Tom Jones: Book 13 - Summary & Analysis

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Tom is on the look out for Sophia in London; Tom is seduced by Lady Bellaston; Tom finally meets Sophia at Lady Bellaston's place.

Chapter-wise Summary

      Jones and Partridge reached London and stayed in an inn named 'Bull and Gate' in Holborn. Early in the morning, Jones set forth in pursuit of Sophia. At last, he came into the very street where the Lordship's residence was. Jones bribed the footman at the gate and was conducted to the lodging of Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Unluckily, Jones had arrived there only about ten minutes after the departure of Sophia. The waiting woman told Jones that Sophia was gone but she could not tell him where she had gone. At this time, he was not allowed by Mrs. Fitzpatrick to pay a visit to her. In the evening, he again went and was allowed to pay a visit to her. Mrs. Fitzpatrick thought that he was master Blifil; therefore, she strictly denied any knowledge concerning the place where Sophia was gone.

      When Jones had departed, the maid told Mrs. Fitzpatrick that the man was perhaps Jones. Mrs. Fitzpatrick was wonder-struck to hear his name because Sophia had never given the least hint of Jones. But Mrs. Honour had acquainted this maid with the whole story of Jones, which was now, again, related to her mistress, Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

      Mrs. Fitzpatrick agreed with the opinion of the maid that the man was no other than Jones and she decided to keep him away from Sophia. She said "It is but an office of charity to keep her from him, and I am sure it would be unpardonable in me to do otherwise, who have tasted so bitterly of the misfortunes attending such marriages."

      Mrs. Fitzpatrick thought that if she could preserve Sophia from Tom Jones and restore her to her father, her action would certainly please her uncle and aunt whom she had displeased by marrying Mr. Fitzpatrick.

     After much consideration, she went to Lady Bellaston and acquainted her with the whole affair. Mrs. Fitzpatrick suggested that they should inform Squire Western where Sophia was, but Lady Bellaston did not give her consent. She suggested that she might have a look at the gentle man so that she might be in a position to detect him if he tried to lurk about her house in search of Sophia. As Jones was expected to pay a second visit to Mrs. Fitzpatrick the same evening, it was settled that Lady Bellaston should also come to her house to see Jones.

      Jones came to Mrs. Fitzpatrick at five o'clock. Mrs. Fitzpatrick asked Jones what business he had with her cousin. Jones hesitated a short time and, at last, answered that he had a considerable sum of money of hers in his hands, which he desired to deliver to her. He then produced the pocket-book and acquainted Mrs. Fitzpatrick with the contents and with the method in which they came into his hands. As he finished his story, Lady Bellaston also arrived there. She made a very low courtesy to Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Jones. After a short time, Jones went back without receiving any definite information about the whereabouts of Sophia. Lady Bellaston also took leave of Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

      Now, Jones had hired two rooms for himself and Partridge in the house of Mrs. Miller, the widow of a clergyman, in Bond Street. Mrs. Miller had two young daughters; Nancy was the elder daughter while Betty was the younger one. One day, Jones spent the whole day in search of Sophia or rather to secure some information about her. When he returned home with a disappointed heart, he heard a great noise downstairs. He, therefore, immediately ran downstairs. He went directly into the dining room from where the noise was coming. He saw that a young gentleman, Mr. Nightingale by name, was pinned close to the wall by a footman. Miss Nancy cried out, "He will be murdered! He will be murdered, !" Jones, at once, rushed to his help, gave a strong blow to the footman and saved Mr. Nightingale from his clutches. Nightingale, out of gratefulness, invited Jones to drink wine with him. Nancy was the only person present in the house at that moment. She agreed to give company to Jones and Nightingale. In the meanwhile, Mrs. Miller and Betty joined, so that all passed the evening quite merrily.

      Next morning, when Jones was sitting in their company, the maid servant brought a bundle in her hands, which, she said, was delivered by a porter for Mr. Jones. She added that the man immediately went away, saying it required no answer. With the consent of Jones, Ettie Betty opened the bundle; and the contents were found to be a domino, a mask, and a masquerade ticket. As Miss Nancy lifted up the domino, a card dropped from the sleeve in which was written:

To Mr. Jones.
The Queen of Fairies sends you this
Use her favours not amiss.

