Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 7, Chapter 4

By Henry Fielding

Book 7, Chapter 4

A Picture of a Country Gentlewoman Taken From the Life

  • Squire Western starts complaining to Sophia.
  • He whines that it's the curse of all men to be oppressed by hateful women.
  • First, he was bullied by his late wife—Sophia's mother, whom he clearly hated—and now, he has this awful sister to boss him around.
  • Squire Western was "a good husband" (7.4.2) to his late wife, according to the social rules of his day.
  • Which means that he (a) only swore at her about once a week, (b) didn't hit her, (c) never made her jealous, and (d) mostly left her alone.
  • They basically only saw each other at mealtimes.
  • But his wife tried to get Squire Western to stop drinking so much.
  • And she asked him for a two-months' stay in London.
  • (He took the London thing as code that his wife wanted to cheat on him. Squire Western thinks that, "all the husbands in London are cuckolds" (7.4.3). A cuckold is the husband of a cheating wife.)
  • Squire Western believes both of these requests—drinking less and a trip to London—were hugeoverreaches on her part.
  • Because she tried to influence how he lived, Squire Western came to hate his wife.
  • Now that she is dead, Squire Western is jealous of Sophia's love for her memory.
  • So he feels no shame at all about telling his daughter how terrible her mother was.