Imagens das páginas

hath been your servant, but he is now become my 'brother; and I have one happiness, that neither his character, his behaviour, or appearance, give me any reason to be ashamed of calling him so. In short, he is * now below, dressed like a gentleman, in which light I

intend he shall hereafter be seen ; and you will oblige me beyond expression, if you will admit him to be of our party; for I know it will give great pleasure to my wife, though she will not mention it.'

This was a stroke of fortune beyond the Lady Booby's hopes or expectation; she answered him eagerly, Nephew, you know how easily I am prevailed on to

do any thing which Joseph Andrews desires—Phoo, I 'mean which you desire me; and as he is now your

relation, I cannot refuse to entertain him as such. The squire told her · he knew his obligation to her for her compliance; and, going three steps, returned and told her-he had one more favour, which he believed she would easily grant, as she had accorded him the former. • There is a young woman—'— Nephew,' says she, 'don't let my good-nature make you desire, as is too

commonly the case, to impose on me. Nor think, be'cause I have with so much condescension agreed to

suffer your brother-in-law to come to my table, that I • will submit to the company of all my own servants, and

all the dirty trollops in the country'- Madam,' answered the squire, 'I believe you never saw this young · creature. I never beheld such sweetness and innocence

joined with such beauty, and withal so genteel.'• Upon my soul I won't admit her,' replied the lady in a passion ; the whole world shan't prevail on me: I

resent even the desire as an affront, and '--The squire, who knew her inflexibility, interrupted her, by asking pardon, and promising not to mention it more. He then returned to Joseph, and she to Pamela. He took

[ocr errors]

Joseph aside, and told him, he would carry him to his sister ; but could not prevail as yet for Fanny. Joseph begged that he might see his sister alone, and then be with his Fanny; but the squire, knowing the pleasure his wife would have in her brother's company, would not admit it, telling Joseph there would be nothing in so short an absence from Fanny, whilst he was assured of her safety.; adding, he hoped he could not so easily quit a sister whom he had not seen so long, and who so tenderly loved him.- Joseph immediately complied ; for indeed no brother could love a sister more; and recommending Fanny, who rejoiced that she was not to go before Lady Booby, to the care of Mr. Adams, he attended the squire up stairs, whilst Fanny repaired with the parson to his house, where she thought herself secure of a kind reception.

CHAPTER VI. Of which you are desired to read no more than you like. The meeting between Joseph and Pamela was not without tears of joy on both sides ; and their embraces were full of tenderness and affection. They were however regarded with much more pleasure by the nephew than by the aunt, to whose flame they were fuel only; and being assisted by the addition of dress, which was indeed not wanted to set off the lively colours in which Nature had drawn health, strength, comeliness, and youth. In the afternoon Joseph, at their request, entertained them with an account of his adventures : nor could Lady Booby conceal her dissatisfaction at those parts in which Fanny was concerned, especially when Mr. Booby launched forth into such rapturous praises of her beauty. She said, applying to her niece, that she wondered her nephew, who had pretended to marry for love, should think such a subject proper to amuse his wife with; adding, that for her part, she should be jealous of a husband who spoke so warmly in praise of another woman. Pamela answered, indeed she thought she had cause; but it was an instance of Mr. Booby's aptness to see more beauty in women than they were mistresses of. At which words both the women fixed their eyes on two looking-glasses; and Lady Booby replied, That men were, in the general, very ill judges of beauty; and then, whilst both contemplated only their own faces, they paid a cross compliment to each other's charms. When the hour of rest approached, which the lady of the house deferred as long as decently she could, she informed Joseph (whom for the future we shall call Mr. Joseph, he having as good a title to that appellation as many others; I mean that incontested one of good clothes) that she had ordered a bed to be provided for him. He declined this favour to his utmost; for his heart had long been with his Fanny; but she insisted on his accepting it, alleging that the parish had no proper accommodation for such a person as he was now to esteem himself. The squire and his lady both joining with her, Mr. Joseph was at last forced to give over his design of visiting Fanny that evening; who, on her side, as impatiently expected him till midnight; when, in complacence to Mr. Adams's family, who had sat up two hours out of respect to her, she retired to bed, but not to sleep; the thoughts of her love kept her waking, and his not returning according to his promise, filled her with uneasiness; of which, however, she could not assign any other cause than merely that of being absent from him.

