Joseph Andrews By Henry Fielding Book I: Chapters 11-12

Mrs Tow-wouse was just awake, and had stretched out her arms in vain to fold her departed husband, when the maid entered the room. "Who's there? Betty?" — "Yes, madam." — "Where's your master?" — "He's without, madam; he hath sent me for a shirt to lend a poor naked man, who hath been robbed and murdered." — "Touch one if you dare, you slut," said Mrs Tow-wouse: "your master is a pretty sort of a man, to take in naked vagabonds, and clothe them with his own clothes. I shall have no such doings. If you offer to touch anything, I'll throw the chamber-pot at your head. Go, send your master to me." — "Yes, madam," answered Betty. As soon as he came in, she thus began: "What the devil do you mean by this, Mr Tow-wouse? Am I to buy shirts to lend to a set of scabby rascals?" — "My dear," said Mr Tow-wouse, "this is a poor wretch." — "Yes," says she, "I know it is a poor wretch; but what the devil have we to do with poor wretches? The law makes us provide for too many already. We shall have thirty or forty poor wretches in red coats shortly." — "My dear," cries Tow-wouse, "this man hath been robbed of all he hath." — "Well then," said she, "where's his money to pay his reckoning? Why doth not such a fellow go to an alehouse? I shall send him packing as soon as I am up, I assure you." — "My dear," said he, "common charity won't suffer you to do that." — "Common charity, a f — t!" says she, "common charity teaches us to provide for ourselves and our families; and I and mine won't be ruined by your charity, I assure you." — "Well," says he, "my dear, do as you will, when you are up; you know I never contradict you." — "No," says she; "if the devil was to contradict me, I would make the house too hot to hold him."

With such like discourses they consumed near half-an-hour, whilst Betty provided a shirt from the hostler, who was one of her sweethearts, and put it on poor Joseph. The surgeon had likewise at last visited him, and washed and drest his wounds, and was now come to acquaint Mr Tow-wouse that his guest was in such extreme danger of his life, that he scarce saw any hopes of his recovery. "Here's a pretty kettle of fish," cries Mrs Tow-wouse, "you have brought upon us! We are like to have a funeral at our own expense." Tow-wouse (who, notwithstanding his charity, would have given his vote as freely as ever he did at an election, that any other house in the kingdom should have quiet possession of his guest) answered, "My dear, I am not to blame; he was brought hither by the stage-coach, and Betty had put him to bed before I was stirring." — "I'll Betty her," says she. — At which, with half her garments on, the other half under her arm, she sallied out in quest of the unfortunate Betty, whilst Tow-wouse and the surgeon went to pay a visit to poor Joseph, and inquire into the circumstances of this melancholy affair.

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