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Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 by Henry Fielding

Part 4 out of 4

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not refrain from laughter; nor did Slipslop persist in accusing the
parson of any motions towards a rape. The lady therefore desired him to
return to his bed as soon as she was departed, and then ordering
Slipslop to rise and attend her in her own room, she returned herself
thither. When she was gone, Adams renewed his petitions for pardon to
Mrs Slipslop, who, with a most Christian temper, not only forgave, but
began to move with much courtesy towards him, which he taking as a hint
to begin, immediately quitted the bed, and made the best of his way
towards his own; but unluckily, instead of turning to the right, he
turned to the left, and went to the apartment where Fanny lay, who (as
the reader may remember) had not slept a wink the preceding night, and
who was so hagged out with what had happened to her in the day, that,
notwithstanding all thoughts of her Joseph, she was fallen into so
profound a sleep, that all the noise in the adjoining room had not been
able to disturb her. Adams groped out the bed, and, turning the clothes
down softly, a custom Mrs Adams had long accustomed him to, crept in,
and deposited his carcase on the bed-post, a place which that good woman
had always assigned him.

As the cat or lap-dog of some lovely nymph, for whom ten thousand lovers
languish, lies quietly by the side of the charming maid, and, ignorant
of the scene of delight on which they repose, meditates the future
capture of a mouse, or surprisal of a plate of bread and butter: so
Adams lay by the side of Fanny, ignorant of the paradise to which he was
so near; nor could the emanation of sweets which flowed from her breath
overpower the fumes of tobacco which played in the parson's nostrils.
And now sleep had not overtaken the good man, when Joseph, who had
secretly appointed Fanny to come to her at the break of day, rapped
softly at the chamber-door, which when he had repeated twice, Adams
cryed, "Come in, whoever you are." Joseph thought he had mistaken the
door, though she had given him the most exact directions; however,
knowing his friend's voice, he opened it, and saw some female vestments
lying on a chair. Fanny waking at the same instant, and stretching out
her hand on Adams's beard, she cried out,--"O heavens! where am I?"
"Bless me! where am I?" said the parson. Then Fanny screamed, Adams
leapt out of bed, and Joseph stood, as the tragedians call it, like the
statue of Surprize. "How came she into my room?" cryed Adams. "How came
you into hers?" cryed Joseph, in an astonishment. "I know nothing of the
matter," answered Adams, "but that she is a vestal for me. As I am a
Christian, I know not whether she is a man or woman. He is an infidel
who doth not believe in witchcraft. They as surely exist now as in the
days of Saul. My clothes are bewitched away too, and Fanny's brought
into their place." For he still insisted he was in his own apartment;
but Fanny denied it vehemently, and said his attempting to persuade
Joseph of such a falsehood convinced her of his wicked designs. "How!"
said Joseph in a rage, "hath he offered any rudeness to you?" She
answered--She could not accuse him of any more than villanously stealing
to bed to her, which she thought rudeness sufficient, and what no man
would do without a wicked intention.

Joseph's great opinion of Adams was not easily to be staggered, and when
he heard from Fanny that no harm had happened he grew a little cooler;
yet still he was confounded, and, as he knew the house, and that the
women's apartments were on this side Mrs Slipslop's room, and the men's
on the other, he was convinced that he was in Fanny's chamber. Assuring
Adams therefore of this truth, he begged him to give some account how he
came there. Adams then, standing in his shirt, which did not offend
Fanny, as the curtains of the bed were drawn, related all that had
happened; and when he had ended Joseph told him,--It was plain he had
mistaken by turning to the right instead of the left. "Odso!" cries
Adams, "that's true: as sure as sixpence, you have hit on the very
thing." He then traversed the room, rubbing his hands, and begged
Fanny's pardon, assuring her he did not know whether she was man or
woman. That innocent creature firmly believing all he said, told him she
was no longer angry, and begged Joseph to conduct him into his own
apartment, where he should stay himself till she had put her clothes on.
Joseph and Adams accordingly departed, and the latter soon was convinced
of the mistake he had committed; however, whilst he was dressing
himself, he often asserted he believed in the power of witchcraft
notwithstanding, and did not see how a Christian could deny it.

CHAPTER XV.

