Joseph Andrews By Henry Fielding Book II: Chapter 5

This smart dialogue between some people and some folks was going on at the coach door when a solemn person, riding into the inn, and seeing Miss Grave-airs, immediately accosted her with "Dear child, how do you?" She presently answered, "O papa, I am glad you have overtaken me." — "So am I," answered he; "for one of our coaches is just at hand; and, there being room for you in it, you shall go no farther in the stage unless you desire it." — "How can you imagine I should desire it?" says she; so, bidding Slipslop ride with her fellow, if she pleased, she took her father by the hand, who was just alighted, and walked with him into a room.

Adams instantly asked the coachman, in a whisper, "If he knew who the gentleman was?" The coachman answered, "He was now a gentleman, and kept his horse and man; but times are altered, master," said be; "I remember when he was no better born than myself." — "Ay! ay!" says Adams. "My father drove the squire's coach," answered he, "when that very man rode postillion; but he is now his steward; and a great gentleman." Adams then snapped his fingers, and cried, "He thought she was some such trollop."

Adams made haste to acquaint Mrs Slipslop with this good news, as he imagined it; but it found a reception different from what he expected. The prudent gentlewoman, who despised the anger of Miss Grave-airs whilst she conceived her the daughter of a gentleman of small fortune, now she heard her alliance with the upper servants of a great family in her neighbourhood, began to fear her interest with the mistress. She wished she had not carried the dispute so far, and began to think of endeavouring to reconcile herself to the young lady before she left the inn; when, luckily, the scene at London, which the reader can scarce have forgotten, presented itself to her mind, and comforted her with such assurance, that she no longer apprehended any enemy with her mistress.

Everything being now adjusted, the company entered the coach, which was just on its departure, when one lady recollected she had left her fan, a second her gloves, a third a snuff-box, and a fourth a smelling-bottle behind her; to find all which occasioned some delay and much swearing to the coachman.

As soon as the coach had left the inn, the women all together fell to the character of Miss Grave-airs; whom one of them declared she had suspected to be some low creature, from the beginning of their journey, and another affirmed she had not even the looks of a gentlewoman: a third warranted she was no better than she should be; and, turning to the lady who had related the story in the coach, said, "Did you ever hear, madam, anything so prudish as her remarks? Well, deliver me from the censoriousness of such a prude." The fourth added, "O madam! all these creatures are censorious; but for my part, I wonder where the wretch was bred; indeed, I must own I have seldom conversed with these mean kind of people, so that it may appear stranger to me; but to refuse the general desire of a whole company had something in it so astonishing, that, for my part, I own I should hardly believe it if my own ears had not been witnesses to it." — "Yes, and so handsome a young fellow," cries Slipslop; "the woman must have no compulsion in her: I believe she is more of a Turk than a Christian; I am certain, if she had any Christian woman's blood in her veins, the sight of such a young fellow must have warmed it. Indeed, there are some wretched, miserable old objects, that turn one's stomach; I should not wonder if she had refused such a one; I am as nice as herself, and should have cared no more than herself for the company of stinking old fellows; but, hold up thy head, Joseph, thou art none of those; and she who hath not compulsion for thee is a Myhummetman, and I will maintain it." This conversation made Joseph uneasy as well as the ladies; who, perceiving the spirits which Mrs Slipslop was in (for indeed she was not a cup too low), began to fear the consequence; one of them therefore desired the lady to conclude the story. "Aye, madam," said Slipslop, "I beg your ladyship to give us that story you commensated in the morning;" which request that well-bred woman immediately complied with.

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




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