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of snapping his fingers when pleased or embarrassed, his unsuspecting gentleness of disposition-might have been transferred, it is true, to Adams.1 But it is one thing for an artist to give individuality to a grand ideal by copying a few traits from real life, and another to produce an exact portrait. As Hogarth, sitting at his easel, doubtless had in his mind's eye some reputable alderman, whose placid features might become his sketch of the Good Apprentice, or some irreclaimable profligate, whose quick, restless eye and sinister glance might suit the character of Tom Idle; so Fielding, in the delineation of Mr. Abraham Adams, occasionally threw in a few personal traits, which might be recognised by a common acquaintance as pertaining to Mr. Young; but clearly nothing more than this was either attempted or intended.3
Amongst the minor characters in the novel, Parson Trulliber (as already mentioned') and Mr. Peter Pounce,
(1) It is said that Mr. Young resented the imputation of having sat for the portrait of Parson Adams, and once threatened to knock down a gentleman who addressed him by that name. He died in Chelsea College, in 1757, and in the registry is this entry, "William Young, a clergyman."-Hutchins' History of Dorset.
(2) It is well observed by Mr. Murphy, with respect to the character of Adams, that his "habitual absence of mind, which is his prominent foible, and which never fails to give a tinge to whatever he is about, makes the honest clergyman almost a rival of the renowned Don Quixote. . . . I will venture to say (he adds) that when Don Quixote mistakes the barber's basin for Mambrino's helmet, no reader ever found the situation more ridiculous and truly comic than Parson Adams' travelling to London to sell a set of sermons, and actually snapping his fingers and taking two or three turns round the room in ecstasy, when introduced to a bookseller in order to make an immediate bargain; and then immediately after, not being able to find those same sermons, when he exclaims, I professI believe I left them behind me!"-Essay on the Life and Genius of Fielding. (3) This view is confirmed by the last paragraph in the preface, where the novelist claims for his sketch the merit of originality, whilst he avows its object. "As to the character of Adams," he says, "as it is the most glaring in the whole, so I conceive it is not to be found in any book now extant. It is designed as a character of perfect simplicity; and as the goodness of his heart will recommend him to the good-natured, so I hope it will excuse me to the gentlemen of his cloth."
(4) See p. 4. It is said in Hutchins' "History of Dorset," 2nd edition, that a curate of Metcombe, a village near East Stour, was the original of
the steward of Sir Thomas Booby, are also said to have been sketches from life. The original of the latter portrait was Mr. Peter Walter, a wealthy attorney and scriveneralias usurer-who purchased an estate near Sherborne, Dorsetshire, and was for some time Fielding's neighbour.' He filled the office of steward to several persons of distinction, and realised an immense fortune. Sir Charles Hanbury Williams has ridiculed this important personage in a ballad called, "Peter and my Lord Quidam," written in 1743. In "the curious dialogue" in Joseph Andrews, "which Trulliber, but this was denied by the reverend gentleman's widow. "The house where he lived," says the local historian, "seemed to accord with Fielding's description ('Joseph Andrews,' book ii., chap. 14.), and an old woman who remembered him, observed, that he dearly loved a bit of good victuals and a drop of drink.'"
(1) Walter's estate was at Stalbridge Park, about four miles from East Stower. He represented the borough of Bridport in Parliament, and died in 1745, aged eighty-three. ("History of Dorset.")
(2) See "Poems of Sir C. H. Williams," 3 vols., 1822: the cleverest, though not the most decent collection, of personal and political squibs in the language. Sir Charles Williams was the consistent friend and supporter of Sir R. Walpole, whose fall he revenged by a series of stinging attacks upon Pulteney, Earl of Bath, the hero of the opposition. Amongst them is the following inscription for the Earl of Bath's house in Piccadilly :
"Here, dead to fame, lies patriot Will,
His grave a lordly seat;
His title proves his epitaph,
His robes his winding-sheet."
When the Earl of Orford (Sir R. Walpole) first met the Earl of Bath in the House of Lords, he is said to have thus greeted him :-"Here we are, my lord, the two most insignificant fellows in England."
In an ode, written soon after Sir R. Walpole's retirement from power, Sir C. Williams has this most true and pithy stanza :
"Oh! my poor country, is this all
You've gained by the long-laboured fall
Of Walpole and his tools?
He was a knave-suppose-what then?
He'd parts, but this new set of men
A'n't only knaves-but fools."
His character of Walpole, again—“Whom many loved, few hated, none despised"—is very happy.
Mr. Peter Walter figures frequently in Pope's satires. See "Moral Essays," Ep. iii.; "Satires of Dr. Donne versified;" Imitations of Horace," &c.
passed between Mr. Abraham Adams and Mr. Peter Pounce, better worth reading than all the works of Colley Cibber and many others," the inhumanity and self-conceit of the purse-proud steward are felicitously portrayed. The argument on charity is especially characteristic:
"Sir,' said Adams, 'my definition of charity is, a generous disposition to relieve the distressed.'
