Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 17, Chapter 3

By Henry Fielding

Book 17, Chapter 3

The Arrival of Mr. Western, With Some Matters Concerning the Paternal Authority

  • Squire Western comes striding in, angry as always.
  • He tells Squire Allworthy that, all of this time, they have been worrying about Tom, when really, they should have been worrying about some lord.
  • Squire Western went to see his sister the night before.
  • He found her surrounded by ladies, including Lady Bellaston.
  • The ladies swooped in and told him that he should engage Sophia to Lord Fellamar.
  • Squire Allworthy offers to break off the engagement between Sophia and Mr. Blifil.
  • Squire Allworthy sees that Sophia really, truly does not want to marry Mr. Blifil.
  • It makes him sad, but he refuses to agree to their marriage under these circumstances.
  • Squire Western refuses not to consent to it. By which we mean, he absolutely insists that it go forward.
  • Mr. Blifil jumps in: certainly, it's wrong to use violence to get a woman to marry you.
  • But is it wrong to keep working at it (nonviolently, of course) until she agrees?
  • After all, he doesn't think she wants to marry Lord Fellamar, either.
  • She still wants to marry Tom, "that wickedest of men" (17.3.17).
  • Squire Allworthy gives Mr. Blifil permission to write and visit Sophia, but he won't have her locked up or any of the crazy things Squire Western has been up to.
  • Squire Western, meanwhile, is dancing around the room with happiness that Tom is about to be hanged.
  • After Squire Western is gone, Squire Allworthy advises Mr. Blifil to give up on Sophia.