to her a thousand things in his disfavour; everything but dislike of her person; a thought which, as it would have been intolerable to bear, she checked the moment it endeavoured to arise. Revenge came now to her assistance; and she considered her dismission of him, stript, and without a character, with the utmost pleasure. She rioted in the several kinds of misery which her imagination suggested to her might be his fate; and, with a smile composed of anger, mirth, and scorn, viewed him in the rags in which her fancy had drest him.

Mrs. Slipslop, being summoned, attended her mistress, who had now in her own opinion totally subdued this passion. Whilst she was dressing she asked if that fellow had been turned away according to her orders. Slipslop answered, she had told her ladyship so (as indeed she had).—“And how did he behave?” replied the lady. “Truly, madam,” cries Slipslop, “in such a manner that infected everybody who saw him. The poor lad had but little wages to receive; for he constantly allowed his father and mother half his income; so that, when your ladyship’s livery was stript off, he had not wherewithal to buy a coat, and must have gone naked if one of the footmen had not incommodated him with one; and whilst he was standing in his shirt (and, to say truth, he was an amorous figure), being told your ladyship would not give him a character, he sighed, and said he had done nothing willingly to offend; that for his part, he should always give your ladyship a good character wherever he went; and he prayed God to bless you; for you was the best of ladies, though his enemies had set you against him. I wish you had not turned him away; for I believe you have not a faithfuller servant in the house.”—“How came you then,” replied the lady, “to advise me to turn him away?”— “I, madam!” said Slipslop; “I am sure you will do me the justice to say, I did all in my power to prevent it; but I saw your ladyship was angry; and it is not the business of us upper servants to hinterfear on these occasions.” “And was it not you, audacious wretch!” cried the lady, “who made me angry? Was it not your tittle-tattle, in which I believe you belyed the poor fellow, which incensed me against him? He may thank you for all that hath happened; and so may I for the loss of a good servant, and one who probably had more merit than all of you. Poor fellow! I am charmed with his goodness to his parents. Why did not you tell me of that, but suffer me to dismiss so good a creature without a character? I see the reason of your whole behaviour now as well as your complaint; you was jealous of the wenches.” “I jealous!” said Slipslop; “I assure you, I look upon myself as his betters; I am not meat for a footman, I hope.” These words threw the lady into a violent passion, and she sent Slipslop from her presence, who departed, tossing her nose, and crying, “Marry, come up! there are some people more jealous than I, I believe.” Her lady affected not to hear the words, though in reality she did, and understood them too. Now ensued a second conflict, so like the former, that it might savour of repetition to relate it minutely. It may suffice to say that Lady Booby found good reason to doubt whether she had so absolutely conquered her passion as she had flattered herself; and, in order to accomplish it quite, took a resolution, more common than wise, to retire immediately into the country. The reader hath long ago seen the arrival of Mrs. Slipslop, whom no pertness could make her mistress resolve to part with; lately, that of Mr. Pounce, her forerunners; and, lastly, that of the lady herself.

The morning after her arrival being Sunday, she went to church, to the great surprise of everybody, who wondered to see her ladyship, being no very constant churchwoman, there so suddenly upon her journey. Joseph was likewise there; and I have heard it was remarked that she fixed her eyes on him much more than on the parson; but this I believe to be only a malicious rumour. When the prayers were ended Mr. Adams stood up, and with a loud voice pronounced, “I publish the banns of marriage between Joseph Andrews and Frances Goodwill, both of this parish,” &c. Whether this had any effect on Lady Booby or no, who was then in her pew, which the congregation could not see into, I could never discover: but certain it is that in about a quarter of an hour she stood up, and directed her eyes to that part of the church where the women sat, and persisted in looking that way during the remainder of the sermon in so scrutinising a manner, and with so angry a countenance, that most of the women were afraid she was offended at them. The moment she returned home she sent for Slipslop into her chamber, and told her she wondered what that impudent fellow Joseph did in that parish? Upon which Slipslop gave her an account of her meeting Adams with him on the road, and likewise the adventure with Fanny. At the relation of which the lady often changed her countenance; and when she had heard all, she ordered Mr. Adams into her presence, to whom she behaved as the reader will see in the next chapter.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.