Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 15, Chapter 3

By Henry Fielding

Book 15, Chapter 3

A Further Explanation of the Foregoing Design

  • Lady Bellaston belongs to a club that began after "the late war." (That would be the War of the Austrian Succession: 1740-1748).
  • This club's main goal is for each of its members to tell one lie every day.
  • Then, they share the stories of their lies with the other club members.
  • These lies are supposed to be funny and harmless.
  • One of Lady Bellaston's guests that evening, Tom Edwards, is also a member of this liars' club.
  • He, Lady Bellaston, Lord Fellamar, and Sophia all gather around a game of cards.
  • Edwards claims that Colonel Wilcox has just killed someone in a duel.
  • The victim is a guy from Somersetshire, connected to Squire Allworthy—a kid named Jones.
  • Sophia hears this news and faints.
  • Once she has regained consciousness, she goes back up to her room.
  • Lady Bellaston follows her and tells her the truth: it was a joke, and Tom is still alive. (Ha. Ha. Ha. How sidesplitting this joke is. How humorous.)
  • Seeing Sophia's fainting spell convinces Lord Fellamar of Sophia's love for Tom.
  • When Lady Bellaston gets back, she and Lord Fellamar start making plans.
  • The next evening at seven, Lady Bellaston will make sure the house is empty.
  • She will leave Sophia with Lord Fellamar so that he can rape her.
  • Lord Fellamar doesn't see a big moral problem with this rape, because he plans to marry her afterwards. (Ugh.)
  • Still, once he's slept on the idea, he decides not to go through with it after all.
  • Lady Bellaston and Sophia are together the next morning when a servant announces that Lord Fellamar has arrived.
  • Sophia wants Lady Bellaston to stop letting Lord Fellamar come to the house.
  • Sophia knows he wants her, and she doesn't trust him.
  • She asks Lady Bellaston not to leave her alone with him.
  • Lady Bellaston makes fun of Sophia for assuming that every man in town desires her.
  • Lady Bellaston gets in a dig about Sophia running away with Tom.
  • Sophia swears (again) that she's not going to elope with Tom.
  • Sophia leaves, and Lady Bellaston meets with Lord Fellamar.