Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 9, Chapter 7

By Henry Fielding

Book 9, Chapter 7

Containing a Fuller Account of Mrs. Waters, and By What Means She Came Into That Distressful Situation From Which She Was Rescued By Jones

  • Tom doesn't press Mrs. Waters to explain what happened with Northerton.
  • But the narrator knows we(the readers) are probably curious. He tells us:
  • Mrs. Waters has lived for several years as Captain Waters's wife (though they are not actually married).
  • Captain Waters belongs to a company in the same regiment as Northerton's company.
  • Captain Waters's company arrived at Worcester the day after Tom and Northerton have their kerfuffle.
  • Captain and Mrs. Waters had an agreement that she would go with him as far as Worcester, and then from there, she would return home to Bath while he is off fighting in Scotland.
  • Mrs. Waters has another agreement with Northerton, that the two of them will meet up in Worcester after her husband has left for Scotland.
  • As soon as Northerton escapes from the lieutenant's company back in Book 7, Chapter 14, he rushes to catch up with Mrs. Waters.
  • He finds her in Worcester and tells her that he is a wanted man.
  • She immediately feels bad for Northerton and decides to help him.
  • The two of them slip away before dawn the next morning.
  • But as the sun rises, Northerton suddenly says that it's not safe for him to travel on the public roads.
  • Northerton persuades Mrs. Waters to go with him into the woods.
  • That's how they wind up at the base of the Man of the Hill's particular hill.
  • It's not clear exactly how far in advance Northerton has been planning this attempted murder.
  • But it's definitely true that, once he reaches a clearing in the trees, he takes off his garter and tries to strangle Mrs. Waters.
  • He thinks that, since he is already guilty of murder (as he believes at this point that Tom has died of his injuries), he may as well keep going on his life of crime.
  • He wants to steal Mrs. Waters's ring and money.
  • And then Tom arrives, just in time.