because the villagers obviously hate her).
- So she tells Black George she wants to hire Molly as her new maid.
- Black George isn't totally sure that's going to work out, since he knows his daughter is pregnant.
- But instead of leveling with Sophia about Molly's pregnancy, he rushes home to talk to his wife about what they should do.
- Meanwhile, the women of the village are so riled up at the sight of Molly's new dress that they actually hang back after church to throw stuff at her. (Because this is kindergarten.)
- Molly's not just going to take that kind of thing lying down: she starts throwing stuff right back.
- And since she's standing in the churchyard, the stuff that's close to hand is mostly bones from a nearby fresh grave.
- Yes. Seriously. Molly throws, like, a femur at someone. Along with a few skulls.
- This is the most ridiculously morbid girlfight ever.
- Molly's doing pretty well, as she keeps beating people with that handy thighbone she grabbed out of the ground.
- Throughout this whole ridiculous scene, the narrator keeps using really fancy classical references. (Check out our list of "Allusions" under "Homer" for more on these.)
- Molly's luck turns bad: a tough broad named Goody Brown finally grabs her by the hair and starts hitting her in the face.
- Fortunately, Tom Jones arrives before the ladies can really start damaging one another's bodies.
- Molly runs to Tom and bursts into tears, complaining (with some justice) that she has been unfairly attacked.
- Tom is so angry that he runs at the crowd with his horsewhip.
- Tom wraps Molly in his coat and escorts her home.
- He promises to come back and visit her in the evening.
Book 4, Chapter 9
Containing Matters of No Very Peaceable Colour
- Once Molly gets home, her older sister (Betty) and her mother (Goody Seagrim) start screaming at her for being pregnant.
- They both basically call her a prostitute.
- Black George arrives and explains Sophia's job offer of a maid position for Molly.
- Goody Seagrim flips out with rage at her daughter, since Molly can't take the job while pregnant.
- But Molly shushes her mother: she tells Goody Seagrim that "[her] gentleman" (4.9.4) will provide for them all.
- Molly hands her mother some money that she got from Tom that afternoon.
- Suddenly, with Tom's money in hand, Goody Seagrim changes her tune.
- Now that it doesn't seem like Molly will need that job with Sophia, Goody Seagrim starts saying mean things about Sophia's charity and high and mighty ways.
- Goody Seagrim calls Black George a "villain" (4.9.6) for passing on Sophia's job offer to them.
- Black George loses his temper, takes a switch, and whips his wife.
- This beating frightens his whole family into silence.
- Finally, as a group they decide that Goody Seagrim should approach Sophia Western.
- She will ask if Betty could take the job instead.
Book 4, Chapter 10
A Story Told by Mr. Supple, the Curate. The Penetration of Squire Western. His Great Love For His Daughter, and the Return to It Made By Her
- The next day, Tom goes hunting with Squire Western and then joins him for dinner.
- Sophia and Mr. Supple the curate (BTW, a curate is like an assistant priest in the Anglican church hierarchy) also join the party.
- Mr. Supple has gossip about Molly: after her post-church battle, an injured traveling musician went to Squire Allworthy to accuse Molly of assault.
- Once Molly arrived in front of Squire Allworthy to answer the charges, the squire saw that she is very pregnant.
- Squire Allworthy demanded to know who the father of the baby is.
- Mr. Supple left just as it seemed like Squire Allworthy was going to send Molly to a house of correction.
- Tom suddenly leaves the table with the lame excuse that he has "particular business" (4.10.10).
- After Tom takes off, Squire Western guesses that Tom is the father of Molly's bastard.
- Mr. Supple worries that, if Tom is the father, it will really turn Squire Allworthy against him.
- Sophia, of course, is totally confused—this is the first she's heard of the fact that Tom is about to be a father.
- Sophia excuses herself from the room.
- The squire drinks himself into unconsciousness with Mr. Supple (four bottles of wine between the two of them? Whoa.).
- After his little nap, Squire Western asks his daughter to play the harpsichord for him.
- But, most unusually, Sophia says she can't.
- That's how we know how upset she is at this news of Tom.
Book 4, Chapter 11
The Narrow Escape of Molly Seagrim, With Some Observations For Which We Have Been Forced to Dive Pretty Deep Into Nature
- Tom runsthe three miles from Squire Western's house to Squire Allworthy's.
- He gets there just in time to stop the servant who is taking Molly to the local house of correction.
- Tom promises Molly that he's going to take care of her.
- Tom, Molly, and the servant all head back inside to Squire Allworthy.
- Tom tells Squire Allworthy that this whole situation is his fault and he wants to take responsibility.
- Squire Allworthy sends Molly back to her parents and reads Tom the riot act for his irresponsibility and sinfulness.
- Squire Allworthy is really, genuinely angry at Tom's behavior.
- But he is also secretly proud that Tom owned up to everything so honorably.
- As usual, Tom's good points seem to balance out the bad in Squire Allworthy's opinion.
- Mr. Thwackum shouts a lot about Tom's gross behavior, which Squire Allworthy ignores.
- But Mr. Square hates Tom even more than Mr. Thwackum does.
- And he is much more subtle and intelligent than Mr. Thwackum.
- He pretends that he is disappointed in Tom's wrongdoing because it reveals that his charities to the gamekeeper's family were biased.
- In other words, Mr. Square hints to Squire Allworthy that all of those earlier crimes—the poached partridge and the sold Bible—were not the results of Tom's generosity.
- Instead, they were all about getting what Tom wanted out of Molly sexually—"a prostitution of [friendship]" (4.11.17), as Mr. Square says.
- And once Mr. Square suggests this idea to Squire Allworthy, the squire can't quite let it go.
- Squire Allworthy really begins to doubt Tom in that moment.
Book 4, Chapter 12
Containing Much Clearer Matters; But Which Flow From the Same Fountain With Those in the Preceding Chapter
- Sophia barely sleeps that night.
- When her maid, Mrs. Honour, comes in to dress Sophia in the morning, she can't stop gossiping about Molly.
- Finally, Sophia snaps at her to shut up about Molly.
- Mrs. Honour stomps off, offended.
- Sophia realizes at last that she has been falling in love with Tom.
- But she thinks this business of Molly has cured her of her feelings.
- Sadly, no—as soon as Sophia sees Tom again, her love comes rushing back.
- She does her best to force herself to stop loving Tom.
- But no matter what she does, Sophia cannot control her heart.
- So she decides to avoid him in the future.
- (This plan doesn't work out either.)
Book 4, Chapter 13
A Dreadful Accident Which Befel Sophia. The Gallant Behaviour of Jones, and the More Dreadful Consequence of that Behaviour to the Young Lady; With a Short Digression in Favor of the Fairer Sex.
- Squire Western likes to go out hunting with Sophia.
- And Sophia likes to be on hand to monitor Squire Western and to make sure he's not taking too many risks riding around the countryside.
- But she doesn't want to go hunting these days: she doesn't want to see Tom.
- Still, the hunting season is almost over, and she's about to go visit her aunt.
- So she goes out with the hunters one last time.
- But then an accident happens: Sophia's horse starts bucking, and she can barely hold on.
- Tom comes rushing up to save her.
- He grabs the horse's reins and then catches Sophia when the horse rears up and throws her from the saddle.
- In the commotion, Tom breaks his arm.
- But he is still completely gallant to Sophia.
- Sophia almost faints from (a) the sight of poor Tom's broken left arm, and (b) the sudden rush of gooey feelings she experiences for Tom.
- The other horsemen come riding up, and Sophia quickly explains Tom's injury.
- Squire Western is overjoyed that his daughter is alive and unharmed, and promises that they'll treat Tom's arm.
- Tom's rescue of Sophia also seems to awaken new feelings in Tom's heart.
- In fact, he has been noticing the "irresistible power" (4.13.14) of Sophia's charms for a while now. Daaaang.
Book 4, Chapter 14
The Arrival of a Surgeon, His Operations, and a Long Dialogue Between Sophia and Her Maid
- A doctor arrives at Squire Western's house.
- Sophia is so faint from her shock (and from her feelings for Tom) that her father insists that the doctor treat her first.
- The doctor bleeds her (in keeping with medical practice of the time). We still think that draining away blood to heal someone's sickness is the weirdest medical practice of all time.
- All this time, poor Tom has been waiting patiently with an unset arm bone.
- Once the doctor is finally finished with Sophia, he resets Tom's arm.
- The doctor also orders bed rest, so Squire Western insists that Tom stay at his house.
- Later, Mrs. Honour tells Sophia all about Tom's bravery during the bone setting. (And about the beauty of Tom's body.)
- Sophia teases Mrs. Honour about wanting Tom for herself.
- Mrs. Honour won't sayso, but she does go on for a while longer about Tom.
- He is super fit, she insists.
- But Mrs. Honour also declares that she has noticed signs that Tom has a thing for Sophia.
- Apparently, once Mrs. Honour spotted Tom putting his hands into a muff (which is a circular kind of hand covering, usually made of fur) that Sophia left on a chair.
- He kissed it and said that it was "the prettiest muff in the world" (4.14.12) (claims Mrs. Honour).
- Mrs. Honour swears that Tom told her Sophia is "a goddess" whom he will "always worship and adore" (4.14.13) as long as he breathes.
- Sophia swears Mrs. Honour to secrecy, since she doesn't want her father to know about Tom's romantic notions.
- But Sophia is veryexcited at this news.
Book 5, Chapter 1
Of the Serious in Writing, and For What Purpose It Is Introduced
- The parts of Tom Jones that the narrator finds hardest to write are the chapters at the beginning of each book, which lay out a bit of context and theory for this work as a whole.
- He has decided that his novel needs these chapters because that is what he has decided—why do we need more reason than that?
- All of these rules about what can and cannot go into drama just exist so that critics find it easier to take apart other people's work.
- The real job of the critic should be to take notes from the true judgesof artistic merit: the people who actually do the writing.
- Through the ages, though, critics have become more and more powerful.
- They do their best to impose their meaningless rules on literary form, without paying any attention to the substance of people's work.
- That's why our narrator is going to ignore all these critical rules on supposed "good writing."
- He is going to explain the reasonsfor why he is doing certain things with this novel, so that we can judge his project on our own.
- The narrator's main goal is to bring out the very beautiful by showing it in contrast with the deeply ugly.
- The possibilities for comedy in these contrasts are also endless.
- Many artists use this technique, but they don't focus on the theory of it.
- Sometimes the plot needs to slow down and get boring to set off the exciting bits even more.
- So if you hit a patch when things get very serious and dull, you can be sure that's part of the narrator's plan.
- He has to alternate the fun stuff with the less-fun (like this yawn-inducing chapter).
Book 5, Chapter 2
In Which Mr. Jones Receives Many Friendly Visits During His Confinement; With Some Fine Touches of the Passion of Love, Scarce Visible to the Naked Eye
- As Tom sits in bed waiting for his arm to heal, he gets lots of visitors.
- Squire Allworthy comes quite often, for one.
- But (unfortunately for Tom) he spends a lot of his visiting hours gently lecturing Tom on his past misdeeds.
- Mr. Thwackum also visits.
- He screams at Tom that his injury is a judgment from God of Tom's rotten character.
- Mr. Square reminds Tom that this injury has no moral implications at all. It's just, um, an injury.
- Master (now Mr., since he's grown up) Blifil comes sometimes, but never on his own.
- Mr. Blifil doesn't want Tom's bad influence to taint his own moral character. (What a little creep!)
- Squire Western also likes to hang out in Tom's sick room (regardless of how Tom is feeling or whether he is asleep or awake).
- Basically, Tom's time in bed would be an absolute nightmare, except for one thing.
- The lovely Sophia has also been keeping Tom company.
- One afternoon, she's playing music for Tom and her father.
- Squire Western launches into a long story about Tom.
- He tells Sophia that Tom wanted to put down Sophia's mare, the one that threw and almost killed her.
- Squire Western thinks that Tom wants revenge on the mare because of his own broken arm.
- But Sophia secretly realizes that Tom hates the mare because Tom hated seeing Sophia in danger.
- Tom sees Sophia blushing and figures out that she knows that he likes her.
- It dawns on Tom that he more than likes Sophia—he loves her. Aww, those crazy kids.
Book 5, Chapter 3
Which All Who Have No Heart Will Think to Contain Much Ado About Nothing
- You might think that Tom would be overjoyed to discover these new feelings for Sophia.
- You would be at least half-wrong.
- Here are Tom's problems:
- (1) He can't actually be sure that Sophia loves him. What if she just feels sorry for him, or likes him as a friend?
- (2) Even if Sophia does love Tom, what about her father? Squire Western wants to marry Sophia to a rich man. He'll never agree to let Tom—who is not well-born and has no definite status in Squire Allworthy's household—marry his beloved daughter.
- (3) If Tom can't get Squire Western's consent, maybe they could elope. But eloping would be cruel to both Sophia and Tom's guardians.
- (4) And here's the biggest difficulty: what about Molly? If Tom left her, Molly would have nobody. So after a long night of freaking out, Tom resolves to think only of Molly and to turn his back on his feelings for Sophia. (Yeah, good luck with that, Tom.)
Book 5, Chapter 4
A Little Chapter, In Which Is Contained a Little Incident
- Mrs. Honour also stops in to say hello to Tom during his recovery.
- She comes by the day after Tom's struggle over his feelings for Sophia.
- She starts chattering, as is her habit.
- Mrs. Honour tells Tom to "look a little higher than such trumpery as Molly Seagrim" (5.4.2). ("Trumpery" means something hollow or without value.)
- She asks Tom if he remembers that time when he kissed Sophia's muff? (See Book 4, Chapter 14 for the original incident in question.)
- Well, Mrs. Honour has told Sophia all about it.
- (Tom is really embarrassed to hear this, but Mrs. Honour hasn't gotten to the point of her story yet.)
- Apparently, Sophia had given the muff in question to Mrs. Honour several days earlier.
- But once Sophia hears Mrs. Honour's story about Tom kissing it, she asks for it back in exchange for a newer muff.
- Sophia holds onto the old muff and, according to Mrs. Honour, she kisses it when she thinks no one sees her.
- (This is, honestly, the strangest romantic gesture we have ever heard. But the point is, both Tom and Sophia have been kissing this hand-covering as a substitute for one another. Whatever floats their boats, right?)
- As Mrs. Honour winds up her story, Squire Western spots them talking and tells Tom to knock it off.
- Squire Western assumes that Tom is trying to seduce Mrs. Honour now.
- Sophia is playing the harpsichord while this is going on.
- As she is playing, she drops her muff—the same muff that has been the cause of all of this fuss between her and Tom.
- Squire Western is so surprised and annoyed that he throws the muff on the fire.
- Sophia jumps up and grabs the muff from the fire.
- This sudden, unconscious demonstration of Sophia's feelings for Tom totally bowls him over.
- All of Tom's careful thinking about honor and fairness to Molly—blown away in an instant.
- Sophia has now totally conquered his heart.
Book 5, Chapter 5
A Very Long Chapter, Containing a Very Great Incident
- How about these to-the-point chapter titles, eh?
- So even though Tom is now completely in love with Sophia, he hasn't forgotten about Molly. He goes over to the Seagrim house to talk to her.
- Goody Seagrim tells Tom that Molly isn't home.
- But Betty (Molly's older sister) jumps in to say that Molly is still in bed.
- Tom goes up to Molly's bedroom in the attic.
- Tom tells Molly that Squire Allworthy has made him promise not to see Molly anymore.
- But! (offers Tom) he could give her some money—
- Molly bursts into tears and then screams at Tom for seducing her and then leaving her behind.
- But just as Molly is really getting going, something happens to stop her complaints.
- This attic room has sloping ceilings, so that you can only stand up straight if you are in the middle of the room.
- There is also a small cubby in the corner that has been curtained off as a closet.
- As Molly is yelling, the curtain to the closet comes sliding down.
- And who should be crouched over in this tiny space but Mr. Square?
- He may be a philosopher in theory, but he's also, apparently, a horndog.
- With Tom laid up elsewhere with his broken arm, Molly has been left more or less on her own.
- So it's been about two weeks since Mr. Square and Molly started canoodling.
- When Tom first arrived at the house, Molly's mom tried to cover for her, but Molly's sister wanted Molly to get into trouble with Tom.
- Mr. Square tries to look serious and dignified, even in the middle of his extreme embarrassment.
- Tom promises he won't gossip about any of this—as long as Mr. Square is kind to Molly, Tom doesn't care what they do.
- Tom leaves, and Mr. Square and Molly make up.
Book 5, Chapter 6
By Comparing Which With the Former, the Reader May Possibly Correct Some Abuse Which He Hath Formerly Been Guilty of in the Application of the Word Love
- Tom feels compassion for Molly, even though he isn't heartbroken at her unfaithfulness.
- He worries that she has started sleeping around because he took her innocence.
- Betty Seagrim puts this concern to rest pretty quickly.
- She tells Tom that he wasn't actually Molly's first lover.
- Molly slept with this guy named Will Barnes first.
- And either Will or Tom could be the father of Molly's child.
- Tom asks both Will and Molly if this is true.
- Yep, it sure is.
- It turns out that Will seduced Betty Seagrim first, before turning to Molly later.
- Will is Molly's first love. Her later affairs with Tom and Mr. Square were just distractions from her central passion for Will.
- Now that Tom knows the real state of Molly's feelings, he feels free to give his heart wholly to Sophia.
- But Tom just can't catch a break.
- After all, Squire Western will never agree to Tom as a match for Sophia.
- And if Tom and Sophia go ahead and elope, that will still break the hearts of Squire Western and Squire Allworthy.
- Tom starts looking pale and a little crazy under all of this stress.
- Sophia notices his intense glances at her and connects some dots.
- She realizes (a) that Tom adores her, and (b) that he is tormented over it, because he wants to do what's right by their families.
- Tom and Sophia bump into each other near the spot where Tom tried to rescue Sophia's little bird Tommy all those years ago.
- (Check out Book 4, Chapter 3 if your memory of this episode has faded.)
- Finally, we get an actual conversation between Sophia and Tom.
- Tom finally says he can't hide his love for Sophia anymore.
- Sophia starts trembling and can barely walk back to her house.
- The two of them haven't actually decided what to do about their secret love.
Book 5, Chapter 7
In Which Squire Allworthy Appears On a Sick-bed
- Squire Western so enjoys having Tom around the house that he insists that Tom stay on even once his broken arm is healed.
- Tom is happy to hang out—after all, he gets to go hunting and see Sophia every day.
- What more could he want?
- Meanwhile, Squire Allworthy has a slight fever.
- But he doesn't stop to rest or take it easy while he's sick.
- So it gets much worse.
- Once the doctor arrives, he shakes his head and says Squire Allworthy might die.
- Squire Allworthy isn't too worried: his estate is all in order and he isn't afraid of death.
- He calls his relations to his bedside.
- The following people gather around his bed: Mr. Blifil, Tom, Mr. Thwackum, Mr. Square, and some of his servants.
- Squire Allworthy gives a long speech about how we shouldn't be afraid of death.
- It's natural and it comes to us all in time.
- Squire Allworthy has written out a will, but he wants to tell them all what they can expect.
- Mr. Blifil is going to get all of Squire Allworthy's estate, with a few exceptions:
- (1) 500 pounds a year (about $100,000 in today's money) to Bridget Blifil until her death, when that amount will go to her son, Mr. Blifil.
- (2) 500 pounds a year to Tom. (Tom clutches Squire Allworthy's hand and cries out "Oh, my friend! my father!" (5.7.12).)
- (3) 1,000 pounds to Mr. Thwackum (so, about $200,000)
- (4) 1,000 pounds to Mr. Square
- (5) Some various small things for the servants.
- Just as Squire Allworthy is saying farewell, a lawyer comes rushing up to speak to him.
- Squire Allworthy sends Mr. Blifil to take care of it, since he is too weak right now to talk to anyone.
- Squire Allworthy sends everyone away.
- Mr. Square and Mrs. Wilkins are both weeping.
Book 5, Chapter 8
Containing Matter Rather Natural Than Pleasing
- Mrs. Wilkins isn't really crying out of mourning for Squire Allworthy.
- She is furious that he didn't single her out above the other servants to receive more money in his will.
- She mutters a lot of horrible things about Squire Allworthy under her breath.
- Misters Thwackum and Square are also not too happy with their inheritances.
- Mr. Blifil comes in looking really bummed out.
- It turns out that that lawyer who arrived at the end of the last chapter?
- He's here because he has terrible news: Bridget (remember, Mr. Blifil's mom?) has died suddenly while away from home.
- The doctor warns Mr. Blifil that they may not want to give Squire Allworthy this news quite yet, while he is still so ill.
- The shock may not be good for the squire's health.
- But Mr. Blifil insists on telling Squire Allworthy right now that his sister has died.
- The doctor and Mr. Blifil approach Squire Allworthy's sickbed.
- In fact, the squire is looking a lot better.
- Mr. Blifil tells Squire Allworthy the bad news about Bridget.
- Squire Allworthy wants Mr. Blifil to make the funeral arrangements.
Book 5, Chapter 9
Which, Among Other Things, May Serve as a Comment on that Saying of Aeschines, That "Drunkenness Shows the Mind of a Man, As a Mirrour Reflects His Person"
- Tom is so sad and upset at the end of Squire Allworthy's speech that he goes to his room to collect himself.
- So he's not around to overhear the horrible things that Mrs. Wilkins and Misters Thwackum and Square have to say about the old man.
- Later on, he slips back into Squire Allworthy's room.
- He sits back next to Squire Allworthy's nurse to watch over his adopted father.
- So when the doctor and Mr. Blifil go in to discuss Squire Allworthy's condition and Bridget's death, they don't notice Tom.
- Tom is furious that Mr. Blifil is disturbing Squire Allworthy's rest with the horrible news about Bridget.
- But when he sees that Squire Allworthy is recovering well, he gets over his bad feelings.
- In fact, Tom is so happy to see his adoptive father getting better that he gets truly trashed at the dinner table.
- The people gathered at the table are: Misters Square, Thwackum, and Blifil; the doctor; and, of course, cheerful, drunken Tom.
- Mr. Thwackum says something horrible: that it would have been better for Tom's sake if Squire Allworthy had just died so that Tom could collect his inheritance before Squire Allworthy finds out what an awful person Tom is.
- Of course, the mood of the dinner party suddenly turns tense and ugly.
- Mr. Blifil is also angry at Tom because he is so drunkenly joyful.
- After all, yes, Squire Allworthy is getting better—but Mr. Blifil's mother just died.
- So when Tom apologizes for being so out of it, Mr. Blifil snaps back: since Mr. Blifil had "the misfortune" (5.8.13) to know who his parents are, he has to be sad when they die.
- Tom immediately takes offense at Mr. Blifil's reference to his illegitimate birth.
- The two of them jump at each other to start fighting.
- The doctor and Mr. Thwackum pull them apart.
- Tom finally apologizes and Mr. Blifil accepts his apology.
- But clearly no one is happy with anyone else at that table.
Book 5, Chapter 10
Shewing the Truth of Many Observations of Ovid, and of Other More Grave Writers, Who Have Proved, Beyond Contradiction, that Wine Is Often the Fore-runner of Incontinency
- Tom goes off for a walk to cool his head (and to sober up).
- As he is wandering around in the pleasant air, Tom starts thinking about Sophia.
- So—to be honest, he's getting horny.
- And who should wander by just as Tom is having passionate thoughts? Molly Seagrim.
- She's been working hard in the fields, and she's all sweaty.
- Immediately, Tom is like—hmmmm.
- The two of them bicker for about fifteen minutes before they go off together into a clearing in the forest.
- The narrator reminds us that Tom is drunkso we shouldn't blame him too much for making what is obviously a big mistake.
- Mr. Blifil spots Tom far off with a girl.
- He can't see who the girl is, but it doesn't matter—he knows Tom, and he knows what Tom is up to.
- So Mr. Blifil runs for Mr. Thwackum, who he knows will attack Tom properly.
- Mr. Thwackum is very serious about abstinence: his own, and everyone else's.
- Mr. Thwackum comes storming towards the clearing in a rage.
- He and Mr. Blifil make so much noise stomping through the underbrush that Tom totally hears them coming.
Book 5, Chapter 11
In Which a Simile in Mr. Pope's Period of a Mile Introduces as Bloody a Battle As Can Possibly Be Fought Without the Assistance of Steel or Cold Iron
- The narrator goes off on this long, really euphemistic paragraph about deer and sex.
- Basically, if a stag and a lady deer are getting it on and another animal comes along to threaten them, the stag will fight back angrily.
- When Mr. Thwackum comes running into the clearing where Tom and Molly were, until recently, having sex, Tom gets really annoyed (like the stag in the opening paragraphs).
- Mr. Thwackum demands to know who the girl is.
- Tom refuses to tell him, and the two exchange words.
- Finally, the fight is on.
- Mr. Blifil jumps in because he "would not see his old master [Thwackum] insulted" (5.11.3).
- So now it's two against one.
- Tom has no trouble knocking Mr. Blifil out.
- But Mr. Thwackum is a tougher customer.
- Tom starts to get tired.
- And Mr. Blifil regains consciousness just in time to make things even harder on him.
- Tom lays out Mr. Blifil a second time, but it still looks like he might lose to Mr. Thwackum.
- Luckily, Squire Western comes along just in time, and immediately sides with Tom.
- Squire Western helps Tom even the odds.
Book 5, Chapter 12
In Which Is Seen a More Moving Spectacle, Than All the Blood in the Bodies of Thwackum and Blifil and of Twenty Other Such, Is Capable of Producing
- Squire Western's company all come running up at the end of the fight.
- Squire Western has been walking with: Mr. Supple (the curate from Book 4, Chapter 10), Sophia, and Mrs. Western, Sophia's aunt.
- Mr. Blifil is lying unconscious on the ground.
- Tom is standing covered with blood, some of it his and some of it Mr. Thwackum's.
- Mr. Thwackum is also standing, annoyed.
- And then there is Squire Western, triumphant.
- Everyone crowds around Mr. Blifil, since he's not looking so good.
- Sophia faints at the sight of all of this blood.
- Tom carries Sophia to a nearby brook and starts using water to try to wake her up.
- She wakes up from her faint, and everyone is delighted.
- Tom takes off his bloody shirt and begins washing his face.
- When Sophia sees the bruises on his face and chest, she looks at him warmly.
- Tom is filled with love for her again.
- Mr. Thwackum finally gets Mr. Blifil back on his legs.
- Squire Western asks why they were fighting in the first place.
- Mr. Thwackum, of course, starts sounding off on Tom's sexual habits.
- Squire Western pulls Molly out of her nearby hiding place.
- Sophia asks to go home. She says she is feeling faint again.
- Squire Western immediately agrees and invites Tom and Misters Thwackum and Blifil to go with them.
- Only Tom joins the party.
Book 6, Chapter 1
- We're in the middle of a love story.
- So the narrator thinks it makes sense to stop for a bit and chat about love.
- Specifically, the narrator is interested in the modern philosophy that love does not truly exist.
- Why have modern philosophers decided that, because they can't love, no one else can?
- Here is what the narrator is willing to admit:
- (1) Many people (as individuals) may be unable to love.
- (2) He's not talking about lust—that's just a kind of hunger.
- (3) Even the higher kinds of love want to be satisfied. No one enjoys unrequited love—it is the worst.
- (4) Love and lust work together, so that if you love someone (in a romantic way, at least), you feel a lot of lust for them.
- With all of these things in mind, the narrator asks modern philosophers to imagine that human hearts can be kind.
- What is it that these kind hearts feel towards their friends and relatives, if not love?
- Some philosophers are arrogant enough to believe that their own, loveless minds must represent all there is in humanity.
- The narrator addresses the reader: look at your own heart.
- Do you feel love?
- If so, then you are allowed to keep reading.
- If not, then you can just give up right now—you've already missed the point of this book.
Book 6, Chapter 2
The Character of Mrs. Western, Her Great Learning and Knowledge of the World, and an Instance of the Deep Penetration Which She Derived From Those Advantages
- We're now back at Squire Western's house with Tom, Sophia, and Mrs. Western.
- The only person in the party who isn't cheerful is Sophia.
- Mrs. Western thinks she guesses the reason for Sophia's sudden seriousness.
- She spends the next couple of weeks trying to signal to Sophia that she knows Her Secret.
- Squire Western remains unaware of all of these goings-on.
- Finally, Mrs. Western points out to Squire Western what should have been completely obviousto him ages ago: Sophia is in love.
- Squire Western gets ready to fly off the handle, but Mrs. Western shushes him.
- She believes that Sophia has chosen the exact person who will make Squire Western happiest as a son-in-law.
- Mrs. Western thinks that Mr. Blifilis the object of Sophia's affections.
- Squire Western is thrilled: Mr. Blifil stands to inherit a huge estate, and they are next-door neighbors.
- Mrs. Western suggests that Squire Western talk over the match with Squire Allworthy.
- They squabble over whether or not Squire Allworthy will agree to the engagement.
- But they soon make up.
- (In fact, Squire Western backs down, since he has an eye out for Mrs. Western's inheritance—he wants it to go to his estate/Sophia.
- So he can't afford to make his sister too angry.)
- Squire Western hands over the responsibility for planning the match to Mrs. Western.
Book 6, Chapter 3
Containing Two Defiances to the Critics
- As soon as Squire Allworthy gets better, he and Squire Western schedule a dinner.
- Sophia believes that Mrs. Western has guessed that she is in love with Tom.
- So she decides to use this dinner as a chance to prove that she absolutely is not.
- Sophia spends the whole evening talking to Mr. Blifil and ignoring Tom.
- Watching Sophia at dinner, Squire Western decides that she has to be in love with Mr. Blifil.
- He pulls Squire Allworthy aside and proposes a match between the two.
- Squire Allworthy agrees that, if Sophia and Mr. Blifil love each other, he would be happy with the match.
- Squire Western is disappointed that Squire Allworthy doesn't just say, "Yes! We'll marry them right this very second!"
- In fact, some critics may think that it seems stupid of Squire Western not to force the marriage through right away.
- After all, the marriage would secure both Sophia and his nephew's fortunes.
- But the narrator reminds us that true wisdom isn't just seizing an opportunity when it comes by.
- For Squire Allworthy, the cost of forcing his nephew into a marriage is not worth the chance of making a ton of money.
Book 6, Chapter 4
Containing Sundry Curious Matters
- Back home, Squire Allworthy tells Mr. Blifil about the marriage proposal.
- Mr. Blifil is not in love with Sophia, but he does like the idea of her money (not that he mentions this to Squire Allworthy).
