The History of Tom Jones (1749)

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(Book I, chapter XI.)

Miss Bridget:

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Posthumous portrait of Fielding by Hogarth (1762)
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Hogarth, self-portrait (1757)
courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London


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Hogarth, Morning
The Four Times of the Day



’’I would attempt to draw her picture, but that is done already by a more able master, Mr Hogarth himself, to whom she sat many years ago, and hath been lately exhibited by that gentleman in his print of a winter’s morning,of which she was no improper emblem, and may be seen walking (for walk she doth in the print) to Covent Garden Church, with a starved foot-boy behind her carrying her prayer-book.’’

The fan the woman carries has given rise to various interpretations.



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Book XIII, Chapter II. What befell Mr Jones on his arrival in London.

The learned Dr Misaubin used to say, that the proper Direction to him was To Dr Misaubin, in the World ; intimating that there were few People in it to whom his great Reputation was not known.... From that Figure, therefore, which the Irish Peer, who brought Sophia to Town, hath already made in this History, the Reader will conclude, doubtless, it must have been an easy Matter to have discovered his House in London without knowing the particular Street or Square which he inhabited, since he must have been one whom every Body knows.

To say the Truth, so it would have been to any of those Tradesmen who are accustomed to attend the Regions of the Great; For the Doors of the Great are generally no less easy to find than it is difficult to get Entrance into them.

The chapters of the novel which evoke Tom’s arrival in London stand in contrast with the earlier passages describing his childhood in a country estate modelled on Prior Park near Bath.



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But Jones, as well as Partridge, was an entire stranger in London; and as he happened to arrive first in a quarter of the town, the inhabitants of which have very little intercourse with the householders of Hanover or Grosvenor-square (for he entered through Gray’s-inn-lane), so he rambled about some time, before he could even find his way to those happy mansions where fortune segregates from the vulgar those magnanimous heroes, the descendants of antient Britons, Saxons, or Danes, whose ancestors, being born in better days, by sundry kinds of merit, have entailed riches and honour on their posterity.



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Book XIII Chapter VII. Containing the whole humours of a masquerade.

Our cavaliers now arrived at that temple, where Heydegger, the great Arbiter Deliciarum, the great high-priest of pleasure, presides; and, like other heathen poets, imposes on his votaries by the pretended presence of the deity, when in reality no such deity is there....



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A masquerade
by courtesy of the Museum of London

Jones began to entertain strong hopes that his Sophia was present; and these hopes gave him more spirits than the lights, the music, and the company; though these are pretty strong antidotes againt the spleen. He now accosted every woman he saw, whose stature, shape, or air, bore any resemblance to his angel.... Some called him an impertinent fellow ; some made him no answer at all; some said, Indeed I don’t know your voice, and I shall have nothing to say to you; and many gave him as kind answers as he could wish, but not in the voice he desired to hear.



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The lady presently after quitted the masquerade, and Jones, notwithstanding the severe prohibition he had received, presumed to attend her....

The lady was set in a street not far from Hanover-square, where the door being presently opened, she was carried in, and the gentleman, without any ceremony, walked in after her.



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A masquerade
by courtesy of the Museum of London

Whilst he was talking with one of these last (who was in the habit of a shepherdess) a lady in a domino came up to him, and slapping him on the shoulder, whispered him, at the same time, in the ear, ‘If you talk any longer with that trollop, I will acquaint Miss Western.’

...Jones, now taking the mask by the hand, fell to entreating her in the most earnest manner, to acquaint him where he might find Sophia: and when he could obtain no direct answer, he began to upbraid her gently for having disappointed him the day before; and concluded, saying ‘Indeed, my good fairy queen, I know your majesty very well, notwithstanding the affected disguise of your voice. Indeed, Mrs Fitzpatrick, it is a little cruel to divert yourself at the expense of my torments.’

The mask answered ‘Though you have so ingeniously discovered me, I must still speak in the same voice, lest I should be known by others....’



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Jones and his companion were now together in a well-furnished and well-warmed room; where the female, still speaking in her masquerade voice, said she was surprized at her friend, who must absolutely have forgot her appointment.... Jones began to be very importunate with the lady to unmask; and at last having prevailed, there appeared,

not Mrs Fitzpatrick,

but the lady Bellaston herself.



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Book XIII, Chapter IX. Which Treats of Matters of a Very Different Kind from those in the Preceding Chapter.

In the evening met his lady again, and a long conversation again ensued between them: but as it consisted only of the same ordinary occurrences as before, we shall avoid mentioning particulars, which we despair of rendering agreeable to the reader; unless he is one whose devotion to the fair sex, like that of the papists to their saints, wants to be raised by the help of pictures.

But I am far from desiring to exhibit such pictures to the public, that I would wish to draw a curtain over those that have been lately set forth in certain French novels; very bungling copies of which have been presented us here under the name of translations.

Jones grew still more impatient to see Sophia; and finding, after repeated interviews with Lady Bellaston, no likelihood of obtaining this by her means (for, on the contrary, the lady began to treat even the mention of the name of Sophia with resentment), he resolved to try some other method.



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..He received the following note from the lady :

A very foolish, but a very perverse accident hath happened since our last meeting, which makes it improper I should see you any more at the usual place.

in less than another hour afterwards another note was brought him from the same hand, which contained as follows: ....

I am now resolved to see you this evening at my own house.



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Before we attend him to this intended interview with the lady, we think proper to account for both the preceding notes, as the reader may possibly be not a little surprized at the imprudence of Lady Bellaston, in bringing her lover to the very house where her rival was lodged.

First, then, the mistress of the house where these lovers had hitherto met, and who had been for some years a pensioner to this lady, was now become a methodist, and had that very morning waited upon her ladyship, and after rebuking her very severely for her past life, had positively declared that she would, on no account, be instrumental in carrying on any of her affairs for the future.



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The lady... set her thoughts to work, when luckily it came into her head to propose to Sophia to go to the play... and thus her own house was left free for the safe reception of Mr Jones, with whom she promised herself two or three hours of uninterrupted conversation, after her return from the place where she dined, which was at a friend’s house in a pretty distant part of the town, near her old place of assignation



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Chapter XI. In which the reader will be surprised.

Mr Jones was rather earlier than the time appointed, and earlier than the lady; whose arrival was hindered, not only by the distance of the place where she dined, but by some other cross accidents very vexatious to one in her situation of mind. He was accordingly shown into the drawing-room, where he had not been many minutes before the door opened, and in came–––



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no other than Sophia herself, who had left the play before the end of the first act....

As Lady Bellaston had acquainted her that she should not be at home till late, Sophia, expecting to find no one in the room, came hastily in, and went directly to a glass which almost fronted her, without one looking towards the upper end of the room, where the statue of Jones now stood motionless. In this glass it was,her own
lovely face,



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Gainsborough, The Morning Walk
National Gallery, London

that she first discovered the said statue;

when, instantly turning about, she perceived the reality of the vision



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Book XVI Chapter II. A Whimsical Adventure which Befell the Squire, with the Distressed Situation of Sophia.

We must now convey the reader to Mr Western’s lodgings, which were in Piccadilly, where he was placed by the recommendation of the landlord at the Hercules Pillars at Hyde Park Corner; for at the inn, which was the first he saw on his arrival in town, he placed his horses, and in those lodgings, which were the first he heard of, he deposited himself.



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The History of Tom Jones (1749)