Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 5, Chapter 4

By Henry Fielding

Book 5, Chapter 4

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.
  • Sophia has now totally conquered his heart.