Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 14, Chapter 2

By Henry Fielding

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.