The narrator distinguishes his genre as that of the "Marvellous" but not "Incredible." Writers should confine themselves not only to possibility, but to probability, and should not invoke the aid of "supernatural Agents" as Homer unfortunately did. "Man" is the highest subject and writing should not be sullied by the inventions of "Elves and Fairies, and other such Mummery."
The landlady visits Tom Jones, thinking he is a gentleman, and asks him why a decent man like himself is spending time with army ruffians. She mentions that Sophia has "lain" in her house many a time. Enraptured, Tom tells her his story. He shakes out his purse to indicate the reason he has joined the army—he has no money. As soon as the landlady perceives this, she snubs Tom.
In fact, the landlady knows nothing of Sophia, and is only repeating what she overheard the Lieutenant saying. Tom injures his head in a fight with Broadbrim, and a surgeon arrives to bleed his head. The landlady warns the surgeon that Tom has no money with which to pay him for his services, and the doctor leaves in a rage.
Refreshed from sleep, Tom rises with an appetite. He manages to win back the landlady's affection with his sweet-natured temper. A barber by the name of little Benjamin comes to shave him. Warming to the barber's sense of humor, Tom invites him to share a drink with him. Freshly dressed and shaven, Tom wins the love of Nanny, the chambermaid, who is pretty and coy. In Tom's absence, however, the landlady tells the barber and company a contorted story about Tom's past. The barber says he has heard that Tom is the son of Allworthy. The landlady asks why Tom does not then go by his father's name.
The conversation of the previous chapter occurs while Tom eats his dinner. Eventually the barber arrives to drink with Tom, and tells Tom he has heard from many people about Tom's kind deeds to Black George. These deeds, says the barber, have made Tom "beloved by every body." Jones tells the Barber his "whole History." The narrator warns that a man's recounting of his own story differs greatly from his enemy's depiction of the same events. The barber desires to hear the name of Tom's beloved. Tom decides to tell him, since Sophia's name has already been made public.
Little Benjamin reveals to Tom that he is in fact the very Partridge with whom Jenny Jones was reported to have had an affair. Partridge assures Tom, however, that he is not his father. He has nevertheless loved Tom Jones ever since he heard about his kind treatment of Black George. He asks Tom to make amends for the misfortune Tom's existence has caused him. Tom agrees to this, but admits that he can do nothing at present since he is penniless. Partridge says that, since he is presently wealthier, he will share everything he has with Tom. Satisfied with each other's company, Tom and Partridge set off for war together.