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May." No attachment to long-sanctioned worldly proprieties, no comfortable and convenient prejudices, no conventional interpretations of human motives, prevented his recognition of what was radically right, just, and true. Though Parson Adams is a perfect Christian, his conduct is not at all times consistent with clerical etiquette. When insulted, he does not rely on the protection of his gown, but, clenching his brawny fist, tells his tormentor "he has thrashed many a better man.' Though as gentle as a lamb, he is at all times ready to wield his cudgel in defence of innocence. He is no less remarkable, in fact, for physical than moral courage, carrying both to an extremity which is calculated to shock many decent worldly minds. "Child," he says to Joseph, when his "condescension" to a footman has provoked surprise, "I should be ashamed of my cloth if I thought a poor man, who is honest, below my notice or my familiarity. I know not how those who think otherwise can profess themselves followers of Him who made no distinction, unless, peradventure, by preferring the poor to the rich." The author of "Joseph Andrews," indeed, was no idolater of wealth and station. In the "byeways and hedges" of the world, rather than its high places, he found his noblest specimens of humanity. When Joseph Andrews is discovered by the wayside, stripped and wounded, he might have perished for all that the respectable people inside or outside the stage-coach would have done for him, "unless," continues the novelist, "the postillion (a lad who hath since been transported for robbing a hen-roost) had not voluntarily stripped off a great-coat, his only garment, at the same time swearing a great oath (for which he was rebuked by the passengers),
(1) Coleridge's Table Talk.
(2) A story is told by Horace Walpole which reminds us of Adams' pugnacity:-"A Dr. Suckling, who married a niece of my father's, quarrelled with
a country squire, who said, 'Doctor, your gown is your protector.' 'Is it so?' replied the parson, then it shall not be yours,' pulled it off, and thrashed him directly."
'that he would rather ride in his shirt all his life than suffer a fellow-creature to lie in so miserable a condition."
The publication and immediate popularity of “ Joseph Andrews" made Richardson very angry. That one so inferior to him in literary merit, as he imagined Fielding to be, should venture to make fun of any book of his was an insult and an indignity not to be forgotten or forgiven. He was at this time on very intimate terms with his rival's two sisters (both of whom had a most ladylike admiration for him and his writings), and to them he communicated without scruple his severe displeasure. He told them that their brother was a person of low habits, and complained bitterly of his scurrility. From this time forth he could never see a single merit in anything which the fellow wrote; and he persuaded some of his friends to think or to say so too. The worst of it was, that the book which he so much decried steadily made its way, and became as great a favourite as a wise and witty book should be; in short, it was almost as much read 66 as Pamela" itself had been. A second edition was published in August, 1742, and a third was called for in the following March. Like other greatly popular works,
(1) In a brief notice of Fielding's life, contained in a modern work (" British Cyclopædia of Biography," edited by C. F. Partington), an amusing story is told about Fielding's negotiation for the sale of "Tom Jones." But the circumstances recorded, if they occurred at all, must relate (as will hereafter be shown) to the earlier novel of "Joseph Andrews." At the time the author had completed the manuscript, he was anxious, it is said, to discharge a debt of £20. The bookseller to whom he showed it gave a significant shrug on looking through it; whereupon Fielding despondingly asked, "If he gave him no hopes?" "Very faint ones, indeed, sir," replied the bookseller, "for I have scarcely any that the book will move." "Well, sir," replied the poor author, "money I must have; so pray give me some idea what you can afford." The bookseller still repeating that [Joseph] was not to the public taste, and would not move, mentioned £25 as the highest price he could offer. "And will you give that?" inquired Fielding, anxiously. "Why," said the bookseller, "I must think again; leave the book with me, and I will make up my mind tomorrow." "Then remember," rejoined the author, "for £25 the book is yours." After this Fielding happened to meet Thomson, the poet, to whom he related what had taken place at the interview, and who wisely advised him to get the manuscript back. About this there was no difficulty, for it was returned the next morning. Thomson upon this introduced Fielding to Andrew Millar,
Joseph Andrews" was also subject to piratical attacks. In the October after its publication, the Attorney-general (Sir Dudley Ryder) was instructed to move for an injunction to restrain the sale of an unauthorised impression. The first application having been unsuccessful, on account of a technical objection, Sir Dudley thus communicated the circumstance to his wife, then at Bath:-"My dearest girl, I can't help thinking of you in the midst of the noise of Westminster Hall. I have this moment sat down, after endeavouring to rescue Joseph Andrews and Parson Adams out of the hands of pirates, but in vain; for this time we are foiled by a mistake in the attack. However, another broadside next week will do the business."1
It need scarcely be stated that his irascible rival insisted on believing that this success was only temporarya gush of ephemeral popularity scarcely worth having. Comfortably wrapped up in his garment of self-sufficiency, he declared that "Pamela" would be remembered when Joseph Andrews" and its author were alike forgotten; just as Aaron Hill speculated on the period arriving when his own name should be more celebrated in the realm of song than that of Pope.
