Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 3, Chapter 4

By Henry Fielding

Book 3, Chapter 4

Containing a Necessary Apology for the Author; and a Childish Incident, Which Perhaps Requires an Apology Likewise

  • Hold up, the narrator says.
  • Before we go any further, the narrator wants to make it clear: he's not making fun of real honor or real virtue.
  • What makes Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square so worth laughing at is that they are hypocrites and liars.
  • The only thing that interrupts their argument at this moment is a squabble between Master Blifil and little Tom.
  • In general, Tom avoids fights with Master Blifil because he loves him and also because he knows he'll get into huge trouble if he hurts him.
  • But Tom totally loses his temper when Master Blifil calls him a "beggarly bastard" (3.4.8). Oooh, burn.
  • When Master Blifil runs to Squire Allworthy and Mr. Thwackum with a bloody nose, of course he fails to mention what he called Tom before the fight.
  • And then, to make matters worse, Master Blifil tattles on Tom's shooting companion.
  • He's the one who tells the group that it was Black George the gamekeeper who shot partridges with Tom several chapters ago.
  • Squire Allworthy asks if this is true.
  • Tom says that he couldn't rat out Black George, since Tom was the one who shot the partridge anyway.
  • What's more, Tom had promised not to tattle, and he didn't want to cause trouble for Black George or his family by telling the truth.
  • Squire Allworthy lets Tom and Master Blifil go with the warning that they should get along better together (which, spoiler alert, is clearly never going to happen).