Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
This elderly lady is a high society woman in London. We first read mention of her when Sophia plans to go to her place in London. She had apparently come down to Squire Western’s place in the country once. She had got along well with Sophia and had told her that she was most welcome to London, whenever she wanted. When Sophia plans to flee her house, her father and Blifil, Lady Bellaston is the first person she thinks of. She is well received by the Lady in London and begins living with her. Lady Bellaston is a promiscuous woman and is known for her many affairs with young men. She is known to oblige these men with financial favors and then to maintain them as ‘keeps.’ When Lady Bellaston sees Tom Jones, she is attracted by his handsomeness, charm and vigor. She sends him an intriguing message, an invitation to a masquerade. Tom only pays attention to her for the sake of gaining access to Sophia. But the young naïve man starts bearing the weight of her favors. He is in a bad condition financially and she helps him financially. We read often about mistresses maintained by men. This is a rare instance when we see a young man being ‘kept’ by Lady Bellaston. While the details are not explicitly impressed, we know that Lady Bellaston and Tom do have an affair. The problem is that Tom is too chivalric and feels obligated too soon. We raise our eyebrows at Tom’s such behavior.
She grows to hate Sophia because of the love expressed by Tom for her. She intrigues to remove the hurdle of Sophia from her path. She encourages Lord Fellamar to make love to Sophia. She even goes to the extent of urging Lord Fellamar to rape Sophia, so that he may marry her later. This shows just how unscrupulous Lady Bellaston can be. Sophia is not safe in jealous Lady Bellaston’s house but luckily for the young man, her father appears in the nick of time and Sophia is saved. Lady Bellaston is indeed disappointed when Sophia and Tom are united in marriage. But she does prove to be a major obstacle to Tom and Sophia’s reconciliation. Tom writes a letter to Lady Bellaston, urging her to marry him. But this is only so that Lady Bellaston might shy away from him. Unluckily for Tom this letter reaches Sophia and she is shocked. This is the reason Sophia refuses Tom’s proposal initially but comes around later.
Lady Bellaston is Tom’s last affair and he regrets his follies. He resolves never to repeat them and doesn’t either.
Lady Bellaston herself maintains a stony silence and even congratulates the young couple of Sophia and Tom. She represents the high-class promiscuous society of London. She is unscrupulous and open in her many affairs. But she can afford this simply because she is wealthy enough. Lady Bellaston is definitely not one of our favorite characters, especially when she encourages Lord Fellamar to commit a rape. But her role is important in the fact that it is she who gives shelter to Sophia in London. And it is she who has the last affair with Tom.