Book 1 ……………………
Ch. 1 — Fielding begins by addressing the writer directly, announcing that he is about to present a morally uplifting tale, and comparing his book to two recent works, the autobiography of the actor Colley Cibber, and the novel, Pamela. The joke is that neither is a good example of Biography, because the former is the memoir of a professional liar, and the latter is a work of fiction. In any case, Fielding tells us, his subject will be as great an exampl eof chastity as was Pamela, except that this “Character” will represent “Male-Chastity.”
Ch. 2 — A quick narration of Joseph’s childhood, marked by his beauty, singing ability, riding ability, and desire to learn. We learn that he is sent to work at a very young age on the estate of Sir Thomas Booby.
Ch. 3 — Parson Adams is introduced as Joseph’s mentor and tutor. He is a self-taught scholar and the curate of Lord Booby’s estate. He is paid a small salary by the clergyman appointed to take care of the parish nearest the Booby estate. His duties include running holy services, visiting the poor and sick, and educating local children. He is characterized by his naivete — he is so honest that he cannot perceive or suspect dishonesty in anyone else. Mrs. Slipslop is also introduced as a woman who likes to pretend to be high-class and very learned by (mis)using difficult words. She informs Parson Adams that Joseph must accompany Lady Booby, a beautiful and fashionable woman, to her London residence to act as her footman (male servant).
Ch. 4 — Joseph picks up a few town affectations — vanity about his clothes and hair, a love of going to the theater — but remains honest and modest overall — so modest that he does not suspect that Lady Booby is falling in love with him.
Ch. 5 — Sir Thomas Booby dies, and leaves a less-than-grieving widow. After a full week of mourning, Lady Booby calls Joseph to her bedroom and tries to hint that he could have his way with her if he wanted to. He doesn’t understand, and his assurances that he respects her too much ever to think of touching her anger her greatly.
Ch. 6 — Joseph, worried about his mistress’s anger, writes to his sister, Pamela Adams, letting her know he may soon be fired and, if so, will return to the country and Parson Adams. (Joseph’s sister is the heroine of the novel Pamela, written by Samuel Richardson. In that work, she was the virtuous governess whose long resistance of Mr. B__’s advances eventually so impressed him that he married her.) Mrs. Slipslop meets Joseph in the servant’s quarters; her personality is described in more detail. She apparently had one love affair as a girl but has “reclaimed” her virginity and has been a prude ever since. Having passed child-bearing age, however, she is on the lookout for another lover, but lacks the physical attractiveness to make such a hunt successful. Still, she offers herself to Joseph. Her mangled, pseudo-sophisticated English confuses him, and he is nearly embraced by her forcibly when Lady Booby summons Slipslop just in time.
Ch. 7 — Lady Booby and Slipslop both insist to each other that they hate Joseph. Slipslop accuses him (falsely) of getting a serving-maid pregnant. Lady Booby tells Slipslop to fire them both. Slipslop defends Joseph, and Lady Booby, after changing her mind a few times, sends for Joseph.
Ch. 8 — Fielding, after urging his easily-shocked and highly moral female readers not to condemn Lady Booby for her passion for Joseph, describes Joseph in great physical detail. Lady Booby interviews Joseph (again in her bedroom) and propositions him more directly. He still seems not to understand and protests that his Virtue would never allow him to take advantage of a high-born lady. Lady Booby is insulted again at the notion that a man can have a virtue to protect, or would want to, and again dismisses Joseph.
Ch. 9 — Mrs. Slipslop, who was eavesdropping the whole time, again tries to defend Joseph. When Lady Booby yells at her, she hints that she’ll tell all the Lady’s friends that she loves her servant. Lady Booby, realizing her predicament, makes up with Slipslop, who in turn has no desire to find a new job at her age. They reach a truce. Fielding then describes Lady Booby’s conflicting emotions in allegorical terms.
Ch. 10 — Joseph writes another letter to his sister complaining that, even though Parson Adams had taught him that Chastity was the greatest virtue one could have, no one else seems to hold the same opinion. He encourages her to protect her own chastity in her position at Mr. B__’s, and promises to do the same himself. Joseph is then given his wages and sent away; he immediately begins to walk back to his country home.