- Mr. Blifil says only that he'll do whatever Squire Allworthy thinks is best.
- Squire Allworthy is disappointed by Mr. Blifil's unromantic response.
- How can he be so cold at the idea of marrying Sophia? She's so hot! (implies Squire Allworthy.)
- Mr. Blifil launches into a long speech about religion, love, and marriage.
- Squire Allworthy decides that his nephew is approaching this engagement soberly and wisely.
- So he writes to Squire Western agreeing to the match.
- Squire Western arranges a meeting between Mr. Blifil and Sophia for that afternoon.
- Mrs. Western then goes off to inform her niece of her "happy" (so she thinks) news.
Book 6, Chapter 5
In Which Is Related What Passed Between Sophia and Her Aunt
- Sophia is reading when Mrs. Western comes in.
- Mrs. Western wants her to know right off that she and Sophia's father approve of the match.
- Sophia is deeply confused: so her aunt and her father have been able to look past his faults to see how great he is?
- (Notice that neither of them has specified yet who the "he" is that they are talking about.)
- Mrs. Western tells her that they have already arranged her engagement, with the consent of Squire Allworthy.
- Sophia is thrilled: he is so brave and perfect, even if he is of low birth!
- Mrs. Western is like, wait, hold up: Mr. Blifil, of low birth?
- Sophia finally catches on to the fact that they are talking about different people.
- Of course she's not talking about Mr. Blifil—she means Tom Jones.
- Mrs. Western is furious that Sophia would think of "allying [her]self to a bastard" (6.5.2).
- Sophia starts to cry, but Mrs. Western is totally pitiless.
- She screams at Sophia for ages about her supposed lack of respect for her family.
- Sophia begs Mrs. Western to keep the secret of Sophia's love of Tom.
- Mrs. Western says she'll only keep the secret as long as Sophia marries Mr. Blifil.
- Sophia agrees to meet with Mr. Blifil that afternoon, as long as Mrs. Western shuts up about Tom.
Book 6, Chapter 6
Containing a Dialogue Between Sophia and Mrs. Honour, Which May a Little Relieve Those Tender Affections Which the Foregoing Scene May Have Raised in the Mind of a Good-Natured Reader
- After Mrs. Western leaves, Mrs. Honour (Sophia's maid) comes in.
- When she sees Sophia crying, she asks her what is the matter.
- Sophia gets irritated at being asked, but she obviously wants to vent her tragic feelings.
- She finally comes out with it: "My father […] is going to marry me to a man I both despise and hate" (6.6.1).
- Mrs. Honour says all kinds of things about how she would never marry a man against her will.
- She thinks that Sophia should marry a handsomer gentleman (of course, meaning Tom), since Sophia has money enough for the both of them.
- Mrs. Honour also feels sorry for Tom, since she has seen him standing by the canal in the garden looking miserable all morning.
- Sophia grabs a ribbon and rushes off to see Tom (though she makes a thin excuse about "going to the grove" (6.6.1) in the opposite direction.)
- Sadly, Tom leaves the garden just as Sophia goes into it.
- So the lovers just miss each other.
Book 6, Chapter 7
A Picture of Formal Courtship in Miniature, As It Always Ought to Be Drawn, and a Scene of a Tenderer Kind, Painted at Full Length
- Poor Sophia: not only does she miss the man she loves, but now she has to dress up for a meeting with a man she hates.
- Squire Western is still certain that his daughter is about to get engaged to the man she most desires (because he's an idiot).
- Mr. Blifil arrives, and the two sit in silence for almost fifteen minutes.
- Finally, the two of them start exchanging compliments.
- Mr. Blifil is totally sure that Sophia wants to marry him.
- Why wouldn't she? He's so awesome (he thinks). (And together, they'll have so much lovely money.)
- So Mr. Blifil leaves this awkward interview sure of his success as a suitor.
- Squire Western catches Mr. Blifil on the way out and hugs him repeatedly, he's so happy.
- Since Squire Western often gets these jolly moods, Sophia doesn't realize why her father is so particularly thrilled.
- So she seizes the opportunity to tell him how she really feels about Mr. Blifil.
- Squire Western is furious.
- He declares that, if Sophia does not marry Mr. Blifil, he will disown her.
- As Squire Western stomps away, Tom sees him looking upset.
- Tom asks him what's going on, and Squire Western yells about "the misery of all fathers who are so unfortunate to have daughters" (6.7.13).
- Tom does something pretty daring: he asks Squire Western for permission to see Sophia so that he can persuade her to marry Mr. Blifil.
- As usual, Squire Western is about as perceptive as your average rock.
- He thanks Tom for being willing to help with Sophia's engagement and sends him after her at once.
Book 6, Chapter 8
The Meeting Between Jones and Sophia
- Tom finds Sophia standing, covered with tears and blood from her bitten lips.
- Sophia shouts that it would have been better for both of them if Tom had just left her to be killed by that horse (back in Book 4, Chapter 13).
- Tom (of course) protests these extreme thoughts.
- Sophia doesn't see any way out of the marriage.
- She doesn't want to hurt her father or to destroy Tom by marrying him without the permission of their guardians.
- Tom exclaims that the only ruin for him would be to live without Sophia.
- They stand holding hands, unsure what to do next.
Book 6, Chapter 9
Being of a Much More Tempestuous Kind than the Former
- Squire Western finds his sister after parting with Tom.
- He tells Mrs. Western everything Sophia said to him following the meeting with Mr. Blifil.
- Remember in Book 6, Chapter 5, how Mrs. Western promised to stay silent about Tom only if Sophia agreed to marry Mr. Blifil?
- Mrs. Western decides that Sophia's unhappiness with Mr. Blifil breaks that agreement.
- So she feels no guilt about telling Squire Western that Sophia is in love with Tom Jones.
- Squire Western goes storming up to the room where Sophia and Tom are having their tragic conversation.
- Sophia faints when she hears her father's furious voice through the door.
- (This girl faints a lot. Maybe she should get her blood pressure checked?)
- Squire Western forgets his rage (for a moment) when he sees his fainting daughter.
- Mrs. Western and the servants come rushing in to help Sophia.
- Once Sophia regains consciousness, Squire Western's fury comes back in full force.
- Mrs. Western and Mrs. Honour lead Sophia off.
- And Squire Western tries to attack Tom.
- Mr. Supple the curate physically holds Squire Western back.
- Tom refuses to fight with "the father of Sophia" (6.9.16).
- This makes Squire Western even angrier. (We're amazed that that's even possible).
- Mr. Supple finally tells Tom to just leave—they won't be able to talk anything over with Squire Western in this state.
- Squire Western resolves to see Squire Allworthy about the whole mess the next morning.
Book 6, Chapter 10
In Which Mr. Western Visits Mr. Allworthy
- Squire Western arrives at Squire Allworthy's house just after breakfast.
- Poor Squire Allworthy has just been feeling good about the world.
- So you can imagine that he's a bit surprised when Squire Western shouts out of the blue, "You have brought up your bastard to a fine purpose" (6.10.2).
- Squire Western screams that Tom has been "poaching after" (6.10.2) his daughter.
- Squire Western plans to lock up Sophia and make her marry Mr. Blifil.
- He runs back out of the house as suddenly as he came, afraid that his daughter will try to run away while his back is turned.
- Mr. Blifil is furious.
- He doesn't care about Sophia at all.
- But he really doesn't want Tom to beat him in her affections.
- Mr. Blifil jumps at the opportunity to badmouth Tom to Squire Allworthy.
- He tells Squire Allworthy about the fight between Tom and Misters Blifil and Thwackum
- He says that Tom attacked him and Mr. Thwackum unfairly (see Book 5, Chapter 11 for the real story).
- Squire Allworthy brings in Mr. Thwackum and asks if this is all true.
- Mr. Thwackum arrives and (of course) backs up everything terrible that Mr. Blifil says about Tom, the fight, and its causes.
Book 6, Chapter 11
A Short Chapter; But Which Contains Sufficient Matter to Affect the Good-Natured Reader
- Throughout lunch, Squire Allworthy keeps giving Tom angry looks.
- Tom realizes that Squire Western must have come to spill the beans that morning.
- As soon as lunch is over, Squire Allworthy yells at Tom about Mr. Blifil's accusations of drunken fighting.
- Tom is so heartbroken that he can't defend himself.
- What's more, Tom was drunk and he did fight with Mr. Blifil.
- The original causes of that fight—Tom's anger at Mr. Blifil for mocking his birth and for springing Bridget's death on Squire Allworthy against his doctor's orders—seem so distant that Tom doesn't want to bring them up.
- Squire Allworthy tells Tom to pack his bags: he's through.
- Squire Allworthy isn't going to support a vicious louse like Tom any longer.
- He'll give Tom some money, but he never wants to see the boy again.
- Tom bursts into tears and leaves the room after kissing Squire Allworthy's hand.
Book 6, Chapter 12
Containing Love-Letters, &c.
- Squire Allworthy tells Tom to leave the house immediately—Squire Allworthy will send Tom's stuff after him.
- Tom walks off without really knowing where he is going.
- He gets far enough away from the house that he can go into hysterics in peace.
- He starts tearing at his hair and throwing his stuff around.
- Finally, he collects himself, gets up, and starts thinking seriously.
- Tom decides that it wouldn't be fair to pull Sophia into this awful situation.
- But he wants to send her a farewell letter.
- In it, he explains that it will be better for her if she forgets that he ever existed.
- Tom suddenly realizes that, among those things that he tore out of his pockets in his grief was a pocket-book with the 500 pounds that Squire Allworthy gave him before kicking him out.
- He goes back to the brook where he was weeping to try and find it.
- He meets Black George, who helps him look for it.
- That is, he pretends to help Tom look—Black George actually keeps Tom's pocket-book of money as soon as he finds it.
- But Black George does agree to pass on Tom's letter to Sophia's maid, Mrs. Honour.
- When Black George meets Mrs. Honour, he finds that she is also carrying a letter from Sophia to Tom.
- Sophia tells Tom to avoid her father, since she would hate to see Tom getting injured on her behalf.
- Tom reads the letter over and over again.
- Then, Tom heads off to a town about 5 miles away, where Squire Allworthy can send his stuff.
Book 6, Chapter 13
The Behaviour of Sophia on the Present Occasion; Where None of Her Sex Will Blame, Who Are Capable of Behaving in the Same Manner, And the Discussion of a Knotty Point in the Court of Conscience
- Sophia spends most of her day being lectured by Mrs. Western on the importance of just getting married already.
- Squire Western locks Sophia inside her room and gives the key to Mrs. Honour.
- Mrs. Honour is allowed to bring Sophia whatever she wants except for a pen and paper.
- That evening, Mrs. Honour secretly delivers Tom's letter to Sophia.
- Sophia wails to Mrs. Honour that she has been abandoned by Tom.
- Mrs. Honour starts pointing out that Mr. Blifil will be squire someday, and he hasn't impregnated any ladies—maybe Sophia should just switch to Mr. Blifil and get it over with.
- Sophia doesn't want to hear Mr. Blifil's name.
- Mrs. Honour tells Sophia that she could have any man she wants.
- This doesn't help either: Sophia just wants Toooooooom!
- She suddenly feels terrible that he has been tossed out of the house because of her.
- She collects all of the money she has (just over sixteen pounds, a big drop from the 500 pounds that Black George just stole) and gives it to Mrs. Honour for Tom.
- Mrs. Honour gives the sixteen pounds to Black George to deliver to Tom.
- Black George decides kindly that the sixteen pounds can go to their rightful owner.
Book 6, Chapter 14
A Short Chapter, Containing A Short Dialogue Between Squire Western and His Sister
- Mrs. Western tells Squire Western that he can't just keep his daughter locked up forever.
- The two of them get briefly distracted from this issue by an argument over national politics.
- Clearly, neither of them really know what they're talking about when it comes to Issues Facing The Nation.
- Finally, Squire Western agrees to what Mrs. Western has wanted all along: he says he'll leave Sophia's care in her aunt's hands.
- He says he has always agreed "that women are the properest to manage women" (6.14.1).
- Mrs. Western goes to Sophia's room to release her.
Book 7, Chapter 1
A Comparison Between the World and the Stage
- The world has been compared to a stage many, many (many) times.
- (The narrator lists some of the ways that other people have compared life and the stage:
- (a) acting can often look so much like real life that people take it for truth;
- (b) life is brief, like a play (that's Shakespeare's idea, at least); and
- (c) everything that happens in life is set out by an unseen director (so, the narrator is talking about God).
- But when people talk about life = stage, they don't usually mention the audience.
- Let's take, for example, the whole Black George disaster a couple of chapters ago.
- The people in the cheap seats would probably holler and stamp their disapproval.
- (We think we go into this category—we're happy to shout over what a complete jag that guy is.)
- In the slightly more expensive seats, people would still disapprove of Black George, but they might not be so loud about it.
- Down among the artists and critics, opinion is probably divided over whether or not it is morally right to have such a villain go unpunished in a play.
- In the expensive seats, if the audience is paying attention at all, they might think that Black George seems vaguely bad.
- But if you can look behind the scenes (like the narrator can), you would know that Black George is just playing his part.
- He's not a villain—or at least, not all the time.
- Most people play multiple kinds of roles—villain, hero, fool—in different situations.
- One bad act doesn't make you a permanent villain.
- So a wise man doesn't jump to conclusions in making judgments about people.
Book 7, Chapter 2
Containing a Conversation Which Mr. Jones Had With Himself
- Jones gets his stuff from Squire Allworthy the following morning.
- Attached to his luggage is a letter from Mr. Blifil telling Tom not to expect Squire Allworthy ever to forgive him.
- Tom decides that he has to leave.
- He can't just keep lingering in the area when he knows he won't be seeing Sophia again.
- But where should he go?
- Here, Tom hits a couple of snags:
- (1) All of the other people he knows are friends of Squire Allworthy's, so he can't expect them to help him; and
- (2) He has no idea what to do for a job, because you need money to get started in any trade or enterprise.
- He decides that his only option is to go to sea.
- So Tom sets off for the city of Bristol (a major port city in the southwest of England).
Book 7, Chapter 3
Containing Several Dialogues
- The morning that Tom leaves, Mrs. Western draws Sophia aside for yet another lecture.
- This time, the lecture is on marriage as an opportunity for a woman to invest in her future.
- Sophia tries to avoid this discussion of marriage.
- But Mrs. Western won't shut up.
- She warns Sophia that Squire Western is totally determined to finish up this marriage between Sophia and Mr. Blifil.
- Sophia has one objection she cannot get over: she really hates Mr. Blifil.
- Mrs. Western doesn't really see this as a problem.
- After all, it's very fashionable in town not to like your husband.
- Sophia continues to insist that she absolutely will not marry Mr. Blifil.
- Squire Western overhears this and shouts that she will.
- Squire Western immediately gets into an argument with his sister over whose fault it is that Sophia is being so impossible.
- Mrs. Western storms off on her own.
Book 7, Chapter 4
A Picture of a Country Gentlewoman Taken From the Life
- Squire Western starts complaining to Sophia.
- He whines that it's the curse of all men to be oppressed by hateful women.
- First, he was bullied by his late wife—Sophia's mother, whom he clearly hated—and now, he has this awful sister to boss him around.
- Squire Western was "a good husband" (7.4.2) to his late wife, according to the social rules of his day.
- Which means that he (a) only swore at her about once a week, (b) didn't hit her, (c) never made her jealous, and (d) mostly left her alone.
- They basically only saw each other at mealtimes.
- But his wife tried to get Squire Western to stop drinking so much.
- And she asked him for a two-months' stay in London.
- (He took the London thing as code that his wife wanted to cheat on him. Squire Western thinks that, "all the husbands in London are cuckolds" (7.4.3). A cuckold is the husband of a cheating wife.)
- Squire Western believes both of these requests—drinking less and a trip to London—were hugeoverreaches on her part.
- Because she tried to influence how he lived, Squire Western came to hate his wife.
- Now that she is dead, Squire Western is jealous of Sophia's love for her memory.
- So he feels no shame at all about telling his daughter how terrible her mother was.
Book 7, Chapter 5
The Generous Behaviour of Sophia Towards Her Aunt
- Squire Western insists that Sophia agree with him about her late mother being horrible. (Ugh, what is wrong with this guy?)
- When Sophia refuses to say bad things about her deceased mother, Squire Western starts badmouthing his sister.
- Sophia is shocked: she argues that Mrs. Western has always been a loving sister to Squire Western.
- Sophia says that, if her aunt had died yesterday, she would have left her whole estate to Squire Western.
- At the first mention of money, Squire Western suddenly comes to his senses and calms down.
- He worries aloud that, if Mrs. Western died tomorrow, she might leave her cash to somebody else.
- He decides that it's all Sophia's fault that he and his sister were arguing in the first place.
- Sophia apologizes for being the (supposed) cause of their argument.
- Squire Western rushes off to find his sister and make peace.
- Sophia goes back into her room to cry over Tom.
- Mrs. Honour tries to comfort her by listing off all the other men she could have in Tom's place.
- This doesn't help Sophia, who finally orders Mrs. Honour out of the room.
Book 7, Chapter 6
Containing Great Variety of Matter
- Squire Western catches up with his sister just as she is about to leave.
- The two make up with each other quickly by joining forces against Sophia.
- Mrs. Western says they have to take Sophia by surprise, when she's not expecting to see Mr. Blifil.
- Luckily for them, Mr. Blifil turns up at just this moment.
- As Mrs. Western predicted, Sophia is so surprised by this sudden meeting that she doesn't refuse to speak to him.
- Mr. Blifil keeps talking at her, and Sophia responds to him very formally and stiffly.
- Mr. Blifil continues to prove that he has no idea how the human heart works by telling Squire Western that he thinks things are going well between him and Sophia.
- Squire Western isn't so sure.
- So he insists that he can work out the details with Squire Allworthy that afternoon, and they can have the wedding the next day.
- Mr. Blifil agrees to that plan.
- And then we get the truth of it: Mr. Blifil actually isn't dumb as a bag of hammers.
- It turns out, instead, that he is a creepy would-be rapist.
- He knows that Sophia can't stand him.
- And in fact, he hates her in return.
- But he finds her attractive and he lusts after her.
- The fact that she doesn't like him, and that she is in love with Tom, makes him all the more eager to marry her.
- He thinks that, if he can sleep with her and replace Tom, then he will have won over both of them in a sick game that only he is playing.
- And let's not forget, he still wants her money.
- So he decides to pretend to Sophia that he loves her, and to pretend to Squires Allworthy and Western that Sophia loves him.
- So Squire Allworthy and Squire Western rush through the wedding arrangements.
Book 7, Chapter 7
A Strange Resolution of Sophia and a More Strange Stratagem of Mrs. Honour
- Mrs. Honour overhears Squire Western talking to Mr. Supple about a wedding the next day and runs to tell Sophia.
- Sophia flips out (understandably) and asks Mrs. Honour what she should do.
- Mrs. Honour suggests that she go ahead and marry Mr. Blifil.
- Sophia answers that she would rather stab herself through the heart.
- Finally, Sophia tells Mrs. Honour her plan: she is going to leave for London that night.
- She wants Mrs. Honour to come with her.
- Sophia has a lady relation in London who has frequently invited her to come and stay in the city.
- This woman has teased Sophia in the past for being such an obedient daughter.
- So Sophia is sure that she will not mind if Sophia arrives at her doorstep without Squire Western's permission.
- Sophia will wait there for long enough for her father to cool down and see sense.
- Mrs. Honour asks how she intends to get to London.
- Sophia plans to grab one of the pistols from the hall and walk out the front door.
- (Wow, Sophia is suddenly turning awesome. Who knew she had so much adventure in her?)
- Sophia promises that she will reward Mrs. Honour if she comes along.
- Mrs. Honour agrees.
- She will provoke Squire Western into firing her that afternoon, leaving her free to get things ready for Sophia's escape that night.
Book 7, Chapter 8
Containing Scenes of Altercation, of No Very Uncommon Kind
- As soon as Mrs. Honour leaves Sophia, she begins thinking things over.
- Is this all really such a good idea?
- If she told Squire Western right now about Sophia's plans, her reward would be immediate.
- If she goes with Sophia, anything could happen—who knows when Sophia would be able to repay her?
- Still, London—it would be exciting to see the city.
- As Mrs. Honour is thinking through the pros and cons of helping out Sophia as she promised, Mrs. Western's maid comes in.
- Mrs. Western's maid has always thought of herself as better than the other servants.
- Her birth is slightly higher, she makes more money, and she has been to London.
- So when she sees Mrs. Honour, she starts saying some snide things that Mrs. Honour won't take lying down.
- The two quickly get into a fight.
- Mrs. Western walks by and asks her maid what's wrong.
- The maid says that Mrs. Honour called Mrs. Western an "ugly old cat" (7.8.4).
- Mrs. Western demands to know how Mrs. Honour would dare to say such a thing.
- Mrs. Honour is so mad that she says that "somebody" is not as pretty as Sophia, and Mrs. Western "[knows] that as well as I" (7.8.5).
- Mrs. Western promises to go to Squire Western to get Mrs. Honour fired.
- Mrs. Honour wishes Mrs. Western luck in finding servants, if she fires everyone who thinks she's ugly. (Oh, snap!)
- As Mrs. Western stalks off, the two maids get into a physical brawl.
- Mrs. Honour wins.
Book 7, Chapter 9
The Wise Demeanour of Mr. Western in the Character of a Magistrate. A Hint to Justices of Peace, Concerning the Necessary Qualifications of a Clerk, With Extraordinary Instances of Paternal Madness, and Filial Afffection
- Like Squire Allworthy, Squire Western is a justice of the peace for the people on his estate.
- When Squire Western hears what Mrs. Honour said to his sister, he swears he'll send her to a house of correction.
- Luckily, Squire Western has a clerk who actually knows something about law.
- The clerk informs Squire Western that, unfortunately, you can't actually send someone to jail for being rude.
- Still, Mrs. Honour does get fired, though, which sets up Sophia's escape plan nicely.
- Mrs. Honour now has no choice but to pack up all of her things.
- Sophia and Mrs. Honour arrange to meet up at midnight.
- That evening, Squire Western speaks to Sophia so angrily that she pretends to obey his orders.
- When it seems like Sophia is going along with his plans, Squire Western suddenly becomes very kind to her again.
- Squire Western's sudden niceness makes Sophia feel really guilty about running away.
- But then she remembers Tom and forgets any thoughts of obeying her father.
Book 7, Chapter 10
Containing Several Matters, Natural Enough, Perhaps, But Low
- When we last checked in with Tom, he was trying to get to Bristol.
- Well, he's still trying: no one whom he meets on the road seems to have any idea in which direction Bristol is.
- Finally, a Quaker walking past advises Tom to go to a nearby inn for the evening.
- It's getting dark, and there have been robberies on the road to Bristol lately.
- So Tom stops at this inn, and the Quaker follows him.
- The Quaker tries to cheer Tom up by telling him the story of his own troubles.
- And the Quaker's troubles? Sound a little too close to Tom's:
- The Quaker has a beloved daughter. He set her up to marry a sober, respectable young man. But instead, his daughter ran off with a friend whom she has known since they were children. This young man doesn't have a penny to his name. So the Quaker has decided to disown his daughter.
- Tom begs the Quaker to leave him alone, and then refuses to spend another minute in his company.
- The Quaker decides that Tom must be insane, and wants to help.
- So he goes up to the innkeeper and tells him to look after Tom.
- The innkeeper says he won't be doing anything for Tom.
- He thought Tom was a gentleman, but it turns out he's just the nearby squire's bastard.
- Once the Quaker hears this gossip, he leaves Tom alone in disgust.
- The innkeeper refuses to give Tom a bed, because he's sure Tom is just waiting to rob him.
- Tom falls asleep in a chair and the innkeeper spends the night watching him to be sure he doesn't steal anything.
Book 7, Chapter 11
The Adventure of a Company of Soldiers
- In the middle of the night, a company of soldiers arrive at the inn.
- They drink a ton and make a lot of noise.
- Naturally, Tom wakes up and joins them.
- At the end of this sudden party, a fight breaks out over who owes what.
- Tom is in the middle of a conversation with the sergeant of the company, and he sees the argument.
- It looks as though the fight among the soldiers is going to become physical.
- Tom steps in and says he'll pay the whole amount.
- It's not actually that much: 3 shillings and 4 pence. Let's take a break from literature to do some math: a shilling is worth 5 pence (a.k.a. pennies). A pound coin is worth 20 shillings. A guinea coin is worth 21 shillings.
- (Yes, in Britain they used to have two separate coins that were worth almost but not quite the exact same amount. Why? Your guess is as good as ours.)
- Anyway, all told, Tom got 16 guineas from Sophia. That equals 336 shillings. Tom spends 3 of those shillings on beer. So Tom spends about 0.8% of the money he got from Sophia on this bash. We hope you've enjoyed this installment of Math Fun Time with Tom Jones!
- Back to the action: the company all agrees that Tom is awesome for standing them this beer.
- The sergeant tells Tom that they are marching against "the rebels." (7.11.8)
- And now, how about a break from literature for some history?
- "The rebels" (a.k.a. the Jacobites) are the supporters of James (the son of exiled King James II and VII) and Charles Stuart (the former king's grandson, also known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie"). The Jacobites believe that the Stuart family should be restored to the throne.
- They are fighting against the supporters of the current king, George II (of the Hanoverian dynasty). Remember how Squire Western calls everyone he hates Hanoverians? That's because Squire Western is also a supporter (in a very low-level and uninvolved way) of the Jacobite cause. Tom Jones was published in 1749, and Bonnie Prince Charlie invaded Scotland from France in 1745. So this is all very recent history to Fielding.
- These drunken soldiers whom Tom meets are going to fight under the command of the Duke of Cumberland.
- The Duke of Cumberland was the historical leader of George II's forces in Scotland.
- He brutally killed a lot of Highlanders for their support of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- And he defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie's forces at Culloden in 1746. This history is so complicated, it kind of makes us want to cry a little.
- To find out more about all of this stuff, check this.
- Anyway, back to our story. Tom is a supporter of King George II over the rebels.
- So he jumps in and says he might want to volunteer for their company.
- Everyone drinks a toast to Tom and the king.
- Tom brings his luggage with him and starts marching out with his new friends.
- They arrive at an army camp where the sergeant introduces Tom to his lieutenant.
- The lieutenant is immediately impressed with the fineness of Tom's clothes and his "remarkable air of dignity" (7.11.16).
- The lieutenant invites Tom to join him and the officers for dinner.
Book 7, Chapter 12
The Adventure of a Company of Officers
- The lieutenant has been really unlucky with his career.
- Everyone respects and likes him.
- But he has spent the last forty years under the command of a colonel who keeps blocking his promotion. Why?
- Because the colonel tried to sleep with the lieutenant's wife and she refused him. Oops.
- She never told her husband of this proposition for fear that he would be angry with her.
- So the lieutenant has no idea why the colonel won't promote him.
- He serves with a French lieutenant and two ensigns, Notherton and Adderly.
- At dinner, Tom says that the troops will no doubt fight "more like Grecians than Trojans" (7.12.7) against the enemy. (In other words, Tom is sure they'll win.)
- The ensign Notherton, responding to Tom, starts cursing Latin school, and religion.
- The lieutenant tries to scold the ensign for swearing so much and for cursing priests in particular.
- Northerton keeps trying to provoke Tom: he mocks Tom's "great learning" (7.12.18).
- Tom puts him down hard with some fine sarcasm.
- Notherton silently plans his revenge.
- When Tom raises his glass to toast Sophia, Notherton says that she "was lain-with by half the young fellows at Bath" (7.12.22). (Bath is a famous English resort town.)
- Tom insults Notherton and calls him a liar.
- Notherton throws a bottle at Tom's head.
- The bottle knocks Tom out; he's bleeding from his head.
- The lieutenant stops Northerton from escaping the scene of his crime.
- Northerton protests that he didn't mean any harm; he doesn't even know a woman named Sophia Western. (Idiot.)
- The lieutenant sends Northerton off into custody.
- The lieutenant calls in a surgeon for Tom.
- Tom starts waking up.
Book 7, Chapter 13
Containing the Great Address of the Landlady; the Great Learning of a Surgeon, and the Solid Skill in Casuistry of the Worthy Lieutenant
- Once Tom has been taken to bed to recover, the landlady of the inn strikes up a conversation with the lieutenant.
- She assumes that it all must be Tom's fault that he's had his head broken, since he's just a recruit and the other men at the table are all officers.
- The lieutenant tells her she's wrong: Tom is a greater gentleman than his attacker.
- As the landlady and the lieutenant are chatting, the surgeon arrives.
- The surgeon talks (a lot) and tries to sound like he knows what he's talking about.
- But basically, he is a complete fraud.
- The lieutenant thinks (from this quack's report) that Tom may be on the verge of death.
- So he makes sure that Northerton is under guard.
- If Tom dies, he plans to prosecute the man for murder.
- The lieutenant goes to visit Tom on his deathbed.
- But in fact, Tom's pretty much fine.
- His head's a bit sore, but he's only staying in bed because the doctor insists he has to.
- The lieutenant offers him the chance to challenge Northerton to a duel as soon as he's up to it.
- Tom's a hothead, so of course he jumps at the chance.
- He wants to duel right now—his honor is at stake!
- But Tom is a bit worried that it's against his religion to be so unmerciful.
- The lieutenant scoffs: religion is important, but honor is even more vital.
- Tom still hasn't totally resolved this violence-vs.-the-demands-of-his-religion thing.
Book 7, Chapter 14
A Most Dreadful Chapter Indeed; And Which Few Readers Ought to Venture Upon In An Evening, Especially When Alone
- Tom now feels totally recovered.
- Tom is still in bed, but he wants to arrange for a sword so that he can go fight Northerton.
- The regiment's sergeant has heard that Tom is at death's door.
- So he thinks Tom is asking for a sword out of delirium.
- The sergeant decides this is a chance for him to make some cash.
- The sergeant asks for a huge price—twenty guineas—for his spare sword.
- Tom is so offended by that price that he threatens to tell the lieutenant that the sergeant tried to cheat him.
- Suddenly, the sergeant realizes that he's got this whole thing totally wrong: Tom's not hallucinating.
- He pretends that he was asking twenty shillings for the sword.
- Tom hands the sergeant a single guinea and takes the sword.
- Tom gets up, dresses, and slips out, ready to face down Northerton.
- Now, remember: (a) his clothes are covered in blood, (b) his head is heavily wrapped in bandages; and (c) he's carrying a sword in one hand and a candle in the other.
- In fact, he looks like a horrifying ghost.
- The guard at Northerton's door spots Tom and panics.
