years older than our daughter here (for I am thoroughly convinced she is the same); and when you saw him you said he was a chopping boy, without ever minding his age; and so I, seeing you did not suspect anything of the matter, thought I might e’en as well keep it to myself, for fear you should not love him as well as I did. And all this is veritably true, and I will take my oath of it before any justice in the kingdom.”

The pedlar, who had been summoned by the order of Lady Booby, listened with the utmost attention to Gammar Andrews’s story; and, when she had finished, asked her if the supposititious child had no mark on its breast? To which she answered, “Yes, he had as fine a strawberry as ever grew in a garden.” This Joseph acknowledged, and, unbuttoning his coat, at the intercession of the company, showed to them. “Well,” says Gaffar Andrews, who was a comical sly old fellow, and very likely desired to have no more children than he could keep, “you have proved, I think, very plainly, that this boy doth not belong to us; but how are you certain that the girl is ours?” The parson then brought the pedlar forward, and desired him to repeat the story which he had communicated to him the preceding day at the ale-house; which he complied with, and related what the reader, as well as Mr. Adams, hath seen before. He then confirmed, from his wife’s report, all the circumstances of the exchange, and of the strawberry on Joseph’s breast. At the repetition of the word strawberry, Adams, who had seen it without any emotion, started and cried, “Bless me! something comes into my head.” But before he had time to bring anything out a servant called him forth. When he was gone the pedlar assured Joseph that his parents were persons of much greater circumstances than those he had hitherto mistaken for such; for that he had been stolen from a gentleman’s house by those whom they call gypsies, and had been kept by them during a whole year, when, looking on him as in a dying condition, they had exchanged him for the other healthier child, in the manner before related. He said, As to the name of his father, his wife had either never known or forgot it; but that she had acquainted him he lived about forty miles from the place where the exchange had been made, and which way, promising to spare no pains in endeavouring with him to discover the place.

But Fortune, which seldom doth good or ill, or makes men happy or miserable, by halves, resolved to spare him this labour. The reader may please to recollect that Mr. Wilson had intended a journey to the west, in which he was to pass through Mr. Adams’s parish, and had promised to call on him. He was now arrived at the Lady Booby’s gates for that purpose, being directed thither from the parson’s house, and had sent in the servant whom we have above seen call Mr. Adams forth. This had no sooner mentioned the discovery of a stolen child, and had uttered the word strawberry, than Mr. Wilson, with wildness in his looks, and the utmost eagerness in his words, begged to be showed into the room, where he entered without the least regard to any of the company but Joseph, and, embracing him with a complexion all pale and trembling, desired to see the mark on his breast; the parson followed him capering, rubbing his hands, and crying out, Hic est quem quœris; inventus est, &c. Joseph complied with the request of Mr. Wilson, who no sooner saw the mark than, abandoning himself to the most extravagant rapture of passion, he embraced Joseph with inexpressible ecstasy, and cried out in tears of joy, “I have discovered my son, I have him again in my arms!” Joseph was not sufficiently apprised yet to taste the same delight with his father (for so in reality he was), however, he returned some warmth to his embraces: but he no sooner perceived, from his father’s account, the agreement of every circumstance, of person, time, and place, than he threw himself at his feet, and, embracing his knees, with tears begged his blessing, which was given with much affection, and received with such respect, mixed with such tenderness on both sides, that it affected all present; but none so much as Lady Booby, who left the room in an agony, which was but too much perceived, and not very charitably accounted for by some of the company.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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