Ch. 11 — Fielding explains that the reason Joseph is going back to Sir Booby’s estate rather than his own parents’ house is because he loves a girl back home named Fanny. A sudden storm sends Joseph to an inn for shelter, where he discovers the servant of a neighboring estate back home who is driving a cart in that direction. He hitches a ride.
Ch. 12 — He gets 20 miles further along and is dropped off to continue walking. He is accosted by two thieves who beat him severely and steal his money and clothes. He is left for dead but is rescued by a coach driver who takes him inside the coach (to the vehement objections of the snooty occupants) to another Inn. The chambermaid, Betty, takes pity on him, but is unable to get a surgeon (doctor) to see him in the middle of the night. The Innkeeper, Mr. Tow-wouse, tries to give Joseph some clothes but is berated by his stingy wife. The surgeon finally comes and finds Joseph near death.
Ch. 13 — The incompetent surgeon frightens Joseph into writing a farewell letter to Fanny and sends for the clergyman, Mr. Barnabas, to offer confession to Joseph, who has no sins to confess. Joseph and Barnabas have a theological debate about forgiveness. Betty cares for Joseph against Mrs. Tow-wouse’s orders.
Ch. 14 — The other guests at the Inn (Mr. Barnabas, the doctor, a lawyer, and a “Gentleman”) discuss the unfortunate robbery and its victim. The “Gentleman” takes a particular interest in Joseph and a dislike to Mrs. Tow-wouse and the quack doctor. Betty comes with news that the thieves have been caught and Joseph’s things recovered, and she wants to find a gold charm on a ribbon that Joseph has been asking for. When the “Gentleman” sees the clothes, he recognizes them and runs up to Joseph, who recognizes the Gentleman as Parson Adams.
Ch. 15 — Joseph, improving and defended by Betty, is allowed to visit with Parson Adams, who tells him he’s on the road, headed to London to have a book of his sermons published. Parson Adams has enough money to see Joseph well cared-for for a few days more.
Ch. 16 — Parson Adams realizes his money is running out, and asks Mr. Tow-wouse if he might borrow a small sum, leaving his collection of sermons as collateral. Mr. Tow-wouse declines. Parson Adams sits and observes many disreputable types coming and going, and is invited to drink with the clergyman, Mr. Barnabas, who argues with him about the value of reading sermons. Joseph continues to improve.
Ch. 17 — Mr. Barnabas introduces Parson Adams to a bookseller, who proposes to take the manuscript on to London so that Adams can return home with Joseph. However, Adams changes his mind after the bookseller and Mr. Barnabas begin to discuss the printing and reading of sermons in a purely commercial way. Suddenly, they are interrupted by the screams of Mrs. Tow-wouse, who has found her husband in bed with Betty.
Ch. 18 — Betty’s history — and a list of her many lovers — is offered. Her naturally passionate nature took over when she tried to climb into bed with Joseph, who refused her, occasioning more praise from the narrator for his Chastity. Betty’s frustrated passion for Joseph inclines her to sleep with Mr. Tow-wouse, whose wife, we are told, will make him pay for his sin for the rest of his life.
Ch. 1 — Fielding informs the reader that there is an art to dividing novels up into chapters and books; he compares it (satirically) to the butcher’s art.
Ch. 2 — When Adams discovers that he actually doesn’t have his sermons with him (his wife packed shirts instead), he decides to walk back home with Joseph after all. He and Joseph start out, sharing a horse by the “ride and tie” method, which separates them most of the time. Adams walks first, leaving Joseph behind to learn that Adams forgot to pay the bill for the horse’s board and feed. Adams has been walking for some time when he realizes that Joseph has not yet caught up to him; worried (and wet, because he waded through a puddle), he stops at a Tavern to wait for him.
Ch. 3 — Adams learns from two lawyers that Joseph is detained back at the Inn with no way to pay for the horse’s feed and lodging. While waiting for a storm to pass, he converses with the two lawyers and the Tavernkeeper. A coach pulls up, and Adams is surprised to learn that a woman in the coach has paid the horse-bill and released Joseph from the Inn — and is even more surprised to learn that the woman is Mrs. Slipslop, heading back to the Booby country estate. Joseph rides up, Adams is given a seat on the coach, and they travel on. In the coach, Adams and Slipslop gossip about Lady Booby’s passion for Joseph. They pass a house that another woman in the coach identifies as the home of “the unfortunate Leonora.”
