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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book 11

Chapters 6 - 10

Summary

The arrival of their dinner interrupts Mrs. Fitzpatrick's narrative. While Sophia can't eat much, Mrs. Fitzpatrick does. The landlord hints that he knows who Sophia is. Sophia is afraid that he might betray her and persuades him not to do so.

The landlord promises that he will not betray Sophia. Just then Mrs. Honour comes running in with the news that the French have arrived and that they shall all be murdered. Sophia is not scared of the French. The landlord thinks that she is in cahoots with the French though she is not. Sophia is now frightened that her identity will be revealed and decides to leave the inn, early next morning.

In the seventh chapter, Mrs. Fitzpatrick concludes her history by telling Sophia how she came about to be in England. In the eighth chapter, Sophia relates her own background but does not mention Tom at all. She tells Harriet that she fled her own house in order to avoid getting married to Blifil. Just when Sophia is concluding her story, Mrs. Honour comes running up loudly. She is outraged on hearing that the landlord thinks that Sophia is the famous mistress Jenny Cameron. Sophia in turn is relieved that the landlord does not have his facts right. After restoring Mrs. Honour's state of mind, Sophia is able to take a breather.


The landlord tells Sophia and Harriet that a gentleman wished to serve on them. This man tuns out to be an Irish gentleman who had been Mrs. Fitzpatrick's neighbor. He meets Sophia and Harriet and the latter tells the former about him.

The ladies get ready to undertake their journey towards London. Sophia finds out that she has lost a hundred-pound bank bill. Sophia, Harriet and their waiting women travel together with the Irish nobleman to London. In the meanwhile, the landlady is pleased with the money that Sophia gives the landlord.

The ladies arrive in London. Mrs. Fitzpatrick refuses to stay in the Irish nobleman's house because his wife is not around. Sophia and Harriet go to another lodging. Sophia suspects that Harriet and the Irish lord are more than mere friends. In the meanwhile Sophia contacts Lady Bellaston, the lady in London whom she knows. She receives a pressing invitation from her and so leaves her cousin to go to the lady's house. Sophia is glad to get away from Harriet's secrets. She finds protection with the lady and is glad of that.

Notes

We see that Sophia has a tender heart for all around her. She is very upset for Lady Fitzpatrick because of the latter's misfortune in marriage. Sophia's sensitivity is questionable sometimes. She comes across as being too sissy. So, while Mrs. Fitzpatrick eats heartily, Sophia is too preoccupied to eat well.

Now a conversation takes place in which both the parties misunderstand each other. Sophia thinks that the landlord has guessed who she is whereas he believes that she is Jenny Cameron. Judging her scared look the landlord believes that Sophia is guilty and that she has guessed that he knows the truth. In reality both are conversing in two completely divergent strains.

Mrs. Honour's entry into Sophia's room is described very dramatically. Fielding has a flair for melodrama. Mrs. Honour is exaggerated in her reactions and is furious at the fact of Sophia being insulted. She learns that the landlord believed Sophia to be Jenny Cameron. Mrs. Honour is loyal to Sophia and we see that she respects her mistress a great deal.

An analogy is made between Mrs. Honour's anger and Nell Gwyn's footman's furiousness at his mistress being insulted. Fielding often resorts to comparisons to enrich his writing. He has all the arts under his command, which make his writing attractive. Mrs Honour's extreme reaction is truly funny.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick concludes her history. Sophia herself is very discreet in her own narration. She does not mention Tom's name at all while stating the reasons of her departure from her home. She is the diametric opposite of Tom. While he is open and indiscreet, she is guarded and secretive.

Sometimes Tom's spontaneity is much more attractive than Sophia's priggishness. Another minor character is introduced. He is a noble Irishman who knows Harriet (Mrs. Fitzpatrick). He comes up to meet Sophia and Harriet as he happened to be in the same inn. We suddenly have a host of Irish characters in the novel.

The ladies journey to England with this lord. Before leaving, the generous Sophia gives a large tip to the landlord. She is indeed a large hearted young lady. The group reaches London. The equation has changed somewhat by now. Harriet and Sophia are not too eager to remain in each other's company. Sophia suspects that Harriet is having an affair with the Irishman. Sophia is prudish and does not hesitate in ticking Harriet off for being wanton. Harriet is equally self-willed and independent and reiterates that she can look after herself well. Thus, Sophia and Harriet go their separate ways. Harriet stays in a London lodge whereas Sophia goes on to join Lady Bellaston.

Sophia's reaching England is a major step. Now the rest of the drama will unfold in London. Sophia had pursued Tom for a part of the journey. Now Tom shall pursue Sophia and will follow her to London.

We are not told much about the lady, who Sophia puts up with. We learn about her later and see how she is not much of a protector to Sophia. Infact, she becomes jealous of this young lady because she herself falls in love with Tom.

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