Tom Jones: Book 10 - Summary & Analysis

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Mr. Fitzpatrick comes to Upton Inn to search for his wife; Sophia and Mrs. Honour arrive at the same inn; Sophia learns of Tom's affair with Mrs. Waters, and leaves in disgust; Squire Western arrives at the inn.

Chapter-wise Summary

      It was midnight. All had gone to sleep except Susan who was working in the kitchen. An Irish gentleman alighted from his horse. He asked Susan in a very abrupt and confused manner whether there was any lady in the house. He begged her to give true information as he had lost his wife and had come in pursuit of her. Susan thought that the newly arrived Mrs. Waters was the lady he wanted and, as she had been bribed enough, she conducted the gentleman to the bedchamber of Mrs. Waters. Finding the door locked from inside, the gentleman knocked with such violence that the lock gave way and the door burst open and he fell headlong into the room. Tom Jones sprang up from the bed and, in a threatening voice, demanded what he meant by daring to burst into his chamber in that manner. The gentleman noticed a few articles like gowns and petticoats lying on the floor and was convinced that his wife was there in the bed. He endeavored to approach the bed when Jones interposed, and both soon proceeded to blows. Mrs. Waters screamed very loudly. Her loud shrieks drew the attention of another Irish gentleman who was in the next chamber. He rushed into the chamber and the two Irish gentlemen recognized each other. Mr. Fitzpatrick said that his wife was in the bed, but Mr. Maclachlan, the other gentleman, assured him that the lady in the bed was certainly not the same. Fitzpatrick now had a clearer glimpse of the lady and realized his great blunder. Mr. Maclachlan said to Fitzpatrick that he must be ashamed of disturbing the people at that time of night Jones was so confounded with his fears for the lady's reputation that he neither said nor did anything, but the lady cried, "I know not what you mean, villains! I am wife to none of you: Help ! Rape ! Murder! Rape !" By now the landlady was aroused by the noise. She came there and asked the reason for all the commotion in the: lady's room. Fitzpatrick said that he had committed a mistake. He asked, for pardon and then retired with his countryman. Jones explained that upon hearing the door broken open, he came to the room to give her assistance. He, too, left the roam after assuring the lady of his concern for her safety. The landlady also went away, leaving Mrs. Waters to her repose for the remainder of the night.

      The landlady remembered that Susan was out of bed when the door was burst open, and she asked her the cause of disturbance. Susan related the whole story to her and said that she had seen Tom Jones leaping out from the bed of Mrs. Waters. The landlady would not believe it. She rebuked Susan for saying such words. In the meantime, there arrived two young women. One of them was very richly dressed. They were Sophia and her maid, Mrs. Honour.

      When Sophia had gone to bed, Mrs. Honour returned to the kitchen. There she met Partridge, from whom she came to know that Tom Jones was, at this time, in the same inn. Mrs. Honour soon hastened to Sophia to communicate the news.

      When Mrs. Honour told her that Jones was there in the same inn, she was so wonder-struck that she said: "Mr. Jones! It is impossible; I cannot be so fortunate." She was so excited that she wanted to see Jones immediately. Mrs. Honour then approached the landlady. She refused to arouse Mr. Jones but she referred her to Partridge who was the Squire’s friend. Partridge said that he would not disturb his friend at that time of night. When Mrs. Honour insisted, as he was perhaps drunk, he remarked: "One woman is enough at once for a reasonable man".

      Mrs. Honour was so outraged that she proceeded to inform her mistress plainly that Jones was in bed with a wench. Sophia would not believe this, but Susan, the maidservant at the inn, soon arrived with the sack-carrier. Sophia bribed her with two guineas and asked if the young gentleman (Jones) was then in bed with a lady. Susan told her the whole story. She also stole softly to the bedroom of the gentleman, according to Sophia's desire and returned with the information that the gentleman was not in his own bedroom. Susan also related to her what Partridge said—that a young lady by the name of Madam Sophia Western, was dying for love of the young Squire, who was going to the wars to get rid of her. Sophia gave her a third guinea asking her not to mention to anyone what had passed and who she was. Susan was dismissed and then Sophia burst into a violent flood of tears. After a short interval, a very extraordinary thought suggested itself to Sophia, by which Mr. Jones would be acquainted with her having been at the inn. The muff which had already been once remembered in this history had, ever since the departure of Mr. Jones, been the constant companion of Sophia. She took off this muff and having written her name with a pencil upon a piece of paper, which she pinned to it, she bribed the maid to convey it into the empty bed of Mr. Jones. Then having paid the bill, she mounted her horse and continued her journey.

      Next day, Jones found the muff in his room. At the same instant, he saw and read the words 'Sophia Western' upon the paper which was pinned to it. On being asked, Partridge told him that he had seen this muff upon the arm of one of the women who would have disturbed him if he had not checked them. Now Jones was sufficiently assured that the bearer of this muff was no other than the lovely Sophia herself. The thought that Sophia came to the inn and went away without being able to see him, made him almost mad and distracted with anger and grief and shame.

      In the meantime Squire Western, with his many attendants, arrived at the inn. He had come in pursuit of his, daughter, and had he fortunately been two hours earlier, he would have found her. As soon as he saw Jones at the inn, he laid hold of him and pried: "We have got the dog fox, I warrant the bitch is not far off." Jones, having shaken Mr. Western off, protested his innocence as to knowing anything of the lady. Mr. Western searched the whole house but all in vain. He cursed everyone when he came to know that his daughter had been there a few hours ago. He soon departed in pursuit of his daughter. Jones also, with his friend Partridge, set forward in quest of his lovely Sophia. Mrs. Waters too set out in company of the two Irish gentlemen, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Maclachlan, who were going to Bath.

Critical Analysis

      Upton Inn becomes the central place for bringing together a number of characters. At midnight Mr. Fitzpatrick disturbs Mrs. Waters who is in bed with Tom, thinking that the lady is Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Mrs. Waters pretends that Mr. Fitzpatrick attacked her and Tom rushed in to protect her. So, the episode ends as a comedy of errors. Upto this time, Sophia has been following Tom. But hereafter Tom will follow Sophia. Sophia leaves her muff in Tom's bed. Tom realizes that Sophia knows about his disloyalty. However, Squire Western wrongly believes, on seeing Sophia's muff with Tom that Sophia still loves Tom. Tom is accused of stealing Sophia's muff and a mock-heroic trial in the court of justice is held.

      Sophia realized the bitter truth that Tom is very lax in the matters of sex. On the other hand, Tom feels guilty and seeks to make amends for his misconduct He will seek Sophia to explain his conduct because he feels that Sophia still has a soft corner for him.

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