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when he ridiculed it in "Joseph Andrews." It is not fair to suppose that he had any intention of representing in a ludicrous light those ideas of female purity which have received for ages the sanction of religion and the respect of mankind. His object was very different. It was a sham morality which he assailed,-the affectation of virtue, not virtue itself. He saw that the popular idol was not made of solid gold, as its worshippers believed, but a gilt and lacquered image, got up for show, and manufactured to suit the fashion of the times. A man of his hearty and genial humour could not hear with patience all the cant and nonsense uttered about it, and he therefore determined to show the world what it was made of. The self-suffi.. ciency of the author was also no less provocative of satire than the book itself. Richardson's peculiarities were well known to Fielding. He knew him to be dull, respectable, vain, and sensitive, and he took a secret pleasure in aiming a shaft which he knew would wound him in his tenderest point.
The character of the author of "Pamela" was, indeed, in perfect keeping with his work. From his youth upwards he had delighted in feminine society and in tea-table sentimentality. In his maturer years his greatest pleasure was to give laws to a little senate of soft admirers, who regarded him with awe and tenderness, and never contradicted, argued with, or thwarted him. Whilst Fieldingroughly handled by the world-had made acquaintance with every species of folly and dissipation, and had been as familiar with the mirth of the tavern as the misery of the sponging-house, Richardson had lived the life of the thoroughly respectable and respected trader; accurate in his accounts, punctual in his dealings, regular in his habits, comfortable in his circumstances. No two men could Fielding had escaped
differ more widely from each other. from his wild life, not without stain or reproach, but with a knowledge of the world and the world's ways, a
quickness of apprehension, and a faculty for discerning and dissecting human motives, which could never have been acquired in a life of retirement and staid propriety.1 He had been too much rubbed about in the world to be duped by the most specious cunning, cant, or hypocrisy. Richardson, on the other hand-who had never known the want of a guinea, or committed an act which the most rigid moralist could censure-had so fortified and hedged himself up in his little citadel of virtue, and had so narrowed his views of human life, that he stumbled quite unsuspiciously into the pit-falls of insipidity and absurdity which lay in his way. Though an amiable and respectable, he was by no means a generous or largeminded man, and his mode of life had not been calculated to develop any great qualities. He had been flattered and idolised; whilst Fielding had been abused as a madbrained profligate, ridiculed and cut by his acquaintances. The breath of adulation was pleasant to Richardson, but Fielding estimated it at its true worth. The one was childishly covetous of praise, and greedy of the applause of partial friends; the other was as reckless of reputation as of his purse. If the proceeds from an essay or a pamphlet were sufficient to buy out an execution, or to satisfy a relentless tax-gatherer, Fielding was a happier man than if the whole society of wits at Will's, or all the critics of the press, had combined to trumpet forth his excellences. With such striking differences of disposition, it is not surprising to find the two great novelists of the age in direct antagonism. The success of "Pamela" was all that
(1) "Lastly, come Experience, long conversant with the wise, the good, the learned, and polite. Nor with these only, but with every kind of character, from the minister at his levée, to the bailiff at his sponging-house; from the duchess at her drum, to the landlady behind her bar. From these only can the manners of mankind be known, to which the exclusive pedant, however great his parts or extensive his bearing may be, hath ever been a stranger."-Tom Jones, book xiii. c. 1. Richardson said of Fielding, no doubt with truth, in one of his letters "His brawls, his jars, his gaols, his sponging-houses, are all drawn from what he has seen and known."
was required to draw Fielding out. He was determined that the virtuous heroine should not have it all her own way, and his "wicked wit" suggested to him a most original and effective method of ridiculing the popular favourite.
Though Fielding's principal object in the composition of "Joseph Andrews" was to caricature "Pamela," by presenting a picture of male virtue in humble life, as a ludicrous counterpart of Richardson's sketch, another and much higher design was included in his plan. From his youth, as we have seen, he had been a warm admirer of Cervantes and his wonderful book, "Don Quixote." His earliest literary effort (already glanced at) had been to identify with English scenes, in a dramatic form, the humour of the greatest of European romance-writers; and it is not, therefore, to be marvelled at that, in his first novel, he should endeavour to imitate the manner, and catch a portion of the spirit, of his idol. To present an English parallel to the adventures of the chivalrous Don suggested itself to his mind; and he created a hero calculated, like the Don, to afford amusement to his readers, without ever forfeiting their esteem.1
The character of Mr. Abraham Adams is the most delightful in the whole range of English fiction. It is the embodiment of Christianity in all its noblest bearingsthe grandest delineation of a pattern priest which the world has yet seen. From the moment we are introduced to him drinking his cup of ale in Sir Thomas Booby's kitchen, and taking that opportunity of asking Joseph Andrews a few questions about religion, till we bid farewell to him at the celebration of his young friend's nuptials, when he courageously rebukes Mr. Booby and Pamela “ for laughing in so sacred a place, and on so solemn an occa
(1) See the title of Joseph Andrews-"The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his friend, Mr. Abraham Adams. Written in imitation of the manner of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote."