Mr. Joseph rose early in the morning, and visited her in whom his soul delighted. She no sooner heard his voice in the parson's parlour, than she leaped from

her bed, and dressing herself in a few minutes, went down to him. They passed two hours with inexpressible happiness together; and then having appointed Monday, by Mr. Adams's permission, for their marriage, Mr. Joseph returned, according to his promise, to breakfast at the Lady Booby's, with whose behaviour since the evening we shall now acquaint the reader.

She was no sooner retired to her chamber, than she asked Slipslop What she thought of this wonderful creature her nephew had married ?— Madam,' said Slipslop, not yet sufficiently understanding what answer she was to make. 'I ask you,' answered the lady, what you think of the dowdy, my niece, I think I am to call her?' Slipslop wanting no further hint, began to pull her to pieces, and so miserably defaced her, that it would have been impossible for any one to have known the person. The lady gave her all the assistance she could, and ended with saying, “I think, Slipslop, you have

done her justice; but yet, bad as she is, she is an angel • compared to this Fanny. Slipslop then fell on Fanny, whom she hacked and hewed in the like barbarous manner, concluding with an observation, that there was always something in those low-life creatures which must eternally exstinguish them from their betters. "Really, said the lady, I think there is one exception to your 6 rule; I am certain you may guess who I mean.'· Not I, upon my word, Madam,' said Slipslop. 'I

mean a young fellow; sure you are the dullest wretch,' said the lady. O la! I am indeed. Yes, truly, Madam, " he is an accession,' answered Slipslop. Ay, is he not,

Slipslop ?' returned the lady. Is he not so genteel, • that a prince might, without a blush, acknowledge • him for his son ? His behaviour is such that would not shame the best education. He borrows from his station a condescension in every thing to his superiors, yet unattended by that mean servility which is called good-behaviour in such persons. Every thing he doth hath no mark of the base motive of fear, but visibly shows some respect and gratitude, and carries with it the persuasion of love. And then for his virtues: such piety to his parents, such tender affection to his sister, such integrity in his friendship, such bravery, such goodness; that if he had been born a gentleman, his wife would have possessed the most invaluable blessing.'"To be sure, Ma'am,' says Slipslop. “But as he is, answered the lady, 'if he had a thousand more good qualities, it must render a woman of fashion contemptible even to be suspected of thinking of him; yes, "I should despise myself for such a thought.'— To be

sure, Ma'am, said Slipslop. “And why to be sure ?' replied the lady; thou art always one's echo. Is he not more worthy of affection than a dirty country clown, though born of a family as old as the flood ? or an idle worthless rake, or little puisny beau of quality? And yet these we must condemn ourselves to, in order to 'avoid the censure of the world; to shun the contempt of

others, we must ally ourselves to those we despise; we must prefer birth, title, and fortune, to real merit. It is a tyranny of custom, a tyranny we must comply with; for we people of fashion are the slaves of custom.'• Marry come up!' said Slipslop, who now well knew which party to take, 'If I was a woman of your lady

ship’s fortune and quality, I would be a slave to nobody.'— Me,' said the lady; 'I am speaking, if a young woman of fashion, who had seen nothing of the world, should happen to like such a fellow.—Me, · indeed! I hope thou dost not imagine'-'No, Ma'am,

to be sure,' cries Slipslop.— No! what no?' cried the lady. "Thou art always ready to answer, before thou hast heard one. So far I must allow, he is a charming

« AnteriorContinuar »