In which the history is continued.
Joseph Andrews had borne with great uneasiness the impertinence of beau Didapper to Fanny, who had been talking pretty freely to her, and offering her settlements; but the respect to the company had restrained him from interfering whilst the beau confined himself to the use of his tongue only; but the said beau, watching an opportunity whilst the ladies' eyes were disposed another way, offered a rudeness to her with his hands; which Joseph no sooner perceived than he presented him with so sound a box on the ear, that it conveyed him several paces from where he stood. The ladies immediately screamed out, rose from their chairs; and the beau, as soon as he recovered himself, drew his hanger: which Adams observing, snatched up the lid of a pot in his left hand, and, covering himself with it as with a shield, without any weapon of offence in his other hand, stept in before Joseph, and exposed himself to the enraged beau, who threatened such perdition and destruction, that it frighted the women, who were all got in a huddle together, out of their wits, even to hear his denunciations of vengeance. Joseph was of a different complexion, and begged Adams to let his rival come on; for he had a good cudgel in his hand, and did not fear him. Fanny now fainted into Mrs Adams's arms, and the whole room was in confusion, when Mr Booby, passing by Adams, who lay snug under the pot-lid, came up to Didapper, and insisted on his sheathing the hanger, promising he should have satisfaction; which Joseph declared he would give him, and fight him at any weapon whatever. The beau now sheathed his hanger, and taking out a pocket-glass, and vowing vengeance all the time, re-adjusted his hair; the parson deposited his shield; and Joseph, running to Fanny, soon brought her back to life. Lady Booby chid Joseph for his insult on Didapper; but he answered, he would have attacked an army in the same cause. "What cause?" said the lady. "Madam," answered Joseph, "he was rude to that young woman."—"What," says the lady, "I suppose he would have kissed the wench; and is a gentleman to be struck for such an offer? I must tell you, Joseph, these airs do not become you."—"Madam," said Mr Booby, "I saw the whole affair, and I do not commend my brother; for I cannot perceive why he should take upon him to be this girl's champion."—"I can commend him," says Adams: "he is a brave lad; and it becomes any man to be the champion of the innocent; and he must be the basest coward who would not vindicate a woman with whom he is on the brink of marriage."—"Sir," says Mr Booby, "my brother is not a proper match for such a young woman as this."—"No," says Lady Booby; "nor do you, Mr Adams, act in your proper character by encouraging any such doings; and I am very much surprized you should concern yourself in it. I think your wife and family your properer care."—"Indeed, madam, your ladyship says very true," answered Mrs Adams: "he talks a pack of nonsense, that the whole parish are his children. I am sure I don't understand what he means by it; it would make some women suspect he had gone astray, but I acquit him of that; I can read Scripture as well as he, and I never found that the parson was obliged to provide for other folks' children; and besides, he is but a poor curate, and hath little enough, as your ladyship knows, for me and mine."—"You say very well, Mrs Adams," quoth the Lady Booby, who had not spoke a word to her before; "you seem to be a very sensible woman; and I assure you, your husband is acting a very foolish part, and opposing his own interest, seeing my nephew is violently set against this match: and indeed I can't blame him; it is by no means one suitable to our family." In this manner the lady proceeded with Mrs Adams, whilst the beau hopped about the room, shaking his head, partly from pain and partly from anger; and Pamela was chiding Fanny for her assurance in aiming at such a match as her brother. Poor Fanny answered only with her tears, which had long since begun to wet her handkerchief; which Joseph perceiving, took her by the arm, and wrapping it in his carried her off, swearing he would own no relation to any one who was an enemy to her he loved more than all the world. He went out with Fanny under his left arm, brandishing a cudgel in his right, and neither Mr Booby nor the beau thought proper to oppose him. Lady Booby and her company made a very short stay behind him; for the lady's bell now summoned them to dress; for which they had just time before dinner.
