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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Fourteen

Chapters 6-10

Summary

Tom has an uneasy night and he worries about Sophia, as well as Nancy. The next morning, there is a tremendous hurricane below. Tom learns that Nancy is pregnant with Nightingale's child and that Nightingale has left a farewell letter for her. Also, everyone around knows about it as Nancy openly swooned away on receiving this letter. Mrs. Miller is very worried and Tom decides to do something for the poor lady. He resolves to go and meet Mr. Nightingale.

Tom manages to persuade Nightingale into going back to Nancy. The two men decide that Tom will approach Nightingale's father with the news that his son is already married. They feel that this approach shall work better than requesting the father to allow young Nightingale to marry. Tom goes and meets the elder Mr. Nightingale. After some initial cross talk, Mr. Nightingale is shocked and angry to learn that his son has married some poor lady. He e had fixed his son's match with a rich, young lady even tough she was ugly.

Just then, Mr. Nightingale's brother arrives in the same house. We are told about this brother's reputation and his family. He is more understanding about his nephew's actions. He too tries to plead with the elder Mr. Nightingale on young Nightingale's behalf. But, Nightingale's father is very irritated. Finally, Tom takes the uncle to meet his nephew at Mrs. Miller's house.

When Tom reaches Mrs. Miller's house with Nightingale's uncle, he finds that the situation is much pleasant. The Uncle congratulates the young couple, thinking that they are already married. After a few merry hours, Nightingale takes his Uncle aside to another room. The Uncle learns that young Nightingale is not yet married to Nancy. On perceiving this, he thinks that his nephew is under no strain to marry such a poor girl. He tries to argue with his nephew and then decides to take him to his own lodging for the night.

There is a noticeable tension on the faces of everyone when the uncle and the nephew rejoin the gathering. But, no one voices his or her mind openly. Tom can guess what must have happened and he debates within his own mind, whether he should tell Mrs. Miller about his apprehensions. But, just then Mrs. Honour comes to him with some disturbing news regarding Sophia and he forgets everyone else's affairs.


Notes

A sub theme is given due attention in this Book. Nightingale leaves a farewell note for Nancy and this greatly upsets the poor young girl. The truth is that Nightingale had gone to a great length with Nancy. He had impregnated her. On receiving the news that he was leaving because his father intended to get him married to another woman, she is obviously extremely harried. This creates much tension is poor Mrs. Miller's life. More than anything, she is worried about her daughter's reputation.

When Tom learns of this terrible disaster, he consoles Mrs. Miller and then decides to go and meet the careless Nightingale. Tom plays the guardian angel yet again. He convinces Nightingale that he must marry Nancy. Tom himself an upright man helps Nightingale to take an upright decision regarding a defenseless girl.

Nightingale does really love Nancy and is convinced by Tom's arguments. He is not a city gallant for no reason. It is he who decides that his father must be told that he is already married to Nancy. Both Tom and Nightingale feel that this ploy shall work better with Nightingale's strict father.

The young men that Fielding writes about seem to have no fortunes of their own. This is true for both Tom and Nightingale. One of the major obstacles in their love-life is the fact that they are not self-reliant. Both have no money of their own!

Tom now pleads with Nightingale's father on his behalf. When the father learns that his son is married, he is obviously very angry. We are told about the lady, whom he had chosen for his son. Her only attraction is that she had a good fortune and the qualities begin and end there. Mr. Nightingale, in the novel represents the greedy worldly men of the cities.

Nightingale's uncle is somewhat more understanding but as we learn later, he is just as callous about the concept of honor. Initially, the uncle is reconciled with his nephew's decision to marry a poor woman, who he loves. But, later when he learns that Nightingale is not yet married to Nancy, he persuades his nephew to forget about her, as well as the promise he made to marry her. Fielding's represents urbane characters to be more selfish and money minded, when compared to the country folk.

The evening at Mrs. Miller's house had been a jolly one, till the nephew and the uncle go to another room to talk. When they come back, everyone looks a little tense. They can make out that the Uncle is eager to take away the nephew to his own lodging. Tom notices that the Uncle is also artificially polite to Nancy. Tom is worried that the Uncle might have persuaded Nightingale not to marry Nancy. We see that Tom is perceptive and is right on this occasion.

But, now Fielding brings back a reference to the major theme of the novel and that is Tom and Sophia's love affair. Mrs. Honour comes to Tom with some upsetting new regarding Sophia and Tom can now think of nothing else.

So far Tom had been getting involved in other's concerns too, but now we see that events take such a turn that Tom is forced to think about his own predicaments too. We hope that this helping hero will get help in his own time of need. We learn that he does and the friends that he makes by his good deeds stand by his side in his times of trouble.

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