Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 16, Chapter 10

By Henry Fielding

Book 16, Chapter 10

The Consequences of the Preceding Visit

  • Now we're back to Mr. Fitzpatrick.
  • As Mrs. Western said in Chapter 7 of this book, she showed Mr. Fitzpatrick the letter she received from Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
  • This letter includes Mrs. Fitzpatrick's address in London.
  • Unluckily, Mr. Fitzpatrick arrives at his wife's house just as Tom is leaving.
  • Mr. Fitzpatrick doesn't recognize him at first, but he does demand to know his business.
  • Tom recognizes him and shakes his hand (because he's a big, dumb puppy, always happy to greet people even when they are clearly bad news).
  • Mr. Fitzpatrick says that he has been wanting a word with Tom, hits him on the head, and then draws his sword for a duel.
  • Tom fights back and sticks his sword into the man.
  • Tom hopes that Mr. Fitzpatrick doesn't die, but he reminds Mr. Fitzpatrick that he has "drawn it upon [himself]" (16.10.9).
  • A gang of guys standing nearby says that Mr. Fitzpatrick is totally going to die.
  • And Tom is surely going to be transported for his crimes.
  • Like the "press-ganging" we mentioned in our "Detailed Summary" of Book 16, Chapter 8, "transportation" was another way that the British Empire forced people into work. It used to be really common for convicts to be sent on ships (or "transported") to the British colonies (including the Americas and, especially, Australia) to supply cheap labor.
  • Even people who had only committed minor crimes might still get shipped off against their will.
  • In all likelihood, they would never return to England again.)
  • They capture Tom.
  • This gang is, in fact, a group of men hired by Lord Fellamar to get rid of Tom.
  • They carry Tom to the local magistrate.
  • Tom says that he'll cooperate.
  • He feels guilty, even though he doesn't believe he's done anything legally wrong.
  • The surgeon who has been treating Mr. Fitzpatrick appears to say that he thinks the man will die of his injuries.
  • Tom sends for Partridge.
  • Partridge is terrified because he expects he's going to meet the ghost of Mr. Fitzpatrick.
  • Partridge is carrying a letter from Sophia.
  • In it, Sophia says that she's just seen the most surprising letter to Lady Bellaston, written in Tom's own handwriting.
  • Sophia never wants to hear his name again.
  • Tom's heart is completely crushed.