Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 14, Chapter 6

By Henry Fielding

Book 14, Chapter 6

Containing a Scene Which We Doubt Not Will Affect All Our Readers

  • Tom sleeps late the next morning, until a loud noise from downstairs wakens him.
  • Partridge explains that there's a big fight going on downstairs.
  • Tom goes to talk to Mrs. Miller.
  • Mrs. Miller cries that Nancy has been ruined by Mr. Nightingale.
  • It turns out that Nancy is pregnant.
  • Nancy has also just received a letter from Mr. Nightingale, in which he explains that he has to marry this rich girl his father has chosen.
  • So Nancy and Mr. Nightingale can never be together.
  • But he thinks that Nancy can easily keep her pregnancy a secret.
  • And Mr. Nightingale promises that he will provide for the baby and for Nancy.
  • Tom asks if it is possible to do what Mr. Nightingale suggests? Can't they keep the pregnancy a secret?
  • But it's too late to try what Mr. Nightingale wants, because Nancy received the letter in a crowded room.
  • She fainted, and the guests all read the letter. (Jerks.)
  • What Mrs. Miller is really worried about is that Nancy will kill herself.
  • She's already tried twice.
  • Mrs. Miller thinks it's her fault that she turned a blind eye to Mr. Nightingale's flirtations.
  • She thought his intentions were honorable, and that Nancy might wind up married to a real gentleman.
  • Mrs. Miller goes to help Nancy while Tom looks after Betsy.
  • Betsy says that, if her sister dies, her mother will die. And if her mother dies, Betsy will want to die, too.
  • She won't be afraid to go "with those [she loves]" (14.6.7).
  • Tom tells Mrs. Miller he's going to speak to Mr. Nightingale.