Adams seemed now very much dejected, which his wife perceiving, began to apply some matrimonial balsam. She told him he had reason to be concerned, for that he had probably ruined his family with his tricks almost; but perhaps he was grieved for the loss of his two children, Joseph and Fanny. His eldest daughter went on: "Indeed, father, it is very hard to bring strangers here to eat your children's bread out of their mouths. You have kept them ever since they came home; and, for anything I see to the contrary, may keep them a month longer; are you obliged to give her meat, tho'f she was never so handsome? But I don't see she is so much handsomer than other people. If people were to be kept for their beauty, she would scarce fare better than her neighbours, I believe. As for Mr Joseph, I have nothing to say; he is a young man of honest principles, and will pay some time or other for what he hath; but for the girl—why doth she not return to her place she ran away from? I would not give such a vagabond slut a halfpenny though I had a million of money; no, though she was starving." "Indeed but I would," cries little Dick; "and, father, rather than poor Fanny shall be starved, I will give her all this bread and cheese"—(offering what he held in his hand). Adams smiled on the boy, and told him he rejoiced to see he was a Christian; and that if he had a halfpenny in his pocket, he would have given it him; telling him it was his duty to look upon all his neighbours as his brothers and sisters, and love them accordingly. "Yes, papa," says he, "I love her better than my sisters, for she is handsomer than any of them." "Is she so, saucebox?" says the sister, giving him a box on the ear; which the father would probably have resented, had not Joseph, Fanny, and the pedlar at that instant returned together. Adams bid his wife prepare some food for their dinner; she said, "Truly she could not, she had something else to do." Adams rebuked her for disputing his commands, and quoted many texts of Scripture to prove "That the husband is the head of the wife, and she is to submit and obey." The wife answered, "It was blasphemy to talk Scripture out of church; that such things were very proper to be said in the pulpit, but that it was profane to talk them in common discourse." Joseph told Mr Adams "He was not come with any design to give him or Mrs Adams any trouble; but to desire the favour of all their company to the George (an ale-house in the parish), where he had bespoke a piece of bacon and greens for their dinner." Mrs Adams, who was a very good sort of woman, only rather too strict in oeconomies, readily accepted this invitation, as did the parson himself by her example; and away they all walked together, not omitting little Dick, to whom Joseph gave a shilling when he heard of his intended liberality to Fanny.
Where the good-natured reader will see something which will give him no great pleasure.
The pedlar had been very inquisitive from the time he had first heard that the great house in this parish belonged to the Lady Booby, and had learnt that she was the widow of Sir Thomas, and that Sir Thomas had bought Fanny, at about the age of three or four years, of a travelling woman; and, now their homely but hearty meal was ended, he told Fanny he believed he could acquaint her with her parents. The whole company, especially she herself, started at this offer of the pedlar's. He then proceeded thus, while they all lent their strictest attention:—"Though I am now contented with this humble way of getting my livelihood, I was formerly a gentleman; for so all those of my profession are called. In a word, I was a drummer in an Irish regiment of foot. Whilst I was in this honourable station I attended an officer of our regiment into England a-recruiting. In our march from Bristol to Froome (for since the decay of the woollen trade the clothing towns have furnished the army with a great number of recruits) we overtook on the road a woman, who seemed to be about thirty years old or thereabouts, not very handsome, but well enough for a soldier. As we came up to her, she mended her pace, and falling into discourse with our ladies (for every man of the party, namely, a serjeant, two private men, and a drum, were provided with their woman except myself), she continued to travel on with us. I, perceiving she must fall to my lot, advanced presently to her, made love to her in our military way, and quickly succeeded to my wishes. We struck a bargain within a mile, and lived together as man and wife to her dying day." "I suppose," says Adams, interrupting him, "you were married with a licence; for I don't see how you could contrive to have the banns published while you were marching from place to place." "No, sir," said the pedlar, "we took a licence to go to bed together without any banns." "Ay! ay!" said the parson; "ex necessitate, a licence may be allowable enough; but surely, surely, the other is the more regular and eligible way." The pedlar proceeded thus: "She returned with me to our regiment, and removed with