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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Seventeen

Chapters 6 - 9


In chapter six Mrs. Miller visits Sophia. She comes to the lady with the letter that Tom had sent for her. At first, Sophia refuses to take it but eventually does read it. Tom is confused and apologetic in the letter.

Sophia’s day is an uncomfortable one and she has to go to the opera and to Lady Thomas Hatchet’s drum. Lady Bellaston takes every opportunity to insult Sophia and the young woman is also tired of Lord Fellamar’s unwanted attentions.

Mrs. Miller tells Allworthy about Tom’s misfortunes and praises him to the hilt. The duo also talk about Mrs. Miller’s daughter and Allworthy promises to speak to the older Nightingale on Mrs. Miller’s daughter and son-in-law’s behalf.

Blifil and Dowling enter the room then and converse with Allworthy. Dowling is an attorney and is also now employed as Blifil’s steward. Dowling also handles some of Squire Western’s legal affairs.

Lady Western once again pesters Sophia to meet Lord Fellamar. In the meeting Sophia requests the - Lord to stay away. Lady Western barges into the room angrily and reprimands Sophia. Lady Western is angry after hearing about a letter that had reached Sophia from Tom. She had also met Mrs. Miller and extracted, as many details from her. Lady Western asks Sophia if she will marry the Lord and the latter refuses. They once again quarrel and Lady Western threatens to send Sophia back to her father.

Mr. Nightingale goes after the men who had witnessed the Fitzpatrick-Jones fight. He finds that these men insist that it was Tom who had first raised his hand. Nightingale then goes back to Tom and questions him once again about the reality of the fight. Tom insists that Mr. Fitzpatrick himself was the aggressor. Mrs. Miller now appears and informs him of Sophia’s negative reaction to his letter.

Then Mrs. Waters comes to visit Tom. She reveals to him that she knows that Mr. Fitzpatrick will not die and that he will also testify that he himself was the aggressor not Tom. Tom is a little relieved by this news.

We learn that Mrs. Waters is now living with Mr. Fitzpatrick as his wife. But Tom’s sorrows do not end as he starts thinking of his beloved Sophia and how he has lost her.


Mrs. Miller is devoted to Tom and goes as soon as possible to Sophia with Tom’s letter. Sophia had promised herself not to entertain Tom’s correspondence so she refuses to accept the letter. But Mrs. Miller is equally insistent and finally Sophia agrees to letting Mrs. Miller leave the letter in the room. Sophia’s natural instincts cannot let her remain away from the letter for long. She reads it and not once, but again and again. We see how Tom is always willing to accept his guilt if it is his fault. In this letter he is very apologetic and that gets him nowhere. He tells Sophia that he can explain the letters written by him to Lady Bellaston, if given a chance. We see that Sophia loves him by the attention she gives to his billet doux.

A day of Sophia’s in London is described. She does not like a frivolous life especially in the company of the jealous Lady Bellaston. Moreover, Lord Fellamar attends upon Sophia and our poor little heroine is grossly tired. She is a sensitive creature and she does not enjoy seeing plays or playing cards in such company. While Sophia is thus struggling Tom’s faithful friends do him some service. Mrs. Miller pleads Tom’s cause to Allworthy and even he admits that Tom couldn’t entirely be a debase or vicious character. Squire Allworthy continues his benevolence when he promises to plead the young Nightingale’s cause to the older father. Allworthy is genuinely fond of Mrs. Miller.

We meet Dowling again and we see how the smart Blifil gets his Uncle to get him a steward. This steward is none other than Dowling. Blifil seems to be in the process of consolidating his own affairs. This Dowling will play a key role now, as we shall soon see.

Sophia is still having to combat with force. First it was Mr. Western forcing her to wed Blifil. Now Lady Western, the Squire’s sister wants that she pay attention to Lord Fellamar’s proposals. Thus, the poor young woman is trapped from either side. Lady Western admonishes Sophia for not having kept her promise. Sophia tries to manage the sticky situation though. She bluntly informs the Lord that he should stop bothering her.

But the Lord is too enamoured by the charming Sophia. Unlike Tom Sophia’s loyalty to him never falters. While Tom has affairs, Sophia shuns all male attention.

While Sophia’s fortune becomes messy Tom’s fate improves. None other than Mrs. Waters visits him in jail and gives him the good news that Lord Fitzpatrick shall live and that he also will confess that it was his own fault not Tom’s. While Tom’s life is out of danger, his heart is still weary at the news that Sophia had refused to read his letter.

Mrs. Waters who brings Tom some good news herself seems to be a wanton woman. It is mentioned that she is now living with Mr. Fitzpatrick as his wife. We learn more about her interesting history in the forthcoming chapters and are surprised.

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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding


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