Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 1, Chapter 4

By Henry Fielding

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.