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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Seven

Chapter 9 - 15

Summary

Lady Western has the Squire remove Mrs. Honour from service in the house. Both, Sophia & Mrs. Honour act their respective parts well. Mrs. Honour's having to leave the house is in consonance with their own plans. Sophia once again considers whether she should hurt her father by leaving the house but thoughts of Tom drive her to flee.

In the meanwhile Jones travels towards Bristol but loses his way. Jones puts up in a public house for a night. Tom meets an honest Quaker, with whom he converses. The Quaker suspects that Tom is mad, while their landlord does not treat Tom with respect. He learns from Tom's guide the history of Tom's birth. The landlord watches Tom at night. A company of soldiers arrives in the house and they later argue about the money each soldier should pay. Tom offers to pay the whole reckoning. The soldiers and the commanding officer now become friends of Tom. Tom walks on with this group of soldiers. He says that he is zealously attached to the glorious cause for which the soldiers were going to fight. He offers to be a volunteer.

Little more is written about the lieutenant who commanded the party. One night, after dinner, Jones gets into an argument with one Ensign Northerton. Northerton insults Sophia and this greatly angers Tom Jones. A bottle hits Tomís head and he falls down with a bleeding head. Northerton, the offender is captured.

The landlady tries to nurse Tom's wound and soon the surgeon arrives too. The lieutenant defends Tom to the landlady. The surgeon says that Tom will take some time to recover. The lieutenant visits the convalescing Tom. Tom is eager to sort out issues and settle scores with Northerton. Though Tom is not well, he manages to buy a sword from a sergeant. One night he goes in search of Ensign Northerton, to take revenge on him.

Scared at the ghostly and bandaged appearance of Tom, the sentry on duty falls in a faint. When Tom goes inside the room he finds that Ensign Northerton has already escaped. Later the sentry on duty is charged with misconduct for letting Northerton escape and is arrested himself. We learn that the landlady had helped Ensign Northerton to escape.

Tom starts ringing the service bell and calls for the good lieutenant. He tells the lieutenant that the sentry is not to be blamed and that he should be forgiven. Tom does not believe that the sentry allowed Ensign Northerton to escape.


Notes

Sophia may be simple but at the same time she can defend her own interests. She acts well while Mrs. Honour is being thrown out of their house. Inwardly, she is pleased as now Mrs. Honour can leave with her belongings and without raising any suspicions.

Sophia is soft hearted too. When her father is kind to her she repents having to hurt him. She even toys with the idea of sacrificing herself for her father's wishes. But, love overrules eventually and she decides that she must flee from her fatherís house.

Now, we meet Tom and accompany him on his adventures. Beginning in this book, there are a series of adventures that take place on the highway. Tom puts up in a public house. He is looked at suspiciously here. News of him being a foundling travels fast and the landlord suspects that Tom might not be able to pay his bills. So, he keeps a watch over Tom and does not even give him a room to stay in.

But, Tomís generosity of spirit wins him well wishers and friends every where. The Quaker pleads for Tomís cause to the landlord. Tom generously agrees to pay the bill of a group of arguing soldiers, who become his friends.

Tom is spontaneous and responds to situations emotionally. Being with the soldiers, he is enthused to join them in their 'glorious cause.' He decides to become a volunteer with them.

The group of soldiers and their commander is described. Fielding's novel is a minor epic in the way it includes a wide variety of other minor characters. The lieutenant of this group of soldiers is described as a good man.

One night, Tom and one of the soldiers get into an argument. Theirs is an ego clash and the soldier who fights with Tom is a petty man. Tom is even more angered when his love, Sophia is insulted. We see that women are often the cause for fights amongst men.

Northerton hits Tom's head with a bottle and the latter is injured badly. Our poor hero is not going through very good times. He is going through a bad phase. The lieutenant is kind to Tom, while he is convalescing in the public house.

Tom is such a self-respecting man that despite his injured condition, he hungers to get even with Ensign Northerton. He makes quite a ghastly spectacle with his sword in hand and the sentry guarding the Ensign is frightened. Tom finds that Northerton has already escaped. The sentry is held to blame for the escape, but in reality, the landlady had helped Northerton to get away.

Tom exhibits his humane spirit yet again. He calls the lieutenant and tells him that the sentry had not helped the Ensign to escape.

Most of the chapters here are devoted to Tom's adventures. The poor young man is now lying terribly wounded in a public house. We feel piteous towards him.

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