Ch. 4 — The story of Leonora is told by the lady in the coach — a romance in which a frivolous young woman abandons her fiancé (Horatio), a good man who truly loves her, for a handsome rascal (Bellarmine). The two men fight a duel, Bellarmine is wounded, and Leonora is torn between them. The story is interrupted when the coach makes a dinner stop at an Inn.
Ch. 5 — At the Inn, they find Joseph already there, having a bruised leg (from a fall from his horse) tended by the Hostess. The Host angrily tells his wife to see to the other guests, getting into an argument with Joseph. Adams defends Joseph by getting into a fistfight with the Host. The Hostess defends her husband by hitting Adams with a pan full of pig’s blood. Mrs. Slipslop attacks the Hostess. The brawl is stopped by some passersby. Joseph takes Adams’s place in the coach and they travel on, Adams supposedly riding ahead on the horse.
Ch. 6 — The story of Leonora resumes. She has chosen the wounded Bellarmine over the noble Horatio, but when Bellarmine tries to negotiate her dowry with her father, he refuses to give her any money until after his death. Bellarmine abandons Leonora. The story ends with her living sad and alone, as does the jilted Horatio.
Ch. 7 — The people in the coach are surprised to catch up with Adams, who is walking rather than riding. He has forgotten the horse, and, seeing the coach, playfully tries to outrun it. He takes a wrong turn and gets lost. Sitting down to rest, he begins a conversation with a passing hunter.
Ch. 8 — Adams tells a rambling story about the difficulty of raising children in a world where who you know is more important than what you know.
Ch. 9 — Adams realizes that he is on the wrong road and the coach has passed him by. It’s growing dark, and the hunter (a gentleman) invites Adams to spend the night at his house. They hear female screams and discover a young woman being attacked by a man. The Hunter, frightened, runs away, but Adams fights with the attacker and eventually succeeds in knocking him out. He learns from the young woman that she had been traveling to London when she was attacked.
Ch. 10 — Some passing young men discover Adams and the young woman. The injured attacker accuses them of attacking him, and the passersby believe him. They discover a purse of gold on the girl, and assume she stole it. The group of young men take Adams and the girl to the Justice of the Peace. Along the way, Adams discovers that the girl is Fanny, Joseph’s sweetheart, headed for London to find him. Fanny pretends for a moment not to care that Joseph was going to home to find her, but Adams realizes that she really does love him.
Ch. 11 — The Justice and the young men, all ignorant and drunk, make fun of Adams and Fanny. One of the company finally recognizes Adams and assures the Justice that he’s an honest man. Adams and Fanny are released, and Fanny begs Adams to walk with her to the Inn where Joseph’s stage-coach has stopped.
Ch. 12 — They must take shelter from a rainstorm, and the narrator takes advantage of the pause to describe Fanny’s not-quite-perfect, but charming beauty in great detail. They hear a beautiful song coming from the other room, and Fanny realizes that it’s Joseph’s voice. They reunite happily, with many kisses, for which the narrator apologizes. Mrs. Slipslop, witnessing the reunion, is jealous.
Ch. 13 — Fielding discusses the difference between “High” and “Low” people, ironically noting that the behavior of “High” people is only “high” in their own opinion. Mrs. Slipslop says some nasty things about Fanny and Adams defends her, saying he wished certain highborn people (meaning Lady Booby) were as pure as Fanny. Slipslop leaves in a carriage sent for her by Lady Booby. Adams, Fanny and Joseph are left in the Inn’s parlor. Adams conveniently falls asleep and Joseph proposes to Fanny, wakes up Adams, and begs him to marry them on the spot. Both Adams and Fanny have to convince him to follow the custom of announcing the date of a wedding (the “banns”) three weeks ahead of time. They prepare to leave but find themselves once again short of money. Adams proposes to go to a fellow clergyman’s house next door and borrow some money.
