Book 5 Chapter 12 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.

This chapter features the aftermath of the fight, with a brief aside wherein Fielding reveals his thoughts on war. He tells us that Nature knows best, in providing only fists, teeth and nails to Man, and that battles should be fought with those weapons only. He then bemoans that the French only win battles because of their superior engineering prowess. It's a fairly noble sentiment, as it would lead to far fewer deaths, but of course Nature didn't just bestow Man with tooth and claw, she also bestowed Reason, which, as it turns out, is a far superior weapon. Unfortunately, as we're constantly reminded today, Man's ability to reason only increases the horror of war.

Anyway, Sophia faints (and gets gallantly rescued by a shirtless Jones), there's a brief, tense exchange between Parson Thwackum and Squire Western, and a resurgence of Western's on-again, off-again country accent. We also briefly meet Mrs. Western, the Squire's sister, whose importance will emerge in time.

The two armies return to their strongholds to rest and regroup at the end of the chapter, and, indeed, at the end of this fifth book.


AuthorMark Turetsky