Summary and Analysis
In a long monologue on charity (a monologue because Adams is asleep), Joseph maintains that the desire for honor should lead man, not to material acquisition — one's possessions are so often criticized behind one's back — but to charity: "I defy the wisest man in the world to turn a true good action into ridicule." Noticing that Adams is asleep, Joseph turns from his philosophizing to matters more of this world, but Fanny's tender hearted reaction to the beleaguered hare that interrupts their dalliance continues the theme of charity. For all Fanny's pity, the hare is finally caught by the hounds and killed before her eyes; in fact, the hare is so close to Adams that some of the hounds start to pull his cassock to bits. Adams flees, but the master of the pack sets his hounds in pursuit. As the hounds close in on Adams, however, Joseph is there with his cudgel, and the pair of them defend themselves with such success that the master of the hunt calls off his bruised and battered pack. The gentleman's fury is mollified only by the appearance of Fanny, and he invites the travelers to dinner with more devious and wicked thoughts than revenge in his head. His attempts to further these by stupefying Adams and Joseph with drink perhaps have something to do with his upbringing. He has been privately educated, and in this, as well as in his travels and his career in Parliament, the squire has followed his own whims and penchant for the grotesque; indeed, his companions are closer to curs than are his hounds. The squire's strange retinue taunts Adams in a truly cur-like way, and Adams berates the squire for turning a blind eye to the grossly inhospitable behavior of the poet, the player, and the dancing-master. The hypocritical doctor takes the side of Adams, but the trick with which he replaces the buffoonery of the others differs only in its skillful disguise: Adams finds himself in a tub of water instead of on a throne. Furious, he dunks the squire and leaves with Joseph and Fanny, which infuriates the squire. He sends his cronies in fast pursuit.
Adams, Joseph, and Fanny come to an inn, where Adams falls into a conversation with a Roman Catholic priest, who ends his long tirade on the evil of money with a request to Adams for a loan. To Adams' consternation, he finds that he has lost all his money, but this doesn't stop him from taking comfort in the simple and homely provisions of the inn. This peace is short-lived, however; the morning brings with it the captain, the poet and the player in pursuit of Fanny. A battle royal ensues and the end of it all is that Fanny is carried off while the soiled Adams and the stunned Joseph are tied to the bedposts.
Joseph's comments on charity preface a sour and brutal episode. We may laugh at Adams as he becomes a "hare" for the hounds, and the assault on Adams by the dogs may be burlesque, but already Adams' human assailants are being referred to as animals. The squire's bestial lust and the malicious behavior of his court of assorted brutes are entirely devoid of humanity. Again Adams judges others by his own "inoffensive disposition," and is an easy prey both for the squire's cranks and for the hypocritical Catholic. He is most at home with simple things, whether it be the physical valor that saves him from the squire or the homely bed that restores his strength sufficiently to allow him to fight again with equal vigor the next day.