Ch. 14 — Adams finds the clergyman, Parson Trulliber, feeding his hogs. Trulliber invites Adams to have breakfast with him, but is not a very gracious host, grabbing all the food and ale before Adams can get any. Adams asks Trulliber, as a fellow man of God, to loan him seven shillings. Trulliber refuses angrily and Adams leaves to avoid a fight.
Ch. 15 — Joseph asks the Hostess of the Inn to let them leave with a promise to repay her later. She agrees because she mistook Adams when he called her neighbor, Trulliber, his “brother” (meaning spiritual brother). Learning her mistake, she then refuses to trust them for the money. A poor traveling salesman overhearing the discussion offers to lend Adams the money, illustrating Fielding’s theory that poor people are often more generous than rich ones.
Ch. 16 — Walking along, they pass a beautiful house whose owner invites them in. The Squire, as he is called, is exceedingly friendly, and ends up offering Adams a lucrative position and inviting the travelers to stay with him for a few days at his larger country estate a little ways off, so that he can order his carriage to take them to their home. Adams accepts delightedly, only to be told that the Squire has forgotten that his house is closed up, and that he’ll put them up at the Inn for the night and send horses for them the next morning. In the morning, they are informed that the horses the Squire has promised them are lame. They then learn that the Squire has left town, that they have been stranded, and are left with yet another Inn-bill to pay. Adams is mystified as to why someone would promise kindness to total strangers and then fail to deliver, but Joseph assures him that this kind of behavior happens in London all the time — people like to appear generous but don’t like to actually give anything away. The Host of the Inn then informs Adams that this Squire plays this trick on travelers all the time. This Host, unlike the previous Hostess, is willing to let them travel on with a promise to pay later. He invites Adams to have a drink with him.
Ch. 17 — The Host relates a tale to Adams about how the Squire had once promised to use his influence to help find him a position in the Navy, but later was revealed to have no such connections at all. The Host and Adams then get into an argument about whether you can tell a person’s character from his face (Physiognomy). The Host begins to make snide remarks about clergymen, but Fanny and Joseph arrive in time to prevent Adams from fighting with the Host, and they travel on.
Ch. 1 — Fielding again begins a new book with a comment about the art of writing novels. He criticizes the ability of both pure biography and pure fantasy to create “true” characters — he prefers (his) middle way, which is to tell a story with fictionalized but recognizable “types. “ At the same time, he cautions the reader not to try to puzzle out which real-life figure is symbolized by which stereotypical character.
Ch. 2 — Joseph, Adams and Fanny are still walking as night falls. In the total darkness, they sit down to rest, and Joseph takes the opportunity to cuddle innocently with Fanny. Adams, however, is alarmed by mysterious lights, and fears ghosts (an ironic fear for a clergyman). They hear angry voices and the sound of a violent struggle and run away. They approach the lights of a house and are allowed in by a gentleman and his wife, who give them a drink and carefully try to ascertain whether the group is friendly or dangerous. A knock at the door alarms them for a moment, but then they find out that Parson Adams’ “ghosts” were merely sheep-stealers, who have been apprehended. Adams proves to his host with his knowledge of Greek and epic poetry that they are who they appear to be, and the gentleman happily invites them to eat and spend the night. Fanny goes up to bed and the men remain at the fire to talk.
Ch. 3 — The gentleman, Mr. Wilson, relates his life story — a tale of foolishness, waste and selfishness. Having inherited his father’s fortune at a young age (16), Mr. Wilson proceeds over the course of several years to squander it on all the vices of London — fashion, gambling, whores, mistresses, and the doctor’s bills for the three cases of venereal disease he contracts. His worst crime, he admits, is that he seduced an innocent young girl and set her up as his mistress (causing her mother to die of a broken heart); when she left him, she became a prostitute and died in prison. Some of his money is stolen by his women, some he loses in a lawsuit by a husband whose wife he had stolen, some is squandered on his attempts to get his own bad play produced, and he spends his last pennies on a lottery ticket. However, he is forced to give the ticket to a cousin in exchange for food, and is in debtor’s prison, helpless, when the ticket comes up a winner. He is shocked when he receives a letter from Harriet, the daughter of the (deceased) cousin, who shares some of the winnings with him. Paying off his debts, he leaves London and goes to find Harriet to thank her, and they fall in love and marry. After a failed attempt to take over her father’s wineselling business (Wilson is too honest to turn a profit), he and Harriet buy a small farm and retire from the world to raise children. Wilson’s only sorrow in life is the loss of his first child, stolen by gypsies.