us from quarters to quarters, till at last, whilst we lay at Galloway, she fell ill of a fever and died. When she was on her death-bed she called me to her, and, crying bitterly, declared she could not depart this world without discovering a secret to me, which, she said, was the only sin which sat heavy on her heart. She said she had formerly travelled in a company of gypsies, who had made a practice of stealing away children; that for her own part, she had been only once guilty of the crime; which, she said, she lamented more than all the rest of her sins, since probably it might have occasioned the death of the parents; for, added she, it is almost impossible to describe the beauty of the young creature, which was about a year and a half old when I kidnapped it. We kept her (for she was a girl) above two years in our company, when I sold her myself, for three guineas, to Sir Thomas Booby, in Somersetshire. Now, you know whether there are any more of that name in this county." "Yes," says Adams, "there are several Boobys who are squires, but I believe no baronet now alive; besides, it answers so exactly in every point, there is no room for doubt; but you have forgot to tell us the parents from whom the child was stolen." "Their name," answered the pedlar, "was Andrews. They lived about thirty miles from the squire; and she told me that I might be sure to find them out by one circumstance; for that they had a daughter of a very strange name, Pamela, or Pam_e_la; some pronounced it one way, and some the other." Fanny, who had changed colour at the first mention of the name, now fainted away; Joseph turned pale, and poor Dicky began to roar; the parson fell on his knees, and ejaculated many thanksgivings that this discovery had been made before the dreadful sin of incest was committed; and the pedlar was struck with amazement, not being able to account for all this confusion; the cause of which was presently opened by the parson's daughter, who was the only unconcerned person (for the mother was chafing Fanny's temples, and taking the utmost care of her): and, indeed, Fanny was the only creature whom the daughter would not have pitied in her situation; wherein, though we compassionate her ourselves, we shall leave her for a little while, and pay a short visit to Lady Booby.
The history, returning to the Lady Booby, gives some account of the terrible conflict in her breast between love and pride; with what happened on the present discovery.
The lady sat down with her company to dinner, but eat nothing. As soon as her cloth was removed she whispered Pamela that she was taken a little ill, and desired her to entertain her husband and beau Didapper. She then went up into her chamber, sent for Slipslop, threw herself on the bed in the agonies of love, rage, and despair; nor could she conceal these boiling passions longer without bursting. Slipslop now approached her bed, and asked how her ladyship did; but, instead of revealing her disorder, as she intended, she entered into a long encomium on the beauty and virtues of Joseph Andrews; ending, at last, with expressing her concern that so much tenderness should be thrown away on so despicable an object as Fanny. Slipslop, well knowing how to humour her mistress's frenzy, proceeded to repeat, with exaggeration, if possible, all her mistress had said, and concluded with a wish that Joseph had been a gentleman, and that she could see her lady in the arms of such a husband. The lady then started from the bed, and, taking a turn or two across the room, cryed out, with a deep sigh, "Sure he would make any woman happy!"—"Your ladyship," says she, "would be the happiest woman in the world with him. A fig for custom and nonsense! What 'vails what people say? Shall I be afraid of eating sweetmeats because people may say I have a sweet tooth? If I had a mind to marry a man, all the world should not hinder me. Your ladyship hath no parents to tutelar your infections; besides, he is of your ladyship's family now, and as good a gentleman as any in the country; and why should not a woman follow her mind as well as man? Why should not your ladyship marry the brother as well as your nephew the sister. I am sure, if it was a fragrant crime, I would not persuade your ladyship to it."—"But, dear Slipslop," answered the lady, "if I could prevail on myself to commit such a weakness, there is that cursed Fanny in the way, whom the idiot—O how I hate and despise him!"—"She! a little ugly mynx," cries Slipslop; "leave her to me. I suppose your ladyship hath heard of Joseph's fitting with one of Mr Didapper's servants about her; and his master hath ordered them to carry her away by force this evening. I'll take care they shall not want assistance. I was talking with this gentleman, who was below, just when your ladyship sent for me."—"Go back," says the Lady Booby, "this instant, for I expect Mr Didapper will soon be going. Do all you can; for I am resolved this wench shall not be in our family: I will endeavour to return to the company; but let me know as soon as she is carried off." Slipslop went away; and her mistress began to arraign her own conduct in the following manner:—