- He shoots at Tom (luckily, he misses) and falls face-first to the ground.
- As Tom looks around for Northerton (who seems to be missing), this guard lies on the ground writhing and thinking that Tom's ghost is prowling around.
- Eventually, some other soldiers notice that the guard appears to be lying on the floor groaning.
- The guard swears up and down that he saw the murdered ghost of Tom come to get revenge on Northerton.
- The lieutenant doesn't believe in ghosts, unluckily for this guard.
- So now, the guard gets arrested for letting Northerton escape.
Book 7, Chapter 15
The Conclusion of the Foregoing Adventure
- The lieutenant thinks that the guard actively helped Northerton escape.
- What actually happened was this:
- Northerton feels no guilt at all about hurting Tom.
- But he is a little concerned about either (a) going to prison, or (b) getting hanged.
- So he decides to escape.
- The landlady of their hotel finds Northerton really attractive.
- He also has a little money, which he passes on to her.
- She agrees to help him go free.
- Together, they arrange that he will climb down the chimney when she gives the signal.
- The landlady then uses the ghost-seeing guard as a scapegoat for Northerton's disappearance.
- Meanwhile, Tom has safely returned to his sickbed.
- He hears all of the commotion in the house and asks to see the lieutenant.
- Tom explains everything about the duel and trying to see Northerton.
- He promises that the guard is innocent of Northerton's escape.
Book 8, Chapter 1
A Wonderful Long Chapter Concerning the Marvellous; Being Much the Longest of All Our Introductory Chapters
- The narrator warns us that we're about to head into the part of Tom Jones where bizarre things happen. (So that's different from all the other parts—how, exactly?)
- The narrator thinks it's his duty to talk a little bit about what readers can be expected to believe, and what they can't.
- (1) No Supernatural Hocus Pocus
- In classical poetry, authors often brought in gods to influence the plots of their stories.
- Nowadays, writing that includes lots of gods does not exactly seem realistic.
- The only supernatural actors who might come up in modern writing? Ghosts.
- But ghosts definitelyhave no place in serious fiction. Fielding is a genre snob.
- He won't even mention elves and fairies. (So—not a Tolkien fan? Ugh, this guy won't let us read anything fun.)
- So, if we're ruling out gods, ghosts, and fairies, we have to concentrate on human beings as the best subjects for fiction.
- (2) General Believability
- Compared to historians, fiction writers have the worst problems staying within the bounds of what actually seems possible.
- After all, if you're a historian, then you can find real-life proof that whatever crazy stories you tell are actually true.
- If you're an inventor of fiction, you don't have any evidence to offer for your story lines.
- So you have to stick with what your readers will find probable.
- (3) Specific Believability
- It's not enough to make sure that your plot lines are believable.
- You also have to be certain that the actions of your characters appear (a) possible, and (b) possible for that specific character.
- (So, if someone wrote a story based on Harry Potter with Slytherin's Severus Snape supporting Gryffindor at a Quidditch match, we would think, no way! That's impossible. It may not be physically impossible for Snape to wave a little Gryffindor flag and cheer for Gryffindor. But it would literally goes against everything we know about his character's feelings.)
- You have to know human nature really well to make your characters three-dimensional in this way.
- Within the limits of these three rules (no supernatural stuff, plot probability, and character consistency), the writer can be as inventive as he wants to be.
- Just because your work should be probable doesn't mean it has to be boring.
- You still have to find ways to surprise the reader.
Book 8, Chapter 2
In Which the Landlady Pays a Visit to Mr. Jones
- Once the lieutenant leaves, Tom can't go back to sleep.
- He orders up some tea, and the landlady herself brings it to him.
- The landlady finally gets her first look at Tom.
- Since the lieutenant has assured her that Tom is a gentleman, she thinks that Tom has money.
- So she wants to make sure that he is as comfortable and happy as possible.
- The landlady promises Tom that he's worth much more than all those soldier fellows.
- Tom mentions the name "Sophia."
- The landlady answers as though she knows Sophia personally.
- This is all the encouragement Tom needs.
- He launches into a long rant about Sophia's perfections and his own grief at ever having caused her pain.
- And then, Tom goes on about Squire Allworthy and how Tom has disappointed him.
- He holds out his empty wallet to her as an explanation of his plan to join the army.
- Tom's sudden explosion of feelings shuts up the landlady for a bit.
- But she hears what (to her) is the most important part: Tom has been disinherited.
- So Tom has no money.
- The landlady flounces out of the room.
Book 8, Chapter 3
In Which the Surgeon Makes His Second Appearance
- The reason the landlady knows Sophia's name and some details of her family is that the lieutenant mentioned her as the reason for Tom's fight with Northerton.
- In fact (of course) she has never met any of the Westerns in person.
- Because Tom is an idiot, he believes the landlady when she says that Sophia has often stayed at this hotel—in fact, in this very room.
- When the landlady leaves abruptly, Tom throws himself on the bed and thinks of Sophia.
- The surgeon arrives to check on Tom while he's lying there.
- The surgeon thinks that Tom needs to be bled again.
- Tom refuses, because bleeding. Gross.
- The surgeon warns Tom that he might die of fever in a month or two if Tom doesn't allow him to drain some of his blood right now.
- Tom still refuses.
- The surgeon goes down to the hotel kitchen to complain to the landlady about Tom.
- The landlady warns the surgeon that Tom is not a rich man.
- When Tom refuses once again to be bled, the surgeon says he won't treat Tom for another minute.
- The surgeon stomps off, calling Tom a "vagabond" (8.3.14).
Book 8, Chapter 4
In Which Is Introduced One of the Pleasantest Barbers That Was Ever Recorded in History, the Barber of Bagdad, Nor He in Don Quixote Not Excepted
- Tom wakes up again after sleeping seven hours.
- He feels awesome.
- He goes down to the kitchen for some food.
- Tom also asks for a barber to come and shave him.
- The barber arrives: his name is Little Benjamin.
- He jokes with Tom so quickly that Tom is charmed.
- Tom invites Little Benjamin to stay and have a drink with him.
- Tom eats dinner fast and then orders a bottle of wine to split with Little Benjamin.
- Meanwhile, Little Benjamin has been listening to the landlady telling her servants all about Tom.
- Some of the general facts she mentions are true.
- But most of it is totally made up by the landlady.
- Still, Little Benjamin realizes that Tom is that kid, the boy who was raised by Squire Allworthy.
- Little Benjamin tells the landlady he knows of Tom.
Book 8, Chapter 5
A Dialogue Between Mr. Jones and the Barber
- Little Benjamin and Tom sit down for their drink.
- Little Benjamin if Tom is Tom Jones?
- It turns out that he and Tom met many years ago, though Tom doesn't remember now.
- Tom immediately trusts Little Benjamin, and starts telling him the whole story of his falling out with Squire Allworthy.
- Little Benjamin is surprised: Tom's crimes don't sound that dire.
- Tom admits that he thinks the "villainous arts" (a.k.a. the lies) of his "enemies" (8.5.4) influenced Squire Allworthy against him.
- Little Benjamin asks about the girl who's at the heart of all of Tom's disasters.
- Tom confesses her name: Sophia Western.
- Little Benjamin is like, what? Little Sophia Western? I knew her dad when he was a kid. Time really flies, huh?
- Little Benjamin promises he'll keep Tom's secrets.
- The two men part for the night.
Book 8, Chapter 6
In Which More of the Talents of Mr. Benjamin Will Appear, As Well As Who This Extraordinary Person Was
- The next morning, Tom asks around about a new surgeon.
- He's still got bandages on his head, and he doesn't want any infections.
- It turns out that the most famous local surgeon is none other than Little Benjamin the barber.
- It wasn't uncommon back in the day to have a barber double as a surgeon—they're both very familiar with sharp things, right? Hmm. We don't really like that logic.
- But King George II officially separated the two professions in 1745 (around the time that Tom Jones is taking place).
- So by being both a barber and a surgeon, Little Benjamin is doing something mildly illegal.
- Little Benjamin promises Tom his head is almost healed.
- Tom asks Little Benjamin to say a little bit more about where he comes from.
- Little Benjamin is such a weirdo that Tom can't figure him out.
- Little Benjamin locks the door and tells Tom everything.
- It turns out that Little Benjamin? He's Mr. Partridge!
- You remember Mr. Partridge, back in Book 2, Chapter 6?
- The guy who was convicted for being Tom's father out of wedlock? He's that guy.
- But Little Benjamin/Mr. Partridge (or Partridge, as we'll call him from now on) swears up and down that he is not Tom's father.
- Partridge asks only one favor of him: he wants to go with Tom on his adventure.
- He says that he wants to go because he has been having dreams about his luck changing.
- These dreams must be an omen of Tom's arrival in Partridge's life.
- Tom is glad to have him along.
Book 8, Chapter 7
Containing Better Reasons, Than Any Which Have Yet Appeared, for the Conduct of Partridge; and Apology for the Weakness of Jones; and Some Further Anecdotes Concerning My Landlady
- Partridge isreally superstitious.
- But it's not actually because of his dreams that he has decided to go with Tom.
- Partridge is sure that Tom is Squire Allworthy's son.
- He has also heard rumors that Tom is a wild and crazy guy.
- He doesn't believe that Squire Allworthy kicked Tom out of the house.
- Partridge believes that Tom ran away from home.
- He thinks that, if he can stick by Tom and persuade him to go home, Squire Allworthy will reward him.
- It never occurs to Tom that Partridge might have his own motives in joining him.
- Partridge arrives, and Tom settles the bill for his stay at this inn.
- The landlady doesn't bother to wish him bon voyage.
- She still feels deeply snooty about Tom and his poverty.
Book 8, Chapter 8
Jones Arrives at Gloucester, and Goes to the Bell; the Character of That House, and of a Petty-fogger, Which He There Meets With
- Tom and Partridge make it to Gloucester (which is not too far north of Bristol, their current destination).
- They arrive at the Bell, an inn at Southgate, Gloucester.
- The inn owner's brother is George Whitefield, one of the real-life founders of Methodism (a Protestant Christian denomination)
- (Fielding has some harsh things to say about Methodism. See our "Character Analyses" of Elizabeth and Richard Whitefield for a discussion of his prejudice. We also talk more about Fielding's blending of real places and fictional events in our section on "Setting.")
- Mrs. Whitefield invites Tom to dinner, along with a lawyer from Salisbury and a "petty-fogger."
- (A "petty-fogger," or "pettifogger" now, is a low-grade, unethical lawyer who deals only in minor cases—in other words, an ambulance chaser.)
- The lawyer from Salisbury (Dowling is his name) is the same guy who delivered the news of Bridget's death to Mr. Blifil that one time (back in Book 5, Chapter 9).
- Dowling recognizes Tom vaguely, and starts asking lots of questions about Squire Allworthy and his family.
- Dowling keeps acting as though the squire is some great friend of his.
- As soon as Tom finishes eating and leaves the table, the two lawyers tear into him.
- The petty-fogger shares all of the rumors he has ever heard about Tom and his behavior.
- He claims that Tom broke Mr. Thwackum's arm and then fired a pistol at Mr. Blifil's back.
- After the lawyers take off, Tom asks if Mrs. Whitefield will have tea with him.
- She refuses coldly, since she now believes that Tom is a violent rascal.
- Tom is so offended by Mrs. Whitefield's sudden change of manner that he pays his bill and leaves right then.
Book 8, Chapter 9
Containing Several Dialogues Between Jones and Partridge, Concerning Love, Cold, Hunger, and Other Matters; With the Lucky and Narrow Escape of Partridge, As He Was on the Very Brink of Making a Fatal Discovery to his Friend
- The sun starts to set as Tom and Partridge are still walking.
- Tom talks poetically about the moon and the beauty of the evening.
- Partridge complains that he is freezing.
- Tom tries to talk about Sophia, but Partridge keeps going back to dreams of roast beef.
- Partridge tells Tom he could see Sophia again if they just turned back on their road.
- Tom insists that he can't. He is going to seek "a glorious death in the service of my King and Country" (8.9.3).
- Partridge believes this whole war thing is going to blow over soon anyway.
- (See our "Detailed Summary" of Book 7, Chapter 11 for an explanation of which war he's talking about.)
- It turns out that Partridge is secretly on the side of the rebels.
- He assumes that Tom is, too, and that Tom wants to join them in Scotland.
- Luckily for Partridge, Tom starts sounding off on his deep loyalty to King George II before Partridge gets going on his own political beliefs.
- So Partridge decides to shut up about the rebellion.
- It's much more important to him to be friendly with Tom than to support the rebels' cause.
- He still thinks Tom is going to be Squire Allworthy's heir.
- So he doesn't want to separate himself from a potential cash cow.
Book 8, Chapter 10
In Which Our Travellers Meet With a Very Extraordinary Adventure
- Tom decides to climb a nearby hill.
- Partridge thinks he's crazy—it's the middle of the night, and so cold!
- But Partridge is also afraid of ghosts, so he is too scared to stay behind.
- Luckily, Partridge spots a light nearby.
- He suggests that, instead of climbing that stupid hill, they just go over to that light to see if it's an inn.
- Tom and Partridge find that the light is attached to a cottage.
- Tom knocks on the door and an old woman answers.
- Partridge immediately starts quietly freaking out, because she looks like everybody's stereotype of a witch—like this, but probably a bit less green.
- Tom is also a bit surprised, because the cottage is filled with exciting and unusual stuff.
- The old woman asks them to hurry up and get warm, because her master will be home soon.
- They have to leave before he returns.
- Of course, Partridge takes this as proof that something awful is about to happen.
- But Tom is curious about this man, whom the locals just call "the Man of the Hill" (8.10.6).
- Partridge insists that they leave right now, but Tom keeps delaying out of curiosity.
- There's noise outside: thieves seem to be attacking the old woman's master.
- Tom chases off the two thieves attacking an old man.
- The old man (or the Man of the Hill, as the novel call him) thanks Tom for his help and invites him inside.
- Tom asks to hear the Man of the Hill's life story.
- The Man of the Hill settles in to tell his tale.
Book 8, Chapter 11
In Which the Man of the Hill Begins to Relate His Story
- The Man of the Hill was born "in a village of Somersetshire" (just like Tom!) in 1657. His village is called Mark.
- (So he's now 88—a very old man, especially for the time.)
- His father was decent, but his mother was a complete shrew.
- Still, regardless of his mother's bad temper, the Man of the Hill (let's just call him the MotH) managed to focus on his studies and go to Oxford.
- At Oxford, the MotH meets Sir George Gresham.
- Sir George is a rich man who enjoys taking good students and ruining them by helping them run up debts that they can't afford.
- Of course, he takes an immediate shine to the MotH, who is (a) very serious, and (b) not rich.
- Under Sir George's influence, the MotH falls so badly into debt that his father realizes he's not pursuing his studies seriously anymore.
- His father stops sending him cash.
- The MotH gets more and more desperate—he's even thinking of killing himself.
- It occurs to him that a friend of his (a "chum" (8.11.14)) has some money put aside.
- So the MotH actually steals those savings from him while his chum is asleep.
- Of course, the chum realizes that only the MotH has access to his key, so he must have committed the theft.
- The chum reports the MotH to the University authorities at once.
- Luckily for the MotH, he happens to be in nearby Witney when the Oxford cops start looking for him.
- The MotH realizes he can't go back to Oxford, or he'll get arrested.
- So he travels to London with a lady friend.
- In London, the MotH really has troubles; he can't even afford to feed himself or his mistress.
- Finally, the lady friend turns the MotH in to another lover of hers, a man from Oxford.
- So the MotH gets carted off to jail for theft from his chum.
- But then the weirdest thing happens: no one ever comes to prosecute him.
- For whatever reason, the chum seems to have lost interest in the MotH's case.
- Partridge jumps in to say that he thinks the chum might be a ghost.
- He tells his own, obviously ridiculous story of a ghost coming back for revenge.
- Tom tells the MotH to ignore Partridge and go on with his story.
Book 8, Chapter 12
In Which the Man of the Hill Continues His History
- The MotH (Man of the Hill) goes free from prison, but his reputation in Oxford is dirt.
- He's so ashamed that he doesn't feel he can go back to his father's house.
- So the MotH goes back to London.
- But he has no money and no friends there. He's on the edge of starvation.
- Then one day, someone calls out to him as he's walking down the street.
- It's a man named Watson, who was in the class a year above him at Oxford.
- Watson takes the MotH out to lunch.
- As they are chatting (and drinking), it becomes clear that Watson knows all about the MotH's thieving.
- Watson holds out a pair of dice.
- He says it's through gambling that you can really strip a lot of money off an easy mark.
- Watson has a game to go to, and he suggests that the MotH come with him to see how it's done.
- It's time to pay the bill, and Watson pulls out the money for his half.
- But he won't pay for the MotH.
- He hands the MotH the money in his hand (which is still only enough for half the check).
- He advises the MotH to keep the money and run off without paying, which is what the MotH does.
- Once the MotH gets to the gaming tables, he sees Watson pull out a huge chunk of money.
- Watson settles down and proceeds to lose a hundred pounds.
- The MotH plays with the money Watson gave him for dinner.
- By the end of the afternoon, both Watson and the MotH are broke again.
- Watson borrows two guineas from a friend and gives one of them to the MotH.
- The two of them go back to the same tavern they just cheated.
- The MotH uses his new guinea to cover the original bill, and he and Watson settle in again.
- A lot of the guys from the gambling tables come to the tavern to have a drink.
- They start gambling again, and continue throughout the night.
- Weirdly, everyone at the table keeps saying they are losing.
- And yet, somehow, all the money has disappeared over the course of the evening.
- Someone must have taken it, but it isn't clear who.
- (Partridge thinks the money was snatched by the devil. Tom thinks Partridge is an idiot.)
Book 8, Chapter 13
In Which the Foregoing Story Is Farther Continued
- Watson and the MotH become close friends in crime.
- They are con men—small-scale, lame con men, not cool, Catch Me If You Can-style con men.
- The MotH gets by that way for a couple of years.
- Then one day, he sees an old man who has been robbed and wounded.
- The MotH supports the old man to a nearby tavern and then sends for a surgeon.
- The MotH gradually recognizes that the old man is none other than his long-lost father.
- His father is thrilled to see his son after all of this time.
- He explains that the MotH's mother has died.
- So there is no reason for the MotH not to come home.
- Hearing all of these words of loving welcome from his father totally melts the MotH's heart.
- He decides to go home at once.
- The MotH now turns his mind back to his studies.
- His reading strengthens and calms the MotH's mind after all of those years of being a criminal.
- He passes four years happily in his father's house.
- But then, the MotH's father dies.
- And his older brother inherits the property.
- The MotH can't stand his brother, so he has to move out.
- He decides to go to the spa town of Bath to relax, since his health is not so great these days.
- At Bath one day, he sits down near the river.
- He overhears someone say, "I am resolved to bear it no longer" (8.13.21), before throwing himself into the water.
- The MotH and a local fisherman pull this man out of the river.
- A woman tells them to bring him into her house, and they call for medical help.
- The man regains consciousness, and the MotH goes to visit him the next morning.
- He recognizes that it's none other than his best friend Watson, the thieving con man!
Book 8, Chapter 14
In Which the Man of the Hill Concludes His History
- Watson explains to the MotH (Man of the Hill) that he is financially ruined.
- If he doesn't get a hundred pounds ASAP, he's going to kill himself.
- The MotH offers to lend Watson the cash, as long as he doesn't gamble it away.
- At that moment, Watson's medical assistant comes running in.
- He announces that the Duke of Monmouth has invaded from the West.
- (The Duke of Monmouth was the illegitimate son of King Charles II. He thought he had a better claim to the throne than his uncle, King James II and VII and invaded England from Holland with a few supporters, but he totally failed to get even close to London. He was beheaded as a traitor in 1685.)
- So the MotH and Watson both decide to join the Duke of Monmouth as quickly as possible, so they can help to overthrow James II.
- The MotH gets slightly injured in the Battle of Sedgemoor, where the Duke is finally defeated.
- He and Watson escape the battlefield.
- As the MotH is getting treatment for his injury, Watson goes off and betrays the MotH to the troops of James II and VII.
- The soldiers drag him off to jail.
- The only thing that saves the MotH's life is a false alarm that sends all of the King's soldiers running off.
- The MotH escapes, but he feels truly paranoid now.
- The MotH finds this cottage, where he hides out until news of the Glorious Revolution (which led to James II's exile from England in 1688) reaches him.
- Once he knows that it is safe to leave hiding, he goes to see his brother.
- He gives up all right to their family property.
- In exchange, his brother settles a lifetime income on the MotH for one thousand pounds a year (about $200,000—not too shabby!).
- The MotH uses that money to travel all over Europe.
- Tom wants to hear about his travels, as well.
Book 8, Chapter 15
A Brief History of Europe. And a Curious Discourse Between Mr. Jones and the Man of the Hill
- The MotH (Man of the Hill) has found that, in all of his travels, people are the same everywhere.
- (In the words of R&B legend Curtis Mayfield, "I've met many people over the years/And in my opinion, I have found that people/Are the same everywhere./They have the same fears/Shed similar tears/Die in so many years." We would never have guessed that the composer for the soundtrack of Super Fly (1972) and Henry Fielding's Man of the Hill would have something in common. But there you go.)
- People in other countries dress differently and some of their manners are different.
- But they all share "the same follies and vices" (8.15.2).
- Tom is amazed that MotH can live here alone like he does.
- The MotH says that it's enough for him to meditate on God and his powers.
- The more he thinks about the divine, the more pathetic humans seem in comparison.
- Tom argues that the MotH is concentrating too hard on the worst of humankind.
- The MotH has been unlucky in the friends and lovers he has chosen, certainly.
- But that doesn't mean that all humans are equally disgusting.
- The MotH is clearly getting upset at this line of conversation, so Tom gives up.
- It's dawn, so the MotH invites Tom to come and look at some beautiful nearby views.
- Tom agrees, leaving Partridge napping.
Book 9, Chapter 1
Of Those Who Lawfully May, and Of Those Who May Not Write Such Histories As These
- The narrator decides we need to talk about what makes an author capable of writing "true and genuine" books as opposed to "foolish" or "monstrous" (9.1.1) ones.
- Because anyone with a pen can write a novel, you rarely find someone who works hard both to make up good stories and to tell them in a convincing and skillful way.
- The narrator thinks about the terms "history" and "romance."
- He's not supposed to use the word "history" for this work because it isn't based on specific facts (9.1.5).
- And he doesn't want to use the word "romance" because his work is too serious to be compared to a lot of other books that go into that category.
- Because of the huge number of books now produced by dull or "nasty" (9.1.5) writers, the narrator suggests that we put into place some kind of system of official qualifications.
- Here's what the narrator says you need to be a writer:
- (1) Genius. A genius combines invention and judgment.
- But by "invention," the narrator does not mean making up plot lines; anyone can invent stories.
- For the narrator, being creative really means uncovering what is already there.
- And once you have seen into this essence of things, you can then judge what they mean.
- So invention = looking at stuff, and judgment = evaluating exactly how some things are different from other things.
- (2) Learning. You can't just rely on natural genius.
- You also have to study the craft of writing ("the tools of our profession" (9.1.8)).
- It's the job of the writer not only to study other books, but also to study real human interaction.
- The contrasts between upper and working class people and their behaviors will make each side's faults and virtues all the more apparent.
- (3) A Good Heart. You have to have feelings of your own to write about other people's emotions.
- (We're now imagining what the job application to be a writer would look like. Lots of free time? Check. Glutton for punishment? Check. Willingness to work long hours in the hopes that someone, someday will read your work? Check. And most importantly: have a day job? Check.
- But the narrator's list of qualifications for being a professional writer certainly looks different from ours!)
Book 9, Chapter 2
Containing a Very Surprizing Adventure Indeed, Which Mr. Jones Met With in his Walk With the Man of the Hill
- It's dawn, and Tom and the MotH (Man of the Hill) are walking.
- Tom hears a woman screaming from the woods at the base of the hill.
- He runs down to see what is that matter.
- He finds a half-naked woman with a man who appears to be strangling her with a garter from his stockings.
- Tom immediately grabs a stick and starts beating the man.
- Once the man is on the ground, the woman thanks Tom for saving her.
- Tom ties up the man's hands with his own garter.
- But we don't have to keep calling this guy "the man" because we now know who it is: it's none other than Northerton!
- Tom asks the woman if she has any spare clothes around.
- She doesn't: she's a stranger to these parts.
- Tom goes back to the MotH to ask him what he should do.
- The MotH advises Tom to go to nearby Upton with Northerton and the woman.
- As a side note: this village map of Upton is amazing; if you zoom out, you can also find Gloucester and the Cirencester Road (which Tom has been walking).
- From the perspective of the Google satellites, it doesn't look as though this corner of the country has changed all that much since 1749.
- When Tom returns from his conversation with the MotH, he finds that Northerton has run away.
- After all, Tom only tied the man's hands, not his legs.
- The woman can't stop staring at Tom.
- She insists that Tom accompany her to the nearest village.
- And she also (weirdly) refuses to wear the coat that Tom offers her.
- Tom promises her that he won't look at her (in case he gets overwhelmed by her naked breasts).
- So Tom walks on ahead of the woman with his eyes set firmly forward, and she follows him safely to Upton.
Book 9, Chapter 3
The Arrival of Mr. Jones, With His Lady, at the Inn; With a Very Full Description of the Battle of Upton
- Tom and the woman arrive at the Upton inn.
- They're going upstairs to a room when the landlord tries to stop "that beggar wench" (9.3.2) from following Tom.
- The landlady wants to avoid any kind of bad reputation for her inn.
- So she makes sure to kick out any woman she suspects of being a prostitute.
- As soon as the landlady hears her husband yelling at this half-naked woman, she grabs a broom with the intent of shoving the woman out the door.
- Tom stops her and demands a dress for the woman.
- The landlady starts shouting abuse at him.
- Tom keeps trying to get a word in edgewise, but the landlady won't let him.
- The landlord joins in the fight, and Tom gets really mad.
- Tom hits the landlord with the stick that he's still carrying (the one that he used on Northerton last chapter).
- The landlord fights back with his fists.
- The landlady raises her broomstick to hit Tom on the head.
- But Partridge suddenly appears and grabs the broomstick from behind.
- Partridge isn't going to allow this woman to kill Tom (which, honestly, a broomstick to the head could probably do).
- So Partridge fights the landlady while Tom fights the landlord.
- The half-naked woman comes down the stairs and jumps into the struggle with the landlady.
- And then Susan, the maid at the inn, rushes in to defend her boss.
- So now Susan is fighting against Partridge, while the half-naked woman and the landlady are battling it out.
- (Wow, this is turning into an all-out brawl.)
- The only thing that stops the fight is the sudden arrival of a coach.
- The landlord and landlady do their best to look like they haven't just been fighting as they welcome their new guests.
Book 9, Chapter 4
In Which the Arrival of a Man of War Puts a Final End to Hostilities, and Causes the Conclusion of a Firm and Lasting Peace Between All Parties
- The new arrivals are a bunch of soldiers.
- The woman (who is no longer truly half-naked, since she has covered her chest with a pillowcase) is sitting weeping in the kitchen with Tom.
- The sergeant of the company goes into the kitchen to warm himself in front of the fire.
- He spots the woman, and asks her if she is Captain Waters's wife?
- She is. She adds that she would have been killed that day if not for Tom's help.
- The sergeant is sure that Captain Waters will reward Tom.
- The landlady immediately starts to apologize to Mrs. Waters.
- She offers Mrs. Waters one of her own dresses.
- Mrs. Waters initially refuses, because of the whole prostitute misunderstanding.
- But Tom jumps in and says that she should forgive, forget, and borrow that dress.
- So Mrs. Waters forgives the landlady, Tom forgives the landlord, and Partridge forgives Susan (though she bloodied his nose and he blacked her eye).
- The sergeant is glad to see everyone making up all friendly-like.
- So he proposes a toast, and everyone drinks together around the kitchen fire.
- Finally, Tom and Mrs. Waters go up and eat the dinner Tom ordered up to his room at the beginning of the previous chapter.
Book 9, Chapter 5
An Apology For All Heroes Who Have Good Stomachs, With a Description of a Battle of the Amorous Kind
- Tom settles down and inhales a ton of food, since it's been a full day since he last ate anything.
- As he is eating, Mrs. Waters sits and thinks about something else: Tom's attractiveness.
- He is, after all, "one of the handsomest young fellows in the world." (9.5.5)
- Not only is he handsome but he has also just rescued Mrs. Waters from an attacker.
- Of course she is going to think he's awesome.
- She wants to be attractive to Tom, as well.
- (Here, Fielding gives us another parody of classical poetic style, sort of like the mock-Homer passages in Book 4, Chapter 8.)
- Here are the "weapons" (9.5.12) that Mrs. Waters uses to seduce Tom:
- (1) two blue eyes (which Tom ignores in favor of his roast beef); and
- (2) a deep sigh (which he can't hear over the bubbling of his beer).
- Tom is concentrating so hard on eating that love doesn't really enter into his mind.
- Mrs. Waters decides to hold off on seducing Tom until he's finished dining.
- Once, he's done, though, she breaks out the big guns: a shy gaze that immediately gets Tom's attention.
- She follows up the shy look with a friendly smile.
- Tom notices and likes what he sees.
- Mrs. Waters drops the handkerchief from her neck.
- And Tom surrenders to her charms. Bow chicka bow bow!
Book 9, Chapter 6
A Friendly Conversation in the Kitchin, Which Had a Very Common, Tho' Not Very Friendly Conclusion
- While all of this canoodling is going on upstairs, there's a party going on in the kitchen.
- Partridge, the landlord, the landlady, the sergeant, and a coachman are all gathered around some beer.
- The landlady and landlord fall to arguing over whose fault the afternoon's brawl actually was. They each blame the other.
- Partridge tells them all that he is traveling with the heir to the great Squire Allworthy.
- He says that they just came from an adventure with the Man of the Hill, whom Partridge still thinks is the devil.
- The group thinks over the nature of the devil: mainly, they agree that he has to exist, because who else would punish the people who deserve it?
- The landlord says something about the devil taking an officer who stiffed him on his hotel bill.
- The sergeant takes offense and accuses the landlord of hating both the army and the king.
- Partridge tries to calm things down, but the sergeant thinks he's insulting him.
- The sergeant challenges everyone to a duel, and the coachman randomly accepts.
- The sergeant beats the tar out of the coachman.
- The coachman is so drunk (and now injured) that he can't drive anywhere.
- His employer, a young lady who appears to be "in love, and running away from her friends" (9.6.6), calls for him, but he can't answer.
