Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 3, Chapter 9

By Henry Fielding

Book 3, Chapter 9

Containing an Incident of a More Heinous Kind, With the Comments of Thwackum and Square

  • A while back, Tom sold a beautiful Bible that Squire Allworthy had given him.
  • Once more, he wanted to give money to Black George's family.
  • He sold it to Master Blifil (who is extremely careful with money and has plenty saved up).
  • Master Blifil starts using this Bible all the time in his lessons with Mr. Thwackum.
  • Of course, Mr. Thwackum notices that Master Blifil is using Tom's valuable Bible.
  • Mr. Thwackum starts punishing Tom for his "sacrilege" (3.9.3).
  • He thinks it's sinful that Tom has actually sold his Bible.
  • Mr. Square argues that the fact that the book is a Bible should make no difference.
  • And Bridget strongly agrees with him.
  • In fact, she points out, if Tom has done wrong, then so has Master Blifil in buying the Bible from him.
  • As soon as Bridget speaks, Mr. Thwackum shuts up, since he doesn't want to ruin his chances of marrying her.
  • Squire Allworthy decides not to punish Tom for selling his Bible—he still remembers Tom's first beating on Black George's behalf.
  • Together, Squire Allworthy and Tom go to Black George's house to visit his family.
  • Squire Allworthy finds that Black George's wife and children are hungry and unclothed, and he feels really bad for their extreme poverty.
  • As they walk away from Black George's house, Squire Allworthy considers hiring Black George back to his estate.
  • Tom is so excited that he might have gotten the gamekeeper's job back that he runs back to tell Black George's wife.
  • Sadly, this news is premature—there is yet more trouble waiting in the next chapter.