Literature Study GuidesTom JonesBook 10 Chapters 6 9 Summary

Tom Jones | Study Guide

Henry Fielding

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Tom Jones | Book 10, Chapters 6–9 : In Which the History Goes Forward About Twelve Hours. | Summary

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Summary

Book 10, Chapter 6

In the morning Tom calls for Partridge, who once again tries to keep him from going to war. Partridge next relates that two "wenches" wanted to disturb him the previous night and hands Tom Sophia's muff, which is lying on the ground. Sophia's name is pinned to it, and Tom is beside himself. He berates Partridge in the strongest terms.

Book 10, Chapter 7

Arrived at the inn is Squire Western, in pursuit of his daughter. He has just missed both Sophia and Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who, as it turns out, was also at the inn (by herself) and happens to be his niece. When Mrs. Fitzpatrick heard her husband making a commotion, she paid the landlady handsomely to "furnish her with horses for her escape."

Western sees Tom and insists his daughter must be with him, as does Parson Supple, Western's traveling companion, when he sees Sophia's muff. Mr. Western searches the entire house and does not turn up his daughter. He leaves in a rage to find her. Mrs. Waters leaves with Fitzpatrick and Maclachlan since they are going to Bath. Tom and Partridge mean to pursue Sophia.

Book 10, Chapter 8

The narrator moves back in time to explain how Sophia got to Upton. On the morning of the day Sophia was to marry, Mr. Blifil attended breakfast with the Westerns when it was discovered Sophia had flown the coop. Brother and sister began fighting, with Mrs. Western blaming her brother for what had happened. Blifil returned home.

Book 10, Chapter 9

Sophia had stolen away from her home at midnight, riding on horseback behind a stranger sent by Honour. The three rode toward Bristol when Sophia learned this was the way Tom went. They arrived at daybreak in the same village Tom first had passed through and picked up fresh horses. Honour scolded Sophia about the impropriety of chasing after a man, and Sophia resolved to go to Gloucester and then on to London. The women passed quickly through Gloucester and then pushed on to Upton.

Analysis

In Book 10, Chapter 6 Tom severely berates Partridge for not calling him in the night when Sophia inquired after him, and while he realizes his bumbling companion told Sophia he was in bed with another woman he does not know all the other things she has heard from Susan—since he is not yet aware of the lies Partridge is spreading about him. Fielding creates more comedy with the deceptiveness of appearances when Western shows up and has good reason to think Tom was with his daughter—given that she left her muff behind. The squire doesn't recognize Mr. Fitzpatrick, since his niece, Harriet Fitzpatrick, eloped when marrying him and he never met the nephew-in-law.

Sophia shows remarkable pluck in leaving home in Book 10, Chapter 8 to avoid a marriage to Blifil. As the critic April London points out, Fielding deliberately contrasted his heroine with the eponymous heroine of Richardson's Clarissa, who is intimidated by male power and thus makes poor choices in trying to escape a forced marriage. Sophia uses prudence in deciding to disobey her father while still remaining under the protection of a female relation—specifically the cousin of Mrs. Western, Lady Bellaston, who has encouraged her in the past to take a break from her overbearing father and visit her in London. When Sophia leaves home in Book 10, Chapter 9 she relies on Mrs. Honour to make the arrangements for horses and then bravely takes a ride from a stranger at midnight to meet her maid. The three of them ride on horseback (the maid now riding behind the guide) as Sophia unconsciously begins riding in the direction Tom took instead of heading straight to London. Sophia also shows prudence in recollecting herself and following Honour's counsel not to chase after a man; when she realizes what she is doing she pushes on toward Upton, where she inadvertently has followed Tom anyway. Finally Sophia shows prudence in rebuking Tom and, for the time being, rejecting him because of his bad behavior.

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