Book 17 Chapter 6 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 of Tom Jones, Mrs. Miller visits Sophia with a letter from Tom. Mrs. Miller tells Sophia of all the good Tom has done for her and her family, which leads Sophia not exactly to accept the letter, but not to refuse it either. As soon as Mrs. Miller leaves, Sophia rips open the letter, which she discovers aren't a plea for forgiveness, but rather an explanation of all the bad things he's done.

Sophia leaves for the night with her aunt Western and Lord Fellamar to attend an Opera and a drum, which is a rather dull gathering of the gentry to play cards. What's interesting here is that, unlike so much of the rest of this novel, Fielding here takes a moment to address his reader who may be far in the future, and have no idea what a drum means in this context. It's either an amazing bit of insight on his part, or it could be a point of view adopted simply to tell us how he really feels about these (apparently) dull parties.

AuthorMark Turetsky