The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his Friend, Mr. Abraham Abrams/Book I, Chapter XIV
|The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his Friend, Mr. Abraham Abrams/Book I, Chapter XIV|
_Being very full of adventures which succeeded each other at the inn._
It was now the dusk of the evening, when a grave person rode into the
inn, and, committing his horse to the hostler, went directly into the
kitchen, and, having called for a pipe of tobacco, took his place by the
fireside, where several other persons were likewise assembled.
The discourse ran altogether on the robbery which was committed the
night before, and on the poor wretch who lay above in the dreadful
condition in which we have already seen him. Mrs Tow-wouse said, "She
wondered what the devil Tom Whipwell meant by bringing such guests to
her house, when there were so many alehouses on the road proper for
their reception. But she assured him, if he died, the parish should be
at the expense of the funeral." She added, "Nothing would serve the
fellow's turn but tea, she would assure him." Betty, who was just
returned from her charitable office, answered, she believed he was a
gentleman, for she never saw a finer skin in her life. "Pox on his
skin!" replied Mrs Tow-wouse, "I suppose that is all we are like to have
for the reckoning. I desire no such gentlemen should ever call at the
Dragon" (which it seems was the sign of the inn).
The gentleman lately arrived discovered a great deal of emotion at the
distress of this poor creature, whom he observed to be fallen not into
the most compassionate hands. And indeed, if Mrs Tow-wouse had given no
utterance to the sweetness of her temper, nature had taken such pains in
her countenance, that Hogarth himself never gave more expression to
Her person was short, thin, and crooked. Her forehead projected in the
middle, and thence descended in a declivity to the top of her nose,
which was sharp and red, and would have hung over her lips, had not
nature turned up the end of it. Her lips were two bits of skin, which,
whenever she spoke, she drew together in a purse. Her chin was peaked;
and at the upper end of that skin which composed her cheeks, stood two
bones, that almost hid a pair of small red eyes. Add to this a voice
most wonderfully adapted to the sentiments it was to convey, being both
loud and hoarse.
It is not easy to say whether the gentleman had conceived a greater
dislike for his landlady or compassion for her unhappy guest. He
inquired very earnestly of the surgeon, who was now come into the
kitchen, whether he had any hopes of his recovery? He begged him to use
all possible means towards it, telling him, "it was I the duty of men of
all professions to apply their skill gratis for the relief of the poor
and necessitous." The surgeon answered, "He should take proper care; but
he defied all the surgeons in London to do him any good."--"Pray, sir,"
said the gentleman, "what are his wounds?"--"Why, do you know anything
of wounds?" says the surgeon (winking upon Mrs Tow-wouse).--"Sir, I have
a small smattering in surgery," answered the gentleman.--"A
smattering--ho, ho, ho!" said the surgeon; "I believe it is a
The company were all attentive, expecting to hear the doctor, who was
what they call a dry fellow, expose the gentleman.
He began therefore with an air of triumph: "I I suppose, sir, you have
travelled?"--"No, really, sir," said the gentleman.--"Ho! then you have
practised in the hospitals perhaps?"--"No, sir."--"Hum! not that
neither? Whence, sir, then, if I may be so bold to inquire, have you got
your knowledge in surgery?"--"Sir," answered the gentleman, "I do not
pretend to much; but the little I know I have from books."--"Books!"
cries the doctor. "What, I suppose you have read Galen and
Hippocrates!"--"No, sir," said the gentleman.--"How! you understand
surgery," answers the doctor, "and not read Galen and Hippocrates?"--
"Sir," cries the other, "I believe there are many surgeons who have
never read these authors."--"I believe so too," says the doctor, "more
shame for them; but, thanks to my education, I have them by heart, and
very seldom go without them both in my pocket."--"They are pretty large
books," said the gentleman.--"Aye," said the doctor, "I believe I know
how large they are better than you." (At which he fell a winking, and
the whole company burst into a laugh.)
The doctor pursuing his triumph, asked the gentleman, "If he did not
understand physic as well as surgery." "Rather better," answered the
gentleman.--"Aye, like enough," cries the doctor, with a wink. "Why, I
know a little of physic too."--"I wish I knew half so much," said
Tow-wouse, "I'd never wear an apron again."--"Why, I believe, landlord,"
cries the doctor, "there are few men, though I say it, within twelve
miles of the place, that handle a fever better. _Veniente accurrite
morbo_: that is my method. I suppose, brother, you understand
_Latin_?"--"A little," says the gentleman.--"Aye, and Greek now, I'll
warrant you: _Ton dapomibominos poluflosboio Thalasses_. But I have
almost forgot these things: I could have repeated Homer by heart
once."--"Ifags! the gentleman has caught a traytor," says Mrs Tow-wouse;
at which they all fell a laughing.
