Literature Study GuidesTom JonesBook 15 Chapters 5 8 Summary

Tom Jones | Study Guide

Henry Fielding

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Tom Jones | Book 15, Chapters 5–8 : In which the History Advances about Two Days. | Summary

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Summary

Book 15, Chapter 5

Sophia is reading a novel by herself in the evening, and Lord Fellamar suddenly comes in. He begins making passionate verbal love to her. Sophia asks him "to desist from a vain pursuit," at which point he grabs her and she begins screaming. Luckily for Sophia her father shows up at this very instant and begins bellowing for her, and Fellamar lets go of her, doing no more violence than kissing her neck.

Lady Bellaston enters the room and pays her compliments to Western. Fellamar steps forward and addresses Sophia's father as a suitor. Western is very rude to him, however, and he leaves offended. Western then insists Sophia leave with him but will not allow Honour to accompany them.

Book 15, Chapter 6

Mrs. Western had gotten a letter from Mrs. Fitzpatrick informing her of Sophia's whereabouts. Brother and sister had fought as usual over the best course of action, and the squire agreed to allow his sister to take the lead since she is the expert on town manners. But once Western got to London he barged into Bellaston's to retrieve his daughter.

Book 15, Chapter 7

The story now resumes at the point when Mrs. Honour brings Tom Jones the news that Sophia has been carted off by her father and she herself has been "turned out of doors." Bellaston arrives at this moment, and this time Tom hides Honour behind the bed. Bellaston speaks romantically to Tom, but he cannot return her compliments because of his hidden guest. An awkward moment is relieved when a drunken Nightingale accidentally bursts into Tom's room and Jones escorts him out. When Tom returns he finds Lady Bellaston has tried to hide in her usual place and found it occupied. Bellaston tells her to come by the house the next day as she wants to make amends to her now she is out of a job. After, Honour berates Tom for being a faithless cad, but she promises to keep his secret and bring him news of Sophia.

Book 15, Chapter 8

The next morning Mrs. Miller gently scolds Tom for his nightly shenanigans, and this time he promises to create no more disturbances. Tom has agreed to stand in as father of the bride for Nancy. Young Nightingale escaped from his uncle the previous night when the man received news that his daughter had eloped with a clergyman. Uncle Nightingale immediately ordered a post chaise (horse and carriage) to return home and left off trying to get his nephew too drunk to attend his own wedding. That morning Nancy Miller and Jack Nightingale marry.

Analysis

Lord Fellamar is stopped from carrying out the rape when Squire Western characteristically bursts into the room without notice. Of course he is completely oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong since Fellamar stood down as soon as he heard the squire. Bellaston pretends to like her cousin, and while she is happy to get rid of Sophia she is not done trying to wreck her life. Squire Western has no use for Fellamar since he is of the aristocratic class, which he associates with King George I and the Hanovers, whom he hates. Even though Western is rich he is a country bumpkin and proud of it—and he wants his daughter to marry someone from the country.

Bellaston is continuing her pursuit of Tom, and in Book 15, Chapter 7 the same scene is played out in Tom's bedroom that occurred in Book 14, Chapter 2, but to even greater comic effect. Honour has lost her job because the squire is angry with her for helping Sophia escape. When Bellaston arrives and Honour hides, and then Jack comes in and Bellaston needs to hide, the two women are in a quandary. Bellaston now fears Honour will tell people what she heard in Tom's room, so she suggests the maid come back to her house and she will give her a job to keep her quiet about Bellaston's habit of chasing Tom.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick has blown the whistle on Sophia for the purpose of ingratiating herself with the Western relatives after she decides to part ways with Bellaston on the best way to handle Sophia. However, she hasn't reckoned with the depths of vindictiveness present in her aunt's heart because Mrs. Western doesn't actually answer the letter and will never forgive her, as becomes apparent in Book 16, Chapter 4.

Jack Nightingale is able to successfully marry Nancy because he was let off the hook by a fortunate turn of events, in which his uncle has to go home to deal with the elopement of his daughter to a man he doesn't approve of—which puts him in the same category as his brother Mr. Nightingale. Thus two Nightingales of the older generation have been defied by their children.

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