"What am I doing? How do I suffer this passion to creep imperceptibly upon me? How many days are past since I could have submitted to ask myself the question?—Marry a footman! Distraction! Can I afterwards bear the eyes of my acquaintance? But I can retire from them; retire with one in whom I propose more happiness than the world without him can give me! Retire-to feed continually on beauties which my inflamed imagination sickens with eagerly gazing on; to satisfy every appetite, every desire, with their utmost wish. Ha! and do I doat thus on a footman? I despise, I detest my passion.—Yet why? Is he not generous, gentle, kind?—Kind! to whom? to the meanest wretch, a creature below my consideration. Doth he not—yes, he doth prefer her. Curse his beauties, and the little low heart that possesses them; which can basely descend to this despicable wench, and be ungratefully deaf to all the honours I do him. And can I then love this monster? No, I will tear his image from my bosom, tread on him, spurn him. I will have those pitiful charms, which now I despise, mangled in my sight; for I will not suffer the little jade I hate to riot in the beauties I contemn. No; though I despise him myself, though I would spurn him from my feet, was he to languish at them, no other should taste the happiness I scorn. Why do I say happiness? To me it would be misery. To sacrifice my reputation, my character, my rank in life, to the indulgence of a mean and a vile appetite! How I detest the thought! How much more exquisite is the pleasure resulting from the reflection of virtue and prudence than the faint relish of what flows from vice and folly! Whither did I suffer this improper, this mad passion to hurry me, only by neglecting to summon the aids of reason to my assistance? Reason, which hath now set before me my desires in their proper colours, and immediately helped me to expel them. Yes, I thank Heaven and my pride, I have now perfectly conquered this unworthy passion; and if there was no obstacle in its way, my pride would disdain any pleasures which could be the consequence of so base, so mean, so vulgar—" Slipslop returned at this instant in a violent hurry, and with the utmost eagerness cryed out, "O madam! I have strange news. Tom the footman is just come from the George; where, it seems, Joseph and the rest of them are a jinketting; and he says there is a strange man who hath discovered that Fanny and Joseph are brother and sister."—"How, Slipslop?" cries the lady, in a surprize.—"I had not time, madam," cries Slipslop, "to enquire about particles, but Tom says it is most certainly true."
This unexpected account entirely obliterated all those admirable reflections which the supreme power of reason had so wisely made just before. In short, when despair, which had more share in producing the resolutions of hatred we have seen taken, began to retreat, the lady hesitated a moment, and then, forgetting all the purport of her soliloquy, dismissed her woman again, with orders to bid Tom attend her in the parlour, whither she now hastened to acquaint Pamela with the news. Pamela said she could not believe it; for she had never heard that her mother had lost any child, or that she had ever had any more than Joseph and herself. The lady flew into a violent rage with her, and talked of upstarts and disowning relations who had so lately been on a level with her. Pamela made no answer; but her husband, taking up her cause, severely reprimanded his aunt for her behaviour to his wife: he told her, if it had been earlier in the evening she should not have staid a moment longer in her house; that he was convinced, if this young woman could be proved her sister, she would readily embrace her as such, and he himself would do the same. He then desired the fellow might be sent for, and the young woman with him, which Lady Booby immediately ordered; and, thinking proper to make some apology to Pamela for what she had said, it was readily accepted, and all things reconciled.
The pedlar now attended, as did Fanny and Joseph, who would not quit her; the parson likewise was induced, not only by curiosity, of which he had no small portion, but his duty, as he apprehended it, to follow them; for he continued all the way to exhort them, who were now breaking their hearts, to offer up thanksgivings, and be joyful for so miraculous an escape.
When they arrived at Booby-Hall they were presently called into the parlour, where the pedlar repeated the same story he had told before, and insisted on the truth of every circumstance; so that all who heard him were extremely well satisfied of the truth, except Pamela, who imagined, as she had never heard either of her parents mention such an accident, that it must be certainly false; and except the Lady Booby, who suspected the falsehood of the story from her ardent desire that it should be true; and Joseph, who feared its truth, from his earnest wishes that it might prove false.
