Book 4 Chapter 11 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.
Yet another instance of Tom Jones doing precisely the right thing, but losing everyone else's respect for it. Tom gallops home to Allworthy's estate and takes full responsibility for corrupting Molly (while it's pretty firmly established that things happened vice versa). Allworthy rescinds his sentence sending Molly to a correctional home, and Blifil, with Square and Thwackum in tow, finish out the chapter trashing Tom.
A few quick thoughts:
- I love Fielding's references to the events of books 1 and 2, telling the reader to go back and read them in case they've forgotten.
- Square's railing against Tom,"I am resolved, from this instance, never to [...] think anything virtue which doth not exactly quadrate with the unerring rule of right." Moral absolutism AND geometry!
- Fielding's nod to the previous chapter, where Squire Western claims that he often went out "whoring" with Allworthy, where he says it was a complete fabrication, as Allworthy didn't even go to college.
- And, while on the subject, Fielding refers to this as an unnamed monosyllable. The critical edition I have of the novel is stumped, and suggests the, rather timid, "rant."