_The arrival of Gaffar and Gammar Andrews, with another person not
much expected; and a perfect solution of the difficulties raised by
the pedlar._

As soon as Fanny was drest Joseph returned to her, and they had a long
conversation together, the conclusion of which was, that, if they found
themselves to be really brother and sister, they vowed a perpetual
celibacy, and to live together all their days, and indulge a Platonic
friendship for each other.

The company were all very merry at breakfast, and Joseph and Fanny
rather more chearful than the preceding night. The Lady Booby produced
the diamond button, which the beau most readily owned, and alledged that
he was very subject to walk in his sleep. Indeed, he was far from being
ashamed of his amour, and rather endeavoured to insinuate that more than
was really true had passed between him and the fair Slipslop.

Their tea was scarce over when news came of the arrival of old Mr
Andrews and his wife. They were immediately introduced, and kindly
received by the Lady Booby, whose heart went now pit-a-pat, as did those
of Joseph and Fanny. They felt, perhaps, little less anxiety in this
interval than Oedipus himself, whilst his fate was revealing.

Mr Booby first opened the cause by informing the old gentleman that he
had a child in the company more than he knew of, and, taking Fanny by
the hand, told him, this was that daughter of his who had been stolen
away by gypsies in her infancy. Mr Andrews, after expressing some
astonishment, assured his honour that he had never lost a daughter by
gypsies, nor ever had any other children than Joseph and Pamela. These
words were a cordial to the two lovers; but had a different effect on
Lady Booby. She ordered the pedlar to be called, who recounted his story
as he had done before.--At the end of which, old Mrs Andrews, running to
Fanny, embraced her, crying out, "She is, she is my child!" The company
were all amazed at this disagreement between the man and his wife; and
the blood had now forsaken the cheeks of the lovers, when the old woman,
turning to her husband, who was more surprized than all the rest, and
having a little recovered her own spirits, delivered herself as follows:
"You may remember, my dear, when you went a serjeant to Gibraltar, you
left me big with child; you stayed abroad, you know, upwards of three
years. In your absence I was brought to bed, I verily believe, of this
daughter, whom I am sure I have reason to remember, for I suckled her at
this very breast till the day she was stolen from me. One afternoon,
when the child was about a year, or a year and a half old, or
thereabouts, two gypsy-women came to the door and offered to tell my
fortune. One of them had a child in her lap. I showed them my hand, and
desired to know if you was ever to come home again, which I remember as
well as if it was but yesterday: they faithfully promised me you
should.--I left the girl in the cradle and went to draw them a cup of
liquor, the best I had: when I returned with the pot (I am sure I was
not absent longer than whilst I am telling it to you) the women were
gone. I was afraid they had stolen something, and looked and looked, but
to no purpose, and, Heaven knows, I had very little for them to steal.
At last, hearing the child cry in the cradle, I went to take it up--but,
O the living! how was I surprized to find, instead of my own girl that I
had put into the cradle, who was as fine a fat thriving child as you
shall see in a summer's day, a poor sickly boy, that did not seem to
have an hour to live. I ran out, pulling my hair off and crying like any
mad after the women, but never could hear a word of them from that day
to this. When I came back the poor infant (which is our Joseph there, as
stout as he now stands) lifted up its eyes upon me so piteously, that,
to be sure, notwithstanding my passion, I could not find in my heart to
do it any mischief. A neighbour of mine, happening to come in at the
same time, and hearing the case, advised me to take care of this poor
child, and God would perhaps one day restore me my own. Upon which I
took the child up, and suckled it to be sure, all the world as if it had
been born of my own natural body; and as true as I am alive, in a little
time I loved the boy all to nothing as if it had been my own
girl.--Well, as I was saying, times growing very hard, I having two
children and nothing but my own work, which was little enough, God
knows, to maintain them, was obliged to ask relief of the parish; but,
instead of giving it me, they removed me, by justices' warrants, fifteen
miles, to the place where I now live, where I had not been long settled
before you came home. Joseph (for that was the name I gave him
myself--the Lord knows whether he was baptized or no, or by what name),
Joseph, I say, seemed to me about five years old when you returned; for
I believe he is two or three years older than our daughter here (for I
am thoroughly convinced she is the same); and when you saw him you said
he was a chopping boy, without ever minding his age; and so I, seeing
you did not suspect anything of the matter, thought I might e'en as well
keep it to myself, for fear you should not love him as well as I did.
And all this is veritably true, and I will take my oath of it before any
justice in the kingdom."

