Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 14, Chapter 5

By Henry Fielding

Book 14, Chapter 5

A Short Account of the History of Mrs. Miller

  • Mrs. Miller invites Tom to tea that afternoon, since she doesn't want them to part on bad terms.
  • She decides to tell him all about her own history with Squire Allworthy.
  • Going back in time, Mrs. Miller's father is an officer in the army.
  • When he dies, his pension stops with him.
  • So Mrs. Miller and her two sisters are left penniless.
  • Both of her sisters also die within a year.
  • Mrs. Miller has been in love with a local clergyman for a long time before her father's death.
  • Right after her father dies, she marries him.
  • They live together happily for five years, and she has her two children (Nancy and Betsy).
  • But then, her husband also dies.
  • Mrs. Miller is left heartbroken and alone.
  • Squire Allworthy, who was a friend of Mr. Miller the clergyman, writes a letter to Mrs. Miller.
  • In that letter, he offers her the temporary help of a servant, as well as a twenty-guinea present (about $4,200 today.)
  • Squire Allworthy also gives her the house in London that she is currently running as a landlady.
  • It is thanks to Squire Allworthy's help that she has been able to keep her daughters so comfortably.
  • Tom breaks it to Mrs. Miller that he's not actually a relative of Squire Allworthy's.
  • Mrs. Miller knows exactly who Tom is, but she doesn't think that there is anything shameful in being born out of wedlock. It's not like that's Tom's fault.
  • It's almost nine, and Tom's appointment with Lady Bellaston is coming up..
  • Tom promises that this is the last time he'll see her, that she really is an upper-class woman, and that nothing will happen between them.
  • So Mrs. Miller agrees to let him meet with Lady Bellaston at her house.
  • Tom goes to his room, sits, and waits.
  • But Lady Bellaston never shows up.