Joseph Andrews By Henry Fielding Book IV: Chapters 15-16

On Sunday Mr Adams performed the service at the squire's parish church, the curate of which very kindly exchanged duty, and rode twenty miles to the Lady Booby's parish so to do; being particularly charged not to omit publishing the banns, being the third and last time.

At length the happy day arrived which was to put Joseph in the possession of all his wishes. He arose, and drest himself in a neat but plain suit of Mr Booby's, which exactly fitted him; for he refused all finery; as did Fanny likewise, who could be prevailed on by Pamela to attire herself in nothing richer than a white dimity nightgown. Her shift indeed, which Pamela presented her, was of the finest kind, and had an edging of lace round the bosom. She likewise equipped her with a pair of fine white thread stockings, which were all she would accept; for she wore one of her own short round-eared caps, and over it a little straw hat, lined with cherry-coloured silk, and tied with a cherry-coloured ribbon. In this dress she came forth from her chamber, blushing and breathing sweets; and was by Joseph, whose eyes sparkled fire, led to church, the whole family attending, where Mr Adams performed the ceremony; at which nothing was so remarkable as the extraordinary and unaffected modesty of Fanny, unless the true Christian piety of Adams, who publickly rebuked Mr Booby and Pamela for laughing in so sacred a place, and on so solemn an occasion. Our parson would have done no less to the highest prince on earth; for, though he paid all submission and deference to his superiors in other matters, where the least spice of religion intervened he immediately lost all respect of persons. It was his maxim, that he was a servant of the Highest, and could not, without departing from his duty, give up the least article of his honour or of his cause to the greatest earthly potentate. Indeed, he always asserted that Mr Adams at church with his surplice on, and Mr Adams without that ornament in any other place, were two very different persons.

When the church rites were over Joseph led his blooming bride back to Mr Booby's (for the distance was so very little they did not think proper to use a coach); the whole company attended them likewise on foot; and now a most magnificent entertainment was provided, at which parson Adams demonstrated an appetite surprizing as well as surpassing every one present. Indeed the only persons who betrayed any deficiency on this occasion were those on whose account the feast was provided. They pampered their imaginations with the much more exquisite repast which the approach of night promised them; the thoughts of which filled both their minds, though with different sensations; the one all desire, while the other had her wishes tempered with fears.

At length, after a day passed with the utmost merriment, corrected by the strictest decency, in which, however, parson Adams, being well filled with ale and pudding, had given a loose to more facetiousness than was usual to him, the happy, the blest moment arrived when Fanny retired with her mother, her mother-in-law, and her sister.

She was soon undrest; for she had no jewels to deposit in their caskets, nor fine laces to fold with the nicest exactness. Undressing to her was properly discovering, not putting off, ornaments; for, as all her charms were the gifts of nature, she could divest herself of none. How, reader, shall I give thee an adequate idea of this lovely young creature? the bloom of roses and lilies might a little illustrate her complexion, or their smell her sweetness; but to comprehend her entirely, conceive youth, health, bloom, neatness, and innocence, in her bridal bed; conceive all these in their utmost perfection, and you may place the charming Fanny's picture before your eyes.

Joseph no sooner heard she was in bed than he fled with the utmost eagerness to her. A minute carried him into her arms, where we shall leave this happy couple to enjoy the private rewards of their constancy; rewards so great and sweet, that I apprehend Joseph neither envied the noblest duke, nor Fanny the finest duchess, that night.

The third day Mr Wilson and his wife, with their son and daughter, returned home; where they now live together in a state of bliss scarce ever equalled. Mr Booby hath, with unprecedented generosity, given Fanny a fortune of two thousand pounds, which Joseph hath laid out in a little estate in the same parish with his father, which he now occupies (his father having stocked it for him); and Fanny presides with most excellent management in his dairy; where, however, she is not at present very able to bustle much, being, as Mr Wilson informs me in his last letter, extremely big with her first child.

Mr Booby hath presented Mr Adams with a living of one hundred and thirty pounds a year. He at first refused it, resolving not to quit his parishioners, with whom he had lived so long; but, on recollecting he might keep a curate at this living, he hath been lately inducted into it.

The pedlar, besides several handsome presents, both from Mr Wilson and Mr Booby, is, by the latter's interest, made an exciseman; a trust which he discharges with such justice, that he is greatly beloved in his neighbourhood.

As for the Lady Booby, she returned to London in a few days, where a young captain of dragoons, together with eternal parties at cards, soon obliterated the memory of Joseph.

Joseph remains blest with his Fanny, whom he doats on with the utmost tenderness, which is all returned on her side. The happiness of this couple is a perpetual fountain of pleasure to their fond parents; and, what is particularly remarkable, he declares he will imitate them in their retirement, nor will be prevailed on by any booksellers, or their authors, to make his appearance in high life.

THE END.

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




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