- The landlady runs up and tells Tom and Mrs. Waters what's been happening downstairs.
- Tom sighs a little at the news of the young lady in distress over her coachman.
- Mrs. Waters realizes that he's probably in love with a similar young lady, but she doesn't mind.
- She's satisfied with Tom's body and doesn't really want his heart.
Book 9, Chapter 7
Containing a Fuller Account of Mrs. Waters, and By What Means She Came Into That Distressful Situation From Which She Was Rescued By Jones
- Tom doesn't press Mrs. Waters to explain what happened with Northerton.
- But the narrator knows we(the readers) are probably curious. He tells us:
- Mrs. Waters has lived for several years as Captain Waters's wife (though they are not actually married).
- Captain Waters belongs to a company in the same regiment as Northerton's company.
- Captain Waters's company arrived at Worcester the day after Tom and Northerton have their kerfuffle.
- Captain and Mrs. Waters had an agreement that she would go with him as far as Worcester, and then from there, she would return home to Bath while he is off fighting in Scotland.
- Mrs. Waters has another agreement with Northerton, that the two of them will meet up in Worcester after her husband has left for Scotland.
- As soon as Northerton escapes from the lieutenant's company back in Book 7, Chapter 14, he rushes to catch up with Mrs. Waters.
- He finds her in Worcester and tells her that he is a wanted man.
- She immediately feels bad for Northerton and decides to help him.
- The two of them slip away before dawn the next morning.
- But as the sun rises, Northerton suddenly says that it's not safe for him to travel on the public roads.
- Northerton persuades Mrs. Waters to go with him into the woods.
- That's how they wind up at the base of the Man of the Hill's particular hill.
- It's not clear exactly how far in advance Northerton has been planning this attempted murder.
- But it's definitely true that, once he reaches a clearing in the trees, he takes off his garter and tries to strangle Mrs. Waters.
- He thinks that, since he is already guilty of murder (as he believes at this point that Tom has died of his injuries), he may as well keep going on his life of crime.
- He wants to steal Mrs. Waters's ring and money.
- And then Tom arrives, just in time.
Book 10, Chapter 1
Containing Instructions Very Necessary To Be Perused By Modern Critics
- The narrator does not want any critics to misrepresent him.
- He addresses his critics as "little reptile."
- (We're imagining something like this.)
- So, let's say you're a "little reptile" critic.
- Here's what the narrator says you're not allowed to do:
- (1) Don't assume that anything that happens in the novel is pointless just because you don't see the point.
- (2) Don't complain because some characters closely resemble each other.
- Sometimes two people doing the same job in two different places (like the landladies in Books 7 and 9) will have traits in common.
- That doesn't mean they are the same.
- (3) Don't assume that any character is bad just because he isn't perfectly good.
- After all, there are no perfect people in the world.
- In fact, it's morally better to notice the flaws in characters we otherwise like than to be really black-and-white about Good vs. Evil.
- With these warnings out of the way, we can get on with the story.
Book 10, Chapter 2
Containing the Arrival of an Irish Gentleman, With Very Extraordinary Adventures Which Ensued at the Inn
- It's midnight, and everyone at the inn is asleep except Susan the maid, who is cleaning the kitchen.
- A man arrives at the door and demands to know if there is a woman in the house.
- He throws a bunch of money at Susan, and she shows him to Mrs. Waters's room.
- The man finds the door locked and quickly breaks it down.
- Tom demands to know what the heck he thinks he's doing.
- The man spots a bunch of ladies' clothes on the floor and immediately jumps to lots of conclusions.
- He throws himself in Tom, and they start fighting.
- Mrs. Waters wakes up and starts screaming.
- A man in bed next door—an Irishman who is on his way to Bath to seek his fortune—hears the noise and runs over to Mrs. Waters's room.
- As soon as the Irishman (whose name is Mr. Machlachlan) spots the two fighters, he demands to know what "Mr. Fitzpatrick" thinks he's doing.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick shouts that Tom has slept with his wife.
- Mr. Maclachlan replies that he knows Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and that lady there is not she.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick realizes that, in fact, he barged in on a completely unfamiliar couple. (Awkward!)
- He turns to Tom, says he's still mad, and demands to meet him for a duel the next morning.
- Obviously, Tom thinks this is an utterly idiotic idea.
- Tom wants to cover for Mrs. Waters—it's not going to look too good for her reputation that Tom is in her room in his nightshirt.
- But Mrs. Waters is smart enough to think of an excuse.
- She shouts for the landlady and says that these three men came rushing into her room in the middle of the night.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick apologizes and leaves with Mr. Maclachlan.
- Tom (who is no dummy) picks up Mrs. Waters's hint and agrees that he came rushing in to save her when he heard the commotion.
- Tom apologizes for appearing in his nightshirt in front of Mrs. Waters and returns to his own bed.
- Finally, the landlady wishes Mrs. Waters a good night's sleep and leaves.
Book 10, Chapter 3
A Dialogue Between the Landlady and Susan the Chamber-maid, Proper to be Read by All Inn-keepers and Their Servants, With the Arrival, and the Affable Behaviour, of a Beautiful Young Lady; Which May Teach Persons of Condition How They May Acquire the Love of the Whole World
- The landlady goes to find Susan to ask what the heck just happened.
- Susan explains about Mr. Fitzpatrick trying to find his wife.
- But she absolutely swears that Tom jumped out of Mrs. Waters's bed.
- The landlady tells her to shut up.
- If that were true, why would Mrs. Waters have shouted for help?
- And anyway, the landlady does not want that kind of rumor about her inn to get out!
- The narrator tells us that Mr. Fitzpatrick's wife ran away from him not only because he spent all of her money, but also because of his cruelty and jealousy.
- Meanwhile, an owl outside Partridge's window wakes him, and he can't go back to sleep from fear of the devil.
- So he goes down to the kitchen and falls into conversation with the landlady and Mr. Fitzpatrick's post-boy (a servant who is keeping the horses).
- As they are chatting, two ladies arrive at the inn.
- One of them is very richly dressed.
- The landlady sees a chance to make some money, and offers the lady food, drink, a room—whatever she wants.
- The lady insists that anything is fine; whatever simple room she has available will be enough for her needs.
- She apologizes for blocking the kitchen fireplace and hopes that she hasn't made them too uncomfortable by interrupting their evening.
- The landlady escorts this very kind, very rich young lady to her room for the night.
- When she gets back to the kitchen, she and Partridge keep complimenting the young lady.
- Everyone agrees that she seems really sweet.
Book 10, Chapter 4
Containing Infallible Nostrums for Procuring Universal Disesteem and Hatred
- As soon as the lady goes to sleep, her maid goes back to the kitchen looking for food.
- Everyone stands when she comes in, and she forgets to tell them to sit down again.
- She sits right in front of the fire and demands a broiled chicken right then.
- The landlady doesn't have a chicken, but she offers mutton instead.
- The maid gets very hoity-toity about having to eat sheep at this time of night.
- Nothing pleases the maid, and her manner is really snobby and high-and-mighty.
- (In other words, everything that the rich lady did to make the people at the inn comfortable, her maid does the opposite.)
- She says that Partridge may stay, so long as he is a gentleman.
- She asks about the "people of great quality" (10.4.8) supposedly staying at the inn.
- The landlady name-drops Squire Allworthy. She claims that his son is staying with them.
- The maid says she knows Squire Allworthy well, and that he has no son.
- Partridge answers that everyone knows this boy is Squire Allworthy's son, even if his last name is Jones.
- At the sound of Tom's name, the maid shouts, "Is it possible Mr. Jones should be now in the house?" (10.4.11).
- When Partridge confirms, the maid runs to her employer.
Book 10, Chapter 5
Shewing Who the Amiable Lady, and Her Unamiable Maid, Were
- Of course, the lady is Sophia, and the maid is Mrs. Honour. (A shocking twist, we know.)
- Sophia is thinking of Tom when Mrs. Honour bursts through the door and says that Tom is here, at this very inn.
- Mrs. Honour goes back out and asks to see Tom, but Partridge refuses to wake him.
- Unfortunately, Partridge seems to think that Mrs. Honour wants to sleep with Tom.
- He tells her frankly that Tom is already in bed with a woman.
- Mrs. Honour is so furious that she goes back to Sophia and tells her everything.
- Sophia thinks there must be some mistake.
- Susan the chambermaid comes to Sophia's room with a drink she ordered.
- Sophia keeps paying Susan money until she agrees to slip into Tom's room to see if he's alone in bed.
- Of course, Tom isn't alone in bed, and Susan tells Sophia as much.
- Susan also passes on all of the things Partridge said about Sophia in the kitchen earlier.
- Apparently, he's been spreading around the rumor that Sophia is dying of love for Tom, and that Tom has run away to war to escape from her. (Ouch.)
- After dropping this bombshell, Susan leaves the room.
- Sophia tells Mrs. Honour that she now accepts that Tom is "a low despicable wretch" (10.5.9).
- Sophia is furious, and wants to make sure that Tom knows that she was there.
- So Sophia bribes Susan to leave her muff where Tom will see it. (See "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" for more on Sophia's famous muff.)
- And then Sophia and Mrs. Honour ride off.
Book 10, Chapter 6
Containing, Among Other Things, the Ingenuity of Partridge, the Madness of Jones, and the Folly of Fitzpatrick
- It's five in the morning, and the new day is beginning.
- The sergeant, the coachman, and Partridge all drink a toast together. (At 5 a.m.? Gosh, guys, give your bodies a rest.)
- Tom calls for Partridge, and the two get ready to set out again.
- Partridge jokes about the two women he stopped from invading Tom's room the night before.
- Tom spots the muff that Susan smuggled into his room.
- He shouts at Partridge: where are those two women?!
- Partridge says they're probably miles away by now.
- Tom really, really freaks out.
- He screams at Partridge and at himself for missing the opportunity to see Sophia.
- We now have to jump back in time a little.
- The coach taking Sophia and Mrs. Honour to Bath is actually a rented coach.
- There are four seats for hire, and Sophia and Mrs. Honour are only filling half of them.
- When the coachman hears that Mr. Maclachlan is going to Bath too, he suggests that Mr. Maclachlan take one of the spare seats in the coach.
- Mr. Machlachlan agrees and wants Mr. Fitzpatrick to come with him.
- Mr. Machlachlan has also heard that a fine lady came to the inn that night.
- He suggests to Mr. Fitzpatrick that it might be his wife.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick is so dumb that he immediately starts running all through the inn looking for her.
- But of course, he doesn't find her.
Book 10, Chapter 7
In Which Are Concluded the Adventures That Happened at the Inn at Upton
- The gentleman who has just arrived at the inn is Squire Western himself.
- His daughter leaves just before he can get her.
- He also just misses his niece, because it turns out that somehow, Mrs. Fitzpatrick is actually originally a Western.
- (This book is like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Somehow, everyone is connected to everyone else.)
- The inn is full of confusion, as Squire Western is searching for Sophia and Mr. Fitzpatrick is searching for his wife.
- And then, Squire Western spots Tom.
- And Tom happens to be carrying Sophia's muff.
- Tom swears that he has not seen Sophia, but no one believes him.
- Squire Western tries to get Tom convicted on a charge of "stealing daughters" (10.7.11).
- But Mr. Fitzpatrick says the real crime here is the stolen muff, since they have the physical evidence right there.
- Partridge swears that he is the one who found the muff and Susan tells how Sophia bribed her to leave it in Tom's room.
- So all the charges of theft against Tom are dismissed.
- Squire Western is so angry that he rides off at once looking for his daughter.
- Tom also leaves with Partridge.
- And Mrs. Waters takes the coach to Bath along with Misters Maclachlan and Fitzpatrick.
- In fact, she and Mr. Fitzpatrick take to each other, and she comforts him over the loss of his wife.
Book 10, Chapter 8
In Which the History Goes Backwards
- Before going on with the story, we're going to jump even further back in time.
- The narrator takes us back to the morning that the Westerns discover Sophia has run away (back in Book 7, Chapter 9).
- Early that morning, Squire Western sends a messenger to Mr. Blifil to come to the house.
- He, Squire Western, and Mrs. Western have breakfast.
- They send a servant to call Sophia.
- The servant returns to say that, in fact, they can't find her.
- Squire Western goes all around his estate shouting for Sophia, but (of course) she doesn't turn up.
- Mrs. Western helpfully tells him that it's all his fault Sophia ran away.
- Mrs. Western blames him for spoiling his daughter and giving in to her every wish.
- Squire Western storms out.
- Mrs. Western turns to Mr. Blifil (who's just been sitting there this whole time) to keep complaining about her brother's weakness towards his daughter.
- Mr. Blifil goes home disappointed.
Book 10, Chapter 9
The Escape of Sophia
- And now, we jump back to the night of Sophia's escape from her horrible father.
- At midnight, Sophia sneaks out of the house and goes to meet Mrs. Honour.
- A post-boy accompanies the two women; his job will be to look after their horses.
- But before they get too far on the London Road, Sophia stops the post-boy to ask him to take them to Bristol instead.
- The post-boy mentions the trouble he had with "the gentleman from Squire Allworthy's" (10.9.12) on the road to Bristol.
- Sophia realizes that this post-boy must be the same guy who guided Tom south.
- Sophia bribes the post-boy to bring her to where he left Tom.
- Mrs. Honour shouts at Sophia that her original plan was to go to London.
- Has she given this trip any thought at all?! It's indecent to follow a man around like this!
- Sophia has had a rough couple of days, but Mrs. Honour's advice seems to calm her down.
- She realizes that her plan of following Tom may not have been totally wise.
- They head back north to Gloucester, in the direction of London.
- She stops at the Bell and then rides on to Upton.
- And that's where, of course, she almost runs into Tom.
- Meanwhile, her father has traced her path starting with information from the post-boy and going from there.
- That's how he almost catches Sophia at Upton.
Book 11, Chapter 1
A Crust For the Critics
- In the first chapter of Book 10, you might have thought the narrator was being a little harsh with the critics.
- He wants to take this chapter to explain why they deserve it.
- The word "critic" means to give judgment.
- Some critics seem to think that this means legal judgment, because they often condemn other people's works without mercy.
- But you know what the narrator thinks? He thinks these critics are just "common [slanderers]" (11.1.5). (A slanderer is someone who spreads false statements about someone else.)
- After all, they can ruin an author's reputation forever, without there being any way for the author to fight back.
- Worst of all, these attacks are often completely unprovoked and pointless.
- They are just mean for the sake of being mean.
- And it's not just a matter of emotional investment.
- A book also represents a big financial payoff for the author.
- When a critic kills off an author's book, he is hitting that author right in the wallet.
- Last but not least, when a critic insults a book, he is also insulting the author personally.
- Nobody can call a book stupid without meaning to say that the author is also a fool.
- Here are some signs that you might be a bad critic:
- (1) If you criticize books you have not read, you might be a bad critic.
- (2) If you say a whole book is "vile, dull [… or] low" (11.1.16) without giving any specific reasons, you might be a bad critic.
- (3) Let's say a book has some less good bits, but it's excellent overall.
- If you say that book is entirely bad, just because of those few flaws, you might be a bad critic.
Book 11, Chapter 2
The Adventures Which Sophia Met With, After Her Leaving Upton
- Sophia asks her guide to take her across small country roads (instead of the main roads) as she and Mrs. Honour ride away from Upton.
- As they cross the River Severn, Sophia spots horsemen riding fast towards them.
- It's too dark for her to see who they are.
- A voice addresses Sophia; it belongs to a woman.
- Sophia is relieved to hear that the other group of travelers includes two women and one guide, just like Sophia's.
- As the sun begins to rise, Sophia and her new traveling companions get a look at each other.
- Sophia immediately recognizes her cousin Harriet, now Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- It makes sense that they bumped into each other, since they both left the inn at Upton at around the same time.
- They travel for hours before stopping at an inn.
- The ladies are all exhausted, so Sophia and Mrs. Fitzpatrick share a bed, and Mrs. Honour and Mrs. Abigail (Mrs. Fitzpatrick's maid) share another bed.
- Meanwhile, the landlord jumps to the totally bizarre conclusion that they are Jacobite rebel women fleeing from the forces of King George II.
- (Wondering who these "rebel" fellows might be? Check out our "Detailed Summary" of Book 7, Chapter 11 for an answer.)
- A local Jacobite comes by the inn saying that, "ten thousand French" (11.2.22) have arrived to help the rebels.
- So the landlord decides to suck up to Sophia, in the hopes that she'll reward him when the Jacobites win.
Book 11, Chapter 3
A Very Short Chapter, In Which However Is a Sun, a Moon, a Star, and an Angel
- Sophia wakes after sunset from her nap.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick wakes up at the same time, and they both get dressed.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick is very pretty, but next to Sophia, she looks ordinary.
- Sophia looks like the sun—an angel—everything shining and beautiful, in short.
- Sophia and Mrs. Fitzpatrick have agreed to go together to London.
- Sophia really wants to leave now and travel through the night.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick is afraid to travel at night and begs Sophia to wait until dawn.
- So they pass the night at the inn.
- And they use the opportunity to exchange life stories.
Book 11, Chapter 4
The History of Mrs. Fitzpatrick
- Remember, back in Book 4, Chapter 5, when we mentioned that Sophia spent three years at her aunt's house in Bath learning how to be a lady?
- Well, her cousin Harriet (the future Mrs. Fitzpatrick) was her best friend during that time.
- Once Sophia returned to her father's house, Harriet was left more or less on her own.
- And it's to this post-Sophia life in Bath that Mrs. Fitzpatrick/Harriet flashes back.
- At this time, Mrs. Western is attracted to an Irish gentleman named Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- She frequently brings him over to her house for gatherings.
- People start to gossip that maybe Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Western are having an affair.
- At first, Harriet believes that Mr. Fitzpatrick is trying to marry Mrs. Western for her money.
- But then, Mr. Fitzpatrick starts behaving romantically towards Harriet herself.
- But Mrs. Western is completely oblivious to all of the signs that Mr. Fitzpatrick is trying to seduce her niece.
- Finally, Mr. Fitzpatrick tells Harriet that he is in love with her.
- Harriet is thrilled, not only that he loves her, but also that she beat out all of her rivals for Mr. Fitzpatrick's attention.
- Harriet and Mr. Fitzpatrick elope.
- Mrs. Western refuses to speak to Harriet—now Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
Book 11, Chapter 5
In Which the History of Mrs. Fitzpatrick Is Continued
- Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick only spend two weeks in Bath before heading back to Mr. Fitzpatrick's home in Ireland.
- They can't touch her inheritance for another two years, so money is a problem.
- The day before they are supposed to leave, Mrs. Fitzpatrick finds a letter from someone Mr. Fitzpatrick owes.
- In this letter, Mr. Fitzpatrick's creditor blames him for making false promises about his debts.
- Apparently, Mr. Fitzpatrick has been holding off his creditors by saying that soon, he'll be married "to this lady, and t'other lady; but [the creditor] can neither live on hopes or promises" (11.5.2).
- When Mr. Fitzpatrick comes home, she shows the letter to him.
- He sweet-talks her into thinking that he didn't marry her for her money.
- And the two of them travel to Ireland the next day.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick's mansion is a huge pile, mostly empty of furniture.
- The whole place is so depressing that Mrs. Fitzpatrick doesn't know what to do.
- It doesn't help that Mr. Fitzpatrick has turned cold and scornful.
- He actively gets annoyed when Mrs. Fitzpatrick is happy, and he cheers up when she's sad.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick's open contempt towards his wife soon makes her hate him.
- In the middle of this dark situation, Mrs. Fitzpatrick has a child.
Book 11, Chapter 6
In Which the Mistake of the Landlord Throws Sophia Into a Dreadful Consternation
- The landlord comes in with dinner, interrupting Mrs. Fitzpatrick's story.
- He tells Sophia not to worry, because they have just had "excellent news" (11.6.4).
- So some people who may be in the middle of escaping will find other people waiting for them in London. (Could this guy get any more vague!?)
- (The "excellent news" refers to the ten thousand French troops the landlord hears are helping Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- And the people "who will be very ready to receive" Sophia in London probably means Bonnie Prince Charlie himself, the assumed lover of the supposed Jenny Cameron.)
- But Sophia assumes that the landlord recognizes her as Sophia Western, and that her father is on the way.
- She begs the landlord not to reveal their identities (only, of course, convincing him that she is Jacobite Jenny Cameron).
- The landlord swears he will never give her up.
- Sophia promises she will reward him someday.
- The landlord makes another mysterious reference to "good news" (11.6.8).
- But before he has a chance to explain what he means, Mrs. Honour comes rushing in.
- She brings thenews that the French troops have landed.
- She exclaims that they will "all be murdered and ravished" (11.6.10) by the French.
- (This news matters because the French were the allies of Bonnie Prince Charlie against George II and the Duke of Cumberland. But of course, in actual history, the French never reinforced Bonnie Prince Charlie's troops—this whole ten-thousand-Frenchmen thing is a completely false rumor.)
- The landlord jumps in to say that, no, "the French are our very best friends" (11.6.13).
- So he still thinks (because he's an idiot) that Sophia is Jenny Cameron.
- Sophia later tells Mrs. Honour to find out from the landlord what he knows about her (because she still thinks that the landlord knows she's Sophia Western).
- And Mrs. Fitzpatrick goes back to her story.
Book 11, Chapter 7
In Which Mrs. Fitzpatrick Concludes Her History
- Most of the officers stationed near Mr. Fitzpatrick's house are as horrible as he is.
- There is one who is different, a lieutenant and a "very pretty sort of man" (11.7.2).
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick really likes his wife, too, and they are all friends.
- Eventually, they leave the area, and Mrs. Fitzpatrick feels more alone than ever.
- She tries to get back in touch with Mrs. Western, but her aunt refuses to reply.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick goes on a three-month business trip to England.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick is beyond lonely.
- Her dark mood is made even worse by the death of her baby.
- A young lady relative of Mr. Fitzpatrick's comes to stay with her for a while.
- She finally tells Mrs. Fitzpatrick that her husband keeps a mistress.
- And even though Mrs. Fitzpatrick hates her husband, she's hurt that he's cheating on her. When he comes back from England, he is surprisingly sweet to her.
- And she soon discovers why he's being so nice: he spent all of her fortune while he was away.
- He needs her permission to sell a piece of property that still belongs to her.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick says no.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick claims that she owes him the estate because she's cheated on him with that lieutenant the year before (which Mrs. Fitzpatrick totally denies).
- Mr. Fitzpatrick kicks his lady relative out of the house and locks Mrs. Fitzpatrick up.
- He won't let her go until she gives in and sells the estate.
- One day, when her husband was away, Mrs. Fitzpatrick receives some money (she won't say from where).
- She uses it to bribe her way out of the locked room.
- She travels to Dublin and then sails to England, in the hopes of staying with either Mrs. Western or Squire Western.
- Her husband almost catches up with her at the inn at Upton (as we saw in Book 10).
- She escapes with her maid just in time, and the rest, Sophia knows.
- Sophia is very sorry for her cousin. She thinks this all happened because Mr. Fitzpatrick is Irish. (Oh, Sophia. Why?!)
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick disagrees: it's not because he's Irish, it's because he's a fool.
- (Check out our "Quotes and Thoughts" section under "Appearances" for our views on anti-Irish prejudice in this novel.)
Book 11, Chapter 8
A Dreadful Alarm in the Inn, With the Arrival of an Unexpected Friend of Mrs. Fitzpatrick
- Sophia tells Mrs. Fitzpatrick all about her own travels.
- But she leaves out one small detail: Tom.
- As Sophia wraps up her tale, they hear shrieks coming from downstairs.
- It's Mrs. Honour, shouting at the landlord and landlady.
- She's obviously offended as all get-out that they think her Sophia is Jenny Cameron, that "nasty stinking" (11.8.4) Jacobite prostitute.
- It definitely offends Mrs. Honour's pride that people might think that she would ever work for a prostitute.
- One reason why Mrs. Honour is so angry is that she's kind of drunk.
- It turns out that Mrs. Honour has left the landlord with a bloody nose.
- (From all we've seen of Mrs. Honour in this novel, we'd like to have her on our side in a fight. That girl can box!)
- The landlord comes upstairs to say that there is "a great gentleman" (11.8.12) waiting downstairs.
- Sophia thinks at first that it's her father.
- But no, it's an Irish lord who recognized Mrs. Fitzpatrick's servant and is asking after the lady herself.
- This lord is a friend of Mrs. Fitzpatrick's.
- In fact, he's the guy who helped her to escape from her locked room back in Ireland.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick introduces him to Sophia.
- He offers the two ladies transportation in his coach, which they accept.
Book 11, Chapter 9
The Morning Introduced in Some Pretty Writing. A Stage Coach. The Civility of Chambermaids. The Heroic Temper of Sophia. Her Generosity. The Return to It. The Departure of the Company, and Their Arrival at London; With Some Remarks for the Use of Travellers
- It's seven in the morning, and Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Sophia are ready to hit the road with their Irish nobleman.
- Sophia gives the landlord a present to make up for his bloody nose from Mrs. Honour.
- She notices that her hundred-pound note has suddenly gone missing.
- That's really bad, since that money is all that she has in the world.
- She decides that she must have dropped it when she fell off her horse in the dark in Book 11, Chapter 2.
- She gives up worrying about it, since there is nothing else for her to do.
- Incidentally, the landlord is very happy with his present from Sophia.
- The narrator won't tell us how much it was for.
- Sophia, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and the Irish nobleman only take two days to travel to London.
- Nothing really happens on their trip, so the narrator is going to skip over it.
Book 11, Chapter 10
Containing a Hint or Two Concerning Virtue, and a Few More Concerning Suspicion
- Sophia, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and the Irish nobleman are in London.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick refuses to stay in the Irish nobleman's house while his wife is out of town.
- She's very serious about maintaining the appearance of virtue.
- So the two women find a separate place to stay.
- Here's the deal with Mrs. Fitzpatrick: once she ran away from her husband, she realized she needed a protector.
- What better protector could she have than this Irish nobleman who rescued her from her husband's house?
- But she doesn't want to make it obvious that she's his mistress.
- So they are keeping his relationship to her very secret.
- Sophia figures all of this out by watching the Irish nobleman, who's much worse at keeping a secret than Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- This makes Sophia really eager to go to that relative of hers (Lady Bellaston) who's living in London.
- She's uncomfortable staying with Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and Mrs. Fitzpatrick is uncomfortable having her there.
- As Sophia leaves, she advises her cousin to think of making up with her husband (which, honestly, we think is terrible advice. The man locked her in a room for three weeks! Come on, Sophia.)
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick tells Sophia to be less serious all the time.
- Her virtuous attitude won't work in the city.
Book 12, Chapter 1
Shewing What Is to Be Deemed Plagiarism in a Modern Author, and What Is to Be Considered as Lawful Prize
- The narrator confesses: there are lots of passages in this book that he's translated from classical authors, and not all of these passages include direct quotations or citations.
- The narrator admits that it may seem like cheating for an author to fill his books with lines from Greek and Roman writers.
- But the narrator promises us: he has often been tempted to include much longer passages from great classical authors.
- It's only been an act of restraint and self-discipline on his part that he has left out all of this information about the classics that he's just dying to share with us.
- Still, people accuse him of stealing work from classical writers.
- Here is the narrator's defense: classical knowledge is totally up for grabs.
- We all have the right to "fatten [our] muse" (12.1.5) on this classical material; it is like delicious food for our brains.
- Nowadays, we're all much stupider than they were back then.
- We have to steal from classical authors to improve our own writing.
- The narrator may snatch passages from ancient writers, sometimes without even naming them.
- But as soon as he writes down their ideas, their feelings become his own.
- Borrowing from the classics is one thing; it's very different to take lines from other modern writers without giving their names.
- The narrator always insists on naming modern authors, so that he can remove their quotations from his work if they want him to.
Book 12, Chapter 2
In Which, Tho' the Squire Doth Not Find His Daughter, Something Is Found Which Puts an End to His Pursuit
- We've jumped back in time again. (We're getting dizzy from all this backtracking!)
- This time, we're following Squire Western's plot line.
- When last we heard, he was in the inn at Upton.
- He hears that Sophia has crossed the River Severn, so he rides out seeking "vengeance" (12.2.2).
- (Exactly what form does he expect this revenge to take? How much worse can it be than his original plan to marry her to the revolting Mr. Blifil?)
- Mr. Supple, the curate, is traveling with him.
- Squire Western keeps complaining about "the slut" (12.2.6) his daughter.
- He doesn't want to be out here chasing Sophia; his daughter is distracting him from his real love: hunting.
- And then, as luck would have it, a pack of hunting dogs come running by just then.
- Squire Western immediately joins the hunting company, and Mr. Supple follows.
- Squire Western is happy as a clam: riding around the countryside with a bunch of dogs and heavily armed dudes is his idea of heaven.
- He totally forgets all about that pesky Sophia.
- And the other squire (the one who is leading this random hunt) is thrilled to have a fellow sportsman along.
- Once they kill whatever it is they were hunting, the two men chat.
- That evening, they dine together.
- Squire Western gets so drunk that he passes out.
- Mr. Supple tells Squire #2 all about the whole Sophia thing.
- Mr. Supple asks Squire #2 to convince Squire Western to give up this hunt for his daughter.
- So the next morning, the curate and the squire push Squire Western to give up and go home.
- And he does.
- But he also sends some of his servants to keep going after Sophia.
Book 12, Chapter 3
The Departure of Jones from Upton, With What Past Between Him and Patridge on the Road
- And now, we're going back to Tom.
- Tom and Partridge are trudging away from the inn at Upton.
- They reach a crossroads.
- Partridge asks Tom once again to turn back home.
- Tom shouts that he hasn't got a home.
- Then Tom starts shaking Partridge violently.
- Partridge begs Tom to stop hurting him.
- Tom starts raging against himself.
- Eventually, Tom calms down and apologizes to Partridge.
- He now has a new plan: since his life is completely ruined, he may as well go and die in the army.
- Partridge thinks Tom has gone completely around the bend. Totally loco. Really, genuinely crazy.
- Partridge is so uncomfortable that he just picks something to say at random.
- He starts talking about the Man of the Hill. His main question: was he a ghost? His answer: he's gotta be.
- Partridge complains that he dreamed of fighting last night.
- Maybe that was an omen of this whole army plan of Tom's.
- Tom asks why it matters if they both die in battle.
- It matters a lot to Partridge, because his life would be at an end.
- Tom doesn't approve of Partridge's lack of courage: we're all going to die anyway, so why shouldn't we die well on the battlefield?