Ch. 4 — Wilson ends his story by telling Adams that the child he lost has a birthmark shaped like a strawberry on his breast. The next morning, he shows off his simple garden to Fanny, Joseph, and Adams, and they all discuss the pleasures of a plain and simple life. They meet the remaining Wilson children, but the happy mood is spoiled when the pet dog of one of the daughters is shot by the son of the local Squire, for no reason but cruel sport. The trio leave sadly, full of admiration for the kind Wilsons.
Ch. 5 — As they walk, Joseph and Adams discuss Mr. Wilson’s life story. Adams offers the opinion that the root of all evil is the education rich people receive in English “public schools” (actually, exclusive private schools). He believes that private tutoring is the only way to go. Joseph disagrees, having observed that lots of privately-tutored country gentleman are just as wicked as those who went away to school. They stop by a river for a picnic lunch and discover that Mr. Wilson has also given them some money for their journey.
Ch. 6 — Joseph wonders at length why charity is so rare, and why most rich people seems so unkind. Adams falls asleep during this speech. Suddenly, a pack of hounds and hunters chasing a hare run past; the hunters try to cross the river and fall in. Meanwhile the hounds catch up with the hare close to the sleeping Adams, and in trying to tear the hare apart the dogs begin ripping Adams’ clothes off, too. Joseph heroically defends Adams with a stick as the hunters look on and laugh. The Squire (the head of the hunting party) then angrily accuses Joseph of injuring his dogs, but when he sees Fanny, becomes friendly and invites them to dinner.
Ch. 7 — Parson Adams dines at the Squire’s table; Joseph and Fanny (as servants) eat in the kitchen, but the Squire has given his staff orders to get Joseph drunk. The Squire’s biography is told; he exemplifies Joseph’s opinion about education, because he has been taught by a private tutor but has developed all the vices we have begun to associate regularly with the rich. His main characteristic is a lack of respect for anything serious; this is displayed when he and his friends ridicule Adams behind his back and play practical jokes on him through the whole dinner. Adams makes a speech about Respect, and the Squire makes a show of apologizing to him. One of the guests proposes that Adams participate in a mock-philosophical debate and sets up a “throne” on which Adams will sit and play the part of Socrates. Adams, drunk by now, agrees, but the throne is a contraption that dumps Adams into a tub of water. Adams, however, pulls the Squire in with him, and then grabs Joseph and Fanny and leaves.
Ch. 8 — They walk until they find an Inn at which to spend the night (meanwhile, the Squire has sent his friends to pursue and bring back Fanny). There, Adams enters a conversation with a Catholic priest (who is traveling in disguise, as Catholicism is illegal at this time) about the joys of poverty; the priest then asks him to loan him enough money for his tavern bill. Adams discovers that he has lost the money Wilson gave them.
Ch. 9 — Joseph hears knocking at the door of the Inn; the Squire’s friends have arrived and tell the Host that Fanny has been abducted by Joseph and Adams. Adams and Joseph defend Fanny; there is a huge fight, and Joseph defends Adams by hitting the leader of the group (a soldier called the Captain) over the head with a full chamberpot. However, Joseph and Adams are eventually subdued and tied up, and the men run away with Fanny.
Ch. 10 — Two of the Squire’s gang left to guard Joseph and Adams — one a playwright and the other an actor — debate what makes a good play.
Ch. 11 — At the Inn, Joseph loudly mourns the loss of Fanny, and Adams counsels him to behave like a good Christian and accept misfortune calmly. Joseph does not find this advice comforting.
