Tom Jones


Book XII

Summary Book XII

Chapter VII

Although Partridge's pride prevents him answering to the title of "servant," his constant bragging about Tom's superior status leads people to believe that Tom is his master. Indeed, Partridge greatly embellishes Tom's fortune, convinced that Tom is Allworthy's heir. Now Partridge tells the company at the inn that he thinks Tom has gone mad. Some say that Tom should not be allowed to roam the countryside in such a state, as he might cause trouble. Partridge perks up at this idea—he is still keen to induce Tom to return to Allworthy. The landlady cautions that no one should treat Tom with violence, admiring Tom's pretty eyes and modesty in the process. The rest of the company debates how they can prove Tom's insanity to a jury. The landlord enters the kitchen and announces that the rebels are almost in London. The conversation now turns to the rebellion and whether a right descends to a son if a father dies. The landlord fears that the rebel leader Bonnie Prince Charlie will try to convert everyone into Catholics.

Chapter VIII

Jones rescues the Merry Andrew puppeteer from the puppet-master, who is beating him for his misconduct with Grace. Merry Andrew accuses the puppet-master of wanting to violate "one of the prettiest Ladies that was ever seen in the World." Tom perks up at these words and has a private conference with Merry Andrew, who tells him that he saw Sophia ride through the town the day before. Tom and Partridge set out along the route Merry Andrew points out, but a violent rainstorm rises and they have to take shelter in an inn. Here they find the boy who acted as Sophia's guide. Tom does not mention Sophia's name in public—it is Partridge who has been bandying about stories of her.

Chapter IX

Tom manages to get the boy to take them to London by horse. Jones insists on sitting in the side-saddle—usually reserved for ladies—since this is where his beloved Sophia sat. Partridge is delighted that Tom's thoughts are no longer tending towards the rebellion. At three in the morning, Tom is trying to convince the boy to take them to Coventry, when they are interrupted by Dowling, the lawyer from Salisbury with whom Tom dined in Gloucester. Dowling urges Tom to halt for the night, but he will not, even if it means traveling on foot. Tom accepts Dowling's invitation to share a bottle of wine.

Chapter X

Dowling drinks to Allworthy and Blifil. Tom warns him not to confound the names of the best and worst of men, shocking Dowling. Dowling in fact has never met Allworthy, but has only heard reports of his goodness. His opinion of Blifil is based on the boy's "pretty behavior on the news of his mother's death." Tom explains that recently he has realized that Blifil has the "basest and Blackest Designs." He does not elaborate on the details of these designs, however. The narrator reminds the reader that even Tom Jones does not realize how dark these designs in fact are. Tom admits that he is not a relation of Allworthy. Dowling wishes to hear Tom's history. Dowling has much empathy for Tom in spite of his being a lawyer. Tom avows that he has no interest in Allworthy's fortune—he prefers the enjoyments of benevolent thoughts and acts to material goods.

Chapter XI

Tom, Partridge, and the guide boy lose their way. Partridge, who has a wild imagination, is terrified. He thinks a witch has cast a spell on them. When the guide boy and his horse fall over, Partridge's believes his fears are confirmed. Jones helps the guide boy recover while Partridge gripes.

Chapter XII

Tom and Partridge spot a light and, as they approach, notice music and lanterns. Partridge's superstition leads him to think it must be a witches' den. It is in fact an Egyptian gypsy wedding in a barn. The King of the Gypsies welcomes Tom, who has such an "open Countenance and courteous Behaviour" that he makes an astounding first impression on everyone that he meets. Partridge has now relaxed and has been decoyed by a young female gypsy pretending to tell his fortune. The gypsy's husband catches them, and a trial ensues. The husband demands two guineas from Partridge, but the king chastises him for putting a price on the virtue of his wife. The king sentences the man to wear horns and his wife to be called a "whore." The narrator expresses his support for the institution of monarchy.