A Little Chapter, In Which Is Contained a Little Incident
Mrs. Honour also stops in to say hello to Tom during his recovery.
She comes by the day after Tom's struggle over his feelings for Sophia.
She starts chattering, as is her habit.
Mrs. Honour tells Tom to "look a little higher than such trumpery as Molly Seagrim" (5.4.2). ("Trumpery" means something hollow or without value.)
She asks Tom if he remembers that time when he kissed Sophia's muff? (See Book 4, Chapter 14 for the original incident in question.)
Well, Mrs. Honour has told Sophia all about it.
(Tom is really embarrassed to hear this, but Mrs. Honour hasn't gotten to the point of her story yet.)
Apparently, Sophia had given the muff in question to Mrs. Honour several days earlier.
But once Sophia hears Mrs. Honour's story about Tom kissing it, she asks for it back in exchange for a newer muff.
Sophia holds onto the old muff and, according to Mrs. Honour, she kisses it when she thinks no one sees her.
(This is, honestly, the strangest romantic gesture we have ever heard. But the point is, both Tom and Sophia have been kissing this hand-covering as a substitute for one another. Whatever floats their boats, right?)
As Mrs. Honour winds up her story, Squire Western spots them talking and tells Tom to knock it off.
Squire Western assumes that Tom is trying to seduce Mrs. Honour now.
Sophia is playing the harpsichord while this is going on.
As she is playing, she drops her muff—the same muff that has been the cause of all of this fuss between her and Tom.
Squire Western is so surprised and annoyed that he throws the muff on the fire.
Sophia jumps up and grabs the muff from the fire.
This sudden, unconscious demonstration of Sophia's feelings for Tom totally bowls him over.
All of Tom's careful thinking about honor and fairness to Molly—blown away in an instant.