Mr Booby now desired them all to suspend their curiosity and absolute belief or disbelief till the next morning, when he expected old Mr Andrews and his wife to fetch himself and Pamela home in his coach, and then they might be certain of certainly knowing the truth or falsehood of this relation; in which, he said, as there were many strong circumstances to induce their credit, so he could not perceive any interest the pedlar could have in inventing it, or in endeavouring to impose such a falsehood on them.
The Lady Booby, who was very little used to such company, entertained them all—viz. her nephew, his wife, her brother and sister, the beau, and the parson, with great good humour at her own table. As to the pedlar, she ordered him to be made as welcome as possible by her servants. All the company in the parlour, except the disappointed lovers, who sat sullen and silent, were full of mirth; for Mr Booby had prevailed on Joseph to ask Mr Didapper's pardon, with which he was perfectly satisfied. Many jokes passed between the beau and the parson, chiefly on each other's dress; these afforded much diversion to the company. Pamela chid her brother Joseph for the concern which he exprest at discovering a new sister. She said, if he loved Fanny as he ought, with a pure affection, he had no reason to lament being related to her.—Upon which Adams began to discourse on Platonic love; whence he made a quick transition to the joys in the next world, and concluded with strongly asserting that there was no such thing as pleasure in this. At which Pamela and her husband smiled on one another.
This happy pair proposing to retire (for no other person gave the least symptom of desiring rest), they all repaired to several beds provided for them in the same house; nor was Adams himself suffered to go home, it being a stormy night. Fanny indeed often begged she might go home with the parson; but her stay was so strongly insisted on, that she at last, by Joseph's advice, consented.
Containing several curious night-adventures, in which Mr Adams fell into many hair-breadth 'scapes, partly owing to his goodness, and partly to his inadvertency.
About an hour after they had all separated (it being now past three in the morning), beau Didapper, whose passion for Fanny permitted him not to close his eyes, but had employed his imagination in contrivances how to satisfy his desires, at last hit on a method by which he hoped to effect it. He had ordered his servant to bring him word where Fanny lay, and had received his information; he therefore arose, put on his breeches and nightgown, and stole softly along the gallery which led to her apartment; and, being come to the door, as he imagined it, he opened it with the least noise possible and entered the chamber. A savour now invaded his nostrils which he did not expect in the room of so sweet a young creature, and which might have probably had no good effect on a cooler lover. However, he groped out the bed with difficulty, for there was not a glimpse of light, and, opening the curtains, he whispered in Joseph's voice (for he was an excellent mimic), "Fanny, my angel! I am come to inform thee that I have discovered the falsehood of the story we last night heard. I am no longer thy brother, but the lover; nor will I be delayed the enjoyment of thee one moment longer. You have sufficient assurances of my constancy not to doubt my marrying you, and it would be want of love to deny me the possession of thy charms."—So saying, he disencumbered himself from the little clothes he had on, and, leaping into bed, embraced his angel, as he conceived her, with great rapture. If he was surprized at receiving no answer, he was no less pleased to find his hug returned with equal ardour. He remained not long in this sweet confusion; for both he and his paramour presently discovered their error. Indeed it was no other than the accomplished Slipslop whom he had engaged; but, though she immediately knew the person whom she had mistaken for Joseph, he was at a loss to guess at the representative of Fanny. He had so little seen or taken notice of this gentlewoman, that light itself would have afforded him no assistance in his conjecture. Beau Didapper no sooner had perceived his mistake than he attempted to escape from the bed with much greater haste than he had made to it; but the watchful Slipslop prevented him. For that prudent woman, being disappointed of those delicious offerings which her fancy had promised her pleasure, resolved to make an immediate sacrifice to her virtue. Indeed she wanted an opportunity to heal some wounds, which her late conduct had, she feared, given her reputation; and, as she had a wonderful presence of mind, she conceived the person of the unfortunate beau to be luckily thrown in her way to restore her lady's opinion of her impregnable chastity. At that instant, therefore, when