Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 13, Chapter 5

By Henry Fielding

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.