The pedlar, who had been summoned by the order of Lady Booby, listened
with the utmost attention to Gammar Andrews's story; and, when she had
finished, asked her if the supposititious child had no mark on its
breast? To which she answered, "Yes, he had as fine a strawberry as ever
grew in a garden." This Joseph acknowledged, and, unbuttoning his coat,
at the intercession of the company, showed to them. "Well," says Gaffar
Andrews, who was a comical sly old fellow, and very likely desired to
have no more children than he could keep, "you have proved, I think,
very plainly, that this boy doth not belong to us; but how are you
certain that the girl is ours?" The parson then brought the pedlar
forward, and desired him to repeat the story which he had communicated
to him the preceding day at the ale-house; which he complied with, and
related what the reader, as well as Mr Adams, hath seen before. He then
confirmed, from his wife's report, all the circumstances of the
exchange, and of the strawberry on Joseph's breast. At the repetition of
the word strawberry, Adams, who had seen it without any emotion, started
and cried, "Bless me! something comes into my head." But before he had
time to bring anything out a servant called him forth. When he was gone
the pedlar assured Joseph that his parents were persons of much greater
circumstances than those he had hitherto mistaken for such; for that he
had been stolen from a gentleman's house by those whom they call
gypsies, and had been kept by them during a whole year, when, looking on
him as in a dying condition, they had exchanged him for the other
healthier child, in the manner before related. He said, As to the name
of his father, his wife had either never known or forgot it; but that
she had acquainted him he lived about forty miles from the place where
the exchange had been made, and which way, promising to spare no pains
in endeavouring with him to discover the place.

But Fortune, which seldom doth good or ill, or makes men happy or
miserable, by halves, resolved to spare him this labour. The reader may
please to recollect that Mr Wilson had intended a journey to the west,
in which he was to pass through Mr Adams's parish, and had promised to
call on him. He was now arrived at the Lady Booby's gates for that
purpose, being directed thither from the parson's house, and had sent in
the servant whom we have above seen call Mr Adams forth. This had no
sooner mentioned the discovery of a stolen child, and had uttered the
word strawberry, than Mr Wilson, with wildness in his looks, and the
utmost eagerness in his words, begged to be shewed into the room, where
he entered without the least regard to any of the company but Joseph,
and, embracing him with a complexion all pale and trembling, desired to
see the mark on his breast; the parson followed him capering, rubbing
his hands, and crying out, _Hic est quem quaeris; inventus est, &c_.
Joseph complied with the request of Mr Wilson, who no sooner saw the
mark than, abandoning himself to the most extravagant rapture of
passion, he embraced Joseph with inexpressible ecstasy, and cried out in
tears of joy, "I have discovered my son, I have him again in my arms!"
Joseph was not sufficiently apprized yet to taste the same delight with
his father (for so in reality he was); however, he returned some warmth
to his embraces: but he no sooner perceived, from his father's account,
the agreement of every circumstance, of person, time, and place, than he
threw himself at his feet, and, embracing his knees, with tears begged
his blessing, which was given with much affection, and received with
such respect, mixed with such tenderness on both sides, that it affected
all present; but none so much as Lady Booby, who left the room in an
agony, which was but too much perceived, and not very charitably
accounted for by some of the company.

CHAPTER XVI.

_Being the last in which this true history is brought to a happy
conclusion._

Fanny was very little behind her Joseph in the duty she exprest towards
her parents, and the joy she evidenced in discovering them. Gammar
Andrews kissed her, and said, She was heartily glad to see her; but for
her part, she could never love any one better than Joseph. Gaffar
Andrews testified no remarkable emotion: he blessed and kissed her, but
complained bitterly that he wanted his pipe, not having had a whiff
that morning.

Mr Booby, who knew nothing of his aunt's fondness, imputed her abrupt
departure to her pride, and disdain of the family into which he was
married; he was therefore desirous to be gone with the utmost celerity;
and now, having congratulated Mr Wilson and Joseph on the discovery, he
saluted Fanny, called her sister, and introduced her as such to Pamela,
who behaved with great decency on the occasion.

