Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 8, Chapter 6

By Henry Fielding

Book 8, Chapter 6

In Which More of the Talents of Mr. Benjamin Will Appear, As Well As Who This Extraordinary Person Was

  • The next morning, Tom asks around about a new surgeon.
  • He's still got bandages on his head, and he doesn't want any infections.
  • It turns out that the most famous local surgeon is none other than Little Benjamin the barber.
  • It wasn't uncommon back in the day to have a barber double as a surgeon—they're both very familiar with sharp things, right? Hmm. We don't really like that logic.
  • But King George II officially separated the two professions in 1745 (around the time that Tom Jones is taking place).
  • So by being both a barber and a surgeon, Little Benjamin is doing something mildly illegal.
  • Little Benjamin promises Tom his head is almost healed.
  • Tom asks Little Benjamin to say a little bit more about where he comes from.
  • Little Benjamin is such a weirdo that Tom can't figure him out.
  • Little Benjamin locks the door and tells Tom everything.
  • It turns out that Little Benjamin? He's Mr. Partridge!
  • You remember Mr. Partridge, back in Book 2, Chapter 6?
  • The guy who was convicted for being Tom's father out of wedlock? He's that guy.
  • But Little Benjamin/Mr. Partridge (or Partridge, as we'll call him from now on) swears up and down that he is not Tom's father.
  • Partridge asks only one favor of him: he wants to go with Tom on his adventure.
  • He says that he wants to go because he has been having dreams about his luck changing.
  • These dreams must be an omen of Tom's arrival in Partridge's life.
  • Tom is glad to have him along.