Ch. 12 — Along the road, meanwhile, the Captain advises Fanny to let the Squire seduce her and give her presents, rather than force him to rape her. Fanny calls out to two men escorting a carriage that she’s being abducted; one of the men recognizes her and forces the Squire’s friends at gunpoint to give her up. It turns out that the carriage belongs to Lady Booby’s butler, Peter Pounce, who takes her back to the Inn (with the captured Captain) where Joseph and Adams are imprisoned. Joseph, joyously reunited with Fanny, beats the Captain. They all begin to ride back to Booby Hall.
Ch. 13 — Adams and Peter Pounce debate about Charity — Adams believes it’s the responsibility of the rich to care for the poor, and Pounce believes that the poor can take care of themselves, especially in the country. Adams, offended, gets out of the carriage and walks the last mile to Booby Hall.
Ch. 1 — Lady Booby arrives at her country estate; Fielding comments that the tenants of the estate are happy to see her only because they have no source of income while she’s gone; however, their welcome of Parson Adams, Fanny, and Joseph is heartfelt and genuine. We learn that Lady Booby has become more infatuated with Joseph during his absence; her emotional state swings dramatically between a desire to reward him for his goodness and a desire to punish him for being unavailable to her. Mrs. Slipslop reports to her how much Joseph suffered on his journey home. Lady Booby has just about decided to re-employ Joseph when she hears the banns — the first announcement of his engagement to Fanny — read aloud during Sunday services.
Ch. 2 — Lady Booby calls Adams to her and criticizes him for associating with a young man she has fired for moral crimes (Joseph). Adams defends Joseph and Fanny, but Lady Booby insists that he prevent their marriage. Adams tells her he can’t do that, because they are both legal residents of the village. Lady Booby threatens to have Adams fired, but he tells her he doesn’t care; he serves a greater Master than her.
Ch. 3 — Lady Booby consults a lawyer, Mr. Scout, and is enraged to find out that she can’t legally keep Joseph from living in the area. Scout believes, however, that a corrupt Justice in the area will be able to bend the law enough to get rid of Joseph and Fanny.
Ch. 4 — On the following Tuesday (a holy day), the banns are read for Joseph and Fanny’s marriage a second time. Lady Booby, angered, returns home after church to find that Joseph and Fanny have been brought before the Justice on unspecified charges. She begins to worry that Joseph will be hanged, when all she really wanted to do was get rid of Fanny. Her late husband’s nephew, Mr. Booby, and his bride Pamela (Joseph’s sister) arrive for a visit. Lady Booby, however, has no idea at first that Pamela is Joseph’s sister and welcomes her politely.
Ch. 5 — Mr. Booby (also referred to as the Squire), learning of Joseph’s arrest, resolves to help him. They go to the Justice, who informs them that Joseph and Fanny have been accused of stealing a hazel-twig from Lawyer Scout’s field; for this crime they are being sentenced to one month in prison and a severe whipping. Mr. Booby asks that Joseph and Fanny be put in his custody instead, and gives Joseph a nice suit of clothes to put on. He takes Joseph and Fanny back to Lady Booby’s and explains who he is on the way. Mr. Booby asks Lady Booby to welcome Joseph as a houseguest, and Lady Booby, impressed by seeing Joseph dressed respectably, happily agrees. She refuses, however, to take in Fanny. She is sent to stay with Adams and his family.
Ch. 6 — Joseph is joyously reunited with his sister, but she seems to be just as jealous of Fanny as Lady Booby is. She and Lady Booby get along well, however, being equally proud and fashionable. Joseph and Fanny make plans to marry the next Monday, after the third banns are read on Sunday. Meanwhile, Lady Booby and Slipslop criticize Pamela behind her back. Lady Booby becomes angry when Slipslop says she knows Lady Booby tried to get Fanny thrown out of town because of her love for Joseph; Lady Booby protests that her behavior has been above reproach and calls Slipslop common. They bicker, and Slipslop again defends Joseph, secure in her ability to blackmail Lady Booby.
