Chapter 8


Now the rake Hesperus had called for his breeches, and, having well rubbed his drowsy eyes, prepared to dress himself for all night; by whose example his brother rakes on earth likewise leave those beds in which they had slept away the day. Now Thetis, the good housewife, began to put on the pot, in order to regale the good man Phœbus after his daily labours were over. In vulgar language, it was in the evening when Joseph attended his lady’s orders.

But as it becomes us to preserve the character of this lady, who is the heroine of our tale; and as we have naturally a wonderful tenderness for that beautiful part of the human species called the fair sex; before we discover too much of her frailty to our reader, it will be proper to give him a lively idea of the vast temptation, which overcame all the efforts of a modest and virtuous mind; and then we humbly hope his good nature will rather pity than condemn the imperfection of human virtue.

Nay, the ladies themselves will, we hope, be induced, by considering the uncommon variety of charms which united in this young man’s person, to bridle their rampant passion for chastity, and be at least as mild as their violent modesty and virtue will permit them, in censuring the conduct of a woman who, perhaps, was in her own disposition as chaste as those pure and sanctified virgins who, after a life innocently spent in the gaieties of the town, begin about fifty to attend twice per diem at the polite churches and chapels, to return thanks for the grace which preserved them formerly amongst beaus from temptations perhaps less powerful than what now attacked the Lady Booby.

Mr. Joseph Andrews was now in the one-and-twentieth year of his age. He was of the highest degree of middle stature; his limbs were put together with great elegance, and no less strength; his legs and thighs were formed in the exactest proportion; his shoulders were broad and brawny, but yet his arm hung so easily, that he had all the symptoms of strength without the least clumsiness. His hair was of a nut-brown colour, and was displayed in wanton ringlets down his back; his forehead was high, his eyes dark, and as full of sweetness as of fire; his nose a little inclined to the Roman; his teeth white and even; his lips full, red, and soft, his beard was only rough on his chin and upper lip; but his cheeks, in which his blood glowed, were overspread with a thick down; his countenance had a tenderness joined with a sensibility inexpressible. Add to this the most perfect neatness in his dress, and an air which, to those who have not seen many noblemen, would give an idea of nobility.

Such was the person who now appeared before the lady. She viewed him some time in silence, and twice or thrice before she spake changed her mind as to the manner in which she should begin. At length she said to him, “Joseph, I am sorry to hear such complaints against you: I am told you behave so rudely to the maids, that they cannot do their business in quiet; I mean those who are not wicked enough to hearken to your solicitations. As to others, they may, perhaps, not call you rude; for there are wicked sluts who make one ashamed of one’s own sex, and are as ready to admit any nauseous familiarity as fellows to offer it: nay, there are such in my family, but they shall not stay in it; that impudent trollop who is with child by you is discharged by this time.”

As a person who is struck through the heart with a thunder-bolt looks extremely surprised, nay, and perhaps is so too——thus the poor Joseph received the false accusation of his mistress; he blushed and looked confounded, which she misinterpreted to be symptoms of his guilt, and thus went on:

“Come hither, Joseph: another mistress might discard you for these offences; but I have a compassion for your youth, and if I could be certain you would be no more guilty—Consider, child,” laying her hand carelessly upon his, “you are a handsome young fellow, and might do better; you might make your fortune.” “Madam,” said Joseph, “I do assure your ladyship I don’t know whether any maid in the house is man or woman.” “Oh fie! Joseph,” answered the lady, “don’t commit another crime in denying the truth. I could pardon the first; but I hate a lyar.” “Madam,” cries Joseph, “I hope your ladyship will not be offended at

  By PanEris using Melati.

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