Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 5, Chapter 6

By Henry Fielding

Book 5, Chapter 6

By Comparing Which With the Former, the Reader May Possibly Correct Some Abuse Which He Hath Formerly Been Guilty of in the Application of the Word Love

  • Tom feels compassion for Molly, even though he isn't heartbroken at her unfaithfulness.
  • He worries that she has started sleeping around because he took her innocence.
  • Betty Seagrim puts this concern to rest pretty quickly.
  • She tells Tom that he wasn't actually Molly's first lover.
  • Molly slept with this guy named Will Barnes first.
  • And either Will or Tom could be the father of Molly's child.
  • Tom asks both Will and Molly if this is true.
  • Yep, it sure is.
  • It turns out that Will seduced Betty Seagrim first, before turning to Molly later.
  • Will is Molly's first love. Her later affairs with Tom and Mr. Square were just distractions from her central passion for Will.
  • Now that Tom knows the real state of Molly's feelings, he feels free to give his heart wholly to Sophia.
  • But Tom just can't catch a break.
  • After all, Squire Western will never agree to Tom as a match for Sophia.
  • And if Tom and Sophia go ahead and elope, that will still break the hearts of Squire Western and Squire Allworthy.
  • Tom starts looking pale and a little crazy under all of this stress.
  • Sophia notices his intense glances at her and connects some dots.
  • She realizes (a) that Tom adores her, and (b) that he is tormented over it, because he wants to do what's right by their families.
  • Tom and Sophia bump into each other near the spot where Tom tried to rescue Sophia's little bird Tommy all those years ago.
  • (Check out Book 4, Chapter 3 if your memory of this episode has faded.)
  • Finally, we get an actual conversation between Sophia and Tom.
  • Tom finally says he can't hide his love for Sophia anymore.
  • Sophia starts trembling and can barely walk back to her house.
  • The two of them haven't actually decided what to do about their secret love.