Tom Jones

Summary

Book X

Summary Book X

Chapter VII

Squire Western has arrived in pursuit of his daughter. The kitchen is filled with confusion as Western asks for Sophia and Fitzpatrick searches for his wife, who is also Western's niece. Tom enters holding Sophia's muff. Western attacks Tom and Parson Supple, who has accompanied Western, points out that Tom has Sophia's muff. Western charges the house and bursts into Mrs. Waters's room. Fitzpatrick argues that the stolen muff represents a felony, and a "trial" ensues. Tom's witnesses are Susan and Partridge, and he is acquitted. Western departs to follow Sophia, as do Tom and Partridge.

Chapter VIII

The narrator retraces his steps to the morning after Sophia made her escape. A serving-man, sent to summon Sophia to meet Blifil, returns to say that Sophia cannot be found. Mrs. Western launches into a grand speech in which she blames her brother for Sophia's disappearance. She says that English women are not to be bullied in such a way.

Chapter IX

The night before these events, Sophia courageously escapes at midnight. She meets Mrs. Honour at their prearranged place of rendezvous, a town five miles away. Honour wishes to head straight for London, but Sophia, hearing from her guide that Tom journeyed to Bristol, pays the guide to take her there. In Hambrook, Sophia and Honour meet Mrs. Whitefield, who tells them how much Jones has spoken about Sophia. Honour wrathfully calls Tom a "saucy Fellow." Mrs. Whitefield advises Sophia not to chase any man, but the narrator says he can forgive her due to her tumultuous state of mind, which is torn between her duty to her father, her hatred of Blifil, and her love for Tom. En route to London, Sophia and Honour happen to rest at the Inn at Upton, where the uproar of Chapter V occurs. Western has been able to track down his daughter by following Tom's trail, which Partridge has made as public as possible by announcing Tom to everyone he meets.

Analysis

Book X witnesses the converging of most of the main characters at the inn at Upton as the raucous comedy of errors unravels. This book brings Tom, Sophia, Mrs. Waters, Fitzpatrick, and Western into the same physical space without having them congregate at the same time.

It is notable that Fielding leaves Sophia and Honour unnamed at first—they are simply a "young lady and her maid," and this delay suggests that we should judge characters not by their names and titles, but by their disposition. The landlady in Chapter II of Book XI, for example, assumes that Sophia is not a gentlewoman since she is courteous to the servants but this precisely one of the values Fielding is trying to promote in Tom Jones.

Sophia is not as concerned with the fact that Tom is sleeping with other women as she is with the fact that he is misusing her name. Reputation determines social standing at this time. Fielding shows how much freer women like Mrs. Waters are with their bodies than they are with their reputations. Fielding does not criticize Mrs. Waters, however, and when she embellishes the comedy of the scene in which Fitzpatrick barges in on her and Jones, she is to be admired for her ingenuity rather than criticized for her lack of chastity.