The gentleman, who had not the least affection for joking, very
contentedly suffered the doctor to enjoy his victory, which he did with
no small satisfaction; and, having sufficiently sounded his depth, told
him, "He was thoroughly convinced of his great learning and abilities;
and that he would be obliged to him if he would let him know his opinion
of his patient's case above-stairs."--"Sir," says the doctor, "his case
is that of a dead man--the contusion on his head has perforated the
internal membrane of the occiput, and divelicated that radical small
minute invisible nerve which coheres to the pericranium; and this was
attended with a fever at first symptomatic, then pneumatic; and he is at
length grown deliriuus, or delirious, as the vulgar express it."
He was proceeding in this learned manner, when a mighty noise
interrupted him. Some young fellows in the neighbourhood had taken one
of the thieves, and were bringing him into the inn. Betty ran upstairs
with this news to Joseph, who begged they might search for a little
piece of broken gold, which had a ribband tied to it, and which he could
swear to amongst all the hoards of the richest men in the universe.
Notwithstanding the fellow's persisting in his innocence, the mob were
very busy in searching him, and presently, among other things, pulled
out the piece of gold just mentioned; which Betty no sooner saw than she
laid violent hands on it, and conveyed it up to Joseph, who received it
with raptures of joy, and, hugging it in his bosom, declared he could
now die contented.
Within a few minutes afterwards came in some other fellows, with a
bundle which they had found in a ditch, and which was indeed the cloaths
which had been stripped off from Joseph, and the other things they had
taken from him.
The gentleman no sooner saw the coat than he declared he knew the
livery; and, if it had been taken from the poor creature above-stairs,
desired he might see him; for that he was very well acquainted with the
family to whom that livery belonged.
He was accordingly conducted up by Betty; but what, reader, was the
surprize on both sides, when he saw Joseph was the person in bed, and
when Joseph discovered the face of his good friend Mr Abraham Adams!
It would be impertinent to insert a discourse which chiefly turned on
the relation of matters already well known to the reader; for, as soon
as the curate had satisfied Joseph concerning the perfect health of his
Fanny, he was on his side very inquisitive into all the particulars
which had produced this unfortunate accident.
To return therefore to the kitchen, where a great variety of company
were now assembled from all the rooms of the house, as well as the
neighbourhood: so much delight do men take in contemplating the
countenance of a thief.
Mr Tow-wouse began to rub his hands with pleasure at seeing so large an
assembly; who would, he hoped, shortly adjourn into several apartments,
in order to discourse over the robbery, and drink a health to all honest
men. But Mrs Tow-wouse, whose misfortune it was commonly to see things a
little perversely, began to rail at those who brought the fellow into
her house; telling her husband, "They were very likely to thrive who
kept a house of entertainment for beggars and thieves."
The mob had now finished their search, and could find nothing about the
captive likely to prove any evidence; for as to the cloaths, though the
mob were very well satisfied with that proof, yet, as the surgeon
observed, they could not convict him, because they were not found in his
custody; to which Barnabas agreed, and added that these were _bona
waviata_, and belonged to the lord of the manor.
"How," says the surgeon, "do you say these goods belong to the lord of
the manor?"--"I do," cried Barnabas.--"Then I deny it," says the
surgeon: "what can the lord of the manor have to do in the case? Will
any one attempt to persuade me that what a man finds is not his
own?"--"I have heard," says an old fellow in the corner, "justice
Wise-one say, that, if every man had his right, whatever is found
belongs to the king of London."--"That may be true," says Barnabas, "in
some sense; for the law makes a difference between things stolen and
things found; for a thing may be stolen that never is found, and a thing
may be found that never was stolen: Now, goods that are both stolen and
found are _waviata_; and they belong to the lord of the manor."--"So the
lord of the manor is the receiver of stolen goods," says the doctor; at
which there was an universal laugh, being first begun by himself.
While the prisoner, by persisting in his innocence, had almost (as there
was no evidence against him) brought over Barnabas, the surgeon,
Tow-wouse, and several others to his side, Betty informed them that they
had overlooked a little piece of gold, which she had carried up to the
man in bed, and which he offered to swear to amongst a million, aye,
amongst ten thousand. This immediately turned the scale against the
prisoner, and every one now concluded him guilty. It was resolved,
therefore, to keep him secured that night, and early in the morning to
carry him before a justice.