Joseph Andrews By Henry Fielding Book II: Chapter 4

Leonora, covered with blushes, and with as angry a look as she could possibly put on, told him, "That had she suspected what his declaration would have been, he should not have decoyed her from her company, that he had so surprized and frighted her, that she begged him to convey her back as quick as possible;" which he, trembling very near as much as herself, did.

"More fool he," cried Slipslop; "it is a sign he knew very little of our sect." — "Truly, madam," said Adams, "I think you are in the right: I should have insisted to know a piece of her mind, when I had carried matters so far." But Mrs Grave-airs desired the lady to omit all such fulsome stuff in her story, for that it made her sick.

Well then, madam, to be as concise as possible, said the lady, many weeks had not passed after this interview before Horatio and Leonora were what they call on a good footing together. All ceremonies except the last were now over; the writings were now drawn, and everything was in the utmost forwardness preparative to the putting Horatio in possession of all his wishes. I will, if you please, repeat you a letter from each of them, which I have got by heart, and which will give you no small idea of their passion on both sides.

Mrs Grave-airs objected to hearing these letters; but being put to the vote, it was carried against her by all the rest in the coach; parson Adams contending for it with the utmost vehemence.

HORATIO TO LEONORA.

"How vain, most adorable creature, is the pursuit of pleasure in the absence of an object to which the mind is entirely devoted, unless it have some relation to that object! I was last night condemned to the society of men of wit and learning, which, however agreeable it might have formerly been to me, now only gave me a suspicion that they imputed my absence in conversation to the true cause. For which reason, when your engagements forbid me the ecstatic happiness of seeing you, I am always desirous to be alone; since my sentiments for Leonora are so delicate, that I cannot bear the apprehension of another's prying into those delightful endearments with which the warm imagination of a lover will sometimes indulge him, and which I suspect my eyes then betray. To fear this discovery of our thoughts may perhaps appear too ridiculous a nicety to minds not susceptible of all the tendernesses of this delicate passion. And surely we shall suspect there are few such, when we consider that it requires every human virtue to exert itself in its full extent; since the beloved, whose happiness it ultimately respects, may give us charming opportunities of being brave in her defence, generous to her wants, compassionate to her afflictions, grateful to her kindness; and in the same manner, of exercising every other virtue, which he who would not do to any degree, and that with the utmost rapture, can never deserve the name of a lover. It is, therefore, with a view to the delicate modesty of your mind that I cultivate it so purely in my own; and it is that which will sufficiently suggest to you the uneasiness I bear from those liberties, which men to whom the world allow politeness will sometimes give themselves on these occasions.

"Can I tell you with what eagerness I expect the arrival of that blest day, when I shall experience the falsehood of a common assertion, that the greatest human happiness consists in hope? A doctrine which no person had ever stronger reason to believe than myself at present, since none ever tasted such bliss as fires my bosom with the thoughts of spending my future days with such a companion, and that every action of my life will have the glorious satisfaction of conducing to your happiness."

LEONORA TO HORATIO.

"The refinement of your mind has been so evidently proved by every word and action ever since I had the first pleasure of knowing you, that I thought it impossible my good opinion of Horatio could have been heightened to any additional proof of merit. This very thought was my amusement when I received your last letter, which, when I opened, I confess I was surprized to find the delicate sentiments expressed there so far exceeding what I thought could come even from you (although I know all the generous principles human nature is capable of are centred in your breast), that words cannot paint what I feel on the reflection that my happiness shall be the ultimate end of all your actions.

"Oh, Horatio! what a life must that be, where the meanest domestic cares are sweetened by the pleasing consideration that the man on earth who best deserves, and to whom you are most inclined to give your affections, is to reap either profit or pleasure from all you do! In such a case toils must be turned into diversions, and nothing but the unavoidable inconveniences of life can make us remember that we are mortal.

"If the solitary turn of your thoughts, and the desire of keeping them undiscovered, makes even the conversation of men of wit and learning tedious to you, what anxious hours must I spend, who am condemned by custom to the conversation of women, whose natural curiosity leads them to pry into all my thoughts, and whose envy can never suffer Horatio's heart to be possessed by any one, without forcing them into malicious designs against the person who is so happy as to possess it! But, indeed, if ever envy can possibly have any excuse, or even alleviation, it is in this case, where the good is so great, and it must be equally natural to all to wish it for themselves; nor am I ashamed to own it: and to your merit, Horatio, I am obliged, that prevents my being in that most uneasy of all the situations I can figure in my imagination, of being led by inclination to love the person whom my own judgment forces me to condemn."

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After Adams returns penniless from Pastor Trulliber's, who pays his bills at the inn?




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