Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 16, Chapter 6

By Henry Fielding

Book 16, Chapter 6

In Which the History is Obliged to Look Back

  • Sophia is the narrator's favorite character, and he hates to leave her story behind for too long.
  • But he has to backtrack a bit to talk about Mr. Blifil.
  • (Remember him? We haven't actually seen him in the novel since Book 7, Chapter 6. Oh, and that brief flashback in Book 10, Chapter 8. But it's been a while, is what we're saying.)
  • When Squire Western finds Sophia in London, he sends a message to Mr. Blifil saying that he still wants the two of them to get married.
  • Mr. Blifil agrees to get hitched ASAP.
  • Not only does he want Sophia's money, but he has now come to hate her a huge amount.
  • And he thinks that marriage gives you lots of opportunities to take out your hate on your partner. (Ugh.)
  • The one problem (from Mr. Blifil's perspective) is Squire Allworthy.
  • Once Sophia disappeared, Mr. Blifil had to fess up to Squire Allworthy that she ran away because she didn't want to marry him.
  • Squire Allworthy believes that (a) people should be able to choose whom they marry, and (b) marriage is something to be taken seriously.
  • He would not approve of a fake or a bad marriage.
  • Mr. Blifil tells Squire Allworthy that he is deeply, desperately in love with Sophia.
  • He can't bear to just give up on her.
  • He asks please please, please to be allowed to try again.
  • Of course, he'll only try to get Sophia to marry him by the gentlest and kindest methods. (Yeah, right.)
  • And if Squire Allworthy thinks that Sophia is unhappy with the engagement, he can always deny his consent later.
  • Squire Allworthy agrees to let Mr. Blifil pursue her once more.
  • Mr. Thwackum supports Mr. Blifil.
  • So would Mr. Square, except that he is currently in Bath for his health. (Plot point!)
  • As soon as Squire Allworthy says yes, Mr. Blifil makes arrangements to go to London with him.
  • They arrive the evening that Tom and Partridge see Hamlet.
  • The next morning, Mr. Blifil meets with Squire Western.