Tom Jones: Book 9 - Summary & Analysis

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Tom saves Mrs. Waters from Northerton; Tom and Mrs. Waters are ill-treated at the Upton Inn; Mrs. Waters seduces Tom.

Chapter-wise Summary

      Jones and the Man of the Hill walked to that part of the hill which looked to the north-west. As soon as they arrived there, they heard the most violent screams of a woman, proceeding from the woods below them. Jones listened to it for a moment and then, without saying a word to his companion, ran down the hill and made directly to the thicket whence the sound had issued. He beheld a very shocking sight. A woman stripped half-naked, was being dragged up to a tree by a ruffian with a garter round her neck. Jones asked no question but fell instantly upon the villain and made such good use of his trusty oaken stick that he laid him sprawling on the ground. The poor woman fell on her knees to Jones and gave him a thousand thanks for deliverance. She said "Nay, I could almost conceive you to be some good angel than a man, in my eye." Jones bound both the hands of the ruffian behind him. Looking closely, Jones found that the villain was no other than Ensign Northerton with whom he had had a fight at a previous inn. As the woman was half-naked, Jones came out of the woods to his friend to know if he could direct him to procure some clothes. The old man advised him to carry the woman to Upton, the nearest town. Jones requested the Man of the Hill to send Partridge also to Upton and went back to the wood. On his return, he found that Northerton had escaped and the woman was standing alone.

      Mr. Jones and the woman entered the town and went directly to the inn, which presented the fairest appearance. Jones placed the lady in a room and went to see the landlady for getting some clothes for her. The landlady had a very unfavorable opinion about his regard for his companion. When Jones requested her for a gown, she fell upon him with a broomstick and gave him several blows. In the meantime, the landlord also arrived and began to hurl abusive remarks about the-companion of Jones. This infuriated Jones and he gave him a severe blow with his cudgel. The landlord and landlady both fell upon Jones. Partridge also arrived at this juncture, and the lady too came to join Tom Jones. On the other side, Susan, the maid servant, rushed and joined the battle in support of the landlord and landlady. This hattie abruptly came to an end with the sudden arrival of a coach. The landlord and landlady rushed out to receive the guests.

      The sergeant with some soldiers entered the inn and sat before the kitchen fire. When the sergeant had a look at the woman, he recognized her and asked her if she was not Captain Water's lady. The lady also recognized the sergeant. She explained to the sergeant how an accident had happened to her and she was highly obliged to Jones who had saved her. When the landlady heard this, she realized that she had committed a blunder. She begged pardon from Mrs. Waters and the landlord from Jones for their rude behavior. Now, the landlady provided Mrs. Waters with the best clothes that she had in her possession.

      In the evening when Mrs. Waters and Jones were together at the dinner table, Mrs. Waters used her weapons to captivate the heart of Mr. Jones. She succeeded in subduing the heart of our hero by her smiling looks and charming manners.

Critical Analysis

      Tom's rescue of Mrs. Waters shows the essential goodness of his character. While the Man of the Hill turns a deaf ear to the cries of Mrs. Waters, Tom, at grave risk to his life, saves the lady from the clutches of Ensign Northerton. Fielding shows the cavalier side of Tom when he enjoys Mrs. Waters's charm at the inn. This is Tom's second affair. The comic side of the story is seen in Tom's quarrel with the landlady of the inn and his seduction by Mrs. Waters.

      A strange tiling is that Sophia arrives at the inn but does not see Tom. The main interest of the book lies in the mock-heroic battle which Fielding calls the battle of Upton. There are soldiers of both sexes. The weapons used are tongues and broomsticks, cudgels and fists. On the other hand, there is another mock-heroic battle which is of an amorous kind. Tom is the victim of the attack of Mrs. Waters, but being weak on the sexual side he surrenders for his own enjoyment.

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