- Partridge agrees that we will all die eventually, but there is a big difference between dying in your bed years from now and dying today or tomorrow.
Book 12, Chapter 4
The Adventure of the Beggar-man
- They reach another crossroads, where they find a man begging for money.
- The beggar offers to sell Tom something he found about two miles back.
- Tom agrees to take it: it's a small book with a gold cover.
- He finds the name "Sophia Western" written on the front page!
- Tom kisses the book.
- (Tom and Sophia spend a lot of time kissing inanimate objects, we've noticed. It's a little weird.)
- Something slips out of the book: it's that hundred-pound bill Sophia lost back in Book 11, Chapter 9.
- Tom is concerned to find the money—won't Sophia need it?
- Tom offers the beggar a guinea for the book (a price hugely beyond its actual value).
- The beggar is so excited that he happily agrees to lead Tom and Partridge to the place where he found the book.
- As they walk, Tom keeps kissing that book.
- The beggar is like, um—what is he doing?
- Partridge worries once again that Tom has gone nuts.
- Once they arrive, the beggar complains that Tom should give him more money.
- After all, there was a hundred pounds inside that book.
- Since they don't have the original owner here, it should be finders' keepers.
- The beggar is willing to split the hundred pounds with Tom.
- Tom insists on giving all of the money back to its owner. He can't afford to tip the beggar any more right now.
- Tom promises that, if the beggar gives his name and address, he will eventually get a reward.
Book 12, Chapter 5
Containing More Adventures Which Mr. Jones and His Companion Met on the Road
- So Tom and Partridge rush off.
- After about three miles, they hear the sound of drums nearby.
- It turns out that the drums are coming from a puppet show.
- Partridge is excited: he loves puppets!
- They go to the inn, where Tom asks if any ladies have passed recently. (Nope.)
- Partridge convinces Tom to stay for dinner in town so that they can go and see the puppet show.
- The puppet master takes the show very seriously. He wants it to improve "the morals of young people" (12.5.11).
- Tom tells the puppet master that, by avoiding "low stuff" (12.5.11), he has also managed to avoid making the show funny.
- The puppet master immediately gets offended.
- He refuses to spoil the purity of his stage by introducing "low" (12.5.11) comedy.
- (We already know what the narrator thinks of using the word "low" to dismiss art; check out Book 5, Chapter 1 for more on his pro-low-art hissy fit.)
- The puppet master starts another rant, but something interrupts him that we're going to discuss in the next chapter.
Book 12, Chapter 6
In Which It May Be Inferred, That the Best Things Are Liable to Be Misunderstood and Misinterpreted
- At the entry to the puppet-show, a big uproar starts up.
- The landlady of the local inn is beating her maid, who she just found "in a situation not very proper to be described" (12.6.2) with a clown (called a "Merry-Andrew.")
- The landlady attacks her husband and the puppet-show man in the inn kitchen.
- She accuses them of encouraging this kind of sexual misbehavior with their plays.
- She says it would be better to stick to stories out of the Bible.
- The appearance of this shouting woman quickly stops the puppet-show man's earlier argument with Tom.
- It's really unlucky (from the puppet-show man's perspective) that she had to arrive right when he was talking about the good morals of his show.
- The puppet-show man runs out to punish his clown for making trouble.
- Partridge convinces Tom to spend the night at the inn, so they can ask around after Sophia in the morning.
- Tom goes to bed, taking the little book and Sophia's muff with him.
- Partridge eats down in the kitchen with the puppet-show man, the landlady and landlord, a lawyer's clerk, and an "exciseman" (12.6.10), which is a man who collects taxes.
Book 12, Chapter 7
Containing a Remark or Two of Our Own, and Many More of the Good Company Assembled in the Kitchen
- Partridge tells the group at the inn (puppeteer, landlady, landlord, clerk, and taxman) that Tom is an heir to a fortune but that he seems to be going crazy.
- The puppet-show man knew he was crazy all along: how else could Tom have disliked his show?
- The taxman wants to catch him and send him home.
- But the landlady thinks Tom is too pretty to be crazy. He's just unlucky in love—that changes a person.
- The lawyer's clerk also objects that it's not particularly legal to lock someone up against his will.
- A man comes by the inn to tell the landlord that the rebels are on their way to London.
- Everyone believes that it's true, even though it's totally word-of-mouth information.
- They argue over whether or not the rebels will force everyone to convert to Catholicism.
- Partridge adds that the Catholics don't actually want forced conversion.
- That's the landlord's primary worry: he is an anti-Catholic bigot.
- The puppet-show man doesn't care about the religion of the government, as long as he can still have his puppet shows.
- The taxman will be able to collect taxes under the new government, but he doesn't expect to give up his Protestant faith.
- Both the taxman and Partridge drink to the Jacobite cause (so, to the rebels).
- The landlord is not a Jacobite, but he eventually drinks a toast, too (anything to keep his customers happy).
Book 12, Chapter 8
In Which Fortune Seems to have Been In a Better Humour With Jones Than We Have Hitherto Seen Her
- Tom sleeps a good nine hours.
- The only thing that wakes him is the sound of a fight outside his door.
- He sees the puppet-show man beating his Merry-Andrew.
- Tom jumps in to break up the fight.
- The Merry-Andrew starts shouting at the puppet-show man.
- The puppet-show man owes him: not only does the Merry-Andrew make all the money in their show, but he also saved the puppet-show man from being hanged.
- The puppet-show man wanted to steal the fine riding clothes off a beautiful lady they saw yesterday.
- But the Merry-Andrew stopped him, saving him from jail.
- Tom immediately takes aside the Merry-Andrew and asks him where he saw the lady.
- (Of course, the lady is Sophia. There are no other beautiful women in all of southern England, apparently.)
- The Merry-Andrew brings Tom and Partridge to the spot.
- They set off in the direction of Sophia's travels, but after two miles, they have to take shelter at a pub.
- There's a raging storm outside.
- Once they are inside, Partridge recognizes a post-boy sitting by the fire: he was present with Sophia in the inn at Upton!
- Tom takes the servant to a separate room so that they can talk about Sophia in private.
- Partridge, meanwhile, is off gossiping in the kitchen,
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick's guide is there, and quickly shares with Partridge everything he knows about the two ladies at the inn by the River Severn, up until they set off with the Irish nobleman.
Book 12, Chapter 9
Containing Little More Than a Few Odd Observations
- After an hour, Tom grabs Partridge.
- Tom has hired the post-boy, Sophia's former guide, to take him to the same inn where he left Sophia and Mrs. Fitzpatrick (the one just past the River Severn).
- So Tom, Partridge, and Sophia's former guide (who we are now just going to call "the guide") set off on horseback.
- Partridge is excited not to be traveling on foot any longer.
- They reach a midway point on their trip, and Tom immediately calls for more horses to keep going on the road.
- But there are no other horses available, and it's getting dark.
- A man calls out Tom's name.
- It's the lawyer, Mr. Dowling, from Book 8, Chapter 9.
- He greets Tom and advises him not to travel right now; the roads are bad.
- Tom wants to keep going, even if it's on foot.
- Mr. Dowling then turns to the guide, insisting that the guide (and his borrowed horses) continue on with Tom.
- Finally, the guide agrees, but only if the horses are given a chance to rest properly.
- Tom and Mr. Dowling sit down for a glass of wine while they wait.
Book 12, Chapter 10
In Which Mr. Jones and Mr. Dowling Drink a Bottle Together
- Mr. Dowling tries to drink a toast to Squire Allworthy and Mr. Blifil.
- Tom is okay with toasting Squire Allworthy, but he refuses to celebrate Mr. Blifil.
- Tom says that Mr. Blifil looks decent, but that he is actually a lying fiend.
- Mr. Dowling thinks it's unfair that a guy like that should inherit Squire Allworthy's estate.
- Mr. Dowling wants to know the whole story of how Tom came to join Squire Allworthy's household.
- So Tom tells it, and Mr. Dowling is very moved.
- Mr. Dowling also doesn't understand how this all happened, unless someone was specifically influencing Squire Allworthy against him.
- Why, Tom might have expected to be Squire Allworthy's heir!
- Tom doesn't care about any potential inheritance.
- Perhaps it's because of the inheritance that Mr. Blifil has been so cruel to Tom.
- But Tom doesn't care, because he knows that he is innocent.
- Mr. Dowling is very impressed by Tom's statements.
- As soon as Tom hears the horses are ready, he pays his bill and Tom, Partridge, and the guide hit the road.
Book 12, Chapter 11
The Disasters Which Befel Jones on His Departure for Coventry, With the Sage Remarks of Partridge
- The road from Coventry to London is really obvious.
- It should be impossible to get lost except that, somehow, Tom and Partridge are.
- They've been going on small side roads instead of the main road, and the weather is bad.
- Partridge believes that they've been cursed by a witch.
- Tom laughs, and Partridge falls from his horse. (Luckily, he's not injured.)
- This fall makes Patridge sure that a witch is involved.
- Tom asks, if this is a witch's curse, why Partridge was the one who fell off his horse when it was Tom who was mocking the whole idea of witchcraft?
- The guide and his horse then promptly fall in the mud.
- They are both fine, fortunately.
- Partridge, again, takes this as proof that a witch is casting an evil spell on them. Partridge believes that they have been bewitched to go in circles.
- Partridge thinks they should find an inn and hide, but Tom doesn't listen.
Book 12, Chapter 12
Relates that Mr. Jones Continued His Journey Contrary to the Advice of Partridge, With What Happened on that Occasion
- They spot a light in the distance and start approaching.
- As they get closer, they hear voices and strange music.
- Now, the guide joins Partridge in saying that something weird is going on.
- Tom thinks it's hilarious that they are both so afraid of people clearly having fun.
- The light is coming from a large barn, where there are men and women gathered.
- They invite Tom inside, since it's raining so hard.
- It turns out that they are gypsies celebrating a wedding.
- ("Gypsy" is an old-fashioned name for the Roma people. In England, the Roma suffered a lot of discrimination: English legal codes were particularly harsh towards the Roma (though people did not enforce them often). So, for example, it was against the law for a Roma person to come into England from elsewhere and then stay for longer than a month.
- A person convicted of breaking this law could be executed. In fact, Amnesty International reports that the Roma still face major discrimination in multiple European countries. For more information on the Roma people in Europe today, check out this or this.)
- The center of all of this activity is the king of the gypsies.
- (For more on this character, the way he talks, and his place in the novel, definitely check out our "Character Analysis" section on "The King of the Gypsies.")
- Tom treats the king with such respect that everyone at the party likes him at once.
- The king complains that it is tough being king, because he is solely responsible for giving out justice.
- It is very hard to assign punishments to friends and relatives.
- Gypsies don't condemn each other to death, but they do punish each other with shame.
- This punishment is so terrible that people rarely commit crimes twice.
- There is a brief interruption in this conversation.
- Partridge has gotten a little bit tipsy.
- A woman takes Partridge aside and offers him sex.
- Her husband discovers her in the middle of things with Partridge.
- The man drags Partridge to the king.
- Tom offers to pay two guineas to restore honor on all sides.
- But the king then asks: when exactly did the husband spot his wife and Partridge, anyway?
- The husband answers that he watched his wife going off with Partridge and then followed them.
- The king determines that the husband should have stopped his wife before things got so far out of hand.
- He doesn't want the man to profit off his wife's sex life.
- So the king decides that the man has to wear a pair of horns for the next month (these are cuckold's horns; for an explanation of this idea, check out our analysis of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing).
- And the wife is going to be called a prostitute for a month as punishment for trying to sleep with Partridge.
- Tom admires this punishment.
Book 12, Chapter 13
A Dialogue Between Jones and Partridge
- After the storm is over, Tom hits the road again.
- From Coventry, he goes to Daventry, Stratford, and then Dunstable.
- Tom is only a couple of hours behind Sophia now, so he thinks he'll catch up with her at St. Albans.
- But in St. Albans, Tom finds out that the coach carrying Sophia left two hours ago.
- And he can't get horses for another two hours.
- So she is definitely going to reach London before he catches her.
- Partridge convinces Tom to settle down and eat something.
- Partridge suggests that Tom borrow some money off Sophia's hundred-pound bill.
- After all, she may want some of it, but she can't need absolutely all of it.
- And Tom is out of cash.
- Tom is horrified at Partridge's advice.
- He tries to use Latin (Partridge's favorite thing) to tell him that theft is a hanging offense.
- But Partridge gets so stuck on Tom's grammar that he totally misses his larger point.
- Tom calls Partridge a fool, clearly losing his temper.
- Partridge apologizes and Tom lets it go.
- They eat dinner and head off to London.
Book 12, Chapter 14
What Happened to Mr. Jones in His Journey to Saint Albans
- They are two miles past Barnet when a man comes riding up on a really run-down horse.
- He says that it's late and he is a stranger to the area.
- Can he ride with Tom and Partridge?
- Tom, of course, says yes.
- The three men start talking about robbery.
- Tom says he doesn't really care if he's robbed—it's not like he has anything of value.
- Partridge contradicts him: he does have that hundred-pound note! (OMG, Partridge, are you doing?!)
- Of course, their new traveling companion suddenly pulls out a gun.
- He wants that hundred-pound note.
- Tom tells the highwayman that he can have everything in his pocket: three guineas.
- The highwayman refuses to accept so little.
- Tom says well then, punk, you'll have to kill me.
- The highwayman holds his gun to Tom's chest.
- Tom grabs his arm and wrestles the guy to the ground.
- The highwayman begs for mercy.
- The gun isn't even loaded, he's never done this before, and the only reason he's turned to robbery now is because he has five starving kids with a sixth on the way.
- The highwayman promises to take Tom back to his house if he doesn't believe him.
- Tom chooses to believe the highwayman, since it turns out his gun is unloaded.
- He returns the man's gun to him and gives him a couple of guineas.
- The man swears he'll never do it again.
- Tom and Partridge talk over whether the death penalty is justified in robbery cases.
- (Tom says no, Partridge, yes.)
- Tom reminds Partridge subtly that he had just been planning to steal some of Sophia's money in the previous chapter.
- That shuts Partridge up for a while.
Book 13, Chapter 1
- (An invocation is a call to a god for help with something.)
- The narrator invents two whole new Muses for his invocation.
- (What, the original nine aren't enough for him?)
- The first one is the Muse of Fame.
- The narrator wants "future praise" (13.1.1), even from people he will never know or meet.
- The second new goddess the narrator addresses is the Muse of Gold.
- This "muse" is the one who inspires all of the cheap, money-grubbing writers who suck up to their patrons and who don't worry about substance.
- The narrator would like to make some cash off this book.
- Now that he has called upon Fame and Fortune to make him write in the first place, what comes next?
- Who should guide the content of his writing?
- (a) The narrator wants Genius to help him see through the false appearances that sometimes trick others into admiring people who don't deserve it.
- (b) The narrator also wants Humanity to fill his novel.
- He wants his work to be tender and filled with compassion.
- (c) Third on the list of influences is Learning. The narrator wants to keep going back to the classics to inspire his own writing.
- (d) Last but not least: Experience should be part of his writing.
- The narrator wants to use his experiences with all kinds of people, from up and down the social ladder, to illustrate "the manners of mankind" (13.1.7).
- With the help of all of these things, he hopes to finish up his novel successfully.
Book 13, Chapter 2
What Befel Mr. Jones On His Arrival in London
- Tom tries to visit the Irish nobleman's mansion, but he goes to the address that the nobleman rented before he left for Ireland.
- Now, the nobleman is staying somewhere else.
- Finally, Tom agrees with Partridge to give up the search until the following day.
- The next morning, he is lucky enough to find the correct house.
- He knocks on the door and asks for Sophia.
- The servant who opens the door takes one look at his poor clothes and totally refuses to help Tom.
- Tom offers him a bribe, and another servant offers to take him to the lady of the house.
- The servant brings Tom to see Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- It's almost worse for Tom to come thisclose to seeing Sophia, only to see—Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick assumes he's a servant of Squire Western's and refuses to talk to him.
- But Tom promises to come back later that afternoon.
- The serving lady compliments Tom's looks so enthusiastically Mrs. Fitzpatrick decides to meet with Tom when he comes back to the house.
- Tom has now guessed that Sophia is here with her cousin, but hidden from him.
- At their meeting, Tom is very polite.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick still won't tell him anything about Sophia.
- She guesses that he is Mr. Blifil, and she doesn't want to betray her cousin.
- After he takes off, a maid guesses to Mrs. Fitzpatrick that Tom is probably Tom Jones.
- She tells all about Tom to one of the other maids, and the maid passes on the story of Sophia's heartbreak to Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick decides that (a) yes, he has to be the guy Sophia loves (because he's so dreamy), and (b) it's a good thing she didn't tell him where to find Sophia, because he's supposed to be so loose with women.
Book 13, Chapter 3
A Project of Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and Her Visit to Lady Bellaston
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick is a little annoyed with Sophia for failing to mention her entire love affair with Tom Jones.
- (Actually, we agree that Tom isa pretty big detail for Sophia to have skipped.)
- She also figures that, if she can save Sophia from Tom and send her back to Squire Western, this will probably be a big enough good deed that Squire and Mrs. Western will let her back into the family.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick decides to go to Lady Bellaston (the relative with whom Sophia is staying).
- After all, Lady Bellaston is not a fan of either romantic love or of bad marriages.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick visits Lady Bellaston at dawn the next morning, before Sophia is up and about.
- It turns out that Lady Bellaston has heard all about Tom from her dressing maid.
- This maid is so full of compliments for Tom's beauty that Lady Bellaston is really thinking of him as a kind of god. (Like this one?)
- So when Mrs. Fitzpatrick starts talking about him, Lady Bellaston is immediately supercurious.
- She agrees to help Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick wants to write to Squire Western.
- Lady Bellaston thinks that's the lastthing they should do.
- They should just keep Sophia away from Tom and introduce her to other society in London.
- Lady Bellaston drops a hint about getting a look at Tom (to make it easier to avoid him, of course).
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick arranges for Lady Bellaston to be on hand when Tom comes to see her again that afternoon.
- They both swear they are doing this all for Sophia's sake.
Book 13, Chapter 4
Which Consists of Visiting
- Tom goes to see Mrs. Fitzpatrick a second time.
- She demands to know his business with her cousin.
- Tom takes out the little book and explains (a) how he found it, and (b) what was inside (in other words, the hundred-pound note).
- He wants to give the money back to Sophia.
- As soon as he finishes talking, a terrible noise echoes through the house.
- It's a servant knocking loudly on the door.
- Lady Bellaston comes rushing in and sits down.
- And then the same thing happens again, with the knocking: it's the Irish nobleman, this time.
- The conversation gets very witty and bright, but it has no meaning to it.
- Once the Irish nobleman comes in, he, Lady Bellaston, and Mrs. Fitzpatrick talk only to each other, ignoring Tom.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick finally shoos Tom away.
- She asks for his address so that she can send for him tomorrow if there is news.
- As soon as he's gone, the three people left—who were just totally ignoring him while he was sitting there—suddenly start talking only about Tom.
- They all have terrible things to say.
- Lady Bellaston agrees that Sophia won't be attached to Tom for long.
Book 13, Chapter 5
An Adventure Which Happened to Mr. Jones, at His Lodgings, With Some Account of a Young Gentleman Who Lodged There, and of the Mistress of the House, and Her Two Daughters
- The next morning, Tom goes straight to Mrs. Fitzpatrick's house, but her servants say she's not at home.
- They keep saying so, even though Tom comes back five times throughout the day.
- The fact of the matter is, the Irish nobleman has forbidden Mrs. Fitzpatrick from seeing Tom again.
- And she's been keeping her promise to him.
- Tom is currently lodging at the house of a widow with two daughters, Nancy (seventeen) and Betsy (ten).
- (Fielding can't seem to decide what the younger girl's name should be, since he also calls her Betty or Betsey. But he calls her Betsy most often, so that's what we're going with.)
- (Oh, and the widow's name is Mrs. Miller.)
- On the first floor lives a man who makes his money writing for magazines and generally being witty and bright.
- (His name is Mr. Nightingale.)
- Tom comes home from his failure with Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- A woman yells for Tom to help; someone's about to be murdered.
- Tom runs down and sees his housemate, Mr. Nightingale, pinned to the wall by his footman.
- A young woman stands nearby crying, "He will be murdered!" (13.5.9).
- This young woman is Nancy, the older of the two daughters.
- Tom jumps in and starts fighting with the footman.
- Tom knocks the footman down, and Mr. Nightingale thanks Tom for his help.
- Mr. Nightingale fires his footman (which makes sense, considering that the guy just tried to murder him).
- Mr. Nightingale explains to Tom that he doesn't usually get into fights with his employees.
- What happened was, Mr. Nightingale came home a couple of hours earlier than usual.
- He found his footman and some friends crowded around a book of games and gambling rules owned by Mr. Nightingale.
- They had spilled beer on it.
- When Mr. Nightingale complained, the footman told him he could take the money for the book out of his pay.
- And then the footman implied that Mr. Nightingale was just spending the afternoon having sex.
- So Mr. Nightingale punched him.
- Tom hears this story and agrees that he would also have punched the guy (for the sex thing, not so much for the beer spilled on the book).
- So Tom, Mr. Nightingale, Mrs. Miller, and her two daughters have a merry dinner together.
Book 13, Chapter 6
What Arrived While the Company Were At Breakfast, With Some Hints Concerning the Government of Daughters
- The next morning at breakfast, Tom is deeply sad.
- Apparently, Mrs. Fitzpatrick has left, and Tom can't figure out how to find her.
- The conversation around the table turns to love.
- In the middle of this discussion, a delivery arrives for Tom.
- He thinks it must be some mistake; the package is totally bizarre.
- Inside is a black cape with a hood (a "domino"), a mask, and a ticket to a masquerade ball.
- The only message on the package claims to be from "the Queen of the Fairies" (13.6.8), telling Tom to use her present.
- Everyone at the table agrees that they must be from a woman who wants to see him.
- Tom thinks it is Mrs. Fitzpatrick, since no other women in the area know where he's staying.
- Perhaps she's arranging a secret meeting between Tom and Sophia?
- Tom gets his hopes up, of course.
- Mr. Nightingale agrees to go with Tom.
- Mr. Nightingale invites Tom to go with him to a tavern for lunch.
- Tom makes an excuse to dodge Mr. Nightingale's invitation.
- Really, Tom has run completely out of money.
- He's starting to get hungry, though.
- Partridge reminds him of that hundred-pound bill, but Tom still refuses to chip into it.
- So Partridge advises him to go back to Squire Allworthy.
- Tom tries to explain to Partridge (again) that he can't just go back to Squire Allworthy's.
- Tom has to borrow a shilling from Partridge to pay for transportation to get to the masquerade with Mr. Nightingale.
Book 13, Chapter 7
Containing the Whole Humours of a Masquerade
- At the masquerade, Tom and Mr. Nightingale hang out for a bit.
- But Mr. Nightingale soon goes off with a lady, leaving Tom to try to find Sophia on his own.
- He's in the middle of talking to a girl dressed as a shepherdess when a lady in a cloak with a hood taps him on the shoulder.
- She tells him that, if he keeps talking to that "trollop" (13.7.4)—a trollop is a prostitute—she'll tell Sophia.
- Tom and the lady sit down together.
- She promises him that Sophia is not at the party.
- She asks how Tom can expect her to help him ruin her cousin Sophia?
- She tells Tom that Sophia hasn't much fortune outside of what her father can give her.
- Tom knows that he will never marry Sophia, since he refuses to ruin her financially.
- All he wants to do is see her once more.
- The lady is impressed with Tom's passion.
- But she says it's a little rude of him to spend all of his time with her speaking about Sophia.
- Tom realizes that he has to stay on the lady's good side.
- So he starts to flirt with her a little.
- Just as they are talking, a rude woman wearing the mask of an old crone appears to interrupt them.
- Tom and the lady start walking around the room to avoid her.
- Eventually, the lady starts hinting that she wants Tom to follow her home.
- Tom walks out after her and follows until they get to a house near Hanover Square.
- She takes him to a richly furnished room, where she takes off her mask.
- It's Lady Bellaston, Sophia's relative.
- The two of them "talk" through the night.
- Lady Bellaston promises that she will arrange for Tom to see Sophia, as long as he promises to leave Sophia alone after that.
Book 13, Chapter 8
Containing a Scene of Distress, Which Will Appear Very Extraordinary to Most of Our Readers
- The next day, Tom gives Partridge a fifty-pound note.
- He tells Partridge to break it into smaller bills.
- Partridge thinks Tom must have robbed someone to get it.
- In fact, Lady Bellaston gave it to him.
- She knows that he hasn't got a penny in the world.
- Mrs. Miller invites Tom and Mr. Nightingale to lunch with her family.
- She has just been to visit a cousin of hers, who is having a baby.
- This cousin's second son Tommy is sick in bed next to his mother.
- Her thirteen year-old daughter is having to nurse both her mother and Tommy.
- And her husband is going without food so that his children have something to eat.
- They all love each other dearly, so they are trying to do their best to make one another feel better in the middle of these awful circumstances.
- But they all find it heartbreaking to see the others suffering.
- And worst of all, the poor father of the family is in this position partly because of his good heart.
- He put up the family's possessions as bail for his brother.
- The brother skipped town, so the bailiffs came to take away everything he owned a week before his wife gave birth.
- Tom is so filled with pity for this family that he takes Mrs. Miller aside and gives her that fifty pounds he got from Lady Bellaston.
Book 13, Chapter 9
Which Treats Matters of a Very Different Kind From Those in the Preceding Chapter
- Tom meets with Lady Bellaston again that evening.
- The narrator refuses to be graphic about what they're getting up to (but it's clearly sex).
- Eventually, Tom starts realizing that Lady Bellaston is never going to let him meet up with Sophia.
- In fact, recently, she's been getting annoyed if he even mentions Sophia's name.
- Tom tells Partridge to fish for information from Lady Bellaston's servants.
- Tom's position in relation to his lady love continues to be awkward, because:
- (1) he's having trouble finding Sophia;
- (2) he knows that she is mad at him;
- (3) Lady Bellaston has told him that Sophia doesn't want to see him again, and that she has been hiding from him intentionally; and
- (4) he doesn't want to be the cause of Squire Western disinheriting her.
- He also worries about what he owes to Lady Bellaston.
- Lady Bellaston really likes him and she's given him many presents.
- Tom doesn't want to be ungrateful to a woman who so clearly adores him.
- He decides he has to devote himself to Lady Bellaston.
- But just as he has made this decision, he gets a note from her canceling their meeting that evening.
- He then gets a second note that says, never mind that first note! Come at seven this evening to my house.
- Tom is disappointed to hear that he still has to go see her.
- He would rather go to a new play with Mr. Nightingale and his friends.
- Lady Bellaston decides to send Sophia to a play that evening, leaving her house empty for her meeting with Tom.
Book 13, Chapter 10
A Chapter Which, Tho' Short, May Draw Tears From Some Eyes
- Mrs. Miller knocks on Tom's door and asks him to come have tea in her parlor.
- She introduces Tom to her cousin, Mr. Anderson, whom Tom saved with his money.
- As soon as the two men see each other, they look shocked.
- Tom recognizes Mr. Anderson as the would-be highwayman from Book 13, Chapter 4.
- Mr. Anderson exclaims that he owes everything to Tom.
- Tom wants to head off Mr. Anderson from saying anything about the robbery, since he doesn't want Mrs. Miller to know that her cousin tried to commit a crime.
- Mr. Anderson tells Tom that, thanks to his kindness, he has been able to get beds and food for his children.
- His son's illness is all healed, and his wife has recovered from childbirth.
- Mr. Anderson is a happy man, and it's all because of Tom.
- Both Mr. Anderson and Mrs. Miller shower Tom with thanks.
- Tom is just glad that he could help; knowing that Mr. Anderson's family is back on solid ground is really the only reward he wants.
- It's time for Tom to go and meet Lady Bellaston, so he takes off.
Book 13, Chapter 11
In Which the Reader Will Be Surprized
- Tom arrives at Lady Bellaston's house before she finishes her dinner out.
- So Tom waits for Lady Bellaston in her drawing room.
- And who should come in to this drawing room? Sophia.
- A fight broke out at the play she was attending, so she had come home early.
- She walks right over to a mirror without noticing Tom.
- Once she notices Tom standing like a statue behind her, she screams.
- Tom throws himself to his knees in front of her.
- He gives her the book with the hundred pounds in it.
- He also wants to beg her forgiveness for what happened at Upton.
- He promises that his heart has never been unfaithful to her, even though he has slept with other women.
- Sophia tells him it's not infidelity that's making her angry at him.
- It's that he boasted about her love in various inns, even going so far as to say that he had to leave his home to escape her.
- Tom is totally shocked at this.
- Tom figures out that she heard some of the gossip spread by Partridge.
- Tom convinces Sophia that he really hasn't been bragging about her to random servants.
- The two of them quickly make up.
- Sophia finally asks Tom how he got to Lady Bellaston's house.
- Tom is like, um ——
- But luckily for Tom, Lady Bellaston walks in before Tom has to confess that he's having yet another affair.
- Lady Bellaston treats Tom as though she has never met him before in her life.
- Sophia also tells her only that Tom has come to return her book and bank note, which had gone missing so long ago.
- Tom catches the hints of both these ladies, and acts as though he's never met either of them before.
- Lady Bellaston is absolutely sure that this meeting between Tom and Sophia is no accident.
- But they all keep behaving as though they are strangers to each other.
Book 13, Chapter 12
In Which the Thirteenth Book Is Concluded
- Sophia decides to keep lying to Lady Bellaston about Tom's identity.
- So when Lady Bellaston claims that she has never seen Tom's face before, Sophia answers that she hasn't either.
- Lady Bellaston says he's handsome.
- Sophia agrees—but isn't he also a little awkward? she adds.
- But when Lady Bellaston wonders if he is low-born, Sophia jumps in to defend him: "there is an elegance in his discourse, a delicacy, a prettiness of expression that —" (13.12.9).
- Obviously, Sophia's not very good at hiding her feelings for Tom.
- Lady Bellaston states that, when she first walked into the drawing-room, she thought the man might be—ha ha!—Tom Jones.
- Sophia tries to laugh.
- Lady Bellaston then replies, but of course, it can't have been—after all, this gentleman is dressed nicely, which Tom can't have been.
- Sophia tells Lady Bellaston that her joke is a little harsh.
- Lady Bellaston doesn't see how simply making fun of Tom's clothes could matter to Sophia, when she has promised she would never marry without her father's consent.
- Sophia protests that she doesn't care.
