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Adams therefore took an opportunity one day, after a pretty long discourse with her on the essence (or, as she pleased to term it, the incense) of matter, to mention the case of young Andrews; desiring her to recommend him to her lady as a youth very susceptible of learning, and one whose instruction in Latin he would himself undertake; by which means he might be qualified for a higher station than that of a footman: and added, she knew it was in his master's power easily to provide for him in a better manner. He therefore desired that the boy might be left behind under his care.
'La! Mr. Adams,' said Mrs. Slipslop, 'do you think my lady will suffer any preambles about any such matter? She is going to London very concisely, and I am confidous would not leave Joey behind her on any account; for he is one of the genteelest young fellows you may see in a summer's day; and I am confidous she would as soon think of parting with a pair of her grey mares, for she values herself as much on the one as the other.' Adams would have interrupted, but she proceeded: 'And why is Latin more necessitous for a footman than a gentleman? It is very proper that you clergymen must learn it, because you can't preach without it: but I have heard gentlemeri say in London, that it is fit for no body else. I am confidous my lady would be angry with me for mentioning it; and I shall draw myself into no such delemy.' At which words her lady's bell rung, and Mr. Adams was forced to retire; nor could he gain a second opportunity with her before their London journey, which happened a few days afterwards. However, Andrews behaved very thankfully and gratefully to him for his intended kindness, which he told him he never would forget, and at the same time received from the good man many admonitions concerning the regulation of his future conduct, and his perseverance in innocence and industry.
What happened after their journey to London.
No sooner was young Andrews arrived at London than he hegan to scrape an acquaintance with his partycoloured brethren, who endeavoured to make him despise his former course of life. His hair was cut after the newest fashion, and became Ins chief care; he went abroad with it all the morning in papers, and dressed it out in the afternoon. They could not, however, teach him to game, swear, drink, nor any other genteel vice the town abounded with. He applied most of his leisure hours to music, in which he greatly improved himself; and became so perfect a connoisseur in that art, that he led the opinion of all the other footmen at an opera, and they never condemned or applauded a single song contrary to his approbation or dislike. He was a little too forward in riots, at the playhouses and assemblies; and when he attended his lady at church (which was but seldom) he behaved with less seeming devotion than formerly: however, if he was outwardly a pretty fellow, his morals remained entirely uncorrupted, though he was at the same time smarter and genteeler than any of the beaus in town, either in or out of livery.
His lady, who had often said of him that Joey was the handsomest and genteelest footman in the kingdom, but that it was pity he wanted spirit, began now to find that fault no longer; on the contrary, she was frequently heard to cry out, 'Ay, there is some life in this fellow.' She plainly saw the effects which the town air hath on the soberest constitutions. She would now walk out with, him into Hyde Park in a morning, and when tired, which happened almost every minute, would lean on his arm, and converse with him in great familiarity. Whenever she stept out of her coach, she would take him by the hand, and sometimes, for fear of stumbling, press it very hard; she admitted him to deliver messages at her bedside in a morning, leered at him at table, and indulged him in all those innocent freedoms which women of figure may permit without the least sully of their virtue.
But though their virtue remains unsullied, yet now and then some small arrows will glance on the shadow of it, their reputation; and so it fell out to Lady Booby, who happened to be walking arm-in-arm with Joey one morning in Hyde Park, when Lady Tittle and Lady Tattle came accidentally by in their coach. 'Bless me,' says Lady Tittle, ' can I believe my eyes? Is that Lady Booby ?'— 'Surely,' says Tattle. 'But what makes you surprised?' —' Why, is not that her footman?' replied Tittle. At which Tattle laughed, and cried, ' An old business, I 'assure you: is it possible you should not have heard it? 'The whole town hath known it this half year.' The consequence of this interview was a whisper through a hundred visits, which were separately performed by the two ladies0 the same afternoon, and might have had a mischievous effect, had it not been stopt by two fresh reputations which were published the day afterwards, and engrossed the whole talk of the town.
But whatever opinion or suspicion the scandalous inclination of defamers might entertain of Lady Booby's innocent freedoms, it is certain they made no impression on young Andrews, who never offered to encroach beyond the liberties which his lady allowed him, a behaviour which she imputed to the violent respect he preserved for her, and which served only to heighten a something she began to conceive, and which the next chapter will open a little farther.
* It may seem an absurdity that Tattle should visit, as she actually did, to spread a known scandal: but the reader may reconcile this, by supposing with me, that notwithstanding what she says, this was her first acquaintance with it.
The death of Sir Thomas Booby, with the affectionate and mournful behaviour of his widow, and the great purity of Joseph Andrews.
At this time an accident happened, which put a stop to those agreeable walks, which probably would have soon puffed up the cheeks of Fame, and caused her to blow her brazen trumpet through the town; and this was no other than the death of Sir Thomas Booby, who, departing this life, left his disconsolate lady confined to her house, as closely as if she herself had been attacked by some violent disease. During the first six days the poor lady admitted none but Mrs. Slipslop, and three female friends, who made a party at cards; but on the seventh she ordered Joey, whom, for a good reason, we shall hereafter call Joseph, to bring up her tea-kettle. The lady being in bed, called Joseph to her, bade him sit down, and having accidentally laid her hand on his, she asked him, if he had ever been in love. Joseph answered, with some confusion, it was time enough for one so young as himself to think on such things. “As young as you ‘ are,' replied the lady, “I am convinced you are no ‘stranger to that passion. Come, Joey,' says she, “tell VOL. W. ID
me truly, who is the happy girl whose eyes have made a conquest of you?' Joseph returned, that all the women he had ever seen were equally indifferent to him. O then,' said the lady,'you are a general lover. Indeed you handsome fellows, like handsome women, are very long and difficult in fixing; but yet you shall never persuade me that your heart is so insusceptible of affection; I rather impute what you say to your secrecy, a very commendable quality, and what I am far from being angry with you for. Nothing can be more unworthy in a young man than to betray any intimacies with the ladies.' 'Ladies! Madam,' said Joseph, ' I am sure I never had the impudence to think of any that deserve that name.' 'Don't pretend to too much modesty,' said she, 'for that sometimes may be impertinent: but pray answer me this question. Suppose a lady should happen to like you; suppose she should prefer you to all your sex, and admit you to the same familiarities as you might have hoped for, if you had been born her equal, are you certain that no vanity could tempt you to discover her? Answer me honestly, Joseph; have you so much more sense, and so much more virtue, than you handsome young fellows generally have, who make no scruple of sacrificing our dear reputation to your pride, without considering the great obligation we lay on you by our condescension and confidence? Can you keep a secret, my Joey?' Madam,' says he, 'I hope your ladyship can't tax me with ever betraying the secrets of the family; and I hope, if you was to turn me away, I might have that character of you.' 'I don't intend to turn you away, Joey,' said she, and sighed; 'I am afraid it is not in my power.' She then raised herself a little in her bed, and
discovered one of the whitest necks that ever was seen;
at which Joseph blushed. 'La !' says she, in an affected