SUMMARY: Tom Jones receives two letters in this chapter. The first one is from Lady Bellaston. She tells him she should despise him for his behavior at her house and for loving a country girl. She also warns him that she can hate as passionately as she can love. While Mr Jones was thinking how to reply to the letter, Lady Bellaston walks in with her dress in disarray. She asks if he has betrayed her, and he promises her on his knees that he has not.
Suddenly Partridge announces Mrs. Honour’s arrival. So Tom hides Lady Bellaston behind his bed before Sophia’s maid enters in the room. Honour prattles on about how Lady Bellaston meets men at her house. Before going she hands Jones a letter from Sophia. Once Honour leaves, Lady Bellaston emerges from behind the bed, enraged that she has been disregarded for someone such as Sophia. Lady Bellaston in the end pretends to believe that Jones and Sophia had met accidentaly and they arrange their future meetings.
In fact they decide to camouflage the purpose of his visits by pretending that Tom has come to visit Sophia instead of her. Finally alone he reads Sophia’s letter in which she asks him to not visit her again. Because of this Tom tells Lady Bellaston he is sick. The evening herds Nightingale has left and Nancy’s pregnant from Mrs Miller. Tom helps Nightingale to handle the situation with his father. To return the favour he offers to help Tom get rid of Lady Bellaston by sending her a fake marriage proposal, which, as predicted, she refuses.
ANALYSIS: In Book VII the novel gives way to a new writing mode: it becomes in part epistolary.
The story is filled with the letters of Lady Bellaston, Sophia, and Tom Jones. It’s a huge change in Fielding’s style. In fact the author usually controls the reader’s response through the presence of the figure of an omniscient narrator who emerges as the true moral focus in the novel. So adding this new writing mode he provides the readers a sort of sense of identification and verisimilitude which are given by the first-person form, used also by other authors such ad Defoe and Richardson . Perhaps it also heightens the sense of separation that the city introduces into the characters’ lives—letters now substitute for people. In these letters we can also see some irony. In fact in Lady Bellaston ones we can see that instead of following the rules of polite conduct, she usually gets explicitly emotional and lascivious.