Supper was no sooner ended, than Fanny at her own request retired, and the good woman bore her company. The man of the house, Adams, and Joseph, who would modestly have withdrawn, had not the gentleman insisted on the contrary, drew round the fireside, where Adams (to use his own words) replenished his pipe, and the gentleman produced a bottle of excellent beer, being the best liquor in his house.
The modest behaviour of Joseph, with the gracefulness of his person, the character which Adams gave of him, and the friendship he seemed to entertain for him, began to work on the gentleman's affections, and raised in him a curiosity to know the singularity which Adams had mentioned in his history. This curiosity Adams was no sooner informed of than, with Joseph's consent, he agreed to gratify it; and accordingly related all he knew, with as much tenderness as was possible for the character of Lady Booby; and concluded with the long, faithful, and mutual passion between him and Fanny, not concealing the meanness of her birth and education. These latter circumstances entirely cured a jealousy which had lately risen in the gentleman's mind, that Fanny was the daughter of some person of fashion, and that Joseph had run away with her, and Adams was concerned in the plot. He was now enamoured of his guests, drank their healths with great chearfulness, and returned many thanks to Adams, who had spent much breath, for he was a circumstantial teller of a story.
Adams told him it was now in his power to return that favour; for his extraordinary goodness, as well as that fund of literature he was master of, which he did not expect to find under such a roof, had raised in him more curiosity than he had ever known. "Therefore," said he, "if it be not too troublesome, sir, your history, if you please."
The gentleman answered, he could not refuse him what he had so much right to insist on; and after some of the common apologies, which are the usual preface to a story, he thus began.