Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 17, Chapter 8

By Henry Fielding

Book 17, Chapter 8

Containing Various Matters

  • Mrs. Western is still dead set on Sophia marrying Lord Fellamar.
  • She wants to push forward the wedding fast enough that Sophia won't have time to object.
  • (It doesn't actually take that much time to say, "no," Mrs. Western. In fact, Sophia's done it a billion times. Argh, these people!)
  • Lord Fellamar is also excited to get this thing done.
  • So Mrs. Western arranges a meeting between Lord Fellamar and Sophia the next afternoon.
  • Lord Fellamar tells Sophia how much he loves her.
  • Sophia says there's nothing he can say now that would erase her memory of how he tried to rape her.
  • Lord Fellamar hints that she's only refusing because she loves someone else.
  • At the sound of this argument, Mrs. Western bursts in.
  • She apologizes to Lord Fellamar for her niece's behavior.
  • The two of them spend the rest of the visit complaining about Sophia.
  • (In fact, Sophia leaves before they complete their insulting conversation.)
  • Mrs. Western promises that at heart, Sophia is a smart girl, and "will be brought to reason" (17.8.5).
  • Lord Fellamar thanks Mrs. Western and heads out.
  • Mrs. Western is in a foul mood because of something that happened before this Lord Fellamar-Sophia showdown.
  • Sophia's current maid (since Mrs. Honour has now switched over to Lady Bellaston) is a girl called Betty.
  • Betty spots Sophia reading Tom's letter after Mrs. Miller's visit.
  • She takes this information to Mrs. Western, who pays her for it.
  • Mrs. Western also asks Betty to let her know if the woman who brought the letter comes by the house again.
  • Mrs. Miller arrives just as Sophia is meeting with Lord Fellamar.
  • Mrs. Western meets Mrs. Miller instead.
  • She pretends that Sophia told her everything, and so manipulates Mrs. Miller into sharing all of her information about Tom and the letter.
  • Then, Mrs. Western tells Mrs. Miller that Sophia does not want to see her. There is no return letter, she says.
  • That's why Mrs. Western is so angry when she sees Sophia and Lord Fellamar not getting along.
  • She suspects that Sophia is secretly carrying on an affair with Tom.
  • After Lord Fellamar leaves, she demands that Sophia show her Tom's letter.
  • Sophia replies that she hasn't got the letter on her.
  • Mrs. Western curses Sophia for daring to receive a letter from "such a villain" (17.8.15).
  • Mrs. Western is going to send Sophia to her father the next day.
  • After all, it's Squire Western's fault that Sophia is like this.