Joseph Andrews By Henry Fielding Book II: Chapters 16-17

Mr Adams rose very early, and called Joseph out of his bed, between whom a very fierce dispute ensued, whether Fanny should ride behind Joseph, or behind the gentleman's servant; Joseph insisting on it that he was perfectly recovered, and was as capable of taking care of Fanny as any other person could be. But Adams would not agree to it, and declared he would not trust her behind him; for that he was weaker than he imagined himself to be.

This dispute continued a long time, and had begun to be very hot, when a servant arrived from their good friend, to acquaint them that he was unfortunately prevented from lending them any horses; for that his groom had, unknown to him, put his whole stable under a course of physic.

This advice presently struck the two disputants dumb: Adams cried out, "Was ever anything so unlucky as this poor gentleman? I protest I am more sorry on his account than my own. You see, Joseph, how this good-natured man is treated by his servants; one locks up his linen, another physics his horses, and I suppose, by his being at this house last night, the butler had locked up his cellar. Bless us! how good-nature is used in this world! I protest I am more concerned on his account than my own." "So am not I," cries Joseph; "not that I am much troubled about walking on foot; all my concern is, how we shall get out of the house, unless God sends another pedlar to redeem us. But certainly this gentleman has such an affection for you, that he would lend you a larger sum than we owe here, which is not above four or five shillings." "Very true, child," answered Adams; "I will write a letter to him, and will even venture to solicit him for three half-crowns; there will be no harm in having two or three shillings in our pockets; as we have full forty miles to travel, we may possibly have occasion for them."

Fanny being now risen, Joseph paid her a visit, and left Adams to write his letter, which having finished, he despatched a boy with it to the gentleman, and then seated himself by the door, lighted his pipe, and betook himself to meditation.

The boy staying longer than seemed to be necessary, Joseph, who with Fanny was now returned to the parson, expressed some apprehensions that the gentleman's steward had locked up his purse too. To which Adams answered, "It might very possibly be, and he should wonder at no liberties which the devil might put into the head of a wicked servant to take with so worthy a master;" but added, "that, as the sum was so small, so noble a gentleman would be easily able to procure it in the parish, though he had it not in his own pocket. Indeed," says he, "if it was four or five guineas, or any such large quantity of money, it might be a different matter."

They were now sat down to breakfast over some toast and ale, when the boy returned and informed them that the gentleman was not at home. "Very well!" cries Adams; "but why, child, did you not stay till his return? Go back again, my good boy, and wait for his coming home; he cannot be gone far, as his horses are all sick; and besides, he had no intention to go abroad, for he invited us to spend this day and tomorrow at his house. Therefore go back, child, and tarry till his return home." The messenger departed, and was back again with great expedition, bringing an account that the gentleman was gone a long journey, and would not be at home again this month. At these words Adams seemed greatly confounded, saying, "This must be a sudden accident, as the sickness or death of a relation or some such unforeseen misfortune;" and then, turning to Joseph, cried, "I wish you had reminded me to have borrowed this money last night." Joseph, smiling, answered, "He was very much deceived if the gentleman would not have found some excuse to avoid lending it. — I own," says he, "I was never much pleased with his professing so much kindness for you at first sight; for I have heard the gentlemen of our cloth in London tell many such stories of their masters. But when the boy brought the message back of his not being at home, I presently knew what would follow; for, whenever a man of fashion doth not care to fulfil his promises, the custom is to order his servants that he will never be at home to the person so promised. In London they call it denying him. I have myself denied Sir Thomas Booby above a hundred times, and when the man hath danced attendance for about a month or sometimes longer, he is acquainted in the end that the gentleman is gone out of town and could do nothing in the business." — "Good Lord!" says Adams, "what wickedness is there in the Christian world! I profess almost equal to what I have read of the heathens. But surely, Joseph, your suspicions of this gentleman must be unjust, for what a silly fellow must he be who would do the devil's work for nothing! and canst thou tell me any interest he could possibly propose to himself by deceiving us in his professions?" — "It is not for me," answered Joseph, "to give reasons for what men do, to a gentleman of your learning." — "You say right," quoth Adams; "knowledge of men is only to be learned from books; Plato and Seneca for that; and those are authors, I am afraid, child, you never read." — "Not I, sir, truly," answered Joseph; "all I know is, it is a maxim among the gentlemen of our cloth, that those masters who promise the most perform the least; and I have often heard them say they have found the largest vails in those families where they were not promised any. But, sir, instead of considering any farther these matters, it would be our wisest way to contrive some method of getting out of this house; for the generous gentleman, instead of doing us any service, hath left us the whole reckoning to pay." Adams was going to answer, when their host came in, and, with a kind of jeering smile, said, "Well, masters! the squire hath not sent his horses for you yet. Laud help me! how easily some folks make promises!" — "How!" says Adams; "have you ever known him do anything of this kind before?" — "Ay! marry have I," answered the host: "it is no business of mine, you know, sir, to say anything to a gentleman to his face; but now he is not here, I will assure you, he hath not his fellow within the three next market-towns. I own I could not help laughing when I heard him offer you the living, for thereby hangs a good jest. I thought he would have offered you my house next, for one is no more his to dispose of than the other." At these words Adams, blessing himself, declared, "He had never read of such a monster. But what vexes me most," says he, "is, that he hath decoyed us into running up a long debt with you, which we are not able to pay, for we have no money about us, and, what is worse, live at such a distance, that if you should trust us, I am afraid you would lose your money for want of our finding any conveniency of sending it." — "Trust you, master!" says the host, "that I will with all my heart. I honour the clergy too much to deny trusting one of them for such a trifle; besides, I like your fear of never paying me. I have lost many a debt in my lifetime, but was promised to be paid them all in a very short time. I will score this reckoning for the novelty of it. It is the first, I do assure you, of its kind. But what say you, master, shall we have t'other pot before we part? It will waste but a little chalk more, and if you never pay me a shilling the loss will not ruin me." Adams liked the invitation very well, especially as it was delivered with so hearty an accent. He shook his host by the hand, and thanking him, said, "He would tarry another pot rather for the pleasure of such worthy company than for the liquor;" adding, "he was glad to find some Christians left in the kingdom, for that he almost began to suspect that he was sojourning in a country inhabited only by Jews and Turks."

The kind host produced the liquor, and Joseph with Fanny retired into the garden, where, while they solaced themselves with amorous discourse, Adams sat down with his host; and, both filling their glasses, and lighting their pipes, they began that dialogue which the reader will find in the next chapter.

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