Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 2, Chapter 5

By Henry Fielding

Book 2, Chapter 5

Containing Much Matter to Exercise the Judgment and Reflection of the Reader

  • Mrs. Wilkins hears the gossip that Mr. Partridge is the father of Jenny Jones's baby.
  • She passes this rumor on to Captain Blifil, since she knows he wants little Tom kicked out of Squire Allworthy's household.
  • Captain Blifil eventually figures out a way to bring up this rumor in conversation with Squire Allworthy.
  • The two of them, Captain Blifil and Squire Allworthy, are arguing about whether it's really necessary to be charitable.
  • Captain Blifil claims that the New Testament doesn't truly saythatChristians should help people in need.
  • Squire Allworthy answers that he thinks the whole point of Christianity is to be charitable.
  • In fact, the greatest act of charity is to give away something that you really want for yourself.
  • In the middle of this discussion, Captain Blifil mentions the "worthless fellow" (2.5.19) Partridge, who is (supposedly) the father of little Tom Jones.
  • Squire Allworthy asks Mrs. Wilkins to confirm what Captain Blifil says: that Partridge is Tom's father.
  • She says yes.
  • So Squire Allworthy decides to call Mr. Partridge in to ask him about this whole affair.