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Joseph Andrews Vol. 1 by Henry Fielding

Part 4 out of 4

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account for: it is sufficient that, so far from looking on each other as
brethren in the Christian language, they seem scarce to regard each
other as of the same species. This, the terms "strange persons, people
one does not know, the creature, wretches, beasts, brutes," and many
other appellations evidently demonstrate; which Mrs Slipslop, having
often heard her mistress use, thought she had also a right to use in her
turn; and perhaps she was not mistaken; for these two parties,
especially those bordering nearly on each other, to wit, the lowest of
the high, and the highest of the low, often change their parties
according to place and time; for those who are people of fashion in one
place are often people of no fashion in another. And with regard to
time, it may not be unpleasant to survey the picture of dependance like
a kind of ladder; as, for instance; early in the morning arises the
postillion, or some other boy, which great families, no more than great
ships, are without, and falls to brushing the clothes and cleaning the
shoes of John the footman; who, being drest himself, applies his hands
to the same labours for Mr Second-hand, the squire's gentleman; the
gentleman in the like manner, a little later in the day, attends the
squire; the squire is no sooner equipped than he attends the levee of my
lord; which is no sooner over than my lord himself is seen at the levee
of the favourite, who, after the hour of homage is at an end, appears
himself to pay homage to the levee of his sovereign. Nor is there,
perhaps, in this whole ladder of dependance, any one step at a greater
distance from the other than the first from the second; so that to a
philosopher the question might only seem, whether you would chuse to be
a great man at six in the morning, or at two in the afternoon. And yet
there are scarce two of these who do not think the least familiarity
with the persons below them a condescension, and, if they were to go one
step farther, a degradation.

And now, reader, I hope thou wilt pardon this long digression, which
seemed to me necessary to vindicate the great character of Mrs Slipslop
from what low people, who have never seen high people, might think an
absurdity; but we who know them must have daily found very high persons
know us in one place and not in another, to-day and not to-morrow; all
which it is difficult to account for otherwise than I have here
endeavoured; and perhaps, if the gods, according to the opinion of some,
made men only to laugh at them, there is no part of our behaviour which
answers the end of our creation better than this.

But to return to our history: Adams, who knew no more of this than the
cat which sat on the table, imagining Mrs Slipslop's memory had been
much worse than it really was, followed her into the next room, crying
out, "Madam Slipslop, here is one of your old acquaintance; do but see
what a fine woman she is grown since she left Lady Booby's service."--"I
think I reflect something of her," answered she, with great dignity,
"but I can't remember all the inferior servants in our family." She then
proceeded to satisfy Adams's curiosity, by telling him, "When she
arrived at the inn, she found a chaise ready for her; that, her lady
being expected very shortly in the country, she was obliged to make the
utmost haste; and, in commensuration of Joseph's lameness, she had taken
him with her;" and lastly, "that the excessive virulence of the storm
had driven them into the house where he found them." After which, she
acquainted Adams with his having left his horse, and exprest some wonder
at his having strayed so far out of his way, and at meeting him, as she
said, "in the company of that wench, who she feared was no better than
she should be."

The horse was no sooner put into Adams's head but he was immediately
driven out by this reflection on the character of Fanny. He protested,
"He believed there was not a chaster damsel in the universe. I heartily
wish, I heartily wish," cried he (snapping his fingers), "that all her
betters were as good." He then proceeded to inform her of the accident
of their meeting; but when he came to mention the circumstance of
delivering her from the rape, she said, "She thought him properer for
the army than the clergy; that it did not become a clergyman to lay
violent hands on any one; that he should have rather prayed that she
might be strengthened." Adams said, "He was very far from being ashamed
of what he had done:" she replied, "Want of shame was not the
currycuristic of a clergyman." This dialogue might have probably grown
warmer, had not Joseph opportunely entered the room, to ask leave of
Madam Slipslop to introduce Fanny: but she positively refused to admit
any such trollops, and told him, "She would have been burnt before she
would have suffered him to get into a chaise with her, if she had once
respected him of having his sluts waylaid on the road for him;" adding,
"that Mr Adams acted a very pretty part, and she did not doubt but to
see him a bishop." He made the best bow he could, and cried out, "I
thank you, madam, for that right-reverend appellation, which I shall
take all honest means to deserve."-"Very honest means," returned she,
with a sneer, "to bring people together." At these words Adams took two
or three strides across the room, when the coachman came to inform Mrs
Slipslop, "That the storm was over, and the moon shone very bright." She
then sent for Joseph, who was sitting without with his Fanny, and would
have had him gone with her; but he peremptorily refused to leave Fanny
behind, which threw the good woman into a violent rage. She said, "She
would inform her lady what doings were carrying on, and did not doubt
but she would rid the parish of all such people;" and concluded a long
speech, full of bitterness and very hard words, with some reflections on
the clergy not decent to repeat; at last, finding Joseph unmoveable, she
flung herself into the chaise, casting a look at Fanny as she went, not
unlike that which Cleopatra gives Octavia in the play. To say the truth,
she was most disagreeably disappointed by the presence of Fanny: she
had, from her first seeing Joseph at the inn, conceived hopes of
something which might have been accomplished at an alehouse as well as a
palace. Indeed, it is probable Mr Adams had rescued more than Fanny from
the clanger of a rape that evening.

