Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 8, Chapter 12

By Henry Fielding

Book 8, Chapter 12

In Which the Man of the Hill Continues His History

  • The MotH (Man of the Hill) goes free from prison, but his reputation in Oxford is dirt.
  • He's so ashamed that he doesn't feel he can go back to his father's house.
  • So the MotH goes back to London.
  • But he has no money and no friends there. He's on the edge of starvation.
  • Then one day, someone calls out to him as he's walking down the street.
  • It's a man named Watson, who was in the class a year above him at Oxford.
  • Watson takes the MotH out to lunch.
  • As they are chatting (and drinking), it becomes clear that Watson knows all about the MotH's thieving.
  • Watson holds out a pair of dice.
  • He says it's through gambling that you can really strip a lot of money off an easy mark.
  • Watson has a game to go to, and he suggests that the MotH come with him to see how it's done.
  • It's time to pay the bill, and Watson pulls out the money for his half.
  • But he won't pay for the MotH.
  • He hands the MotH the money in his hand (which is still only enough for half the check).
  • He advises the MotH to keep the money and run off without paying, which is what the MotH does.
  • Once the MotH gets to the gaming tables, he sees Watson pull out a huge chunk of money.
  • Watson settles down and proceeds to lose a hundred pounds.
  • The MotH plays with the money Watson gave him for dinner.
  • By the end of the afternoon, both Watson and the MotH are broke again.
  • Watson borrows two guineas from a friend and gives one of them to the MotH.
  • The two of them go back to the same tavern they just cheated.
  • The MotH uses his new guinea to cover the original bill, and he and Watson settle in again.
  • A lot of the guys from the gambling tables come to the tavern to have a drink.
  • They start gambling again, and continue throughout the night.
  • Weirdly, everyone at the table keeps saying they are losing.
  • And yet, somehow, all the money has disappeared over the course of the evening.
  • Someone must have taken it, but it isn't clear who.
  • (Partridge thinks the money was snatched by the devil. Tom thinks Partridge is an idiot.)