Literature Study GuidesTom JonesBook 13 Chapters 5 8 Summary

Tom Jones | Study Guide

Henry Fielding

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Tom Jones | Book 13, Chapters 5–8 : Containing the Space of Twelve Days. | Summary

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Summary

Book 13, Chapter 5

When Jones returns to Mrs. Fitzpatrick's in the morning, he is told Sophia is not home, and he gets the same answer the whole day.

Jones is staying at the boarding house of a friend of Mr. Allworthy's: Mrs. Miller, a widow with two daughters: Nancy (age 17) and Betsy (age 10). Also lodging at the house is a gentleman, Mr. Jack Nightingale. Jones becomes acquainted with him after he breaks up a fight between Jack and his footman over comments made about a lady. Mrs. Miller invites him to breakfast.

Book 13, Chapter 6

In the morning Tom receives the bad news that Mrs. Fitzpatrick has left her lodgings. He receives a package containing a domino, mask, and invitation to a ball from the "Queen of Fairies." Thinking the invitation might be from Mrs. Fitzpatrick, he decides to go, and Mr. Nightingale agrees to accompany him.

Book 13, Chapter 7

Tom approaches every woman who resembles Sophia in height or shape but can't find her. Finally a woman comes up to him and mentions "Miss Western." He follows her, and she says Sophia is not at the ball. The masked woman chides Jones for thinking she would help him ruin her cousin. He says he loves Sophia and is prepared to give her up, but simply wishes to see her one more time. The woman, actually Lady Bellaston, now scolds him for speaking of his passion for another, and Tom responds to her flirtation, first as a point of honor, and second, because he thinks she can lead him to Sophia. Tom ends up following her to a house nearby and spending the night. Bellaston promises to bring him to an interview with Sophia in a few days.

Book 13, Chapter 8

The next day Tom asks Partridge to change a £50 banknote, which is a present from Lady Bellaston. While dining with the Miller family, Tom learns Mrs. Miller has gone to visit a poor cousin in the most wretched state of poverty. Tom is so moved he talks to her privately, giving her his £50 and telling her to take as much as she thinks is proper to her cousin. Mrs. Miller agrees to take 10 guineas and gives him back the rest.

Analysis

Tom is staying with an old friend of Mr. Allworthy's. Tom happens to know Mrs. Miller's boarding house is where his benefactor stays whenever he goes to London. Mrs. Miller runs a boarding house and also lives there with her two daughters. Jack Nightingale is also a boarder, and the footman likely said something snide about Nancy, who is having an affair with Jack, although that doesn't come to light until later. Mrs. Miller likes Tom immediately because he is an agreeable man. At present she doesn't know about his connection to Mr. Allworthy.

After the conversation that takes place between Mrs. Fitzpatrick, Lady Bellaston, and the Irish peer in Book 12, Chapter 4, Harriet moves her lodgings because the peer is jealous and doesn't want her to have anything to do with the handsome young man. The narrator archly notes "the noble peer had from some reason or other, perhaps from a regard for the lady's honour, insisted that she should not see Mr. Jones, whom he look on as a scrub." But Lady Bellaston has her eye on a new conquest, which is why she invites Tom to the masquerade. While Jones had no thought in his head of getting involved with another woman, "he held it as much incumbent on him to accept a challenge to love, as if it had been a challenge to fight," the narrator says. Thus in Book 13, Chapter 7 he follows her chair out, which is a sedan chair that fashionable people were carried in throughout London during the 18th century. Bellaston doesn't take him back to her own house but to a house she uses for her trysts with men. At the end of their sexual encounter she gives him money, a good part of which Tom immediately distributes to Mrs. Miller, showing what little interest Tom has in accumulating money and how generous a heart he has when he sees other people in distress.

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