The tavern keeper Mr Tow-wouse is caught in bed with the maid Betty, and Henry Fielding merrily and minutely recounts the retribution, immediate and eternal, which comes with the forgiveness of his wife. 

It concluded with the discharge of Betty, the submission of Mr Tow-wouse, with some things to be performed on his side by way of gratitude for his wife’s goodness in being reconciled to him, with many hearty promises never to offend any more in the like manner; and lastly, his quietly and contentedly bearing to be reminded of his transgressions, as a kind of penance, once or twice a day, during the residue of his life.

From a novel both comical and sincere, re-read recently after a 30 year hiatus. 

Source: Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978), p. 98

Photo credit: front cover of Joseph Andrews


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