Literature Study GuidesTom JonesBook 18 Chapters 5 8 Summary

Tom Jones | Study Guide

Henry Fielding

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Tom Jones Study Guide." Course Hero. 9 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Jan. 2019. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, February 9). Tom Jones Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 16, 2019, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Tom Jones Study Guide." February 9, 2017. Accessed January 16, 2019.


Course Hero, "Tom Jones Study Guide," February 9, 2017, accessed January 16, 2019,

Tom Jones | Book 18, Chapters 5–8 : Containing about Six Days. | Summary



Book 18, Chapter 5

Mrs. Miller tells Mr. Allworthy the so-called witnesses against Jones were employed by Lord Fellamar and were about to abduct him for service on a ship. He also learns these rogues were questioned by Lawyer Dowling. Mr. Allworthy now calls for Blifil who admits he sent Dowling, but only to soften their evidence against Tom.

Mr. Allworthy asks Mrs. Miller to accompany him on a visit to Tom, but then Partridge arrives with the bad news about Tom sleeping with his mother, and Mrs. Miller makes an excuse to delay the visit. Mr. Allworthy recognizes Tom's servant as Mr. Partridge, and they sit down for a private conversation.

Book 18, Chapter 6

Partridge denies being Tom's father yet again and relates his history from the time he was banished. He says Tom has recently learned he slept with his mother since Mrs. Waters is Jenny Jones. Mrs. Waters now arrives at Mrs. Miller's, greets Mr. Allworthy, and asks to speak with him in private.

Book 18, Chapter 7

Mrs. Waters/Jenny Jones tells Mr. Allworthy that Tom is the son of a clergyman named Summer whom he supported at university and who then lived at Paradise Hall for a year until he died of smallpox. The mother is Allworthy's own sister, Bridget Allworthy. Jenny and her mother conspired with Bridget to hide the pregnancy, and Jenny was well paid for taking the blame for the foundling. Bridget had intended to tell her brother the truth but never got the chance. Mrs. Waters now takes Mr. Allworthy to task for hiring a lawyer to prosecute an innocent Tom Jones. Specifically, Dowling approached Mrs. Waters thinking she was Fitzpatrick's wife and offered her money to prosecute him in the event her husband died.

Book 18, Chapter 8

Western comes on the scene and interrupts them, yelling because he found Tom's letter in Sophia's pocket. After he leaves Jenny tells her own story: she was betrayed and abandoned by her first love and then became the common-law wife of Mr. Waters, although she glosses over her other affairs.

The conversation is again interrupted, this time by the arrival of Mr. Dowling who reports Black George cannot be prosecuted for his crime. (Mr. Allworthy had assigned Dowling the task of looking into the matter.) Mr. Allworthy questions him in front of Jenny, and he admits he was sent by Blifil on the errand to Mrs. Waters. He admits to questioning the two witnesses to Tom's attack, but only to make sure the other side hadn't tried to taint them. Dowling also tells Mr. Allworthy he brought a letter to him at the time Bridget died but gave it to Blifil since Mr. Allworthy was so sick. Blifil later claimed Mr. Allworthy had decided to conceal the fact of Tom's origin out of regard for his sister.

When Mrs. Miller comes in Mr. Allworthy tells her Tom is his true nephew and the brother of the "wicked viper which I have so long nourished in my bosom." Mr. Allworthy tells Blifil to find the letter his mother sent on her deathbed.


Tom's vindication continues, as Mr. Allworthy learns the remainder of Blifil's misdeeds. He has been playing a part with his uncle for a long time, and he concealed the truth about Tom's birth out of greed and envy. More than anything Blifil worships money, and when Mr. Allworthy thought himself to be dying he told everyone his nephew would inherit his estate. The news that Jones is also his nephew was something Blifil wanted to keep secret in case Mr. Allworthy decided to reverse his original intentions of making him the heir to the property. What is more, Blifil has been spiteful, greedy, and hypocritical from a young age, and no doubt he was jealous of a brother who was favored by everyone.

Why Bridget does not marry Tom's father remains a mystery, as well as why she decided to keep the secret so long. Perhaps she began having an affair with the clergyman's son shortly before he got smallpox and died. Perhaps afterward she was too ashamed to tell her brother—so honest and upright and entirely in possession of his physical urges, and so unlike herself. The reader now understands why she pretended to dislike her brother's disposition of Tom and acted as if she did not love the little foundling. The reader now knows she loved Tom as a handsome and gallant teenager because he was her son and a lot easier to love than the dour Blifil.

Particularly noteworthy is the result of the investigation of Black George's pocketing of Tom's money. The Black Act, which was a law that often served disproportionate and unjust punishments for crimes of poaching, cannot be used to punish George—who committed an act that was criminal in the moral sense. There is situational irony here, in which something is contrary to what is expected, because the Black Act often punished people whose actions were not criminal in the moral sense—for example, poaching a hare on someone's land to feed a family.

Mr. Allworthy is left to reconsider his entire worldview at the end of these chapters. He must take responsibility for unjustly punishing Partridge, whose life was partially ruined by his judgment. His misjudgment of his two nephews has almost led to the destruction of one and perhaps ruined the other, if there was any chance to make Blifil a decent human being. Like Tom Mr. Allworthy has exhibited a lack of prudence and now has to pay for the consequences of those errors of judgment. While Tom has been punished by the world, Mr. Allworthy is punished by his conscience.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Tom Jones? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!