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on the certainty of death, which his wife said was indeed very true. A fellow now arrived at the same inn with two horses, one of which he was leading farther down into the country to meet his master; these he put into the stable, and came and took his place by Joseph's side, who immediately knew him to be the servant of a neighbouring gentleman, who used to visit at their house.
This fellow was likewise forced in by the storm; for he had orders to go twenty miles farther that evening, and luckily on the same road which Joseph himself intended to take. He therefore embraced this opportunity of complimenting his friend with his master's horse (notwithstanding he had received express commands to the contrary), which was readily accepted; and so after they had drank a loving pot, and the storm was over, they set out together.
Containing many surprising adventures which Joseph Andrews met with on the road, scarce credible to those who have never travelled in a stage-coach.
Nothing remarkable happened on the road, till their arrival at the inn to which the horses were ordered; whither they came about two in the morning. The moon then shone very bright; and Joseph, making his friend a present of a pint of wine, and thanking him for the favour of his horse, notwithstanding all entreaties to the contrary, proceeded on his journey on foot.
He had not gone above two miles, charmed with the hopes of shortly seeing his beloved Fanny, when he was met by two fellows in a narrow lane, and ordered to
stand and deliver. He readily gave them all the money he had, which was somewhat less than two pounds; and told them, he hoped they would be so generous as to return him a few shillings, to defray his charges on his way home.
One of the ruffians answered with an oath, 'Yes, we'll 'give you something, presently: but first strip and be 'd—n'd to you.'—' Strip,' cried the other, 'or I'll blow 'your brains to the devil.' Joseph, remembering that he had borrowed his coat and breeches of a friend, and that he should be ashamed of making any excuse for not returning them, replied, he hoped they would not insist on his clothes, which were not worth much, but consider the coldness of the night. 'You are cold, are you, you 'rascal!' says one of the robbers: 'I'll warm you with 'a vengeance ;' and, damning his eyes, snapped a pistol at his head; which he had no sooner done, than the other levelled a blow at him with his stick, which Joseph, who was expert at cudgel-playing, caught with his, and returned the favour so successfully on his adversary, that he laid him sprawling at his feet, and at the same instant received a blow from behind, with the butt end of a pistol, from the other villain, which felled him to the ground, and totally deprived him of his senses.
The thief who had been knocked down, had now recovered himself; and both together fell to be-labouring poor Joseph with their sticks, till they were convinced they had put an end to his miserable being: they then stripped him entirely naked, threw him into a ditch, and departed with their booty.
The poor wretch, who lay motionless a long time, just hegan to recover his senses as a stage-coach came by. The postilion hearing a man's groans, stopped his horses, and told the coachman, he was certain there was a dead man lying in the ditch, for he heard him groan. 'Go
1 on, sirrah.* says the eoaehmaiLr * we are confounded late,
* and have no time to !<:>ok after dead men." A lady, who heard what the postilion said, and likewise heard the groan, called eagerly to the coachman to stop and see what was the matter. Upon which he bid the postilion alight, and look into the ditch. He did so, and returned, 1 That there was a man sitting upright, as naked as ever
* he was born/—* 0 J—sus !" cried the lady: 1 A naked 'man! Dear coachman, drive on and leave him.' Upon this the gendemen got oat ot" the coach; and Joseph begged them to have mercy upon him: for that he had been robbed, and almost beaten to death. 'Robbed," cries an old gentleman: 'Let us make all the haste imaginable,
or we shall be robbed too.' A young man, who belonged to the law, answered, - He wished they had 'passed by without taking any notice: but that now they 1 might be proved to have been last in his company; if 'he should die they might be called to some account for 'his murder. He therefore thought it advisable to save 'the poor creatures lite, for their own sakes, if possible; 1 at least, if he died, to prevent the jury's finding that 'they fled for it. He was therefore of opinion, to take 'the man into the coach, and carry him to the next inn.' The lady insisted, 'That he should not come into the 'coach. That if they lifted him in, she would herself 'alight; for she had rather stay in that place to all 'eternity, than ride with a naked man.' The coachman objected, ' That he could not suffer him to be taken in, 'unless somebody would pay a shilling for his carriage 'the four miles.' Which the two gentlemen refused to do. But the lawyer, who was afraid of some mischief happening to himself, if the wretch was left behind in that condition, saying, no man could be too cautious in thcHc matters, and that he remembered very extraordinary cases in the books, threatened the coachman,
and bid him deny taking him up at his peril; for that if he died, he should be indicted for his murder; and if he lived, and brought an action against him, he would willingly take a brief in it. These words had a sensible effect on the coachman, who was well acquainted with the person who spoke them; and the old gentleman above mentioned, thinking the naked man would afford him frequent opportunities of showing his wit to the lady, offered to join with the company in giving a mug of beer for his fare; till partly alarmed by the threats of the one, and partly by the promises of the other, and being perhaps a little moved with compassion at the poor creature's condition, who stood bleeding and shivering with the cold, he at length agreed; and Joseph was now advancing to the coach, where, seeing the lady, who held the sticks of her fan before her eyes, he absolutely refused, miserable as he was, to enter, unless he was furnished with sufficient covering to prevent giving the least offence to decency, so perfectly modest was this young man; such mighty effects had the spotless example of the amiable Pamela, and the excellent sermons of Mr. Adams, wrought upon him. Though there were several great-coats about the coach, it was not easy to get over this difficulty which Joseph had started. The two gentlemen complained they were cold, and could not spare a rag ; the man of wit saying with a laugh, that charity began at home; and the coachman, who had two great-coats spread under him, refused to lend either, lest they should be made bloody: the lady's footman desired to be excused for the same reason, which the lady herself, notwithstanding her abhorrence of a naked man, approved: and it is more than probable poor Joseph, who obstinately adhered to his modest resolution, must have perished, unless the postilion (a lad who hath been since transported for robbing a henroost) had voluntarily stripped off a great-coat, his only garment, at the same time swearing a great oath (for which he was rebuked by the passengers), ' That he would rather ride 'in his shirt all his life, than suffer a fellow-creature to 'lie in so miserable a condition.'
Joseph, having put on the great-coat, was lifted into the coach, which now proceeded on its journey. He declared himself almost dead with the cold, which gave the man of wit an occasion to ask the lady, if she could not accommodate him with a dram. She answered, with some resentment, 'She wondered at his asking her such a ques'tion; but assured him she never tasted any such thing.'
The lawyer was inquiring into the circumstances of the robbery, when the coach stopped, and one of the ruffians, putting a pistol in, demanded their money of the passengers; who readily gave it them; and the lady, in her fright, delivered up a little silver bottle, of about a halfpint size, which the rogue, clapping it to his mouth, and drinking her health, declared, held some of the best Nantes he had ever tasted: this the lady afterwards assured the company was the mistake of her maid, for that she had ordered her to fill the bottle with Hungarywater.
As soon as the fellows were departed, the lawyer, who had, it seems, a case of pistols in the seat of the coach, informed the company, that if it had been daylight, and he could have come at his pistols, he would not have submitted to the robbery: he likewise set forth, that he had often met highwaymen when he travelled on horseback, but none ever durst attack him; concluding, that if he had not been more afraid for the lady than for himself, he should not have now parted with his money so easily.
As wit is generally observed to love to reside in empty pockets, so the gentleman whose ingenuity we have above