Book 6 Chapter 13 of Tom Jones.

This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones over the course of four years.

Sad times for Tom and Sophia. Sophia has been locked in her room and forbidden from using all writing implements by her father. This is similar to the early plot of another novel which came out at about the same time, Samuel Richardson's Clarissa. Fielding and Richardson certainly had some animosity between them, but it's unclear whether Fielding did this plot point in imitation of Richardson, or if it was a common enough trope that it was just kinda the thing to do in a story like this.

Anyway, Sophia weeps over Tom's letter to her, and Honour informs her that Tom has been put out of doors naked, and without any money of any kind. Sophia then decides that the right thing to do would be to give Tom all of her money, 16 guineas (she's a charitable sort, so doesn't have all that much to give him). Honour gives the money to Black George to deliver to Tom. If you'll recall, George had just stolen 500 pounds of Tom's money that he found, so he's likely not the most reliable of messengers at this point. Still, this leads to an amusing conflict in George's head, between his greed and his conscience. Imagine it as you would a cartoon character with an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other. In this case, however, Conscience and Greed both get smacked down by a third little angel, and that's Fear. Fear tells him that in this case, if he steals the money, several people know he has it, so he's more likely to get caught in this case. And so, after having already stolen 500 pounds from Tom, he does the right thing and gives him the 16 guineas.

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AuthorMark Turetsky