Book 12 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.

In this chapter, Jones, Partridge, and the post-boy continue their overnight journey, and come upon a great commotion. It turns out they run into a group of Romani celebrating a wedding. Tom meets their king, Partridge becomes too familiar with one of their women, and gets put on trial. It turns out the king's justice is fair, and Tom gains some admiration for him and his ways.

Summary aside, this chapter is somewhat problematic. The word "Gypsy," which is not considered to be a polite term these days, is used repeatedly. Also, the King's dialect is broadly and comically drawn. I have no doubt that an 18th Century readership would have found nothing amiss with this portrayal, but it lacks a certain sensitivity to the modern ear.

AuthorMark Turetsky