Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Book 3, Chapters 3-4

By Henry Fielding

Book 3, Chapters 3-4

  • Settle in for the story of Mr. Wilson.
  • Starting when he was sixteen and his father died, Wilson moved to the great city of London. He was into "fashionable diversions," which is polite speak for ladies and high society.
  • Adams thinks this is truly wicked. Always predictable, that guy.
  • After "acting freely" with many young ladies, Wilson is challenged to a duel. Obviously, he high-tails it out of there and heads to a low-life place called the Temple.
  • There, he alternates between mistresses and various venereal diseases.
  • Eventually, Wilson gets so far into debt with gambling that he tries to buy his way out with a lottery ticket.
  • Hooray: the lottery ticket is worth a lot. Unfortunately, Wilson shortsightedly sells the ticket for some bread.
  • It's straight to debtor's prison for Wilson.
  • While there, Wilson gets a letter from a lady named Harriet with a 200-pound note enclosed.
  • It turns out that Harriet's the daughter of the guy Wilson sold the lottery ticket to. She feels sorry for Wilson.
  • Once Wilson gets out of jail, he promptly marries Harriet. She's a good lady, that Harriet.
  • Since Wilson's already experienced the world, he's totally happy to move to the country with his new wife and just chill.
  • But there's one more major sadness in Wilson's life: his eldest son was kidnapped by gypsies long ago. Wait, what?
  • Adams is ready to play detective and track down Wilson's son.
  • Wilson says he has one possible clue: his son has a strawberry-shaped birthmark on the left side of his chest. That's pretty distinctive, right?
  • Wilson's a pretty happy guy these days, all things considered. He takes Adams and Joseph out to the garden to show them where he hangs out.
  • Unfortunately, Wilson's daughter's dog gets shot when he's out in the garden. This guy just can't win.

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