Chapter 11


Joseph Andrews had borne with great uneasiness the impertinence of beau Didapper to Fanny, who had been talking pretty freely to her, and offering her settlements; but the respect to the company had restrained him from interfering whilst the beau confined himself to the use of his tongue only; but the said beau, watching an opportunity whilst the ladies’ eyes were disposed another way, offered a rudeness to her with his hands; which Joseph no sooner perceived than he presented him with so sound a box on the ear, that it conveyed him several paces from where he stood. The ladies immediately screamed out, rose from their chairs; and the beau, as soon as he recovered himself, drew his hanger: which Adams observing, snatched up the lid of a pot in his left hand, and, covering himself with it as with a shield, without any weapon of offence in his other hand, stept in before Joseph, and exposed himself to the enraged beau, who threatened such perdition and destruction, that it frighted the women, who were all got in a huddle together, out of their wits, even to hear his denunciations of vengeance. Joseph was of a different complexion, and begged Adams to let his rival come on; for he had a good cudgel in his hand, and did not fear him. Fanny now fainted into Mrs. Adams’s arms, and the whole room was in confusion, when Mr. Booby, passing by Adams, who lay snug under the pot-lid, came up to Didapper, and insisted on his sheathing the hanger, promising he should have satisfaction; which Joseph declared he would give him, and fight him at any weapon whatever. The beau now sheathed his hanger, and taking out a pocket-glass, and vowing vengeance all the time, re-adjusted his hair; the parson deposited his shield; and Joseph, running to Fanny, soon brought her back to life. Lady Booby chid Joseph for his insult on Didapper; but he answered, he would have attacked an army in the same cause. “What cause?” said the lady. “Madam,” answered Joseph, “he was rude to that young woman.”—“What,” says the lady, “I suppose he would have kissed the wench; and is a gentleman to be struck for such an offer? I must tell you, Joseph, these airs do not become you.”—“Madam,” said Mr. Booby, “I saw the whole affair, and I do not commend my brother; for I cannot perceive why he should take upon him to be this girl’s champion.”—“I can commend him,” says Adams: “he is a brave lad; and it becomes any man to be the champion of the innocent; and he must be the basest coward who would not vindicate a woman with whom he is on the brink of marriage.” —“Sir,” says Mr. Booby, “my brother is not a proper match for such a young woman as this.”—“No,” says Lady Booby; “nor do you, Mr. Adams, act in your proper character by encouraging any such doings; and I am very much surprised you should concern yourself in it. I think your wife and family your properer care.”—“Indeed, madam, your ladyship says very true,” answered Mrs. Adams: “he talks a pack of nonsense, that the whole parish are his children. I am sure I don’t understand what he means by it; it would make some women suspect he had gone astray, but I acquit him of that; I can read Scripture as well as he, and I never found that the parson was obliged to provide for other folk’s children; and besides, he is but a poor curate, and hath little enough, as your ladyship knows, for me and mine.”—“You say very well, Mrs. Adams,” quoth the Lady Booby, who had not spoke a word to her before; “you seem to be a very sensible woman; and I assure you, your husband is acting a very foolish part, and opposing his own interest, seeing my nephew is violently set against this match: and indeed I can’t blame him; it is by no means one suitable to our family.” In this manner the lady proceeded with Mrs. Adams, whilst the beau hopped about the room, shaking his head, partly from pain and partly from anger; and Pamela was chiding Fanny for her assurance in aiming at such a match as her brother. Poor Fanny answered only with her tears, which had long since begun to wet her handkerchief; which Joseph perceiving, took her by the arm, and wrapping it in his carried her off, swearing he would own no relation to any one who was an enemy to her he loved more than all the world. He went out with Fanny under his left arm, brandishing a cudgel in his right, and neither Mr. Booby nor the beau thought proper to oppose him. Lady Booby and her company made a very short stay behind him; for the lady’s bell now summoned them to dress; for which they had just time before dinner.

Adams seemed now very much dejected, which his wife perceiving, began to apply some matrimonial balsam. She told him he had reason to be concerned, for that he had probably ruined his family with his tricks almost; but perhaps he was grieved for the loss of his two children, Joseph and Fanny. His eldest daughter went on: “Indeed, father, it is very hard to bring strangers here to eat your children’s bread out of their mouths. You have kept them since they came home; and, for anything I see to the contrary, may keep them a month longer; are you obliged to give her meat, tho’f she was never so handsome? But I

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
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.