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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Fifteen

Chapters 7 - 12

Summary

Mrs. Honour goes to meet Tom Jones at Mrs. Miller’s and informs him about what has passed with Sophia. Partridge comes running up to Tom and tells him that Lady Bellaston is coming upstairs. Tom hides Mrs. Honour and she overhears and sees everything that passes between Tom and Lady Bellaston. Tom is in an awkward position. Just then, Nightingale walks in drunk. This is a welcome diversion for Tom. Lady Bellaston tries to hide but finds that Mrs. Honour is hiding in that place Lady Bellaston leaves.

Mrs. Honour reprimands Tom for having been unfaithful to her mistress Sophia but Tom manages to bribe her into secrecy. Tom performs the office of a father to Miss Nancy in her wedding to Mr. Nightingale. It is related how the young Nightingale had escaped from his Uncle’s clutches, the previous night. The Uncle’s daughter herself had run away and on hearing this news, the uncle had left too.

Mr. Nightingale and Nancy are married at Doctors’ Commons. Tom receives three letters from Lady Bellaston. He talks to Nightingale about the Lady and the latter reveals her disreputable character to him. Nightingale advises Tom to get rid of this Lady by proposing marriage to her. Tom takes his advice and proposes to her through a letter. Lady Bellaston is surprised and condemns him for this. Tom thinks that the Lady is now through with him and is pleased. Nightingale and Tom join Mrs. Miller for dinner.

Mrs. Miller receives a letter informing her that Squire Allworthy and Blifil would be coming to town and would like to stay at her lodging. Mrs. Miller is in a tight spot now. But, Tom relieves her worry by saying that he will be leaving along with Mr. & Mrs. Nightingale. They will together stay at another lodging nearby.

Tom is worried about Sophia. He is supposed to receive information about her through Mrs. Honour. Mrs. Honour writes a letter to Tom. Tom is surprised to learn that Mrs. Honour has now been employed by Lady Bellaston.

Anabella Hunt, a lady who had seen Tom Jones at a lodge, proposes marriage to him through a letter. Tom replies back saying that his affections are already otherwise engaged. Partridge comes to Tom with good news. He has news of Sophia. He had met Black George and learns that he is alongwith Squire Western, in his retinue of servants. It is decided that Black George will be made to deliver letters to Sophia. This is because George claims to be Tom’s friend still and wishes to help him.


Notes

Mrs. Honour is in a problematic situation. She no longer enjoys the favor of Squire Western and she is not allowed to serve Sophia. In this anxious state of mind she comes to inform Tom, what had been happening with Sophia. When Mrs. Honour comes to meet Tom, a classic case of hide and seek takes place. Lady Bellaston too comes to meet Tom and Tom does not display presence of mind. In his confusion he hides Mrs. Honour, when Lady Bellaston enters the room. It would have been better for Tom to have let Lady Bellaston and Mrs. Honour meet than letting Mrs. Honour see Lady Bellaston speak endearments to Tom. Tom is in a tricky spot-he cannot respond to Lady Bellaston’s overtures as Mrs. Honour is there in the room too. Just then a drunk Nightingale too enters the room. So the situation is akin to one in a Comedy of Manners play.

On seeing Nightingale, Lady Bellaston tries to hide in Mrs. Honour’s place and discovers the old maid. The situation is truly funny. Lady Bellaston handles herself well though and is civil to Mrs. Honour.

Mrs. Honour is shocked by Tom’s unfaithfulness to Sophia and reprimands him. He for that matter bribes Mrs. Honour into keeping quiet about the affair. Tom’s history is quite murky, unlike Sophia’s spotless reputation.

Apart from Tom-Sophia’s love theme, there are other sub Themes in the novel. One such sub theme is Mrs. Miller’s family. Her daughter Nancy is married to Tom’s friend, Nightingale, with Tom’s help. Tom is the kind, who helps others by his largeheartedness.

The main theme of Tom-Sophia is interpolated with other affairs, such as that of Mr. Nightingale. The young Nightingale escapes from the older one, because the latter’s daughter runs away. We often see in life that those who preach against something have exactly the same unfortunate thing happening to them. This is true in the Mr. Nightingale’s case, i.e. the younger Nightingale’s Uncle.

Lady Bellaston’s letters to Tom are passionate and she seems quite desperate for him. She keeps asking him to ‘come to her’. Nightingale advises Tom to keep a distance from Lady Bellaston as she has a very bad reputation. He suggests that Tom can do this by proposing marriage to the Lady. Ladies such as Lady Bellaston would flee such a serious alliance. Nightingale is right about Lady Bellaston. She does shy away from marriage. But at the same time she is so attracted to Tom that she woes him again later.

Tom solves Mrs. Miller’s small problems for her. He agrees to leave her lodging alongwith the newly married couple so that Mrs. Miller can give that place to Squire Allworthy and Blifil. Tom wins Mrs. Miler’s heart by these kind gestures. We later see how Mrs. Miller’s friendship helps Tom in his time of trouble.

Tom is worried about Sophia. Partridge gets him good news. Black George would like to help his friend Tom and he can do so as he has access to the Western family. There is some humor in this part. Partridge’s reference to himself being ‘cunning’ is funny. The word ‘cunning’ is then repeatedly used by Tom too. This makes for interesting reading.

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