Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 13, Chapter 8

By Henry Fielding

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.