When the chaise had carried off the enraged Slipslop, Adams, Joseph, and
Fanny assembled over the fire, where they had a great deal of innocent
chat, pretty enough; but, as possibly it would not be very entertaining
to the reader, we shall hasten to the morning; only observing that none
of them went to bed that night. Adams, when he had smoaked three pipes,
took a comfortable nap in a great chair, and left the lovers, whose eyes
were too well employed to permit any desire of shutting them, to enjoy
by themselves, during some hours, an happiness which none of my readers
who have never been in love are capable of the least conception of,
though we had as many tongues as Homer desired, to describe it with, and
which all true lovers will represent to their own minds without the
least assistance from us.

Let it suffice then to say, that Fanny, after a thousand entreaties, at
last gave up her whole soul to Joseph; and, almost fainting in his arms,
with a sigh infinitely softer and sweeter too than any Arabian breeze,
she whispered to his lips, which were then close to hers, "O Joseph,
you have won me: I will be yours for ever." Joseph, having thanked
her on his knees, and embraced her with an eagerness which she now
almost returned, leapt up in a rapture, and awakened the parson,
earnestly begging him "that he would that instant join their hands
together." Adams rebuked him for his request, and told him "He would by
no means consent to anything contrary to the forms of the Church; that
he had no licence, nor indeed would he advise him to obtain one; that
the Church had prescribed a form--namely, the publication of banns--with
which all good Christians ought to comply, and to the omission of which
he attributed the many miseries which befell great folks in marriage;"
concluding, "As many as are joined together otherwise than G--'s word
doth allow are not joined together by G--, neither is their matrimony
lawful." Fanny agreed with the parson, saying to Joseph, with a blush,
"She assured him she would not consent to any such thing, and that she
wondered at his offering it." In which resolution she was comforted and
commended by Adams; and Joseph was obliged to wait patiently till after
the third publication of the banns, which, however, he obtained the
consent of Fanny, in the presence of Adams, to put in at their arrival.

The sun had been now risen some hours, when Joseph, finding his leg
surprizingly recovered, proposed to walk forwards; but when they were
all ready to set out, an accident a little retarded them. This was no
other than the reckoning, which amounted to seven shillings; no great
sum if we consider the immense quantity of ale which Mr Adams poured in.
Indeed, they had no objection to the reasonableness of the bill, but
many to the probability of paying it; for the fellow who had taken poor
Fanny's purse had unluckily forgot to return it. So that the account
stood thus:--

Mr Adams and company, Dr. 0 7 0

In Mr Adams's pocket 0 0 6 1/2
In Mr Joseph's 0 0 0
In Mrs Fanny's 0 0 0

Balance 0 6 5 1/2

They stood silent some few minutes, staring at each other, when Adams
whipt out on his toes, and asked the hostess, "If there was no clergyman
in that parish?" She answered, "There was."--"Is he wealthy?" replied
he; to which she likewise answered in the affirmative. Adams then
snapping his fingers returned overjoyed to his companions, crying out,
"Heureka, Heureka;" which not being understood, he told them in plain
English, "They need give themselves no trouble, for he had a brother in
the parish who would defray the reckoning, and that he would just step
to his house and fetch the money, and return to them instantly."


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