He now sent a message to his aunt, who returned that she wished him a
good journey, but was too disordered to see any company: he therefore
prepared to set out, having invited Mr Wilson to his house; and Pamela
and Joseph both so insisted on his complying, that he at last
consented, having first obtained a messenger from Mr Booby to acquaint
his wife with the news; which, as he knew it would render her
completely happy, he could not prevail on himself to delay a moment in
acquainting her with.

The company were ranged in this manner: the two old people, with their
two daughters, rode in the coach; the squire, Mr Wilson, Joseph, parson
Adams, and the pedlar, proceeded on horseback.

In their way, Joseph informed his father of his intended match with
Fanny; to which, though he expressed some reluctance at first, on the
eagerness of his son's instances he consented; saying, if she was so
good a creature as she appeared, and he described her, he thought the
disadvantages of birth and fortune might be compensated. He however
insisted on the match being deferred till he had seen his mother; in
which, Joseph perceiving him positive, with great duty obeyed him, to
the great delight of parson Adams, who by these means saw an
opportunity of fulfilling the Church forms, and marrying his
parishioners without a licence.

Mr Adams, greatly exulting on this occasion (for such ceremonies were
matters of no small moment with him), accidentally gave spurs to his
horse, which the generous beast disdaining--for he was of high mettle,
and had been used to more expert riders than the gentleman who at
present bestrode him, for whose horsemanship he had perhaps some
contempt--immediately ran away full speed, and played so many antic
tricks that he tumbled the parson from his back; which Joseph
perceiving, came to his relief.

This accident afforded infinite merriment to the servants, and no less
frighted poor Fanny, who beheld him as he passed by the coach; but the
mirth of the one and terror of the other were soon determined, when the
parson declared he had received no damage.

The horse having freed himself from his unworthy rider, as he probably
thought him, proceeded to make the best of his way; but was stopped by a
gentleman and his servants, who were travelling the opposite way, and
were now at a little distance from the coach. They soon met; and as one
of the servants delivered Adams his horse, his master hailed him, and
Adams, looking up, presently recollected he was the justice of peace
before whom he and Fanny had made their appearance. The parson presently
saluted him very kindly; and the justice informed him that he had found
the fellow who attempted to swear against him and the young woman the
very next day, and had committed him to Salisbury gaol, where he was
charged with many robberies.

Many compliments having passed between the parson and the justice, the
latter proceeded on his journey; and the former, having with some
disdain refused Joseph's offer of changing horses, and declared he was
as able a horseman as any in the kingdom, remounted his beast; and now
the company again proceeded, and happily arrived at their journey's
end, Mr Adams, by good luck, rather than by good riding, escaping a
second fall.

The company, arriving at Mr Booby's house, were all received by him in
the most courteous and entertained in the most splendid manner, after
the custom of the old English hospitality, which is still preserved in
some very few families in the remote parts of England. They all passed
that day with the utmost satisfaction; it being perhaps impossible to
find any set of people more solidly and sincerely happy. Joseph and
Fanny found means to be alone upwards of two hours, which were the
shortest but the sweetest imaginable.

In the morning Mr Wilson proposed to his son to make a visit with him to
his mother; which, notwithstanding his dutiful inclinations, and a
longing desire he had to see her, a little concerned him, as he must be
obliged to leave his Fanny; but the goodness of Mr Booby relieved him;
for he proposed to send his own coach and six for Mrs Wilson, whom
Pamela so very earnestly invited, that Mr Wilson at length agreed with
the entreaties of Mr Booby and Joseph, and suffered the coach to go
empty for his wife.

On Saturday night the coach returned with Mrs Wilson, who added one more
to this happy assembly. The reader may imagine much better and quicker
too than I can describe the many embraces and tears of joy which
succeeded her arrival. It is sufficient to say she was easily prevailed
with to follow her husband's example in consenting to the match.

On Sunday Mr Adams performed the service at the squire's parish church,
the curate of which very kindly exchanged duty, and rode twenty miles to
the Lady Booby's parish so to do; being particularly charged not to omit
publishing the banns, being the third and last time.

