Parson Adams and Joseph are about to split up. After all, they're doing totally different things in life. Joseph's off to see Fanny, and Adams is planning to hawk his books in London.
Oops, Adams made a mistake. Rather than bringing the sermons he was planning to sell, his wife just packed his clothes.
Since Adams has no reason to go to London, he decides to hang with Joseph for a while. They'll be travel buddies on their way to the Booby house.
Joseph and Adams have an unconventional way of traveling called "ride-and-tie." It's a little confusing, but the general gist is that one person sets out on horseback and the other person on foot. They trade off every few miles, but it's pretty slow going.
Adams starts out walking, and Joseph plans to set out on horseback in a little bit. The plan is to meet up in a few miles.
Except once Adams takes off, Joseph realizes he forgot to pay his bill. That's right: Adams owes twelve shillings.
Joseph is broke as a joke, and Mrs. Tow-wouse won't let him leave.
In the meantime, Adams is getting lost in his thoughts as he walks along. What a life.
Of course, Joseph doesn't meet Adams as planned. Adams makes the most of things and heads on over to an alehouse.
Always the friendly guy, Adams strikes up a conversation with the guys at the bar. The subject of conversation is a gentleman whose house Adams passed while walking.
The two guys at the bar have totally different accounts of this random gentleman. One says he's a peach of a guy, and the other says he's about as cruel as can be.
Adams is befuddled about these totally different accounts, so he asks the innkeeper to settle the score.
It turns out that the two guys Adams was talking to were opposing parties in a legal case. Guess who the judge of the case was? You betcha: the random gentleman.
Adams is shocked that these two fellows would lie, but the innkeeper doesn't give a hoot. All he wants is more beer.
Oh, hey, guess who just arrived at the inn? It's Mrs. Slipslop and Joseph, together in a coach. Slipslop paid Adams's debt so that Joseph can leave. Such a kind soul with (cough, cough) with no ulterior motives whatsoever.
For the next leg of the journey, Adams hitches a ride in the coach with Slipslop. Joseph gets the horse this time, that lucky duck.
Slipslop and Joseph discuss Sir Thomas and Lady Booby. Slipslop has some awfully harsh things to say about her former mistress.
One of the other ladies in the coach points out the home of a certain lady named Leonora.
Actually, she calls her "the unfortunate Leonora." Obviously, everyone is interested in the story.