Ch. 7 — Fielding pauses to consider the factors that create the type of character known as the coquette, of which Lady Booby is an example. He theorizes that girls are raised by their mothers to be afraid of men, in an attempt to protect their virtue. Therefore, when they are older, girls will disguise any feelings of love and pretend that they really hate all men. This theory explains why, the more Lady Booby loves Joseph, the more erratic and irritable her behavior becomes. She instructs Mr. Booby to tell Joseph to give up Fanny, if he ever wishes to become a gentleman, and Mr. Booby agrees. He and Pamela try to pressure Joseph, reminding him that Fanny is beneath him now that he is a gentleman’s brother-in-law (Pamela in particular resents it when Joseph equates Fanny with her socially), but Joseph swears he will never part with Fanny. Meanwhile, Fanny is walking on a country road when a fashionable gentleman (named Beau Didapper, as we will later learn) rides by and attempts to rape her. She is stronger than he is, however, so he leaves a servant to guard her while he rides on to the Booby estate. The servant then tries to rape her, tearing her clothes, but she is rescued by Joseph, who luckily arrives just in time. The attacker runs away, and Joseph becomes fascinated by the sight of Fanny’s uncovered bosom. However, her blushes make him realize his near-sin and they return, still chaste, to Parson Adams’ house.
Ch. 8 — Adams and his wife, meanwhile, are arguing about the match between Joseph and Fanny — Mrs. Adams fears that none of their children will be allowed to work for the Boobys if Adams angers the family with his support for Joseph. Even Mrs. Adams is inclined to believe that Fanny can’t possibly be both so beautiful and so good as well. Joseph and Fanny arrive and Joseph asks Adams to help him push the marriage ahead, believing that he can better protect Fanny’s virtue as her husband. Adams sternly tells Joseph that such haste would imply his marriage is motivated mainly by lust; good Christians do things in the proper time and accept whatever consequences may happen with patience. He says that he fears Joseph loves Fanny too much — so much that Joseph would choose her over God (i.e., if he lost her, he would despair). At this moment, someone comes in and tells Adams that his youngest son has drowned, and Adams becomes hysterical with grief. Joseph tries to comfort Adams with his own words — that Christians must accept God’s will, that he’ll see his little boy in heaven, etc. Adams refuses to be comforted, and when the little boy arrives home wet but safe (rescued by a passing Pedlar, a traveling salesman), Adams is likewise hysterical in his joy. Joseph points out rather irritably that Adams is not very good at taking his own advice, and Adams argues that love for one’s wife can’t be compared to the love for one’s child. Joseph and Mrs. Adams are unimpressed with this logic.
Ch. 9 — Lady Booby, learning that her guest, Beau Didapper, is infatuated with Fanny, plans to use him to lure Fanny from Joseph. She invites Didapper and the Boobys to visit Parson Adams in order to laugh at his poverty. Didapper is described as rich but weak, passive, foolish and ignorant (much like Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night), with a habit of ridiculing everyone and everything. Didapper begins to flirt with Fanny. Lady Booby admires Adams’ youngest child (little Dick), and Adams instructs the boy to read to the group.
Ch. 10 — The boy reads a moral story about a a squabbling couple and their friend’s failed efforts to act as a marriage counselor. His tale is interrupted, though.
Ch. 11 — The interruption occurs when Joseph sees Didapper try to fondle Fanny and punches him in the head. Didapper draws his sword but Adams talks them out of fighting. The Boobys and Parson Adams begin to argue about whether Joseph is right to fight for Fanny’s honor. Lady Booby cautions Adams that his defense of Joseph is not good policy if he wants to keep his position; she and her guests leave, as do Joseph and Fanny. Mrs. Adams and their oldest daughter both criticize Adams about putting his feelings for Joseph and Fanny before his responsibility to his own family; they both resent Fanny for trying to marry above her station. Joseph and Fanny return with the Pedlar who rescued the little boy, and invite the Adamses to join them at the Tavern for dinner.
Ch. 12 — At dinner, the Pedlar reveals that he knows who Fanny’s real parents are (she was adopted by a local family at the age of three). He tells them that years before, when he was a soldier, he had married a Gypsy woman who confessed on her deathbed that she had stolen a beautiful girl child and sold her to Sir Thomas Booby. The original parents were a Mr. and Mrs. Andrews. At the news that Joseph is actually her brother, Fanny faints, while Adams loudly gives thanks that Fanny’s identity was discovered before the sin of incest was committed.