- Lady Bellaston then says that the man who was just here can't have been like Tom, or else she would think much worse of Sophia's taste.
- Sophia answers back that Lady Bellaston thought him handsome.
- Who? asks Lady Bellaston.
- Mr. Jones! answers Sophia. Or, no, not Mr. Jones, the man who was just here!
- Lady Bellaston believes Sophia's thoughts are still too attached to Tom.
- She promises never to bring him up again.
- The two of them separate for the night.
- Sophia can't sleep, after all of this difficult lying that she has had to do.
Book 14, Chapter 1
An Essay to Prove That an Author Will Write the Better for Having Some Knowledge of the Subject on Which He Writes
- In this day and age, some writers have been able to get famous without a solid education in literature behind them.
- The narrator thinks this is terrible.
- After all, why should writing be different from any other craft, which you have to study hard to perfect?
- The narrator speculates that one reason why no English writers have written really well about upper-class life in particular is that none of them know anything about it.
- After all, you can't find the true upper class in coffeehouses or on the street.
- So where are you supposed to observe them?
- You can only see the upper classes if you have lots of money and high birth.
- And people with these two things rarely take to writing.
- But honestly, true knowledge of the upper class is not actually helpful to a comedy writer like Fielding.
- Life at the top is mostly made up of people sticking strictly to good form.
- Their days are mostly made up of "dressing and cards, eating and drinking, bowing and curtseying" (14.1.11).
- It's among the lower classes that you see real variety.
- Well, there are people even among the upper classes who give in to passion.
- Lady Bellaston is such a woman.
- But Lady Bellaston is an exception to current trends: the idea that people in modern high society are super lustfulis wrong.
- It's not that people are having more love affairs than in the past.
- Rather, nowadays, people are totally focused on stuff like the social and financial positions of their partners.
- Things like love and passion are actually pretty unfashionable.
Book 14, Chapter 2
Containing Letters and Other Matters Which Attend Amours
- Back at Mrs. Miller's house, Tom receives a note from Lady Bellaston.
- The note accuses Tom and Sophia of scheming together and betraying Lady Bellaston.
- But Tom has barely finished this first note when he gets another one.
- The second note apologizes for being so angry.
- Lady Bellaston now wants Tom to come to her house that evening.
- Then, Lady Bellaston turns up in Tom's room herself.
- Lady Bellaston wants to know: has he told Sophia of their affair?
- Tom promises that he hasn't.
- Partridge comes running into the room, announcing that he's just seen Mrs. Honour on the steps.
- Lady Bellaston quickly hides herself under the bed.
- Mrs. Honour comes in, scolding Tom for hurting her beloved employer so much.
- And then—oh, it's so embarrassing—Mrs. Honour starts in on Lady Bellaston.
- Everyone apparently knows Lady Bellaston keeps another house rented under the name of a poor gentlewoman so that she can meet men freely.
- Throughout all of this, Tom is trying to shut Mrs. Honour up.
- Finally, he says that he can't "hear all this of a lady of such honour" (14.2.8).
- Mrs. Honour is hugely offended.
- She hands Tom a letter from Sophia and then rushes off (after Tom has given her a tip).
- Of course, Lady Bellaston is beyond furious.
- She takes her rage all out on Tom, accusing him of carrying on with Sophia and neglecting her.
- She points to the letter as proof that Tom is being dishonest with her (which, of course, he is).
- But Tom manages to soothe her.
- The thing is, Lady Bellaston knows that Sophia is Tom's first love.
- But she finally has to decide if she can be okay with being second in Tom's heart.
- They decide that, in the future, Tom will meet Lady Bellaston at her house.
- After all, the servants will all assume that he's there for Sophia.
- Tom is thrilled to have a chance at least to see Sophia from time to time.
- Tom plans to go to Lady Bellaston's the next day.
Book 14, Chapter 3
Containing Various Matters
- As soon as Lady Bellaston leaves, Tom reads Sophia's letter.
- In it, Sophia begs that Tom not come by the house.
- She thinks that Lady Bellaston suspects something.
- Tom is disappointed that Sophia doesn't want to see him.
- The next morning, he sends a note to Lady Bellaston saying that he's sick and canceling their afternoon date.
- She writes back announcing that she'll come to him at nine that evening. (So, when Lady Bellaston says, "jump," all Tom can answer is "how high?")
- He then gets a visit from Mrs. Miller.
- Mrs. Miller warns him, very politely, that she doesn't want her house to seem like a brothel.
- She feels uncomfortable that he had a lady visitor so late last night.
- Mrs. Miller has heard about Tom's generosity in his first run-in with her cousin, Mr. Anderson, when he tried to rob Tom out on the road.
- And she knows that Squire Allworthy has always had good things to say about Tom.
- But even so, she can't allow Tom to use her home for booty calls.
- Tom gets a little huffy, and answers that he can't have any restrictions on whom he entertains in his own rooms.
- If this is going to be a serious issue between them, then he will have to move out.
- Mrs. Miller agrees, but she's really sorry about to see him go.
- Tom asks Mrs. Miller to send Partridge up to him.
- Tom starts yelling at Partridge: not only did this idiot tell Mrs. Miller about the her-cousin-is-a-highwayman thing (which Tom never wanted her to know).
- But Partridge also told Mrs. Miller about Tom's connection to Squire Allworthy.
- Partridge tries to claim that it was an accident, that when Mrs. Honour came by it just came out, and anyway, maybe that witch in Book 12, Chapter 11 told her.
- Partridge's excuses make Tom laugh.
- Tom finally just asks Partridge to find him another place to stay.
Book 14, Chapter 4
Which We Hope Will Be Very Attentively Perused by Young People of Both Sexes
- Mr. Nightingale comes by Tom's room and teases him about his late-night lady.
- Tom has only been in town for two weeks! He's a fast worker.
- Tom tells Mr. Nightingale that Mrs. Miller wants him to move out.
- Mr. Nightingale agrees that he's probably going to go today, too.
- Tom thinks he knows why: it's Nancy, isn't it?
- Tom scolds Mr. Nightingale for raising her hopes by flirting with her so often.
- Mr. Nightingale thinks Tom's scolding is rich, coming from the man who just had a lady in his rooms the night before.
- Tom agrees that he has slept around too much.
- But he has never permanently hurt anyone (that he knows of).
- Now, Mr. Nightingale may never have slept with Nancy (and Tom doesn't think he has), but he has made her fall in love with him.
- Mr. Nightingale says he's leaving the house for that reason: he's hoping that time and distance will make them both think less of each other.
- The real trouble is, Mr. Nightingale's father has engaged him to a woman he has never met.
- She's coming to town so that Mr. Nightingale can start wooing her.
- Tom and Mr. Nightingale agree to get a place together.
- Mr. Nightingale is going to move out first, and then Tom's going to follow him.
Book 14, Chapter 5
A Short Account of the History of Mrs. Miller
- Mrs. Miller invites Tom to tea that afternoon, since she doesn't want them to part on bad terms.
- She decides to tell him all about her own history with Squire Allworthy.
- Going back in time, Mrs. Miller's father is an officer in the army.
- When he dies, his pension stops with him.
- So Mrs. Miller and her two sisters are left penniless.
- Both of her sisters also die within a year.
- Mrs. Miller has been in love with a local clergyman for a long time before her father's death.
- Right after her father dies, she marries him.
- They live together happily for five years, and she has her two children (Nancy and Betsy).
- But then, her husband also dies.
- Mrs. Miller is left heartbroken and alone.
- Squire Allworthy, who was a friend of Mr. Miller the clergyman, writes a letter to Mrs. Miller.
- In that letter, he offers her the temporary help of a servant, as well as a twenty-guinea present (about $4,200 today.)
- Squire Allworthy also gives her the house in London that she is currently running as a landlady.
- It is thanks to Squire Allworthy's help that she has been able to keep her daughters so comfortably.
- Tom breaks it to Mrs. Miller that he's not actually a relative of Squire Allworthy's.
- Mrs. Miller knows exactly who Tom is, but she doesn't think that there is anything shameful in being born out of wedlock. It's not like that's Tom's fault.
- It's almost nine, and Tom's appointment with Lady Bellaston is coming up..
- Tom promises that this is the last time he'll see her, that she really is an upper-class woman, and that nothing will happen between them.
- So Mrs. Miller agrees to let him meet with Lady Bellaston at her house.
- Tom goes to his room, sits, and waits.
- But Lady Bellaston never shows up.
Book 14, Chapter 6
Containing a Scene Which We Doubt Not Will Affect All Our Readers
- Tom sleeps late the next morning, until a loud noise from downstairs wakens him.
- Partridge explains that there's a big fight going on downstairs.
- Tom goes to talk to Mrs. Miller.
- Mrs. Miller cries that Nancy has been ruined by Mr. Nightingale.
- It turns out that Nancy is pregnant.
- Nancy has also just received a letter from Mr. Nightingale, in which he explains that he has to marry this rich girl his father has chosen.
- So Nancy and Mr. Nightingale can never be together.
- But he thinks that Nancy can easily keep her pregnancy a secret.
- And Mr. Nightingale promises that he will provide for the baby and for Nancy.
- Tom asks if it is possible to do what Mr. Nightingale suggests? Can't they keep the pregnancy a secret?
- But it's too late to try what Mr. Nightingale wants, because Nancy received the letter in a crowded room.
- She fainted, and the guests all read the letter. (Jerks.)
- What Mrs. Miller is really worried about is that Nancy will kill herself.
- She's already tried twice.
- Mrs. Miller thinks it's her fault that she turned a blind eye to Mr. Nightingale's flirtations.
- She thought his intentions were honorable, and that Nancy might wind up married to a real gentleman.
- Mrs. Miller goes to help Nancy while Tom looks after Betsy.
- Betsy says that, if her sister dies, her mother will die. And if her mother dies, Betsy will want to die, too.
- She won't be afraid to go "with those [she loves]" (14.6.7).
- Tom tells Mrs. Miller he's going to speak to Mr. Nightingale.
Book 14, Chapter 7
The Interview Between Mr. Jones and Mr. Nightingale
- Tom finds Mr. Nightingale looking miserable in his new apartment.
- Tom describes the sad scenes he's just left behind.
- Mr. Nightingale is very sorry.
- He really wishes that Nancy hadn't received the letter while she was surrounded by people.
- Tom tells Mr. Nightingale that he should marry Nancy.
- Mr. Nightingale worries about how it will look to marry a girl who is so clearly not a virgin.
- Tom tells Mr. Nightingale not to talk about Nancy that way.
- Mr. Nightingale is the one who promised to marry her before sleeping with her.
- As soon as he did that, he became her husband in honor, if not in law.
- Mr. Nightingale has a responsibility to treat Nancy as his wife.
- Mr. Nightingale wails that, if it were up to him, he'd marry Nancy tomorrow.
- But what about his father's orders?
- Tom swears that he will convince Mr. Nightingale's father (who we are going to call Nightingale Senior.)
- Tom asks Mr. Nightingale to go see the Millers while he talks to Nightingale Senior.
- Mr. Nightingale suggests that Tom tell his father that he's already married.
- Nightingale Senior such a stubborn old cuss that he might actually take the idea of this marriage better if he thinks it's already out of his hands.
Book 14, Chapter 8
What Passed Between Jones and Old Mr Nightingale, With the Arrival of a Person Not Yet Mentioned in This History
- Tom comes in justas Nightingale Senior is finishing up marriage negotiations with the father of the woman he wants his son to marry.
- So Nightingale Senior is feeling really satisfied with himself.
- When he first sees Tom, he assumes that he is going to try to get money off him.
- He tells Tom that he will "pay no more of his [son's] bills" (14.8.6).
- Once Nightingale Senior realizes that Tom isn't looking for money, he warms up a bit.
- Tom keeps trying to tell Nightingale Senior about the beautiful, accomplished woman his son is marrying.
- And Nightingale Senior keeps coming back to the fortune that his chosen daughter-in-law will bring in.
- The two of them are both talking about different women but don't realize it.
- Tom, of course, is talking about Nancy Miller.
- Nightingale Senior is talking about a woman named Miss Harris.
- Finally, Nightingale Senior understands that his son has married a woman with a fortune of barely two hundred pounds a year.
- As Nightingale Senior stands there stunned, his brother comes into the room.
- This brother is Nightingale Senior's total opposite.
- (We're going to call Nightingale Senior's brother "Bro Nightingale" to separate him out from all the other Mr. Nightingales in this book.)
- When Bro Nightingale was a young man, he made a bit of money as a businessman.
- As soon as he was satisfied with his fortune, he bought a small estate in the country and retired to it.
- He married a woman he loved, and they lived together happily for twenty-five years.
- His wife has now passed away, and he has one surviving daughter, who is the apple of his eye.
- It just so happens that he knows the girl Nightingale Senior had wanted his son to marry.
- The reason Bro Nightingale has come to town is to convince Nightingale Senior not to go forward with the match.
- The girl in question may be rich, but she is also ugly and bad-tempered.
- Bro Nightingale insists that it's not possible to force two people into happiness through marriage.
- Bro Nightingale admits that Mr. Nightingale shouldn't have gotten married without his father's consent.
- But what did Nightingale Senior expect, when he kept insisting that his son had to marry a rich girl?
- Between Tom and Bro Nightingale, Nightingale Senior gives in and accepts his son's marriage (though he still is not happy about it).
- Tom is so glad, and happily leads Bro Nightingale to Mrs. Miller's house.
Book 14, Chapter 9
Containing Strange Matters
- When Tom gets back to the Millers', he finds them all sitting down to dinner with Mr. Nightingale.
- Bro Nightingale joins them.
- Mrs. Miller takes Tom aside and thanks him for his help.
- She confirms that Mr. Nightingale and Nancy are getting married the next morning.
- After about two or three hours of drinking and chatting, Mr. Nightingale finally pulls Bro Nightingale aside and tells him that he isn't actually married yet. Technically.
- And Bro Nightingale suddenly changes his tune.
- He congratulates Mr. Nightingale on not being married.
- If the marriage is not a done deal yet, Mr. Nightingale doesn't have to go ahead. He can still ditch Nancy.
- Mr. Nightingale protests that he wants to marry her: it's a matter of both honor and love.
- Isn't Bro Nightingale always saying that it should be up to the individual to choose whom they marry?
- Bro Nightingale agrees that he has a choice: the choice to choose his bride wisely.
- The conversation has gone on for a long time, and Mr. Nightingale wants to get back to the group.
- He makes Bro Nightingale promise that he won't bring any of this up to the Millers.
- In exchange, Bro Nightingale makes his nephew promise that he'll come back to Bro Nightingale's place for a discussion after dinner.
- Mr. Nightingale agrees.
Book 14, Chapter 10
A Short Chapter, Which Concludes the Book
- The Nightingales are gone for a noticeably long time.
- And the rest of the party can hear occasional shouts.
- Mrs. Miller and Nancy both suspect that something is going on with the Nightingales.
- But the Nightingales are so caught up in pretending nothing is wrong that they don't notice their suspicion.
- Bro Nightingale takes Mr. Nightingale off with him.
- But before leaving, Mr. Nightingale whispers to Nancy that he'll see her the next morning.
- Tom recognizes that Mr. Nightingale has probably told his uncle everything.
- Before Tom can stop Mr. Nightingale to ask him what's wrong, a maid arrives to say he has a visitor.
- It's Mrs. Honour, and she has terrible news about Sophia.
- Once Tom hears this news, he can't think of anything else.
Book 15, Chapter 1
Too Short to Need a Preface
- There are some writers out there who teach that goodness will definitely lead to happiness, and that evil will only lead to unhappiness.
- The narrator points out that this is obviously untrue.
- Well, it might be true if you stay at home and focus only on your own family's contentment.
- But if you try to achieve not only your own happiness, but also the happiness of other people, that's when things start to fall apart.
- If you try to do good in this world, you'll only attract contempt, envy, and other forms of bad mojo.
- So, while Tom has been doing his best to help the new Nightingale-Miller merger, dark forces have been working to make him completely miserable with Sophia.
- This is just one of many exceptions the narrator can think of to the goodness=happiness and evil=unhappiness idea.
- The narrator puts in a small plug for doing good because it's the reasonable thing to do, not because it will make you happy (which it might not).
Book 15, Chapter 2
In Which Is Opened a Very Black Design Against Sophia
- Lady Bellaston may be acting nice.
- But underneath her kind exterior, she's filled with jealousy for Sophia.
- She's trying to think of schemes to get Sophia out of the way, so that she can have Tom to herself.
- Remember back in Book 13, Chapter 11, when Sophia comes home early from that play?
- A nobleman helped her to her chair when the fight broke out in the audience.
- This nobleman is Lord Fellamar, a good friend of Lady Bellaston's.
- He visits Lady Bellaston's house and spends two hours giving Sophia melting glances.
- As soon as Lord Fellamar leaves Sophia's company, Lady Bellaston corners him.
- Lord Fellamar can't stop talking about Sophia's beauty and charm.
- Lady Bellaston also reassures him that she's got a big estate coming to her.
- Between her looks and her money, Lord Fellamar declares Sophia "the best match in England" (15.2.9).
- Lady Bellaston is sure that she can get Sophia's father's consent for the marriage.
- There is one tiny, Tom-shaped problem.
- She explains that Sophia is devoted to "a beggar, a bastard, a foundling" (15.2.9)—in other words, to our Tom.
- Even though her family has tried to get Sophia to give up on Tom, she just won't.
- So, Lady Bellaston hints, Lord Fellamar may have to go to extremes to make Sophia his own.
- Lady Bellaston invites Lord Fellamar to dinner at her house that evening.
- She will show him how passionate Sophia is about Tom.
Book 15, Chapter 3
A Further Explanation of the Foregoing Design
- Lady Bellaston belongs to a club that began after "the late war." (That would be the War of the Austrian Succession: 1740-1748).
- This club's main goal is for each of its members to tell one lie every day.
- Then, they share the stories of their lies with the other club members.
- These lies are supposed to be funny and harmless.
- One of Lady Bellaston's guests that evening, Tom Edwards, is also a member of this liars' club.
- He, Lady Bellaston, Lord Fellamar, and Sophia all gather around a game of cards.
- Edwards claims that Colonel Wilcox has just killed someone in a duel.
- The victim is a guy from Somersetshire, connected to Squire Allworthy—a kid named Jones.
- Sophia hears this news and faints.
- Once she has regained consciousness, she goes back up to her room.
- Lady Bellaston follows her and tells her the truth: it was a joke, and Tom is still alive. (Ha. Ha. Ha. How sidesplitting this joke is. How humorous.)
- Seeing Sophia's fainting spell convinces Lord Fellamar of Sophia's love for Tom.
- When Lady Bellaston gets back, she and Lord Fellamar start making plans.
- The next evening at seven, Lady Bellaston will make sure the house is empty.
- She will leave Sophia with Lord Fellamar so that he can rape her.
- Lord Fellamar doesn't see a big moral problem with this rape, because he plans to marry her afterwards. (Ugh.)
- Still, once he's slept on the idea, he decides not to go through with it after all.
- Lady Bellaston and Sophia are together the next morning when a servant announces that Lord Fellamar has arrived.
- Sophia wants Lady Bellaston to stop letting Lord Fellamar come to the house.
- Sophia knows he wants her, and she doesn't trust him.
- She asks Lady Bellaston not to leave her alone with him.
- Lady Bellaston makes fun of Sophia for assuming that every man in town desires her.
- Lady Bellaston gets in a dig about Sophia running away with Tom.
- Sophia swears (again) that she's not going to elope with Tom.
- Sophia leaves, and Lady Bellaston meets with Lord Fellamar.
Book 15, Chapter 4
By Which It Will Appear How Dangerous an Advocate a Lady Is, When She Applies Her Eloquency to an Ill Purpose
- Lady Bellaston listens Lord Fellamar's concerns about their evil plan.
- She mocks him for being a coward.
- She tells him that women like forceful men.
- And anyway, he plans to marry Sophia, doesn't he?
- Lady Bellaston insists that she's only cooperating with this plan because she thinks it's for Sophia's own good. (Gross.)
- Lord Fellamar finds Lady Bellaston convincing, especially because she is a woman.
- Lord Fellamar agrees that he is "a man of spirit" (15.4.3) and he will go ahead make Sophia his.
Book 15, Chapter 5
Containing Some Matters Which May Affect, and Others Which May Surprize the Reader
- Sophia is sitting reading a domestic tragedy called The Fatal Marriage. (Foreshadowing!)
- She drops her book and begins to weep.
- Lord Fellamar comes in.
- Lord Fellamar basically declares that he is so in love with her he can't control himself.
- He showers her with compliments.
- Sophia tells him point blank that she has no interest in him at all.
- Lord Fellamar grabs her hand.
- He insists that Sophia will be his.
- Sophia screams, but no one hears her—Lady Bellaston has emptied out the house.
- But then, a voice echoes through the halls.
- Nope, it's not Tom: it's Squire Western, along with his servants and Mr. Supple.
- When Squire Western bursts in, he sees his daughter sitting on a chair, looking furious and slightly disordered.
- Lord Fellamar is also sitting down, his wig messed up and his clothes a little roughed up.
- Squire Western is drunk.
- He rushes to his daughter and begins shouting awful things until Mr. Supple quiets him.
- Squire Western insists that he will only forgive Sophia if she marries Mr. Blifil.
- Mr. Supple asks him to quiet down and stop scaring his daughter.
- Lady Bellaston comes in.
- After Squire Western greets her politely, he starts complaining about Sophia.
- Lady Bellaston agrees that Sophia must accept this match.
- Squire Western thinks they are talking about Mr. Blifil still.
- But of course, Lady Bellaston means Lord Fellamar.
- Lord Fellamar comes forward.
- He introduces himself to Squire Western as though he is already engaged to Sophia.
- Squire Western replies about how you would expect: "You are a son of a b— […] for all your laced coat. You my son-in-law, and be d—nd to you!" (15.5.26).
- Lord Fellamar stomps off.
- Lady Bellaston turns on Squire Western for refusing such a brilliant match for Sophia.
- Squire Western demands that Sophia come with him right now.
- He grabs her hand and marches out the door.
- Squire Western won't even bring Mrs. Honour with them, since she originally helped Sophia to escape.
- Lady Bellaston is glad to see Sophia go.
Book 15, Chapter 6
By What Means the Squire Came to Discover His Daughter
- You remember, back in Book 13, Chapter 3, when Mrs. Fitzpatrick floats the idea of writing to Squire Western?
- Lady Bellaston says no, but Mrs. Fitzpatrick decides to write the letter anyway.
- Not only does she want to make up with her family, but also, she honestly wants to save Sophia from her own mistake of eloping with the wrong guy.
- In the letter, Mrs. Fitzpatrick says (a) that Tom is in London, but that he doesn't know where Sophia is, and (b) that Sophia is staying with Lady Bellaston, who wants to hide her from the Westerns.
- Squire Western is thrilled, and immediately starts getting ready to go.
- Mrs. Western warns the squire to be careful and delicate with Lady Bellaston.
- (Well, we just saw in the previous chapter how that advice worked out.)
- Squire Western answers that he doesn't care what Lady Bellaston thinks.
- He'll just drag Sophia to a justice of the peace.
- The two fight, as they usually do.
- Squire Western eventually promises he'll do as she says.
- But he asks her to come to London too, so that she can show him around. After all, she knows London a lot better than he does.
Book 15, Chapter 7
In Which Various Misfortunes Befal Poor Jones
- So now we're back to Mrs. Honour and Tom (last seen in Book 14, Chapter 10).
- Mrs. Honour tells Tom (with a lot of sidebars on her own misery, since she has lost her job) that Squire Western has found Sophia at last.
- He's ready to marry Sophia to Mr. Blifil right away.
- Partridge comes in to say that "the great lady" (15.7.3) is coming up the stairs.
- Mrs. Honour is pretty much the last person he would want overhearing his business.
- But there's nothing to be done: he hides her under the bed.
- Tom totally forgets that he's supposed to be sick, which is why he canceled their date.
- He looks absolutely healthy when he greets Lady Bellaston.
- She makes a comment about Tom looking healthy enough to pose for a "picture of Adonis" (15.7.9).
- Tom doesn't know what to do, because this is clearly a cue from Lady Bellaston that she wants a kiss.
- But Mrs. Honour is sitting under the bed. He can't kiss Lady Bellaston while Mrs. Honour is there.
- Tom just stands there like an idiot.
- Luckily, something happens to save him from the supreme awkwardness: Mr. Nightingale arrives, blind drunk.
- Everyone else in the household is asleep/smoking by the fire, so Mr. Nightingale just walks right in to Tom's room.
- He's so drunk that he thinks Tom's room is his own old one.
- Tom eventually shoves Mr. Nightingale over to Partridge in the kitchen.
- He goes back to his room and sees Lady Bellaston freaking out.
- When Lady Bellaston first saw Mr. Nightingale and Tom struggling, she tried to hide.
- Unfortunately, the only place in the room to hide is under the bed, where Mrs. Honour is already hiding.
- So Lady Bellaston shouts at Tom, and Mrs. Honour shouts at Lady Bellaston for calling her a "wretch" (15.7.17).
- Lady Bellaston brushes off Tom's lame apologies and suddenly starts making nice with Mrs. Honour.
- She leaves, mostly ignoring Tom.
- Mrs. Honour yells at Tom for cheating on Sophia.
- But Tom somehow manages to talk her around, and she promises to bring him news of Sophia the next morning.
Book 15, Chapter 8
Short and Sweet
- Mrs. Miller scolds Tom gently the next morning for the noise from his room the night before.
- But after she's gotten that out of the way, she asks Tom to come downstairs and give Nancy away.
- Mr. Nightingale is there, ready for the wedding.
- At his uncle's house the night before, Bro Nightingale gave Mr. Nightingale wine until he passed out.
- Bro Nightingale was going to use his nephew's drunkenness to keep him away from Nancy the next morning.
- But before he could lock up Mr. Nightingale, he got some bad news of his own.
- As soon as he left for London, Bro Nightingale's daughter eloped with a local clergyman.
- Bro Nightingale does not at all approve of the match.
- So he races off home.
- Bro Nightingale's servant wakes Mr. Nightingale to tell him where his uncle has gone.
- Mr. Nightingale immediately heads over to Mrs. Miller's house.
- (That's why he was so drunk when he tried to come into Tom's room.)
- The next morning, everybody is where they are supposed to be: Mr. Nightingale, Mrs. Miller, Nancy, Betsy, and Tom.
- There's nothing to prevent Nancy and Mr. Nightingale from getting married.
Book 15, Chapter 9
Containing Love-Letters of Several Sorts
- When Tom gets home, he finds three letters waiting for him from Lady Bellaston:
- Letter #1: Should she see Tom again or shouldn't she? She wants to hear his explanations of "this affair" (15.9.2). Come at once!
- Letter #2: If he doesn't come right now, she is never going to forgive him.
- Letter #3: Apparently, he was not at home when she sent her previous notes. So the second that he gets this current note, she commands him to come and see her.
- Mr. Nightingale comes in and asks if Lady Bellaston has anything to say after the disaster last night?
- It turns out that Mr. Nightingale has known all along that Tom's been sleeping with Lady Bellaston.
- And Tom is not the first young guy she's seduced, either.
- Tom decides he can speak freely to Mr. Nightingale about this affair.
- He says that he loves another woman, but that he owes Lady Bellaston a lot.
- After all, it's thanks to her that he hasn't starved in London.
- Mr. Nightingale has an idea: Tom should propose marriage to Lady Bellaston.
- The minute he proposes, she'll drop him like a hot coal.
- Apparently, she's done this before, with a young man who really meant it when he proposed.
- So Tom writes a note to Lady Bellaston asking her to marry him.
- She writes back asking how he can reward her favors with something so awful as an offer of marriage?
- Does he believe that he can persuadeher to give up her fortune to him like that?
- Tom answers (with Mr. Nightingale's advice): How can you (Lady Bellaston) think that I (Tom) would treat your honor so lightly?
- If that's what you think of me (Tom writes) then we must part.
- Lady Bellaston writes to Tom that he is a villain.
- Tom is glad to be free of Lady Bellaston, but he feels a bit of guilt over his dishonesty.
- They go down to dinner with Mrs. Miller.
- As dinner ends, Mrs. Miller receives a letter.
Book 15, Chapter 10
Consisting Party of Facts, and Partly of Observations Upon Them
- The letter that Mrs. Miller receives is from Squire Allworthy.
- He wants to come to London right away with his nephew, and he needs two rooms to stay in.
- Mrs. Miller doesn't know what to do.
- She can't just turn her new son-in-law out into the street.
- But she doesn't want to refuse Squire Allworthy—he's always been so kind to her.
- Tom reminds Mrs. Miller that he's on his way out of his rooms anyway.
- He also reassures her that Mr. and Mrs. Nightingale will be happy to go to their new lodgings.
- Mrs. Miller is thrilled to hear this small confirmation ("Mrs. Nightingale") of her daughter's new married status.
- Tom pretends to be happy along with everyone else.
- But inside, he's worrying endlessly about Sophia.
- He's sure he knows why Mr. Blifil is planning a trip to London. (Forced marriage, the fiend!)
- He waits anxiously for Mrs. Honour to deliver a letter from Sophia.
- When a letter finally comes, it's from Mrs. Honour.
- She tells Tom that Lady Bellaston has hired her.
- She is deeply happy at her new job.
- She is sure Tom will get Sophia in the end, so—good luck with that!
- Tom imagines a thousand terrifying reasons for why Lady Bellaston might want to control Mrs. Honour.
- In reality, Lady Bellaston hires Mrs. Honour because she doesn't want her to spread around the truth of her affair with Tom, especially not to Sophia.
Book 15, Chapter 11
Containing Curious, But Not Unprecedented Matter
- Tom has become friends with a woman named Arabella Hunt during his stay at Mrs. Miller's.
- She is a rich, cheerful widow of about thirty.
- Her husband died about a year before, and she's now just starting to go out and about.
- She is eager to marry a second time, and she has taken a liking to Tom.
- Mrs. Hunt sends Tom a letter offering her hand in marriage.
- The only condition is that he has to break off his affair with Lady Bellaston.
- This letter comes when Tom is on the edge of despair.
- He has no money left, he owes five guineas to a businessman, and Sophia is about to get married—things are not looking great, overall.
- He likes Mrs. Hunt a lot, and her fortune would also come in handy.
- Finally, Tom writes a letter back to Mrs. Hunt.
- He promises her that he is not having an affair at present.
- But to be honest, his heart belongs to someone else.
- And he could never marry a woman without loving her entirely.
- Once Tom sends the letter, he takes out Sophia's muff and kisses it several times.
