The narrator likens critics to reptiles and tells the reader not to judge the work too soon. The reader should not mind if he finds characters too similar. It is natural for characters—like humans—to be akin in many aspects. In fact, there is more refinement in the critic who can distinguish between more closely aligned characters.
An Irish Gentleman, Mr. Fitzpatrick, arrives at the inn that night looking for his wife. The maid leads him to Mrs. Waters's room. Fitzpatrick breaks down the door and Tom leaps out of bed. The man apologizes for making a mistake, but then sees the room strewn with women's clothing and attacks Tom. Another Irishman, Mr. Macklachlan, who knows Fitzpatrick, runs in and points out that the woman is not Fitzpatrick's wife. The landlady arrives and Mrs. Waters accuses all three men of breaking into her room to violate and kill her. Fitzpatrick asks pardon for his mistake and leaves. Tom tells the landlady that he was trying to save Mrs. Waters.
A brief history of Mr. Fitzpatrick is given. He married for money and spent his wife's fortune, then treated her so badly that she ran away from him. A post-boy arrives at the inn with a young lady and her maid. The lady very politely asks if she may retire for a couple of hours. Her manners are magnificent, and she does not want any one to be disturbed. The landlady tells the maid Susan to light a fire in the Rose room. Once the lady and her maid leave, the company falls to praising the beauty of the lady's face, dress, and manners.
Mrs. Abigail, the young lady's maid, demands a hearty feast. She does not act with the gentility of her mistress, but greedily occupies most of the space before the fire. She asks the landlady whether it is true that her house is filled with "People of great Quality." The landlady cites the young squire Allworthy as an example. Mrs. Abigail expresses great surprise, saying that she knows the squire Allworthy very well, and he has no sons. Partridge says the young man is not generally acknowledged to be the Squire's son, but that he is most certainly the Squire's heir, and that his name is Jones. Mrs. Abigail drops her bacon and hurries to tell her mistress.
The young lady eulogized in the previous chapter is Sophia Western herself, and the so-called Mrs. Abigail is Mrs. Honour. Honour scurries to tell Sophia that Tom is in the house. Sophia sends Honour to request Tom's presence, but Partridge, who is tired and drunk, tells Honour that Tom is in bed with a "wench." Sophia bribes the maid Susan to see whether Tom is in his own bed, and Susan discovers that he is not. She tells Sophia that Partridge has told everyone that Sophia is madly in love with Tom, who is heading to fight in the wars to escape her. In tears, Sophia tells Honour it is now easy for her to leave. She can forgive Tom's behavior with the wench, but not his misusing her name. Sophia leaves her muff with her name on a piece of paper pinned to it in Tom's bed as "some Punishment for his Faults."
Partridge tells Tom he would rather not fight in the rebellion, but that if they must, Tom should at least let him steal horses so they do not have to walk. They argue and Partridge lets slip that the previous night he had to bar two women from getting to Tom. He points out that one of the ladies has left her muff on Tom's floor. Frantically, Tom demands to know where the women have left for and orders the horses. Maclachlan suggests that the lady who arrived the previous night might have been Fitzpatrick's wife, who he has yet to find. A gentleman enters the kitchen just as Fitzpatrick is returning.