he offered to leap from the bed, she caught fast hold of his shirt, at the same time roaring out, "O thou villain! who hast attacked my chastity, and, I believe, ruined me in my sleep; I will swear a rape against thee, I will prosecute thee with the utmost vengeance." The beau attempted to get loose, but she held him fast, and when he struggled she cried out "Murder! murder! rape! robbery! ruin!" At which words, parson Adams, who lay in the next chamber, wakeful, and meditating on the pedlar's discovery, jumped out of bed, and, without staying to put a rag of clothes on, hastened into the apartment whence the cries proceeded. He made directly to the bed in the dark, where, laying hold of the beau's skin (for Slipslop had torn his shirt almost off), and finding his skin extremely soft, and hearing him in a low voice begging Slipslop to let him go, he no longer doubted but this was the young woman in danger of ravishing, and immediately falling on the bed, and laying hold on Slipslop's chin, where he found a rough beard, his belief was confirmed; he therefore rescued the beau, who presently made his escape, and then, turning towards Slipslop, received such a cuff on his chops, that, his wrath kindling instantly, he offered to return the favour so stoutly, that had poor Slipslop received the fist, which in the dark passed by her and fell on the pillow, she would most probably have given up the ghost. Adams, missing his blow, fell directly on Slipslop, who cuffed and scratched as well as she could; nor was he behindhand with her in his endeavours, but happily the darkness of the night befriended her. She then cried she was a woman; but Adams answered, she was rather the devil, and if she was he would grapple with him; and, being again irritated by another stroke on his chops, he gave her such a remembrance in the guts, that she began to roar loud enough to be heard all over the house. Adams then, seizing her by the hair (for her double-clout had fallen off in the scuffle), pinned her head down to the bolster, and then both called for lights together. The Lady Booby, who was as wakeful as any of her guests, had been alarmed from the beginning; and, being a woman of a bold spirit, she slipt on a nightgown, petticoat, and slippers, and taking a candle, which always burnt in her chamber, in her hand, she walked undauntedly to Slipslop's room; where she entered just at the instant as Adams had discovered, by the two mountains which Slipslop carried before her, that he was concerned with a female. He then concluded her to be a witch, and said he fancied those breasts gave suck to a legion of devils. Slipslop, seeing Lady Booby enter the room, cried help! or I am ravished, with a most audible voice: and Adams, perceiving the light, turned hastily, and saw the lady (as she did him) just as she came to the feet of the bed; nor did her modesty, when she found the naked condition of Adams, suffer her to approach farther. She then began to revile the parson as the wickedest of all men, and particularly railed at his impudence in chusing her house for the scene of his debaucheries, and her own woman for the object of his bestiality. Poor Adams had before discovered the countenance of his bedfellow, and, now first recollecting he was naked, he was no less confounded than Lady Booby herself, and immediately whipt under the bedclothes, whence the chaste Slipslop endeavoured in vain to shut him out. Then putting forth his head, on which, by way of ornament, he wore a flannel nightcap, he protested his innocence, and asked ten thousand pardons of Mrs Slipslop for the blows he had struck her, vowing he had mistaken her for a witch. Lady Booby, then casting her eyes on the ground, observed something sparkle with great lustre, which, when she had taken it up, appeared to be a very fine pair of diamond buttons for the sleeves. A little farther she saw lie the sleeve itself of a shirt with laced ruffles. "Heyday!" says she, "what is the meaning of this?" "O, madam," says Slipslop, "I don't know what hath happened, I have been so terrified. Here may have been a dozen men in the room." "To whom belongs this laced shirt and jewels?" says the lady. "Undoubtedly," cries the parson, "to the young gentleman whom I mistook for a woman on coming into the room, whence proceeded all the subsequent mistakes; for if I had suspected him for a man, I would have seized him, had he been another Hercules, though, indeed, he seems rather to resemble Hylas." He then gave an account of the reason of his rising from bed, and the rest, till the lady came into the room; at which, and the figures of Slipslop and her gallant, whose heads only were visible at the opposite corners of the bed, she could 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.
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.
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.