- He feels quite proud of himself for resisting such temptation.
Book 15, Chapter 12
A Discovery Made By Partridge
- Partridge comes dancing into Tom's room.
- He is thrilled because he has good news.
- He has found Sophia.
- Squire Western has brought a number of servants with him.
- One of these servants is none other than our old frenemy, the gamekeeper, Black George.
- Partridge strikes up a conversation with Black George over some beer.
- He finds out that Mr. Blifil is indeed coming to London to marry Sophia.
- Partridge broadly hints to Black George that Tom wants to marry Sophia.
- Black George seems sympathetic to Tom.
- He finds out that Black George is currently working as a servant in Squire Western's house.
- So Tom realizes that he now has a way to get a letter to Sophia.
Book 16, Chapter 1
- The narrator complains that he spends more time on each of these prefaces to the books of Tom Jones than on the books themselves.
- (He makes a similar comment in Book 5, Chapter 1, so clearly he's been fussing about this for at least the last eleven books.)
- If you look at prologues on the stage they often have nothing to do with the content of the rest of the drama.
- Similarly, future readers of Tom Jones might look at these prefaces and think that they could go equally well with another book in Tom Jones, or with another novel entirely.
- But however difficult it may be for the author to keep coming up with these prefaces, they are useful for the reader.
- These prefaces always include something that the critic can attack, so that he can get into fighting shape to tear apart the rest of the novel.
- Lazy people can also benefit, since they don't have to read the introductory chapters.
- They can save some time and just skip to the main body of the work.
- There are lots of other reasons why prologues and prefaces are good things.
- But the narrator thinks they're too obvious to point out here.
- After all, the best thing about both prologues and prefaces is that they are short.
Book 16, Chapter 2
A Whimsical Adventure Which Befel the Squire, With the Distressed Situation of Sophia
- Squire Western has found a place to stay in London, in Piccadilly.
- When he arrives there with Sophia, he tells her that Mr. Blifil is coming to London for a few days.
- Sophia still refuses to marry him.
- So Squire Western locks her up in a room. (Again? Squire Western never has any new ideas, does he?)
- The second morning of Sophia's imprisonment, Squire Western is having breakfast with Mr. Supple.
- Someone comes to speak to Squire Western.
- It's a well-dressed man with a ribbon on his hat (which is a sign that he's in the military).
- He asks for permission for his master to come and speak with Squire Western.
- Then, another man comes into the room.
- He's a captain, and he's representing Lord Fellamar.
- Lord Fellamar is willing to let bygones be bygones with Squire Western—he knows the squire was pretty drunk when they last met.
- He still wants to marry Sophia.
- Squire Western answers that Sophia is already engaged.
- What's more, Squire Western would never let his daughter marry some fancy-schmancy, stuck-up lord.
- The messenger warns Squire Western that, if he's not going to be Lord Fellamar's father-in-law, then Lord Fellamar can't forgive him for swearing at Lord Fellamar the last time they met.
- Squire Western does not help things by saying that this is "a d—n'd lie" (16.2.19).
- The captain hits Squire Western for calling him a liar.
- Mr. Supple comes running up to ask what's going on.
- Squire Western protests that the captain just hit him, out of nowhere!
- The captain takes off, saying that Squire Western isn't worth "[dirtying] his fingers" (16.2.24).
- Sophia overhears all of this squabbling and starts to scream.
- Her father comes up to her room to see what is the matter.
- She asks him if he has been hurt at all, and who has been insulting him?
- Squire Western says it's just some stupid lord.
- Squire Western offers Sophia presents and money if she'll consent to marry Mr. Blifil.
- Sophia asks if Squire Western wants to make her miserable?
- Squire Western answers that it would be better for her to think she's unhappy than to know the misery of being married to a poor man.
- Squire Western orders that she will marry Mr. Blifil, even if she "[hangs herself] the next morning" (16.2.26).
- For a second, it looks like Squire Western is going to hit her.
- But at the sight of her tears, he just locks her back in and goes back to Mr. Supple.
Book 16, Chapter 3
What Happened to Sophia During Her Confinement
- The squire insists that his daughter have regular meals, even though she is having trouble eating them.
- So at dinner, Black George brings up some food: a pullet, which is a young female chicken.
- Squire Western unlocks the door.
- Sophia starts chatting with Black George.
- He particularly recommends that she eat the eggs that he's stuffed inside the pullet.
- Sophia cuts open the chicken and finds a letter in its belly.
- It's not a scientific miracle, so calm down, biologists: it's Tom's letter to Sophia, brought to Black George by Partridge that morning.
- The letter says:
- Tom is horrified to hear that Sophia is being forced into marriage.
- Tom curses himself as the cause of all of her troubles.
- He asks if he can help her out? (Specifically, he offers: "[his] advice, [his] presence, [his] absence, [his] death, or [his] tortures" (16.3.10)—whichever she would like.)
- If Sophia wants to come to him, he will certainly welcome her, no matter how poor they will be.
- But if she decides to make up with her father and abandon Tom, he's 100% fine with that as well.
- Whatever Sophia wants, Tom wants!
- Sophia has no pen or paper to answer the letter.
- But that evening, she hears a loud noise: it's a fight between two people.
- Specifically, it's a fight between Squire Western and Mrs. Western.
Book 16, Chapter 4
In Which Sophia Is Delivered From Her Confinement
- As soon as Mrs. Western arrives, Squire Western welcomes her and sits her down.
- Mrs. Western asks what happened with Lady Bellaston.
- Squire Western explains that he rescued Sophia, and now she is locked up upstairs.
- Mrs. Western is shocked: she thought Squire Western had promised not to take violent steps.
- Mrs. Western and Mr. Supple (the curate, still hanging around in the background) both insist that Mrs. Western has to be in charge of the let's-get-Sophia-married mission.
- Squire Western accepts this (though he's not happy about it).
- The two Westerns fight briefly over whose fault this whole business is, as they so enjoy doing.
- As soon as Mrs. Western leaves the room to grab Sophia, Squire Western starts complaining about his sister to Mr. Supple.
- He tells Mr. Supple point blank that he just has to hang on to Mrs. Western until she dies, and then he'll get her money.
- Mrs. Western and Sophia come back into the room.
- Squire Western compliments his sister on taking over Sophia's marriage plans.
- Squire Western tells Sophia to be a good girl while she is staying at her aunt's inn.
- Mrs. Western mentions in passing that she got a visit from her nephew-in-law Mr. Fitzpatrick, though she refused to speak to him.
- She did show him Mrs. Fitzpatrick's letter (see Book 15, Chapter 6 for the letter).
- Mrs. Western absolutely will not talk to Mrs. Fitzpatrick under any circumstances.
- Squire Western also will not talk to Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- The Western siblings unite in hating their niece, Harriet Fitzpatrick.
Book 16, Chapter 5
In Which Jones Receives a Letter From Sophia
- Here is the answer Sophia sends in response to Tom's chicken-letter:
- Sophia reassures him that she is now a (sort of) free woman, thanks to Mrs Western.
- However, she has also promised Mrs. Western that she won't see anyone without her aunt's permission.
- And she plans to keep that promise.
- She always keeps her promises, which should make Tom happy.
- She tells Tom that she cannot marry without her father's agreement.
- So he should give up on Sophia forever.
- Maybe, if he does this, he'll be able to make up with Squire Allworthy.
- She hopes they both get a little luckier in the future.
- She ends her letter by (a) asking Tom not to write again, and (b) returning that hundred-pound bank note to Tom.
- Tom is happy that Sophia is free, and that she's with someone who will probably keep her comfortable (Mrs. Western).
- He is also happy that she makes reference to her promises, since he assumes she is referring to her promise never to marry another man.
- He spends three hours reading and re-reading (and kissing, of course) Sophia's letter.
- Finally, he heads out for his evening date: he's going to Shakespeare's Hamlet with Partridge, Mrs. Miller, and her younger daughter Betsy.
- Partridge spends the whole play commenting on the action.
- (To get the jokes in this section, it would be helpful to check out this summary of the play.)
- The ghost in the play makes Partridge's knees knock in fear.
- He knows it's acting, but on the other hand, he kind of doesn't.
- Partridge's comments make Tom, Mrs. Miller, and everyone in hearing distance laugh.
- After the play, as Mrs. Miller and Partridge are talking, Mrs. Fitzpatrick approaches Tom.
- She says she has news that Tom will want to hear.
- She tells Tom her home address.
- Tom promises to come and see her the next afternoon.
- Memories of Hamlet's ghost keep Partridge awake for many nights after this.
Book 16, Chapter 6
In Which the History is Obliged to Look Back
- Sophia is the narrator's favorite character, and he hates to leave her story behind for too long.
- But he has to backtrack a bit to talk about Mr. Blifil.
- (Remember him? We haven't actually seen him in the novel since Book 7, Chapter 6. Oh, and that brief flashback in Book 10, Chapter 8. But it's been a while, is what we're saying.)
- When Squire Western finds Sophia in London, he sends a message to Mr. Blifil saying that he still wants the two of them to get married.
- Mr. Blifil agrees to get hitched ASAP.
- Not only does he want Sophia's money, but he has now come to hate her a huge amount.
- And he thinks that marriage gives you lots of opportunities to take out your hate on your partner. (Ugh.)
- The one problem (from Mr. Blifil's perspective) is Squire Allworthy.
- Once Sophia disappeared, Mr. Blifil had to fess up to Squire Allworthy that she ran away because she didn't want to marry him.
- Squire Allworthy believes that (a) people should be able to choose whom they marry, and (b) marriage is something to be taken seriously.
- He would not approve of a fake or a bad marriage.
- Mr. Blifil tells Squire Allworthy that he is deeply, desperately in love with Sophia.
- He can't bear to just give up on her.
- He asks please please, please to be allowed to try again.
- Of course, he'll only try to get Sophia to marry him by the gentlest and kindest methods. (Yeah, right.)
- And if Squire Allworthy thinks that Sophia is unhappy with the engagement, he can always deny his consent later.
- Squire Allworthy agrees to let Mr. Blifil pursue her once more.
- Mr. Thwackum supports Mr. Blifil.
- So would Mr. Square, except that he is currently in Bath for his health. (Plot point!)
- As soon as Squire Allworthy says yes, Mr. Blifil makes arrangements to go to London with him.
- They arrive the evening that Tom and Partridge see Hamlet.
- The next morning, Mr. Blifil meets with Squire Western.
Book 16, Chapter 7
In Which Mr. Western Pays a Visit to His Sister, In Company With Mr. Western
- Mrs. Western is lecturing Sophia when Squire Western and Mr. Blifil suddenly arrive.
- Mrs. Western scolds her brother for arriving unexpectedly.
- She points out that Squire Western has shocked Sophia.
- She sends Sophia off to collect herself.
- Squire Western is annoyed that he's brought Mr. Blifil all the way over here, just for Mrs. Western to send Sophia away.
- Mrs. Western says that this is all too abrupt.
- Mrs. Western insists that Mr. Blifil pass on a message to Sophia.
- Then, he can come back in the afternoon and meet with Sophia at the polite, proper time for visiting.
- Mrs. Western also wants to see Squire Western that afternoon, since she has something to tell him.
- But that has to wait: she's in the middle of dressing for the day.
- Squire Western leaves thinking that his sister is an unreasonable old bat.
- Mr. Blifil leaves feeling even more annoyed than Squire Western.
- Mr. Blifil suspects that something has happened to cause trouble with his marriage to Sophia, but he can't guess what.
Book 16, Chapter 8
Schemes of Lady Bellaston for the Ruin of Jones
- Lord Fellamar feels too much for Sophia to just let it go, even after her father was so obnoxious to him.
- He goes to see Lady Bellaston the day after his attempted rape of Sophia.
- She assures him that Squire Western is a drunken idiot.
- So Lord Fellamar stops feeling offended by him.
- Lord Fellamar explains that he's still in love with Sophia.
- Lady Bellaston reassures Lord Fellamar: she's sure that, when Squire Western sobers up, he'll see what a great match Lord Fellamar is.
- The only real problem, Lady Bellaston adds, is this fellow Tom Jones.
- She tells Lord Fellamar where Tom is living.
- She suggests that Lord Fellamar kidnap Tom and throw him onto a ship.
- (This is called press-ganging or impressment. It used to be pretty common for the British navy to grab strong-looking guys off the streets and throw them onto ships to make them serve the military against their will. It wasn't technically legal for parts of the eighteenth century. But the navy did it anyway to solve their manpower shortages. We can't imagine how loyal people who were kidnapped off the streets would be, but we guess the British navy didn't care?)
- Lady Bellaston claims that it's practically Lord Fellamar's duty to send Tom to sea.
- Otherwise, Tom will ruin Sophia.
- Lord Fellamar thanks Lady Bellaston for all of this fantastic advice.
- He gives her permission to speak to Sophia's family on his behalf.
- Lady Bellaston reminds Lord Fellamar to get rid of Tom and she goes to meet with Mrs. Western.
- Mrs. Western is so excited that she might catch a rich lord for her niece.
- Both Lady Bellaston and Mrs. Western agree that Tom is useless; they are very sorry that Sophia is so into him.
- But Mrs. Western is sure that Sophia will give up all thoughts of Tom now that Lord Fellamar is in the picture.
- Lady Bellaston tells Mrs. Western that Tom has actually gone so far as to try and seduce her.
- And she shows Mrs. Western Tom's letter from Book 15, Chapter 9—the one where Tom proposed to her!! (We knew that fake proposal was a dumb idea!)
- Lady Bellaston is secretly sure that this will be enough to destroy Sophia's relationship with Tom.
Book 16, Chapter 9
In Which Jones Pays a Visit to Mrs. Fitzpatrick
- The narrator wants to explain why Mrs. Fitzpatrick has gone from, first, refusing ever to speak to Tom, to now, inviting him to her house.
- The day before, Mrs. Fitzpatrick had visited both Squire Western and Mrs. Western.
- They were rude and horrible to her.
- She now realizes that the Westerns will neverforgive her for eloping.
- So she decides she wants revenge.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick thinks back to her own history.
- She remembers that Mrs. Western used to be in love with Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- And she thinks that, now that Mrs. Western is older and Tom is so good-looking, Mrs. Western would definitelyfall for him if she had the chance.
- So Mrs. Fitzpatrick suggests to Tom that he try and flirt with Mrs. Western.
- This will give him an opportunity to meet with Sophia in secret.
- Tom thinks this is a great plan, but he points out that Sophia really hates lying, and feels a huge sense of obligation to her aunt.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick answers angrily that her aunt is a "hagg" (16.9.8) (yes, she uses two "g"s—that's how much she hates Mrs. Western) who deserves to be punished for all the harm she's done in this life.
- Tom sees what Mrs. Fitzpatrick really wants to do (hurt Mrs. Western), and he also knows this plan hasn't got a chance of working.
- So he keeps thanking Mrs. Fitzpatrick and refusing the idea.
- Finally, he says that Sophia is so far above him that it seems wrong for someone as low as Tom to pursue her.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick hears these compliments about Sophia and starts applying them to herself.
- In fact, Mrs. Fitzpatrick now feels herself falling under Tom's spell.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick answers that any woman who doesn't see how awesome Tom is (*ahem*Sophia*ahem*) is unworthy of him.
- Tom suddenly starts to suspect that Mrs. Fitzpatrick may be into him herself.
- He quickly excuses himself.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick says she'll be home all day tomorrow, if he wants to come by and (*koff*) talk over her plan.
- Tom thanks her and takes off.
- He is so focused on Sophia that he isn't thinking about other women (which makes a change!).
Book 16, Chapter 10
The Consequences of the Preceding Visit
- Now we're back to Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- As Mrs. Western said in Chapter 7 of this book, she showed Mr. Fitzpatrick the letter she received from Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- This letter includes Mrs. Fitzpatrick's address in London.
- Unluckily, Mr. Fitzpatrick arrives at his wife's house just as Tom is leaving.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick doesn't recognize him at first, but he does demand to know his business.
- Tom recognizes him and shakes his hand (because he's a big, dumb puppy, always happy to greet people even when they are clearly bad news).
- Mr. Fitzpatrick says that he has been wanting a word with Tom, hits him on the head, and then draws his sword for a duel.
- Tom fights back and sticks his sword into the man.
- Tom hopes that Mr. Fitzpatrick doesn't die, but he reminds Mr. Fitzpatrick that he has "drawn it upon [himself]" (16.10.9).
- A gang of guys standing nearby says that Mr. Fitzpatrick is totally going to die.
- And Tom is surely going to be transported for his crimes.
- Like the "press-ganging" we mentioned in our "Detailed Summary" of Book 16, Chapter 8, "transportation" was another way that the British Empire forced people into work. It used to be really common for convicts to be sent on ships (or "transported") to the British colonies (including the Americas and, especially, Australia) to supply cheap labor.
- Even people who had only committed minor crimes might still get shipped off against their will.
- In all likelihood, they would never return to England again.)
- They capture Tom.
- This gang is, in fact, a group of men hired by Lord Fellamar to get rid of Tom.
- They carry Tom to the local magistrate.
- Tom says that he'll cooperate.
- He feels guilty, even though he doesn't believe he's done anything legally wrong.
- The surgeon who has been treating Mr. Fitzpatrick appears to say that he thinks the man will die of his injuries.
- Tom sends for Partridge.
- Partridge is terrified because he expects he's going to meet the ghost of Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- Partridge is carrying a letter from Sophia.
- In it, Sophia says that she's just seen the most surprising letter to Lady Bellaston, written in Tom's own handwriting.
- Sophia never wants to hear his name again.
- Tom's heart is completely crushed.
Book 17, Chapter 1
Containing a Portion of Introductory Writing
- The end of a comedy comes when the author has made his characters as happy as possible.
- The end of a tragedy means that the author has made his characters as miserable as possible.
- If this were a tragedy, we would be really close to the end.
- How much unhappier can Tom and Sophia get?
- To make them happy seems much harder to do, at this point.
- Instead of finding joy, it seems likelier that Sophia will either marry Mr. Blifil or Lord Fellamar, and that Tom will get hanged.
- The narrator promises he won't use any supernatural forces to make Tom happy. (No wish-granting genies!)
- Classical writers were lucky.
- They could just pull in their gods to take care of business when they needed to change a plot around.
- But the narrator has to stick to realistic, natural ways of getting Tom out of jail.
- And Tom may not even know the worst part of his bad luck yet.
Book 17, Chapter 2
The Generous and Grateful Behavior of Mrs. Miller
- Squire Allworthy, Mrs. Miller, and Mr. Blifil settle in for breakfast.
- Mr. Blifil has news: he says that Tom has turned out to be "one of the greatest villains upon earth" (17.1.2).
- Mrs. Miller shouts that he's one of the best, and she won't hear Tom insulted like this.
- Mrs. Miller is sure that someone has been lying about Tom to Squire Allworthy.
- Otherwise, she can't imagine how a man as good as Squire Allworthy can have come to think so badly of Tom.
- Squire Allworthy says that Mr. Blifil has always been Tom's warmest supporter.
- Squire Allworthy thinks that Mrs. Miller is being ungrateful to him, Squire Allworthy, by speaking so rudely to his nephew.
- Mrs. Miller agrees that Tom has faults, but they aren't proof that he is a bad human being.
- He's just young and rowdy.
- And Mrs. Miller promises to explain why she is so defensive of Tom.
- But first, Squire Allworthy wants to hear news of Tom's latest crime.
- Mr. Blifil says that Tom has killed a man.
- There is a loud knocking on the door, and Mrs. Miller lets in Squire Allworthy's guest.
- Then she leaves the room with Betsy, who is crying over Tom.
Book 17, Chapter 3
The Arrival of Mr. Western, With Some Matters Concerning the Paternal Authority
- Squire Western comes striding in, angry as always.
- He tells Squire Allworthy that, all of this time, they have been worrying about Tom, when really, they should have been worrying about some lord.
- Squire Western went to see his sister the night before.
- He found her surrounded by ladies, including Lady Bellaston.
- The ladies swooped in and told him that he should engage Sophia to Lord Fellamar.
- Squire Allworthy offers to break off the engagement between Sophia and Mr. Blifil.
- Squire Allworthy sees that Sophia really, truly does not want to marry Mr. Blifil.
- It makes him sad, but he refuses to agree to their marriage under these circumstances.
- Squire Western refuses not to consent to it. By which we mean, he absolutely insists that it go forward.
- Mr. Blifil jumps in: certainly, it's wrong to use violence to get a woman to marry you.
- But is it wrong to keep working at it (nonviolently, of course) until she agrees?
- After all, he doesn't think she wants to marry Lord Fellamar, either.
- She still wants to marry Tom, "that wickedest of men" (17.3.17).
- Squire Allworthy gives Mr. Blifil permission to write and visit Sophia, but he won't have her locked up or any of the crazy things Squire Western has been up to.
- Squire Western, meanwhile, is dancing around the room with happiness that Tom is about to be hanged.
- After Squire Western is gone, Squire Allworthy advises Mr. Blifil to give up on Sophia.
Book 17, Chapter 4
An Extraordinary Scene Between Sophia and Her Aunt
- The narrator uses the (kind of creepy) image of a doe escaping from the forest into the world of man and getting hunted down and eaten, no matter how she tries to escape, to describe Sophia's current marital situation.
- (Again, we're just going to take a second to draw attention to the extreme ickiness of that comparison. Sophia on the marriage market = doe getting hunted to death. Marriage in the eighteenth century must really have been a treat.)
- So, as soon as Sophia thinks that she has escaped Mr. Blifil, this new guy (Lord Fellamar) becomes a serious threat.
- Mrs. Western informs Sophia that Lord Fellamar is coming by that afternoon.
- Mrs. Western thinks it's dishonoring her family name not to accept such a great match.
- Mrs. Western threatens that, if Sophia won't see Lord Fellamar this afternoon, than Mrs. Western will throw her back to Squire Western the next day.
- Sophia tells her aunt straight out that Lord Fellamar grabbed her and put his hand on her breast.
- It was only Squire Western's arrival that prevented him from assaulting her further.
- Mrs. Western can't believe that Lord Fellamar had any bad intentions.
- So Sophia tries another method to get Mrs. Western to leave her alone about this.
- She reminds Mrs. Western that she has always boasted that she had tons of suitors as a young woman, and she broke all their hearts.
- One of them even had a title.
- How can Mrs. Western ask Sophia to marry a man for his title when she herself refused to?
- Mrs. Western immediately starts talking about her own (probably made-up) charms when she was young.
- Sophia flatters her so much that Mrs. Western agrees that Sophia has the right to be distant to Lord Fellamar.
- Mrs. Western even stays in the room with Sophia and Lord Fellamar when he visits that afternoon.
- So things are looking up for Sophia.
Book 17, Chapter 5
Mrs. Miller and Mr. Nightingale Visit Jones in Prison
- When Squire Allworthy and Mr. Blifil go to see Squire Western, Mrs. Miller runs off to visit Mr. Nightingale.
- Mr. Nightingale has already heard the bad news about Tom from Partridge.
- They (Mrs. Miller, Mr. Nightingale, and Partridge) all agree to visit Tom in jail at once.
- Partridge tells Tom that Mr. Fitzpatrick is still alive, though the doctor says he's going to die.
- Mr. Nightingale comforts Tom that he's not to blame for Mr. Fitzpatrick's death, and the courts will agree with him.
- Tom is just sad that he injured somebody else.
- Also, he's sad because (yet once more) he has lost Sophia.
- Mrs. Miller offers to go and talk to Sophia herself.
- She'll do anything she can to help, since she owes Tom so much.
- Tom gives Mrs. Miller a letter for Sophia.
- And then Mrs. Miller and Mr. Nightingale chat with Tom to cheer him up.
- When they leave him, he is in much better spirits.
- He's glad to hear that Mrs. Miller is also willing to speak on his behalf to Squire Allworthy.
- Mr. Nightingale swears that he will check on Mr. Fitzpatrick and then track down the witnesses to the duel.
- Mrs. Miller goes straight to find Sophia.
Book 17, Chapter 6
In Which Mrs. Miller Pays a Visit to Sophia
- Since Sophia and her aunt are now so friendly, Sophia is free to meet with guests.
- So when Mrs. Miller arrives, Sophia welcomes her.
- As soon as Mrs. Miller shows Sophia her letter from Tom, Sophia refuses to open it.
- But Mrs. Miller falls on her knees and begs Sophia to take it.
- Sophia wants to know why Mrs. Miller is such a fan of Tom's.
- Mrs. Miller tells all about her cousin, Mr. Anderson; she also explains about Nancy and Mr. Nightingale.
- Sophia hints that Mrs. Miller should leave so that she can open the letter alone.
- As soon as Mrs. Miller goes out the door, Sophia picks it up.
- In the letter, Tom apologizes and swears faithfulness to Sophia.
- He claims that the situation with Lady Bellaston, while it doesn't reflect particularly well on him, is not as bad as she might assume.
- Certainly, Tom never wanted to marry Lady Bellaston.
- Sophia is still angry with both Tom and Lady Bellaston.
- She doesn't know what to think.
- But Lady Bellaston is eating dinner with Mrs. Western that evening, and Sophia can't avoid her.
- Lady Bellaston jumps at the chance to insult Sophia subtly throughout the meal.
- Lord Fellamar is also there, which makes Sophia doubly uncomfortable.
- Sophia is having a lot of trouble sitting at the card table pretending to be happy.
Book 17, Chapter 7
A Pathetic Scene Between Mr. Allworthy and Mrs. Miller
- Mrs. Miller sits Squire Allworthy down and tells him everything she knows about Tom's adventures since leaving his house.
- She also tells Squire Allworthy about the favors Tom has done for her family.
- Squire Allworthy says that it's not impossible for bad people to do good things.
- Mrs. Miller is sure that time will prove that Tom is innocent.
- She thinks he deserves more than "some other folks that shall be nameless" (17.7.2).
- Squire Allworthy is annoyed at this reference to Mr. Blifil.
- Squire Allworthy believes that Tom has been plotting to replace Mr. Blifil in his feelings and to take over Mr. Blifil's inheritance.
- Mrs. Miller reminds Squire Allworthy of all of the times that he has spoken of Tom with love.
- Squire Allworthy seems moved, but changes the subject.
- He offers to help bring together Mr. Nightingale and his father, Nightingale Senior, who is still angry about the whole Nancy thing.
- Mrs. Miller thanks Squire Allworthy sincerely.
- Mr. Blifil comes home in the company of Mr. Dowling.
- (Remember him, the lawyer we last saw in Book 12, Chapter 9?)
- Mr. Blifil has convinced Squire Allworthy to make Mr. Dowling his steward (a steward is someone who helps to manage the estate and household of a rich or prominent person).
- Mr. Dowling is also doing some errands for Squire Western while he is in London.
Book 17, Chapter 8
Containing Various Matters
- Mrs. Western is still dead set on Sophia marrying Lord Fellamar.
- She wants to push forward the wedding fast enough that Sophia won't have time to object.
- (It doesn't actually take that much time to say, "no," Mrs. Western. In fact, Sophia's done it a billion times. Argh, these people!)
- Lord Fellamar is also excited to get this thing done.
- So Mrs. Western arranges a meeting between Lord Fellamar and Sophia the next afternoon.
- Lord Fellamar tells Sophia how much he loves her.
- Sophia says there's nothing he can say now that would erase her memory of how he tried to rape her.
- Lord Fellamar hints that she's only refusing because she loves someone else.
- At the sound of this argument, Mrs. Western bursts in.
- She apologizes to Lord Fellamar for her niece's behavior.
- The two of them spend the rest of the visit complaining about Sophia.
- (In fact, Sophia leaves before they complete their insulting conversation.)
- Mrs. Western promises that at heart, Sophia is a smart girl, and "will be brought to reason" (17.8.5).
- Lord Fellamar thanks Mrs. Western and heads out.
- Mrs. Western is in a foul mood because of something that happened before this Lord Fellamar-Sophia showdown.
- Sophia's current maid (since Mrs. Honour has now switched over to Lady Bellaston) is a girl called Betty.
- Betty spots Sophia reading Tom's letter after Mrs. Miller's visit.
- She takes this information to Mrs. Western, who pays her for it.
- Mrs. Western also asks Betty to let her know if the woman who brought the letter comes by the house again.
- Mrs. Miller arrives just as Sophia is meeting with Lord Fellamar.
- Mrs. Western meets Mrs. Miller instead.
- She pretends that Sophia told her everything, and so manipulates Mrs. Miller into sharing all of her information about Tom and the letter.
- Then, Mrs. Western tells Mrs. Miller that Sophia does not want to see her. There is no return letter, she says.
- That's why Mrs. Western is so angry when she sees Sophia and Lord Fellamar not getting along.
- She suspects that Sophia is secretly carrying on an affair with Tom.
- After Lord Fellamar leaves, she demands that Sophia show her Tom's letter.
- Sophia replies that she hasn't got the letter on her.
- Mrs. Western curses Sophia for daring to receive a letter from "such a villain" (17.8.15).
- Mrs. Western is going to send Sophia to her father the next day.
- After all, it's Squire Western's fault that Sophia is like this.
Book 17, Chapter 9
What Happened to Mr. Jones in the Prison
- Mr. Nightingale comes back a full day later to see Tom in prison.
- He has tracked down the group of sailors who saw the duel with Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- Apparently, all the witnesses disagree with Tom's account.
- They say that Tom was the one who struck first.
- Tom doesn't understand why they wouldn't tell the truth.
- And as Mr. Nightingale points out, a jury will definitely not believe Tom's word against a bunch of witnesses.
- Mrs. Miller comes in just then to say that Sophia refuses to send a letter back to Tom.
- Tom decides that he doesn't care what happens to him.
- If he is executed, that's fine—it will also help him to atone for (apparently) killing Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- A jailer arrives to say that a woman is here to see him.
- It is absolutely the last person that Tom might have guessed: Mrs. Waters. (Remember, the captain's "wife" from Books 9 and 10?)
- Ever since that coach ride from Upton, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Waters have been living together as man and wife.
- After the duel, Mr. Fitzpatrick has been a bit confused, and it takes some time for Mrs. Waters to put two and two together.
- But finally, she realizes that her Tom is the guy who injured Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- She immediately runs off to the prison to visit him.
- She asks why Tom is looking so gloomy.
- She quickly reassures Tom that nothing really bad has happened: Mr. Fitzpatrick isn't going to die.
- And Mr. Fitzpatrick has been telling everyone that he's the one who attacked Tom.
- So no one is holding Tom responsible for the duel.
- Tom is thrilled!
- Mrs. Waters tells him to cheer up.
- She's sure he'll be free soon.
