Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 12, Chapter 6

By Henry Fielding

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.