Ch. 13 — Meanwhile, Lady Booby has taken to her bed with love-sickness. She begins to consider whether she might be willing to brave social ridicule and marry Joseph after all. Slipslop encourages her. Left alone, Lady Booby has second thoughts and begins to hate herself for loving a footman — and one who prefers a low-born girl like Fanny anyway. But when Slipslop comes in with the news that Fanny and Joseph are sister and brother, Lady Booby immediately loves Joseph again. Joseph, Fanny, Adams and the Pedlar arrive at Lady Booby’s with the news, which upsets Pamela in particular. She insists that her parents be brought over to confirm the story before she’ll believe it. She also criticizes Joseph for being so upset at the news: if he really loved Fanny so purely, the fact that she was his sister rather than his sweetheart should make no difference. Because of a storm, the company plans to stay overnight at the Boobys’ while waiting for the Andrews.
Ch. 14 — During the night, Didapper sneaks into the room he thinks is Fanny’s and crawls into the bed. He mimics Joseph’s voice and announces that news has just arrived that he is not her brother, so they can sleep together. He discovers, however, that the bed’s occupant is Mrs. Slipslop. She was willing enough when she thought it was Joseph but, thinking that Didapper was sent to her as a trap or virtue-test by Lady Booby, begins crying rape — but also won’t let him go. Adams hears Didapper’s high-pitched cries for help and runs in to rescue what he believes is a damsel in distress (mistaking Didapper’s soft skin) from a male rapist (mistaking Slipslop’s hairy chin). Didapper runs away and Adams struggles with Slipslop; they are discovered in this embarrassing position when Lady Booby comes in to investigate the noise. Adams, confused and believing he’s been bewitched, apologizes profusely. Lady Booby laughs and leaves. Adams leaves as Slipslop begins to reach for him, and enters what he thinks is his room (but is really Fanny’s), climbs into bed and goes to sleep, unaware he’s lying next to the sleeping Fanny. At dawn, Joseph discovers the two in the same bed; after some confusion (Adams still believes he’s been bewitched), they laugh at the mistake.
Ch. 15 — Joseph and Fanny decide mutually that, since they can’t marry, they will love one another together Platonically, living chastely as brother and sister, and never marry anyone. Gaffer and Gammer (Mr. and Mrs.) Andrews arrive. When told of the Pedlar’s story, Mr. Andrews denies that they ever had a daughter stolen. Mrs. Andrews, however, confesses that, while Mr. Andrews was away in the army for three years, the child she was pregnant with when he left was born: a girl who was indeed stolen by two Gypsy women, and a sickly boy baby left in her place. She decided to take care of the boy as if he were her own, and never told her husband that he wasn’t actually his child. She happily embraces Fanny as her long-lost daughter. The Pedlar asks whether the boy-child had a strawberry mark on his breast, and Joseph shows that he has. Adams thinks the strawberry mark sounds familiar, but is called outside by a servant. The Pedlar tells Joseph that he knows his father is a gentleman, but can’t remember his name. Coincidentally, Mr. Wilson (the kind man who had told them his life story) happens by. Hearing that a stolen child with a strawberry mark has just been discovered, Mr. Wilson frantically asks to see Joseph and immediately recognizes him as his long-lost son. Everyone is overjoyed except Lady Booby.
Ch. 16 — Mr. Booby and Pamela are polite to their new relations, but leave quickly because Lady Booby is so distraught, inviting the Andrews, Adams, and Mr. Wilson to follow them to their home. Joseph asks his (real) father’s permission to marry Fanny; he agrees, but asks Joseph to wait until he has been reunited with his mother. Mr. Booby kindly sends his coach to pick her up, and she happily agrees to Joseph and Fanny’s marriage. Their marriage is described sentimentally — compare the description to that of Adam and Eve’s wedding-night in Paradise Lost. Fielding, speaking in the present tense, then informs us that Joseph and Fanny have bought an estate next to the Wilsons, with the generous dowry Mr. Booby gave her. Parson Adams has also been given a living with a much larger salary by Mr. Booby, who has also employed the kindly Pedlar as a manager on his estate. Lady Booby has returned to London and lives a fashionable life. Joseph and Fanny, like the Wilsons, have chosen a quiet country life and intend to live happily ever after, with no more adventures.