At length the happy day arrived which was to put Joseph in the
possession of all his wishes. He arose, and drest himself in a neat but
plain suit of Mr Booby's, which exactly fitted him; for he refused all
finery; as did Fanny likewise, who could be prevailed on by Pamela to
attire herself in nothing richer than a white dimity nightgown. Her
shift indeed, which Pamela presented her, was of the finest kind, and
had an edging of lace round the bosom. She likewise equipped her with a
pair of fine white thread stockings, which were all she would accept;
for she wore one of her own short round-eared caps, and over it a
little straw hat, lined with cherry-coloured silk, and tied with a
cherry-coloured ribbon. In this dress she came forth from her chamber,
blushing and breathing sweets; and was by Joseph, whose eyes sparkled
fire, led to church, the whole family attending, where Mr Adams
performed the ceremony; at which nothing was so remarkable as the
extraordinary and unaffected modesty of Fanny, unless the true
Christian piety of Adams, who publickly rebuked Mr Booby and Pamela for
laughing in so sacred a place, and on so solemn an occasion. Our parson
would have done no less to the highest prince on earth; for, though he
paid all submission and deference to his superiors in other matters,
where the least spice of religion intervened he immediately lost all
respect of persons. It was his maxim, that he was a servant of the
Highest, and could not, without departing from his duty, give up the
least article of his honour or of his cause to the greatest earthly
potentate. Indeed, he always asserted that Mr Adams at church with his
surplice on, and Mr Adams without that ornament in any other place,
were two very different persons.

When the church rites were over Joseph led his blooming bride back to Mr
Booby's (for the distance was so very little they did not think proper
to use a coach); the whole company attended them likewise on foot; and
now a most magnificent entertainment was provided, at which parson Adams
demonstrated an appetite surprizing as well as surpassing every one
present. Indeed the only persons who betrayed any deficiency on this
occasion were those on whose account the feast was provided. They
pampered their imaginations with the much more exquisite repast which
the approach of night promised them; the thoughts of which filled both
their minds, though with different sensations; the one all desire, while
the other had her wishes tempered with fears.

At length, after a day passed with the utmost merriment, corrected by
the strictest decency, in which, however, parson Adams, being well
filled with ale and pudding, had given a loose to more facetiousness
than was usual to him, the happy, the blest moment arrived when Fanny
retired with her mother, her mother-in-law, and her sister.

She was soon undrest; for she had no jewels to deposit in their caskets,
nor fine laces to fold with the nicest exactness. Undressing to her was
properly discovering, not putting off, ornaments; for, as all her charms
were the gifts of nature, she could divest herself of none. How, reader,
shall I give thee an adequate idea of this lovely young creature? the
bloom of roses and lilies might a little illustrate her complexion, or
their smell her sweetness; but to comprehend her entirely, conceive
youth, health, bloom, neatness, and innocence, in her bridal bed;
conceive all these in their utmost perfection, and you may place the
charming Fanny's picture before your eyes.

Joseph no sooner heard she was in bed than he fled with the utmost
eagerness to her. A minute carried him into her arms, where we shall
leave this happy couple to enjoy the private rewards of their constancy;
rewards so great and sweet, that I apprehend Joseph neither envied the
noblest duke, nor Fanny the finest duchess, that night.

The third day Mr Wilson and his wife, with their son and daughter,
returned home; where they now live together in a state of bliss scarce
ever equalled. Mr Booby hath, with unprecedented generosity, given Fanny
a fortune of two thousand pounds, which Joseph hath laid out in a little
estate in the same parish with his father, which he now occupies (his
father having stocked it for him); and Fanny presides with most
excellent management in his dairy; where, however, she is not at present
very able to bustle much, being, as Mr Wilson informs me in his last
letter, extremely big with her first child.

Mr Booby hath presented Mr Adams with a living of one hundred and
thirty pounds a year. He at first refused it, resolving not to quit
his parishioners, with whom he had lived so long; but, on
recollecting he might keep a curate at this living, he hath been
lately inducted into it.

The pedlar, besides several handsome presents, both from Mr Wilson and
Mr Booby, is, by the latter's interest, made an exciseman; a trust which
he discharges with such justice, that he is greatly beloved in his
neighbourhood.

As for the Lady Booby, she returned to London in a few days, where a
young captain of dragoons, together with eternal parties at cards, soon
obliterated the memory of Joseph.

Joseph remains blest with his Fanny, whom he doats on with the utmost
tenderness, which is all returned on her side. The happiness of this
couple is a perpetual fountain of pleasure to their fond parents; and,
what is particularly remarkable, he declares he will imitate them in
their retirement, nor will be prevailed on by any booksellers, or their
authors, to make his appearance in high life.

THE END.

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