Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 16, Chapter 9

By Henry Fielding

Book 16, Chapter 9

In Which Jones Pays a Visit to Mrs. Fitzpatrick

  • The narrator wants to explain why Mrs. Fitzpatrick has gone from, first, refusing ever to speak to Tom, to now, inviting him to her house.
  • The day before, Mrs. Fitzpatrick had visited both Squire Western and Mrs. Western.
  • They were rude and horrible to her.
  • She now realizes that the Westerns will neverforgive her for eloping.
  • So she decides she wants revenge.
  • Mrs. Fitzpatrick thinks back to her own history.
  • She remembers that Mrs. Western used to be in love with Mr. Fitzpatrick.
  • And she thinks that, now that Mrs. Western is older and Tom is so good-looking, Mrs. Western would definitelyfall for him if she had the chance.
  • So Mrs. Fitzpatrick suggests to Tom that he try and flirt with Mrs. Western.
  • This will give him an opportunity to meet with Sophia in secret.
  • Tom thinks this is a great plan, but he points out that Sophia really hates lying, and feels a huge sense of obligation to her aunt.
  • Mrs. Fitzpatrick answers angrily that her aunt is a "hagg" (16.9.8) (yes, she uses two "g"s—that's how much she hates Mrs. Western) who deserves to be punished for all the harm she's done in this life.
  • Tom sees what Mrs. Fitzpatrick really wants to do (hurt Mrs. Western), and he also knows this plan hasn't got a chance of working.
  • So he keeps thanking Mrs. Fitzpatrick and refusing the idea.
  • Finally, he says that Sophia is so far above him that it seems wrong for someone as low as Tom to pursue her.
  • Mrs. Fitzpatrick hears these compliments about Sophia and starts applying them to herself.
  • In fact, Mrs. Fitzpatrick now feels herself falling under Tom's spell.
  • Mrs. Fitzpatrick answers that any woman who doesn't see how awesome Tom is (*ahem*Sophia*ahem*) is unworthy of him.
  • Tom suddenly starts to suspect that Mrs. Fitzpatrick may be into him herself.
  • He quickly excuses himself.
  • Mrs. Fitzpatrick says she'll be home all day tomorrow, if he wants to come by and (*koff*) talk over her plan.
  • Tom thanks her and takes off.
  • He is so focused on Sophia that he isn't thinking about other women (which makes a change!).