Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 18, Chapter 4

By Henry Fielding

Book 18, Chapter 4

Containing Two Letters in Very Different Styles

  • It turns out that Mr. Square is sick.
  • (Remember, in Book 16, Chapter 7, when we find out that Mr. Square has gone to Bath for his health? We told you it was a plot point!)
  • Mr. Square has turned to the Bible now that he is facing death.
  • Mr. Square now realizes that he has been unjust to Tom.
  • As a dying man, he swears: "[Tom] is innocent" (18.4.5).
  • Mr. Square emphasizes that Tom has always loved Squire Allworthy.
  • Tom is not ungrateful, no matter what some people might say.
  • Mr. Square asks that Squire Allworthy forgive him for his sins.
  • Squire Allworthy finishes this letter and then turns to another one, which arrived at the same time.
  • This letter is from Mr. Thwackum.
  • He is "not at all surprized" (18.4.8) to hear that Tom has murdered someone.
  • He accuses Squire Allworthy of being weak, and of ruining Tom's character.
  • He claims that he could have fixed Tom if Squire Allworthy hadn't stopped him from beating the boy when he had the chance.
  • Mr. Thwackum then scolds Squire Allworthy for not giving him the job as curate of Westerton.
  • Yes, he already has a position. But why shouldn't he have more than one?
  • This high-handed tone Mr. Thwackum takes towards Squire Allworthy turns out to be a disaster for the man.
  • Squire Allworthy has always disliked Mr. Thwackum.
  • But he also thinks that Mr. Thwackum is a good scholar and a dedicated teacher.
  • Now, though, their professional relationship is over.