"There is something in that definition,' answered Peter, 'which I like well enough; it is, as you say, a disposition-and does not so much consist in the act as in the disposition to do it; but, alas! Mr. Adams, who are meant by the distressed? Believe me, the distresses of mankind are mostly imaginary, and it would be rather folly than goodness to relieve them.'
"Sure, sir, replied Adams, 'hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and other distresses which attend the poor, can never be said to be imaginary evils.'
"How can any man complain of hunger,' said Peter, 'in a country where such excellent salads are to be gathered in almost every field? or of thirst, where every river and stream produces such delicious potations? And, as for cold and nakedness, they are evils introduced by luxury and custom. A man naturally wants clothes no more than a horse or any other animal; and there are whole nations who go without them; . . . . the greatest fault in our constitution is the provision made for the poor, except that perhaps made for some others.""
With respect to the conduct of the story, it is very evident that, as Fielding proceeded, he thought less of his original design, as he became more attached to those excellent beings whom his fancy had called into existence-good Parson Adams, honest Joseph Andrews, and beautiful, tender-hearted Fanny. As it has been said of Cervantes, so it may be said of his English follower, that he came "at last to love the creations of his marvellous power, as if they were real familiar personages ;" and if at the outset he thought only of ridiculing Richardson, and throwing in a sly sarcasm at Cibber, as he advanced in his narrative he ceased to think of those personages or their works. That
(1) Joseph Andrews, book iii., chap. 13.
(2) Ticknor's History of Spanish Literature.
on subjects of religion and morality he occasionally made Adams his mouthpiece, and delivered through him his own sentiments on the most important topics which can interest mankind, is also very evident. True Christianity, undefiled by bigotry or fanaticism, had always in Fielding a powerful advocate; and of this there is a splendid instance in the discussion between Adams and Barnabas at the close of the first book of "Joseph Andrews." More enlarged and tolerant, or juster views of religious truth, are nowhere to be found than in Adams' argument.
These were not the palmy days of Church-of-England discipline. From the sketches of Barnabas and Trulliber, it may be assumed that, in the early part of the Georgian era, there did not prevail amongst the rural clergy any high standard of clerical acquirements or conduct. Good Sir Roger de Coverley, in selecting a chaplain (it will be remembered), was modestly anxious "to find a person rather of plain sense than much learning; of a good aspect, a clear voice, and sociable temperament; and, if possible, a man that understood a little of backgammon;" and these were the qualifications of many a polite divine who said grace at the great man's table, or preached him to sleep on Sunday, in the days of Addison and Fielding. But the acquirements of the rural curate were often of a still humbler order, as his social status was lower. Poor Adams, "had no nearer access to Sir Thomas Booby or my lady than through the waiting-gentlewoman.'. . . . They both regarded the curate as a kind of domestic only, belonging to the parson of the parish, who was at that time at variance with the knight; for the parson had for many years lived in a constant state of civil war, or, which is perhaps as bad, civil law, with Sir Thomas himself and the tenants of his
(1) The immortal Mistress Slipslop, herself a curate's daughter, and therefore disposed to regard the parson with tenderness. Sheridan's Mrs. Malapropone of the happiest caricatures in the whole range of English comedy--was probably suggested by Lady Booby's "waiting-gentlewoman."
manor." Such disagreements between the wealthier clergy and the rural squires were not infrequent during the earlier half of the seventeenth century. A similar state of things is represented in "The Spectator," as existing in the next parish to Sir Roger :-"The parson is always preaching at the squire, and the squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe-stealers; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them in almost every sermon that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity that the squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half-year; and the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation." The practice which prevailed amongst some of the homelier clergy of this period-of uniting agricultural occupations with the duties of their sacred calling (as in the case of Trulliber)-must have considerably detracted from their legitimate influence. The vicar who bargained at fairs and markets and sometimes even at the church porch-with farmers and drovers; who dined and smoked his pipe at the market ordinary, was less a clergyman than a tradesman; and was so regarded by his flock. What greater moral influence was possessed by a Barnabas or a Trulliber, than by any other farmer or grazier?
It may be finally remarked that the grand characteristic of Fielding's first novel is the singular healthiness of its tone. Though some of its pages are not unexceptionable in point of taste and tendency, they are preferable to the sickly sentiment and trite morality of Richardson. Whilst the one writer is all stilts and buckram, the other is full of health, vigour, and animal spirits. "How charming! how wholesome is Fielding!" says Coleridge; "to take him up after Richardson is like emerging from a sick-room, heated by stoves, into an open lawn on a breezy day in