Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 18, Chapter 9

By Henry Fielding

Book 18, Chapter 9

A Further Continuation

  • (Another long-ish one! Sorry, guys, Fielding still has a lot of loose ends to tie up.)
  • As Squire Allworthy is traveling to Squire Western's place, he reads the letter from Tom to Sophia.
  • (That's the letter from Book 17, Chapter 6, where Tom promises that Lady Bellaston means nothing to him and that he truly loves Sophia.)
  • Once Squire Allworthy arrives, Sophia is clearly confused to see him.
  • Squire Allworthy apologizes for having been part of the cause of so much suffering for Sophia these many weeks.
  • Sophia agrees that it has been miserable for her.
  • She would expect a man as good as Squire Allworthy not to hold it against her that she cannot love Mr. Blifil.
  • Squire Allworthy tells Sophia that he now knows Mr. Blifil to be a "wretch" and a "villain" (18.9.3).
  • Sophia is shocked.
  • Squire Allworthy promises he will explain later.
  • But he's not here about Mr. Blifil.
  • He wants Sophia to consider marrying a different member of his family, his other nephew.
  • Sophia is like, um, who? She has never met Squire Allworthy's other nephew.
  • Finally, he comes out with the news that Tom is his nephew, his sister's son.
  • Squire Allworthy is ashamed of his conduct towards Tom.
  • He begs Sophia to help him make it up to Tom by marrying him.
  • Sophia admits that Tom has lots of good qualities, but she can never be his wife.
  • Squire Western is surprised, to say the least.
  • He promises Sophia that Tom is not a murderer or whatever else she might have heard.
  • The problem is that Sophia has sworn to her father she will never marry without his consent.
  • She believes this is her duty to Squire Western as his daughter.
  • Squire Allworthy is frankly amazed.
  • He admires her honor but—after all that, now that Tom is in her reach, she says no because her dad wouldn't like it?
  • She won't say anything more; she believes that Tom has "many good qualities" (18.9.3) but she will never marry him.
  • Squire Western overhears the last part and comes bursting in.
  • He shouts that Sophia is lying and this is all Tom's fault.
  • Squire Allworthy finally (finally) tells Squire Western that his treatment of his daughter has been unfair.
  • As soon as Sophia said no to the marriage with Mr. Blifil, that should have been the end of it.
  • Squire Allworthy insists that Sophia "deserves the best of treatment" (18.9.4).
  • Squire Western shows him a letter from Lady Bellaston he's just received.
  • Apparently, Tom is out of prison.
  • Squire Allworthy takes the opportunity to tell Squire Western everything he knows about Tom and Mr. Blifil.
  • All Squire Western really needs to hear is that Tom is now Squire Allworthy's heir.
  • As soon as he hears that, he starts insisting that Sophia will marry Tom immediately.
  • But then, Squire Allworthy explains Sophia's refusal, supposedly out of respect for her father's consent.
  • Squire Western has no ideawhat to make of Sophia's sudden obedience to her father's wishes.
  • Squire Allworthy once again reads Squire Western the riot act for being so violent with his daughter.