James Thompson


Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (1749) tells the history of a number of lost objects which range from the foundling protagonist and his patrimony to wives, daughters, a muff, and several bank notes. The most prominent story of errant money begins with the £500 Squire Allworthy gives to Tom (p. 310). which he subsequently loses (p. 313). Black George appropriates the money (p. 314). and passes it on to Old Nightingale, in whose hands Squire Allworthy recognizes it (p. 920). and so it is presumably restored to Tom, the natural or rightful owner (p. 968). We are treated in similar detail to the fortunes of the f200 which Squire Westem gives to Sophia (p. 359). who also loses her money (p. 610). Her wallet is found by a beggar who passes it on to Tom (p. 631-35), and who, in turn, restores it to its proper owner: "I know the right Owner, and will restore it her ... the right Owner shall certainly have again all that she has lost" (p. 634)--a promise which emblematizes the narrative of lost property in the novel. Partridge, of course, repeatedly urges Tom to spend the hundred pounds (pp. 675-76, 679, 711). but Tom restores it to Sophia whole: ''I hope, Madame, you will find it of the same Value, as when it was lost" (p. 731).