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rived, when Fanny retired with her mother, her motherin-law, and her sister.
She was soon undressed; 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 hloom of roses and lilies might a little illustrate her complexion, or their smell her sweetness; hut to comprehend her entirely, conceive youth, health, hloom, 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 blessed 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.
As so many worthy persons have, I am told, ascribed the honour of this performance to me, they will not be surprised at seeing my name to this preface: nor am I very insincere, when I call it an honour, for if the authors of the age are amongst the number of those who conferred it on me, I know very few of them to whom I shall return the compliment of such a suspicion.
I could indeed have been very well content with the reputation, well knowing that some writings may be justly laid to my charge of a merit greatly inferior to that of the following work; had not the imputation directly accused me of falsehood, in breaking a promise, which I have solemnly made in print, of never publishing even a pamphlet without setting my name to it,—a promise I have always hitherto faithfully kept; and, for the sake of men's characters, I wish all other writers were by law obliged to use the same method; but, till they are, I shall no longer impose any such restraint on myself.
A second reason which induces me to refute this untruth, is, that it may have a tendency to injure me in a profession to which I have applied with so arduous and intent a diligence that I have had no leisure, if I had inclination, to compose any thing of this kind. Indeed, I am very far from entertaining such an inclination: I know the value of the reward which fame confers on authors too well to endeavour any longer to obtain it; nor was the world ever more unwilling to bestow the glorious envied prize of the laurel or bays, than I should now be to receive any such garland or fool's cap. There is not, I believe (and it is bold to affirm), a single free Briton in this kingdom who hates his wife more heartily than I detest the Muses. Thev have, indeed, behaved to me like the most infamous harlots, and have laid many a spurious as well as deformed production at my door; in all which my good friends the critics have, in their profound discernment, discovered some resemblance of the parent; and thus I have been reputed and reported the author of half the scurrility, bawdy, treason, and blasphemy, which these few last years have produced.
I am far from thinking every person, who hath thus aspersed me, had a determinate design of doing me an injury; I impute it only to an idle childish levity, which possesses too many minds, and makes them report their conjectures as matters of fact, without weighing the proof, or considering the consequence. But, as to the former of these, my readers will do well to examine their own talents very strictly, before they are too thoroughly convinced of their abilities to distinguish an author's style so accurately as from that only to pronounce an anonymous work to be his; and as to the latter, a little reflection will convince them of the cruelty they are guilty of by such reports. For my own part, I can aver that there are few crimes of which I should have been more ashamed than of some writings laid to my charge. I am as well assured of the injuries I have suffered from such unjust imputations, not only in general character, but as they have, I conceive, fre