Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 16, Chapter 3

By Henry Fielding

Book 16, Chapter 3

What Happened to Sophia During Her Confinement

  • The squire insists that his daughter have regular meals, even though she is having trouble eating them.
  • So at dinner, Black George brings up some food: a pullet, which is a young female chicken.
  • Squire Western unlocks the door.
  • Sophia starts chatting with Black George.
  • He particularly recommends that she eat the eggs that he's stuffed inside the pullet.
  • Sophia cuts open the chicken and finds a letter in its belly.
  • It's not a scientific miracle, so calm down, biologists: it's Tom's letter to Sophia, brought to Black George by Partridge that morning.
  • The letter says:
  • Tom is horrified to hear that Sophia is being forced into marriage.
  • Tom curses himself as the cause of all of her troubles.
  • He asks if he can help her out? (Specifically, he offers: "[his] advice, [his] presence, [his] absence, [his] death, or [his] tortures" (16.3.10)—whichever she would like.)
  • If Sophia wants to come to him, he will certainly welcome her, no matter how poor they will be.
  • But if she decides to make up with her father and abandon Tom, he's 100% fine with that as well.
  • Whatever Sophia wants, Tom wants!
  • Sophia has no pen or paper to answer the letter.
  • But that evening, she hears a loud noise: it's a fight between two people.
  • Specifically, it's a fight between Squire Western and Mrs. Western.