who was not in the habit then of publishing light literature; but his wife, having read the manuscript, advised him not to let [Joseph Andrews] slip through his fingers. Accordingly, Thomson and Fielding were invited by Millar to a tavern to settle the bargain over a bottle of wine. With much modest trepidation, Fielding, after the second bottle of port, asked the bookseller what he would give for the novel. "I am a man," said Millar, "of few words, and fond of coming to the point, but I don't think I can afford to give more than £200." "Two hundred pounds!" said Fielding, in amazement; 66 are you serious?" "Never more so," replied Millar. 66 Then," said the delighted author, "give me your hand, the book's yours." That this could not have occurred with respect to the novel of "Tom Jones," is evident from two or three facts. That work was published in 1749, and Thomson died in 1748. Millar, also, was the publisher of "Joseph Andrews," which appears to be the first work of Fielding's which issued from his press. In addition to this, it will be borne in mind, that when "Tom Jones" was published, Fielding had established a reputation as a novelist.
(1) Lord Campbell's Lives of the Chief Justices, vol. ii. The letter is endorsed October 23, 1742.
DEFENCE OF THE DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH.-" MISS LUCY IN TOWN."-" THE WEDDING DAY."-GARRICK AND FIELDING.
EITHER inclination or necessity at this period led Fielding to give more attention to literature than to law. Probably he found the latter by no means the profitable pursuit he had imagined; and briefs not arriving when he expected them, he fell back on his ready pen for the means of livelihood. At this time, too, he began to suffer from the attacks of his inveterate and ultimately victorious adversary—the gout; and attendance in court became inconvenient, sometimes impossible. Thus situated, it is not surprising to find him endeavouring to earn money as a political pamphleteer, and also once more as a writer for the stage. In April, 1742, he published anonymously a pamphlet in defence of the Duchess Dowager of Marlborough, who, though tottering on the verge of the grave, continued actively to interfere in politics; and had just published, with the literary assistance of Nathaniel Hooke, an account of her eventful career. The manner in which Fielding
(1) A Full Vindication of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough. . . . In a Letter to the noble Author of a late scurrilous Pamphlet.
(2) In December, 1741, young Horace Walpole thus writes of old Sarah to Sir Horace Mann :-" Old Marlborough is dying--but who can tell! last year she had lain a great while ill, without speaking; her physicians said, 'She must be blistered, or she will die.' She called out, 'I wont be blistered, and I wont die.' If she takes the same resolution now, I don't believe she will." In another budget of gossip addressed to the same person, the Duchess' Memoirs are thus described :-" Old Marlborough has at last published her Memoirs;' they are digested by one Hooke, who wrote a Roman History, but from her materials, which are so womanish, that I am sure the man might sooner have made a gown and petticoat with them."
speaks of "Old Sarah" will astonish those who only remember her as Pope's Atossa, who,
"From loveless youth to unrespected age,
No passion gratified except her rage:"
for, in language of extravagant eulogy, he does not hesitate to describe her as "a glorious woman, whose character he had never contemplated but with admiration." Probably Fielding had more reasons than one for forming so flattering an estimate of the character of a woman who is considered, by most impartial readers of history, a troublesome and mischievous intriguer. It is not impossible that his advocacy received pecuniary reward from the Duchess or her partisans; but it should also be remembered that his father had fought under Churchill, and the name of Marlborough had been honoured by him from childhood.
On the 5th of May following, a ballad-farce was produced at Drury Lane from Fielding's pen, called "Miss Lucy in Town," being a sequel to "The Virgin Unmasked." The latter production ended with the marriage of the heroine to Thomas the footman:1 in the sequel, Thomas and his wife are brought up to London, where the wife falls unsuspectingly into the hands of a vicious procuressone Mrs. Midnight-who seems to be the original of Foote's celebrated sketch of Mrs. Cole in "The Minor." The coincidence, in language and idea, is, to say the least of it, remarkable; and affords one instance, amongst many, of the unscrupulous use made of Fielding's hurried sketches by succeeding dramatists. Mrs. Clive, who had originally performed in "The Virgin Unmasked," made a decided hit in the character of the heroine, and the farce promised to be a profitable one to its author. On May 19th he had a benefit-night, when it was performed for the seventh
(1) See page 62.
(2) Originally Mrs. Haycock.