sion," there is such a noble consistency and unaffected simplicity in his character-so beautiful a union of true. dignity and genuine humility-that, in spite of the unseemly tricks and unbecoming treatment to which he is exposed, we never cease both to love and respect him. There is no adventure, however low and ludicrous, no undeserved misfortune to which Adams is exposed, which can at all tend to lower him in our estimation. Even when-mistaken for the pig-dealer-he is prostrated in the mire with Parson Trulliber's hogs, or when-the victim of a practical joke he is soused in the water-tub by his treacherous entertainers, our respect for his simple faith and manliness represses the tendency to contemptuous mirth; and, though he stands before us bespattered with mud or drenched with water, with a ragged cassock and a crownless hat, he has lost none of the dignity of the cloth, and has become in no degree an object of contempt.1
It is impossible here to ignore the tradition that Parson Adams was sketched from a living original, and that that original was one of Fielding's own friends, the Rev. William Young. "Mr. Young," says Murphy, "was remarkable for his intimate acquaintance with the Greek authors, and had as passionate a veneration for Eschylus as Parson Adams; the overflowings of his benevolence
(1) Mr. Forster has the following admirable criticism on the characters of the Vicar of Wakefield and Mr. Abraham Adams :-" Resemblances have been found, and may be admitted to exist, between the Rev. Charles Primrose and the Rev. Abraham Adams. They were from kindred genius; and from the manly habit which Fielding and Goldsmith shared of discerning what was good and beautiful in the homeliest aspects of humanity. In the parson's saddle-bag of sermons would hardly have been found this prison-sermon of the vicar; and there was in Mr. Adams not only a capacity for beef and pudding, but for beating and being beaten, which would ill have consisted with the simple dignity of Doctor Primrose. But unquestionable learning, unsuspecting simplicity, amusing traits of credulity and pedantry, and a most Christian purity and benevolence of heart, are common to both these masterpieces of English fiction; and are in each with such excellent touch discriminated, as to leave no possible doubt of the originality of either."-Life and Times of Goldsmith, vol. ii. 2nd edition.
were as strong, and his fits of reverie were as frequent." Dr. Johnson, speaking of the same individual as the original of Fielding's immortal sketch, tells us of him, that "he supported an uncomfortable existence by translating from the Greek; and if he did not seem to be his own friend, was at least no man's enemy."1 A curious story is narrated by Mr. Murphy in illustration of the reverend gentleman's absence of mind, and occasional forgetfulness of mundane affairs. During the Duke of Marlborough's campaign in Flanders, Mr. Young served as chaplain in an infantry regiment, and one evening, when encamped close to the enemy, carelessly wandered into the hostile camp, with his "Eschylus" in his hand, and with a heart. full of benevolent reflection, called forth by the tranquillity of the hour, and the balmy sweetness of the evening air. The French sentry's cry of " Qui va là !" first apprised him of his danger, and he immediately surrendered himself a prisoner of war. But the officer in command, perceiving the simplicity of his character, and that his appearance in the camp was unintentional, immediately released him, and politely directed him back to his regiment. In conjunction with this profound and simple-minded Grecian, Fielding meditated a translation of "Aristophanes,” and one play was published as a specimen, soon after the appearance of “ Joseph Andrews." 2 But the manner in which it was received did not probably encourage the friends to persevere in their undertaking, or to continue this notable partnership of wit and scholarship.
That Parson Adams of the novel is merely the Reverend Mr. Young of real life-a minute copy of a well-known original-cannot, however, be conceded. Some of the qualities which distinguished Fielding's friend-such as his passion for "Eschylus," his absence of mind, his trick
(1) Lives of the Poets.
(2) "Plutus, the God of Riches: a Comedy from the Greek of Aristophanes." By H. Fielding, Esq., and the Rev. Mr. Young. Waller. 1742.