      Jones was extremely surprised to receive such a strange parcel but Nightingale explained to him the mystery by telling him that some lady must have fallen in love with Jones and therefore sent clear hints to him through the articles in the parcel that he should meet her in the masquerade. Mr. Jones, having now determined to go to the masquerade that evening, Mr. Nightingale offered to conduct him there.

      In the evening, Mr. Nightingale and Mr. Jones went to attend the masquerade. Mr. Nightingale soon left Mr. Jones and walked away with a lady in a mask. Presently, another lady wearing a mask came up to him and whispered the name of Miss Western. Jones entreated her to show him the lady she had just mentioned. The woman walked hastily to the upper end of the innermost apartment followed by Jones. He was convinced that the lady in mask was no other person than Mrs. Fitzpatrick. He, therefore, appealed to her to give him information about the whereabouts of Sophia. She, however, evaded a direct answer to his inquiries. After some time, the lady left the place, followed by Jones. Both of them now came to a very well furnished room. Jones entreated the lady to remove her mask. When she unmasked herself, there stood before him not Mrs. Fitzpatrick, but Lady Bellaston herself.

      Lady Bellaston paid fifty pounds to Jones, with which he returned to his room in the house of Mrs. Miller. Mr. Jones and Mr. Nightingale had been invited to dine this day with Mrs. Miller. At the table, Mrs. Miller related the story of one of her cousins whose family, due to extreme poverty, was starving. Jones felt much concern about the starving family and, being very generous, soon delivered his purse containing £ 50 to Mrs. Miller, and asked her to send as much money off it as she thought proper to these poor people. Mrs. Miller then took only ten guineas out of it.

      Lady Bellaston was much fascinated by the charming personality of Jones. She wanted to entice him to the path of sin. Therefore, pretending to find the whereabouts of Sophia, she invited Jones many a time. She gave Jones financial help. As Jones came into frequent contact with Lady Bellaston and received many obligations from her, he thought that he must make an adequate return to the generous passion of the lady.

     One day, Lady Bellaston sent a letter to Jones asking him to meet her at her residence.

      When Jones had dressed himself to go to Lady Bellaston, Mrs. Miller came with her cousin, for whose help, Jones had given ten guineas. Her cousin, Mr. Anderson, had come to give his sincere thanks. This man was none other than the highwayman who had threatened Jones on his way to London with a pistol to deliver all the money he had with him.

      Mr. Jones came to the residence of Lady Bellaston a bit earlier than the appointed time. He was conducted to the drawing room. Lady Bellaston had not returned from a party. He had not waited many minutes when the door opened and in came no other than Sophia herself. Both of them were extremely surprised to see each other. Sophia was at the point of fainting when Jones supported her in his arms. Jones begged pardon of Sophia for his conduct at the inn at Upton and assured her of his love and fidelity. He gave her the pocket-book and bank note for £ 100. They had hardly reconciled themselves to each other when Lady Bellaston opened the door. She was surprised to find Sophia and Jones there as she had sent Sophia to the theatre. Sophia explained that, being a new play, there was a violent uproar, so she came back earlier. She told Lady Bellaston that the pocket-book, which she had often mentioned, had been found by this gentleman who was so kind to return it to her with the bill in it. So, Lady Bellaston and Jones pretended not to know each other. Sophia and Jones also pretended to behave as strangers—as if they had met each other for the first time. Jones took leave saying, "I believe, madam, it is customary to give some reward on these occasions. I must insist on a very high one for my honesty; it is madam, no less than the honor of being permitted to pay another visit here." His request was readily granted by Lady Bellaston. Upon the stairs, Jones met Mrs. Honour and communicated to her the house where he lodged, with which Sophia was unacquainted.

Critical Analysis

      This book shows the society and life in London. It introduces Lady Bellaston who is very fond of sex. On the pretext of saving Sophia from Tom, she keeps Tom away from Sophia. On the other hand, she seduces Tom. This shows the character of Tom in an unfavorable light. Not only did he have many sexual contacts with Lady Bellaston, but also gifts of money for the purpose. Receipts of compensation from Lady Bellaston, for her sexual satisfaction, is another uninviting trait of Tom's character.

      The irony of Tom's apology to Sophia, for his affair with Mrs. Waters, is quite obvious. She does not know that Tom is guilty of sexual misconduct with her guardian, namely, Lady Bellaston.

      Fielding seems to condone this moral lapse, on the part of Tom, by saying that gallantry was one of the traits of Tom's character. Tom's charity is seen in his giving money to the distressed Anderson family.

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