- Mrs. Waters is starting to get a little annoyed with Tom's regretful moralizing about the mistakes of his past.
- He seems very different now than when they jumped into bed together at Upton.
Book 18, Chapter 1
A Farewel to the Reader
- Well, we've reached the last book of Tom Jones.
- The narrator compares the time we've spent reading this novel to the experience of a bunch of strangers traveling together in a long-distance coach.
- During these long-distance rides, strangers will joke or even argue with each other.
- But by the end of the ride, everyone becomes aware that they may never see their travel companions again.
- So they get really sentimental and start to talk about serious things.
- Similarly, we're going to get down to business in this last book.
- It's going to be all plot all the time—no more musings about the nature of Literature or Mankind.
- The narrator wishes us well. It's been fun!
- He hopes that we have enjoyed the novel.
- It may be that some of the material in this book has offended us.
- But he doesn't mean any harm.
- Other authors have accused him of being excessively rough and rude in his writing.
- This is ridiculous: it's Fielding who has been subjected to rudeness by these critics of his work.
- His main comfort is that he believes his work will outlive not only Fielding himself (which is definitely true), but also the weak writing of his contemporaries (more debatable).
Book 18, Chapter 2
Containing a Very Tragical Accident
- Partridge arrives to visit Tom, looking pale and sick.
- Tom asks him what is the matter.
- Partridge informs him: the woman who was just visiting Tom? "Mrs. Waters"?
- She is, in point of fact—Jenny Jones, Tom's mother.
- So Tom realizes that he has committed incest with his own mother.
- (That's—pretty shocking, actually. Echoes of the Oedipus Complex, anybody?)
- Tom (as you might expect) is horrified, and starts feeling guilty right away.
- Partridge goes to look for Mrs. Waters but doesn't find her.
- But Tom receives a letter from Mrs. Waters saying that she has just discovered something about Tom, and they have to talk.
- She tells him not to freak out until they next meet.
- She promises him in writing that Mr. Fitzpatrick is better, so at least Tom isn't guilty of murder.
- Both Partridge and Tom read this letter and take it as confirmation that Mrs. Waters = Jenny Jones = Tom's mom.
- Black George arrives at the prison.
- Black George reports that there has been a big argument among the Westerns, and that Mrs. Western has left swearing that she will never speak to Squire Western again.
- Squire Western has also promised Sophia that he will never lock her up again. (How nice of him.)
- The narrator jumps in to explain why the Westerns have been fighting:
- Mrs. Western tries again to force Squire Western to marry Sophia to Lord Fellamar.
- Squire Western refuses, and the two siblings fight so violently that Mrs. Western storms out.
- She totally forgets to show her brother Sophia's letter from Tom, which is lucky for Sophia.
- Once Mrs. Western leaves, Sophia starts trash-talking her aunt to Squire Western.
- Sophia has never sided with her father against Mrs. Western before.
- He is so pleased to hear her turning against her aunt that he promises never to lock her up again.
- Sophia swears that she will never marry a man without Squire Western's consent.
- So Squire Western is very happy with her.
Book 18, Chapter 3
Allworthy Visits Old Nightingale; With a Strange Discovery That He Made On That Occasion
- The next morning, Squire Allworthy goes to Nightingale Senior's house to talk to him about his son's marriage.
- A strange thing happens: Squire Allworthy arrives at Nightingale Senior's just in time to see Black George.
- But Black George doesn't see Squire Allworthy.
- Squire Allworthy asks Nightingale Senior how he knows Black George.
- Apparently, Black George was here on business, claiming that he had managed to save up 500 pounds ($100,000) from renting out an estate worth 30 pounds ($6,000) a year.
- Black George wants to buy property in the north of England.
- He left his 500 pounds with Nightingale Senior to act as his real estate broker.
- Nightingale Senior shows Black George's money to Squire Allworthy.
- Squire Allworthy recognizes that the five bills were originally the ones that he gave to Tom.
- Squire Allworthy asks Nightingale Senior to hang onto the money for the time being.
- Meanwhile, Squire Allworthy is going to confront Black George.
- First he stops by Mrs. Miller's house to tell her that Nightingale Senior is willing to meet with Mr. Nightingale.
- He also tells her that he has a fortune for Tom.
- But Squire Allworthy guesses Tom can't use it right now, since he's in jail.
- Mrs. Miller hopes that he will be all right.
- Squire Allworthy agrees that he hopesTom will clear his name, even though it doesn't look good.
- Squire Allworthy protests that he has always loved Tom, and that this has been a difficult time for him.
- Mr. Dowling the lawyer arrives with the great news that Mr. Fitzpatrick is recovering, and that he is taking all the blame himself for the duel.
- Squire Allworthy is glad to hear it.
- Tears begin to well up in Squire Allworthy's eyes as he remembers Tom as a boy.
- This sudden increase of Squire Allworthy's sympathy towards Tom is not just a matter of chance.
- It's also partly because of a letter Squire Allworthy has just received from none other than Mr. Square.
Book 18, Chapter 4
Containing Two Letters in Very Different Styles
- It turns out that Mr. Square is sick.
- (Remember, in Book 16, Chapter 7, when we find out that Mr. Square has gone to Bath for his health? We told you it was a plot point!)
- Mr. Square has turned to the Bible now that he is facing death.
- Mr. Square now realizes that he has been unjust to Tom.
- As a dying man, he swears: "[Tom] is innocent" (18.4.5).
- Mr. Square emphasizes that Tom has always loved Squire Allworthy.
- Tom is not ungrateful, no matter what some people might say.
- Mr. Square asks that Squire Allworthy forgive him for his sins.
- Squire Allworthy finishes this letter and then turns to another one, which arrived at the same time.
- This letter is from Mr. Thwackum.
- He is "not at all surprized" (18.4.8) to hear that Tom has murdered someone.
- He accuses Squire Allworthy of being weak, and of ruining Tom's character.
- He claims that he could have fixed Tom if Squire Allworthy hadn't stopped him from beating the boy when he had the chance.
- Mr. Thwackum then scolds Squire Allworthy for not giving him the job as curate of Westerton.
- Yes, he already has a position. But why shouldn't he have more than one?
- This high-handed tone Mr. Thwackum takes towards Squire Allworthy turns out to be a disaster for the man.
- Squire Allworthy has always disliked Mr. Thwackum.
- But he also thinks that Mr. Thwackum is a good scholar and a dedicated teacher.
- Now, though, their professional relationship is over.
Book 18, Chapter 5
In Which the History Is Continued
- Mrs. Miller tells Squire Allworthy that the witnesses to Tom's duel were in the pay of a great lord.
- Mr. Nightingale has spoken to their leader.
- Apparently, this lord told the gang that Tom was a common beggar.
- That's why they were so enthusiastic about forcing him onto a ship to work: because he's supposedly not worth leaving on land.
- Squire Allworthy is stunned at all of this news.
- Mr. Nightingale adds that he spotted Mr. Dowling talking to two of the men in this gang.
- Mr. Nightingale assumes that Mr. Dowling must have been working for Squire Allworthy on this errand.
- The reason he jumps to this conclusion is because of what the gang's members told him after Mr. Dowling left them.
- Apparently, Mr. Dowling listened to their bad-for-Tom version of events (sponsored by the influence of Lord Fellamar).
- And he informed them that they should tell the truth and speak up for Tom.
- Squire Allworthy swears that he neversent Mr. Dowling to talk to the gang of witnesses.
- Mr. Blifil arrives at just the right time to answer a few questions about all of this.
- Squire Allworthy asks Mr. Blifil if he knows anything about Mr. Dowling talking to the duel witnesses.
- Mr. Blifil claims that he sent Mr. Dowling to talk to the witnesses so that they would "soften their evidence" (18.5.7) against Tom.
- Mr. Nightingale agrees that it did seem like Mr. Dowling was trying to encourage the witnesses to help Tom.
- As soon as Squire Allworthy hears this, he is satisfied that Mr. Blifil is only being compassionate.
- He immediately forgets all about the suspicions that Mr. Square's letter raised in his mind about his nephew.
- Squire Allworthy suggests that they all—he, Mr. Blifil, Mrs. Miller, and Mr. Nightingale—go to visit Tom in jail.
- Partridge comes in, pulls Mrs. Miller aside, and tells her about Mrs. Waters/Jenny Jones and Tom.
- Mrs. Miller almost faints when she hears about Tom's incest with his mother.
- But she quickly thinks of an excuse to stop Squire Allworthy from going to the prison and spotting Mrs. Waters.
- She says that Tom is not well, and that the sudden arrival of Squire Allworthy might be too much of a shock for him.
- Squire Allworthy asks if Tom's servant is outside? He wants to speak to him.
- And Partridge has no choice but to go in.
- Of course, Squire Allworthy recognizes Partridge at once.
- Squire Allworthy asks about Tom's health and general wellbeing.
- Mr. Nightingale, Mrs. Miller, and Mr. Blifil all eventually leave the room.
- This is the moment Squire Allworthy has been waiting for: he has wanted to speak to Partridge alone.
Book 18, Chapter 6
In Which the History Is Further Continued
- Squire Allworthy asks Partridge to explain himself.
- How can he keep pretending not to be Tom's father? How can he pass himself off as Tom's servant?
- Partridge swears that he is not Tom's dad.
- Mr. Partridge says that, once he lost his job as a teacher (thanks to that paternity trial), everything started to go south.
- He also lost his job as a clerk, so the only work he had left was as a barber.
- But being a barber in the countryside is not a great living.
- He had been receiving an anonymous pension of 12 pounds ($2,000 in today's money) a year.
- (Partridge guesses that the money probably came from Squire Allworthy, as indeed it did.)
- But once his wife died, even that pension stopped.
- So he left the area.
- Mr. Partridge keeps going into great detail about his misfortunes between the time he left Somersetshire and the time he met Tom.
- Squire Allworthy tells him to hurry up already.
- So Mr. Partridge skips lightly over the seven years he spent in Winchester jail (and we can't believe poor Partridge has actually done hard time!)
- He tells Squire Allworthy that he was in Gloucester for about two months practicing as a barber before Tom met him.
- Partridge swears again that he is not Tom's father.
- And then he can't hold it in any longer: he tells Squire Allworthy all about Tom and Mrs. Waters/Jenny Jones.
- Squire Allworthy is totally horrified to hear that Tom has committed incest.
- And then, Mrs. Waters comes rushing in.
- She asks to speak to Squire Allworthy.
- Partridge leaves the two of them alone.
Book 18, Chapter 7
Continuation of That History
- Mrs. Waters asks Squire Allworthy to hold off on all scolding until he has heard her story.
- She reminds Squire Allworthy that he once paid for the schooling of a young man named Mr. Summer.
- This young man was the son of a friend of Squire Allworthy's.
- He died of small pox after a year in Squire Allworthy's household.
- Squire Allworthy remembers him well: he was very handsome and good-natured.
- Mrs. Waters confirms that Mr. Summer was Tom's father.
- But Mrs. Waters is not Tom's mother.
- Technically, the only thing she confessed at her maternity trial was that she was the one who put baby Tom into Squire Allworthy's bed.
- Tom's real mother is, in fact, Bridget Allworthy!
- The day that Squire Allworthy began his trip to London (in Book 1, Chapter 3), Bridget came to see Jenny's mother.
- (For the purposes of this flashback, we're going to go back to calling her Jenny Jones, since it seems ridiculous to call Mrs. Waters by her married name before she's even met Captain Waters.)
- Bridget has heard of Jenny's intelligence and learning.
- She swears Jenny to secrecy, and then tells her that she is pregnant.
- The only people in on this secret are Jenny's mom, Jenny, and (of course) Bridget herself.
- They arrange for Mrs. Wilkins to be away during the birth, since Mrs. Wilkins can't keep a secret to save her life.
- After Bridget has her baby (with Jenny and her mom helping out), Jenny's mom takes the infant back to her house.
- She looks after baby Tom until the night Squire Allworthy returns from London.
- That's when Jenny smuggles Tom into the squire's bed.
- So all of Bridget's anti-Tom feeling early in the book is just a mask.
- She wants to prevent Squire Allworthy from suspecting that Bridget is, in fact, Tom's mom.
- (End flashback. Back to her adult name of Mrs. Waters.)
- Mrs. Waters tells Squire Allworthy that Tom is actually his nephew by blood, and that Squire Allworthy should treat him that way.
- Squire Allworthy can't believe Bridget died without saying anything.
- Mrs. Waters promises that she meant to tell him.
- But since Squire Allworthy loved Tom so much without knowing his blood relationship, it didn't seem urgent that he know Tom's true parents.
- Mrs. Waters has only just learned of all of Tom's disasters here in London.
- While she was staying with Mr. Fitzpatrick after his duel, a lawyer came to see her, thinking that Mrs. Waters was actually Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
- This lawyer promised that, if Mr. Fitzpatrick died, he would help her prosecute the murderer.
- In other words, he offered her a bribe if she went to trial against Tom.
- Squire Allworthy asks Mrs. Waters to wait a moment; he thinks Mr. Dowling is coming now.
- But it's not Mr. Dowling who arrives.
Book 18, Chapter 8
- (Head up; this summary is going to be a long one. The narrator is trying to cram in all the (many) details we need to know from years of deception so that we can go forward with finishing up the plot of Tom Jones. In other words, this chapter is heavy on the exposition.Brace yourselves!)
- The new arrival is Squire Western.
- Squire Western comes in to speak to Squire Allworthy.
- He complains (as usual) about Sophia.
- Squire Allworthy reminds Squire Western that he had promised there would be no violence towards Sophia.
- Squire Allworthy offers to talk to Sophia if Squire Western lets her out of her locked room.
- Squire Western thanks him and agrees.
- Squire Allworthy asks if Squire Western has seen Mr. Dowling recently? He needs to speak to him.
- Squire Western answers that Mr. Dowling is still back at his place, sorting out his mortgage with Nightingale Senior.
- Squire Allworthy plans to come over right away.
- Squire Western takes off, and Squire Allworthy wraps up his conversation with Mrs. Waters.
- She complains that she was tricked into running away with a man who planned to marry her but never quite made it legal.
- She lived with him until he died twelve years later, and was always faithful to him.
- Then, she took up with Captain Waters, and then with Tom (as we see in Book 9).
- She swears that Tom is a good man, and that he has honestly decided to give up his bad habits.
- Squire Allworthy promises that, if Mrs. Waters also gives up her immoral ways, he will financially support her.
- Mr. Dowling enters the room.
- He looks deeply uncomfortable when he sees Mrs. Waters (whom he still thinks is Mrs. Fitzpatrick).
- He claims he has an appointment with Squire Western, but Squire Allworthy locks the door behind him.
- Squire Western asks Mr. Dowling to be honest about what he discussed with Mrs. Waters.
- Squire Allworthy promises that he'll forgive Mr. Dowling for anything he did under Mr. Blifil's orders.
- So Mr. Dowling tells all: Mr. Blifil sent Mr. Dowling to Mrs. Waters/Fitzpatrick.
- And Mr. Blifil also sent Mr. Dowling to the gang of witnesses.
- Mr. Blifil claimed that it was Squire Allworthy who was so eager to see "the villain [Tom] brought to justice" (18.8.5).
- So Mr. Dowling went to the witnesses to tell them that if the people from Tom's side tried to speak to them, they should stick to the truth and be honest.
- And that honest truth (for which they are going to get paid by Mr. Blifil) is that Tom hit Mr. Fitzpatrick first.
- Mr. Dowling repeats that he did all of this to please Squire Allworthy.
- Squire Allworthy asks how Mr. Dowling could possibly have thought these corrupt actions against Tom would make him happy.
- Mr. Dowling answers: "it did not become me to take any notice of what I thought you desired to conceal" (18.8.5).
- Squire Allworthy understands what Mr. Dowling is hinting at: that Squire Allworthy might have wanted to get rid of Tom because Tom is his sister's bastard child.
- Mr. Dowling confirms that he knows Tom's true parentage, since Bridget's last words were about her illegitimate son.
- Squire Allworthy wants to know how this last message from Bridget never reached him.
- Mr. Dowling answers: when he gave the news of Bridget's death, he was in a hurry, and Squire Allworthy had sent Mr. Blifil to speak to him.
- So he gave Bridget's final letter to Mr. Blifil, as Squire Allworthy's representative.
- (We can confirm that this whole exchange happened: it's right there in Book 5, Chapter 7: Squire Allworthy asks Mr. Blifil to talk to Mr. Dowling in his place, because he's too sick to leave his bed. We are impressed with Fielding's attention to continuity.)
- Back then, Mr. Blifil bribed Mr. Dowling to keep quiet about Bridget's secret.
- And since then, Mr. Dowling has just assumed that Squire Allworthy has been covering up for the sake of Bridget's reputation.
- Squire Allworthy swears Mr. Dowling to silence about all of this and then takes him to the door.
- He doesn't want Mr. Dowling to speak to Mr. Blifil on his way out.
- At the door, Squire Allworthy meets Mrs. Miller.
- He explains everything to her: Tom has been proved innocent, but Tom's apparent half-brother, Mr. Blifil, is a "wicked viper" (18.8.10).
- Squire Allworthy now admits that Tom has been wronged all of this time.
- Mrs. Miller thanks Mrs. Waters for being the one to clarify all of this to Squire Allworthy.
- Mrs. Waters answers that Tom will be out of jail soon, since a doctor has gone to testify that Mr. Fitzpatrick is still alive.
- Squire Allworthy looks forward to seeing Tom, but he has one more errand.
- He starts arranging transportation to go out.
- Mr. Blifil appears and asks Squire Allworthy where he's off to.
- Squire Allworthy refuses to answer.
- Just as he is leaving, Squire Allworthy suggests that Mr. Blifil find the letter his mother sent to Squire Allworthy on her deathbed (you know, the one that tells of Tom's real parentage!
- We wish we could see Mr. Blifil's face when Squire Allworthy reveals that he knows all.)
Book 18, Chapter 9
A Further Continuation
- (Another long-ish one! Sorry, guys, Fielding still has a lot of loose ends to tie up.)
- As Squire Allworthy is traveling to Squire Western's place, he reads the letter from Tom to Sophia.
- (That's the letter from Book 17, Chapter 6, where Tom promises that Lady Bellaston means nothing to him and that he truly loves Sophia.)
- Once Squire Allworthy arrives, Sophia is clearly confused to see him.
- Squire Allworthy apologizes for having been part of the cause of so much suffering for Sophia these many weeks.
- Sophia agrees that it has been miserable for her.
- She would expect a man as good as Squire Allworthy not to hold it against her that she cannot love Mr. Blifil.
- Squire Allworthy tells Sophia that he now knows Mr. Blifil to be a "wretch" and a "villain" (18.9.3).
- Sophia is shocked.
- Squire Allworthy promises he will explain later.
- But he's not here about Mr. Blifil.
- He wants Sophia to consider marrying a different member of his family, his other nephew.
- Sophia is like, um, who? She has never met Squire Allworthy's other nephew.
- Finally, he comes out with the news that Tom is his nephew, his sister's son.
- Squire Allworthy is ashamed of his conduct towards Tom.
- He begs Sophia to help him make it up to Tom by marrying him.
- Sophia admits that Tom has lots of good qualities, but she can never be his wife.
- Squire Western is surprised, to say the least.
- He promises Sophia that Tom is not a murderer or whatever else she might have heard.
- The problem is that Sophia has sworn to her father she will never marry without his consent.
- She believes this is her duty to Squire Western as his daughter.
- Squire Allworthy is frankly amazed.
- He admires her honor but—after all that, now that Tom is in her reach, she says no because her dad wouldn't like it?
- She won't say anything more; she believes that Tom has "many good qualities" (18.9.3) but she will never marry him.
- Squire Western overhears the last part and comes bursting in.
- He shouts that Sophia is lying and this is all Tom's fault.
- Squire Allworthy finally (finally) tells Squire Western that his treatment of his daughter has been unfair.
- As soon as Sophia said no to the marriage with Mr. Blifil, that should have been the end of it.
- Squire Allworthy insists that Sophia "deserves the best of treatment" (18.9.4).
- Squire Western shows him a letter from Lady Bellaston he's just received.
- Apparently, Tom is out of prison.
- Squire Allworthy takes the opportunity to tell Squire Western everything he knows about Tom and Mr. Blifil.
- All Squire Western really needs to hear is that Tom is now Squire Allworthy's heir.
- As soon as he hears that, he starts insisting that Sophia will marry Tom immediately.
- But then, Squire Allworthy explains Sophia's refusal, supposedly out of respect for her father's consent.
- Squire Western has no ideawhat to make of Sophia's sudden obedience to her father's wishes.
- Squire Allworthy once again reads Squire Western the riot act for being so violent with his daughter.
Book 18, Chapter 10
Wherein the History Begins to Draw Towards a Conclusion
- When Squire Allworthy gets home, he finds Tom there.
- Squire Allworthy asks how he can make up for all of the problems he has caused Tom.
- Tom answers that just seeing his uncle again like this is enough.
- Tom says that he deserves all of the punishment he has gotten for his past mistakes.
- Squire Allworthy is pleased to hear that Tom is turning over a new leaf.
- Squire Allworthy lectures: the real problem with being wild and rowdy is that you make other people think you are worse than you are.
- It's important to be careful so that you can maintain your good reputation.
- Squire Allworthy assures Tom that, if he truly feels bad over his past mistakes, Squire Allworthy will never remind Tom of them.
- Tom sighs: he may not be a villain, but his past mistakes have lost him Sophia.
- Tom is bummed out that it looks like he'll never be able to fix this final failure.
- Squire Western arrives and asks to see Tom.
- Squire Allworthy meets with Squire Western first to give his nephew some time to pull himself together.
- As soon as Mrs. Miller finds out that Tom is alone, she runs in and congratulates him on patching things up with Squire Allworthy.
- She also sympathizes with him over Sophia.
- Mrs. Miller is impressed by Sophia's beauty, grace, and strength.
- She thinks Sophia might come around to Tom if he stays on the straight and narrow.
- Squire Western comes bursting in.
- He tells Tom they should let bygones be bygones.
- Tom agrees, and the two make up.
- Squire Western insists that Tom and Squire Allworthy come to tea.
Book 18, Chapter 11
The History Draws Nearer to a Conclusion
- (Another long one, folks! But we are excited to be getting some closure on all of these outstanding plot points.)
- Once Squire Western leaves, Tom tells Squire Allworthy and Mrs. Miller something strange.
- Apparently, two lords arranged for Tom's release.
- Tom has only met one of them (Mrs. Fitzpatrick's man-friend, the Irish nobleman).
- The other one he has never seen before in his life.
- But this mysterious lord tells him that he owes Tom big time.
- Here's the story:
- Remember that lieutenant whom Lord Fellamar employed to press Tom into service?
- He saw the whole duel, which he reported back to Lord Fellamar.
- He tells Lord Fellamar that Tom isn't some common beggar. He's definitely a gentleman.
- A day or two later, Lord Fellamar has dinner with the Irish nobleman.
- That nobleman has been keeping Mrs. Fitzpatrick as a mistress.
- So he has a terrible opinion of Mr. Fitzpatrick, and he portrays Mrs. Fitzpatrick as a totally innocent victim of her hateful husband.
- Lord Fellamar goes with the nobleman to meet the other half of this duel, Mr. Fitzpatrick.
- Mr. Fitzpatrick is pretty happy with Mrs. Waters, and he's completely forgiven Tom.
- So he tells Lord Fellamar that Tom is a man of honor.
- He also tells Lord Fellamar that Tom is the nephew of a gentleman with lots of money.
- (Mr. Fitzpatrick has heard the whole story of Tom's birth from Mrs. Waters.)
- So Lord Fellamar realizes that he has done a terrible wrong to someone who doesn't deserve it.
- He totally gives up on Sophia.
- And he decides to make amends by bringing his Irish nobleman friend with him and arranging for Tom's freedom.
- Now, Squire Allworthy tells Tom all about what he heard from Mr. Dowling.
- Mr. Blifil asks if he can meet with Squire Allworthy.
- Squire Allworthy wants the servant to tell Mr. Blifil he doesn't know him.
- But Tom argues that everyone deserves a chance to explain himself.
- Even Tom had that, before Squire Allworthy kicked him out of the house.
- Squire Allworthy is so impressed with Tom's morals that he hugs him.
- Mrs. Miller sees them hugging and embraces both of them out of joy.
- Mrs. Miller invites them down to dinner with Mr. Nightingale, Nancy, Mr. Nightingale's cousin Harriet, and her groom.
- Squire Allworthy plans instead to meet with Mr. Blifil in private.
- Mrs. Miller asks what they'll do with Mr. Blifil in the long term.
- She doesn't want him in her house.
- She wants to physically kick him out, in fact.
- But Tom says no, let's not get violent here.
- He offers to give Mr. Blifil the message that he needs to leave that evening.
- He finds Mr. Blifil lying on his bed crying.
- He tries to comfort Mr. Blifil while at the same time telling him he needs to move out ASAP.
- Tom swears that he will treat Mr. Blifil like a brother.
- Mr. Blifil throws himself to the ground and kisses Tom's feet, which is deeply embarrassing for everyone.
- Tom picks Mr. Blifil up off the floor and tells him to man up.
- Mr. Blifil thanks him over and over again.
- He promises to leave the house by that evening.
- Squire Allworthy tells Tom about the 500 pounds that Black George stole.
- Tom is totally shocked because he "thought there was not an honester fellow in the world" (18.11.12). (Tom = not a great judge of character.)
- Tom believes that Black George is sincerely sorry, and that he is generally a good friend to Tom.
- Squire Allworthy insists that they have to punish him.
- It's unfair to "society" (18.11.18) not to punish people who do bad things.
- Tom goes off to dress for dinner, and Partridge helps him.
- Partridge is so happy at Tom's changing luck that he can barely express himself or do his job.
- But Partridge knew it would be like this: he has seen all kinds of supernatural signs and dreams indicating Tom's good luck.
Book 18, Chapter 12
Approaching Still Nearer the End
- Tom is looking very, very handsome.
- And so is Sophia.
- In fact, her dad makes a gross sexual comment about her and Tom that deeply embarrasses both of them.
- Squire Western quickly drags Squire Allworthy out of the room.
- Finally, Sophia says that Tom has been very lucky.
- Tom asks if it's lucky for Sophia to be angry with him.
- Tom asks for Sophia's forgiveness.
- He tells Sophia all about the Lady Bellaston affair.
- He knows that what he did with Lady Bellaston was terrible.
- But hasn't he paid for all of that?
- Sophia's not so ready to forgive and forget.
- What about the woman at Upton?
- How can Tom have been having these affairs when he was supposed to be desperately in love with Sophia?
- Tom answers that he has always thought only of Sophia.
- And now, he feels really bad about all his sexual screw-ups.
- Tom swears that he will be faithful.
- Sophia seems doubtful, but she is glad at least that Tom will have the chance to prove his loyalty in the future.
- Tom slowly wears her down, until she is willing to admit that someday, they could get married.
- Tom kisses her.
- Squire Western comes running in to cheer them on.
- Squire Western keeps insisting that Sophia agree to marry Tom right now.
- Sophia finally caves: "Why then to-morrow morning shall be the day, papa, since you will have it so" (18.12.8).
- Tom falls to his knees and kisses Sophia's hand.
- Squire Western runs out to start making arrangements.
- Squire Western and Squire Allworthy come back in together.
- Squire Allworthy wants to make sure Sophia really desires this match.
- Sophia confirms that she is very happy with how things have turned out.
- So finally, Squire Western gets to have his marriage celebration.
- The Westerns agree to join Tom and Squire Allworthy at dinner that night with the Nightingale family.
Book 18, Chapter 13
In Which the History Is Concluded
- Mr. Nightingale sees his father, Nightingale Senior, and his uncle, Bro Nightingale, that afternoon.
- Mr. Nightingale has gotten lucky, since he andhis cousin Harriet have both just gotten married without their fathers' consent.
- This is useful because Nightingale Senior and Bro Nightingale like to criticize each other for how they have each raised their children.
- Both of them have been exaggerating the terribleness of the other's new son/daughter-in-law.
- Nightingale Senior can't be too critical of his son's marriage while he is insulting his niece's match.
- Bro Nightingale really does love his daughter, so as soon as he meets her husband, he treats both of them like he wanted the marriage in the first place.
- So things are pretty good around the Nightingale household when Squire Allworthy, Tom, Squire Western, and Sophia arrive.
- Squire Western is so overjoyed that he insists that everyone come to a party at his lodging the next day.
- So now, the story has reached a happy ending, and Tom is the happiest of men.
- Squire Allworthy refuses to see Mr. Blifil ever again, but he has settled an income on him: 200 pounds a year ($40,000), to which Tom has added another hundred (so, $60,000 total).
- Mr. Blifil is working in politics in the north of England.
- Mr. Square has died, but Mr. Thwackum continues to work as a priest.
- He also keeps trying to suck up to Squire Allworthy, but Squire Allworthy isn't having it.
- Mrs. Fitzpatrick has legally separated from her husband and now lives in London.
- She and the Irish nobleman's wife have become great friends.
- Mrs. Western makes up with Sophia, and stays with her for two months in the country.
- Lady Bellaston congratulates Tom on his marriage as though he were a complete stranger to her.
- Nightingale Senior buys an estate near Tom's home for his son.
- Mr. Nightingale lives there with Nancy, Mrs. Miller, and Betsy (Mrs. Miller's youngest daughter).
- Mrs. Waters has come back to Somersetshire.
- Squire Allworthy gives her a pension of 60 pounds a year ($12,000 today).
- She marries Mr. Supple, who has also just gotten a great job as a clergyman on Squire Western's estate.
- Black George runs away when he hears that his theft has been discovered. No one ever hears from him again.
- Tom gives the 500 pounds Black George stole to the Seagrim family, most of it to Molly specifically.
- Partridge gets 50 pounds a year ($10,000) from Tom.
- He is setting up a school, which is a lot more successful this time around than his earlier efforts.
- He is also in the process of marrying Molly Seagrim.
- Sophia and Tom head back to the country from London two days after getting married.
- Squire Western retires from his estate and leaves most of its management to Tom.
- He goes to another house on his property, which is better for hunting.
- Sophia and Tom have two children, a boy and a girl.
- Squire Allworthy is also very generous to Tom once he marries.
- The two of them speak frequently.
- Whenever Tom seems like he might backslide into his bad old ways, Squire Allworthy's encouragement saves him.
- So to conclude, Sophia and Tom love each other dearly.
- They are universally popular, and there is "not a neighbour, a tenant, or a servant, who doth not most gratefully bless the day when Mr. Jones was married to his Sophia" (18.13.24).