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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Twelve

Chapters 1 - 7

Summary

The author confesses that he might have borrowed some material from other authors. But he states that although he might have borrowed from other authors, he will not fail to put his own mark on them. Thereby the work is ready to be restored to the original others.

Squire Western pursues his daughter on the highway accompanied by hounds and followed by the parson. He is distracted by the excellent weather for hunting and when he sees a chase, he joins in. He spends the evening with another Squire and after resting that night resumes the pursuit of his daughter the next morning.

We return to our hero Tom to see what he is upto. He is journeying with Partridge and attacks the latter in a fit of startled passion. Tom is quite frantic without Sophia and decides to join the army if he cannot follow his love. Tom and Partridge converse about sundry things, while on the road.

A beggar approaches the travelling duo. Tom gives this beggar some money and he in turn gives Tom a pocket book that he had found on the road. The pocket book happens to belong to Sophia and even contains the money that she had previously lost. Jones refuses to give this money back to the beggar and states that he will return the money to the owner, who is Sophia.

Tom and Partridge move on and at night while travelling they hear the massive beating of drums. It turns out to be a puppet show at an Inn. The travelers decide to stay at the Inn at night. The master of the show gets into an argument with Tom.

The landlady creates much chaos when she finds her wench with the puppet show’s Merry-Andrew. Her loudness puts an end to the puppet master's harangue. Jones decides to stay in the inn of the night. Partridge tells everybody at the Inn about Jones’s great fortune. The other people at the inn think that Tom is mad. They even consider catching hold of Tom and taking him to a mad house but eventually they give up the idea.


Notes

As usual the first chapter of a new book begins with the author’s comments. The author is quite self-conscious of his own work. He confesses that he might have borrowed some material from others. He rationalizes this confession. He believes that any author's work is distinctive and in that sense the work is restorable to the original owner whenever perceived.

We are now back with Squire Western as he searches for his daughter. He is a man who is naturally accompanied by harshness and bustling. He travels down the highway with many hounds and a desperate looking priest. There is an amazing incident here. While the Parson thinks that the Squire is sad about the loss of his daughter, in reality that is not so. The Squire is more concerned about the fact that he is missing out on excellent weather for hunting. The Squire adores his daughter but can still get distracted from her pursuit by the thought of a challenging hunt. Squire Western joins another Squire in a hunt and forgets all about his daughter. It is interesting to know that a genteel person like Sophia has a loud and dominating father.

Tom’s animal instincts dominate his reactions when he is desperate, he gives into a startling fit, he nearly beats up Partridge and is melodramatic for quite some time. In that sense Tom has yet to grow up into a calm headed man. He is still boyish in his reactions. On the other hand his love Sophia is mature and responsible to an irritating length. Tom and Partridge have very entertaining conversations while they travel like the one they have now. The next incident contrasts the characters of Tom and Partridge. While Partridge keeps quoting the Bible, he does not really follow its precepts. He does not want to help the beggar, who approaches them. Tom teases Partridge and then gives some money to the beggar. Tom’s goodness comes back to him in typical karmic fashion. The happy beggar gives Tom a pocket book that he had found on the road. This book belongs to none other than Sophia herself. Tom starts kissing the book with gusto and behaves in characteristic romantic style. Sometimes, when a 21st century reader reads about Toms and Sophia’s reactions, they are skeptical about such romantic actions and exaggerations.

Tom also finds some money inside the pocket book, we had read in an earlier book that Sophia had lost this money on the highway.

Tom and Partridge now arrive at an inn where there is a puppet show, we see that Tom is an open man who does not hesitate in speaking his mind. He clearly tells the puppet master what he had enjoyed in the show, even thought the rest of the company thinks that Tom's likes are vulgar.

Fielding seems to be a very open author where sexual relations are concerned not only do many affairs occur in the narrative, Fielding creates a believable, promiscuous hero i.e., Tom. Tom might love Sophia but he does naturally get attracted to a lot of other women. These women are usually elder to Tom, more sexually aggressive and always succeed in seducing the hero.

Partridge does Tom much good by praising Tom’s fortune. But the others at the Inn think that Tom is quite mad. Tom is fired and looks a little crazy. He is also very stubborn and as we said before, extremely frank. His frankness is often misunderstood by those around him. Partridge’s behavior at the Inn is questionable. He seems to agree with the others that his master is a lunatic. But Fielding does not develop this strain. He puts an end to it by writing that the inmates of the Inn give up the idea of trying to catch hold of Tom.

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