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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Eight

Chapter 9 - 15

Summary

Jones & Partridge travel at night discussing love, cold, hunger and other matters. According to Partridge, they should turn back and go to Gloucester instead of roaming in the dark. We are here given an understanding of Partridge's mind. He believes that he should hang around with Tom so that he might benefit from him later. He does not know the seriousness of Squire Allworthy's estrangement from Tom.

Partridge & Tom reach the bottom of a hill. Tom wishes to climb up to the summit. Partridge sees a glimmering light and urges Tom towards it. It is a cottage and for some time nobody responds when they knock on the door. An old woman finally appears & Partridge is superstitious enough to believe that she might be a witch. Partridge believes that if a woman lives alone in a forest like this she must be a witch. The old woman lets the two into the house, but then pleads with them to leave the house early. She knows that her master would not like to find them there, on returning home. But, Jones postpones their departure, as he is curious about the man who owns this house.


Suddenly, they hear shouts outside the house. The owner of the house is an old man, who is being attacked by some robbers. Tom rushes to the old man. The latter is surprised to see that a human being had helped him. While the robber runs away, Tom and the old man return to the latter's house. The old man has a strange appearance, which frightens Partridge. The old man thanks Tom profusely for his help. He apologizes to Tom for not having any food or drink in the house to offer him. Tom tells the old man that he can make up to the young man by sharing his own experiences with him. Tom is extremely eager to know this strange man's history. The old man shares some brandy with Partridge and then starts relating his story / background. In chapter eleven to fourteen, the ‘old man of the hill’ relates the story of his life, the adventures he had as well as the misfortunes he faced. The strange old man of the Hill mentions towards the end of Chapter 14 that he had traveled a great deal. Jones requests him to relate his observations made during his travels.

In Chapter 15, the old man talks about the different places in Europe and the myriad kinds of people. Jones thanks the old man for taking the trouble of narrating his life history. Tom and the old man talk for some time, and discuss the workings of fate. When morning dawns, the old man invites Jones for a walk with the sight of some very fine prospects. Meanwhile Partridge falls asleep.

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